Saturday, 29 January 2005

senior church appointments

Update 11 February
Anthony Archer has an article in the Church of England Newspaper
Bringing the appointments system home

Update 4 February
The Church Times has a report on this subject Let us vet new bishops, says Synod member

The General Synod is scheduled to debate this private member’s motion sometime after 2.30 pm on Thursday 17 February. It has been given some prominence in the official press release about the forthcoming session, which says:

Senior Church Appointments

This private member’s motion from Mr Anthony Archer seeks to ask the Archbishops’ Council to set up a working party to undertake a wide-ranging review of the offices of suffragan bishop, deacon, archdeacon and residentiary canon, and the law and practice regarding appointments to these offices. In doing so, the motion proposes that the Church should adopt an integrated, consistent and transparent method of making appointments to senior ecclesiastical offices.

The wording of the motion has been published here.

The briefing note numbered GS Misc 765A prepared by the member concerned, Mr Anthony Archer, is available here in RTF, but is more accessible here as a web page.

The background note numbered GS Misc 765B prepared by William Fittall Secretary-General, is similarly available here and accessible here.

The printed version of this also reprints the text of GS Misc 455 Code of Practice for Senior Church Appointments issued in 1995 which is not available electronically from the CofE website, but is accessible here.

Other documents have been issued by the Secretary General in connection with this motion:

GS 1405 Working with the Spirit: Choosing Diocesan Bishops - the Perry Report published in 2001 (as a PDF file about 0.5 Mb)

(no number) Briefing for members of Vacancy-in-See Committees (RTF format) - accessible copy here

GS Misc 770 CHOOSING DIOCESAN BISHOPS A report on progress on the implementation of the Report of the Steering Group appointed to follow up the recommendations of “Working with the Spirit” - this is not yet on the CofE website, but is accessible here.

We are also promised, in GS Misc 770, an electronic copy of GS 1465 “Choosing Diocesan Bishops. The Report of the Steering Group appointed to follow up the recommendations of Working with the Spirit”, but neither this, nor new paper copies of it have appeared yet.

Last July questions were asked about appointment of deans and the BBC carried an interview with Anthony Archer and others.

And finally, for the moment, Mr Archer has prepared a note for his colleagues on EGGS, which he has given TA permission to publish. It can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 29 January 2005 at 4:34pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

WR: news items from Africa

Guardian Stephen Bates Gay Ugandan Christian denied visa to visit UK (well OK it’s just as much a story from the UK about the Foreign Office)

A gay Ugandan Christian has been denied a visa to enter Britain in order to attend a meeting at the invitation of the Anglican church next week because there is a warrant for his arrest in his home country where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment.
Chris Stentaza, a headteacher at a church school who was dismissed from his job and forced into hiding after speaking at a conference of gay Christians in Manchester 15 months ago, has been rejected for a visa by the British high commission in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, apparently because of his sexuality.
He had been invited to join a delegation due to meet Canon Gregory Cameron, the secretary to the church’s commission responsible for last October’s Windsor report, investigating ways of keeping the worldwide communion together after the row over the promotion of gay clergy.

Update Monday 31 Jan
Today, the Guardian carries a letter about this Christian persecution

Chris Stentaza’s experience of persecution (Gay Ugandan Christian denied visa to visit UK, January 29) has become extremely common among gay Christians in Africa.

The most recent wave of imprisonments and beatings in Uganda started in 1999 when President Yoweri Museveni launched a crackdown on homosexuals, publicly supported by the Anglican archbishop.

Just last month, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported that the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda had intensified following the Anglican church of Uganda’s aggressive campaign against homosexuality that was launched as a direct response to the American church consecrating a gay bishop.

Throughout Africa, gay Christians are frightened, isolated and desperate. Those who are open about their sexuality are commonly excluded from church life and refused baptism and communion. They can be subjected to verbal abuse by their priests and bishops. Those working for the church are sacked.

The Anglican church has committed itself to listen to the voices of lesbian and gay people. Yet the church attacks and excludes them as soon as they make their voices heard. The bishops of the Anglican communion must make it possible for listening to take place and engage in the dialogue that it has been so repeatedly promised.

Rev Colin Coward
Director, Changing Attitude
Rev Dr Giles Fraser
Chair, Inclusive Church
Rev Kelvin Holdsworth
Changing Attitude Scotland
Rt Rev Barry Hollowell
Bishop of Calgary
The Rev’d Susan Russell
President, Integrity USA

East African Standard, Nairobi African Anglicans firm on gay bishop

African Anglican Archbishops yesterday rejected the apology by the American Episcopal Church over the ordination of a homosexual bishop and the wedding of gay couples.
The clerics, representing 50 million faithful, asked their American counterparts to repent instead.
“They have only apologised and not repented,” said Dr Reverend Bernard Malango, the Archbishop of Zambia.
“Apology does not make sense to us, the biblical word is repentance,” said Kenya’s Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.
They were speaking late yesterday at a news conference in Nairobi at the end of a two days meeting skipped by South Africa’s archbishop Njongokulu Ndungane, the only pro-gay voice in Africa.
The meeting dubbed third Trumpet, was chaired by the Nigerian Primate archbishop Peter Akinola was also attended by representatives of representatives from South East Asia, Latin America and Asia.

or this report from Associated Press Anglicans Abroad Say Apology Not Enough

Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola noted the U.S. bishops apologized to individual church members in a letter issued earlier this month expressing “sincere regret” for consecrating V. Gene Robinson in November 2003 as bishop of New Hampshire without full consideration of other Anglicans’ objections. But Akinola told journalists they failed to repent for an act he said was contrary to their faith.
“That gives us a very big question mark whether we are together or not,” said Malawi’s Archbishop Bernard Malango.
Akinola spoke after a weeklong meeting to discuss recommendations by an Anglican commission to resolve discord within the communion over homosexuality.
In a report issued in October, the panel urged the U.S. branch not to elect any more gay bishops and called on conservative African bishops to stop meddling in the affairs of other dioceses.
In Kenya Friday, church leaders were circumspect about their views on the recommendations, saying they did not want to pre-empt a meeting of all Anglican archbishops in Ireland next month.
About 15 archbishops attended the gathering in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Daily Champion, Lagos Tinubu, Odili Speak On Role of Clerics in Governance

GOVERNORS Peter Odili of Rivers and Bola Tinubu of Lagos states have hailed the positive roles of the clergy in secular governance, describing same as elevating.
In a brief speech that lasted five minutes, Gov. Odili said both religious clerics and secular rulers had common goal which, according to him, was serving the people and so they should co-operate.
…Gov. Tinubu, in his own speech, lauded the position taken by clerics, urging them to speak the truth always.
…The governor maintained that the church had a social responsibility to crusade against all vices, insisting that it was only by doing so would Nigerians feel challenged and retraced their steps, if they are on the wrong track.
Both Govs Tinubu and Odili praised the Anglican Church for standing firm against gay practice, saying that it was an indication that the church had come of age in Africa.

Update Sunday
Here is another item from the Standard Anglican bishop urges all faiths to reject gay unions

Christians were yesterday exhorted to intensify the fight against gay relationships in the church.

Mombasa Anglican Bishop Julius Kalu made the clarion call yesterday, urging all religions to come out against homosexuality and lesbianism.

“Homosexuals have invaded all religious institutions, including non-Christian ones,” said the bishop.

In a statement issued just a day after Anglican Church of Kenya bishops rejected an apology by the Episcopal Church in America over the ordination of an openly gay bishop and its support for same-sex unions, the bishop said: “We call upon all denominations to come out and condemn this evil, which is against the commandments of God.”

The bishop also expressed concern over the rampant practice of lynching suspected witches in parts of Coast Province.

Several suspected witches have been killed in Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta districts over the past few months. In the latest incident, a middle-aged woman in Voi Division, Taita Taveta District, was set upon by an angry mob which beat her senseless before setting her ablaze.

A community in Kaloleni Division, Kilifi District has also put up a list of 11 suspected witches, whom it wants eliminated.

Bishop Kalu pointed out that the government has enough machinery to deal with those involved in the vice and proposed that they should be charged in court or placed in seclusion.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 29 January 2005 at 2:51pm GMT | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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columns of opinion

First, from the Church Times, Giles Fraser wrote this week about the Windsor Report and human rights, in Curb the will of the majority.

One of the oft-made criticisms of the report is that it begins to introduce a curia-type of centralisation into Anglicanism. Yet, as Aidan O’Neill says, the Church of Rome offsets the power of the Vatican by emphasising the place of conscience. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger puts it: “Over the Pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed above all else, even if necessary against the requirements of ecclesiastical authority.”

The Windsor report acknowledges no equivalent checks and balances to safeguard individuals against the will of its newly imagined ecclesiastical authority. That makes it a very dangerous document.

He went on to develop this theme in a note published by InclusiveChurch entitled Rights and Wrongs which comments on the document A Response to the Windsor Report, and included in GS 1570:

In a report out this week, members of the Church of England House of Bishops Theological Group and the Faith and Order Advisory Group have argued that “any commonly agreed standard of faith is bound to be difficult for those who disagree with it. However, a necessary part of Christian discipleship is learning to accept the constraints of living within a community that makes decisions that we may not agree with. A necessary part of the baptismal vocation involves dying to self.”

This is a shameless piece of doublethink. For Bishops Hind and Nazir-Ali, dying to self apparently only applies if you are in the minority. Furthermore, it suggests that the principled resistance to homophobia is, in fact, a form of selfishness – unchristian even. They go on to suggest “discipline to be exercised in cases where there is an explicit rejection of the report’s recommendations”. No space is offered to those who reject institutional homophobia in an act of principled dissent. No wonder people are worried as to what sort of thing the Anglican Communion is becoming.

The paper by Aidan O’Neill which is referred to can be found on The Tablet website and is titled Rights, responsibilities and religious bodies.

In today’s Guardian there is an article by Diarmaid MacCulloch about contemporary politics, The end of days: a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Telegraph continues that theme with Christopher Howse writing about Tony Blair in To kneel or not to kneel.

The Credo column in The Times is by Roderick Strange Those we have loved and lost reveal the way. However, more interesting is Matthew Parris who writes about Ruth Kelly and Opus Dei: Why Ruth Kelly’s faith and her politics cannot be separated. In particular he says:

It was disappointing, then, when Ms Kelly denied that she had ruled herself out of any ministerial job on religious grounds. Instead she is anchoring her position in the time-honoured — and thoroughly dubious — assertion that she knows how to distinguish between faith and politics. Ms Kelly insisted in an interview with the Daily Mirror that her faith was a private matter which had nothing to do with her job. “I have a private spiritual life and I have a faith. It is a private spiritual life and I don’t think it is relevant to my job,” she said.

What? That is wholly inconsistent not just with the whole drift of Opus Dei’s work, but with Christ’s teaching. Of course one’s faith, and the moral code anchored in it, is relevant to one’s job. It is impossible to read the Gospels in any other way.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 29 January 2005 at 2:14pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Friday, 28 January 2005

Letters of Reference

When I was a medical chaplain I worked with a rabbi, who would stop by my office and tell me a Jewish joke on the way to a meeting. “What is the only thing two Jews can ever agree on?” he would say, “what a third should give to charity.” I’m sure I could come up with a Christian version, that the only thing two Christians can agree on is who a third should, or shouldn’t be sleeping with. The depressing thing about the press is that when the church is mentioned at all, it is usually about the mating habits of Christians, a subject abou which the gospels say very little.

What will be of no interest to the press is what Christians can agree on. When I came back from my post-Christmas break I learned that my congregation had had a retiring collection for victims of the Asian tsunami, raising almost £250, even after they’d already given to the church collection. I thought it was fantastic. Two aid agencies which I know about, raised phenomenal amounts in a matter of days, and this on top of their existing programmes for aid in various parts of the world.

You don’t have to be a Christian to have been moved by the devastation of the Asian tsunami. What is interesting about the response is that there was no question about it: there was an earthquake, a freak wave, communities destroyed, lives lost and help needed, and we responded, immediately.

It was only later on that I began to wonder why many thousands more people continue to die through disease and malnutrition, in countries for which development is impossible because of crippling debt, and trade rules which favour us, the rich West. Are we slower to come to their aid because, deep down, we know that their suffering is a result of a world whose resources are distributed in ways which are always in our favour. A tsunami is ethically neutral, African farmers undercut by cheap European produce is not. It’s easier to give to one than the other because, with a natural disaster we can ask why? without being in danger of finding that the answer might have something to do with changing the way we live.

While we were still making sense of the news footage from Sri Lanka and Phuket, the New Year’s Day episode of the Vicar of Dibley took the 20th anniversary of Live Aid as its theme. The programme included the characters wearing a white armband as a way of introducing the Make Poverty History campaign.

Make Poverty History is a coalition of all the non-governmental aid agencies in the United Kingdom including Christian ones like the Church of England, Cafod and Christian Aid. It is borne of a widely-held conviction both among the religious, and among those who are not, that the human race can no longer live in conditions whereby three-fifths of our species barely lives. The hope of the campaign is that 2005 is the year when we finally come to grips with the problem, both while we have the presidency of the G8 countries, and while we have a Chancellor who is passionately committed to ending poverty.

This is something which Christians should be able to agree on. While sex has a bit-part in the Bible, looking after the poor is a central theme. I discovered this week that one in sixteen verses in the Bible is about poverty; one out of nine in the first three gospels.

Last Advent, when he preached on the Last Judgement, James Forbes of New York’s Riverside Church, was talking about the parable of the sheep and the goats, where those who are not destined for paradise are asked by Jesus what they had done for the needy? Forbes went on to say that, according to this parable, “nobody gets to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor”.

www.makepovertyhistory.org

Posted by Andrew Spurr on Friday, 28 January 2005 at 10:26am GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: just thinking

Clergy terms of service

Update Sunday 30 Jan
Additional coverage of this on today’s Radio 4 Sunday programme. Listen here with Real Audio (7 minutes).

There was considerable press coverage of this topic even prior to this week’s publication of the second report on the Review of Clergy Terms of Service. Some of this was inspired by the trade union Amicus. They in turn were reacting to a separate UK government decision concerning the outcome of a consultation held by the Department of Trade and Industry with its Clergy Working Group. Basically, the government has decided it will not pursue the route of requiring churches and other faith bodies to give clergy employee status provided that the churches agree to conform to a (not yet published) DTI code of practice. The issue is the Section 23 rights that employee status would automatically confer. (This is a reference to Section 23 of the Employment Relations Act 1999.)

17 January Telegraph Clergy trade unions attack compromise over workers’ rights
17 January Ekklesia Clergy say Government has acted like Pontius Pilate
21 January CEN Churches ‘win exemption’ from employment laws
21 January Church Times Clergy rights under review by Bill Bowder

The new report published last Monday, GS 1564 Review of Clergy Terms of Service: Part Two (RTF format only) recommends inter alia that these Section 23 rights should be conferred on all clergy, while retaining office holder status. Those who currently have Freehold could obtain these rights by transferring to the new Common Tenure if they wish. The full press release describes the recommendations this way. The summary version press release said:

This Review, under the chairmanship of Professor David McClean, was set up by the Archbishops’ Council in 2002, following its response to the Department of Trade and Industry’s discussion document on Employment Status in relation to Statutory Employment Rights. Its terms of reference were to review the terms under which the clergy hold office, to ensure a proper balance of rights and responsibilities, and to consider in this context the future of the freehold and the position of the clergy in relation to statutory employment rights.

The Review Group’s first report, on the position of clergy without the freehold or employment contracts recommended a new form of tenure for clergy, to be called common tenure. This was welcomed by Synod in February 2004. The Group’s second report, now before Synod, proposes applying common tenure to clergy with the freehold, defining incumbents’ rights in terms of employment law rather than ownership of property, providing an enhanced Human Resources function across the dioceses, and adopting a general framework for ministerial review. Synod is asked to welcome the report, provide for a period of consultation with the dioceses and agree that the Archbishops’ Council should appoint an implementation group to follow up the recommendations in the report as a whole.

The explanation of what General Synod is being asked to do about this, as published by the Business Committee, can be found below the fold.

There is also an online summary of part one of this review here (MS Word format only). For my reports of a year ago, go to the bottom of this page

Amicus and the organisation known as the The English Clergy Association have expressed hostility to this as well. Press coverage so far:

23 January Sunday Times Vicars in revolt over ‘theft’ of their freeholds
25 January Telegraph Clergy face loss of ‘job for life’ guarantee
25 January The Times Church to end 800 years of clergy having jobs for life
25 January Yorkshire Post Bishops could get power to hire and fire vicars (this is quite misleading as nothing in this report is concerned with “hiring”)
28 January CEN New battle looming over plans to abolish freehold
28 January Church Times ‘Incapable’ clergy face the axe as freehold comes under review which is the best newspaper account of the proposals so far, though the CT also has this rather reactionary editorial Replacing the freehold

Review of Clergy Terms of Service (extract from Business Committee report GS 1560)

29. This Review, under the chairmanship of Professor David McClean, was set up by the Archbishops’ Council in December 2002, following its response to the DTI’s discussion document Employment Status in relation to Statutory Employment Rights. The Group’s terms of reference are as follows

“To review the terms under which the clergy hold office to ensure a proper balance between rights and responsibilities, and clear procedures for resolving disputes which afford full protection against possible injustice; and

to consider in this context the future of the freehold and the position of the clergy in relation to statutory employment rights.

In the review, to give priority to consideration of the position of clergy without the freehold or employment contracts, and to report on this aspect in 2003 with detailed proposals and a programme for their implementation, the rest of the review to be completed, if possible, in 2004.”

30. The Group’s Report on the first phase of its work, GS 1527, was considered at the February 2004 sessions of General Synod, where its recommendations were welcomed. That Report recommended a new form of tenure for clergy, to be called common tenure, under which appointments for clergy without the freehold would:

  • normally be open-ended until retiring age, and would not require renewal after a specified number of years;
  • confer a level of job security comparable to that of an employee, whilst retaining the office holder status of clergy;
  • be subject to a formal capability procedure (with a right of appeal) to be invoked where the requirements of the post are not being met to a minimum standard and where dismissal is a real possibility. This procedure would apply equally to parochial clergy, bishops, archdeacons and cathedral clergy.
  • In addition, clergy would have access to Employment Tribunals.

31. During the subsequent consultation period, the recommendations in the Group’s first report received a largely positive response, which has informed the Group’s discussions as it has proceeded with the second phase of its work. The Group’s second report has now been considered by the Archbishops’ Council, which commends it to the Synod. Its main recommendations include the following:

  • applying common tenure to clergy with the freehold, including bishops;
  • changes to the ownership of property at present held by the incumbent of a benefice and the modification of the requirement for consent in relation to the proposed sale of houses;
  • the need for an enhanced Human Resources function to ensure that good practice is followed (e.g. on appointments), which will have implications for the role of the bishop and his relationship with his clergy and involve aspects of management;
  • adopting a general framework for ministerial review for use within individual dioceses to ensure good practice.

32. It is intended to follow the same consultation process as last year. The Synod will be invited to debate the report, welcome its recommendations, and commend the report to the dioceses and the Church of England at large, with a deadline of the end of July 2005. The Archbishops’ Council will be requested to appoint an implementation group to follow up the recommendations in the report (taking account of the responses from dioceses and other interested parties, both to this report and to the earlier report (GS 1527) on the first phase of the work), and to bring forward legislation based on those recommendations as early as possible in the next quinquennium.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 28 January 2005 at 9:01am GMT | Comments (1)
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Categorised as: General Synod

Thursday, 27 January 2005

How big is the AAC and the Network?

The Living Church has just published an article by Joan Gundersen who is an officer of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. Neither of these organisations has the article on their own website, but it does appear on the website of Via Media Dallas: The Center Still Holds.

This article, which was written in July 2004 but only published in January 2005, contains some statistics on the membership of NACDAP and the AAC, which are now of course partially out of date. I have therefore corrected them below where I can, and added emphasis. Further corrections welcomed.

Of the 100 dioceses within the United States, so far only nine ten have joined the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. Of more than 7,300 parishes in the Episcopal Church, only 4 percent are affiliated with the American Anglican Council (AAC), and one-third of those are in the nine network dioceses. Roughly one-third of the dioceses of the church have no AAC affiliates.

Although there is no public listing of individual parishes affiliated with the network, apparently only about 70 have done so. For example, in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, home of network moderator Bishop Robert W. Duncan, approximately 27 percent of diocesan communicants belong to parishes that have officially repudiated the network. Groups supporting tolerance of diversity have arisen in 12 dioceses [11 of which have] with strong AAC presences, and these groups have formed a national alliance called Via Media USA to preserve the traditional Episcopal openness to different perspectives and scriptural interpretations.

Separately the Network has this week published a letter from Bishop Robert Duncan which says:

Six convocational deans – serving the vast areas of our country (including some 200 congregations and 300 clergy) that are in non-Network dioceses – have devoted much of their energies to what has become the creative engine of the Anglican Communion Network.

The apparent discrepancy between these two reports in the number of congregations in non-Network dioceses is noticeable, and cannot be entirely explained by the delay in publication, especially since one more diocese has joined the network since July, reducing the number of congregations outside Network dioceses. Another factor might possibly be the inclusion of some non-ECUSA congregations and/or clergy in Bp Duncan’s figures, but in any case it remains an extremely small proportion of ECUSA. At least 80 of the 200 claimed congregations would be in the FiF Convocation. (Thanks to Dr Gundersen for her additional research.)

What is frustrating is the lack of information on the Network website. Not even the number of Network dioceses is correctly given, let alone a list by name of these dioceses, published for all to see. The AAC website is no better at publishing its membership statistics.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 27 January 2005 at 1:21pm GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA

Monday, 24 January 2005

February General Synod Papers

UPDATED (Friday 28 January) to link three more GS Misc papers. In addition what was GS Misc 764 is now GS Misc 763.
UPDATED (Tuesday midnight) to link a few more online papers.
UPDATED (Monday 5pm) to link a few more online papers.

General Synod meets in London from 5pm on Monday 14 February to 7pm on Thursday 17 February. I list below the papers for this group of sessions, and link to those that are online. Apart from the Agenda and the Business Committee’s report on it, which I have put first, they are in numerical order. There is a list in agenda order on the CofE website.

GS 1559 Agenda
The following extracts from the full agenda are online.
Business for Monday 14th February
Business for Tuesday 15th February
Business for Wednesday 16th February
Business for Thursday 17th February
Legislative Business (Special Agenda I)
Liturgical Business (Special Agenda II)

GS 1560 Report by the Business Committee
The business committee’s usual report on the agenda.

GS 1520B Weekday Lectionary and Amendments
These texts are being brought to Synod for final approval.

GS 1524B Draft Pastoral (Amendment) Measure
GS 1524Z Report by the Steering Committee
Final approval of this measure, which will facilitate the community use of churches which remain in use for worship, will be sought.

GS 1535A Common Worship Ordination Services
GS 1535Y Report by the Revision Committee
These are online in sections.
Report by the Revision Committee
Annex to the Report
The Ordination of Deacons
The Ordination of Priests
The Ordination of Bishops

GS 1555A Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure
GS 1555Y Report by the Revision Committee

GS 1558 Sharing God’s Planet: a Christian vision for a sustainable future
GS Misc 767 The Environment Debate: A briefing
This report will support a debate on the environment.

GS 1561 General Synod Elections 2005: Report by the Business Committee
Proposals for the timetable for this year’s general election to General Synod, and the number of clergy and laity to be elected by each diocese.

GS 1562 Legal Officers (Annual Fees) Order 2005
GS 1562X Explanatory Memorandum
An average increase of 3.2% in diocesan registrars’ retainers is proposed.

GS 1563 Draft Convocations election to the Upper House Rules (Amendment) Resolution 2005
GS 1563X Explanatory Memorandum
Amendments consequential on the decision to reduce the number of suffragans elected to the House of Bishops.

GS 1564 Review of Clergy Terms of Service: Part Two
There is an online summary of part one of this review here.

GS 1565 Appointed member of the Archbishops’ Council
Mark Russell is being recommended to Synod to fill the place on the Archbishops’ Council left vacant by the retirement of Jayne Ozanne.

GS 1566 Review of Constitutions of Bodies answerable to the Synod through the Archbishops’ Council

GS 1567 Higher Education and the Church’s Mission
A report to support a debate on the purpose of higher education.

GS 1568 Women in the episcopate: Report by the House of Bishops
The report itself (GS 1557) is here.

GS 1569 Hind Implementation: Review of the sources of funding for CME 1-4 and the proposals for research

GS 1570 The Windsor Report: Report by the House of Bishops

Diocesan Synod and Private Member’s Motions
The texts of these motions are below the fold

GS Misc 763A Canon B44
GS Misc 763B Note by the CCU

GS Misc 764A Election Addresses: Note by the Diocese of Durham
GS Misc 764B Election Addresses: Note by the Legal Adviser

GS Misc 765A Senior Church Appointments
GS Misc 765B Note by the Secretary General
Senior Church Appointments: other background papers
GS 1405 Working with the Spirit: Choosing Diocesan Bishops
Briefing for members of Vacancy-in-See Committees

Canon B44

The Revd Canon Alan Hargrave to move on behalf of the Ely Diocesan Synod

‘That this Synod request that legislation be introduced to rescind paragraph 5 of Canon B44 Of local ecumenical projects.’

Election Addresses

Mrs Janet Atkinson to move on behalf of the Durham Diocesan Synod:

‘That this Synod support a change to the Church Representation Rules by requiring that candidates seeking election to the House of Laity of the General Synod, who produce election addresses for distribution to electors, as permitted by Church Representation Rule 39(6), shall include in such addresses details including a brief resume of the aims and policies of any Church related organization, society, movement or association to which they belong or support or are affiliated, either directly or through parochial links, and which could affect their voting intentions in General Synod in matters of doctrine or ecclesiology in order to ensure transparency for electors.’

Senior Church Appointments

Mr Anthony Archer (St. Albans) to move:

‘That this Synod:

(i) consider that the Church should adopt an integrated and consistent method for the making of appointments to senior ecclesiastical office (other than diocesan bishops) to ensure that all appointments are transparent and encourage the confidence of the Church in the procedures that support the final selection; and

(ii) request the Archbishops’ Council to commission a working party (to be chaired by a person independent of the Council and the Synod) to review and make recommendations (without limitation) as to:

(a)the office of suffragan bishop, dean, archdeacon and residentiary canon, and the functions, demands and requirements of these senior ecclesiastical ministries in a changing Church;

(b)the law and practice regarding appointments to these offices, including:-

(A) the role and practice adopted by diocesan bishops in the making of nominations to suffragan sees; and

(B)the role of the Crown in the making of appointments to the other senior church offices referred to above and how it is discharged (and in particular the possibility of seeking agreement to the functions of Ministers of the Crown either (i) being transferred to the Archbishop of the province concerned, or (ii) becoming purely formal ones involving the submission of the advice received from the Archbishop),

and for the Archbishops’ Council to report back to the Synod within eighteen months of the date of this debate.’

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 24 January 2005 at 1:40pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 23 January 2005

CofE House of Bishops on the Windsor Report

Update
The second item mentioned below, the report from the chairs of the Theological Group and FOAG, not previously available, is now on the web:
Original RTF format is here (this includes the HoB report itself as well as the annex)
an HTML version is here (just the annex)

A document GS 1570 has been sent out to synod members which contains two things:

  • A short report by the House of Bishops to the General Synod
  • A lengthy paper prepared for the HoB by the chairs of its Theological Group and the Faith and Order Advisory Group.

The agenda papers also contain

  • The wording of a motion to be put before the General Synod in February
  • the report of the Business Committee which contains several paragraphs relating to this matter.

Three of these four items are reproduced below. All are likely to appear on the CofE website on Monday.

SYNOD MOTION

The motion to be moved by the Bishop of Durham and debated by Synod (starting at 9am on Thursday 17 February) is:

That this Synod

(a) welcome the report from the House (GS 1570) accepting the principles set out in the Windsor Report;

(b) urge the Primates of the Anglican Communion to take action, in the light of the Windsor Report’s recommendations, to secure unity within the constraints of truth and charity and to seek reconciliation within the Communion; and

(c) assure the Archbishop of Canterbury of its prayerful support at the forthcoming Primates’ Meeting.

The other items are below the fold.

THE WINDSOR REPORT: A REPORT FROM THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS

1. Following the publication of the Windsor Report [note 1] on 18 October 2004, the House asked the Chairs of its Theological Group and the Faith and Order Advisory Group, the Bishops of Rochester and Chichester (assisted by the Vice-Chair of FOAG, the Bishop of Guildford and the House’s theological consultant, Dr Martin Davie), to prepare a paper to help guide its own deliberations at its January 2005 meeting, with a view to this document forming the basis of the Church of England’s response prior to the Primates’ Meeting in Belfast on 20-26 February. This document, which was also informed by discussion at a meeting of bishops at Lambeth on 1 December, is attached. The House was mindful that the issues which the Windsor Report seeks to address have significant implications for Anglican ecumenical dialogue and inter-faith relationships.

2. In considering the Report, the House was very conscious of the critical and urgent issues addressed by the Windsor Report for the cohesion of the Anglican Communion, and the need to support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his dual role both in terms of the leadership of the Anglican Communion and as the representative of the Church of England at the forthcoming Primates’ Meeting. This meeting is potentially of great significance for the future unity of the Anglican Communion and its ecumenical relationships, and with this in mind the House decided to focus on questions of particular immediacy for this meeting (rather than, for instance, consider points of detail about the illustrative Covenant set out in Appendix 2 of the Report).

3. With the foregoing in mind, the House therefore:

a Affirms the basis of faith and life that binds Anglicans together as set out in paragraphs 1-11 of the Windsor Report and illustrated by the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and accepts the basic principle of autonomy-in-communion exercised within the constraints of truth and charity set out in the Report. [note 2]

b Supports the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates in taking all steps necessary to seek to achieve reconciliation by persuading all within the Anglican Communion to comply with the mind of the Communion as expressed by the Instruments of Unity, [note 3] in the light of the recommendations of the Windsor Report.

c Supports the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates in requesting ECUSA and other parts of the Communion that have taken similar decisions to provide for the rest of the Communion the thought-out theological rationale, based on Scripture and Tradition, for the actions that have been taken that has been requested in the past but which so far has not been forthcoming.

4. The House also recognises that there are structural issues that will need to be resolved with some urgency in relation to how the Anglican Communion expresses its mind. The House supports the drawing up of an Anglican Covenant and commends an enhanced and properly resourced role for the Archbishop of Canterbury in fostering the unity and mission of the Anglican Communion.

5. Finally, the House upholds the Primates in its prayers as they prepare for their meeting in Belfast later this month.

(on behalf of the House of Bishops)
+ROWAN CANTUAR:
+ DAVID EBOR:

February 2005

Footnotes
1. The Lambeth Commission on Communion: The Windsor Report 2004, ACO �4.95
2. See paras 72-86.
3. For these Instruments of Unity see paras 97-104.
—————-

EXTRACT FROM THE REPORT OF THE BUSINESS COMMITTEE GS 1560

Windsor Report of the Lambeth Commission (Thursday, 17 February)

41. The Windsor Report 2004, from the Lambeth Commission on Communion, was published on 18 October 2004. The Commission was set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, under the chairmanship of the Archbishop of Armagh, at the request of the Primates of the Anglican Communion following their meeting in October 2003. The Primates asked that the Commission should engage in urgent deep theological and legal reflection on the way in which the changes identified at that meeting, concerning developments in the Episcopal Church of the USA and the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada, should be addressed.

42. The Primates have established a process for the reception of the Report, which is being handled by a reference group under the chairmanship of the Primate of Hong Kong. The next steps will be considered at the meeting of the Primates in Belfast on 20-26 February.

43. Following publication of the Windsor Report, the House of Bishops asked the Chairs of its Theological Group and the Faith and Order Advisory Group to prepare a paper to help guide its own deliberations (at its January 2005 meeting), with a view to this document forming the basis of the Church of England’s response to the Primates’ Meeting. This paper is circulated as an annex to a short report from the House of Bishops (GS 1570). The House is very conscious of the critical and urgent issues addressed by the Windsor Report for the cohesion of the Anglican Communion and the need to support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his dual role, both in terms of the leadership of the Anglican Communion and as the representative of the Church of England at the Primates’ Meeting. The House has therefore focused on questions of particular immediacy for the Primates’ Meeting and the motion has been formulated accordingly.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 23 January 2005 at 2:15pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 22 January 2005

godslot columns in Christian Unity week

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times weekly Credo column that In silence and stillness we can seek God. Here’s a portion:

The wisdom of the great Christian teachers of prayer — echoing that found in other religious traditions — places a high value on the discipline of silence, quietening the incessant babbling of outward and inner chatter to allow a settling into a deep and attentive stillness, rooted in a Godgiven inner peace.

Seraphim of Sarov, the 19th-century Russian saint, taught: “Keep your heart in peace and a multitude around you will be saved.” Centuries earlier St Benedict urged his monks: “Diligently cultivate silence at all times,” and, in a vivid image, Diadochus, the 5th-century bishop of Photiki in Greece, cautioned that just as “When the door of the steam bath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes,” so the desire to say many things through the door of speech dissipates the remembrance of God: “Timely silence then is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.”

In the biblical story of Elijah on Mount Horeb, the prophet stands in the entrance of his cave, and finds the presence of God to be not in fire, storm and earthquake, with all their terrible physical power of destruction, but in “a still, small voice” — which, literally translated, is “the sound of thin silence”. It is this which awes Elijah so that he wraps his face in his cloak. And the psalmist writes: “Be still — let go — and know that I am God.” Silence and stillness, which require discipline, enable us to be attentive, to listen, not for some external voice, but, as we open ourselves to the presence of God, to that life which is at the source of our being.

Christopher Howse devotes his weekly Telegraph column Sacred mysteries to considering Why should young Muslims tolerate it? which refers to what Mr David Bell, the chief inspector of schools, has been saying.

The weekly Guardian column Face to Faith is devoted this week to a consideration by Catherine Pepinster editor of The Tablet of the question Is Opus Dei at work in Blair’s government?

Michael Brown in the Yorkshire Post writes about the demise of the Mirfield Commem Day in Alas, no more ‘miracles’, whatever the weather

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 22 January 2005 at 5:40pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Friday, 21 January 2005

6 ECUSA bishops comment

Earlier I linked to an American TV report on PBS which included (as TV programmes so often do) tiny snippets from several bishops. They have now published an additional page (hat tip to KH) which contains what appear to be longer extracts from the interviews which they conducted. Here is the page:
Read the comments of six Episcopal bishops after the recent House of Bishops meeting, January 12-13, 2005 in Salt Lake City

The bishops are: Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Mark Sisk of New York, Charles Jenkins of Louisiana, Katharine Jefferts Schori of Nevada and Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.

Reading these longer remarks (total length around 7000 words) is time-consuming but gives a much better understanding of how these bishops view what has happened so far.

Comment

Now that I have read all of this myself, I note that both Bishop Salmon and Bishop Duncan, while making clear their criticisms of the majority, also make some positive comments about the House of Bishops meeting and about the “Word to the Church” statement. Samples of this:

Bishop Duncan:

We had a very good statement come from the House of Bishops today (January 13), but it didn’t promise any action other than to regret what it was that we had done in the Communion by the way in which we did what we did. What a number of us have seen is very clearly necessary was that we actually had to make a statement that says we submit to this, and some of us have done that. This is really all about the rest of the world dealing with the American church, and the rest of the world at this point receives what it is we’ve said today. The words we spoke — they sounded right. Whether the action will follow out of those words is what remains to be seen.

…The statement is better than I would have expected. It at least begins with saying we are deeply sorry for the trouble we’ve caused…

Bishop Salmon:

The Windsor Report is not something that you would have a yes or a no to. There were four significant things that they asked of us, and one of the ones that the English House asked specifically was the issue of moratorium, and what we’ve done is said we will deal with that, but we’re not going to deal with it until March. I think the primates will be looking at what we have decided and draw a judgment on it.

…I think that there was an attitudinal change among a number of people who said, “We do not like what has happened to us and the Communion, and we want to keep the bonds of the Communion,” and that came from people who would be in positions exactly opposite where Bishop Duncan and I would be, who would have voted on the other side. I think that what has happened is that in this space of time, the travail we have gone through has had an effect on people. I think when a number of people in that room said, “We are deeply sorry for what has happened and how this has affected the whole Communion,” there were people on all sides of the spectrum who meant that. I think there was progress there. How that is going to work out, I don’t think anybody knows. But it certainly was different from any House [of Bishops] meeting that I have attended before.

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yet more on the American bishops

The Church Times carries a report of the American House of Bishops meeting, ECUSA offers its apology for ‘hurt’ caused.

Its final paragraph, on the website, reads:

Bishops in the conservative Anglican Communion Network (ACN) immediately criticised the House of Bishops for “failing to issue a definitive statement on moratoria”. Twenty-one of them signed a statement calling for ECUSA to comply in full with the unanimous recommendations of the Windsor report. Their “statement of acceptance of and submission to” the report, issued through the ACN, concluded with a commitment to “engage with the Communion in our continuing study of the biblical and theological rationale for recent actions”.

In fact, this description of the signatories is not quite accurate. Not all the signers of the statement are bishops whose dioceses are members of the Network of Anglican Communion Diocese and Parishes. There is an analysis of the signatures below the fold. But since the meeting, no additional signatures have been announced, not even that of Terence Kelshaw, Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, which is a Network member.

Analysis of signatures of A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004

I will update this analysis as and when the number of signatures changes

Current diocesans i.e. bishops with jurisdiction

A. NACDAP member dioceses (10 total number, 9 signatures so far)

Keith L. Ackerman (Quincy)
John W. Howe (Central Florida)
Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh)
Daniel W. Herzog (Albany)
Edward L. Salmon, Jr. (South Carolina)
Jack Iker (Fort Worth)
John David M. Schofield (San Joaquin)
Peter Beckwith (Springfield)
James Stanton (Dallas)
absent from signature list - Rio Grande

B. Other bishops with jurisdiction 6 so far

D. Bruce MacPherson (Western Louisiana)
Gethin B. Hughes (San Diego)
Bertram Nelson Herlong (Tennessee)
Don A. Wimberly (Texas)
James B. Folts (West Texas)
James Adams (Western Kansas)

C. Other bishops 6 so far (they would not have any vote to be counted in any moratorium that might occur)

Henry Scriven (Assistant, Pittsburgh)
David J. Bena (Suffragan Albany)
Stephen H. Jecko (Assistant, Dallas)
Gary R. Lillibridge (Coadjutor, West Texas)
William C. Frey (Colorado, retired)
William J, Skilton (South Carolina) SUFFRAGAN - incorrectly noted elsewhere

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 21 January 2005 at 2:38pm GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Governing the Church

St. Francis did it in his own inimitable style. Faced with trying to discern God’s will at a crossroads he invited his companion to whirl round on the spot until he fell down. The direction in which his body lay was the one Francis took.

Pausing a moment to imagine a Church of England where General Synod was replaced by “Spin the Archbishop”, I want to pose the question of how the church should structure its decision making in order to seek God’s will.

There is a timeliness in asking. Nationally the Church of England must come up with a process that determines whether and how women might be admitted as bishops. Next month the Primates from around the world meet to give their response to the Windsor Report. Last week the ECUSA bishops reminded us all that their decision making structures give greater weight to the views of laity and priests than many other Anglican Churches.

Having signed up to the simple mantra “synodically governed — episcopally led”, I’m beginning to feel we need to think deeper. Are we holding to a model of decision-making fashioned according to the principles of committee government, but living in an era when both theory and best practice have moved well beyond it. Good governance is increasingly built around smaller bodies whose members are expected to weigh a range of viewpoints rather than to press the case of a particular consistency. Individual governors take lead responsibility for aspects of work. Boards concentrate their energies on the key “Mission-critical” issues and devolve other decisions to more subordinate levels. Ironically it is exactly what the Archbishops’ Council should be equipped to deliver — if only it had been given a more appropriate remit.

Alongside governance theory I would also like to lay some theological criticism. A Christian entity that claims the right to determine direction has to be corporately rooted in Christ. In my own Diocese our Synod and Bishop’s Council meetings have improved in direct proportion to the extent that they come together in worship. It is not enough to be individually devout. Decisions need to be taken in a community that is striving to form itself as the Body of Christ through corporate prayer, worship, study of scripture and fellowship. And I suspect that just as there is a size above which a congregation no longer functions as a single body, so too for a council or synod.

Lastly, and I hope still in the domain of theology, I want to raise the importance of trust. Decision making bodies lose their legitimacy once those on whose behalf they function cease to trust them. More positively the baptismal liturgy emphasises that our relationship with God is characterised by belief and trust. Historically democratic governance structures were justified on the basis that the ballot box maximises trust by allowing the greatest number to give or withdraw their confidence. This is not a place to begin a general critique of democracy in the 21st century; but it is important to recognise that democracy is not a “good thing” in itself — rather a means to achieving greater trust in some instances.

So as both the Church of England and the Anglican Communion struggle with some momentous decisions I want to follow the hints in the Windsor Report and suggest that at the top of the agenda should not be “what” we decide but “how” we decide. And to press that the characteristics we are looking for in a good decision making process are the adoption of best practice, corporate holiness and the maximisation of trust.

All three of which are less obviously present in our current mechanisms than they were in St. Francis’s dizzy brother.

Posted by David Walker on Friday, 21 January 2005 at 11:41am GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 20 January 2005

ECUSA HoB: more information and views

Addition
Here is a report, from The Living Church via titusonenine Special Meeting of Bishops Only a Beginning which includes the following:

In requesting a point of personal privilege to announce that he would be moving to the adjacent hallway to collect signatures for a statement pledging full support for the recommendations of the Windsor Report, the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., Bishop of South Carolina, closed out the special House of Bishops meeting in Salt Lake City Jan. 12-13 in much the way it began: with two somewhat different agendas in evidence.

Bishop Salmon - who emphasized that he will continue to attend future House of Bishops meetings and, while there, reveal his intentions forthrightly to his colleagues - did not stay to vote for the final version of “A Word to the Church From the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.”
Before the bishops had returned to their respective dioceses, Bishop Salmon had the signatures of 20 colleagues on “A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004.”

“I don’t think we are going to get anywhere if we don’t take the Windsor Report seriously,” Bishop Salmon said. “The response of the House of Bishops did not rise to the level expected by the Communion. We heard a call for submission, and we who are unequivocally prepared to submit have responded accordingly.”

First, ENS has published a report of the Utah meeting: Bishops sign supplemental statement following ‘Word to the Church’. This includes an interview with Bishop Edward Salmon of the Diocese of South Carolina:

Yet the group of 21 bishops agreed that the response “didn’t go far enough, and that the Windsor Report asked us to deal with three issues directly,” South Carolina Bishop Edward L. Salmon Jr. told ENS in a January 19 telephone interview. He said the supplemental statement — which was neither received nor regarded by the House of Bishops as a minority report — was not intended as an “in-your-face response” but rather as an honest assessment of views shared by the signatories. “What we wanted people to hear is that the bishops who signed this statement were willing to respond to the requests of the Windsor Report.”

Salmon said the bishops engaged in “some very frank discussion” with each other during the meeting, which spanned 11 hours and was closed to visitors and the media. The South Carolina bishop, whose regular attendance and participation at House of Bishops meetings throughout the 15 years of his episcopate has been praised by his peers, emphasized the importance of clear conversation around issues: “I don’t think people can do business without frank discussion… I don’t think we’re ever going to get anywhere if we’re not willing to talk to each other seriously.”

Salmon said the group of 21 would have preferred the House of Bishops “to respond at the front end” of its recent meeting on matters of moratoria on ordaining additional openly gay bishops, and on blessing same-sex unions. He said that deferring this conversation to the House of Bishops’ upcoming March meeting “sends a message” to the Communion, and asked “what does that behavior mean?”

The majority of bishops voted, however, to wait for the Primates’ response before addressing the moratoria issues, and acknowledged that far-reaching decisions must be put not only to the House of Bishops, but also to the full General Convention. “Obviously, we’re not in agreement,” Salmon said.

Second, there is a report in the Denver Post of remarks by Bishop Rob O’Neill of the Diocese of Colorado: Episcopal cleric lauds apology from bishops:

In a pastoral letter this week to Colorado’s 35,000 Episcopalians, Bishop Rob O’Neill endorses what he called a “heartfelt and sincere” apology from U.S. bishops for failing to consider the global ramifications of elevating a gay bishop.

… “It is evident that the House (of Bishops) as a whole highly values the relationship of the Episcopal Church to the worldwide Anglican Communion, (and) wishes to remain within its fellowship,” O’Neill wrote.

He said in an interview he believes the apology represents “significant progress.”

But conservatives have criticized it as not going far enough.

The Rev. Ephraim Radner of Pueblo, a traditionalist, said the bishops’ meeting in Salt Lake largely put off tougher decisions, and he expressed skepticism about holding the U.S. church and the wider communion together.

Third, there has been further, lengthy criticism of the HoB statement by Andrew Goddard on the ACI website: Fruits of Repentance. In relation to the wording of the apology offered, the issue appears to be the failure of the HoB to quote WR verbatim, i.e. by not including these exact words:

“[to express its regret that] the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached

What the bishops actually said was:

“we as the House of Bishops express our sincere regret for the pain, the hurt, and the damage caused to our Anglican bonds of affection by certain actions of our church”

A fragment of Goddard’s argument:

But is that not what the Windsor Report sought? Certainly, it is part of what it sought and that is perhaps a sign of hope. However, the gulf between the Pastoral Letter’s construal of regret and repentance and that of the Report is clear when examining the words of the key para 134, cited and accepted in the minority report. In addition to regret for consequences - which is present in the Pastoral Letter - the Report asks ECUSA “to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the see of New Hampshire” (italics added). In that key phrase lies the fault-line between the vision of the Communion implicit in the Pastoral Letter and that found explicitly in the minority report and the Windsor Report.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 20 January 2005 at 11:28pm GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 19 January 2005

Answerable to Parliament 2

An earlier post reported on this topic.

Sir Stuart Bell has this explanation of the role of the Church Commissioners on his own website. TheyWorkForYou.com has this explanation of why he answers questions in the House of Commons.

Here is a new batch of his Written Answers.

General Synod

Lottery Funding

Church Attendance and Income

Freedom of Information

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 19 January 2005 at 9:09pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 18 January 2005

Windsor report: more views

Each of the following items deserves to be read in full. Don’t judge them simply on the basis of my quotes: it’s very hard to represent such articles in summary form.

Revised Item the Anglican Communion Institute has today published two further articles criticising the ECUSA HoB statement, thereby breaking the URL previously listed for the first one.

First, the Anglican Communion Institute has asked Where Is ECUSA on The Windsor Report? (this URL will not last, but I cannot predict what it will change to when this article moves from their front page). Predictably the ACI finds fault with the ECUSA HoB statement.

Our main question is this, Does the ECUSA genuinely believe it has a special Communion understanding at odds with that set forth in The Windsor Report? If so, could it state this in clear and unambiguous ways?

Second, Bishop Jack Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth has published BISHOP IKER’S REPORT on the Response of the House of Bishops to the Windsor Report:

At the conclusion of an all-day special meeting of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church to respond to the Windsor Report, it was decided that little would be said, and even less would be done, to try to resolve the crisis that divides us. In a nutshell, the Bishops expressed their desire to remain full members of the Anglican Communion, while continuing to reject the clear teaching of the Communion on matters of sexual morality.

Third, Bishop Samuel Howard of the Diocese of Florida has published his Response to the Meeting of the House of Bishops but only in PDF format. This includes a statement agreed last December by all the Bishops of the Fourth Province (southeastern U.S.):

“We welcome with gratitude the work of the Lambeth Commission on Communion.

We believe that the recommendations of the Windsor Report regarding expressions of regret and voluntary moratoria with respect to communion-damaging actions are well-considered and appropriate. We also believe that the call for a rigorous communion-wide study and discernment process on the matters of human sexuality that challenge us would strengthen us as a communion. We commit ourselves to full participation in these processes, including the participation of gay and lesbian Christians as called for by the Windsor Report.

To make a right beginning, we as the House of Bishops of Province IV express our own sense of sincere regret for the damage caused to the proper constraints of our Anglican bonds of affection by the consecration to the episcopate of a homosexual person living in a committed relationship and by the perceived authorization of public rites of blessing for same sex unions.We further recommit ourselves to our membership in the Anglican Communion.

We commit ourselves as bishops to refrain from consent to the consecration to the episcopate of any person living in a same sex relationship and to the authorization of public rites of blessing for same sex unions until the General Convention of 2009, subject to reconsideration at that time. Recognizing the authority of the General Convention in our polity, as well as our own Episcopal responsibility for leadership, we invite the General Convention of 2006 to affirm our commitment on behalf of the Episcopal Church as a whole. It is our intention that our voluntary decision to refrain from such actions will allow time for the depth of study and discernment on issues of human sexuality requested by the Windsor Report.

We further commit ourselves to respect the boundaries of provinces and dioceses and call upon our brother and sister Anglican bishops to join with us in this commitment.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 18 January 2005 at 11:26pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Monday, 17 January 2005

Diarmaid MacCulloch interview

Big hat tip to KH for finding this:
Summer Season: Reformation - Europe’s House Divided, by Diarmaid MacCulloch

The transcript of an Australian radio interview with Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of a multi-award-winning biography of ‘Thomas Cranmer, A Life’, who was Archbishop of Canterbury under King Henry VIII. Now he’s written an equally distinguished history of the Reformation, or as he says, ‘Reformations’ plural.

This programme was first broadcast on 31 March 2004 and apparently rebroadcast on 12 January 2005.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 17 January 2005 at 11:25pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 16 January 2005

Telegraph editor admits mistake

Update
This story has now also been reported in both The Times and the Guardian:
Telegraph takes blame for Archbishop’s loss of faith by Andrew Pierce
Editor says sorry to archbishop by Stephen Bates
not to mention a further report by Ekklesia
Sunday Telegraph fails to correct misrepresentation of Archbishop.
It had also been covered by Andrew Brown in his weekly Church Times press columns on 7 January, Archbishop’s Doubt
and again on 14 January, Telegraph proles.
—-

Ekklesia reports that Dominic Lawson the editor of the Sunday Telegraph has admitted his paper made a mistake.
Paper admits it misrepresented Archbishop of Canterbury. In summary form:

The editor of a major newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph in the UK, has admitted that his paper misrepresented the opinions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, by falsely claiming that the tsunami disaster had made the Archbishop doubt whether God exists.

…Ekklesia associate Simon Barrow wrote to the editor, saying “Your headline… makes me question not Dr Williams’ faith … but the capacities of your headline writer and sub-editor.”

He continued: “Did they choose simply not to read the Archbishop’s article, which nowhere states what they attribute to him? Or do they and you now regard news reporting as the creative art of sidestepping facts in order to produce a more sensational story?”

The Sunday Telegraph chose not to apologise editorially last week, though it published letters critical of the headline, and also critical of Dr Williams’ article. Its weekday sister paper, The Daily Telegraph, also published a leader excusing the mistake and accusing the Archbishop of being unclear.

This is evidently not a viewpoint shared by Dominic Lawson. Replying to Simon Barrow, he wrote: “I share your sentiments… It grieves me that we should let down our readers who have the right to expect the highest standards.”

In his personal letter to the Archbishop, Mr Lawson straightforwardly recognises that the headline, “apart from misrepresenting the nature of your argument, was also theologically obtuse.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 16 January 2005 at 12:05am GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 15 January 2005

columns from the British press

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Rowan Williams visiting Westminster Cathedral yesterday: Williams harks back to Anselm. (The BBC also carries a report on this visit, Archbishops pray for tsunami dead.)

In the Guardian the godslot is written by John Newbury The Christian centre cannot hold.

The Bishop of Colombo in Sri Lanka, Duleep de Chickera writes in The Times about the tsunami disaster: Our solidarity after the tsunami shows the way to a lasting peace. Part of this reads:

“What have you to say about the kingdom of God?” ( “now” clearly implied) was the question fired at me by a Buddhist from a leading local NGO as soon as I sat down next to him at a lecture in Colombo. This forthright (theological) question centres on God in the tsunami. For the churches of South Asia, steeped in poverty — and within living memory of dominant colonial Christianity — the “vulnerable God” theory is relevant.

A powerful dominant God is distasteful and alien to the poor and powerless. Much more, the “vulnerable God” theory flows very much from the text as well. The incarnation clearly conveys a God of love who deliberately takes on vulnerability to identify and save.

As waves ravaged humans, the vulnerability of this creator God of both waves and humans was sensed in the deafening silence. God is love and the freedom that love confers imposes inherent restrictions on controls on all creation. Human relationships, between parent and child or among spouses, bears this out. So the loving, liberator, parent God who was not in the wind, earthquake and fire was certainly not in the tsunami.

The vulnerable God however is not a passive God. This distinction is essential for faith to be kept. To borrow a phrase from Bishop Geoffrey Rowell’s recent pastoral letter to his diocese, this God is an insider. In Christ God took human form to stand with humans in our suffering and loss. The incarnation is historical fact as well as a telescope into the ways of the same God in past and future history. As God was in the historical incarnation, so God has been with those who suffer grief and loss. This God invites God’s people to do and become likewise.

The usually gentle waves of the sea are soothing to tired Asian feet that stand in poverty and bear an immense burden. The vulnerable servant Lord touched and washed feet. This was more than an act of humility. This was an enacted parable highlighting that relevant ministry begins from where people are placed — where they stand — and addresses suffering.

Large killer waves destroy all within their path. Dominance, whether in our theologies about God, leadership, aid or attitudes, is anti-Christ and counter productive to peace, justice and reconciliation. The way forward for all, South Asians who grieve as well as the world at large, is mutually to touch and wash each other’s feet.

Also in The Times Michael Binyon writes about The struggle to keep the faith in Bethlehem.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 15 January 2005 at 3:58pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Vicar of Dibley x 500

Thursday morning saw me in St Martin in the Fields, along with more than 500 other Christian clergy, of varying denominations, plus a couple of rabbis – all were women, and as well as consuming coffee and cake, laughing with and at Dawn French, and listening to the choirgirl and choirboy of the year singing the Vicar of Dibley theme, we prayed, we sang, and then we went off to accompany a delegation to Downing Street and return to Trafalgar Square for photo-opportunities.

It was a stunt, of course. Designed to catch the media’s attention for the makepovertyhistory campaign. Backed by Christian Aid, the Jubilee campaign, CAFOD and other agencies, we were promoting the three makepovertyhistory aims for this year of Britain’s presidency of the EU and chairing of the G8 group: just trading structures, the dropping of debt for the world’s poorest countries, and the creation of more and better aid programmes by the wealthy nations.

Makepovertyhistory is, at least in part, the brainchild of people for whom catching the limelight is their stock-in-trade. Usually I find myself uncomfortable with the harnessing of celebrity and need: Comic Relief, Children in Need, even 20th-anniversary Live Aid make me cringe. And, for me, the makepovertyhistory TV adverts are a disaster area.

So why did I turn out? The aid and development agencies behind MPH have a seriously good track record, they know what they are talking about, and they are the people to whom I turn when I want to know about trade justice, or debt relief, or where and how best to contribute to overseas aid. And the purposes of this campaign move on from bandaging the wounds left by a system which puts so much of the world at a disadvantage while we prosper to addressing the structural questions, just as Jubilee 2000 did when most of us were first alerted to the destructive patterns of debt imposed by the affluent on those struggling in poverty. These are political questions, and the time is right for political campaigning; just watch the coverage of Gordon Brown’s Africa trip for confirmation of that. If turning out with my be-collared sisters can help to turn a wider audience’s attention to the campaign, yes, of course I’ll be there.

Even so, there remained a nagging discomfort about a purely female demonstration. In the Church of England, it has been a long, hard road to inclusion, to the acceptance of male and female as equal vehicles of grace and ministry, a road whose end we haven’t yet reached. Should we not have gone as both sisters and brothers of the cloth? We acted as we did to get publicity, but the fragility of that argument was proved by the day itself: there was some coverage, but the antics of the third-in-line to the throne kept us well down the batting order in the news.

Meeting as women, though, and particularly as women clergy of the CofE, did have a very powerful resonance, which perhaps the organisers would not have expected or even understood. When women were campaigning for admission to the priesthood, and particularly as they waited for the result of the General Synod vote, St Martin’s was one of the places of gathering, waiting, and preparation. Many women present on Thursday found themselves remembering other days in St Martin’s, other times when we sang ‘We are marching in the light of God’. We still spend a great deal of time addressing the wrongs and woes of the church; it was salutary to be addressing, instead, the wrongs and woes of the world.

Jane Freeman

Posted by Jane Freeman on Saturday, 15 January 2005 at 3:33pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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WR ECUSA: more press reactions

Further Update Sunday
The BBC Sunday programme has 4 minutes of radio interview with Mark Pinsky discussing the HoB meeting this week.
Listen here with Real Audio.

Update
The Associated Press has a further story quoting Bishop Robert Duncan Episcopal bishop says letter lacks remorse over same-sex clergy:

One of the leaders of conservative Episcopal clergy said that a signed statement of “sincere regret” by U.S. bishops fell short of what was needed to heal a rift in the church over the consecration of a gay bishop.

“It certainly didn’t go far enough, but it was a move in the right direction,” said Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh.

The Daily Telegraph has a report on ECUSA by Jonathan Petre US bishops refuse to back down on gays
(it’s not clear whether this made the paper edition, as this squib version also exists).

Kevin Eckstrom’s report for Religion News Service appears in a somewhat longer form in the Winston-Salem Journal The Great Divide

National Public Radio had this report Episcopal Bishops Won’t Halt Gay Ordination This includes the following quote from Bishop Robert Duncan:

“This is really all about the rest of the world dealing with the American Church. And, the rest of the world, at this point, receives what it is we said today. The words we spoke were … they sounded right. Whether the action would follow out of those words is what remains to be seen.”

PBS (the American public TV network) had a news feature Episcopal Bishops’ Meeting in Utah. This report concludes with the following:

One sign of efforts to prevent gay ordination and same-sex marriages from splitting the Episcopal Church was the announcement that the two priests leading the campaigns for equal rights for gays and lesbians have been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to come to London for consultations.

Update This is now confirmed by the following press release (original only in PDF format)

15 January 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INTEGRITY INVITED TO LONDON FOR CONVERSATION

Integrity is pleased to have been invited by the Revd. Canon Gregory K. Cameron, Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office, to London for a conversation on practical ways in which a Communion-wide dialog on human sexuality might be moved forward. The meeting will take place in early February. Integrity will be represented by its president, the Rev. Susan Russell, and its immediate past president, the Rev. Michael W. Hopkins. We understand that several other Anglican LGBT groups have also been invited to participate.

No detailed agenda for the meeting has been enunciated and Integrity has no preconceived notions about its outcomes. Nevertheless, we are deeply appreciative of the opportunity to engage in this conversation and are hopeful that constructive, concrete next steps will emerge.

The Windsor Report rightly reminds us all that “Lambeth Resolution 1.10 calls for an ongoing process of listening and discernment, and that Christians of good will need to be prepared to engage honestly and frankly with each other on issues relating to human sexuality. It is vital that the Communion establish processes and structures to facilitate ongoing discussion” (¶146). Integrity has continuously called for such dialogs during the past three decades of its ministry and we stand ready to help make them a reality.

(The Reverend) Susan Russell, President
president@integrityusa.org
714-356-5718 (mobile)
626-583-2740 (office)
Doug Ball, Executive Secretary
info@integrityusa.org
800-462-9498

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DEPO: an example

This report from the Diocese of Massachusetts is very encouraging and suggests that the proposed arrangements in the Episcopal Church USA for extended oversight can be made to work but require goodwill on both sides.

Boston Globe Episcopalians compromise to avoid split

Another longstanding example, also in New England, mentioned briefly in the above article, was featured in the Church Times last November. A theology of rubbing along

Other examples, anyone?

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Friday, 14 January 2005

WR: the exact responses

This note compares what the Windsor Report requested with what the ECUSA House of Bishops said.

WR wording in italics.
HOB wording in bold.
My comments in roman.
Numbering of points as in earlier posting (some points listed there do not require a corporate ECUSA response).

1. To ECUSA as a corporate body:

…the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed, and that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion.

In this spirit of intentional practice, we affirm that all need to repent, as the Archbishop of Canterbury reminded us in his Advent Letter 2004. We repent of the ways we as bishops have sometimes treated each other, failing to honor Christ’s presence in one another. Furthermore, too often we have also failed to recognize Christ’s presence fully manifest in our sister and brother Anglicans around the global communion. We honor their full voice and wisdom. We desire mutuality. We recognize our interdependence in the Body of Christ.

Moreover, we as the House of Bishops express our sincere regret for the pain, the hurt, and the damage caused to our Anglican bonds of affection by certain actions of our church. Knowing that our actions have contributed to the current strains in our Communion, we express this regret as a sign of our deep desire for and commitment to continuation of our partnership in the Anglican Communion.

This response appears to fulfill precisely this particular WR request. As I said previously, constitutionally speaking, only General Convention is able to represent ECUSA in making (or not making) this response and although the House of Bishops meeting this week can give a lead, it cannot answer formally for ECUSA as a whole, just as the English HoB cannot speak for the General Synod of the Church of England. So:

We note here that our decision-making structures differ from those in many parts of the Anglican Communion and that our actions require conciliar involvement by all the baptized of our church, lay and ordained. Therefore we as bishops, in offering our regrets, do not intend to preempt the canonical authority of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. At the same time, we are keenly aware of our particular responsibility for episcopal leadership.

3. To ECUSA in general

…the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges…

During this brief meeting we humbly struggled in our deliberations to discern how best to receive the Windsor Report. We had an extensive discussion about a “moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges” (Windsor Report, paragraph 134). We have only begun a serious and respectful consideration of how we might respond.

…We commit ourselves to a more thorough consideration of the range of concrete actions identified in the Report at our House of Bishops meeting in March 2005. We do not wish to act in haste. We believe it is extremely important to take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to show us ways we can engage with people throughout our church in a consideration of all of the invitations for further reflection and the recommendations of the Windsor Report.

Concerning this, Bishop Pierre Whalon has written

One point must be clearly understood: the Primates’ Meeting in February will determine whether or not the Windsor Report as it stands will be what we must work with. It was quite impossible to decide anything about moratoria until that happens. The Bishops committed to engage the process outlined in the Windsor Report, insofar as our polity allows.

…Anyone who claims that the House in Salt Lake City rejected or accepted moratoria on blessings of same-sex unions or approvals to bishops-elect who live in committed same-sex partnerships simply wasn’t there. We have to wait and see what the process at the global level looks like as things unfold before we can take any action.…

4. To bishops who have authorized public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions

…we call for a moratorium on all such public Rites, and recommend that bishops who have authorised such rites in the United States and Canada be invited to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorisation. Pending such expression of regret, we recommend that such bishops be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion…

Further, we have not had sufficient time to give substantive consideration to recommendations in the Report calling for …a moratorium and further discussion of the authorization of liturgical texts blessing same sex unions.

(Here we note that there are those among us who do not agree with the statement in paragraph 144 of the Windsor Report that “the Episcopal Church has by action of Convention made provision for the development of public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions.”)

5. On care of dissenting groups

…we commend the proposals for delegated episcopal pastoral oversight set out by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) in 2004. We believe that these proposals are entirely reasonable, if they are approached and implemented reasonably by everyone concerned. We particularly commend the appeal structures set out in the House of Bishops policy statement, and consider that these provide a very significant degree of security. We see no reason why such delegated pastoral and sacramental oversight should not be provided by retired bishops from within the province in question, and recommend that a province making provision in this manner should maintain a list of bishops who would be suitable and acceptable to undertake such a ministry. In principle, we see no difficulty in bishops from other provinces of the Communion becoming involved with the life of particular parishes under the terms of these arrangements in appropriate cases.

…We further call upon those diocesan bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) who have refused to countenance the proposals set out by their House of Bishops to reconsider their own stance on this matter. If they refuse to do so, in our view, they will be making a profoundly dismissive statement about their adherence to the polity of their own church…

There appears to be no direct reference to this in the letter.

6. To those bishops who have intervened in other provinces dioceses and parishes other than their own:

…We call upon those bishops who believe it is their conscientious duty to intervene in provinces, dioceses and parishes other than their own:

  • to express regret for the consequences of their actions
  • to affirm their desire to remain in the Communion, and
  • to effect a moratorium on any further interventions…

We also call upon these archbishops and bishops to seek an accommodation with the bishops of the dioceses whose parishes they have taken into their own care.

Further, we have not had sufficient time to give substantive consideration to recommendations in the Report calling for a moratorium on diocesan boundary violations…

This presumably refers as much to those boundary violations that have occurred within ECUSA itself, rather than to those from outside the province.

7. To ECUSA

…We particularly request a contribution from the Episcopal Church bq. (USA) which explains, from within the sources of authority that we as Anglicans have received in scripture, the apostolic tradition and reasoned reflection, how a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ. As we see it, such a reasoned response, following up the work of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA), and taken with recent work undertaken by the Church of England and other provinces of the Communion, will have an important contribution to make to the ongoing discussion…

We agree that one important expression of our communion would be a Communion-wide study and discernment process on matters of human sexuality as recommended by Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988 and 1998 and are eager to continue to respond to this challenge. This would be a sign of respect for gay and lesbian persons in our common life and of our ongoing pastoral care for them. We also believe that such a process would strengthen our communion. By doing so, we will be able to share more of the prayerful conversations and studies on the ministries and contributions of homosexual persons in the church that have enriched our experience for many years. The Presiding Bishop has already established a committee to offer a theological explanation of how “a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ” (Windsor Report, paragraph 135).

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CofE statistics: more

The Church Times today has an article about the church statistics previously mentioned here and on which some comments here are overdue.
Church sees an increase in its attendances

Two tables from the report are rendered as graphics:

The Church of England Newspaper also has a report:
More people now going to church

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David Hope interviewed

The Yorkshire Post today has a splendid interview of David Hope by its Religious Affairs Correspondent Michael Brown.
Faith, Hope and lots of charity

A quite ordinary – but to some surprising – thing happens to His Grace the Lord Archbishop of York, Primate of England and Metropolitan, as he walks down the long gravel drive of his palace at Bishopthorpe and into the village street. A cyclist chummily calls out, “Hello, David”.
Such matey familiarity has happened a lot to David Hope since he became Archbishop of York 10 years ago. It even happens in the village’s Co-op supermarket where he frequently does his smaller shop, and in Tesco’s at Dringhouses, the venue for his more occasional bigger trolley-pushing exercise.
Not only does he never mind, he quietly enjoys the chumminess. David Hope has never been one to expect in his clergy what the 19th-century divine, Sydney Smith, called a dropping-down deadness of manner. He would certainly not welcome any display of obsequiousness by lay people, and would doubtless be embarrassed if fawning were shown by chaps on bicycles or by girls at supermarket check-outs.

It gets better, read it all.

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press reports on ECUSA bishops

So far, this is heavily dependent on the wire service reports recorded here last night.

Here again is Rachel Zoll’s initial report for Associated Press
Episcopal Bishops Regret Gay-Bishop Angst
which also appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune as U.S. Episcopal bishops regret consecrating gay bishop
and in the Boston Globe, in shortened form, as Episcopal bishops ask Anglicans to forgive a slight
while the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran it with some local additions as Episcopalian bishops express ‘regret’. In the Salt Lake Tribune it ran as Episcopal bishops ‘regret’ gay ordination furor and in the Chicago Sun-Times as Episcopal leaders: We’re sorry gay bishop caused tension

Here again is Reuters first report:
U.S. Anglicans, Lutherans Struggle with Gay Issues
The Reuters story was repeated elsewhere with various headlines, for example:
Washington Post Churches Take Steps on Issue Of Marriage Between Gays

Other reports:
From the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, Episcopal bishops apologize for ‘pain’ over gay ordination

The New York Times mentions it towards the end of Lutherans Recommend Tolerance on Gay Policy (The NYT website also carries the AP report)

Washington Times Episcopal bishops ‘regret,’ dissent over gay issues

Newark Star-Ledger U.S. bishops apologize for electing gay prelate
This is by Kevin Eckstrom of Religion News Service

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Thursday, 13 January 2005

ECUSA bishops: additional response to Windsor Report

A group of 21 ECUSA bishops, so far, have signed a statement
Group of Bishops Issue “A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004”
which is also reproduced in full below. [original link no longer working]

Press Release

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA), meeting in Salt Lake City January 12-13, 2005, issued “A Word to the Church” regarding the Windsor Report 2004. While the letter referenced regret for the crisis resulting from decisions at General Conventions 2003, the House failed to address the Windsor Report’s call for moratoria on election/ordination of non-celibate homosexuals as well as the blessing of same sex unions, choosing instead to consider that issue at its March meeting.

Requesting a moment of personal privilege, Bishop Robert Duncan, Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) and Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, noted that “the Episcopal Church USA often uses “graceful” language but our behavior (“the politics of power”) contradicts the words.”

In light of the House of Bishops failure to issue a definitive statement on moratoria and to submit to the Windsor Report as asked by the Communion, a group of bishops have issued “A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004.” Currently, 21 bishops have signed this statement and more signatures are expected in the future.

“The Primates meet in February to receive and respond to the Windsor Report, and they will consider a variety of ingredients in their deliberations,” said Bishop Edward Salmon, Diocese of South Carolina. “The response of the House of Bishops did not rise to level expected by the Communion. We heard a call for submission, and we who are unequivocally prepared to submit have responded accordingly.”

Bishop Duncan also cautioned the bishops assembled about the destructive nature of power politics. “The majority has the power to coerce the minority and even put us out, but in so doing, they ensure their destruction. We represent the vast majority of church planters, growing churches, missionaries, the Global South, and the largest seminary in the US (Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry).
###

A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004
January 2005

We the undersigned Bishops:

(1) Accept the Windsor Report’s key idea of “autonomy-in-communion, that is, freedom held within interdependence”

(2) Pledge in the future to maintain the bonds of affection by only making decisions that are “fully compatible with the interests, standards, unity and good order” of the Anglican Communion

(3) Acknowledge that as a province we have “acted in ways incompatible with the Communion principle of interdependence, and our fellowship together has suffered immensely as a result”

(4) Seek for ECUSA to comply in full with the unanimous recommendations of The Windsor Report by:

a. Expressing its regret for its own role in breaching the proper constraints of the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire and for the consequences which followed

b. Calling on the Executive Council, and recommending to the next General Convention, that they express their own regret in these terms

c. Effecting “a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges”

d. Effecting a moratorium on all public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions and calling on those bishops who have authorized such rites to withdraw their authorization and express their regret that by such authorization they breached the proper constraints of the bonds of affection

e. Endeavoring to ensure commitment of all bishops to the common life of the Communion

(5) Reaffirm our commitment to engage with the Communion in our continuing study of the biblical and theological rationale for recent actions because “these potentially divisive issues… should not be resolved by the Episcopal Church on its own” (General Convention 1991 B020)

Signatures of Bishops (as of January 13, 2005):

Henry Scriven (Assistant, Pittsburgh)
David J. Bena (Suffragan Albany)
Gethin B. Hughes (San Diego)
Keith L. Ackerman (Quincy)
John W. Howe (Central Florida)
William J, Skilton (South Carolina) Correction SUFFRAGAN
Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh)
James Adams (Western Kansas)
Stephen H. Jecko (Assistant, Dallas)
Daniel W. Herzog (Albany)
James Stanton (Dallas)
Bertram Nelson Herlong (Tennessee)
Edward L. Salmon, Jr. (South Carolina)
Jack Iker (Fort Worth)
Don A. Wimberly (Texas)
James B. Folts (West Texas)
Gary R. Lillibridge (Coadjutor, West Texas)
John David M. Schofield (San Joaquin)
D. Bruce MacPherson (Western Louisiana)
William C. Frey (Colorado, retired)
Peter Beckwith (Springfield)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 13 January 2005 at 9:16pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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ECUSA HoB Letter on Windsor Report

The House of Bishops of ECUSA has issued this Letter
A Word to the Church - From the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
The full text is also given below.

Here is Rachel Zoll’s report for Associated Press
Episcopal Bishops Regret Gay-Bishop Angst

Here is Reuters first report:
U.S. Anglicans, Lutherans Struggle with Gay Issues

A Word to the Church
The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
January 12 – 13, 2005 Salt Lake City

To the faithful in Christ Jesus, greetings in the season of Epiphany. We rejoice together with you that God has “caused a new light to shine in our hearts” revealing God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord. The sufferings of our brothers and sisters in the aftermath of tsunamis in South Asia and flooding and mud slides in California and here in Utah where we are meeting, make us long all the more for this new light revealed to us in Christ. We are mindful as well of the suffering around the world caused by global poverty, HIV/AIDS, malaria, other diseases, and war. In this suffering world we are called to “serve and signify God’s mission to the world, that mission whereby God brings to men and women, to human societies and to the whole world, real signs and foretastes of that healing love which will one day put all things to rights” (Windsor Report, paragraph 3).

We decided at our September meeting in 2004 to set aside this time so we might together begin to receive the Windsor Report with humility. We have met for a day and a half in Salt Lake City. We welcome with gratitude the work of the Lambeth Commission on Communion. We realize this is a long-term effort which will most likely extend beyond our March meeting. In the meantime, we aim to practice the more intentional consultative processes called for by the Windsor Report. We also anticipate the Executive Council of our church joining in this consultation.

In this spirit of intentional practice, we affirm that all need to repent, as the Archbishop of Canterbury reminded us in his Advent Letter 2004. We repent of the ways we as bishops have sometimes treated each other, failing to honor Christ’s presence in one another. Furthermore, too often we have also failed to recognize Christ’s presence fully manifest in our sister and brother Anglicans around the global communion. We honor their full voice and wisdom. We desire mutuality. We recognize our interdependence in the Body of Christ.

Moreover, we as the House of Bishops express our sincere regret for the pain, the hurt, and the damage caused to our Anglican bonds of affection by certain actions of our church. Knowing that our actions have contributed to the current strains in our Communion, we express this regret as a sign of our deep desire for and commitment to continuation of our partnership in the Anglican Communion.

We note here that our decision-making structures differ from those in many parts of the Anglican Communion and that our actions require conciliar involvement by all the baptized of our church, lay and ordained. Therefore we as bishops, in offering our regrets, do not intend to preempt the canonical authority of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. At the same time, we are keenly aware of our particular responsibility for episcopal leadership.

We long for the fullest expression of the gift of communion that God has given us through Christ. “The communion we enjoy with God in Christ and by the Spirit, and the communion we enjoy with all God’s people living and departed, is the specific practical embodiment and fruit of the gospel itself” (Windsor Report, paragraph 3). We rejoice in our partnership in the worldwide Anglican Communion and affirm anew our commitment to the interdependence of this church as a member of the Anglican Communion.

We agree that one important expression of our communion would be a Communion-wide study and discernment process on matters of human sexuality as recommended by Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988 and 1998 and are eager to continue to respond to this challenge. This would be a sign of respect for gay and lesbian persons in our common life and of our ongoing pastoral care for them. We also believe that such a process would strengthen our communion. By doing so, we will be able to share more of the prayerful conversations and studies on the ministries and contributions of homosexual persons in the church that have enriched our experience for many years. The Presiding Bishop has already established a committee to offer a theological explanation of how “a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ” (Windsor Report, paragraph 135).

We pray our brothers and sisters throughout the Anglican Communion will forgive us and that together we may remain in steadfast relationship so we might open our lives and our hearts to one another and learn how the Holy Spirit is acting in our different contexts. We are eager to take steps to make this possible, and particularly would welcome invitations to visit other Anglican provinces to learn from them the many ways they are vital witnesses to the healing love of Christ, often in very difficult circumstances.

During this brief meeting we humbly struggled in our deliberations to discern how best to receive the Windsor Report. We had an extensive discussion about a “moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges” (Windsor Report, paragraph 134). We have only begun a serious and respectful consideration of how we might respond. Further, we have not had sufficient time to give substantive consideration to recommendations in the Report calling for a moratorium on diocesan boundary violations or the call for a moratorium and further discussion of the authorization of liturgical texts blessing same sex unions. (Here we note that there are those among us who do not agree with the statement in paragraph 144 of the Windsor Report that “the Episcopal Church has by action of Convention made provision for the development of public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions.”)

In February 2005 the Primates of the Anglican Communion will consider the Windsor Report. We commit ourselves to a more thorough consideration of the range of concrete actions identified in the Report at our House of Bishops meeting in March 2005. We do not wish to act in haste. We believe it is extremely important to take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to show us ways we can engage with people throughout our church in a consideration of all of the invitations for further reflection and the recommendations of the Windsor Report.

We seek together the epiphany of Christ’s reconciling love for the world, which lies at the heart of the mission we share. It is our prayer that along with Anglican Christians around the world we may be faithful to God’s mission.

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Resolution I.10 of 1998

I have been reviewing the history of Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution I.10. In the course of doing so I came across my own words, written on 6 August 1998. The original can be found here:

Following the debate, an official press conference, chaired by Lesley Perry, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s press officer at Lambeth Palace, was asked what practical effect this action of the bishops would have. The answers given seemed to be: not a lot. Robin Eames, Archbishop of Armagh, who had chaired the two and a half hour debate, compared the situation now to the situation ten years ago relating to women bishops and the process that had occurred with the Eames Commission, and he also referred to the Virginia report and its remarks on the theory of reception. He also said that the Primates would be meeting on Sunday, after the end of the Conference itself, and might well address the issue further at that time. It was also noted at this press conference by Duncan Buchanan, Bishop of Johannesburg, that ten years ago the then Bishop of New York had been hounded off the floor of the conference when he tried to raise the issue of homosexuality, whereas today the subject had been a major discussion topic. He also noted that at the start of this conference, his sub-section had refused to listen to the voice of homosexual people whereas today the conference had passed a resolution which required such listening. He considered this to be progress.

The debate was noticeable for the absence of American speakers. The only ECUSA bishops who spoke were the Bishop of Maryland, Robert Ihloff, and Suffragan Bishop of New York, Catherine Roskam, both of whom spoke against the amendment to clause (d) from the Archbishop of Tanzania. Bishop Roskam said that to adopt this amendment would be “evangelical suicide” in New York and San Francisco, leading to a pyrrhic victory and a divided church. Bishop Russell of Grahamstown, South Africa was the only other bishop that spoke against the amendment although twice as many people opposed the amendment as voted against or abstained on the overall motion…

…The unsolved mystery of yesterday is why 100 or so bishops attending the Conference apparently did not vote at all.

In fairness to Americans I should add that the Bishop of Indianapolis, Catherine Waynick had spoken earlier to propose an alternative version of the resolution but had withdrawn it before any vote could be taken on it. Her text can be found here.

The voting on the resolution was: 526 in favor and 70 against, with 45 abstentions, and as I noted about 100 absentees. (The total number of bishops participating in the conference was in the region of 740.)

Much was made at the time, and has been since, of the acrimonious debate and the many amendments which were made. However, the original version of the motion, as drafted by the sub-section on Human Sexuality was quite firmly worded. I show below the line a marked-up copy together with notes on the sources of the various amendments. This all comes from my reports at the time, which can be read here. (The link at the foot of that page is broken, try this instead)

Italics denote additions to, and strike-through denotes deletions from the original version. [Square bracket] references are to amendment numbers on the order papers, see footnotes below.

This Conference:

a) commends to the Church the subsection report on human sexuality;

b) in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that chastity abstinence [A28] is right for those who are not called to marriage.

c) recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships, and we commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual people. [A24] We wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;

d) while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, [A36] calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn homophobia irrational fear of homosexuals [A27], violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;

e) cannot advise the legitimising or blessing or ordaining of those involved in same gender unions - of same-sex unions, nor the ordination of those involved in such unions; [note 1]

f) requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us;

g) notes the significance of the Kuala Lumpur Statement and the concerns expressed in resolutions IV.26, V.1, V.10, V.23, and V.35 on the authority of Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality and asks the Primates and the ACC to include them in their monitoring process. [A15]

Note 1: The Resolutions Committee amended the wording of clause (e) for reasons of English grammar.

[A36] Then the italic words at the start of clause (d) were proposed by the Archbishop of Tanzania. During the debate it was stated by the Archbishop of Kenya that this addition was expected by the Africans as “a welcome token” for them to support the main resolution (their much more conservative alternatives having just been rejected). After several speeches against this change, the amendment was accepted by a vote of 389 to 190.

[A27] Then the word “homophobia” was replaced in clause (d) by “irrational fear of homosexuals” at the request of a Kenyan bishop, Samson Muraluda of Taita Taveta.

[A28] And the word chastity in clause (b) was replaced by “abstinence” (Bishop Sentamu of Stepney, in London, England). Both of these were on a voice vote.

[A24] The next change was to add the words “and we commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual people” to clause (c). This was proposed by Michael Bourke (Suffragan of Wolverhampton, England) and supported by Peter Selby, Bishop of Worcester. It passed on a voice vote.

An attempt to remove clause (f) and place all responsibility at provincial level only was made by Moses Tay, Archbishop of Singapore. He said he was worried that he would receive “unhealthy literature which is quite polluting”. Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester opposed him, pointing out that the motion allowed Archbishop Tay to send his material to others, too. It was defeated on a voice vote.

An attempt was made by Peter Chiswell of Armidale, Australia, to change “advise” to “approve” in clause (e). This was defeated on a show of hands.

[A15] Clause (g) was proposed by Archbishop Michael Peers of Canada, supported by Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford and carried on a voice vote.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 13 January 2005 at 12:20pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Windsor Report: CofE bishops

The Church of England Newspaper reports that Bishops give Williams mandate for Windsor

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, received the full backing of his House of Bishops this week to ensure that the recommendations of the Windsor Report are implemented.

Bishops were united in drawing up a motion to be put to next month’s General Synod, which endorses the work of the Lambeth Commission, and urges that the process of the Report’s reception in the Anglican Communion should be enabled to begin.

The row over the Jeffrey John affair had caused strong divisions amongst the House of Bishops, but they have rallied together to give Dr Williams a strong mandate ahead of the Primates meeting, which also convenes next month.

“We wanted Rowan to go knowing we endorse the position taken by the report,” one bishop said. “We want to be genuinely backing him.”

Another bishop said that the show of unity was vital. “It is critical the Archbishop goes to the Primates meeting with the support of his own house. If he’d gone with criticism and a lack of support, it would undermine his ability to do anything. The Windsor Report could be terrific if it’s given teeth.”

They said that the bishops were keen to see action on the recommendations. In particular, bishops stressed the need for the American Church to express regret and to respect the moratoriums on the promotion of gays as bishops and same-sex blessings.

Work should begin on establishing the various instruments, such as the Council of Advice, suggested in the Report, the bishops agreed.

A briefing paper by the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, Chair of the House’s Theology Group, and the Rt Rev John Hind, Chair of the Faith and Order Group, was distributed amongst the bishops. It was regarded as “an encouragement” to Dr Williams as it is very sympathetic towards the Windsor Report, upholding the calls for regret and reconciliation.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 13 January 2005 at 11:28am GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 11 January 2005

press coverage of the Asian tragedy

Two items of interest relating to the articles following the tragedy.

First, the letters column of the Sunday Telegraph on 9 January was full of reactions to the newspaper’s handling of the RW article.

Second, the Independent on Monday, had this review of how the religious press had covered the Asian tragedy.

This describes how the Church Times was able to scoop most of its competition, because it did not - like most religious weeklies - combine any issues over the holiday season:

The Anglican Church Times, which publishes a day later than the majority of the religious weeklies, was even sharper. An enterprising reporter’s calls to Sri Lanka on 28 December meant that when editor Paul Handley returned to work the following morning, he was able to throw out much of what had been prepared previously and run prominently in his 31 December issue Rachel Harden’s story about how churches had become sanctuary for some of the homeless.

Handley was ahead of everyone else in the field by also running, in the same issue, an editorial on the religious implications of the catastrophe. “Christian belief needs to embrace phenomena of this kind, and hold fast to faith in the God of compassion, even when the world seems to have destruction built into it.”

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Monday, 10 January 2005

Windsor Report: the exact recommendations

Amended 17 January 2005
Addition of more WR text to item 6 - I apologise for this omission.

This article relates in part to the meetings of ECUSA and CofE bishops this week, and in part to the various subsequent meetings of February and beyond. See timetable here.
There has been some paraphrasing of the WR recommendations lately. I therefore repeat here the verbatim wording of WR’s specific recommendations in Section D as they relate to various particular groups and then add some comments on the practicalities of each recommendation. I am working on the assumption that acceptance of the WR’s recommendations broadly as they stand is the best way forward for the Anglican Communion.

1. To ECUSA as a corporate body:

…the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed, and that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion.

This is expressly addressed to ECUSA as a corporate body. Therefore, constitutionally speaking, only General Convention is able to represent ECUSA in making (or not making) this response and although the House of Bishops meeting this week can give a lead, it cannot answer formally for ECUSA as a whole, just as the English HoB cannot speak for the General Synod of the Church of England.

2. To bishops who took part in Gene Robinson’s episcopal consecration:

…pending such expression of regret, those who took part as consecrators of Gene Robinson should be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion…

This clearly refers to functions representing the AC externally, i.e. to other bodies. It does not refer, for example, to ECUSA representatives on the Anglican Consultative Council (Bp Roskam appeared to misunderstand in this regard), nor to ECUSA’s own primate - or any other person from ECUSA - attending intra-Anglican meetings including the various Instruments of Unity.

The names to whom this applies are clear: here is a list. If a more accurate list exists, please let me know. Addition Here is another version of the list.

3. To ECUSA in general

…the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges…

This is carefully worded so that, as Tobias Haller has pointed out, it is possible for a mere majority of bishops with jurisdiction (i.e. active diocesans, not suffragans or retired, or other bishops) to “effect a moratorium” in practice by agreeing among themselves that they will not confirm any such election. Thus it can be initiated by bishops without requiring any agreement by diocesan standing committees, or General Convention. It is less clear that it could persist in the long term, as when “subscribing” diocesans retired, the majority would be depleted, unless replenished by new bishops.

4. To bishops who have authorized public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions

…we call for a moratorium on all such public Rites, and recommend that bishops who have authorised such rites in the United States and Canada be invited to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorisation. Pending such expression of regret, we recommend that such bishops be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion…

This clearly applies to New Westminster in Canada, and also to several dioceses and diocesans in ECUSA: this appears to be the latest list of ECUSA dioceses affected.

5. On care of dissenting groups

…we commend the proposals for delegated episcopal pastoral oversight set out by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) in 2004. We believe that these proposals are entirely reasonable, if they are approached and implemented reasonably by everyone concerned. We particularly commend the appeal structures set out in the House of Bishops policy statement, and consider that these provide a very significant degree of security. We see no reason why such delegated pastoral and sacramental oversight should not be provided by retired bishops from within the province in question, and recommend that a province making provision in this manner should maintain a list of bishops who would be suitable and acceptable to undertake such a ministry. In principle, we see no difficulty in bishops from other provinces of the Communion becoming involved with the life of particular parishes under the terms of these arrangements in appropriate cases.

We are conscious that the Anglican Church of Canada is considering the adoption of a broadly similar scheme, and we ask that their proposals too should be marked by and received with a willingness to co-operate together in accordance with the principles we have outlined above…

…We further call upon those diocesan bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) who have refused to countenance the proposals set out by their House of Bishops to reconsider their own stance on this matter. If they refuse to do so, in our view, they will be making a profoundly dismissive statement about their adherence to the polity of their own church…

AS to the ECUSA bishops who have so far refused to conform to the DEPO proposals, this no doubt will be a topic of discussion at this week’s ECUSA HoB meeting, after which it may be appropriate to list who they then are.

The current status of the corresponding Canadian proposals is reported here.

6. To those bishops who have intervened in other provinces etc.

…We call upon those bishops who believe it is their conscientious duty to intervene in provinces, dioceses and parishes other than their own:

  • to express regret for the consequences of their actions
  • to affirm their desire to remain in the Communion, and
  • to effect a moratorium on any further interventions

We also call upon these archbishops and bishops to seek an accommodation with the bishops of the dioceses whose parishes they have taken into their own care.

This clearly does not include bishops who enter other dioceses at the invitation of, or with the permission of, the local diocesan (Bp Wimberly appeared to misunderstand in this regard). I know of no list of bishops to whom this call already applies. Again I will gladly compile one if readers will supply details.

7. To ECUSA

…We particularly request a contribution from the Episcopal Church (USA) which explains, from within the sources of authority that we as Anglicans have received in scripture, the apostolic tradition and reasoned reflection, how a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ. As we see it, such a reasoned response, following up the work of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA), and taken with recent work undertaken by the Church of England and other provinces of the Communion, will have an important contribution to make to the ongoing discussion…

This contribution may need a little time to prepare and approve, but should not require more than a few months and could presumably be commissioned and approved by either the House of Bishops or the Executive Council.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 10 January 2005 at 11:27pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 8 January 2005

Church Times review of the year

In the issue dated 31 December 2004, the Church Times carried its usual clutch of Review of the Year articles.

Andrew Brown contributed this review of the Press: Religion needs to be understood
This is relevant to the more recent RW/Telegraph spat.

I WANT to propose an interpretation of the year which will strike attentive readers of the British and American press as ridiculous: the important religious story of 2004 had nothing whatever to do with the mating habits of Christians.

Graham Cray wrote Mission-shaped Church — start of something new?

Those of us who wrote the report are absolutely delighted by the response it has received — and, if we are honest, a little surprised.

Paul Handley contributed The American emperor has no new clothes

A WEEK into the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Dr Rowan Williams wrote: “We must not be caught naked of ideas and clear commitments when a ceasefire arrives” ( The Times, 25 March 2003). Since then, the American emperor’s lack of clothing has been disguised only by the suspicion that, despite his confident assertions, the ceasefire is yet to arrive.

and also Standing at the same table

THE Anglican Communion began and ended 2004 intact. That was all, really, that could be said for it.

And the staff reporters summarised 2004 the year in review

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 January 2005 at 11:25pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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from the London papers

Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times, writes in today’s Independent under the title Faith & Reason: Where was God on Boxing Day? With the drowned - and the saved.

Charles Moore writes in the Telegraph about Why God is to be found in the terror of the tsunami
(he says in passing that “Dr Williams’s piece has been unfairly maligned: most of it seemed to me true and subtle”)
Christopher Howse in the same paper asks Will cathedrals pay the price? which discusses cathedral admission charges and is in effect a review article about this book by Trevor Beeson.

In the Guardian Giles Fraser writes that God is not the puppet master.

The Times carries an article by Michael Bourdeaux concerning the Ukraine: Independent churches win new respect
And Jonathan Sacks writes that God asks us not to understand but to heal.

Update
Not from the papers, but from the BBC, the Joan Bakewell interview of Tom Wright is now available as a transcript.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 January 2005 at 1:37pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Windsor Report: ECUSA bishops meet

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church meets for two days next week, in Salt Lake City Utah, for the sole purpose of considering the Windsor Report. The arrangements for this meeting are described here: Frank Griswold Writes the Episcopal Church Bishops about the Upcoming House of Bishops Meeting in Utah in January. You can follow these links to find out more about the Public Conversations Project, consultants Laura Chasin and Robert Stains, and their previous related work.

The local newspaper, the Deseret Morning News has this advance report Episcopalians plan Salt Lake session to take on same-sex furor.

Associated Press has issued Episcopal Bishops to Discuss Gay Ordination Issue in Salt Lake (copy via the Casper Wyoming Star)

The local diocese has Wrestling With Windsor.

The Bishop of Central Florida has written this letter to his colleagues. (His earlier comments on the WR can be found here.) In reads in part:

…In all honesty, I confess that an unclear or ambiguous response would be a pastoral disaster for me and I believe, for many others in our beloved Church. Even worse would be for us to create the perception that we are dodging the Report altogether or trying to “buy time” by employing delaying tactics.

I write in charity to request your support when I rise to ask that the House consider addressing those specific portions of the Report that are directed to us as Bishops of ECUSA. The Windsor Report is lengthy and complex and I realize we cannot address those sections of the Report that require action of the entire Church. I believe we need to focus on, and begin to shape our response to, the recommendations of the Windsor Report that call upon us as Bishops to:

  • Express our regret (as defined by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Advent Letter to the Primates) for having so damaged the Communion.
  • Demonstrate our desire to continue to “walk together” with the rest of the Communion.
  • Agree to a moratorium on same sex-blessings and the consecration of non-celibate homosexual persons until or unless a “new consensus” emerges in the Communion that such actions are seen as legitimate in the light of Scripture and Christian tradition.
  • Ask those among us who believe such actions are legitimate to “make their case” to the rest of the Communion.
  • And Ask those of us who participated in the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire to refrain from representing the Anglican Communion in international and ecumenical gatherings following the example of our Primate who resigned from leadership in the ARCIC work.

I know not all of us will be in agreement with all of the recommendations in the Report. But I am certain we need to focus on the recommendations themselves rather than debating how well sections C and D flow from sections A and B…

The weekly magazine The Living Church has just (issue dated 9 January) published this editorial: More Needed from Bishops.

…Business as usual for the bishops would involve issuing a pastoral letter following adjournment of the meeting which states that the bishops receive thankfully the Windsor Report and commend the theologians who worked so diligently on it. The letter would contain an announcement that says the bishops have met amid prayer and Bible study and have reflected upon the Windsor Report and that they are pleased to commend it to the 75th General Convention in 2006 for further study and response.

At this time, the Episcopal Church needs more than that from its bishops. The foundations of the Church are crumbling and the bishops need to provide what the Church needs most — leadership and direction. A recommendation by the House of Bishops could be the foundation upon which the next General Convention will build legislation. It would indicate to the Anglican primates, who gather in Northern Ireland next month, whether the American Church is likely to take the recommendations of the Windsor Report seriously. By now members of the House of Bishops have had a chance to digest the Windsor Report. Most of them have issued public statements about it. Many of them have participated in discussions about the report with other bishops at the provincial level. By now they ought to have formed concrete opinions. A clear communication to the Church is in order…

Addition
This column in Episcopal Life by Doug LeBlanc is also pertinent: Please forgive me
Rowan Williams’ Pastoral Letter to which Doug refers can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 January 2005 at 10:20am GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Friday, 7 January 2005

CofE attendance statistics for 2003

New Church of England attendance figures, for 2003, were released today:
Attendance figures for 2003 published
and the statistics themselves can be downloaded in PDF format here.

The tables contain various comparisons of 2003 with 2002 and 2001. Unfortunately the pdf file does not permit any content extraction so I cannot easily quote additional details here. I will nevertheless publish further impartial :-) comments on the numbers after a detailed review of them.

For reference, the previous yearly press release, for 2002, is here and the 2002 tables are in PDF format here.

Update Saturday
British press coverage of this topic:
Guardian Stephen Bates Church sees rise in Sunday worship
Telegraph Jonathan Petre Rise in numbers going to church
The Times Ruth Gledhill Churches’ faith in public restored as attendance rises

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 7 January 2005 at 6:42pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 5 January 2005

ECUSA attitudes analysed

The Christian Century magazine published an article last August, written by Bill Sachs of the Episcopal Church Foundation entitled The Episcopal middle: listening to congregations and subsequent correspondence was published in November under the heading Episcopal decisions …

The article makes clear that the situation is not a simple one:

SOON AFTER the Episcopal Church’s General Convention of 2003, an unanticipated phenomenon became apparent. Though lay leaders and clergy frequently described themselves as dissatisfied with the convention, they were unwilling to align themselves with either supporters or opponents of its most controversial actions — electing Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire, and allowing the blessing of same-sex unions. More often than not, it was difficult to elicit whole-hearted dissent or support.

Leaders contacted by the Episcopal Church Foundation often depicted their dioceses and congregations as defined by a “20-20-60” breakdown: 20 percent endorsed the convention’s actions, 20 percent were against them, and 60 percent came down “somewhere else.” As one prominent lay leader expressed it, “I’m not drawn to either extreme and I don’t know where to turn.”

…the majority of Episcopalians are neither totally for nor against the actions of the church’s national body. They view the General Convention’s decisions as compelling a position on a complex issue before the church at the grassroots was ready to take a position.

And in the follow-up, Sachs summarises as follows:

…My point was that the convention’s actions do not reflect the outlook of the majority of people in the pews of Episcopal churches, as the Episcopal Church Foundation’s national survey and a variety of interviews and conversations have revealed. Members of local churches consistently describe the priorities of the convention, and the priorities of their congregations, as being distinctly different. Hence the foundation concluded that somewhat more than 60 percent of all members of Episcopal churches neither fully endorse, nor fully dispute, the convention’s decisions. Local leaders and even some bishops have stated to the foundation that the church was ill prepared for the actions the convention took. Thus a majority of Episcopalians report that they view the convention from afar and view its actions as imposing conclusions they are unprepared to endorse.

Kendall Harmon drew attention to these articles on titusonenine in December: On Bill Sachs and the Episcopal Church Situation from Parishioner’s Perspectives and more recently he cited these articles in a comment here responding to claims that:

The truly disaffected are a small minority of all Episcopalians. …It’s easy to get the impression that these folks appear to be a larger group than they actually are, as they generate quite a bit of noise.

and also that

…the “opposite camp” represents the majority of ECUSA members ;) I’m basing my use of the term “majority” on how votes went on both +Robinson’s confirmation and resolution C051 at General Convention 2003, as well as on the very small minority of U.S. dioceses joining this “Network” thing.

In response, Kendall said:

David Huff’s comments are simply untrue. Interested readers may look at the two Christian Century articles here to see but one of many examples of evidence to show this.

Those elected have long been seen to be less than fully representative of the parishes and dioceses which elect them, in a number of cases quite graphically so. As for Network dioceses, the support is not limited to dioceses, first of all, and there are many supportive parishes he does not mention, but he also does not mention the hostile environment which some encounter in the Episcopal Church when they seek to find out about the Network of affiliate therewith.

I see little comfort for Kendall in Sachs’ analysis:

…such dismay is not the prelude to endorsing the conservative response as exemplified by the American Anglican Council (AAC), which looks to create an alternative church. The majority of Episcopalians value honest acknowledgment of differences and engagement with them. They intend to be collaborators in an open-ended process of discernment, one in which accommodation of diversity, not foreclosure of it, matters.

Fewer than a dozen of the church’s more than 100 dioceses are poised to seek an alternative ecclesiastical structure.

The American Anglican Council does not publish any statistics on individual membership. Before the events of GC 2003 it had around 200 parish affiliates, and now it has, I believe, around 300, or some 5% of ECUSA parishes. The NACDAP does not publish any statistics on affiliation by parishes outside the affiliated dioceses, and within those dioceses there are significant minorities who do not support the Network. It seems likely that outside those dioceses the number of Network-supportive parishes is similar to the AAC number.

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Monday, 3 January 2005

Links to statements about Windsor Report

The Canadian Anglican Journal recently reported that

So far, 16 provinces have issued statements on the Windsor Report, either through their primates, house of bishops, or synods

So I went to look for these 16 statements. Here is what I have found so far. I would welcome notification of links to statements I have overlooked. Most of these are in fact statements by individual primates. Not all of them are linked to the official Windsor Report website.

England and see also this

Ireland - although there are many statements made by Robin Eames, I cannot locate any statement made by him in his capacity as Irish primate or any other official CofI press release.

Canada

United States but see also here

Nigeria and see item below

Central Africa and see item below

South Africa

Burundi

Tanzania - see item below (no separate statement located)

Southern Cone

West Indies (scroll down)

Australia (Australian original in pdf)

New Zealand

Uganda - see item below (no separate statement located but see also this)

Wales

Scotland

The AJ continued:

Six [additional to the 16] – Congo, Indian Ocean, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, and West Africa – joined Nigeria, Central Africa and Uganda [the latter three being listed above] in releasing a statement criticizing the report, at the recent African Anglican Bishops Conference.

Here it is: A Statement from the Primates gathered at the first African Anglican Bishop’s Conference

This additional statement by Emmanual Kolini of Rwanda seems to deserve linking here too

Sixteen have reserved comment: Bangladesh, Brazil, Central America, Hong Kong, Japan, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Korea, Melanesia, Mexico, Myanmar, North India, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Southeast Asia, and South India.

I have not checked these at all.

Update Some of the latter sixteen have said this:
A Statement of East Asian Bishops on the Crisis and Future of the Anglican Communion

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 3 January 2005 at 10:38am GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Who did the baptism?

Just before Christmas, there was international press coverage of an alleged baptism in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire.
See for example this report Next on Entertainment Tonight: Celebrity sacraments.
However, the Irish bishop Paul Colton mentioned in these reports, who had married the couple involved (he was at the time, the rector of the parish in Ireland where the wedding took place) completely denied having had any part in this event. See BISHOP OF CORK CRITICISES INACCURATE JOURNALISM.

Nor had the incumbent of Sawbridgeworth had any involvement. The Bishop of St Albans knew nothing about it either.

The mystery remained until The Tablet this weekend published an item about it in its Notebook column which, after reporting the events so far, continues:

A spokesman for the Beckhams’ agents tells us it was a woman priest in the Church of England but at the request of the couple would give no further details.

“They consider the matter private. It was a Church of England ceremony with additions and readings chosen by the family,” he said. He added that the woman priest had also consecrated the chapel which the Beckhams had renovated, rather than built themselves. It was not used regularly for worship.

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Sunday, 2 January 2005

Rowan Williams in the Telegraph

Final Update Friday
An even more ridiculous attack on RW’s article by TE Utley in the Telegraph
Simple English for the Church of England

Update Thursday
The Guardian has published this attack on the Telegraph for what they did:
The bishop who believed. An extract:

The sensational headline was simply a lie. The story beneath it, though clumsy, was not blatantly false. Of course - Dr Williams was quoted as saying - terrible events like these shook people’s faith. But Christians must face the challenge, and focus on a passionate engagement with the lives that were left. Nowhere at any point did the story suggest that Dr Williams was questioning God’s existence. Inside, for those who cared to look for it, was the text of what the archbishop had actually written. I cannot see how any literate person reading this piece could honestly have drawn the conclusion that the Sunday Telegraph headline did.

…The Daily Telegraph here was asking us to accept not just that the headline writer honestly thought the sentence about upsetting faith could be equated with Dr Williams doubting the existence of God, but that various higher editors, culminating in whoever was in charge of the paper, were dozy enough to share the same delusion. (And you don’t need to read the archbishop’s piece “several times over” to notice the difference. A single swift reading will do.)

Update Monday
The Daily Telegraph carries this editorial leader concerning the matter reported below:
Faith in plain language. An extract:

We have some sympathy with the archbishop. Those who had time on their hands to read his article several times over will realise that he was not in fact doubting the existence of God. The headline writer had clearly been misled by the sentence: “Every single random, accidental death is something that should upset a faith bound up with comfort and ready answers.”

The archbishop’s purpose here, it now appears, was to say that the Christian faith should not be upset by natural disasters, because it is a faith that is not “bound up with comfort and ready answers”. But what a convoluted way of putting it.

If Dr Williams was indeed misrepresented by our sister paper’s headline, he himself must accept much of the blame. His prose is so obscure, his thought processes so hard to follow, that his message is often unclear.

The Sunday Telegraph carried an article by Rowan Williams and a news story about it.

The article was published under the headline:
Of course this makes us doubt God’s existence

and the news story was headed
Archbishop of Canterbury admits: This makes me doubt the existence of God

Lambeth Palace issued the following release concerning this at 11 pm on Saturday evening:

1st January 2005
For immediate use

Lambeth Palace has issued the following statement in response to the Sunday Telegraph’s first edition story with the headline ‘Archbishop of Canterbury admits: this makes me doubt the existence of God.’

“Whilst the Archbishop’s article itself has been transcribed faithfully, the headline reporting it is a misrepresentation of the Archbishop’s views.
“As any reading of the text makes instantly clear, the Archbishop nowhere says that the tsunami causes him to question or doubt the existence of God; rather that the Christian faith does not invite simplistic answers to the problem of human suffering”.
“It is extremely disappointing that what is a thoughtful response to the challenge posed by events of these kinds to the mind and heart of the believer has suffered in the search for a headline.”

ENDS

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 2 January 2005 at 8:42pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 1 January 2005

Windsor Report: some meeting dates

There will be several meetings in January and February, at which the Windsor Report will be discussed. Here are some of them:

10-13 January: Church of England, House of Bishops, in Leeds

12-13 January: Episcopal Church USA, House of Bishops, in Salt Lake City Utah

11-14 February: Episcopal Church USA, Executive Council, in Austin, Texas

14-17 February: Church of England, General Synod, in London (the WR debate is scheduled for the morning of Thursday 17 February)

21-26 February: Primates Meeting, near Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 1 January 2005 at 9:30pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Desmond Tutu in Newsweek

Desmond Tutu discusses the tsunami tragedy, God, Iraq and the re-election of George W. Bush in this major “web exclusive” interview from Newsweek.
Part 1
Part 2

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 1 January 2005 at 9:08pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion