Thursday, 30 June 2005

ACC: Canadian statement

A statement on the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council from Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate

Two recent Globe and Mail reports relating to this:
Same-sex marriage creates rift for Anglicans
Gays seen as part of Anglican power struggle

Part of the text of the second article follows.

Senior Canadian Anglicans present for the council see homosexuality as a proxy issue in a power struggle for control of the Anglican Communion by evangelical global South Anglican leaders well financed by conservative Anglicans in the U.S. In other words, homosexuality itself isn’t the issue on which the communion may fracture: it is homosexuality plus the ordination of women priests and appointments of women bishops, plus modernization of the liturgy, plus a raft of other changes such as allowing children to take communion.
Senior Canadian Anglicans think Archbishop Hutchison may have made a mistake in agreeing that the Canadian church — along with the U.S. church — would voluntarily withdraw from last week’s council meeting.
The council dismissed the presentations without discussion, and an attempt was made to bar the Canadian and U.S. churches from participation in all international church bodies. That failed, but, by a slim margin, the council voted to exclude the North Americans from participating in two committees they don’t now belong to.
“If we hadn’t agreed to voluntarily withdraw and had turned up [in Nottingham] as full participants, it would have provoked a crisis and maybe the Nigerians [Nigerian primate Peter Akinola is the most vociferous opponent of including active homosexuals in church life] would have walked out,” said a top Canadian Anglican official who agreed to speak only for background.
“Then we would have seen how much strength is behind the Nigerians.”
The Canadians believe the infrastructure of the Anglican Communion will collapse if the Canadian and American churches are barred from participating in the international church. The two North American churches provide most of the money for the world-church machinery.
The Canadians also believe that the next campaign by evangelical Anglicans will be to get liberal bishops of the two churches excluded from Lambeth 2008.
Finally, the Canadians believe conservative Anglican organizations in Canada and the U.S. are waiting in the wings for their official churches to be barred from the communion, when they will rush in and proclaim themselves true Anglicans.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 30 June 2005 at 5:17pm BST | Comments (8)
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Wednesday, 29 June 2005

ECUSA and Canada thanked by ACC

In the final session of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting at Nottingham, the Resolutions Committee proposed a Supplementary Resolution of Thanks to the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada.

According to the American Anglican Council:

The resolution prompted an amendment followed by intense and heated debate with several delegates expressing concern that it undermined the Resolution Concerning the Primates’ Statement at Dromantine and indicated a subtle approval of the US and Canadian presentations. The Archbishop of Canterbury intervened offering language that was accepted by the body. This debate illustrated that the Council remains deeply divided on the presence and presentation of the North American delegations as well as demonstrated the delegates’ concern that any resolution of thanks be consonant with the mind of the Council, thereby maintaining the integrity of the decisions of the meeting.

The resolution is shown below with the original language and the amended text:

The Anglican Consultative Council:

  • Notes the helpful manner in which with appreciation the response of the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada responded to the request of the Primates’ Dromantine Statement;
  • Expresses its appreciation for the presentations made on Tuesday, 21st June; and requests the observers from those Provinces to convey that appreciation back to their Provinces;
  • Reminds all parties to have regard for the admonitions in paragraphs 156 and 157 of the Windsor Report

[NOTE: The Windsor Report, paragraphs 156 and 157 were included.]

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 29 June 2005 at 6:32pm BST | Comments (0)
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Tuesday, 28 June 2005

ABC and ACC on Zimbabwe

From this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme:

0733 Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams on world poverty, Aids and Zimbabwe

Listen with Real Audio (8 minutes)

ACNS Anglicans call on Zimbabwe Government to halt policies of destruction
Full text of resolution as passed is below the fold.

BBC Asylum returns immoral - Williams
The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishop attacks ‘immoral’ deportations to Zimbabwe
Reuters Envoy wants ‘comprehensive’ picture of Zimbabwe
Press Association ‘Immoral’ to Send Asylum Seekers Back, Says Archbishop
ENS Zimbabwe crisis, Lambeth Conference planning raised by ACC
This includes a note on the presentation by Tom Wright.

Earlier reports on Zimbabwe
Press Association Bishop Backs Zimbabwean Asylum Seekers
Observer Church hits at Zimbabwe deportations

Resolution Text

“The Anglican Consultative Council acknowledges the social and historical imbalance that the people of Zimbabwe have experienced in the tenure of their land, their implications the current crisis and the need for them to be addressed. However, the Council:

  • notes with profound sorrow and concern, and condemns, the recent political developments in Zimbabwe where hundreds of thousands of persons have had their homes destroyed and have become displaced persons within their own country, and where:
    • after up to two years of drought many families are dependent on relief but food distribution is often refused to those who do not support the political party in power
    • those suffering from HIV/AIDS and orphans do not receive appropriate help from the government
    • there are serious restrictions on democracy
    • there is little freedom of speech or tolerance, and human rights are denied
    • politicians and uniformed forces act as if they are above the law
    • people are arrested, imprisoned without fair trial, and tortured.
  • asks the government of Zimbabwe to reverse its policies of destruction and begin to engage in development that eradicates poverty;
  • calls upon the leadership of the African Union to persuade the government of Zimbabwe to consider the humanitarian aspects of the situation in that country, and to act to remedy the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe;
  • supports the Church of England in its approaches to the government of the United Kingdom to reconsider its policy of repatriation of refugees to Zimbabwe;
  • welcomes the proposed pastoral visit of church leaders from South Africa to Zimbabwe to take place in the near future;
  • assures the Christian churches and the people of Zimbabwe of its prayers in this time of national disaster.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 28 June 2005 at 12:32pm BST | Comments (7)
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Monday, 27 June 2005

General Synod papers

As well as the remaining papers for debate at next month’s meeting of General Synod (already listed by me here) the following papers have now been sent to members.

None of the papers below appears to be online.

Getting the Message: A resource pack for communicating the General Synod

GS Misc 780 Bodies Answerable to Synod
GS Misc 781 Children in the Midst
GS Misc 783 Membership of the Archbishops’ Council, its Committees, Boards and Councils and details of their meetings in 2004
GS Misc 786 Clergy Discipline Commission: Annual Report for 2004
GS Misc 787 Review of Marriage Law update
GS Misc 790 Activities of the Archbishops’ Council
GS Misc 792 Implementation of the Church of England’s Strategy for Children
and a covering note from the Bishops of Liverpool and Portsmouth
GS Misc 793 Parish Mission Fund
GS Misc 794 Review of Senior Church Appointments [see below for the text of this paper]
HB(05)2 Summary of decisions of the most recent meeting of the House of Bishops (25-26 May 2005)

GS Misc 794

REVIEW OF SENIOR CHURCH APPOINTMENTS

1. As members will recall, at the last Group of Sessions the Synod passed a resolution requesting 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 the law and practice regarding appointments to the offices of suffragan bishop, dean, archdeacon and residentiary canon’

2. A review group has now been appointed. It will be chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, who is due to retire as Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office this autumn. The other members of the group are:

Canon Dr Christina Baxter (Southwell)
Canon Professor Michael Clarke (Worcester)
Mr Aiden Hargreaves-Smith (London)
The Rt Revd Jack Nicholls, Bishop of Sheffield
The Revd Rod Thomas (Exeter)
The Very Revd Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury
The Revd Canon Lucy Winkett

3. David Williams (Clerk to the Synod) will serve as an Assessor to the Group and Dr Colin Podmore will be its Secretary. The Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments, Caroline Boddington, will be available to support the Group throughout its work. The Group will also be able to call on legal and theological advice from relevant Church House staff, and others, as required.

4. The Group will be meeting immediately before the July Group of Sessions and it is expected that invitations to submit evidence will be issued later in July. A further notice about this will be circulated in due course.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 27 June 2005 at 12:30pm BST | Comments (2)
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ACC Nottingham: yet more material

The address of the Secretary General, Kenneth Kearon, was delivered on Friday. It is not yet on the ACO website, but it can be found on titusonenine, ACC Address of Canon Kenneth Kearon ACC Address of Canon Kenneth Kearon.

Archbishop of Canterbury’s Sermon at the Diocesan Celebration for the 13th Meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council

Video of the sermon here

TLC Size and Composition of ACC Committees Will Change

TLC Communion is Found Among Those Who Doubt and Hunger

ENS G8 Summit, Korean unification addressed by ACC

Anglican Journal Council urges pressure on firms supporting Israeli occupation

I will add other items here as they come to hand.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 27 June 2005 at 11:00am BST | Comments (0)
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ACC: a review of actions taken

I have written this article for Anglicans Online, reviewing the main resolutions passed so far by the Anglican Consultative Council.

The full detail (3 appendices to the resolution) concerning the proposed constitutional change is not yet available to me, but I will add that information to the AO article, and also here, as soon as it is received.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 27 June 2005 at 8:08am BST | Comments (5)
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Saturday, 25 June 2005

weekend reading

The Guardian has a godslot column today by Richard Harries Jaw jaw on just war. It also has a column by Mark Lawson titled One miracle too many and subtitled The US is a theocracy suffering from galloping spiritual inflation.

The New York Times recently carried a major article What’s Their Real Problem With Gay Marriage?

Margaret Atkins writes the Credo column in The Times under the heading Beware the sword of rash judgment cuts both ways

In the Telegraph Christopher Howse’s column is Pegging out love’s laundry

The CEN has an interview of John Sentamu by Jonathan Wynne-Jones in two parts, here and here

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 June 2005 at 11:43pm BST | Comments (14)
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ACC Nottingham: further reports

ACNS
Resolutions of ACC-13 from June 22 and 23

ENS Neva Rae Fox and Matthew Davies

Women’s voices affirmed in international reports to ACC
ACC considers listening on sexuality issues, Christian-Muslim ties, environment
ACC continues dialogue on Israel-Palestine, ecumenism, sexuality issues
Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking central in Anglican network report
Also, the page containing audio and video links has been updated to include the addresses of the Chairman of the ACC, the Secretary General of the ACC, and the presentation of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network.

TLC George Conger
Primates Included as Ex Officio ACC Members
ACC Opts for Compromise on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
ACC Lauds Church’s Ethical Investment Program

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 June 2005 at 10:57pm BST | Comments (13)
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ACC and Israeli Palestine conflict - News Roundup

Before the vote (on which we reported yesterday) the Telegraph had this report by Jonathan Petre on Thursday:
Church may black firms over Israeli ‘occupation’
and this leader:
Anglicans target Israel
which starts “The Christian West has a marked, and growing, prejudice against the state of Israel that the government of that country ignores at its peril.”

Not surprisingly the passage of the resolution yesterday has resulted in a lot of press coverage around the world including:
Anglican council hardens its stance on investment in Israel in The Times
Anglican share vote angers Israelis in The Guardian
Church urges action over Israel on the BBC
Anglicans Consider Divesting in Solidarity With Palestinians in The New York Times
Anglicans urge action against Israel in The Jerusalem Post
Jewish Anger as Church Votes on Israel in The Scotsman
Church rules out share sale ‘gesture’ in the Financial Times

Update
The BBC Sunday radio programme had this:
Anglican Divestment

The Anglicans found themselves involved in another controversy this week. “Anglican Divestment Decision Damages Interfaith Relations.” That is the headline of the press release from the Jewish Board of Deputies issued in response to a resolution of the Anglican Consultative Council, the executive body of the Anglican Communion. The Council backed a resolution calling for the Anglican provinces to reconsider their investments with Israel. It stopped short, just, of a direct call for disinvestment, apparently after the intervention of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Even so The Board of Deputies said it was “bitterly disappointed” by the decision.

Listen (6m 5s) Real Audio required.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 25 June 2005 at 10:50am BST | Comments (1)
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Friday, 24 June 2005

ACC and Israeli Palestine conflict

The ACC passed this resolution today. Official press statement here

Wording changes from the initial draft are also shown. Italics added strikethrough deleted

ACC Draft Resolution on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

The Anglican Consultative Council:

(a) receives and adopts as its own welcomes the September 22nd 2004 statement by the Anglican Peace and Justice network on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (pages 12 & 13 -14 of the Report)

(b) commends the resolve of the Episcopal Church (USA) to take appropriate action where it finds that its corporate investments support the occupation of Palestinian lands or violence against innocent Israelis, and

(i) commends such a process to other provinces having such investments to be considered in line with their adopted ethical investment strategies

(ii) encourages investment strategies that support the infrastructure of a future Palestinian state

(c) requests the office of the Anglican Observer to the United Nations, through association with the UN Working Committee on peace in the Middle East, as well as through this Council, and as a priority of that Office, to support and advocate the implementation of UN resolutions 242 and 338 directed towards peace, justice and co-existence in the Holy Land.

(data taken from titusonenine)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 6:46pm BST | Comments (0)
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Scapegoating the gay community

The Co-op Bank does not want to hold an account for Christian Voice. The Bank is taking this stance because of the organisation’s attitude to homosexuals. It says ‘99% of Christians would not support the level of discrimination against homosexuals urged by Christian Voice

In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme Simon Williams for the Bank said ‘They are extreme views. They are not mild views… They simply do not fit with our ethical policies… such as… “Homosexual policemen are corrupted by what they do. How can they investigate cases of corruption?”’

Having seen the Christian Voice web site, which has a large section devoted to the participation of police in gay pride marches, it does appear that Christian Voice has an obsession with homosexuality which seems unusual. They do not, for example, suggest that divorced police officers should not investigate matrimonial disputes, or that police officers who commit adultery should not investigate cases of corruption. And whereas they may consider that homosexual activity is a crime against God, it is not, like adultery, also a crime against the spouses of those who engage in adulterous relationships.

It looks as though homosexuals are being singled out for hatred as the Co-op Bank say.

The Archbishop of Canterbury referred to this kind of behaviour in his presidential address to the Anglican Consultative Council on 20 June 2005. He said:

We are always in danger of the easiest religious technique of all, the search for the scapegoat; Paul insists without any shadow of compromise upon our solidarity in rebellion against God, and so tells us that we shall not achieve peace and virtue by creating a community we believe to be pure. And these words are spoken both to the Jew and the Gentile, both to the prophetic radical and the loyal traditionalist. The prophet, says Barth, ‘knows the catastrophe of the Church to be inevitable’ and he knows also that there is no friendly lifeboat into which he can clamber and row clear of the imminent disaster.’

‘We are all butchers pretending to be sacrificers. When we understand this, the skandalon that we had always managed to discharge upon some scapegoat becomes our own responsibility, a stone as unbearably heavy upon our hearts as Jesus himself upon the saint’s shoulders in the Christopher legend’. Not Barth this time, but René Girard, the French philosopher (A Theatre of Envy: William Shakespeare, p.341), once again paraphrasing Paul’s central theme.

I’d like to ask why Christian Voice should particularly choose to scapegoat the gay community. In one sense, the question has no rational answer. It is as incomprehensible as the idea which erupted in many parts of Europe in the middle ages that Jews took Christian boys to sacrifice at Passover. Both are just examples of a group finding solidarity in turning their corporate wrath on to a scapegoat. We can possibly appreciate how people in the middle ages might have perceived those of different faith or customs to be a threat. But what threat could a homosexual person possibly pose to heterosexual people? The gay man is not going to steal my wife, and I know that sex with any other person, male or female, breaks the marriage vows which I took before God and in the eyes of the state.

So is the problem for Christian Voice precisely that the gay man does not want my wife? He doesn’t envy me for having an attractive wife, or see me as a rival for someone he desires? Reading the Archbishop’s references to Girard, is the perceived problem about gay people the fact that they seem often so envy free in comparison with those whose role model is the dominant male? Is that why they are victimised?

Or is it particularly for men who see themselves as dominant, a fear of being raped? Often they are the people who maintain that the Church must be led by men, and that women should “submit” to their husbands. Such men enjoy dominance, and see that view supported by scripture. For such a person, homosexual rape is the ultimate humiliation. This is the story of the men of Sodom in Genesis 19 and one can see how repugnant it is. But Lot’s solution ‘Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please.’ is even more horrific: he appears to treat his daughters as property which he can give for anyone to abuse.

Within a Christian context the situation in Uganda where in 1885 King Mwanga had three pages dismembered and burned for rejecting his homosexual advances is almost equally well known. The young men are rightly regarded as martyrs.

Homosexual rape is an extreme example of male domination, with a specific intention of humiliating the victim. Of course, fear of this kind of activity should give men an insight in to the horror which any woman has of being raped, and this danger is much greater than the danger to men. It is at least arguable that throughout the Bible what is condemned about homosexual activity is that it is not seen as an act of love but of repugnant male violence by a dominant person against an unwilling, weaker sexual partner.

But a loving partnership of two people of the same sex is completely different from that. For, just as one would hope that in a marriage the partners should seek each other’s greatest good and happiness in their sexual activity, one would suppose that the same intentions would be present in a homosexual couple. The law provides protection against rape both for homosexual and heterosexual couples, even where the latter are married. It is for the individual to judge whether sexual activity is consensual or abusive.

To my mind that should be the limit of the church’s concern about homosexual couples. After all, in Britain today, we have far more unmarried heterosexual couples, and they aren’t the recipients of abuse and hatred all the time from ‘Christian Voice’.

In my view the Co-op Bank was right to draw attention to the bigoted homophobic victimization of the gay community by ‘Christian Voice’. Would that others might adopt a similarly ethical stance.

Posted by Tom Ambrose on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 3:19pm BST | Comments (88)
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church press on the ACC

The Church Times has a report on the Wednesday vote:
ACC resorts to secret poll to modify ejection plan

And Power is the issue, as well as sex and scripture, Dr Williams tells ACC by Pat Ashworth
Other extensive reports on the ACC, in the paper, are subscription-only until next week. They will be linked when they are available.

The Church of England Newspaper has these reports:
Archbishop’s plea for unity over gay row
Americans and Canadians find few converts to their theology
and Andrew Carey comments on the Presidential Address here

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 8:00am BST | Comments (12)
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Thursday, 23 June 2005

BBC reports on ACC

The Radio 4 breakfast programme Today had these segments:

0609 Is the Anglican Church moving closer to a split over the issue of gay priests? Robert Pigott reports.
Listen with Real Audio here

0750 Rev Susan Russell, president of America’s gay Christian movement, Integrity, and Canon David Anderson, discuss the divisive issue of gay priests.
Listen with Real Audio here

The news story US Church excluded for gay stance has been updated to include quotes from these interviews.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 9:05pm BST | Comments (0)
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Wednesday, 22 June 2005

Inclusive Church and LGCM press releases

Inclusive Church Press Release
Wednesday 22nd June 2005

Inclusive Church welcomes the reinstatement of the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada within the bodies of the Anglican Communion.

The grassroots network of Anglican Christians and various church interest groups and bodies regrets that the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham today was not able to include the North American churches unconditionally. However, that the vote taken failed to achieve a clear majority is an affirmation of the diversity of the communion and a powerful reminder of our identity as Anglicans. Now, we can move forward to the listening process called for by the 1998 Lambeth Conference and begun at the Anglican Consultative Council.

The Revd Giles Goddard, Executive Secretary of Inclusive Church said: “The landscape has changed. The Church is not polarised in the way people have assumed. The simplistic characterisation of the Global South and the West has been shown to be false. Inclusive Church looks forward to building on these creative dialogues formally and informally to combat the many forms of exclusion within and beyond our Church.”

LGCM - see below the fold.

Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement - Media Release - 22nd June 2005

The meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council being held in Nottingham was pressed to discipline the American and Canadian Anglican Provinces following a surprise resolution laid on the table at the beginning of the gathering this week.

The motion passed in a much reduced form with 30 votes for and 28 against with 4 registered abstentions. The meeting was closed to outsiders and the ballot was secret.

Speaking from Nottingham the General Secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, the Revd Richard Kirker said today:

“This is a very significant vote. The narrowness of its success and the fact the Americans and Canadians decided not to attend as voting delegations shows the Communion does not have the heart for the agenda inspired by American conservatives and led by the Archbishop of Nigeria.

“My hope is that they will stand back now and rethink. They may have forced this humiliation on their American and Canadian sister churches, but they can now see that they have not won the hearts of most Anglican Provinces.

“We had been led to believe that the views of the conservatives were practically universal, that is patently not the case. After the presentations from Canada and America justifying their positive stance towards homosexuals, I talked to three delegates from Asia, Africa and South America, each said they had changed their view
and were reconsidering their position.

“There has been far too little open debate outside North America and Europe - hearts can still be changed.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 11:35pm BST | Comments (41)
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ACC Nottingham: Wednesday

Reports of today’s events will be added here as they are found.

ENS Member of Parliament affirms role of faith in society, ACC changes constitution, receives network reports

Canadian Press Canadian Anglican church plays down exclusion from two communion panels

National Post Anglicans ‘expel’ Canada

Anglican Church of Canada press release ACC decision regrettable, but of little practical consequence, Canadian Primate says

TLC George Conger Council Somber After Vote to Exclude North Americans

Official text of Resolutions Passed Today At ACC-13

The Times Ruth Gledhill American churches shown door as gay row deepens

Telegraph Jonathan Petre has a one sentence summary at the foot of a preview of Friday’s session:

The Anglican Consultative Council yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to traditional Church teaching on homosexuality following efforts by liberal Americans and Canadians to justify their consecration of a gay bishop and sanctioning of gay “blessings”. The council also narrowly voted to exclude Americans and Canadians from key committees of the Council, at least until the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

Anglican Journal Solange De Santis
Council votes to include primates
Council narrowly supports censure of Canada, U.S.

ENS
Matthew Davies and Bob Williams ACC affirms Communion-wide listening process, members’ voluntary withdrawal
(this includes comments from the Presiding Bishop)
Neva Rae Fox ACC votes to add Primates to membership

TLC George Conger ACC Suspends North American Churches

BBC US Church excluded for gay stance

Associated Press Jill Lawless Canadian, U.S. Anglicans avoid censure
This report also appears in many US papers under other headlines such as Conservative Anglicans fail in bid to censure North American churches over gay issue or Anglicans won’t censure wings of church

Bishop Duncan’s Blog Entry (item dated 22 June)

TLC George Conger Vote on Resolution to Expel North Americans Scheduled

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 10:28pm BST | Comments (6)
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Resolution on the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada

Passed by 30 votes to 28, with 4 abstentions. A secret paper ballot was used.

The Anglican Consultative Council

(1) takes note of the decisions taken by the Primates at their recent meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, in connection with the recommendations of the Windsor Report 2004;

(2) notes further that the Primates there reaffirmed “the standard of Christian teaching on matters of human sexuality expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which should command respect as the position overwhelmingly adopted by the bishops of the Anglican Communion”;

(3) endorses and affirms those decisions;

(4) consequently endorses the Primates’ request that “in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference”;

(5) further requests that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada withdraw their members from all other official entities of the Communion for the same period.
interprets the reference to Anglican Consultative Council to include its Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Finance and Administration Committee.

Proposer:
Stanley Isaacs (South East Asia)

supported by
Peter Akinola (Nigeria)
Henri Isingoma (Congo)
Amos Kiriro (Kenya)
Andres Lenton(Southern Cone)
Gerard Mpango (Tanzania)
Samson Mwaluda (Kenya)
Bariira Mbukure (Uganda)
Damien Nteziryayo (Rwanda)
D Okeke (Nigeria)
Elizabeth Paver (England)
Humphrey Peters (Pakistan)
Enock Tombe (Sudan)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 5:44pm BST | Comments (71)
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Listening Process resolution as passed

In response to the request of the bishops attending the Lambeth Conference in 1998 in Resolution 1.10 to establish “a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion” and to honour the process of “mutual” listening including “listening to the experience of homosexual persons” and the experience of local churches around the world in reflecting on these matters, in the light of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, the Anglican Consultative Council requests the Secretary General:

1. To collate relevant research studies, statements, resolutions and other material on these matters from the various provinces and other interested bodies

2. To make such material available for study, discussion and reflection within each member Church of the Communion; and

3. To identify and allocate adequate resources for this work, and to report progress on it to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the next Lambeth Conference and to the next meeting of this Council, and to copy such reports to the provinces.

Passed unanimously.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 5:26pm BST | Comments (8)
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ACC latest news...

Well, not actually. But this is funny

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 3:13pm BST | Comments (1)
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ACC votes to add Primates to membership

ENS reports:

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
ACC votes to add Primates to membership
By Neva Rae Fox
ENS 062205-3
[ENS, Nottingham] — After discussion in three business sessions, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) voted June 22 to change its constitution to include the 37 Primates as ex officio members, thereby increasing the membership from 78 to 115.

Originally introduced at Monday’s session, the action included a provision to attempt to ensure balance for clergy and lay members. Under the new configuration, laity representation would no longer be the majority of the ACC, one of the four “instruments of unity” within the Anglican Communion. (A detailed ENS report will follow.)

link to ENS report here (covers a number of other items as well)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 3:13pm BST | Comments (7)
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Proposed Resolution on the Listening Process

This is the planned agenda item for the afternoon session. It now appears that at 2.30 pm discussion of this item will be preceded by the closed session mentioned in an earlier item, as requested by Peter Akinola.

Proposed Resolution from the Joint Standing Committee on the listening process as requested by the Primates at Dromantine

In response to the request of the bishops attending the Lambeth Conference in 1998 in Resolution 1.10 to establish “a means of monitoiring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion” and to honour the process of mutual listening including “listening to the experience of homosexual persons” and the experience of local churches around the world in reflecting on these matters, this Council requests the Secretary General:

1. To collate relevant research studies, statements, resolutions and other material on these matters from the various provinces; and

2. To make such material available for study, discussion and reflection within each member Church of the Communion; and

3. To identify and allocate adequate resources for this work, and to report progress on it to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the next Lambeth Conference.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 12:24pm BST | Comments (4)
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A Global South statement

Archbishop Akinola wants the following document considered, in closed session. See also his cover letter here.

The ACC has just decided to go into closed session at 2.30 pm to do so.

Document text:

A Global South statement regarding the request for listening
The Primates Meeting asked ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada to explain the thinking behind their recent actions.

The presentations that we heard from ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada did not explain that thinking with reference to the teaching of the Anglican Communion as expressed in Lambeth 1.10 and statments from Primates Meetings in Brazil, Lambeth and Newry.

They also failed to explain why they have chosen to:

- depart from the received and agreed teaching of this Communion
- ignore all four instruments of unity
- disregard the processes by which we come to a common mind, and
- overlook the specific request described in the Windsor Report.

Instead they advocated a position that reinforces our current divisions.

The proposal that the Communion “listen to the experience of homosexual persons” is an ongoing concern but must be preceded by an affirmation of Lambeth 1.10 and the Primates Communiqué at Dromantine.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 11:12am BST | Comments (17)
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ACC draft resolution text

Draft Resolution on the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada

The Anglican Consultative Council

(1) takes note of the decisions taken by the Primates at their recent meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, in connection with the recommendations of the Windsor Report 2004;

(2) notes further that the Primates there reaffirmed “the standard of Christian teaching on matters of human sexuality expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which should command respect as the position overwhelmingly adopted by the bishops of the Anglican Communion”;

(3) endorses and affirms those decisions;

(4) consequently endorses the Primates’ request that “in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference”;

(5) further requests that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada withdraw their members from all other official entities of the Communion for the same period.

Proposer:
Stanley Isaacs (South East Asia)

supported by
Peter Akinola (Nigeria)
Henri Isingoma (Congo)
Amos Kiriro (Kenya)
Andres Lenton(Southern Cone)
Gerard Mpango (Tanzania)
Samson Mwaluda (Kenya)
Bariira Mbukure (Uganda)
Damien Nteziryayo (Rwanda)
D Okeke (Nigeria)
Elizabeth Paver (England)
Humphrey Peters (Pakistan)
Enock Tombe (Sudan)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 9:51am BST | Comments (3)
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Tuesday, 21 June 2005

ACC Nottingham: Tuesday

Again today, reports will be linked here as they become available. My apologies for misplaced items yesterday.

Full text of Stephen Andrews’ presentation

Full text of Peter Elliott’s presentation (PDF FILE)

Full text of Bishop Jenkins’ presentation

Anglican Church of Canada press release Canadians address Anglican Consultative Council

ENS Canadian Anglicans speak to same-gender blessings

ENS More that unites than divides, Episcopalians tell ACC

Full text of Susan Russell’s presentation

Associated Press Jill Lawless U.S. Episcopals Defend Openly Gay Bishop
(note: this is not in the Guardian newspaper, only on its website, it is of course in hundreds of US newspapers)
AP Photos here

Washington Times N. American wings defend stances on gays

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steve Levin U.S. Episcopal leaders defend ordaining gays

TLC Communion’s Spotlight is on Presentation Panels

Anglican Journal Solange de Santis Canada, U.S. tell Council about debates on gay issues

The Times Ruth Gledhill US Anglicans bless ‘sacred’ gay unions

BBC US Church defends gay bishop move

Guardian Stephen Bates Vengeance in the air as churches face expulsion

ENS Audio streams: Episcopalians respond to Windsor Report

Canadian presentation: ‘Key messages’ for the Anglican Consultative Council

Kit of background information

Kendall Harmon “liveblogged” the American presentation here

ENS Theologians offer response to Windsor Report request

PDF download of the report To Set Our Hope On Christ

Chairman’s Address to ACC-13

Associated Press Jill Lawless U.S., Canadian Anglicans Gather in England

Washington Times Julia Duin Alexandria seminary official to defend gay clergy

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 21 June 2005 at 10:26am BST | Comments (0)
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Monday, 20 June 2005

ACC Nottingham: Monday

press reports and releases will be linked here as they become available.

TLC Archbishop Says Common Ground Still Exists
also a series of photos from Nottingham

ENS Theological education: Archbishop of Canterbury underscores global importance
(this report covers other events of Monday as well)

Guardian Stephen Bates Williams pleads for Anglicans to hold together

Press Association Gay Bishop Decision to Be Discussed

TLC Status Quo at ACC Holds on Second Day

ACNS Anglican Consultative Council begins its work

ENS Audio, text links offered for Archbishop of Canterbury’s ACC presidential address

Anglican Church of Canada Rowan Williams stresses value of friendship in opening address to Anglican Consultative Council

Not a report on today, but a preview of tomorrow, Ruth Gledhill US church leaders justify ordination of gay bishop

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 20 June 2005 at 3:48pm BST | Comments (0)
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RW address to the ACC

The full text is now available from ACNS here, or below the fold.

I recommend reading the entire document carefully.

Archbishop of Canterbury
Presidential Address
13th Meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council,
Nottingham 18-28 June 2005
Monday 20 June 2005

I

Who are we talking to in this meeting? To be a Christian is to believe we are commanded and authorised to say certain things to the world; to say things that will make disciples of all nations. Our words matter. We have to think with care about them and to try and know something of how they will be heard. If they are not heard as good news from God, as words that change the world and release people from various sorts of prison, what has gone wrong? Are we talking only to ourselves?

This week it will be of the greatest importance that we remember to ask, whenever we say anything, whether we are doing more than talking to ourselves – and to ask what will be heard in what we say here and how far it helps or hinders the communicating of the gospel of Jesus. A gathering like this always attracts a degree of media attention, and we can guess already what the pattern of this is likely to be – ‘The Communion is in great trouble; conservatives and liberals are going to split from each other’. Different people will have different stories to tell, with different interests to serve. These stories will be the subject of still more stories, and the rapid fire of exchanges will continue to stream across the electronic pathways. That is the way of the world. And however unworldly we may like to think ourselves, somehow we remain the world’s captives in this connection.

But meanwhile the bulk of the media’s attention will probably be focused elsewhere – on the meeting that will take place just after we have finished, the meeting of the G8 leaders. Grief, anger and frustration at the injustice of the world’s trade systems and at the sluggishness of wealthy nations in addressing the menace of systematic environmental degradation is boiling over, here in the UK and in many other places. The report of the Africa Commission here a couple of months ago outlined the challenges and opportunities that face the wealthy nations, and the continuing horror of disease and violence and corrupt, dysfunctional government that imprisons millions. Africa is the focus, but it is not a challenge in relation to Africa alone. Debt and poverty and oppression are realities for other continents. Corrupt government afflicts supposedly ‘developed’ nations too. And the environmental crisis confronts all of us with growing urgency. But at the moment, the question most sharply in focus is, ‘What do the most powerful nations in the world intend to do to reduce even a little the burden of suffering that afflicts those over whom their power is exercised in various ways?’
This is what a large part of the general public at least in this country will be thinking about this week. Some of those, especially those who are most committed to the ending of poverty and injustice, will be people who speak the same language as us; they will be people of faith, often Christian faith. And we have to ask what if anything they will hear from us that is good news for them and for the poor for whom they burn with Christ-like indignation. Are we talking to them at all? What have we to say?

The chances are that they will hear a little of what we say – like a set of noises off, a bit of background buzz. Here is a group of Christians talking to each other, they will think, arguing over matters that seem quite a long way from the plight of a child soldier in Northern Uganda or a mother with HIV/AIDS in Lesotho or a sweatshop worker or fisherman in South Asia. Some will react with contempt – what a parade of foolish anger and bigotry or self-importance, what a fuss over the ‘rights’ of the prosperous; some will react with indifference; and some with real sorrow that we are not speaking to them and the world they know.

And for at least some of those – indeed, for many, I suspect – it is not that they are wanting us to abandon talking about our faith so as to talk about the world’s crisis. They are wanting us to talk about Jesus and what Jesus has to say to this crisis. They know the economics and the politics, even the ethics; they don’t need us for that. But they do want to hear a word from the one we call our saviour. Are we speaking to them about him?

II

I shall come back in a moment to what we might be saying about Jesus. Because some may object that I am trying to distract the meeting from addressing the immediate issue that needs resolution in our church, the questions around the limits of our diversity, the location of our authority and the rightness of certain developments in attitudes to sex. So let me say that I have no intention of making any distracting manoeuvre; I want only to point out where and when we are meeting and thus the way in which what we say may well be heard. I point this out also so that we can ourselves remember the background to our debates on these matters – since they are not just about morality and biblical authority but about perceptions of how power is used in the church and world, how agendas are set. The political and economic world in which the prosperous set the agenda is the same world that is at work in the Church, so many feel, a world where discussions are held and priorities agreed and decisions taken in ways that exclude those who don’t have the language or the leverage. North-South inequality is a real issue in our church context, however hard it is for the ‘North’ to hear this.

But since some may challenge whether all this is about taking our eyes off the immediate problem, I shall say a few words about the present crisis – hoping that these reflections will in fact lead us back to the fundamental question of what we are saying and to whom. The debate over sexuality is a story that can be told more than one way. One story is this. The churches of the ‘North’ are tired and confused, losing evangelistic energy. For a variety of reasons, they have been trying to reclaim their credibility by accepting and seeking to domesticate the moral values of their culture, even though this is a culture that is practically defined by the rejection of the living God. A history of over-intellectual approaches to the Bible and the communication of the faith has led to a disregard of the Bible’s call to transformation. The revolt against the plain meaning of Scripture’s condemnation of same-sex activity is a symptom of this general malaise.

Another story is this. The churches of the North have been made aware of how much their life and work has been sustained in the past by insensitive and oppressive social patterns, with the Bible being used to justify great evils. Whether they like it or not, they inhabit a world where authority is regarded with much suspicion; it has to earn respect. In recent decades there has been a huge change in the general understanding of sexual activity. Can the gospel be heard in such a world if it seems to cling to ways of understanding sexuality that have no correspondence to what the most apparently responsible people in our culture believe? It is not enough, some have said, to stick to the words of the Bible; we have to go deeper and ask about the logic and direction of the Bible as a whole. And when we do that, we may find that it is not so impossible to reach a position that can be taken seriously in contemporary culture.

Two stories, and so for some we have a problem of the Church accepting a set of false premises, a wrong and unbiblical picture of human nature; for others a problem of communicating with human beings where they actually are, in terms they can grasp. Many issues are involved here, not only the presenting question about homosexuality. Perhaps the most difficult is how we make a moral assessment of modern culture in the developed world. And for many of us this is complicated. Modernity has brought great goods; yet in vital respects it has promoted a picture of humanity that is deeply flawed – individualistic, obsessed with rights and claims and uninterested in bonds of obligation or the need for sacrifice for the good of others: precisely the world that has produced our current nightmare of international injustice. So the question is how far the concern for reaching an understanding with the world about sexual ethics is based on uncritical acceptance of the values of a culture like this.

I don’t think that this question is quickly resolved. There are those who say, ‘This is an issue of justice, comparable to the rights of black people in the Western world, or the rights of women. Our church must be inclusive of all, committed to liberation for all from the burden of prejudice and hatred’. And there are those who say, ‘The Bible is clear; there is no argument to be had’. Yet the latter people often in practice find they are themselves interpreting Scripture more flexibly in other areas. And the former people may have to recognise that there is a difference between campaigning for civil equality and declaring discipline or defining holiness for the Church of Christ, a difference between including all who come to Christ and being indifferent to how human lives are actually challenged and altered by him.

Very tentatively, I believe this is how we should see our situation. Christian teaching about sex is not a set of isolated prohibitions; it is an integral part of what the Bible has to say about living in such a way that our lives communicate the character of God. Marriage has a unique place because it speaks of an absolute faithfulness, a covenant between radically different persons, male and female; and so it echoes the absolute covenant of God with his chosen, a covenant between radically different partners. And those who have criticised the blessing of same-sex partnerships have been trying, I think, to say that we cannot change what we say about marriage without seriously upsetting what you might call the ecology of our teaching, the balance of how we show and speak of God. They would say that blessing same-sex unions has this effect, and that without such blessing people living in such unions are at least in tension with the common language of the Church. And living in this tension is not a good basis for taking on the responsibilities of leadership, especially episcopal leadership, whatever latitude we allow to conscience and pastoral discretion in particular instances among our people. This, incidentally, is broadly the view of the authors of the ‘St Andrew’s Day Statement’ of 1997, which remains a helpful reference point, managing to avoid a bitter politicising of the dispute. Its method deserves more imitation than it has received.

So there are two issues coming out of this that need patient study. What is the nature of a holy and Christ-like life for someone who has consistent homosexual desires? And what is the appropriate discipline to be applied to the personal life of the pastor in the Church? The last Lambeth Conference concluded that the reasons I have just outlined made it impossible to justify a change in existing practice and discipline; and the majority voice of the Communion holds firmly to this decision. It is possible to uphold this decision and still say that there are many unanswered questions in the theological picture just outlined, and that a full discussion of these needs a far more careful attention to how homosexual people see themselves and their relations. The Lambeth Resolution called for just this. It also condemned in clear terms, as did earlier Lambeth Conferences, the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Dromantine statement, violent and bigoted language about homosexual people – and this cannot be repeated too often. It is possible to uphold Lambeth ’98 and to oppose the shocking persecution of homosexuals in some countries, to defend measures that guarantee their civil liberties. The question is not about that level of acceptance, but about what the Church requires in its ordained leaders and what patterns of relationship it will explicitly recognise as unquestionably revealing of God. On these matters, the Church is not persuaded that change is right. And where there is a strong scriptural presumption against change, a long consensus of teaching in Christian history, and a widespread ecumenical agreement, it may well be thought that change would need an exceptionally strong critical mass to justify it.

That, I think, is where the Communion as a whole stands. That is why actions by some provinces have caused outrage and hurt. To invite, as does the Windsor document, those provinces to reconsider is not to say that there are no issues to be resolved, no prejudice to be repented of (because there unquestionably is much of this); it is not to reject the idea of an ‘inclusive’ Church or to canonise an unintelligent reading of the Bible. It is to say that actions taken in sensitive matters against the mind of the Church cannot go unchallenged while the Church’s overall discernment is as it is without injuring the delicate fabric of relations within the Church and so compromising its character.

It is said that there are times when Christians must act prophetically, ahead of the consensus, and that this is such a time for some of our number. We should listen with respect to what motivates this conviction. But we also have to say that it is in the very nature of a would-be prophetic act that we do not yet know whether it is an act of true prophecy or an expression of human feeling only. To claim to act prophetically is to take a risk. It would be strange if we claimed the right to act in a risky way and then protested because that risky act was not universally endorsed by the Church straight away. If truth is put before unity – to use the language that is now common in discussing this – you must not be surprised if unity truly and acutely suffers.

III

But what is this teaching us about our character as a church? There is one deeply uncomfortable lesson to ponder, which is best expressed in shorthand by saying that we are in danger of falling into exactly the trap that St Paul lays for his readers in the beginning of his letter to the Romans. He has begun by defining ‘God’s way of righting wrong’ (1.17), which is by faith; and he then gives a vivid account of the wrong that needs to be righted. Human beings are in revolt against the creator, exchanging (he repeats the word) what is natural for what is unnatural. He lists those things which for Jewish readers and sympathetic Gentiles would most obviously suggest revolt against God’s will. People know what is natural yet invent alternatives – whether it is intercourse with the same sex, worship of material things, breaking promises or using their God-given skills of speech to spread evil reports. But, says Paul as he begins chapter 2, this is not about some distant ‘they’; it is about ‘you’, his readers, then and now. You know what is natural but do not do it, and you pass judgment on others, so condemning yourself. Paul does not say that the sins he has listed in ch.1 are not sins at all; he simply points out that he has been egging us on in recognising the sins of others so as to expose our own deadly lack of self-knowledge. This is terrible, he says, isn’t it? And this and this? And we eagerly say yes; so that he can turn on us and say, ‘So now you know how terrible is the lack in your own heart of the recognition of your rebellion, whatever it is.’

‘Whenever you erect yourself upon a pedestal, you do wrong; whenever you say ‘I’ or ‘we’ or ‘it is so’, you exchange the glory of the incorruptible for the image of the corruptible … By striding ahead of others, even though it be for their assistance, as though the secret of God were known to you, you manifest yourself ignorant of His secret … Even ‘brokenness’; even the behaviour of the ‘Biblical Man’ – if these proceed from the adoption of a point of view, of a method, of a system, or of a particular kind of behaviour, by which men distinguish themselves from other men – are no more than the righteousness of men’. These are words from the greatest commentary on Romans in the modern era, Karl Barth’s masterpiece (pp.56-7); and they should drive us to some very hard questions. When we call on others to repent, can we hear God calling us to recognise our own rebellion, whatever it is? If not, have we understood faith? We are always in danger of the easiest religious technique of all, the search for the scapegoat; Paul insists without any shadow of compromise upon our solidarity in rebellion against God, and so tells us that we shall not achieve peace and virtue by creating a community we believe to be pure. And these words are spoken both to the Jew and the Gentile, both to the prophetic radical and the loyal traditionalist. The prophet, says Barth later in his commentary, ‘knows the catastrophe of the Church to be inevitable’ (cheering words!) and he knows also that there is no friendly lifeboat into which he can clamber and row clear of the imminent disaster’ (336).

‘We are all butchers pretending to be sacrificers. When we understand this, the skandalon – the stumbling block — that we had always managed to discharge upon some scapegoat becomes our own responsibility, a stone as unbearably heavy upon our hearts as Jesus himself upon the saint’s shoulders in the Christopher legend’. Not Barth this time, but René Girard, the French philosopher (A Theatre of Envy: William Shakespeare, p.341), once again paraphrasing Paul’s central theme. When we have said all there is to say about our discipline and how we reinforce it, about the practical crises of deciding what degree of communion we can enjoy with some of our brothers and sisters – and no doubt these things have to be settled – we had better remember this level of solidarity with whoever it is we have separated from. The deepest spiritual problem is not resolved by separating ourselves from the sinner, whatever has to be done in the short term (and Paul of course exercises discipline robustly); God’s word to us remains the challenge of Romans 2. And what grieves me about so much of our current debate is that I see few signs of awareness of this deeper level, and a good deal of the effort to ‘distinguish ourselves’ from each other, in Barth’s terms, whether we call ourselves radicals or traditionalists. Even for me to say this in these terms opens me to the same charge – Do you hear what I said? — I am ‘grieved’ by the failings of others. I too have to accept that I am part of this failing or ‘catastrophic’ church.

So that we are driven back to the place where Paul started: God’s way of righting wrong. Can we allow this present crisis to teach us something basic about the good news? Because of the cross of Jesus and his resurrection, we may trust that God has acted to overcome our rebellion and more, to bring us into a renewed world. In that world, we live in gratitude to God and in a pervasive sense of involvement in and responsibility for each other. We acknowledge that we shall none of us be healed alone. We confess that each of us is made poor and sick by the poverty and sickness of our brothers and sisters. So we do not shrink, therefore, from fellow believers who have erred and reconstruct ourselves as a pure remnant; we admit that we are all now suffering. Likewise we need each other’s life and hope, we need each other’s positive experience – which is why the life of the churches of the ‘North’ would be so deprived if they separated from the life of the ‘South’ (and vice versa, since there is good news to be had in the global North too).

So the answer to the question, ‘What is this teaching us about our character and our life as a church?’ seems to be this. If we have understood what Paul says about faith we shall understand that we all stand together in sin and need. When we acknowledge our sin and our need of God’s grace, we also begin to see our need of each other in the Body of Christ. What we have to do is to work hard to see that – whatever else happens to us as a Communion – we don’t lose the sense of our dependence upon grace, not on success or human virtue.

IV

Who are we talking to? What we have to say to the world – a world that is concentrating on what we too must address, the challenge to the world’s wealthy – what we have to say to the world is just this: God calls human persons to a life in which poverty is everyone’s poverty and wealth is everyone’s wealth. This is how St Paul in II Corinthians describes the Christian life. This is the life that makes the Church the way it is. This doesn’t mean that the Church is an agency or a movement for political change. It simply is new life, new creation. When human life is renewed in this way, so that poverty and wealth are re-imagined like this, the result is something like the Church; and Christians will insist that only through the act and call of God is any of this ever possible, and only in conscious relation with Jesus is it fully realised. When we celebrate the Holy Communion, we are not awarding each other points for good behaviour or orthodox teaching but we are showing what it will be like in the Kingdom of Heaven – Christ’s life given equally to all as all share in one bread; every communicant called by name to God’s table, so that we have to look at every other communicant as God’s beloved guest. Out of this flows the vision of a renewed world that keeps alive our hope and our anger at a system that treats so many as unwelcome in the world, nameless statistics, making no contribution to the life of others, dispensable.

Now the more we live and speak – this week and every week – as Church in this sense, the more we shall have to say to the real world. Christians should emphatically be campaigning for justice for the poor – but the Church is not a campaign. From time to time I am challenged to state ‘my’ vision or ‘my’ agenda for the Church. But we need real caution in using such language. The Church is the new creation, it is life and joy, it is the sacramental fellowship in which we share the ultimate purpose of God, made real for us now in our hearing the Word and sharing the Sacrament. What has this to do with anyone’s ‘agenda’? The Church is always greater than this, and the vision we most deeply need is the vision of new creation.

The Russian Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann distinguishes the Church from a sect very simply by saying that a sect is always transforming itself into an ‘agency’, committed to a succession of causes, and he says, ‘it easily mobilizes people against and not for’, creates typically for itself a modern sense of pervasive guilt for not being radical enough (The Journals of Fr Alexander Schmemann, p.203). But the Church is just life in the new world which is the old one transfigured in Christ’s light. The Church does not have to be defined by its activism, justified by its good causes. ‘Dead end of the world with its “progress.” Dead end of religion with its laws and therapeutics. Christ has taken us out of both these dead ends. The Church eternally celebrates it, and people as eternally reject it and are deaf to it’ (p.292). So if we ask what we need to be heard saying, perhaps it is this – that the new world is a reality here in the Church, not by our activism and our anxious struggles to keep up with an agenda, but in the gift of presence in the Eucharist and in every moment when we meet our Father through Jesus. The possibility of a world differently organised, where poverty and wealth, joy and suffering, are everyone’s, a world where every person is not just a possessor of ‘rights’ but a precious and unique friend. That possibility is a fact among us. It may and will move us to action, to the fullest share in the struggle to change things; but the Church is not there in order to change things – if it were, it would disappear when injustices disappear, instead of being fully itself when injustices disappear. When we start defining the Church by campaigns and struggles, God help us; we have lost the one thing only the Church can give, the fact of God’s future made real. That is why Father Schmemann can say that our biggest problem as a Church is that we have lost joy (291); and this is not because we fail to feel or look happy enough, which really has nothing at all to do with anything and could be the most blasphemous and stupid of ideas, given the tragedy of the world. It is about the fact that joy exists, that God’s blissful enjoyment of his own loving being is open to the world he has created. Will this week’s proceedings suggest to anyone that joy exists and is offered us by God?

V

We can’t guarantee anything at this point. We can’t ignore the seriousness of what divides us. But if there is no easy solution, and there is not, we can at least think about this simple suggestion. If it is difficult for us to stand together at the Lord’s Table as we might wish, can we continue to be friends? Its sounds so weak, doesn’t? But, I actually think it is of great significance. It is a way of saying that we do not know how to go on being visibly full brothers and sisters, that we can find no clear visible way of expressing any sense of being together in the Body of Christ. But this is the case already with a number of other Christian bodies, and several other Christian bodies view us in this way, notably the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. And yet we maintain respect and often something more than respect. Friendship in Christ, it seems, is possible even when sacramental communion isn’t.

Friendship is something that creates equality and mutuality, not a reward for finding equality or a way of intensifying existing mutuality. That’s why we can talk – astonishingly, when you think about it – of friendship between us and God, the friendship Jesus speaks of. It is why St Teresa of Avila can write about friendship as the most radical mark of Christian community, as we find our common ground simply in God’s invitation to us to be his friends. And so, alongside the wearisome and saddening divisions of the Church, common ground stubbornly persists.

What are we prepared to do to nourish this sort of friendship? My sense of where we now are is that this is not high on our agenda. The debates are so close to us, so emotionally involving, that we can hardly conceive of being friends in Christ. Yet it may be that many of our difficulties have their roots in a failure to give enough energy to friendship in the past across cultures and theologies. If we can correct this, we at least lay some foundations for the reconciliation that we shall have to go on praying for, though who knows how or when it will happen? Friendship in Christ is a willingness to share prayer, to listen without rancour to each another, to respect and even enjoy difference, to be patient with each other, not expecting quick healing of divisions but not walking away every time difference raises its head. Friendship in Christ is best and most creative when it is linked with sacramental fellowship; but if that fellowship is hard or controversial, we need to remember from our ecumenical experience that this need not and should not mean a spirit of bitter contempt towards each other. It has taken the great churches of the world centuries to make this sort of friendship a routine matter, but, thank God, it is so now for the most part. Can we make a resolution – not pass but make a resolution — that it will not take so long to confirm these bonds between us? Of course it is harder in some ways: direct conflict and even rivalry darkens the sky so much. But when we cannot witness together as fully as we long to do, this is something of real witness nonetheless. We can look at and listen to the language we use about each other and watch how easily we are ready to let it slip from proper and honest disagreement towards contempt and mutual exclusion. Yet as baptised believers, we still have something to offer each other; and the friendship of the baptised should remain, whatever else divides.

And it may be that as we work on what our friendship through Christ and in Christ’s presence demands, we shall find ourselves able to step back from things that make our divisions deeper, we shall find ways of relating to each other with respect and integrity that stop any of us pushing a local agenda too far and too fast (and I am not speaking only of one issue or one locality here). We already see signs of this in some places. Who knows what might be possible for us with patience and – simply – love?

VI

While I have been speaking, on a conservative estimate, twelve hundred children have died of poverty-related causes. By the end of our meeting, the number will be some 300,000. I say this not to induce guilt, but to remind us again of the world in which we have to speak, the world in which we have to make the good news sound credible. Too often, even when we speak of things we know we can’t avoid speaking about – some of the things I have touched on here – we must surely realise that we sound as though we lived in a quite unreal world, where the passions that moved us made no sense to most people. We can remedy this not by ignoring the need for honest talk among ourselves but by resolutely bringing all our speaking back to the fact of what we have been given, which is finally so infinitely more important than our debates – the fact that God’s future is real now because of the cross and resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit. In that context, as we struggle to find ways of understanding and responding to each other that are in every way and every sense faithful to the gospel, let us at least try to remember what a church is and what the nature of a church requires of us – that it is not a pressure group of right or left. If we treat it like that, we fall under Karl Barth’s heavy strictures, acting as if the secret of God were ours. We shall not manifest to the world anything other than a religious version of the world’s own quarrels and tensions. And if we are not showing the triumphant work of Christ, we are saying to the world that we have no real word to speak that the world doesn’t know already; we are just echoing the anger or the compassion or the generosity of the human heart. And there are worse things than that; but Christ did not die and rise for that.

If this time together can be a true experience of the Church, what may not be possible for us by God’s grace? We shall have found again the sources from which we can confront the deep evils of our world with resolution and passion. We may be just a little less likely to seem an embarrassing, even insulting, set of noises off in a time when serious moral attention is on those evils and how they are to be ended. What, I wonder, do we imagine God saying to us at the end of things? Not, I think, ‘Did you successfully negotiate the structural and ethical problems of the Anglican Communion?’ but perhaps, ‘Did you so live in the experience of the Church, the Body of my Son, that a tormented world saw the possibility of hope and of joy?’ ‘Did you focus afresh on the one task the Church has to perform – living Christ in such a way that his news, his call, is compelling?’ The Orthodox Church at its Liturgy prays for ‘a good answer before the terrible judgement seat of Christ’; we might well pray the same, as we pray for the wisdom to know how to speak to each other in this meeting so that we speak at the same time to the world Christ loves and longs for.

ENDS

© Rowan Williams 2005

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Fax: 0207 261 1765
www.archbishopofcanterbury.org

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 20 June 2005 at 1:30pm BST | Comments (6)
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Sunday, 19 June 2005

RW television interview with Melvyn Bragg

Rowan Williams was interviewed for an hour (less commercial breaks) by Melvyn Bragg. This was recorded last Thursday, and was shown today, Sunday, at noon on ITV1.

No transcript of this interview is available as yet.

The following news stories have appeared:
Press Association Archbishop Threatens to Reopen Rift on Women Bishops
Observer Woman might head church, says Williams
Telegraph Homophobia is rife, says Archbishop

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 19 June 2005 at 8:48pm BST | Comments (13)
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ACC Nottingham: Sunday

Further news reports today on the ACC meeting will be posted here, newest items at the top.

TLC Withdrawn Status of North Americans Noted

TLC ACC Opening Session Surprise

ENS Archbishop of Canterbury celebrates ACC opening Eucharist

ENS Bob Williams Anglican Consultative Council opens Nottingham meeting under theme ‘Living Communion’

TLC George Conger ACC Meeting Opens with Dinner and Orientation

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 19 June 2005 at 12:48pm BST | Comments (0)
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BBC Radio: Sunday programme items

Anglican Consultative Council

The meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council which begins today in Nottingham could be a slightly awkward affair. The ACC is the only worldwide Anglican body which includes lay people and priests as well as bishops - all thirty eight provinces of the Anglican Church send representatives. This time, however the Anglican Churches in the United States and Canada were asked to withdraw their delegations because of the row over the ordination of Gene Robinson and the blessing of same sex unions. Stephen Bates is the Guardian’s Religious Affairs correspondent and has written a book about the divisions in the Church over homosexuality.

Listen here with Real Audio (3.5 minutes)

Profile of Archbishop of York

The Church of England is to get its first black archbishop - as Archbishop of York John Sentamu will be the Church’s second most senior figure and stands 98th in a line that stretches back Paulinus in the year 625. It is a remarkable journey for someone who began his working life as a lawyer in Uganda. Mike Ford reports.

Listen here with Real Audio (10 minutes)

John Sentamu

The appointment of John Sentamu to the number two job in the Church of England has provoked plenty of column inches in the papers - most of them positive. Much is made of his background. He worked as a lawyer and judge in Uganda before escaping to Britain; he was beaten up under the Idi Amin regime when he refused to acquit one of the president’s cousins. Much is also made of the fact that he is the Church of England’s first black archbishop - the Independent newspaper adds for good measure that he is the first “senior prelate of the Church of England to be flagged down by the police and asked the standard PC plod stop-and-search questions” Here are some reactions to his appointment - The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin chairs the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, the Most Rev Henry Orombi, is Archbishop of Uganda & and Bishop of Kampala, but first here are the views of Rt. Rev. Joe Aldred a pastor in Birmingham, and secretary for minority ethnic Christian affairs in Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. Whatever the ethnic background of the incumbent the position of Archbishop of York is, potentially at least, a hugely important one - both in the life of the Church and in the life of the nation.

Listen here with Real Audio (2.5 minutes)

update
BBC news report based on the above, Archbishop vows to ban homophobia

The archbishop told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme homophobia had “no place” in the Church.

He wanted people to stop using “ghastly” language that implied people were “not human beings” because of their sexual orientation.

Archbishop Sentamu, who was born in Uganda, was appointed to the second highest post in the Church on Friday.

“I want to say to people, ‘Please, please, please don’t use such ghastly words,’ because every human being regardless of their sexual orientation are standing in for God, each one of them is actually loved of God.

“And when you use language which implies they were not human beings who are you to do that because you did not create them?’”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 19 June 2005 at 9:13am BST | Comments (12)
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Saturday, 18 June 2005

columns in the weekend press

Richard Chartres writes in The Times about church finances. In Church coffers are half full, not half empty he writes in part:

ALL Barchester has been roused by reports that a cash crisis in the Church of England could lead to a cut in clergy numbers by up to a third, with worshippers being directed to meet in one another’s homes. This doomsday scenario is mistaken, but despite Archdeacon Grantly’s derisive snorts, it is good to have a serious debate about the present state of the Church of England…

…The report which gave rise to the initial press reaction will be discussed by the General Synod next month. Its main thrust is that “the key challenge facing the Church is not financial but the need for it to develop a more dynamic mission emphasis”. This is the point on which we need the real debate to be focused.

The inhibiting factors have to be faced. One is the way the Church does its business, with the postwar explosion of boards, synods, councils and committees, all involved in a carousel of consultation,. John Sentamu, the new Archbishop of York, as Primate of England is just the right person to tackle this plate of spaghetti. His appointment is very good news…

Over in the Guardian Jane Shaw writes about the Anglican Communion in Rival bids for the Anglican franchise, and she concludes her column with:

…There is a new set of alignments, in which people want to be with other people who read the Bible like them more than they want to unite with all other Anglicans. These alignments cross national boundaries. We might call this the confessional versus the communion.

The bullying behaviour of those united in an alignment to oppose the North American decisions suggests that they have no interest in the integrity of the communion unless we all think like them.

The Windsor report, the 2004 document meant to sort out the divisions within the communion, attempts to do that by changing the nature of the communion. We need to be clear about that. We will go from being a “fairly loose federation of kindred spirits, often grateful for mutual fellowship but with each province reserving the right to make its own decisions”, as church historian Henry Chadwick described the communion in 1993, to one in which, as the report says “no province, diocese or parish has the right to introduce a novelty”.

Local differences, or dispersed authority as we understand it in Anglican terms, will have no place in this more authoritarian global structure. Someone’s version of Anglicanism will prevail, but whose? Who will own the Anglican franchise?

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph discusses Prayer and God’s rescue plan

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 18 June 2005 at 9:46am BST | Comments (6)
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more on Sentamu

The Yorkshire Post has this column by Michael Brown A life less ordinary for the very different Archbishop together with this front-page news report Archbishop elect calls for visionary church and a leader here (scroll down)

From the London papers:
Guardian
leader Ebor’s handicap
Stephen Bates A cleric’s journey: from Idi Amin’s Uganda to York

The Times
Ruth Gledhill and Andrew Norfolk Church reveals its changing face with choice of a visionary Bishop
Alan Hamilton A fearless campaigner who stood up to terror of Idi Amin
and this online only analysis by Ruth Gledhill The man to help the CofE live again

Telegraph
leader African spice
Jonathan Petre Sentamu becomes Britain’s first black archbishop

Independent
Ian Herbert Judge who fled Amin becomes first black archbishop in C of E

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 18 June 2005 at 9:11am BST | Comments (0)
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Friday, 17 June 2005

preparing for Nottingham

As the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham draws near, many articles have appeared concerning it.

The Episcopal News Service published Listening central as delegates, observers prepare for ACC-13
and also this account of the recent Province IV Synod: From Nigeria, New Zealand: Voices on Windsor Report heard in U.S. forum.

Presiding Bishop Griswold has issued this letter to ECUSA bishops which mentions that:

In addition to making our presentation we will deliver to the members of the ACC a document entitled To Set Our Hope on Christ. This report is offered as a response to the request put to us in the Windsor Report paragraph 135 which asks the Episcopal Church to explain “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.” The report was prepared by a small group coordinated by my Canon Theologian, Mark McIntosh of Loyola University Chicago. We can be very grateful for his efforts and those of Michael Battle, Katherine Grieb and Timothy Sedgwick (all of the Virginia Theological Seminary) Jay Johnson (the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California), Bishop Roskam, and Kathryn Tanner (University of Chicago). As well, we can be grateful for the work of Dr. Pamela Darling, an historian who has compiled an appendix which delineates our church’s exploration over these last 40 years of issues of human sexuality. Once the text has been delivered to the members of ACC it will be available online and you will receive word about how copies may be obtained in booklet form.

The Living Church has published this editorial comment: ACC Meeting Could Bring Clarity
and this news article, Bishop Griswold Confident Before ACC Meeting

The Anglican Journal has Church Groups Make Plans for Council Meeting in Nottingham.

The Church of England Newspaper had two articles:
Americans set to defy Primates’ call
Ordinands ‘should study homosexuality’

And the CEN has now added this week’s trenchant View from Fleet Street column, by Stephen Bates in which he comments:

…It is clear that the North Americans are no more going to retreat from what they – rightly in my opinion, for what it is worth – perceive to be a more realistic, tolerant and Christian attitude towards gays in the clergy, than that the bishops of the Global South will be struck by a blinding revelation that homosexuality does not have to be the defining, now-or-never, communion-breaking issue for Anglicanism.

The best analogy I’ve heard in all this has been that of Kendall Harmon, the South Carolina theologian, who says it is as if the two sides are playing tennis, but on separate courts, so that there is no one to bat the ball back from the other side of the net. As in any divorce, schism or civil war, it is when the two sides not only stop talking to each other but also cease listening – a process which implies the possibility of change and even reconciliation – that breakdown is inevitable. They may not openly admit it, but too many people in Anglicanism just want to bring that on.

Well, the time has come. It is surely evident that the strains of keeping together an international communion, traditionally based on mutual affection and respect for each other’s traditions and provincial autonomy, are just too great when stretched across societies of vastly different cultural, social and religious realities, particularly when it is evident that there is no mutual understanding and appreciation left to hold the show together…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 17 June 2005 at 6:45pm BST | Comments (2)
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July General Synod - papers

The main bulk of the papers for next months meeting of General Synod arrived in the post this morning, and are listed below. I’ve also included papers due to be circulated next week (marked with an asterisk).

I’ll add links to online copies as they become available.

GS 1571 Agenda
Friday 8 July Saturday 9 July Sunday 10 July Monday 11 July Tuesday 12 July

GS 1572 Report of the Business Committee

GS 1574 Formation for Ministry within a Learning Church: Reviewing Progress

GS 1575 Assisted Suicide and Voluntary Euthanasia: Report by the Mission and Public Affairs Council *

GS 1576 Children and Holy Communion *
Annex 1
Annex 2

GS 1577 Presence and Engagement [This is a 20 MB (sic) document.]
GS Misc 788 Covering Note from the Mission and Public Affairs Council

GS 1578 Thirty-Ninth Report of the Standing Orders Committee
First Notice Paper (listing proposed amendments to standing orders)

GS 1579 Church Urban Fund: A New Future
GS Misc 789 Covering Note from the Mission and Public Affairs Council

GS 1580 Strategic Spending Review
GS 1580A Accountability and Transparency
GS 1580B Resourcing Mission
Annex A Annex B Annex C Annex D Annex E
GS Misc 782 Review of Administrative Costs *

GS 1583 Annual Report of the Archbishops’ Council’s Audit Committee

GS 1582 Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report *

In the Spirit of the Covenant: Report of the Joint Implementation Commission
GS Misc 784 Covering Note by the CCU

Listing continues below the fold.

Legislation

GS 1555B Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure
GS 1555Z Report by the Steering Committee

GS 1585 Clergy Discipline Code of Practice
GS 1586 Clergy Discipline Rules
GS 1585&6X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1588 The Legal Officers (Annual Fees) (No 2) Order 2005
GS 1589 The Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2005
GS 1588&9X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1590 Parochial Fees Order
GS 1590X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1587 See of Southwell: Petition for change of name

Liturgy

GS 1535B Ordination Services
Deacons Priests Bishops
GS 1535Z Second Report of the Revision Committee
Annex to GS 1535Z
GS 1573 ASB Ordinal: Extended Authorization
This will only be taken if the CW Ordinal fails to obtain final approval.

Diocesan Synod Motions

GS Misc 771A Note by the Diocese of Oxford
GS Misc 771B Note by the Ministry Division

Finance

GS 1581 Archbishops’ Council’s Proposed Budget for 2006 [This is an 8.9 MB file.]
GS Misc 779 Allocations and Apportionment Formulae Review

Other Papers (not on the Synod agenda)

GS Misc 778 Ethical Investment: Is it worth it?
GS Misc 785 Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 17 June 2005 at 1:30pm BST | Comments (0)
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Sentamu to York

The new Archbishop of York is to be the Rt Revd Dr John Sentamu, currently Bishop of Birmingham.

Here is the Church of England press release

Here is the Downing Street announcement

Here is the Lambeth Palace statement

Here is the Diocese of York press release

Here is the Diocese of Birmingham announcement

Church Times ‘Surprised’ choice for York

BBC New Archbishop of York appointed and The Archbishop with ‘street cred’ and Profile

Doug LeBlanc has a roundup of comments about John Sentamu in “You have wasted your saliva”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 17 June 2005 at 8:50am BST | Comments (18)
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Church Times on AGI

The Church Times has a lengthy report, Revealed: conservative plans to set up global network of ‘authentic’ Anglicans. This report says in part:

It is hard to see how the Anglican Global Initiative could exist within the existing Anglican Communion, even though the articles state that members should be “respectful of the historical role and authority entrusted to the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Primates’ Meeting, and the Lambeth Conference”. No mention is made anywhere of the other instrument of unity, the ACC.

The document proposes affiliating with other traditionalist organisations in North America and the United Kingdom, “as an authentic expression of the worldwide Anglican Communion”.

None of these others is named, but the document does refer to the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, which was established last autumn to channel aid from traditionalist parishes in the US ( News, 1 October). The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes and the Anglican Communion Network were involved in its setting up.

The Church Times also republishes the full text of the AGI document here, and the Global South draft of the press release here.

The Church Times editorial is also about this, see Planning for a band of the like-minded. An extract from this:

We are disturbed, however, by the upsurge of organisations that define themselves as representing the only true spirit of Anglicanism, or, for that matter, of Christianity. We are relieved that the proposed Anglican Global Initiative is quiescent for the present; but the implications of a body of this kind are grave. It is, of course, laudable that its promoters wish to “hold to the centrality and authority of holy scripture”, to “propagate the historic faith and order”, and to “pursue the apostolic mission of the Church to a troubled and fallen world”. We concur with their desire to “alleviate human need and to provide an effective means to spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, while promoting unity through common action within the Anglican Communion”.

The problem is that, while everyone else in the Anglican Communion would also concur with these statements, it is clear that the framers of the articles have only a select band of parishes and dioceses in mind. The rest of the Church, by implication, has “schismatically separated itself from the fellowship of most members of the Anglican Communion”. Where and how the numbers divide is anyone’s guess. Moreover, there is always a good chance that if you are accusing others of schism, you may be schismatic yourself.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 17 June 2005 at 8:01am BST | Comments (7)
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Thursday, 16 June 2005

RW lecture on the media

Rowan Williams delivered a lecture last night at Lambeth Palace, entitled The Media: Public Interest and Common Good.
Lambeth Palace also issued a press release about it, in advance: Archbishop delivers major address on media.

Reports of this speech:

Ruth Gledhill in The Times Archbishop hits out at web-based media ‘nonsense’

THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has criticised the new web-based media for “paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry”. He described the atmosphere on the world wide web as a free-for-all that was “close to that of unpoliced conversation”.

In a lecture to media professionals, politicians and church leaders at Lambeth Palace in London last night, Dr Williams wondered whether a balance could be struck between the professionalism of the classical media and the relative disorder of online communication.

Dr Williams also extended his wide-ranging critique of journalistic practice to the traditional media, arguing that there are “embarrassingly low levels of trust” in the profession and that claims about what is in the public interest need closer scrutiny. He called for a “more realistic, less fevered” approach to stories by journalists and added: “There is a difference between exposing deceptions that sustain injustice and attacking confidentialities or privacies that in some sense protect the vulnerable.”

He attacked the “high levels of adversarial and suspicious probing” that send the clear message that any kind of concealment means “guilty until proved innocent”, and he challenged journalists and broadcasters to attempt to regain lost public confidence…

Stephen Bates and Owen Gibson in the Guardian Archbishop attacks ‘lethal’ media

The Archbishop of Canterbury last night launched a wide-ranging attack on the media, accusing journalists of distorting debate, contributing to a climate of national cynicism, and unjustly attacking institutions over their secretiveness.

In the most trenchant statement on public life he has made in his three years at Lambeth Palace, Dr Rowan Williams appeared to take in tabloids, broadsheets, weblogs and broadcasters with equal vehemence. He charged all with conspiring against public understanding.

The speech at Lambeth Palace represented a departure for the archbishop, who has been criticised in church quarters for his reluctance to speak out on public matters, leading to accusations that his advisers prefer him to say nothing controversial.

Dr Williams claimed that some aspects of current journalistic practice are “lethally damaging”, contributing to the “embarrassingly low level of trust” in the profession.

The archbishop said: “We need to deflate some of the rhetoric about the media as guardians and nurturers of democracy simply by virtue of the constant exposure of ‘information’ and we need to be cautious about a use of ‘public interest’ language that ignores the complexity and, often, artificiality of our ideas of ‘the public’. “

He accused the media of manipulating fear, exhibiting violent conflict between people for entertainment, and living off internal feuds: “Corrupt speech, inflaming unexamined emotion, reinforcing division, wrapped up in its own performance, leaves us less human: fewer things are possible for us. Bad human communication leaves us less room to grow.” His attack encompassed national newspapers which “communicate as if every reader … shared the same fundamental values, preferences and anxieties”, broadcasters for their obsession with breaking news, and weblogs which indulge in “paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry”…

The Guardian also has an editorial about this, which should be read in full, Good news. Two quotes from that:

…Since he has spent much of the last three years avoiding as many journalists as he could, his analysis lacks the kind of practical sympathy arising from shared experience that he believes journalists should show towards their victims. It certainly lacks the snap that might propel it in the market place. But he makes a couple of deep and important points. The first is that the media, just as much as other powerful forces, tend to destroy the autonomy of the professions they write about. A professional, by definition, has knowledge and understanding unavailable to outsiders. Journalists, Dr Williams believes, should be illuminating this kind of inside knowledge and allowing readers to share it imaginatively; instead they concentrate on dragging mere facts into the light, which may well be misleading even if they are correct…

…The archbishop wants a society in which journalists, readers and their subjects all talk back to each other and try to learn from each other. This will strike most journalists and those who have to deal with them as extraordinarily utopian. Yet Dr Williams is right. There is something wrong with a society in which this seems a ludicrous aspiration. He should talk about it with journalists more often - and not just at them.

We don’t often link to the Sun on Thinking Anglicans, but its report is headlined ‘Fever’ call to media.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 16 June 2005 at 7:49am BST | Comments (2)
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Wednesday, 15 June 2005

Anglican Global Initiative

Updated Thursday twice

Two sources have published reports concerning a draft document which is titled: THE ORGANIZING CONSTITUTION OF THE ANGLICAN GLOBAL INITIATIVE.

Stephen Bates has this report in the Guardian Conservative Anglicans’ church plan revealed. It starts out:

Conservative Anglicans have drawn up detailed plans to set up their own church within a church, with their own constitution and decision-making synods, according to a document seen by the Guardian.

The move, days before representatives from the church’s 38 provinces meet in Nottingham to discuss the state of Anglicanism, appears to be the latest stage in the 77 million-strong communion’s widening split over homosexuality within the priesthood.

The draft organising constitution for a group to be called the Anglican Global Initiative envisages that it would operate within the Anglican communion. The document proposes that it should be headed by two conservative primate archbishops from the developing world “to affiliate and unite in love, holiness and true godly fellowship through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Anglicans in [the] global south with Anglicans in North America and the United Kingdom”…

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh has issued a press release about the document, with the title Akinola and Gomez Prepared to Start Alternative Anglican Communion which can be read here and in part says:

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP) has obtained a draft constitution for an organization called the “Anglican Global Initiative” (AGI), apparently intended to be a shadow, alternative, or parallel Anglican Communion for so-called orthodox Anglicans. The document, which has circulated among leaders of the Episcopal Church, USA, and the Anglican Church of Canada since the Primates Meeting of last February, was discussed at a January Nairobi meeting of “Global South” primates led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola. The constitution, which seems not to have been formally agreed to by meeting participants, names Akinola and Archbishop Drexel Gomez, of the West Indies, as interim co-presidents. Akinola and Gomez have been two of the most vocal critics of the Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Church of Canada for their treatment of homosexuality.

Despite provision in the draft document for appointment of a group of 12 laity and a synod of bishops, all power lies in the hands of an Executive Council of primates and one lay representative of their choice. Between meetings of this Council, power is exercised by the president(s). One provision would allow the Moderator of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes (NACDAP) status as a primate. The top-down polity outlined by the constitution is also reflected in the document’s omission of the Anglican Consultative Council from a list of Anglican Communion entities owed respect for their “historical role and authority.” (The other three “Instruments of Unity” are named.)

An analysis of the text of the draft suggests that it was drawn up in close consultation with the NACDAP. It is prefaced by “If it becomes necessary, REALIGNMENT GUIDELINES.” “Realignment,” usually without any clear explanation, is a common theme of NACDAP spokespersons. The structural charter of the NACDAP and the AGI constitution each has an Article IX concerning property, with the AGI version closely following that of the NACDAP. The AGI constitution makes provision for a uniform canon law, recognizes the Anglican Relief and Development Fund by name, and commits to setting up missions in disregard of diocesan boundaries and directly serving dissident parishes, not only in North America, but in Britain as well. The AGI constitution was probably drawn up after the October 2004 meeting of CAPA (Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa) for presentation in Nairobi. Attached to it is what appears to be a preliminary draft of the statement actually issued January 28, 2005, at the close of January Nairobi meeting…

The AGI draft document itself can also be read in full here. The attached preliminary draft of the Nairobi statement can be compared with what was actually issued here.

Updates
Steve Levin in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has Plan realigns Anglican church. Comments in that article include:

The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan Jr., bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese and moderator of an organization of representatives from about 10 dioceses around the country — including Pittsburgh — who believe the Episcopal Church has overstepped its canonical boundaries, said he first learned of the draft yesterday.

He dismissed it as looking “like the work of some lawyers” but said a similar document could eventually emerge.

“It’s within the structures of the Anglican Communion,” he said. “There are numerous subgroups within the communion. This is a proposal for another subgroup.”

The press spokesman for the Pittsburgh diocese commented directly to titusonenine see here. Further comments about this are located here.

Those who want to see what the original document looks like should examine the 0.9 Mb PDF file available here.

further update
The story is also reported in the Church of England Newspaper as Conservative Anglicans planning separate branch

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 15 June 2005 at 7:39am BST | Comments (41)
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Sunday, 12 June 2005

news from Trinidad

John Gladwin wasn’t the only person recently affected by the policies of the Province of the West Indies.

From the Trinidad and Tobago Express a profile this week of the American priest who had her invitation to return to her native country withdrawn by the local bishop, God loves Gays.

Ifill’s attitude of inclusion-expected, of course, from a priest-landed her in the midst of a local controversy last month, when she became the second cleric from whom an invitation to speak here was withdrawn. The Trinidad and Tobago Anglican diocese cited conflicts between its and the invitees’ views on homosexuality. (The other rejected priest was UK bishop John Gladwell.)

Ifill says media headlines referring to her as “pro-gay” distorted her views on the issue. Her stance might best be described as open and non-condemning.

“I still struggle with the issue,” she says. “Every day you see scientific research and evidence contrary to what we think might be someone taking on (homosexuality) because it’s a fad or because they feel to go this way.”

Ifill tells the story of praying and crying with a suicidal gay young man who had been ostracised by his church and family. The painful experience had a great impact on her outlook.

“It’s very, very hard for me to come hard and fast on any particular side,” she says of the conflict that has been rending the international Anglican community.

But Ifill is certain that her role in dealing with gay parishioners is the same as dealing with straight, that is, to counsel, comfort and-above all-accept.

“The church is called to reconcile all people to God and to each other,” she says. “The church has a mission in this world to preach the gospel and we cannot be about alienation.”

Ifill’s moderate position was close enough to the church’s liberal extreme—concentrated in the USA, Canada and the UK, which supports gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions, to alarm local bishop, Calvin Bess.

He, like other West Indian Anglican leaders, believes gay relationships are a contravention of God’s laws and therefore not consistent with Christianity.

“The whole question of homosexuality has been pronounced upon by the word of God,” Bess says in a phone interview. He cites biblical passages some believe prohibit homosexual acts. One, Leviticus 18:22, reads: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.”

“Who am I to go contrary to the word of God and stay a minister?” says Bess.

Reassurances from Ifill that she would not preach anything contradicting the West Indian position weren’t enough.

“She had a number of programmes in schools,” says Bess. “How would she know the kinds of questions those children were going to ask? I cannot allow myself to be seen as somebody who is saying one thing and doing the opposite. I would look like a madman.”

Ifill is regretful of Bess’s decision and the rift in the worldwide Anglican church.

Here’s the earlier reports of her disinvitation, Anglicans blank another foreign priest on gay issue and West Indies Withdraws Invitation to American Missioner.

For good measure, here’s a recent piece by Angela Infill, What Is Expected of the Baptized?.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 12 June 2005 at 6:48pm BST | Comments (49)
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Saturday, 11 June 2005

weekend opinions

Alex Wright, who is religion editor at IB Tauris has written in the Guardian godslot about Landscapes of the spirit

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writes this week on Crying out for vengeance

In The Times Jonathan Sacks, who has today been knighted, writes about volunteering in Lifting others, we ourselves are lifted

This month in Harper’s Magazine Jeff Sharlet has a major article: Inside America’s most powerful megachurch. This was discussed in last week’s Church Times Press column by Andrew Brown in Where they queue to get in
Pastor Ted has been getting a lot of publicity lately in the USA, follow the links from The Church of No Questions

There’s a second article in that same Harper’s issue, Feeling the hate with the National Religious Broadcasters

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 11 June 2005 at 10:10am BST | Comments (5)
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from the Church Times last week

The process of inculturation in southern Africa has led some priests to introduce animal slaughter. Michael Bleby reports in Bringing new blood into church
There was also a related news story by Bill Bowder, Blood used to welcome ancestors

For many unmarried couples, christening of their children is a substitute for another service, Alan Billings finds in Why baptism parties are getting bigger

Boycotting Israel, especially its universities,would not have helped anyone, argues Ed Kessler in Sense triumphs in boycott row

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 11 June 2005 at 9:03am BST | Comments (1)
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Friday, 10 June 2005

Resourcing Mission Group - 2

The Church of England report from a group with this title has now attracted some press coverage.

Ruth Gledhill wrote about it in The Times Church admits cash shortage threatens one third of clergy

Peter Price the chairman of the group wrote a letter to the editor, taking issue with the article: Church of England’s finances and future

The Church of England Newspaper contained an article in a quite different vein, headlined Church to direct funding to enable mission ventures

The BBC reported this way: Buildings ‘holding back’ Church

In the Church Times Bill Bowder had Out-of-date Church lacks vision, not cash, says report

The report’s own summary of its conclusions is reproduced below the fold.

E. SUMMARY

23.1 The main conclusions of our interim report are thus as follows.

23.2 The key challenge facing the Church is not financial but the need for it to develop a more dynamic mission emphasis. The key priorities are to sustain and develop the Church’s existing ministry and to invest in recruitment, training and leadership development, as well as address new mission opportunities (Paras 4.8-4.10). These priorities will be worked out in different ways in local circumstances. The House of Bishops should take a lead in ensuring that the national framework which surrounds local activity helps to promote the overall mission development of the Church (5.3).

23.3 The Church faces the difficulty that whilst it needs to make new investment in its mission development, many parishes cannot afford their current ministry (7.1-7.3). A number of dioceses are engaged in work on the issues of viability and how mission frameworks can guide funding decisions and we urge that the House of Bishops and National Church Institutions find ways of ensuring that this experience about resource allocation is shared between dioceses (7.7).

23.4 Although continued effort needs to be made to increase all the resources available to the Church, its funding mainly relies on members’ giving. The Church must continue to devote time to its teaching about giving. Increasing giving can also be helped by greater transparency over the Church’s finances. Dioceses and the National Church Institutions should work together to ensure that parishes are aware of the full costs of their ministry and mission (9.2, 10.7).

23.5 It is important to celebrate the significant and growing mutual support which already exists within the Church and to acknowledge the Gospel imperative of further action to address the continuing resource inequalities (11.1-11.6). Mutual support is likely to be strengthened where there is a genuine partnership between contributors and recipients (13.2).

23.6 The Group does not think the time is yet ripe to create an inter-diocesan fund into which dioceses are expected to make contributions by some kind of formula. The current priority in enhancing mutual support should be increased transparency so that all parts of the Church have a more realistic understanding of its costs and a better knowledge of each other’s needs and opportunities (13.5-13.6).

23.7 The National Church Institutions should stand ready to help dioceses which wish to make voluntary commitments to mutual support either by re-channelling current benefits from national funding or by facilitating the creation of a separate scheme whereby dioceses lodge requests for support (possibly on a website) and others make contributions to meet those requests (15.l-15.3).

23.8 If the Church is to make any significant headway in addressing the mutual support issue, it must also give further consideration to the most effective distribution of its national historic resources. To the extent that better-resourced areas of the Church continue to receive support from the Church Commissioners, there is significant potential to enhance the amounts available for mutual support (15.4).

23.9 We have discussed the option of denationalising the national historic assets vested in the Commissioners and distributing them to bishops, dioceses and cathedrals. This would have some ecclesiological merit but the practical difficulties and cost penalties of such a radical step appear prohibitive (16.3-16.4).

23.10 The funding from the Church’s national historic assets should be distributed in ways which promote local decision-making, more targeted support, a focus on mission, and greater accountability (16.5).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 10 June 2005 at 8:02am BST | Comments (0)
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Thursday, 9 June 2005

InclusiveChurch and General Synod

InclusiveChurch is campaigning for election to the 2005-9 General Synod of many more clergy and lay members who are committed to celebrating and maintaining the Anglican tradition of inclusion and diversity.

Advice on how to get nominated and elected can be found on the IC website as PDF files:

IC Aims and Objectives for the 2005 General Synod Elections
Advice on making an election address
How to stand for General Synod, advice for Laity
How to stand for Synod - advice for Clergy
How does the single transferable vote system work?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 9 June 2005 at 9:59am BST | Comments (24)
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Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Panel of Reference named at last

The names of the rest of the panel have now been announced. The full text of the ACNS press release is below the fold.

Updates Thursday and Friday
Ruth Gledhill reports this news in today’s Times under the headline Church appoints tribunal to bring peace on gay row
The CEN has Panel of Reference named
The Church Times has Dr Williams names his row referees

[ACNS/LAMBETH PALACE, 8 June 2005]

Following the proposals made at the February 2005 Primates’ Meeting at Dromantine, the Archbishop of Canterbury recently announced the appointment of Archbishop Peter Carnley as the chairman of the Panel of Reference, and at the same time published the Mandate that establishes the Panel.

The Archbishop is pleased to announce now that the following clerical and lay members of the Anglican Communion have accepted his invitation to become members of the Panel, and has expressed his great appreciation for their interest and commitment.

Chairman

The Most Revd Dr Peter Carnley
retiring Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

Members

His Honour Michael Evans, QC
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales

The Revd Dr Joseph Galgalo
Lecturer in Systematic and Contextual Theologies,
St Paul’s United Theological College, Limuru, Kenya

Mr Bernard Georges
Chancellor of the Province of the Indian Ocean

The Rt Revd Khotso Makhulu, CMG
former Primate of Central Africa

The Revd Canon John Moore
former International Director of the Intercontinental Church Society (ICS)

Mrs Rubie Nottage
Chancellor of the Province of the West Indies

The Rt Revd Claude Payne
former Bishop of Texas

The Rt Revd Dr John Sentamu
Bishop of Birmingham

The Rt Revd Maurice Sinclair
former Primate of the Southern Cone

Mr Robert Tong
Member, Church Law Commission, Anglican Church of Australia and Chairman of the Council of the Anglican Church League, Australia

The Revd Stephen Trott
Church Commissioner, the Church of England

Ms Fung Yi Wong
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, member of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council

The Panel will be supported by Canon Gregory Cameron (Deputy Secretary General, Anglican Communion Office) as Secretary, and Canon John Rees (Legal Adviser, Anglican Consultative Council) as Legal Adviser, assisted by a senior member of Lambeth Palace staff in a liaison role for the Archbishop of Canterbury, together with other administrative support as required.

The first meeting of the Panel will take place at the earliest available opportunity, probably in July or August of this year, when it will agree its day-to-day modus operandi. In accordance with the provisions of the mandate, the Panel will consider only those items referred to it by the Archbishop of Canterbury, or a Primate of the Anglican Communion, in cases where mediation is sought by the Primate.

Contact with the members of the Panel should be through the Anglican Communion Office in London, although any persons wishing to invoke the Panel’s procedures should make contact in the first instance through the Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mr Christopher Smith, at Lambeth Palace. It is only by referral from the Archbishop that the Panel can take on the review of particular cases.

The functions of the Panel are as follows:

  • At the Archbishop’s request to enquire into, consider and report on situations drawn to his attention where there is serious dispute concerning the adequacy of schemes of delegated or extended episcopal oversight or other extraordinary arrangements which may be needed to provide for parishes which find it impossible in all conscience to accept the direct ministry of their own diocesan bishop or for dioceses in dispute with their provincial authorities
  • With the Archbishop’s consent to make recommendations to the Primates, dioceses and provincial and diocesan authorities concerned, and to report to him on their response
  • At the request of any Primate to provide a facility for mediation and to assist in the implementation of any such scheme in his own province.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 8 June 2005 at 3:54pm BST | Comments (0)
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Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Scottish bishops: further statement

The Scottish bishops have issued this Statement by the College of Bishops concerning future discussion of issues raised by the Windsor Report in the Province.

Earlier reports of the events leading up to this can be found here and here. Also here and here.

The full statement is reproduced below the fold.

Discussion up to the Present

Like all provinces in the Anglican Communion, we are at present sharing in two processes of discussion. In the Scottish Episcopal Church, we recently considered the Study Guide issued by the Working Party on Sexuality. Responses were collated and made available in the Province. The College of Bishops then made and circulated its own response to that material in February 2004. Similarly, the Windsor Report was considered in the Province. When responses to it were collated, the College made and circulated its own response both to it, and to the Primates’ Communiqué in March 2005.

Between now and Lambeth 2008, we are committed, as a Province, to sharing in the wider debate taking place across the Anglican Communion. We must, therefore, seek in a spirit of generosity to engage with and appreciate the full range of views that have been expressed and continue to be expressed both within our Province and elsewhere in our worldwide Communion.

The Issues Now Before Us

The Anglican Communion is at present attempting to deal with three major issues on this subject:

  1. Its attitude to people of homosexual orientation, including those who are in long term same-sex relationships;
  2. Whether acceptance extends to ministry in general and, in particular, to ordination to priesthood and episcopacy;
  3. How the church can hold within a single communion those who differ in their response to this issue and believe that this is, for various and differing reasons, an issue of fundamental importance.

Material for Further Consideration

The members of the College of Bishops recognise that they have a teaching and pastoral responsibility. They, therefore, wish to create an environment in which passionately held views can be expressed and heard in an atmosphere of charity, acceptance and honesty.

They are aware that there is a danger that even to encourage debate on this subject is to raise concern that ‘traditional’ positions may be modified, that an open attitude may become more closed or that what has been an informal acceptance of difference may be made more difficult just by the process of debate. However, such a debate must take place in every province of the Anglican Communion, as we move to the Lambeth Conference in 2008.

Everyone who engages in this debate must consider a number of factors:

  1. The interpretation and the authority of scripture – what it says and how it is to be read;
  2. An examination of the tradition of faith and the documents which have been produced as part of the Anglican Communion’s own examination of this issue. These most recently include the Resolutions of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Communiqué. Further material will arise between now and 2008, possibly as a result of the coming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council;
  3. Experience of the presence and the ministry of people of homosexual orientation within the life of the church;
  4. Ways in which our understanding of gender and sexuality has developed and continues to develop in our society.

In all this, we must seek to be open to learning the truth of God from one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The College’s Commitment and Invitation

The College of Bishops, therefore, affirms its commitment to the task set before the whole Communion – to engage openly and prayerfully with the full range of issues and material which are now part of this debate.

The College invites the Province to share in this process, listening to each other and to voices from other Provinces with that same spirit of generosity as has characterised our own debate so far.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 7 June 2005 at 8:24pm BST | Comments (0)
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Monday, 6 June 2005

Evangelical, Broad and Catholic Anglicans Working Together for an Inclusive Future

History was made on Saturday 4 June when representatives of 14 organisations from the full span of Anglican Communion tradition took part in a partnership and strategy day, organised by InclusiveChurch at All Saints Church, Fulham.

Representatives of organisations as diverse as Accepting Evangelicals, the Society of Catholic Priests, the Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians and Affirming Catholicism met with representatives from LGCM: Anglican Matters, the Modern Church People’s Union, Progressive Christianity Network, WATCH, Changing Attitude and others to deepen existing partnerships and to develop concrete strategies for joint action.

Erica Wooff, National Coordinator of InclusiveChurch, said:

‘We are a network of partner organisations and individuals whose very make-up reflects the breadth and scope of the Church of England and beyond. We come from differing traditions and differing locations today, but we are united in one aim: To celebrate and maintain the traditional inclusivity and diversity of the Anglican Church.

Revd. Giles Goddard, Executive Secretary of InclusiveChurch, said:

‘If we are to be faithful to the Gospel and to our Anglican traditions, it is essential that we celebrate the ministry of women as bishops without reservation, of lesbian and gay people on equal terms with the rest of the world, of people from ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. We hope that the upcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council will be robust in their rejection of anything which might limit Anglican diversity.’

As the first joint action following the partnership day, InclusiveChurch and its partner organisations will be present at the ACC meeting in Nottingham and will be urging ACC members to ask all Provinces in the Anglican Communion to begin a process of genuinely listening to and seeking to understand, first-hand, the experience and theological positions of lesbian and gay Christians - a process that has been woefully lacking to date.

For further information contact Rev. Giles Goddard at giles@inclusivechurch.net or on 07762 373 674 (m); or Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser at giles.fraser@btinternet.com or on 07811 444 011(m).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 June 2005 at 9:45pm BST | Comments (24)
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Saturday, 4 June 2005

Mr Hooker and the Windsor Report

Mike Russell, the Rector of All Souls Episcopal Church, San Diego, California, recently wrote the following short essay to explain why section B4 of the Windsor Report does not reflect the classic Anglican position on the authority of Scripture, which is to say the position of Richard Hooker.

Reproduced with Mike’s permission

For his credentials on Hooker see here
Another essay in the same vein is here

The classic Anglican position, found in Hooker’s “Laws” is that scripture is the primary source of revelation for “all things necessary for salvation” not all things simply. The WR and the Neo-Puritans are attempting to make it necessary for all things simply. Books II and III of the Laws are quite clear on the boundaries set on Scripture’s “prima” authority having already rejected it as having “sola” authority.

So while Scripture is perfect for the purpose for which it was created, it is for Mr. Hooker and those that follow clearly a mixture of documents as well, many of which are bound by time and place. For example, in the Articles of Religion we see the Church setting to the side not only the Apocrypha, but the judicial and ceremonial laws of Hebrew Scripture. What is most interesting in that is that the specific parts of Leviticus we see bandied about quite often are part of the judicial law and not the moral law which is confined to the Ten Commandments.

So classic Anglicanism has at its core a hermeneutic for prioritizing the contents of Scripture and their respective authority. To treat it in any flat literal sense as a repository of eternal commands is not and never has been Anglican. That the WR is hazy on this, wanting to affirm the authority of scripture, but also warning of the dangers and ambiguities related to interpretation, leaves it listing disastrously to the fundamentalist Neo-Puritan side.

But wait, there’s more! Mr. Hooker in Book III investigates the mutability of laws and concludes that even direct commands spoken by Jesus might under different times and circumstances be mutable. How else might we have allowed divorce and remarriage except with such an Anglican hermeneutic.

And more. Most people belabor the Reason, Tradition, Scripture “three legged stool”, but that is a secondary level of discussion in Mr. Hooker who accords revelatory status to the Law of Reason, The Law of Nature and Divine Law of which Scripture is a sub category. These are three of the four categories of God’s Second Eternal Law (the fourth being Celestial Laws regarding Angels). For things NOT “necessary for salvation” we can be instructed as well by the structures of Reason and the Book of Nature and perhaps by the ongoing revelation we might have from the Holy Spirit. To ignore what these sources of revelation can teach us is to gag God.

Finally, Mr. Hooker also understood that which is a continuing topic of discussion even among contemporary legal philosophers: reflexivity among laws. In essence sometimes laws stemming from different legal arenas clash and we have to decide which to use as operative. Hooker saw this in potential clashes for people between King, Church, and Positive Laws. But it is also embedded in his understanding of the hermeneutic that develops for each conscience with respect to the interaction of the components of God’s Second Eternal Law. Nothing is ever quite so simple as having a code book that will tell us everything to do.

So, for me, when we talk about the authority of Scripture it must be framed as Mr. Hooker framed it, respecting the hermeneutic foundation that shaped our Anglican heritage. To surrender to the language of the WR (and of the groups using this same language for the last decade as though it were Anglican) is simply to set ourselves up to buy the pig in the poke.

What we need to do is resolve whether or not we are going to be true to our Anglican heritage with respect to scripture or slip into the crass fundamentalism that has proven so divisive and destructive in every setting where it has come to power.

And finally, finally, it is worth re-reading the Preface of the Laws just to appreciate how sophisticated an understanding Mr Hooker had of how conflict is fomented. For me, at any rate, its description of the sleazy tactics of the Calvinists is every bit as apropos to those of the Neo-Puritans. It is worth remembering that Mr. Hooker himself was accused by Travers and others of heresy and apostasy well before he wrote the laws. So classic Anglicanism was and continues to be defined and described by people that Puritans and Neo-Puritans alike consider heretical and apostate. Not a bad heritage to possess.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 4 June 2005 at 6:38pm BST | Comments (64)
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columns this weekend

John Wilkins a former editor of the Tablet writes in The Times about the former editor of America in Full symphony of voices needs to be heard

Over at the Telegraph regular columnist Christopher Howse writes about FD Maurice in Moonshine and Spitzfindigkeit (another article occasioned by this same biography was in the Church Times recently)

In the Tablet Isabel de Bertodano interviews Cardinal Rodríguez of Honduras in Africa’s Latin champion

Both the Church Times and the Tablet have editorial opinions on the French vote against the European constitutional treaty:

Church Times Why the French voted no
Tablet Europe must go back to basics

and for good measure Giles Fraser added ‘Non’ also to Anglican bureaucracy in his op-ed column in the Church Times

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 4 June 2005 at 5:44pm BST | Comments (0)
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Friday, 3 June 2005

last week in the Church Times

Robin Gill wrote about human embryo cloning in Knowing the facts of life. He is Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern Theology at the University of Kent.

Another feature article was Understanding Akinola by Canon Dr Stephen Fagbemi who is Honorary Curate of Murston with Bapchild and Tonge, in the diocese of Canterbury.
Addendum: The Nigerian Vision Statement mentioned is here (hat tip to KB)

Theo Hobson’s new book ANARCHY, CHURCH AND UTOPIA: Rowan Williams on church was reviewed by David Martin.

And edited extracts of the recent Fulcrum talks by Tom Wright and Jane Williams were printed. Full versions still available here

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 3 June 2005 at 11:56pm BST | Comments (6)
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Church of England Canons

The first supplement to the 2000 edition of the Canons of the Church of England has been published. This has been incorporated into the online version available here.

Unlike the earlier versions, it is now possible to copy extracts from the pdf files of the Canons.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 3 June 2005 at 12:50pm BST | Comments (0)
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Anglican-Methodist Covenant

The interim Report of the Joint Implementation Commission under the covenant between the Methodist Church and the Church of England - In the Spirit of the Covenant - has just been published. It is online here. It’s quite substantial - 112 A5 pages plus appendices.

The report will be debated at the Methodist Conference later this month and at General Synod In July.

The Methodist Church website carries a news item on the report here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 3 June 2005 at 11:25am BST | Comments (0)
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Thursday, 2 June 2005

Brazil and the Panel

3 weeks now since we were told that we would learn more about the Panel of Reference “next week”. The CEN has some information though in its report New ‘Panel of Reference’ role to be limited:

The 12-member panel will be “representative of the Anglican Communion by geography, gender and order” Dr. Carnley noted, with the laity “very likely to be canon lawyers”.

As of May 31, nine of its twelve members had been chosen, The Church of England Newspaper has learned. Several Primates, bishops and church leaders approached by Lambeth Palace had declined to join, citing the pressure of other work.

Another case where an appeal is being made to the Panel of Reference is the Diocese of Recife, Brazil. At least the Province of Brazil will be represented and able to speak at Nottingham, unlike its North American counterparts.

Meetings in London and Cheshire last week gave publicity to the situation in Brazil, where an entire conservative diocese is seeking episcopal oversight from “any orthodox province” instead of from the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. The remarks prepared for these events were published by Anglican Mainstream as
Remarks from a conflict - “What is right & fair?”.

A further note about this then appeared on the Living Church website as
Brazilian Archdeacon Meets with Lambeth Palace
(This note also reported that the Panel membership would be announced on 31 May.)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 2 June 2005 at 1:30pm BST | Comments (1)
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Civil Partnerships: CofE statement

Updated Friday 10 June
According to the Church of England Newspaper a spokesman for the CofE said this week:

“The Church of England’s position on same-sex relationships has not changed and is not about to change in the light of the Civil Partnerships (sic) Act, that comes into effect in December. It is set out in the General Synod motion of 1987 and the House of Bishops’ statement, Issues in Human Sexuality.

“The Church’s approach to civil partnerships will reflect the fact that they will not be marriages, nor based on the presumption of sexual relations between the two people making the legal agreement.

“A working party of the House of Bishops has been drafting a Pastoral Statement in response to the Act. This was discussed at the House of Bishops meetings in January and May. The House has agreed its broad approach and the statement is being amended to take account of those discussions. It will be published in the course of the summer.”

The report is headlined Bishops decide clergy can register gay partnerships
(Graham James is the bishop of Norwich not Norfolk).

The Norwich Evening News carries this further report: Bishop’s role in new gay guidelines

The Living Church carries a version of this story at Civil Partnerships for British Clergy Clarified

Update The Church Times carried Same same-sex policy

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 2 June 2005 at 11:17am BST | Comments (21)
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Wednesday, 1 June 2005

ARCIC Seattle Statement

The full text of the Seattle Statement, Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ is now available on the web in several places:

Vatican copy
Canadian copy or in French

As yet it has not appeared on the ACO website, but this page contains an address by Nicholas Sagovsky delivered in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey on 19 May, and a homily by Cardinal Walter Kasper preached at Vespers in All Saints Anglican Church in Rome on 22 May.

The most balanced Anglican analysis so far is the Fulcrum response to the statement which is here.

A Vatican commentary on the document can be found here.

Earlier TA items can be found here and here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 1 June 2005 at 9:06pm BST | Comments (2)
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