Updated Saturday morning
The Diocese of Central Florida has joined the list of American dioceses requesting “immediate alternative primatial oversight”.
See General Convention 2006:An open letter to the people and clergy of Central Florida.
In connection with this kind of thing, Jim Naughton had a note yesterday which he labelled Individuals, groups and the nature of membership.
The Diocese of Springfield has also joined this list. See this report in the Living Church. There is also a pastoral letter from the bishop, which has very very stupidly been published as a 2.3 Mbyte PDF file. You have been warned.
Update Global South Anglican has published an html copy. (Thanks guys)
Last week’s Church Times carried an article with this title. I didn’t write the title, but I did write the article. It is about the most recent proposals for further UK legislation concerning discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
The original government consultation document is a PDF file. It is here.
Gluttons for punishment can read the Anglican Mainstream response, also briefly mentioned, here. On the other hand, for a sensible discussion of some of the serious practical issues, particularly with regard to schools, the LGCM response (PDF format) is interesting reading.
Simon Jenkins in the Guardian expresses an opinion: Dr Williams should abolish bishops and end this missionary creep. He has a point.
The Times has some more letters to the editor.
The Church Times reports: Dr Williams spells out future for Anglicans - ‘Choose between sacrifice and separation’.
Doug LeBlanc reports on events after the General Convention in Left and right show their frustration.
And Giles Fraser mentions the Bishop of Rochester in Why I thank God for political correctness.
Most important, there is editorial opinion: Without generosity there is no future.
On the BBC Today radio programme this morning, Jim Naughtie interviewed Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Listen here (Real Audio - about 7 minutes).
For immediate release
June 27, 2006
Anglican Archbishops here look forward to the proposed international Anglican covenant
The Anglican Archbishops in this country welcome the prospect of contributing to the shaping of a worldwide Anglican Communion covenant on doctrine, as outlined today by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
And they say that describing such a covenant as an “ultimatum” to the liberal wing of the church is a misrepresentation of his address.
Furthermore, suggestions that New Zealand’s Anglican church might find itself on the outer with the Archbishop of Canterbury is hard to imagine, says Archbishop David Moxon, one of the co-presiding bishops of the church here.
“I believe we will always be in communion with him,â€ says Archbishop Moxon. “And also, with this particular Archbishop of Canterbury, there’s a widespread trust in his scholarship, integrity and spirituality. Being in communion with him is a pleasure.”
The Times in England has reported a significant address by Dr Williams, which he made in response to the recent convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA). The American church had sparked concern among the worldwide Anglican Communion when it unilaterally ordained a man in a gay partnership as a bishop.
The ECUSA convention made significant concessions to the worldwide communion, including an acknowledgment that it had “strained” the communion by its actions. Even so, the American church’s moves did not satisfy Biblical conservatives, especially in some parts of Africa.
Dr Williams, in a major address, was responding to the ECUSA actions, and he suggested that a two stage “opt-in” covenant, to be developed over time by the Anglican Communion - whereby those who didn’t wish to fully subscribe to a covenant defining Biblical standards could become “associate” members of the communion, rather than full members, if they wished.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Moxon has said that the English press has gone off on the wrong foot.
“They’re assuming,” he says, “what the covenant will say” and that has yet to be shaped. Their assumptions are premature.
“There are many liberals and conservatives who trust Dr William’s scholarship and reason. He will be a key player in the wording.
“And if you look at the people, including two New Zealanders, who wrote the Windsor Report, and who suggested the covenant, there are some very deep, reflective scholars “liberal and conservative” on that group.
“They weren’t suggesting a straitjacket. They were suggesting clear claims about the Bible in coherent, contemporary terms, which we would all gather around, if we can.
“Anglicanism has only ever survived because of the genius of the wording we’ve been able to gather around, with integrity and hospitality.
“Because the classic Anglican texts, including liturgical texts, are “roomy”. We can say them, we can pray them, we can believe them - but there is also room for a reasonable variety of Christian points of view.
“Anglican Christianity has tried to say that we want a large room, of unity in diversity, which is clearly and simply described, and a covenant can do that.”
Media Officer to the Anglican Church
in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
Phone: (09) 521-0192
Fax: (09) 528-2219
Mob: (021) 348-470
First, from Abuja, Nigeria this Reuters story:
Top Nigerian has doubts about Anglican split plan. And this press release which says CANA â€œTo provide safe harbourâ€ and â€œin tradition of missionary bishopsâ€ Akinola
Second, from Sydney, Australia these reports by Linda Morris in the Sydney Morning Herald:
US church leader could not preach here: Jensen
Losing their religion
and editorial comment A battle for hearts and souls
Inclusive Church is grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for his reaffirmation of the breadth and diversity of the Anglican tradition.
His recognition of this fundamental principle and mark of Anglicanism - the catholic, reformed and liberal strands of the Communion - offer a sound basis for our journey forward together.
But we have profound concerns about the process of agreeing any Covenant. The quick response of some of the more conservative parts of the Communion indicates that they see a Covenant more as an instrument of division than an instrument of unity.
The terms and wording of any document will need to â€œrenew our positive appreciation of the possibilities of our heritageâ€ in the Archbishopâ€™s words. A Covenant must therefore give value to the strands in our tradition, not excluding reason from our theological method but finding a new way of expressing the Anglican approach to the faith in todayâ€™s world.
If we are to approach the process of agreeing a Covenant with honesty and integrity we must as Provinces and local churches be willing to be open about our own present situations. Many provinces have practices which other parts of the Communion may not support. For example, the blessing of same-gender relationships happens regularly in this Province even if not officially acknowledged. There are ongoing issues around the world over the tacit acceptance of lay presidency and polygamy.
The possibility of a two-tier Communion should not therefore be seized upon as a way to exclude those who support the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church. The Church of England is in various ways very similar to the Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada and many of us would hope to strengthen our links in the future. It is likely that any wording designed to exclude TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada would also exclude the Church of England.
We are also uncertain whether a Covenant would affect the unilateral activities the Windsor report hoped to end â€“ for example the election by the Province of Nigeria of Revd Martin Minns as bishop for a missionary initiative in North America.
We have serious concerns about the way a Covenant might be applied locally in the future. Proposals before the Church of Englandâ€™s General Synod for the ordination of women as bishops are specifically designed to avoid parallel jurisdictions. How can we reconcile that with the proposal to have â€œconstituentâ€ and â€œassociateâ€ members of the Communion? Is there not potential for division even at Deanery level?
Ultimately we believe that we are already brought together by the covenant of Baptism. An Anglican Covenant, to reaffirm the bonds of unity for our Communion, will have to reflect the essential inclusiveness of the Baptismal Covenant.
Revd Dr. Giles Fraser, President, InclusiveChurch
Revd Giles Goddard, Chair, InclusiveChurch 07762 373 674
Jim Naughton has had further thoughts since yesterday, see Hmm. Maybe this is what I was missing. Read it all, but here are some quotes:
I think Dr. Williams release yesterday of a reflection on the future of the Anglican Communion, and his outlining of a two-tiered membership system was intended to head all of this off. Obviously it didn’t…
…This isn’t what good faith looks like.
This game may be played at levels I can’t discern, but I can’t imagine that Rowan Williams welcomes this initiative. Thirty-six hours ago, he laid out a comprehensive plan to re-form the government of the communion. This evening, despite media reports that they were ‘elated’ with his proposal, American conservatives have attempted to undermine it by issuing a very public appeal for Williams to insert himself into the internal affairs of a member province without that province”s consent. That can’t be the manner in which he hoped this process would begin. But I don’t know whether it is his way to voice the displeasure he might be feeling…
…In addition to undermining Williams’ efforts to achieve ‘the highest degree of communion possible despite our differences,’ the concerted actions undertaken today also present a challenge to the Episcopal Church. The primary question being: should we respond in kind? There are ample grounds for presentments against any number of prominent conservatives, but it strikes me that Bishop Duncan in particular is eager to be presented, and that pursuing a presentment simply hands him a bigger megaphone.
On the other hand, there are parishes in the dioceses seeking alternate oversight that want to remain loyal to the Episcopal Church. (I am most familiar with the numbers in Pittsburgh where about 12 or 13 parishes, including some large ones, have opted out of Duncan’s conservative Network.) How much longer do we allow these folks to languish? How do we assure their continuing membership in the Episcopal Church under Episcopal Church leadership as their dioceses pursue separation?…
It appears that Archbishop Akinola, not satified with the Kingdom of Nigeria, has moved into the greener pastures of North America. His henchman on this shore will be none other than Marty Minns, formerly rector in Truro, Va., and well known extremist.
And so the plan, revealed to us some years ago, finally comes to fruition, only one day after the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement that was interpreted as giving the extremists a nod of approval for launching their plan…
…Well, now we have Marty Minns elected as Bishop of this attempted end run around the Windsor Report. The absurd thing is that those bishops begging for ALPO (Alternative Primatial Oversight) which are currently Fort Worth, South Carolina, Pittsburgh and San Joaquin, fancy themselves as “Windsor Bishops.” How much you want to bet the Primate they ask for is Peter Akinola? And then, of course, they will eventually attempt to move their entire diocese over to CANA, where their bud Marty will be waiting for them.
Thank you, Dr. Williams, for giving the green light for this drag race to destruction to commence. And please don’t act surprised; the plan has been quite clear, easily accessible to everyone, for many years now.
Or maybe neither of these is correct.
New York Times Tina Kelly Gay Episcopal Priest Named as Possible Newark Bishop
and Neela Banerjee Three Dioceses Appeal to Distance Themselves From Episcopal Church
PIttsburgh Post-Gazette Steve Levin Pittsburgh Episcopalians seek separate conservative jurisdiction
Washington Times Julia Duin Virginia churches plan diocese exit
San Franciso Chronicle Matthai Chakko Kuruvila 4 Episcopal dioceses want out of church
Newark Star-Ledger Jeff Diamant Gay priest in running to lead Newark Episcopalians
Charleston Post and Courier Michael Gartland Episcopal diocese takes step toward split
Episcopal News Service ‘Alternative primatial oversight’ requested by three standing committees Virginia priest elected by Church of Nigeria to serve in North America
Pittsburgh Seeks Alternative Primatial Oversight, Tenth Province
Canon Minns Elected Missionary Bishop for Church of Nigeria
South Carolina and San Joaquin Also Seek Alternative Oversight
Updated Thursday afternoon
Before we return to the American war zone, whose news came too late in Britain to get more than this NIB in The Times, there is a comment article in today’s Guardian:
Andrew Brown The archbishop, we can only deduce, is a humanist mole
And Colin Slee had a letter published in The Times under this headline: Communion not Empire: the future of Anglicanism.
Meanwhile in Australia, Archbishop Peter Jensen gave his opinion: Two-tier Anglican church absurd: Jensen in the Sydney Morning Herald and Anglican church split won’t affect Australia: Archbishop on ABC.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh has appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury for “alternative primatial oversight”. Read the full press release at Standing Committee Requests “Alternative Primatial Oversight”; Envisions Tenth Province Within Episcopal Church.
Pittsburgh, unlike Fort Worth and some others, is not a diocese that restricts the ministry of women as priests.
The Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold has commented:
I find the action by the Standing Committee and Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh unsurprising and altogether consistent with their implicit intention of walking apart from the Episcopal Church. The urgency of their appeal indicates an unwillingness to be part of the process of formulating a covenant so clearly set forth in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflection. I would very much hope that they would remain part of the Episcopal Church as we, along with the other provinces of the Communion, explore our Anglican identity - as the Archbishop has invited us to do.
The Diocese of South Carolina has also announced an appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for alternative primatial oversight. Read their statement here.
The Diocese of San Joaquin has also appealed for alternative primatial oversight. Their statement is here.
For earlier items see this list.
Jim Naughton has more thoughts: Am I missing something?.
Commonweal magazine’s blog has Principle of subsidiarity?
Frank Griswold has issued this:
I am greatly encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s timely call to the provinces of the Anglican Communion to join together in exploring our Anglican identity. I am one with him in his desire to develop a covenant capable of expressing that identity amidst the complexities of the world in which we live. I believe it is possible for us hold up a renewed vision of what it means to be Anglican Christians.
The Archbishop has helpfully raised up in his text the constituent elements of classical Anglicanism, namely the priority of the Bible in matters of doctrine, the Catholic sacramental tradition and a â€œhabit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly.â€ This both reminds us of the tradition that has formed us and points us to the future.
The conclusion of this lengthy process is now unknown. Therefore is it misleading that some, in responding to the Archbishop’s lengthy theological reflection, have focused their attention on speculations about a yet-to-be determined outcome. And, as we enter into that process of discernment, we must never forget that God can always surprise us, and that the church is not our possession but is an instrument of Godâ€™s reconciling love in the world.
Mark Harris has had further thoughts: Second Look at the Archbishop’s Reflection
Press release from the Church of Nigeria: For Immediate Release: ELECTION OF BISHOPS:
…The Rev Canon Martyn Minns of Truro Parish in Virginia, USA was also elected Bishop in the Church of Nigeria for the missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria called Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA)…
In no particular order:
Affirming Catholicism UK see below the fold (now on the web here)
The Archbishop of Cape Town
PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE USE
DIRECTOR OF AFFIRMING CATHOLICISM WELCOMES ARCHBISHOP’S STATEMENT BUT WARNS AGAINST “PARTITION”
The Director of the Anglican organisation, Affirming Catholicism, The Rev’d Richard Jenkins, welcomed the Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Challenge and Hope” for the Anglican Communion but warned against creating a “two-tier” Church. The Most Rev’d Rowan Williams published his reflections on the state of the Anglican Communion today, 27 June, in the wake of last week’s American Episcopal Church’s General Convention where delegates passed a motion expressing regret for “straining the bonds of affection” by consecrating a gay man as bishop in 2003, but fell short of offering the repentance which conservative Anglicans wanted to hear.
Responding to the situation the Archbishop called on Anglicans to value equally the liberal, catholic and reformed traditions in their Church, and asked them to exercise mutual restraint in making decisions which might split their Communion. For provinces not willing to enter into a proposed formal but voluntary covenant to limit their autonomy, Dr Williams suggested a “two-tier” Communion of constituent and associated Churches.
Richard Jenkins said,
The Archbishop has issued a challenge to Anglicans: learn to live together with mutual respect and restraint, or call time on the unique Anglican approach to diversity and unity. I’m grateful for the clarity of his statement which identifies the underlying theological issues we are dealing with, and also repeatedly condemns homophobia. However, I want to warn against the possibility of a two-tier Communion. As a Belfast-born Christian I have to say that partition doesn’t work. We are all diminished by division and need each other’s insights to flourish. If a formal covenant is intended to help us to live in solidarity with each other then it must function in a dynamic way, not simply acting as a brake on every development. This will be a difficult task but one which we will apply ourselves to.
The Archbishop’s statement paves the way for more formal consideration by the Communion of the Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report which first recommended an Anglican Covenant.
Affirming Catholicism will make its own consideration of the issues at a day Conference “Anglican Unity and the Limits of Diversity” to be held later this year, on Saturday 4 November.
Stephen Bates Williams admits church faces split over gay bishops (includes comments from the Primate of Canada)
Jonathan Petre Williams sets out his blueprint for twin-track Church and
editorial comment in Inside the Anglican shell
Robert Barr Anglican leader suggests two-tiered fellowship system
Leader of Anglicans Urges Coexistence
Religion News Service
Daniel Burke Williams Lays Out Two-Tier Membership for Anglicans
New York Times
Laurie Goodstein and Neela Banerjee Anglican Plan Threatens Split on Gay Issues
Alan Cooperman Head of Anglicans Seeks End to Divisions on Gay Clergy
Kate Kelland Anglican leader sees church split over gay bishops
Press reaction is mostly focused on the potential for a split in Anglicanism. Some examples:
The Telegraph has Archbishop of Canterbury plans Anglican split
The worldwide Anglican Communion could be divided into “associated” and “constituent” provinces in an attempt to resolve the impasse over homosexuality, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
Ruth Gledhill in The Times goes further, singling out the American Church as a target for exclusion:
in The Times: Worldwide Anglican church facing split over gay bishop
The Archbishop of Canterbury has outlined proposals that are expected to lead to the exclusion of The Episcopal Church of the United States from the Anglican Church as a consequence of consecrating a gay bishop.
and in her blog, Gledhill writes: an ABC of schism
Never again can anyone accuse him of failing to give leadership, or of not speaking plainly. … The thrust of the letter, an intense and passionate theological teaching document for any who are prepared to listen, seems to be that episcopalians in the US and anywhere else who are unwilling to sign up to a covenant setting out Anglicanism in its orthodox and traditional, biblical form will be consigned to “associate” status. They will no longer be full Anglicans.
The full text of The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion can be found on the ACNS website, and also on the Lambeth Palace site here.
The audio version can be found here (about 6.3 Mbytes mp3 format).
For press release, see TA item immediately below this one.
Archbishop - ‘Challenge and hope’ for the Anglican Communion
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has set out his thinking on the future of the Anglican Communion in the wake of the deliberations in the United States on the Windsor Report and the Anglican Communion at the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church (USA). ‘The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today, A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion’, has been sent to Primates with a covering letter, published more widely and made available as audio on the internet. In it, Dr Williams says that the strength of the Anglican tradition has been in maintaining a balance between the absolute priority of the Bible, a catholic loyalty to the sacraments and a habit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility:
“To accept that each of these has a place in the church’s life and that they need each other means that the enthusiasts for each aspect have to be prepared to live with certain tensions or even sacrifices. The only reason for being an Anglican is that this balance seems to you to be healthy for the Church Catholic”
Dr Williams acknowledges that the debate following the consecration of a practising gay bishop has posed challenges for the unity of the church. He stresses that the key issue now for the church is not about the human rights of homosexual people, but about how the church makes decisions in a responsible way.
“It is imperative to give the strongest support to the defence of homosexual people against violence, bigotry and legal disadvantage, to appreciate the role played in the life of the church by people of homosexual orientation…”
The debate in the Anglican Communion had for many, he says, become much harder after the consecration in 2003 which could be seen to have pre-empted the outcome. The structures of the Communion had struggled to cope with the resulting effects:
“… whatever the presenting issue, no member Church can make significant decisions unilaterally and still expect this to make no difference to how it is regarded in the fellowship; this would be uncomfortably like saying that every member could redefine the terms of belonging as and when it suited them. Some actions - and sacramental actions in particular - just do have the effect of putting a Church outside or even across the central stream of the life they have shared with other Churches.”
Dr Williams says that the divisions run through as well as between the different Provinces of the Anglican Communion and this would make a solution difficult. He favours the exploration of a formal Covenant agreement between the Provinces of the Anglican Communion as providing a possible way forward. Under such a scheme, member provinces that chose to would make a formal but voluntary commitment to each other.
“Those churches that were prepared to take this on as an expression of their responsibility to each other would limit their local freedoms for the sake of a wider witness: some might not be willing to do this. We could arrive at a situation where there were ‘constituent’ Churches in the Anglican Communion and other ‘churches in association’, which were bound by historic and perhaps personal links, fed from many of the same sources but not bound in a single and unrestricted sacramental communion and not sharing the same constitutional structures”.
Different views within a province might mean that local churches had to consider what kind of relationship they wanted with each other. This, though, might lead to a more positive understanding of unity:
“It could mean the need for local Churches to work at ordered and mutually respectful separation between constituent and associated elements; but it could also mean a positive challenge for churches to work out what they believed to be involved in belonging in a global sacramental fellowship, a chance to rediscover a positive common obedience to the mystery of God’s gift that was not a matter of coercion from above but that of ‘waiting for each other’ that St Paul commends to the Corinthians.”
Dr Williams stresses that the matter cannot be resolved by his decree:
” … the idea of an Archbishop of Canterbury resolving any of this by decree is misplaced, however tempting for many. The Archbishop of Canterbury presides and convenes in the Communion, and may … outline the theological framework in which a problem should be addressed; but he must always act collegially, with the bishops of his own local Church and with the primates and the other instruments of communion.”
“That is why the process currently going forward of assessing our situation in the wake of the General Convention is a shared one. But it is nonetheless possible for the Churches of the Communion to decide that this is indeed the identity, the living tradition - and by God’s grace, the gift - we want to share with the rest of the Christian world in the coming generation; more importantly still, that this is a valid and vital way of presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. My hope is that the period ahead - of detailed response to the work of General Convention, exploration of new structures, and further refinement of the covenant model - will renew our positive appreciation of the possibilities of our heritage so that we can pursue our mission with deeper confidence and harmony.”
The Primates of the Anglican Communion will meet early next year to consider the matter. In the meantime, a group appointed by the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the Primates will be assisting Dr Williams in considering the resolutions of the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church (USA) in response to the questions posed by the Windsor Report.
Notes for editors:
The audio version can be found at:
Archbishop’s letter to Primates
“Following last week’s General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA), I have been preparing some personal reflections on the challenges that lie ahead for us within the Anglican Communion. I have addressed these reflections to a wide readership in the Anglican Communion and they are being made public today on my website. I wanted to bring them to your attention accordingly, for you to draw to the attention of members of your Province in whatever way you see fit.
These reflections are in no way intended to pre-empt the necessary process of careful assessment of the Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report. Rather they are intended to focus the question of what kind of Anglican Communion we wish to be and to explore how this vision might become more of a reality.
I am also sending you a copy of the press statement I issued at the close of General Convention, which you will see mentions the Joint Standing Committee working party that will be assisting in evaluating the outcome of the 75th General Convention.
I shall be writing to you again later this week, to invite your own response to me to various questions as the Communion’s discernment process moves ahead.
Earlier this month, the Sunday Times reported that Lambeth Palace had issued a statement about Bishop Kunonga.
The Church of England Newspaper had a report last week, Call for Zimbabwe Bishop to step down which gives further details:
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury has called upon Zimbabweâ€™s Bishop Nolbert Kunonga to step down, pressing the Central African church to adjudicate misconduct charges brought against the controversial Bishop of Harare. A statement released on behalf of the Archbishop by Lambeth Palace notes that: â€œIn the context of a prolonged and political crisis, the diocese of Harare faces intolerable strain in the form of the very grave and unresolved accusations against Bishop Kunonga.
â€œThe primary way forward is by dealing with these charges through the church courts in the Anglican Province of Central Africa, but this process has been aborted and the matter is unresolved.â€ The statement went on: â€œIn other jurisdictions, a priest or bishop facing such serious charges would be suspended without prejudice until the case had been closed. It is therefore very difficult for Bishop Kunonga to be regarded as capable of functioning as a bishop elsewhere in the communion.
â€œThe Archbishop of Canterbury has pressed the authorities of the Province to bring the case to a conclusion in a way consistent with justice, transparency and truth, so that the damage to the health and credibility of the church can be addressed,â€ the statement read. Members of the Central African House of Bishops were caught unawares by the announcement from Lambeth Palace. Speaking to The Church of England Newspaper at the US General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, Bishop Trevor Mwanda of Botswana stated he had not seen the statement and declined to comment, noting that the Kunonga affair was under close scrutiny by the Central African bishops…
Two daily newspapers have published articles criticising the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In The Times Tim Hames wrote Beware the folly of clever men in power.
And in the Guardian Michael Hampson wrote The American way puts the Church of England to shame.
On the Anglican Communion Institute website, Andrew Goddard has analysed the GC resolutions for their compliance with the Windsor Report.
At The Witness Gene Robinson has written An Open Letter to my LGBT Brothers and Sisters.
Jim Naughton had his review of the Sunday websites.
And Nick Knisely has a whole series of thoughtful posts on his blog Entangled States.
So also does Fr Jake at his blog.
Last week I linked an article from Ekklesia about marriage. Nobody here commented at all. So first, here is another item a week old, which is a discussion of that on last week’s BBC Sunday radio programme:
Under draft legislation to be debated by the church of England’s General Synod next month, couples should be able to marry in any church they like if they can show they have a connection with it.
The religious think tank Ekklesia suggests that the Church and society should go further. It suggests serious consideration should be given to the abolition of legal marriage and its replacement by a variety of civil partnerships through which couples could specify the type of legal commitment they wished to make to one another.
The Dean of Wakefield, The Very Reverend George Nairn-Briggs, sat on the working party which drafted the proposals to relax the rules on where couples can marry. He and Jonathan Bartley, director of Ekklesia, discuss these controversial proposals.
Listen (7m 4s)
This week, Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times: The Church must not sway to the siren voice of postmodern culture
In the Guardian Face to Faith is written from a Quaker perspective by David Bryant.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about A helping hand from St John [the Baptist].
The BBC radio programme Sunday interviewed Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold. There is also a discussion about General Convention between Jane Little and Stephen Bates.
Item lasts about 9 minutes. Link here.
Apologies for the lateness of some of these links.
On Friday, Jonathan Petre filed his last report from Columbus for the Telegraph : Pressure is growing on Williams to take action over schism.
The Church Times published this report of the final events of the Convention.
Meanwhile, the NACDAP published what it calls A Pastoral Letter from the Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network which it seems is to be read in “network churches” today.
For the faithful of his own Pittsburgh diocese, Bishop Duncan offered this pastoral letter.
Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia published a letter to his diocese headlined The Center has Held.
The Living Church provided this very interesting analysis of Resolution B033: An Extraordinary Compromise.
Today’s Sunday Telegraph contain a longer explanation by the Bishop of Rochester (England, not the ECUSA diocese of the same name) of his “two religions” opinion: Truth should be more important than unity
Jim Naughton had a roundup item on daily episcopalian.
And finally Matthew Davies had an ENS report which summarises events: General Convention: Windsor debate results in six resolutions.
Last week Rachel Harden of the Church Times interviewed the Dean of St Albans, Jeffrey John.
You can now read this here.
The sermon mentioned in the interview can be found here.
The African primates of CAPA have expressed their opinions on the ECUSA General Convention:
CAPA - An Open Letter to the Episcopal Church USA signed by Peter Akinola.
Lionel Deimel has updated his excellent earlier analysis Is the Episcopal Church About to Surrender? with a lengthy addendum (scroll down).
Christina Rees has an article about the new PB in the CEN A Leader for our Time .
Anglican Communion Institute Initial Observations on General Convention
Jim Naughton Conflicted people in a conflicted Church
Telegraph Jonathan Petre Anglican Church on brink of schism
Associated Press Rachel Zoll Episcopal Delegates to Adopt Resolution
A statement from a group of bishops dissenting B033 read by Bishop Chane [the Bishop of Wsashington DC] A Statement of Conscience
“We, the undersigned Bishops of this 75th General Convention, in the confidence of the Gospel and out of love for this great Church, must prayerfully dissent from the action of this Convention in Resolution B033 (on Election of Bishops).”
“Any language that could be perceived as effecting a moratorium that singles out one part of the Body by category is discriminatory.”
Anglican Communion Network General Convention Actions Inadequate
“The responses which the Convention has given to the clear and simple requests of the Lambeth Commission, the clear and simple requests indeed of the Anglican Communion, are clearly and simply inadequate.”
signed by 13 bishops
Mary Ann Sieghart comments in The Times Women bishops and gays? That’s the church for me
Some articles from the press
Guardian Stephen Bates US Episcopal church offers compromise to avoid Anglican expulsion
The Times Ruth Gledhill and James Bone Our Mother Jesus . . . a sermon by US church’s new head
Updated to add
Andrew Brown comments in the Guardian Fear and loathing in Anglicanism
The Archbishop of Canterbury tonight issued a statement,following the adoption by the General Convention of Resolution B033.
He said he was ‘grateful’ to the Bishops and Deputies for the seriousness with which they addressed the issue, and for their hard and devoted work. He added that ‘it is not yet clear’ whether the adopted reolutions are enough to satisfy the requests of the Windsor Report.
The statement in full reads:
I am grateful to the Bishops and Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) for the exceptional seriousness with which they have responded to the request of the Primates of the Anglican Communion that they should address the recommendations of the Windsor Report relating to the tensions arising from the decisions associated with the 74th General Convention in 2003.
There is much to appreciate in the hard and devoted work done by General Convention, and before that, by the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, in crafting the resolutions. This and the actions taken today show how strong is their concern to seek reconciliation and conversation with the rest of the Communion.
It is not yet clear how far the resolutions passed this week and today represent the adoption by the Episcopal Church of all the proposals set out in the Windsor Report. The wider Communion will therefore need to reflect carefully on the significance of what has been decided before we respond more fully.
I am grateful that the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and ACC has already appointed a small working group to assist this process of reflection and to advise me on these matters in the months leading up to the next Primates’ Meeting.
I intend to offer fuller comments on the situation in the next few days. The members of Convention and the whole of the Episcopal Church remain very much in our prayers.
At a joint meeting of Deputies and Bishops called by Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, the Convention was presented with Resolution B033 titled “On Election of Bishops” proposed by the Rt Revd Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina. The resolution reads:
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report’s invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further
Resolved, that this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on the communion.
(UPDATE official text of the resolution here)
ENS carries the text of Bishop Griswold’s speech to the joint session.
The bishops then left the Hall of Deputies to consider the resolution.
After several attempts to amend the second clause the Bishops adopted B033 on a voice vote. The resolution was delivered to the House of Deputies at 12:15, shortly after its President surrendered the Chair to the President Elect.
The Deputies interrupted their debate to hear a plea from Presiding Bishop Elect Katharine Jefferts Schori who urged them to concur in the resolution despite its shortcomings, saying it was the best that could be expected.
After several failed amendments the time allotted for debate expired and the vote-by-orders ballot began. At 1:30 p.m. the result of the vote was announced.
The House of Deputies concurs in Resolution B033.
UPDATE ENS report on the resolution and debate here
The Presiding Bishop elect, Katharine Jefferts Schori, preached the sermon at the Eucharist at the end of business on Tuesday.
ENS carries the full text of the sermon here.
Jim Naughton comments on it in his blog here.
General Convention 2006 closes at 6pm local time today. The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies will meet in joint session after the 9 am Eucharist to consider a resolution responding to the Windsor Report.
Here is Jim Naughtonâ€™s commentary on what it may or may not be able to do about Windsor before everybody goes home.
Some further articles from the press and the blogs:
Guardian Stephen Bates Pressure on Williams as US church ponders gay bishops
Associated Press Rachel Zoll Episcopalians Reject Ban on Gay Bishops
Times Ruth Gledhill What happens next at TEC GenCon?
Update midnight Tuesday
Stand Firm reports that the HoB is debating a new resolution in place of 162 which represents most of 161.
A161, which now includes A162, has been voted down by both orders in the House of Deputies.
Voting by dioceses:
LAY: 38 yes 53 no 18 divided: Motion fails
CLERGY: 44 yes 53 no 14 divided: Motion fails
(A divided vote i.e. 2-2, counts as a No.)
Rachel Zoll for Associated Press Episcopalians Reject Ban on Gay Bishops
Here is Jim Naughton’s commentary.
And here is further analysis by Sarah Dylan Breuer.
Some further articles from the press and the blogs:
Earlier Tuesday items at the bottom of this article.
Associated Press Rachel Zoll Episcopalians Address Gay Bishop Impasse
Steve Bates filed rather more copy than the Guardian had room for yesterday, some of his additional comments are below the fold here.
The Living Church reports that Two More Dioceses Will Consider Alternative Oversight and Doug LeBlanc collected these comments about the PB-elect.
This BBC story is dated Monday, but US Church vote highlights tension
Stephen Bates writes:
Yesterday, Archbishop Rowan Williams, a supporter of women’s ordination, took 18 hours to offer even a lukewarm welcome to her election, pointing to the impact on ecumenical relations.
Whether this will be the event that precipitates the long-predicted schism of the third largest Christian denomination remains to be seen. Only a minority of its 38 provinces ordain women at all, though the Americans have now done so for more than 30 years and the CofE for more than a decade. Despite that, the communion has so far held together in a way than seems less probable in its divisions over gays - another issue on which the liberal US church has led the way.
The odds on Katharine Jefferts Schori, 52, being elected first woman primate in the Anglican communion as presiding bishop of the US Episcopal Church, must have been pretty long. Firstly, she was raised as a Roman Catholic and secondly she specialised in marine biology at university.
Bishop Jefferts Schori - married to a retired theoretical mathematician and with a grown up married daughter who is herself a US airforce pilot - has a list of accomplishments rare in a bishop.
An expert in the squids and oysters inhabiting the sediment in the North East Pacific - the subject of her doctorate - she will be able to deal with the more antediluvian members of the Anglican communion’s bench of bishops.
Perhaps even more important, the subject gives her no truck with the fundamentalist Christians who still believe the Bible’s account of Creation.
The new presiding bishop is also a qualified pilot - lessons bought for her by her father when she was a student - and enjoys flying high above the deserts of her diocese of Nevada.
In Episcopal terms, she is a liberal, having voted three years ago for the election of the gay bishop Gene Robinson, though she did not attend his subsequent consecration. What she lacks in pastoral experience - she has never been a parish priest - she makes up perhaps in her membership of numerous church committees.
She dealt adroitly with her first press conference responding to a British conservative evangelical questioner who demanded to know where she stood on the homosexual issue by saying briskly that there were many more pressing issues for Anglicans, particularly in the Third World: “I think the majority of the church is concerned with more fundamental issues of hunger, housing, unclean water and the availability of education for their children.”
But in a measure of the problems she will face, American conservative evangelical journalists are already deriding both her liberal views and her looks.
Updated Tuesday afternoon
The Special Legislative Committee has now reported out several of these resolutions. To make it easier to follow, here are links to the latest texts:
A159 Commitment to Interdependence in the Anglican Communion to be merged with A166
A160 Expression of Regret passed by Deputies, now goes to Bishops
A162 Public Rites of Blessing for Same-Sex Unions now merged into A161
A166 Anglican Covenant Development Process to be merged with A159
The Church of England held its press briefing for next month’s General Synod yesterday. So far we have only found one item published as a result of this. Despite its title this does cover other Synod topics, such as women bishops.
Jenny Booth and agencies Couples to gain wider choice of wedding churches
The proposals on marriage law were picked up by the Telegraph last week.
Jonathan Petre Church wedding rules may be eased
The CofE’s own news item on the Synod agenda is Key debates on women bishops, Faithful Cities report, further education, and major legislative proposals on agenda for General Synod.
Our links to the agenda and papers are here.
Tuesday evening update
A few more articles that mention the Synod agenda
The Mercury (South Africa) First female bishop ‘will not influence England’
Christian Post (USA) Episcopal Election of New Leader Highlights Anglican Rifts
Guardian Episcopal Choice Highlights Anglican Rifts
Updated again Tuesday morning
The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this statement (see ACNS original here)
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has issued a statement on the election of the Rt Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori as the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, in succession to the Most Revd Frank Griswold.
â€œ I send my greetings to Bishop Katharine and she has my prayers and good wishes as she takes up a deeply demanding position at a critical time. She will bring many intellectual and pastoral gifts to her new work, and I am pleased to see the strength of her commitment to mission and to the Millennium Development Goals.
Her election will undoubtedly have an impact on the collegial life of the Anglican Primates; and it also brings into focus some continuing issues in several of our ecumenical dialogues.
We are continuing to pray for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church as it confronts a series of exceptionally difficult choices.â€
Earlier today Dr Rowan Williams spoke to Bishop Schori by telephone to assure her of prayers as she prepares to take up her post.
The Diocese of Fort Worth has appealed to Lambeth for “immediate alternative Primatial oversight and Pastoral Care.” See this statement by the diocesan standing committee:
The Bishop and the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth appeal in good faith to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the Panel of Reference for immediate alternative Primatial oversight and Pastoral Care following the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
This action is taken as a cooperative member of the Anglican Communion Network in light of the Windsor Report and its recommendations.
Tuesday’s articles in The Times are already online:
Ruth Gledhill and James Bone Anglicans ‘are close to anarchyâ€™ in dispute over female bishop
editorial comment A house divided
The strapline is: “The Archbishop of Canterbury must be bolder or schism is inevitable”
See also Ruth’s blog entry.
The Telegraph has:
Jonathan Petre Conservative Texas speeds schism over female bishop
and an opinion piece by Damian Thompson Anglicans should welcome a schism
Papers for next month’s sessions of the General Synod of the Church of England are starting to appear online and are listed below. The list will be updated as more papers become available. [last update - Wednesday 2.45 pm]
(with the days on which they are scheduled to be debated or otherwise considered. Where no day is given there will only be a debate if a member requests one.)
GS 1597A Draft Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure (Saturday)
Part I (pages 1 to 15); Part II (pages 16 to 30); Part III (pages 31 to 45); Part IV (pages 46 to 59)
GS 1598A Draft Amending Canon No 27 (Saturday)
GS 1599A Draft Vacancy in See Committees (Amendment) Regulation (Saturday)
GS 1597-9Y Report by the Revision Committee (Saturday)
GS 1613 Report by the Business Committee (Friday)
GS 1615 Archbishops’ Council Annual Report
GS 1617 Legal Officers (Annual Fees) Order 2006
GS 1618 Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2006
GS 1617&18X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1619 Parochial Fees Order 2006
GS 1619X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1620 Church of England (Legal Aid) (Amendment) Rules 2006
GS 1620X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1621 40th Report of the Standing Orders Committee
GS 1623 Annual Report of the Archbishops’ Council Audit Committee
GS 1628 Pushing Further: Report by the Board of Education (Friday)
GS 1629 Ninth Assembly of the World Council of Churches (Sunday)
GS 1630 Women in the Episcopate: note by the Presidents (Monday)
GS Misc 826 Women in the Episcopate: Report to the House of Bishops from the Bishops of Guildford and Gloucester (Monday)
GS Misc 827 Resources for Reflection on the subject of Women Bishops in the Church of England (Monday)
GS 1631 Clergy Terms of Service (Monday)
GS 1632 The Archbishops’ Council’s Draft Budget for 2007 (Sunday)
GS 1633 Appointed Members of the Archbishops Council (Saturday)
Letter from the General Convention 2006: Sunday June 18, 2006
IIt has been an eventful twenty four hours. Last evening there was a gathering to honour the ministry of the retiring Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold. It was a moving, humorous and respectful tribute employing video, music and drama to celebrate a remarkable ministry. Presentation was made of a book of reflections on reconciliation, ‘I Have Called You Friends’, published by the Cowley Press, and the evening was strong evidence of the spiritual heart of this Convention. One bishop afterwards said they failed to see how anyone present could not have been touched by the grace of God’s presence.
The ending of one ministry led today to the start of a new one. The election this afternoon of the Bishop of Nevada, Katharine Jefferts Schori, as the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church electrified the General Convention, dramatically moving the Windsor Report from top of the agenda. The news was greeted with unrestrained delight by the majority of the thousands waiting for the result who were also clearly aware that this is a momentous decision with wide reaching consequences. The Episcopal Church has become for some the scapegoat of the Communion and the election of the first woman primate will undoubtedly be seen by them as hastening the division that has been darkly predicted at the edges of this Convention. (Conspiracy theorists suggest bishops of the Anglican Communion Network actually voted for her to precipitate the break). Whatever happens next this election will undoubtedly change something of the chemistry of the Episcopal Church, many believe for the better.
There is no substitute for actually being here, and it is a pity there are so few of us here from the Church of England to experience the vitality of this remarkable church. Not everyone sees it. The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, has commented on the resolution passed by the House of Bishops that opposes ‘any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions’, seeing this as evidence of a different religion at work. Following on from the Bishop of Durham’s intervention earlier in the week many people have questioned the prelates’ purpose, and how the Church of England would react to such direct intrusion from bishops from the Episcopal Church. The Bishop of Rochester preached at a eucharist on Friday organised by the AAC, ACN and Forward in Faith, at which we understand there were about eighty people present (Anglican Mainstream has the figure at 200).
Columbus is an unlikely setting for a gathering which is receiving so much attention from around the world, but what is happening here in these days is important, and in the right sense of the word, momentous. The overriding impression is of a church that is healthy, passionate and God centred. The commitment to Anglicanism is heartfelt, and it is worth repeating that the sense of Anglican identity is undoubtedly stronger here than in some other churches of the Communion. With so much focus on the pressures facing the Communion it is not surprising that there is so much introspection, but as the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Kenneth Kearon, today reminded the House of Deputies, the danger of spending too much time close to the problem is that we can lose sight of the big picture. Perhaps we all need to take a step back and celebrate the richness of the tapestry of God of which we are but a part.
Updated Monday afternoon
Ruth Gledhill Bishop breaks stained glass ceiling
New York Times
Neela Banerjee Woman Is Named Episcopal Leader
Juliet Eilperin Episcopal Church Chooses First Female Leader
Rachel Zoll Bishop Chosen 1st Female Episcopal Leader
Episcopal Life had this interview.
A video interview with her can be found on this ENS page.
The American Anglican Council published a profile (scroll down)
Episcopal News Service
Sunday, June 18, 2006
[ENS] Katharine Jefferts Schori, bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, has been elected June 18 by the House of Bishops as the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Ruth Gledhill has a roundup of comments from various people.
Updated Sunday morning
Rachel Zoll of AP has another report Episcopalians to Choose New Leader
Michael Conlon of Reuters also has a report Episcopal Church panel OKs gay issue apology
Jim Naughton has “No quotes, no votes, no nothing”.
Ruth Gledhill has Split now inevitable, saving miracle.
Steve Levin of the PIttsburgh Post-Gazette has Church leaders moving carefully.
The BBC radio programme Sunday opens with a discussion about events in Columbus featuring Robert Pigott (Real Audio)
Kendall Harmon comments on where things are at Into the Fulcrum
Letter from the General Convention 2006: Saturday June 17, 2006
The atmosphere of the Convention may be cruelly deceptive; we could be completely wrong. But the quality of discussion and debate here, the powerful recognition of the Episcopal Church as part of the Anglican Communion, the acknowledgement of mutual and shared responsibilities, makes us cautiously optimistic that by the time the delegates and bishops disperse next Wednesday, the future for Anglicanism will be a great deal brighter than it was last week.
Not, however, that it’s by any means plain sailing. The complexity of the legislative process has to be experienced to be believed. We attended the House of Bishops discussion on some of the resolutions related to the Windsor report. The most frequent comment from the Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold, was “where are we?” At a number of points nobody knew.
From discussions today it seems that the remaining resolutions relating to the Windsor Report will make their way to the floor on Monday. Whilst there is noticeable respect for the importance of the issues facing the Communion, there is also some disquiet that so much time has been taken by this one issue to the detriment of other and more important gospel issues.
High spots - the Integrity Eucharist in Trinity Episcopal Church. Preacher - the Rt Revd Gene Robinson. The church was completely packed - we’ve never seen so many rainbow stoles. The gist of his sermon was perhaps most clearly expressed in these sentences: “The hard part is following Jesus’ own command to LOVE our enemies. Not to like them, not to be paralyzed by their opposition, not to give in to their outrageous demands, but to love them nevertheless. To treat them with infinite respect, listen to what drives them, try our best to understand the fear that causes them to reject us, to believe them when they say they only want the best for us. That’s hard work, and we can’t do it without God’s own spirit blowing through us like wind, breaking down OUR walls, causing our assumptions to “come loose,” and reminding us that they too are children of God, for whom Christ died and through whom they will be saved”.
full text of sermon
Another high spot - the Convention Eucharist this morning. The inspired choice of preacher was Dr Jenny Te Paa, a member of the church of Aotorea/New Zealand who served on the Windsor Commission. Speaking with power and authority, she expressed the dismay of the Maori elders of her community that there is the faintest chance that the Anglican Communion may no longer be one. She emphasised the cost and the potential pain of reconciliation, quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And she called for an end to the sins of hypocrisy and fear, expressed through the evils of racism, sexism, imperialism and homophobia. But she also spoke of the experience of colonialism for indigenous peoples, clearly referring to the Global South. Sustained applause followed her sermon. Tom Wright’s letter earlier this week was thrown into stark contrast by the depth and respect with which she spoke to the Episcopal Church.
The Archbishop of York is here for the whole Convention. One of the resolutions currently under discussion opens the possibility of representatives from other parts of the Anglican Communion on Episcopal Church bodies, in order that there may be greater understanding of the polity of this province. Speaking in the debate, Dr Sentamu said that he was grateful for the hospitality extended by the Episcopal Church to its guests, and that his participation in the process meant that he would be leaving with a much greater understanding of this church. He also said that one of the problems at the moment is that much of the activity of the Global South is based on hearsay: “If you assume, you make an ass of you and me”.
And finally, Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, gave an interview to the Episcopal News Service. “I commend the Episcopal Church for the way it has taken seriously the requests of the Windsor Report, and you see this seriousness in the way that business is being conducted on this particular issue at Convention.”
So where does all this leave the discussion? There is clearly a small minority for whom only full repentance and reversal of Gene Robinson’s ordination to the episcopate would be sufficient. One Bishop said to us that he thought it inevitable that some people would leave. But the dire predictions of fundamental splits seem unlikely to be realised, at least from the point of view of the Episcopal Church. The question is whether the rest of the Communion, especially the “Global South” will be able to respond to the decisions of this convention in the spirit of love and reconciliation with which they are offered.
Here is a letter supporting the Bishop of Southwark in the Coekin matter, signed by many evangelical clergy in his diocese.
CEN Andrew Carey has Clergy back Bishop Butler.
And Fulcrum has Reflections on the Process of Reconciliation Following the Coekin Case by Simon Cawdell.
Saturday morning, and the resolutions are moving very slowly. It seems they will not be reported out until Monday.
Very little in the British newspapers: Stephen Bates slightly revised yesterday’s Guardian website article for the morning paper, US church heads for deadlock on split with Anglican communion.
Associated Press British church leaders pressuring Episcopal assembly over gay bishops
Reuters Episcopal church struggles with gay issues
Anglican Journal Convention encompasses more than sexuality issues.
Houston Chronicle Anglican uproar draws divided response
Another English bishop in Columbus is Michael Nazir-Ali who delivered this sermon at a service “held by the American Anglican Council, Anglican Communion Network and Forward in Faith, attended by 200 people including a number of bishops.” Source: Anglican Mainstream
And here is the sermon preached by Gene Robinson at the Integrity service, held at the same time: many more people attended that one.
According to the Columbus Dispatch at least 1000 were there, and only about 80 at the other one: Rift splits worshippers.
Here is a transcript by the Living Church of what John Sentamu said to the Special Committee on 14 June.
Several versions of what Kenneth Kearon said to the House of Bishops are linked from here. What he said to Matthew Davies of ENS is transcribed in full here and can be seen in Friday night’s video report.
Giles Fraser writes about Hegel for the Guardian in Face to Faith that “Dialectical Anglicanism has many problems, foremost among them the damage to its champion - Rowan Williams.”
Another philosophy tutorial in The Times by John Cottingham Philosophers are finding fresh meanings in truth, beauty and goodness.
Christopher Howse in the Guardian has Gay divisions make Anglicans glum.
Giles Fraser again, this time in the Church Times: Why fervour makes me feel sick.
At Ekklesia Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley have strong opinions about marriage: What future for marriage?
Letter from the General Convention 2006: Friday June 16.
It is still not clear when the resolutions referring to the Windsor Report will move through the legislative process. We have heard that there is no consensus amongst the members of the Special
Commission Committee as to the way forward, and despite the myriad of opinions volunteered no-one is really able to guess the outcome. One thing is clear: the bonds of affection between members of this church are deep and sincere and there is little desire for fracturing the body.
Yesterday we attended an interesting seminar on the baptismal covenant hosted by the Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission. In their response to the resolutions relating to the Windsor Report they refer to the assertion in the Prayer Book of ECUSA that “the bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble” and go on to call attention to the fact that “Baptism into our one Lord, and the regular renewal of that covenant in Holy Communion, form the basis for all communion within the Body of Christ. Thus ‘bonds of affection’ are properly understood as the fruit of this very real unity, rather than the essential sign of, or basis for communion among Anglicans Baptism is the sole basis for communion among Anglicans.”
The baptismal covenant, which unites us with Christ in his death and resurrection and seals us with the Holy Spirit, is “the sacrament of once-for-all admission into membership in the catholic church, a particular expression of which is the local eucharistic community.” With this understanding as the basis for church life it is, at the very least, presumptuous to declare who is and who is not in communion across the boundaries of the church. The intervention of the Bishop of Durham at the eleventh hour has surprised and confused many people here, and we have heard more than one person say that it seems to be a clear attempt to subvert the process of reception of the Windsor Report. It has certainly reaffirmed the determination of some to powerfully assert the communion of all the baptized.
The Episcopal Church has an understanding of the baptismal covenant that permeates every aspect of its life, defining its liturgy, ecclesiology and polity. It heightens the contrast between ECUSA and the Church of England and it is hard to overestimate its significance for the present discussion on communion. If the covenant we share as Anglicans is indeed the covenant of our baptism, what is the purpose of the proposed Anglican Covenant other than to create a new way of regulating our common life that is inconsistent with our Anglican understanding?
In some senses there is a far stronger understanding of Anglicanism present here than one would find in any large gathering of the Church of England. This is a church which people have chosen: in England association and commitment to the CofE is less clearly defined, for good and obvious reason. It perhaps explains why there is a degree of frustration here when Anglican commentators still talk about the ‘appointment’ of bishops, and why the Primate is called Presiding Bishop rather than Archbishop. Power is far less hierarchical in ECUSA and the ignorance of our different polities is sobering.
Many people ask us if the General Synod is in any way similar to the General Convention, and the simple answer is no. There is simply no equivalent gathering in the Church of England where people gather to celebrate, pray and deliberate on what it means to be church. The warmth of welcome we are receiving is deeply moving, and a sign of what our communion could and should be like.
Everywhere there is a sense that bit is time to move on. The ONE Campaign (the equivalent of our Make Poverty History) has wide support here and many wish this could receive at least the same attention being given to issues of human sexuality. This is undoubtedly a time for decision and we wait to see where the Holy Spirit leads.
Update Friday evening
Stephen Bates of the Guardian has arrived in Columbus and filed his first report: Deadlock looms over response to gay cleric.
Solange De Santis of the Canadian Anglican Journal has a further report: Sexuality issues cause timing concern at Episcopal convention
Rachel Zoll has a further report: Episcopalians Pressured on Gay Bishops
In London, Ruth Gledhill tells readers of The Times that Episcopalians are Undecided, oblivious, or utterly entrenched. On the ground in Columbus, James Bone reports that I’m no abomination, says gay bishop.
Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph has US Church warned by bishops to be tougher on gays
Robert Pigott for the BBC reports Anglican church in crisis debate. Yesterday the BBC had Gay bishop ‘not an abomination’
The Church Times has Upbeat General Convention starts with â€˜U2charistâ€™.
For those of us outside the US, the Canadian Anglican Journal reports are helpful:
Episcopal Church convention opens debate on sexuality
Episcopal General Convention: developments in brief
Associated Press Rachel Zoll has had several reports this week:
Episcopalians Debate Gays Being Bishops
Gay Bishop Says He’s ‘Not an Abomination’
Episcopalians Weigh Not Having Gay Bishops
Danforth Warns Episcopalians on Issues
Episcopalians Debate Issue of Gay Bishops
A transcript of the CNN programme, “Larry King Live” can be found here.
Ten thousand Episcopalians have gathered in Columbus Ohio to worship, pray and talk together. The scale of the Convention is breathtaking; the Conference Centre is half a mile from end to end, and the daily Eucharist is in a hall large enough to accommodate all the participants. People from across the spectrum of the church are present, from the conservative dioceses such as Pittsburgh and Fort Worth to liberals from Chicago and New York; worship is bi-lingual in Spanish and English; and legislative sessions start at 7.30 a.m and go on late into the evening.
The daily Eucharist is perhaps the most powerful part of the day - particularly as the whole congregation is seated at tables of ten people. After the sermon we are asked to take part in a “Table Discussion” which is extremely effective, creating a mini-community among the vastness of the worship and a palpable sense of unity within the incredible diversity of the Convention.
We are here to extend the hand of friendship from InclusiveChurch, to build networks of friendship and to share our common experiences. Clearly the huge issue for this conference, apart from the election of a new Presiding Bishop, is how the church here responds to the recommendations of the Windsor Report. Episcopalians are aware that “the eyes of the world are upon us” and are deeply aware that what happens this week will affect the future of the Anglican Communion. There is no sense that they are acting lightly, carelessly or without serious thought.
We have met, among other people, Cate Waynick, the Bishop of Indianapolis; Jon Bruno the Bishop of Los Angeles; representatives of Affirming Catholicism USA, Via Media, Claiming the Blessing; clergy and lay people from across the US and beyond. Apart from the generous and open welcome InclusiveChurch receives, there is a strong sense that ECUSA recognises its place as part of the Anglican Communion; the issue, therefore, for this week is how it can square the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the concerns of its conservative members with the strongly expressed determination to support, affirm and encourage the faith and ministry of lesbians and gay men within the church.
But the only point on which there is clarity is that there is no clarity. A Special Commission was set up to draft a possible response to the Windsor report, which has recommended a number of resolutions for Convention to consider. In these resolutions, the church expresses “deep regret” at the pain caused due to its actions and calls for “very considerable caution in the nomination, election, consent to, and consecration of bishops whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.” A further resolution asks the church not to proceed to “authorize public Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions, until some broader consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges.”
The legislative process calls for a Hearing to be held before the introduction of resolutions, which then have to be passed by a majority in the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies (which is made up of clergy and lay delegates from every diocese). The hearing regarding these resolutions was held last night; 1500 people attended and 70 spoke, including Gene Robinson (coincidentally following Robert Duncan the (conservative) bishop of Pittsburgh), Colin Coward of Changing Attitude and the Archbishop of York. While most of the contributions were unsurprising, there was clearly an undercurrent from some conservatives that the present situation cannot continue and that unity is being strained to breaking point.
In other words, the proposed resolutions go too far for some and not far enough for others. A startling and entirely inappropriate intervention from Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham, makes this clear. In a paper released to the Anglican Communion Network of (predominantly conservative) bishops a couple of weeks ago and widely publicised just before the hearing, he calls for ECUSA to use precisely the language of the Windsor report in expressing regret and imposing a “moratorium” on the appointment of bishops who might cause controversy; he accuses the Special Commission’s report of duplicity in its use of language and includes scarcely veiled threats should ECUSA not roll over and submit to the Windsor recommendations. While his paper was seized on by some to reinforce their positions, for most it was seen as a unacceptable example of arrogance from the Church of England - precisely the kind of thing guaranteed not to encourage the meeting of minds which is so urgently sought. The Archbishop of York, who is present for the whole week, made similar points but with a great deal more tact.
The resolutions are now to be discussed in detail. There is much to be negotiated. There is a danger is that the substance of the issue - the acceptance of lesbians and gay people - will be confused with the fallout of the process related to Gene Robinson’s appointment. Unclarity on both issues may continue for some while yet. A desire for closure on these issues may not be fulfilled. To be continued……
Jonathan Petre reports from Columbus in the Telegraph that Williams appeals for gay compromise as US dioceses plan split:
A number of conservative Anglican dioceses are poised to break-away from the liberal American Church over the issue of homosexuality, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.
In a development that will dismay the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, several American dioceses have held secret discussions about leaving the Episcopal Church and realigning themselves to a sympathetic conservative province.
First, he read a message from Rowan Williams to each house of the convention (the bishops meet entirely separately from everyone else, unlike the English synodical custom) and then he not only attended the hearing on Windsor, but actually spoke to the committee. You can find reports of what he said here and here (second link is text copied from about halfway down here). And here is a conversation Andrew Gerns had with the archbishop.
The discussion of the Windsor resolutions continues on Thursday.
The local Columbus Dispatch had this report.
For comprehensive reporting of the convention see the Episcopal News Service convention website which includes daily video reports and a daily journal in PDF format.
See this page at Anglicans Online for more links to sources, with some explanations.
Update Saturday 17 June
The rtf file of the outline agenda linked below has been replaced by this html version.
The outline agenda for the July 2006 group of sessions of the General Synod is now online here and is copied below.
There is also a draft forecast of business for 2007 here.
July 2006 Agenda
Times of sessions (unless otherwise stated): 9.30 am â€“ 1 pm, 2.30 pm â€“ 6.15 pm, 8.30 pm â€“ 10 pm
Friday, 7 July
Prayers, introductions, welcomes, progress of Measures, presentation of officers (Deputy Prolocutors and Pro-Prolocutors)
Business Committee report
Saturday, 8 July
Presidential Address (by the Archbishop of York)
Appointments to the Archbishopsâ€™ Council
Legislative Business: Church Accounting Regulations 2006
Women Bishops: theological principle
Legislative Business: Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure: Revision Stage
Legislative Business: Church of England Marriage Measure: First Consideration
Sunday, 9 July
Pensions: presentation, followed by questions
Church Commissionersâ€™ Annual Report
Southwark Diocesan Synod Motion: Carbon Dioxide Emissions
WCC Assembly: presentation
Archbishopsâ€™ Council Annual Report: deemed approval
Audit Committee Annual Report: deemed approval
SOC item: deemed approval
Monday, 10 July
Women Bishops: Next steps
Commission on Urban Life and Faith Report
Clergy Terms of Service: presentation by Professor David McClean, followed by questions
Tuesday, 11 July
Private Memberâ€™s Motion: Married Couplesâ€™ Tax Allowance
Not later than 1 pm
Bishop Tom Wright has published a major article analysing the proposed Windsor Report related resolutions, which the ECUSA General Convention is currently considering in committee hearings, The Choice Before ECUSA. He argues that the resolutions fail to comply with the Windsor Report:
…The benchmark against which the key resolutions must be measured is of course Windsor 134 (for Resolutions A160 and A161) and Windsor 144 (for A162). The report quotes the preamble to Windsor 134 (see (5) above), but never quotes the recommendations themselves. The reason for this, sadly, becomes all too clear: the Commission clearly had the Windsor Report before it throughout, and decided to decline Windsor’s request and to do something else instead, using some words and phrases which echo those of Windsor while not affirming the substance that was asked for. This, with real sadness, is my basic conclusion: that unless the relevant Resolutions are amended so that they clearly state what Windsor clearly requested, the rest of the Communion is bound to conclude that ECUSA has specifically chosen not to comply with Windsor…
and he concludes:
…It is very important not to let the plethora of material, in the official document and in all the various commentaries on it, detract attention from the central and quite simple question: Will ECUSA comply with the specific and detailed recommendations of Windsor, or will it not? As the Resolutions stand, only one answer is possible: if these are passed without amendment, ECUSA will have specifically, deliberately and knowingly decided not to comply with Windsor. Only if the crucial Resolutions, especially A160 and A161, are amended in line with Windsor paragraph 134, can there be any claim of compliance. Of course, even then, there are questions already raised about whether a decision of General Convention would be able to bind those parts of ECUSA that have already stated their determination to press ahead in the direction already taken. But the Anglican principle of taking people to be in reality what they profess to be, until there is clear evidence to the contrary, must be observed. If these resolutions are amended in line with Windsor, and passed, then the rest of the Communion will be in a position to express its gratitude and relief that ECUSA has complied with what was asked of it. Should that happen, I will be the first to stand up and cheer at such a result, and to speak out against those who are hoping fervently for ECUSA to resist Windsor so that they can justify their anti-ECUSA stance. But if the resolutions are not amended, then, with great sadness and with complete uncertainty about what way ahead might then be found, the rest of the Communion will have to conclude that, despite every opportunity, ECUSA has declined to comply with Windsor; has decided, in other words, to ‘walk apart’ (Windsor 157). My hope and earnest prayer over the coming week will continue to be that that conclusion may be avoided. May God bless the Bishops and Delegates of ECUSA in their praying, thinking and deciding.
See the full document for his detailed analysis of each resolution.
This has provoked some strong criticism already, see:
Jim Naughton N. T. Wright: Le Communion c’est moi.
Graham Kings discusses the same topic in the Fulcrum newsletter for June, Shechem, Corinth and Columbus: ECUSA’s Choices. He includes the following analysis, following the ideas previously put forward by Andrew Goddard:
1. ‘Federal Conservatives’, in the bottom right, consists of those who are conservative on sexual ethics but who do not consider highly the ecclesiology of the Windsor Report and especially its warnings against transprovincial interventions. They would not be unhappy with the demotion of the Anglican Communion to a Federation of Anglican Churches. Examples of this group may be the Anglican Mission in America, which began with transprovincial consecrations, parts of the American Anglican Council and the Archbishops of Nigeria and of Sydney.
2. ‘Communion Conservatives’, in the top right, consists of those who are conservative on sexual ethics but have a high regard for the ecclesiology and the recommendations of the Windsor Report. They are keen to hold to the concept of Communion. Examples of this group may be Fulcrum and the Anglican Communion Institute and the Bishop of Pittsburgh.
3. ‘Communion Liberals’, in the top left, consists of those who are liberal on sexual ethics but have a high regard for the ecclesiology set out in the Windsor Report, if not all its recommendations. Examples of this group may be the Bishop of Virginia and the centre of the Special Commission of ECUSA.
4. ‘Federal Liberals’, in the bottom left, consists of those who are liberal on sexual ethics and have a low regard for the ecclesiology set out in the Windsor Report and many of its recommendations. Examples of this group may be Integrity USA and the Bishop of Washington.
Concerning the Anglican Covenant proposed by the Windsor Report, which recently has had some preliminary shape given to it, groups 1 and 4 are likely to be against it and groups 2 and 3 for it.
It seems to me that the Global South Anglican movement and Anglican Communion Network movement, and the Anglican Mainstream movement (and all three are movements, rather than just groups), include some in groups 1 and 2, though more, perhaps, in group 1. They straddle the two and responses to the outcome of the General Convention will depend a lot on the resolution of this tension.
See the full article for the footnotes giving sources etc.
The Presidential Address to the Cork, Cloyne & Ross Diocesan Synod by Bishop Paul Colton can be read in full here.
A press release also issued by the diocese contains the reasons why this is of more than local interest:Church of Ireland ought not respond to Anglican controversy by erecting walls of exclusion - Bishop of Cork
Some longer quotes from the full text:
Planning is also under way for the next Lambeth Conference of bishops which is to be held in 2008: not long now â€“ two summers away. I hope that the planners of that conference and that the Archbishop of Canterbury (who issues the invitation) will invite all Anglican bishops of the time and of all outlooks to that three week encounter as equal participants; otherwise it would be pointless.
I have never been to a Lambeth Conference, having been elected six months or so after the last one. However, what I want from that meeting is for it to be nothing other than a place of encounter and pilgrimage. To that end it would be impossibly impoverished unless all are invited in parity. Moreover, it would be uselessly compromised if it were to descend to a type of ecclesial and political world cup where resolutions are propounded and fought over; and which supplant discovering that friendship in faith with the trophies of sectional victory: golden cows won and lost and which consolidate or even catalyse division.
…It is stating the obvious to say that all is not well within our Anglican family. It is hard to escape the sense that, in this controversy, those who shout the loudest; or with the greatest determination; or with the most panache are being accorded the open ear of some of the international structures of Anglicanism. These happen also to be Anglicanismâ€™s instruments of unity: the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primatesâ€™ Meeting. I deliberately omit two of the instruments of unity: the Lambeth Conference of Bishops because it has not met since the most recent spate of controversy began; and the emerging consciousness of Anglican Canon Law is omitted because, although the Primates Meeting and the ACC have acknowledged the possible role of canon law as an instrument of unity, there is by no means universal agreement among the autonomous churches of the Anglican family on this point yet…
…In other words - and lay people are best placed to tell me - do not most ordinary members of the Church think of themselves as simply being Church of Ireland; albeit with broadly similar, like-minded Christian friends in other parts of the world? (For clergy it is different, our livelihood throws us into the path of such things). And in the case of young Christians I meet, my sense is that they appear to have moved beyond this debate altogether and in the terms they express themselves we recognise post-denominational Christianity.
I also ask myself what it is that I find and have always found attractive, if also frustrating and challenging, about the Church of Ireland. It is exactly those things I mentioned last year in describing the Anglican way: our breadth; our smudgy-edged inclusiveness. What is inspiring is the fact that people who think so hugely differently about the things of God, can nonetheless belong together within the same church; journey side by side; worship, pray, work and announce the good news together; and discover across their differences a friendship in faith that they wouldnâ€™t probably otherwise have. Because of the present row which purports to be about human sexuality, Anglicanism runs the risk of becoming something wholly unattractive and unrecognisable to those who are drawn strongly to its sometimes exasperating breadth, untidiness and inclusiveness.
I remind you of that quotation of William Countryman:
â€œAnglicanism is notorious for its theological indeterminacy. â€¦[It] exists in a mode unlike that of most Western Christian traditions. It has never been a genuinely confessional church. It is the product of historical accident (and/or divine providence) as much as of theological intent, and its primary focus is not on defining itself but on turning a community towards God in worship.â€
In my view, any proposal for a way forward which undermines our inclusiveness or comprehensiveness ought to be subjected to rigorous and autonomous scrutiny. In the Church of Ireland, we must be careful not to jettison either our independence or autonomy on the one hand; or the friendship of faith we have nurtured already across significant differences. We do away such things at our peril. Impetuously erecting walls of exclusion on the fuzzy edges of Anglicanism would, to my mind, be a negation of the essence of Anglicanism and of the Church of Ireland itself.
And because the presenting issue of the controversy within Anglicanism appears to be human sexuality, one result is that gay people have become scapegoats in what is a more deep-seated constitutional crisis. Therefore, gay people in lay and ordained leadership as well as in voluntary work in our churches, or simply in our pews, or those who have been driven away by a sense of rejection, together with gay people in the community outside the church, need to know and to hear our apology. Gay people in the Church have been caught in the middle of a row which is not about them and their sexuality, but which instead is primarily about the way different Anglicans read, approach and understand the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. Had it not surfaced on the back of the sexuality debate, this dispute would have emerged sooner or later on an entirely different issue.
Ironically, a personâ€™s strongest point is frequently also their weakest. So it is with institutions. I, and I believe many others like me, are attracted to the disparate untidiness of Anglicanism: its comprehensive inclusiveness. Wide open arms that seem to stretch inconceivably far, drawing many in, and providing shade and shelter for the most unlikely fellow-pilgrims. This has always been my experience of the Church of Ireland. I believe we jeopardise or jettison this at our peril.
At the same time it would be naÃ¯ve not to acknowledge the challenging and uncomfortable diversity of approach to reading and interpreting and shaping our faith on the scriptures.
In writing about women bishops, Jonathan Wynne-Jones said in the Sunday Telegraph that:
The fresh delay in drawing up legislation came after one of the Church’s most senior female clerics, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, the Dean of Leicester, said that she would have felt unable to become a bishop under the plans that had been proposed.
The whole lecture should be read, but the quote comes from this part:
It seems to me that if women bishops are a theological innovation, TEA is a far greater ecclesiological innovation. Others have noted that we have for some time been very close to articulating theologies specifically rejected by the early church. The postmodern temptation to picking and choosing amongst bishops, the pre-modern ttemptation to see your bishop as tainted, surely need to be resisted. More prosaically, any diocesan bishop operating under TEA would find much of their energy absorbed by managing its complexity rather than strategic leadership. At a time of rapid change this inhibition could be critical.
I for one would find that inhibition made the office and work of a bishop impossible to perform.
The lecture also contains a wealth of statistics on women’s ministry as priests in the Church of England.
Political Spaghetti has published a comprehensive review of events in Nigeria relating to the proposed new laws relating to homosexuality in that country.
Will anyone in the Church of England raise any questions about the role of the Church of Nigeria in this affair?
Yesterday’s Sunday Times carried a report by Christina Lamb about the deplorable state of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe, Church of the Flunkey bolsters Mugabe’s grip. This contains the following passage:
So serious is the situation that Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has intervened with the Home Office to help some priests to enter Britain. â€œThe Church of England has received and assisted clerical refugees from the diocese of Harare,â€ said Lambeth Palace.
Williams has broken a long silence on the matter with a statement to The Sunday Times in effect calling for the Bishop of Harare to be suspended.
â€œIn other jurisdictions, a priest or bishop facing such serious charges would be suspended without prejudice until the case had been closed,â€ the statement said. â€œIt is therefore very difficult for Bishop Kunonga to be regarded as capable of functioning as a bishop elsewhere in the communion.â€
Although Williams has no power to intervene in Zimbabwe â€” which comes under the authority of the autonomous Province of Central Africa â€” his words as leader of the worldwide Anglican church carry great influence.
If this report is correct, then some progress has been made.
As the General Convention of The Episcopal Church gets underway in Columbus Ohio, Lionel Deimel and Christopher Wells have engaged in a discussion which is available online, starting here. This discussion concerns the proposed resolutions concerning the Windsor Report, starting from the two essays previously listed here on TA, one by Deimel, and the other from ACI.
This is published later than usual, apologies.
The Tablet has an editorial about Women Bishops in the CofE: Kasper’s forthright warning.
The same journal published this interview with Linda Woodhead: Holistic spirit.
Christopher Howse writes about dogs in church.
The Archbishop of Southeast Asia, John Chew expressed his opinions to Ruth Gledhill in Anglicans look south for unity in diversity.
Two newspaper reports on Sunday refer to a speech by Lord Carey, expressing his opinion.
Sunday Telegraph Church has fallen apart since I was in charge, says Carey
Independent Carey blames successor for ‘strife’ dividing Anglicans
You can read his opinion in full here (the speech was delivered on 9 May).
Updated Monday morning
Two items related to the above:
Lord Carey has issued a statement complaining about the Sunday Telegraph report and
Stephen Bates has written about it in the Guardian with a wide range of persons quoted, in Oh dear. George is at it again.
The bishop interviewed this time is Bishop Nick Baines, Suffragan of Croydon in Southwark diocese. Please note that Bishop Nick has impeccable evangelical credentials. His comments about Mr Coekin are extremely interesting.
The item is about 9 minutes in total, and starts about 20 minutes into this link. Better link from the BBC tomorrow.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones in a Telegraph article Church leaders ‘back to square one’ as talks on women bishops fail writes:
The Church of England’s plans to allow women to become bishops are in disarray after its leaders failed to reach agreement on how to introduce the historic reform.
the House of Bishops will ask next month’s General Synod for more time to work out a mechanism which they hope will prevent the Church from descending into civil war over the issue.
The Face to Faith godslot in the Guardian is written by the Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler. His conclusion:
…We have yet to see how the new clergy discipline measure works in practice. There are cases in the pipeline in several dioceses but none has yet come to fruition. Bishops are concerned, however, that there is a danger that the new processes will dramatically change the nature of episcopal ministry. Typically, bishops prefer to intervene in a problem at an early stage, before matters become too serious. The pastoral and discipline roles of the bishop overlap through personal contact and discussion. Under the new measure the bishop has a formal role of judgment to exercise once the other processes have been completed. The advice is, therefore, for the bishop not to beome too involved at an early stage of a problem because he might prejudice himself from exercising his formal role later in the process. Yet solving problems at an early stage is what most bishops do best.
One must not overemphasise the difficulties. Most clergy most of the time in partnership with one another and with their bishop get on with the ministry of serving God and God’s world with dedication and commitment. They rarely trouble or are troubled by disciplinary measures old or new. But for the handful of cases needing to be handled, I think all bishops are going to be spending a fair bit of time with lawyers.
The UK government has been conducting a public consultation on its proposals to outlaw Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Provision of Goods and Services. You can find the consultation document here (PDF). Before you ask, Parliament has already finalised a corresponding set of regulations relating to discrimination on grounds of Religion and Belief. They are in Part 2 of the Equality Act 2006. The power to make these SO regulations is in Part 3.
Yesterday the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England published its formal response to the government’s consultation. You can read that response in full here (PDF) and it is summarised in this press release.
This morning, Jonathan Petre has a report in the Telegraph Church ‘could be forced to bless gay weddings’.
The CofE’s official response is quite muted in comparison with the responses from the Lawyers Christian Fellowship and from Anglican Mainstream. The latter body provides a convenient link to a recent House of Commons exchange on the matter. (I don’t think this is because AM endorses all the views expressed.)
Last week, the Church Times carried an article by Colin Coward titled Most Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Anglicans live in the Global South. Another copy is here.
This week there is a letter to the editor challenging this article. The letter is from Canon Ben Enwuchola (who is described as “Chaplain to the Nigerian Community in England”) and Canon Chris Sugden. A copy appears here on the Anglican Mainstream site.
I suspect the contents of the letter are likely to be the subject of further challenges. There certainly seems to be increasing activity in the Global South.
It’s hard to keep up with the flow of material: here is another tranche of documents from the CO-MISSION initiative:
The letter by Richard Coekin’s lawyers to the Archbishop’s lawyers concerning the Archbishop’s decision PDF file
A legal note of advice concerning the accuracy of the press statements by the Archbishop and the Bishop of Southwark PDF file
Having read all these documents, I can only conclude that Mr Coekin and his lawyers have no intention of accepting the archbishop’s determination. I do hope I am wrong.
First, the Church Times has this report Mr Coekin: licensed again, but warned to be obedient.
Second, Giles Fraser in his Church Times opinion column, has A matter not settled by a Technicality.
Third, and most interesting, the prolific Andrew Goddard has written a further analysis for Fulcrum entitled Some ramifications of the Coekin case:
He concludes thus:
…It had been claimed that such undertakings should not be demanded as they were ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unjustifiable’. These are claims one could imagine being echoed by others who sit loose to the authority of bishops in the Church of England, especially if those bishops are seen as ‘liberal’. This claim is clearly and firmly rejected by the Archbishop. In contrast, he makes clear that ‘their content reflects the legal obligations which Canon Law imposes upon any licensed minister’ (italics added). In short, what Richard Coekin and many of his supporters view as unreasonable and unjustifiable limitations on the freedom of a parish clergyperson are in fact binding obligations under canon law. Furthermore, as noted earlier, doctrinal disagreement with one’s bishop or declarations of ‘impaired communion’ are not legitimate defences for disobeying canon law.
To ask for written undertakings on the part of one individual troublesome priest who had misbehaved, while perhaps providing a form of the ‘merited censure’, could also have been seen as having no wider significance for other clergy and simply be a punishment for his personal misbehaviour. By deciding not to ask for such undertakings the Archbishop has opened the possibility for a personal and relational approach to reconciliation (rather than one of a reluctant legal declaration). But he has done much more. He has made it quite clear that ‘the onus placed upon the Appellant to conform to the discipline of the Church’ (which was the rationale for asking for undertakings) ‘is not in any way lessened’ and that Richard Coekin is left ‘bound to submit to the Respondent’s episcopal authority and accountable for his actions to the wider Church’. Furthermore, this is not only true of Richard Coekin nor is it limited to the peculiar and difficult situation of this sad case. What it was proposed by the Bishop of Winchester to be explicitly required of this one person in this one case is actually now clearly shown to be required of all clergy in all situations. Whatever one’s problems with one’s bishop, no clergyperson is above the law.
No clergyperson in the Church of England can therefore now claim ignorance of the significance and seriousness of their acts if they involve themselves in any ordinations without the approval of their diocesan or if they disregard episcopal directions concerning church planting. Any such actions are a flagrant rejection of the discipline of the church and the standard rhetorical defences offered by those who threaten such actions have been found to be without legal or theological basis. In future any similar acts of disobedience, whether by Richard Coekin or any other cleric, are likely to result in disciplinary proceedings not by summary revocation of their licence but under the new Clergy Discipline Measure. As long as care is taken to follow due process, there can now be little doubt that any bishop faced with repetitions of conduct similar to that of Richard Coekin will be able effectively to discipline those involved as they have been shown by this ruling to have absolutely no justification in law for such actions.
Giles Fraser mentions something that has been asserted by several commenters here on TA: that Emmanuel, the parent church of Dundonald, practices lay presidency at the Holy Communion. If this is true, then will the relevant clergy now be challenged on this?
Cardinal Walter Kasper addressed the House of Bishops of the Church of England this week.
See the full text of his remarks below the comment from Rowan Williams on this page. Another copy of it is here.
An earlier report in the Telegraph by Jonathan Petre is concerned with what the House of Bishops will do about women bishops: Deal on women bishops could collapse.
The speech by the cardinal made Forward in Faith extremely happy.
The press release from the Bishop of Southwark is reproduced here below the fold.
Today, in the Guardian Stephen Bates reports on all this, in Archbishop stokes row over status of rebel evangelical.
And, Stephen also has a rather more colourful opinion piece on commentisfree Invertebrates led by a jellyfish.
Fulcrum has published this statement.
A rather confused and incorrect report from the CEN Bishop rebuked over the sacking of vicar
The press release from Richard Coekin is reproduced below:
RICHARD COEKIN WINS APPEAL FOR RESTORATION OF LICENCE
The Archbishop of Canterbury announced today (5th June 2006) that he has allowed the appeal by Revd Richard Coekin against the revocation of his licence by the Bishop of Southwark, so reinstating Revd Coekin to his role as a licensed minister in the diocese of Southwark.
In response Revd Coekin said: â€œWe thank God that my licence has been reinstated. This has been a long and gruelling process. I am grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Winchester for their help in resolving this problem in granting my appeal.
â€œAs the Archbishop has asked, we will want to move on to seek reconciliation with the Bishop of Southwark and all caught up in these events. We continue to pray for them and for the possibility of closer co-operation in the spread of the good news of Jesus.
â€œThere has sadly been a great deal of misunderstanding and some misinformed criticism circulating about our churches and ministries. We hope that in light of this decision that there will now be fresh opportunities to rebuild mutual trust and understanding.
â€œWe organised the ordinations of the staff needed for our congregations because of our temporarily impaired relationship with the Bishop of Southwark. This is due to what we regard as a departure by the House of Bishops from the historic and orthodox moral teaching of the Bible. We continue to pray that the Church of England will remain loyal to its Biblical heritage.â€
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday 05 June 2006
Statement from The Bishop of Southwark on the Archbishop of Canterburyâ€™s ruling in the case of The Revd Richard Coekinâ€™s appeal on the revocation of his Licence.
The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Tom Butler:
1. Welcomes the matter being brought to a speedy conclusion.
2. Notes that the Archbishop, in his judgement, states that “Mr Coekin’s conduct [in arranging an illegal ordination] merited censure”
3. Notes further that the Archbishop, whilst cancelling the revocation of the licence for technical reasons, states that he (the Archbishop) “does not accept that the requested undertaking [for such a cancellation as requested by the Bishop of Winchester’s report] are unreasonable or unjustifiable.” [These undertakings are:
(i) except under the authority of the Bishop of Southwark to refrain from any involvement in:
a. ordination services within the area of the Diocese of Southwark, or
b. the ordination of persons (of whatever Christian church) to serve within the area of that diocese.
(ii) strictly to abide by all general or specific directions given by the Bishop of Southwark, concerning church planting or mission initiatives.]
4. In this, the Archbishop’s report makes it clear that these recommended undertakings fall within Canon Law.
5. The Archbishop’s report further emphasises that if Mr Coekin is to exercise licensed ministry in the Church of England he must “conform to the discipline of the Church.” and “must submit to the Bishop of Southwark’s episcopal authority.”
6. I note that the Archbishop points to the commitment of the whole Church of England to its mission as the national Church. The Archbishop points to the forthcoming Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure, (which places an important emphasis on bishops’ mission orders that govern mission initiatives.)
7. Within these understandings, I will be looking to Mr Coekin to work in partnership with the Diocese and with all of its other clergy.
First, Lionel Deimel has published a very substantial article entitled Saving Anglicanism: An Historical Perspective on Decisions Facing the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. This is available in PDF format from this page. See also his earlier analysis of the draft resolutions.
Second, Christopher Wells has written an article, which has been published by the Anglican Communion Institute, entitled Wounded in Common Mission: The Term of Inter-Christian Divisiveness.
Both essays have been welcomed by Mark Harris, the first one here, and the second one in an email which he has kindly allowed me to reproduce below the fold here.
I recommend both articles too.
Comment by Mark Harris on the article by Christopher Wells
…For me,(and this is my own read, not his) perhaps his most important push is for us to understand that provisionality, the ability to hold to what we believe, but not as absolute, against the day of greater revelation, is a peculiar gift to Anglicans. As with all gifts, it comes with its own built in “hook”: provisionality requires that we also be willing to suffer the consequences of not being able to make the claims of the righteous, namely that we are right. We have, at the very least, to say to our opponents, “Well, you may be right… and yet here is where I am.” Having done that, how then do we deal with the competing claims to rightness? What, as my friend Michel Krausz says, are the “limits to rightness?” If we given in to an either /or place, we give up our provisionality. If we make truly autonomous and binding decisions as a province, or even as the Communion, against other Christian communities, we run against the vision of the Church yet made manifest as one, known through our provisionality and the suffering that accompanies that stance. It is a puzzle. I have the sense that the way out of the maze is in coming to our senses (or perhaps some form of recapitulation), as in having the good sense and faith to live with hope in God’s call to us, in the light of which crises are not what they seem…
Richard Coekin has won his appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Tuesday Press Reports
Press release from Lambeth: Archbishop allows Coekin appeal
Richard Coekin has issued a statement which you can find here on Anglican Mainstream.
Fulcrum has this comment on its forum, by Graham Kings.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will lead the St Albans Festival Pilgrimage on 24 June.
See the diocesan press release:
Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will make a special pilgrimage to St Albans to celebrate the life and death of Britain’s first martyr on June 24.
“We are delighted to welcome the Archbishop to St Albans” said the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans. “The pilgrimage is a very special re-enactment of the trial and execution of Alban using larger than life puppets. It will be a colourful, spectacular and wonderful thanksgiving for Alban.”
Dr John adds, “The pilgrimage has been growing in size in recent years and this year the Archbishop will even be able to see re-enactments of chariot racing and lion taming.”
Pilgrims from all over the UK and countries including Germany and Italy will congregate at the site of Alban’s trial in Roman Verulamium, not far from the Cathedral. They will set off on foot following the giant puppets of Alban, the persecuted priest to whom he gave shelter. Pilgrims will be accompanied by hundreds of red roses, a symbol of Alban, as they walk up the hill to the Cathedral.
Services to be held in the morning and the afternoon will provide the opportunity for prayerful contemplation of Alban’s sacrifice in which he allowed the priest he was protecting to flee his Roman persecutors by exchanging clothes with him. After a flogging, a trial and sentence of death, Alban continued to declare his Christian faith and was executed on the site of the Cathedral that bears his name.
Over 200 local children will be involved in the preparations for the event helping to create the chariots, the puppets and ornate decorations for the inside of the Cathedral.
For more details see the cathedral website.
Today’s Sunday radio programme interviews John Gladwin about what really happened last week. 5 minutes long.
Go about 39 minutes forward using this link
(better link on Monday).
New permanent link to this here.
Guardian Judith Maltby Face to Faith is about listening.
The Times Lavinia Byrne The Spirit is benign, subtle, toxic - and can be found in the back of a cab
Telegraph Christopher Howse The letters on the brick wall
And, from the Tablet an article by James Alison The wild ride
Last Updated Saturday
Fulcrum has issued a statement in relation to all this, Kenya, Chelmsford and Communion: What are the issues?
The Archbishop of Kenya has issued this press statement.
The Bishop of Chelmsford, John Gladwin, returned home from Kenya today, and held a press conference.
ACNS carries the press statement that he issued.
Ruth Gledhill attended the press conference and has written about it at some length on her blog, which also has pictures. She has titled the entry Gladwin: I blame the devil. She also has a shorter account on Times Online headlined Bishop stranded in Africa blames the devil.
The newspaper version of this report is Devil of a time for bishop in the bush.
Update East Anglian Daily Times Bishop plays down Kenyan ‘snub’
Update Saturday The latest from Nairobi in the Nation Fresh row over gay-rights bishop
Footnote: the Church of England Newspaper has published this report, written earlier in the week, which most oddly refers to the bishop repeatedly as Mr Gladwin.
Another footnote: in today’s Church Times Giles Fraser refers to the reporting on Bishop Gladwin in his opinion column.
And a third footnote: Anglican Mainstream has published a letter to the Church Times which will not appear on tthe latter’s public website for another week: Kenyan snub to Bishop: donâ€™t blame conservatives.