Saturday, 30 September 2006

Saturday Opinions

The Guardian has a Face to Faith column by Emma Klein and Judy Cooper who ask whether forgiveness is always appropriate.

The Times has a Credo column by Roderick Strange about prayer and unbearable pain.

In The Tablet Anthony Carroll, in Faith, reason and modernity, looks closely at what the Pope said in Regensburg earlier this month, and Elena Curti reports on the results of the paper’s survey on Christian-Muslim relations.

In his Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph Christopher Howse writes about a wallhanging in Girona cathedral depicting the creation.

In the Church Times the leader looks at the communiqué issued by the primates who met at Kigali. Giles Fraser writes about golf and Christianity, and makes a plea for more socializing by the bishops at the next Lambeth Conference.

Sunday addition

Nick Cohen in The Observer I can barely Adam and Eve it, but creationism’s catching on over here.

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Friday, 29 September 2006

civil partnerships: Richard Chartres writes

A letter, written by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has been published at Anglican Mainstream. It appears that the letter was sent only to a select set of parishes in that diocese.

Ruth Gledhill has written about this on her blog: Church of England expected to revise Civil Partnership Guidelines.

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women bishops: McCulloch to chair new group

The Archbishops’ Council has announced that the Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, will chair the new legislative drafting group. Read the full press release. The full text of Canon A4, for which the press release links to a pdf file, can be read more easily here.

The BBC has a report: Meeting to consider women bishops.

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Thursday, 28 September 2006

lots more ECUSA-related news and comment

Reports are appearing thick and fast today.

San Joaquin: Bishop of San Joaquin Cleared of Abandonment Charges is in the Living Church and the diocesan press release is here.
Update: much more detail from ENS in San Joaquin bishop’s actions do not constitute abandonment of communion, review committee says.

And again the Living Church reports from Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Standing Committee Rejects Bishop’s Choice of Chancellor and the Standing Committee website is here.

Meanwhile back at Camp Allen/Kigali, ENS has further reports:
Presiding Bishop reflects on Camp Allen, Kigali statements and a Statement from Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies.

In More objections voiced to Kigali communiqué, we learn from ENS of

…a September 28 statement from the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) which clarified that its Prime Bishop, the Most Rev. Ignacio C. Soliba, “did not attend the meeting and was not a signatory to the so-called Kigali Communiqué.”

…The Philippine statement also offered greetings on behalf of the province to Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and welcomed her election. “The Episcopal Church in the Philippines will extend an invitation for her to visit the Philippines in early 2008 for the renewal of our historical ties and covenant relationship,” the statement said.

and the history of earlier Global South reports is reviewed.

Reuters has issued Episcopal Church head says split would cause chaos

Another Living Church report covers earlier Kigali news: Global South Primates Trade Accusations of Bad Faith and earlier there was Alaska Bishop Reflects on Camp Allen Meeting.
Update The Living Church report of the Griswold comments: Presiding Bishop Critical of Camp Allen, Kigali Meetings.

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Frank Griswold on Camp Allen and Kigali

Episcopal News Service has published Presiding Bishop reflects on Camp Allen, Kigali meetings. This includes the following passage:

… With regard to the gathering in Texas, advance and follow-up information about this meeting suggest an involvement by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is important for you to know that the Texas meeting was in no way held at the Archbishop’s initiative nor was it planned in collaboration with him. The two bishops from the Church of England did not attend as delegates of the Archbishop, nor were they empowered to speak on his behalf except to give the message that “the bishops meeting are bishops of the Catholic Church in the Anglican Communion.” The Archbishop has always encouraged exchanges of views, as have I. Therefore, I appreciate the concern of those who attended the Texas meeting for the faithfulness of our church. At the same time, such encouragement does not necessarily imply affirmation of or agreement with points of view expressed in the course of such exchanges…

and also this passage:

The communiqué from Kigali recommends that there be a separate ecclesial body within our province. The suggestion of such a division raises profound questions about the nature of the church, its ordering and its oversight. I further believe such a division would open the way to multiple divisions across other provinces of the Communion, and any sense of a coherent mission would sink into chaos. Such a recommendation appears to be an effort to preempt the Windsor process and acting upon it would create a fact on the ground, making healing and reconciliation – the stated goal of the Windsor process – that much more difficult to achieve.

Having said that, I am well aware that some within our own Episcopal Church are working to achieve such an end. Efforts, some more overt than others, toward this end have been underway since before the 1998 Lambeth Conference. More recently, the Colorado-based organization called the Anglican Communion Institute has posted on its website a paper outlining a four-part strategy toward a new “Constituent body” in the United States, rather than the Episcopal Church, which would participate in the development of an Anglican Covenant. Though the Texas meeting included consultants who are part of the Anglican Communion Institute, I know this goal is not shared by all of the bishops who signed the letter from Texas.

The Kigali communiqué questions Bishop Jefferts Schori’s ability to represent all of our dioceses. The role of primates is to bear witness as fully as possible to the life and complexities of their own provinces. I have sought to bring to the primates’ meetings the wide range of opinions and the consequent tensions within our own church. I have every confidence that Katharine will do the same. Furthermore, the voices from dioceses that the Kigali communiqué fears will not be heard seem to be well represented among the primates themselves.

There is a reference in the article to an Anglican Communion Institute paper. I believe that the paper referenced is this one.

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Wednesday, 27 September 2006

other Kigali reports

Ruth Gledhill wrote in The Times about Archbishop criticises anti-gay clergy.

Ruth also appeared on the BBC Sunday radio programme. Link to audio here, and transcript here.

The South African branch of Anglican Mainstream expressed its opinions here. Greg Venables also had an opinion. So did Church Society.

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Chew responds to Ndungane

Global South Anglican has published Some points of clarification on the Kigali Meeting and Communique - Archbishop John Chew:

In light of the 24 September 2006 Statement on the Global South “Kigali” Communique by the Archbishop Njongongkulu Ndungane, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, it is necessary to make the following clarifications:

1. “Whereas Canon Livingstone Ngewu and I were present in Kigali, neither of us were made aware even of the possibility of a communique in the name of the Primates of the Global South, prior to its release.”

The draft Agenda clearly stating the item and intent was sent out earlier to the Primates who have indicated their participation at the Kigali Meeting. At the 1st Session after the Opening Address by the Chairman, the draft Agenda was presented and, with some amendments, were agreed by all present. The 1st Reading of the draft Communique was put backward from the evening of the 2nd day to the afternoon session of the 3rd day. Furthermore, a Communique drafting committee chaired by the Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi was unanimously appointed. Both Archbishop Ndungane and Canon Ngewu were present throughout the time these decisions were made.

2. “I am surprised that we allow our agenda to be so dominated and driven by an inordinate influence from the United States. ……… It is hard to understand why we continue to act in response to the North to such a great extent, rather than making use of our freedom to concentrate our energies on the priorities of our own people and Provinces.”

Careful reading of the Agenda and the Kigali Communique will clearly show that discussions on and responses to the so-called matters of the United States or the ‘North’ took up only a very small portion of time of the whole Meeting. Archbishop Ndungane left immediately after the 1st Session of the Meeting on “Update of the previous two Global South Primates Steering Committee Meetings” on Wednesday morning (20th September). He would have been very encouraged and his sentiments dispelled if he had stayed throughout the Meeting.

The recently formed Theological Formation and Education Task Force (co-ordinated by Revd Dr Michael Poon with a Primate, a Bishop and two clergy seminary theologians) and Economic Empowerment Track (co-ordinated by Mr Keith Chua with mainly senior laity and some Bishops and clergy) met in parallel and intense consultations during the Meeting. Both tracks made quality presentations and recommendations for adoption. Their practical and prompt implementations were urged. The importance of these two tracks for the development and maturity of the Global South Provinces could not be over-emphasised. These were mandated when some 20 Global South Provinces (each represented by the Primate, Bishop, Clergy and Laity including Youth) met at the “Red Sea Encounter” in Egypt last October.

3. “To me, at least, it appears in places that there is a hidden agenda, to which some of us are not privy… there seems to be a deliberate intention toundermine the due processes of the Anglican Communion and the integrity of the Instruments of Unity, …”

The consistent and public stand of the majority of the Global South Provinces in relation to the crisis provoked by the actions and resolutions of the ECUSA and Canadian Anglican Church is openly known and clearly expressed in the various Statements or Communiques on these matters since late 2003. These are all in the public domain for all who wish to read or have access to them.

The Most Revd Dr John Chew
Hon Secretary, Global South Provinces in the Anglican Communion
25th September 2006

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Monday, 25 September 2006

more American reports and viewpoints

Updated Tuesday morning

Jack Iker has been interviewed by Stand Firm about the Camp Allen meeting. Read it here.

Mark Lawrence has been interviewed by the ACN. Related to this, Greg Jones has republished in full an article by Fr Lawrence, Remaining Anglican: In Defense of Dissociation.

Greg Jones himself wrote Megaphone Churchmanship.

Episcopal News Service reports Ndungane disavows Global South Communiqué.

Mark Harris wrote Southern Africa speaks, will more follow?

Matt Thompson continues his Nigerian writing with No guilt by association.

Christ Church Plano has issued a page of Q&A About Our Future.

D Magazine has a long article about the Diocese of Dallas, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (hat tip KH).

Tuesday Updates

Fr Jake has The Imaginary Majority.

Marshall Scott wrote An Alternative to Hegemony in Anglican Arguments.

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Affirming Catholics express deep sorrow

Affirming Catholicism has issued this press release:

Affirming Catholics express deep sorrow at conservative Anglican statement

The Director of the Anglican organisation, Affirming Catholicism, today expressed deep sorrow at the communiqué issued after the meeting of Anglican Primates of the Global South. The communiqué expressed the determination of conservative Anglican leaders who met in Rwanda under the chairmanship of The Most Rev’d Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, to set up rival church structures for conservative members of the Episcopal Church in the United States and elsewhere. The Global South leaders also called for the proposed Anglican covenant to be drafted to exclude those who take a progressive line on the issue of homosexuality.

The Director of Affirming Catholicism, the Rev’d Richard Jenkins, said:

The communiqué suggests that Anglicans should unite on the basis of their views on sexuality – which is the very issue that divides us. If we are to be unified, we must draw on deeper resources and display greater charity.

The Anglican commitment to scripture, tradition and reason as sources of authority means that we cannot claim closure on the issue of homosexuality. A covenant which unites us must therefore hold together the three strands of our Church: catholic, evangelical and liberal. I call on the Primates of the Communion to heed the repeated calls of the Archbishop of Canterbury to engage on those lines and seek reconciliation by transcending differences.

The Primate of the Church of the West Indies, the Most Rev’d Drexel Gomez, has been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair an official drafting group for an Anglican Covenant, but other members of the group have yet to be named. Affirming Catholicism is to hold a day conference to discuss the Covenant, entitled ‘Anglican Unity and the limits of Diversity’ on Saturday 20 January at St Matthew’s Church, Westminster.

ENDS

  • Affirming Catholicism came into being fifteen years ago on 9 June 1990 at a service in St Alban’s Church, Holborn, London. The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was among those who addressed the meeting.
  • The movement has members and local groups throughout the British Isles and sister groups in other parts of the Communion.
  • For the communiqué of the Global South Primates, click here and see also here.
  • For the Affirming Catholicism statement on the Windsor report click here (pdf file).
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The end of the Communion?

InclusiveChurch has issued the following press release:

The end of the Communion?

1.0 As a result of the statements issued by the meeting of the Primates of the “Global South” in Kigali, the Anglican Communion has been moved into completely new territory. We are presented with a situation where the possibility of dialogue between believing Christians is being closed down. Both the tone and the content of the Communique of the Primates of the Global South reflect an understanding of the Church which is profoundly un-Anglican, and represents a radical departure from both our ecclesiology and our traditions. We are sleepwalking towards a new church, and unless the silent majority of Anglicans do take action we will wake up to find we have lost the Church and the Christianity we hold dear.

2.0 “One church, one bishop, one territory” is fundamental to our Anglican polity and identity; to say that it is now “outdated” is to deny the whole history of Anglicanism . To say that many of the Primates can either not be in communion or to be in “impaired communion” with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (TEC) represents a theological and ecclesiological nonsense, The sacrament of Holy Communion is a sacrament given to us by God which is not capable of impairment. We trust in God and give thanks to Him for the gift of communion; it is as the Body of Christ that we exist.

3.0 The proposal to create two parallel jurisdictions within the Anglican Communion, separate but both nominally Anglican through their relationship with Canterbury, rides roughshod over the Instruments of Unity and over the Windsor process. It also represents a misunderstanding of the nature of Anglican identity. If we are in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury we cannot be out of communion with one another.

But we remember that many of the primates of the “Global South” absented themselves from a Eucharist to which they were invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Dromantine Conference in 2005. We draw the conclusion from that that their allegiance to Canterbury is at best skin deep, and subject to his confirmation of their particular position on matters of human sexuality.

We also note that the Communique did not involve or receive the assent of the Archbishop of Cape Town and the Province of Southern Africa, and we wonder how many other Provinces’ assent has been assumed instead of confirmed.

4.0 Those who believe in a church which is both inclusive and welcoming have until now sought to respond to the actions of the Primates of the “Global South” with reason and restraint. As a result, factions within our Church have pushed harder and harder at the bounds of communion. Their proposals now bear only a tangential resemblance to the Anglicanism which has until now defined and developed the Communion.

5.0 We note too that significant amounts of funding for many of the organisations which have led on these – notably the American Anglican Council, Anglican Communion Network and Anglican Mainstream – have come from the Ahmanson family and other non-Anglican, politically conservative foundations based in the United States. This funding has enabled the due processes of the Anglican Communion to be subverted and hijacked, raising issues of family life and human sexuality to a prominence within the life of our church which is unjustified and contrary to the Gospel values of love and justice.

6.0 We have noted with concern that although the Archbishop of Canterbury has implicitly on a number of occasions publicly been critical of the actions of TEC - for example in his recent Pastoral Letter he has as yet not been critical of the very serious breaches of the Instruments of Unity by the Church of Nigeria; for example, the creation of a Bishop in the United States in complete contravention of Windsor guidelines on provincial boundaries. Neither has he challenged the actions of the Church of Nigeria in its vociferous support of the criminalisation of homosexuality in Nigeria despite his condemnation of homophobia on several occasions.

7.0 We note that the Communique from the Primates of the “Global South” identifies the Church of England as being compromised by its attitude towards the civil partnership legislation in this country. We believe it is important in this context for the Church of England to be clear on its current practice. Namely, that hundreds if not thousands of same-gender partnerships have been celebrated over the past thirty years, in churches, by priests and deacons. Further, that there have been, and in the future no doubt will be homosexual bishops in relationships within our church. Any Covenant, therefore, which excludes members of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada will have also to exclude the Church of England.

7.0 In the light of what is being produced by the “Global South” we have the following questions for which we request urgent clarification from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion Office

7.1 Will they confirm that all Bishops duly elected or appointed and with current responsibilities in the Communion will be invited to the 2008 Lambeth Conference? There can be no other way to ensure that those loyal to the principles of Anglicanism are duly and properly involved in the life of our Communion.

7.2 If “Alternative Primatial Oversight” is granted for the Dioceses seeking it in the United States, what equivalent oversight will be offered to LGBT Christians experiencing danger and discrimination in Nigeria and other parts of Africa?

7.3 What structures exist to permit the selection of an “alternative” to the Presiding Bishop of TEC to attend Primates’ meetings?

7.4 Is the development of parallel jurisdictions acceptable to the ACO? If it is, then what is to stop the development of more jurisdictions on other matters?

7.5 The “Global South” Primates appear to be seeking to pre-empt the Covenant process by preparing a draft with the clear intention of requiring assent to confessional propositions related to homosexuality. What implications does this have for the process of agreeing a Covenant which recognises the depth and breadth of Anglicanism, both Catholic and Reformed?

7.6 What brief was given to the Bishops of Durham and Winchester in their recent attendance at a meeting of Bishops of TEC?

8.0 We are also concerned by the silence from the Bishops of the Church of England. The implications of the “Global South” developments may well, in the near future, have an impact on the Church of England. Indeed there have already been actions which indicate the shape of things to come, such as the unauthorised ordinations in the Diocese of Southwark. There are significant numbers of English Bishops who are deeply perturbed by the actions of their colleagues across the world, and deeply concerned to counter homophobia and prejudice. Why are they not speaking?

9.0 Today we celebrate the life of Lancelot Andrewes, one of the fathers of our church. We deeply regret the way in which the Communion is being undermined and sidetracked by a false Anglicanism which neither reflects nor pays tribute to our history. We trust and pray that the dialogue to which we are all as Christians called will continue so that the Gospel of Christ may flourish in this country and across the Communion.

Giles Goddard
Chair, InclusiveChurch

Lancelot Andrewes; 25th September 2006

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Sunday, 24 September 2006

Kigali signatures

In view of the statement issued today by the Primate of Southern Africa, the question arises as to who exactly has endorsed the Kigali statement. Here’s a summary of the situation so far (emphasis added to some of the quotes):

Archbishop Ndungane said:

I wish to offer this clarification of the position of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, in light of the potentially misleading impression that our Province has endorsed the Communiqué issued at the end of the meeting. Whereas Canon Livingstone Ngewu and I were present in Kigali, neither of us were made aware even of the possibility of a communiqué in the name of the Primates of the Global South, prior to its release.

The Kigali Global South Communique started out:

1. As Primates and Leaders of the Global South Provinces of the Anglican Communion we gathered at the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali, Rwanda, between 19th and 22nd September 2006. We were called together by the Global South Steering Committee and its chairman, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola. Twenty provinces were represented at the meeting*.

And the * note reads:

* Provinces Represented:
Bangladesh**, Burundi, Central Africa, Church of South India, Congo, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and Middle East, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines**, Rwanda, Southern Africa, South East Asia, Southern Cone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, West Indies (** Not present but represented)

No list of individuals attending, still less of those signing, was included.

The ENS press release noted:

The communiqué stated that 20 of the Anglican Communion’s 38 Provinces were represented at the Rwanda meeting, but signatories among the Primates in attendance were not included with the statement. It is unclear how many, or which, Primates endorsed the communiqué.

The Living Church claimed:

The communiqué, endorsed by representatives from 20 of the Communion’s 38 provinces,…

and went on to list the attendees as:

Present at the meeting were archbishops Bernard Ntahoturi, Burundi; Bernard Malango, Central Africa; Fidèle Dirokpa, Congo; Ian Ernest, Indian Ocean; Clive Handford, Jerusalem and the Middle East; Benjamin Nzimbi, Kenya; Samuel San Si Htay, Myanmar (Burma); Peter Akinola, Nigeria; Emmanuel Kolini, Rwanda; Njongonkulu Ndungane, Southern Africa; John Chew, South East Asia; Joseph Marona, Sudan; Donald Mtetemela, Tanzania; Henry Orombi, Uganda; Justice Akrofi, West Africa; Drexel Gomez, West Indies; Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, and Moderator of the Church of South India Bishop Peter Sughandar.

Representatives of the Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh and the Presiding Bishop of the Philippines were also present, as was the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Parish, Fairfax, Va., and Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America under the Church of Nigeria.

It goes on to say, though, that:

While presenting a united front in Kigali, the leadership of the Global South is not as one over the issue of homosexuality. Present for the first part of the meeting, the Primate of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, Archbishop Ndungane left on Sept. 21 to address a controversy arising from the publication of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s official biography.

Both the Telegraph (“a powerful group of 20 primates said”) and The Times (“archbishops from the 20 African and Asian provinces in the Anglican “Global South” grouping said”) assumed that all 20 primates had agreed the statement.

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Njongonkulu Ndungane on the Communiqué

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane
Statement on the Global South Communiqué
24 September 2006

I thank God for the fellowship I enjoyed with my brother Primates of CAPA and the Global South, in Kigali last week, as we shared concerns about the Anglican Communion and other matters of common interest.

I wish to offer this clarification of the position of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, in light of the potentially misleading impression that our Province has endorsed the Communiqué issued at the end of the meeting. Whereas Canon Livingstone Ngewu and I were present in Kigali, neither of us were made aware even of the possibility of a communiqué in the name of the Primates of the Global South, prior to its release.

While I may well concur with some sections of the text, there are others which are certainly not consonant with the position of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, as articulated only earlier this month by our Synod of Bishops and our Provincial Synod. This is particularly the case in relation to Section 10.

As a general point, I want to comment that whereas I fully endorse the rationale for a body such as the Global South, which can help us address some of the power imbalances between North and South that exist within the Church and more generally, I am surprised that we allow our agenda to be so dominated and driven by an inordinate influence from the United States. This flies in the face of the experience of those of us who are steeped in black and post-colonial theology, the theology of liberation, and black consciousness. It is hard to understand why we continue to act in response to the North to such a great extent, rather than making use of our freedom to concentrate our energies on the priorities of our own people and Provinces.

That said, there is no doubt that the tensions within the Anglican Communion, arising from actions within North America, raise serious and problematic concerns for our future. Yet I am deeply disturbed by the tenor of our approach, as reflected in this communiqué. To me, at least, it appears in places that there is a hidden agenda, to which some of us are not privy. For example, I am unable to understand why there seems to be a deliberate intention to undermine the due processes of the Anglican Communion and the integrity of the Instruments of Unity, while at the same time we commit ourselves to upholding Anglican identity, of which these, as they have continued to evolve over the years in response to changing needs, are an intrinsic part. Thus, for example, recent meetings of the Primates, in which the Global South played a very full part, requested various actions from the Archbishop of Canterbury, which he has been assiduous in pursuing; such as setting up the Lambeth Commission, the Panel of Reference, and now the Covenant Design Group. Yet there seems to be an urgency to obtain particular outcomes in advance, pre-empting the proper outworking of the bodies for which we called.

Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. As Peter writes in his second letter, ‘Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.’ We do not want the best of Anglicanism to be cast aside, and so to perish! And to allow the due processes of these bodies, and the Instruments of Unity, to be followed through will take such a short time in relation to the life of God’s Church over two millennia.

I must also say that I am disturbed by the apparent zeal for action to be taken against those deemed not in compliance with Lambeth Resolution 1:10, with a readiness to disregard ancient norms of observing diocesan autonomy. Though this was upheld within the Windsor Report’s recommendations, it is of course a practice that was adopted in earliest times by the universal church. It was thus ironic that that the feast of Theodore of Tarsus fell during our meeting: as Archbishop of Canterbury, in 673 he summoned one of the most important Synods of our early tradition. In addressing both the rights and duties of clergy and religious, its decisions included the requirement, already acknowledged elsewhere, of bishops to work within their own dioceses and not to intrude on the ministry of others. We are in danger of giving the impression of being loyal Anglicans, and loyal members of God’s One, Holy and Apostolic Church, only where, and insofar, it suits us!

We must also be careful to avoid creating, in effect, episcopi vagantes. This is a difficult and complex area, which Resolution 35 of the Lambeth Conference of 1920 addressed when it said ‘The territorial Episcopate has been the normal development in the Catholic Church, but we recognise that differences of race and language sometimes require that provision should be made in a Province for freedom of development of races side by side; the solution in each case must be left with the Province, but we are clear that the ideal of the one Church should never be obscured.’ In our time too, we must do all that we can not to obscure that ideal of the one Church.

I am also more than a little wary of calling into question the election processes of another Province in the way the Communiqué suggests, in relation to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. This introduces a completely new dimension into our relationships within the Communion, the reciprocal implications of which we have not considered. I would feel more confident if we addressed this question as a part of the more comprehensive reassessment of the nature of the Communion for our times, which is underway not least through the work of the Covenant Design Group.

An added concern for me is the apparent marginalisation of laity, clergy and bishops in the debate within the Global South. I was particularly glad that circumstances allowed me fully to consult both my fellow bishops, and our Provincial Synod, immediately in advance of the Kigali meeting. For a fundamental and indispensable element of our Anglican identity is that we are both episcopally led and synodically governed. I long for a consultative process that fully engages the whole Body of Christ, recognising that ‘to each one, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good’ (1 Cor 12:7). Primates do not have sole monopoly on wisdom and knowledge at this crucial time, nor indeed at any other!

In light of this, I also want to clarify what may be to some the ambiguous wording of section 14. CAPA Primates ‘received’ the draft ‘The Road to Lambeth’ in the sense of agreeing to give it full consideration. However, we recognised our inability to commit our Provinces to this, or indeed any other text, without consulting them. It is precisely for that consultation that we are referring it to our Provinces for study, with the expectation that comments will be made, and a final text agreed in the new year. Our ‘commending’ should not be interpreted as ‘endorsing’ the text as it currently stands - it remains a draft.

To my brother Primates of the Global South and CAPA, I therefore offer a plea from the heart. Let us hold fast, in word and deed, to the true marks with which we believe the Lord has graced and gifted us as Anglicans - yes, our rootedness in Scripture as our primary touchstone, but also in our Tradition and our use of Reason. The Windsor Report has done us an invaluable service in beginning to address how we understand and recognise these and what they mean for us today, and the Archbishop of Canterbury has offered further vital insights in his reflections ‘The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today.’ I have offered my own thoughts in ‘Heartlands of Anglicanism’ and I am sure there is more to be said. But I am also sure that if we fail to carry forward the ‘three-fold strands’ not just of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, but also of what Archbishop Rowan has so eloquently described as ‘reformed commitment to the absolute priority of the Bible for deciding doctrine, a catholic loyalty to the sacraments and the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, and a habit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly’ - that if we fail to carry forward these, then we certainly relinquish our ability to claim that we stand authentically within Anglicanism.

In the book of the Prophet Isaiah, we read that ‘those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint.’ We want the Anglican Communion to rise up, renewed and strengthened, on eagles’ wings. It is for us to wait upon the Lord. We do not have a God who is slow to act. We can have confidence to let him lead our Church forward, through the ways he has so often done in the past. In our concerns for the Anglican Communion which we love, we do not have to be precipitate and risk losing much of what it is we wish to preserve and enhance.

And so I also offer a call to my brother Primates, that we step back from the brink at which the Kigali Communiqué appears to place us. It is certainly the case that we need changes within the life, and structures, and processes of the Anglican Communion. Yet part of the strength of our heritage is that intrinsic to our life, structures and processes is a considerable flexibility and openness to change that has allowed us to evolve - creating and amending Instruments of Unity, for example (and I am thinking here particularly of the ACC) in response to God’s calling to be faithful in our mission and ministry to his people and his world. We are now in need of such evolution, to preserve the very best of the heart of Anglicanism - and working in conformity with this essence of Anglicanism will most effectively preserve that ‘best’ which has been God’s continuing gift to us over the centuries.

Two weeks before our meeting in Kigali, the Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa issued a statement which spoke of the gift of tolerance and grace in the face of the pains of divisions among ourselves with which we have had to deal in our past. The breadth of current divisions also find expression within our Province. Yet we remain convinced that what unites us far outweighs what divides us, and that we must therefore both choose and strive, with deep sacrificial love, for the Anglican Communion to remain united.

Our God surely is a God of surprises. As one of my predecessors as Archbishop of Cape Town said, ‘God still works his purposes out, in spite of the confusions of our minds.’

May that be so! Amen!

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 24 September 2006 at 12:36pm BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 23 September 2006

Saturday opinions

The Times has The Pope still owes Muslims an apology — a different one by Timothy Bartel.

Earlier in the week, Jonathan Petre asked Did the Pope know what he was doing?

The Tablet has extensive coverage of the Pope/Islam story, including an editorial The possibility of dialogue. Also Mona Siddiqui On the path to mutual respect.

Furthermore, it has its own complete English translation of the original lecture.

The Church Times also had a leader column about this, Gaffes — and gaffe-finding.

The Guardian has a Face to Faith column by Stephen Heap, about religion in higher education.

And Stephen Bates wrote about something else entirely: A match made in heaven.

Sunday addition
Simon Barrow on Ekklesia Christendom remains the Pope’s real fallibility

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 23 September 2006 at 12:03pm BST | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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additional Global South documents

Apart from the Communiqué, several other documents have been published:

The Road to Lambeth

The draft report was commissioned by the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) in February 2006; it was received with gratitude by the CAPA Primates on 19 September 2006 and commended for study and response to the churches of the provinces in Africa.

Global South Anglican theological Formation and Education Task Force, Kigali September 2006

Global South Economic Empowerment Track Summary Statement, Kigali September 2006

Ethical Economic and Financial Covenant - Global South Primates, Kigali September 2006

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 23 September 2006 at 8:13am BST | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Friday, 22 September 2006

responses to Kigali

Updated Sunday

There has been a chorus of happy responses to the Kigali communiqué from North American conservatives:
NACDAP aka Anglican Communion Network Global South Confirms Support of North American Anglicans
American Anglican Council AAC Commends Bold Kigali Communiqué Issued by Global South Primates
Anglican Network in Canada Global Anglican Leaders Issue Grave Warning to Canadian Church

Episcopal News Service has issued this report Global South meeting issues communiqué.

Mark Harris has published his opinions: Some Unkind Thoughts on the Communiqué from the Global South Primates. (revised)

Ruth Gledhill at Times Online has published Anti-gay bishops vote to split the evangelical church in two (headline, but not TITLE field now changed from “evangelical” to “Anglican”)

George Conger at the Living Church has significant additional detail on attendance and other aspects in Global South Coalition: Time for Alternative U.S. Church Structure

Saturday morning additions

ENS has a further article: Observers respond to Kigali, Camp Allen statements

Associated Press Anglican conservatives to snub female

Telegraph Jonathan Petre Traditionalists plan parallel anti-homosexual Church and his blog entry is titled The Archbishop’s ‘Third Way’.

Washington Times Julia Duin Anglicans freeze out liberal, female bishop

Episcopal Majority has issued: Akinola Throws Down Gauntlet

Fr Jake has published Global South to the Communion: “We Rule!”

Jim Naughton has Aggression and also Deja vu all over again

Saturday Afternoon Additions

Marshall Scott Catholic Order, Impaired Communion, and Anglican Boundaries

Matt Kennedy The Camp Allen Statement: Gifts Squandered, Allies Rebuffed

Jim Naughton again: What to do next

Sunday Additions

Njongonkulu Ndungane on the Communiqué

Integrity INTEGRITY RESPONDS TO KIGALI COMMUNIQUÉ

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 11:17pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Camp Allen letter to ECUSA HoB

The bishops meeting at Camp Allen, Texas, have issued a letter to their fellow ECUSA bishops. The full text of that letter can be found in this ENS release: Episcopal bishops meeting in Texas send letter to House of Bishops.

Another ENS release Camp Allen bishops vow unity amid of conflicts gives the background to this.

Jim Naughton at Daily Episcopalian has some sharply worded commentary on this letter.

The Living Church has Bishops Release Camp Allen Statement.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 11:07pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Global South meeting: text of communique

Here is the text of the paragraphs of the latest Global South communique that deal with “Windsor issues”. Note that this is only a portion of the whole text, which deals with a range of other topics. ACNS copy here.

7. We recognize that because of the ongoing conflict in the Communion many people have lost hope that we will come to any resolution in the foreseeable future. We are grateful therefore, that one sign of promise is the widespread support for the development of an Anglican Covenant. We are delighted to affirm the extraordinary progress made by the Global South task group on developing an Anglican Covenant. For the past year they have labored on this important task and we look forward to submitting the result of their labor to the rest of the Communion. We are pleased that the Archbishop of Canterbury has recognized the exemplary scholarship and leadership of Archbishop Drexel Gomez in asking him to chair the Covenant Design Group and look forward with anticipation to the crucial next steps of this historic venture. We believe that an Anglican Covenant will demonstrate to the world that it is possible to be a truly global communion where differences are not affirmed at the expense of faith and truth but within the framework of a common confession of faith and mutual accountability.

8. We have come together as Anglicans and we celebrate the gift of Anglican identity that is ours today because of the sacrifice made by those who have gone before us. We grieve that, because of the doctrinal conflict in parts of our Communion, there is now a growing number of congregations and dioceses in the USA and Canada who believe that their Anglican identity is at risk and are appealing to us so that they might remain faithful members of the Communion. As leaders of that Communion we will work together to recognize the Anglican identity of all who receive, hold and maintain the Scriptures as the Word of God written and who seek to live in godly fellowship within our historic ordering.

9. We deeply regret that, at its most recent General Convention, The Episcopal Church gave no clear embrace of the minimal recommendations of the Windsor Report. We observe that a number of the resolutions adopted by the Convention were actually contrary to the Windsor Report. We are further dismayed to note that their newly elected Presiding Bishop also holds to a position on human sexuality – not to mention other controversial views – in direct contradiction of Lambeth 1.10 and the historic teaching of the Church. The actions and decisions of the General Convention raise profound questions on the nature of Anglican identity across the entire Communion.

10. We are, however, greatly encouraged by the continued faithfulness of the Network Dioceses and all of the other congregations and communities of faithful Anglicans in North America. In addition, we commend the members of the Anglican Network in Canada for their commitment to historic, biblical faith and practice. We value their courage and consistent witness. We are also pleased by the emergence of a wider circle of ‘Windsor Dioceses’ and urge all of them to walk more closely together and deliberately work towards the unity that Christ enjoins. We are aware that a growing number of congregations are receiving oversight from dioceses in the Global South and in recent days we have received requests to provide Alternative Primatial Oversight for a number of dioceses. This is an unprecedented situation in our Communion that has not been helped by the slow response from the Panel of Reference. After a great deal of prayer and deliberation, and in order to support these faithful Anglican dioceses and parishes, we have come to agreement on the following actions:

a. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to meet with the leadership of the dioceses requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Network and the ‘Windsor Dioceses’, to investigate their appeal in greater detail and to develop a proposal identifying the ways by which the requested Primatial oversight can be adequately provided.

b. At the next meeting of the Primates in February 2007 some of us will not be able to recognize Katharine Jefferts Schori as a Primate at the table with us. Others will be in impaired communion with her as a representative of The Episcopal Church. Since she cannot represent those dioceses and congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion we propose that another bishop, chosen by these dioceses, be present at the meeting so that we might listen to their voices during our deliberations.

c. We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to develop such a proposal in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity of the Communion. We understand the serious implications of this determination. We believe that we would be failing in our apostolic witness if we do not make this provision for those who hold firmly to a commitment to historic Anglican faith.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 4:24pm BST | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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Global South meeting: reports

Update: here is the text of the official communique. See next item above.

First news report seen is from Reuters: Anglican conservatives urge US break away. Two quotes:

“We are convinced that time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognised as separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican communion in the USA,” said a statement released at the end of a Global South meeting in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

“We understand the serious implications of this determination but we believe that we would be failing in our apostolic witness if we do not make this provision for those who hold firmly to a commitment to historic Anglican faith.”

and:

The conservative bishops also vowed not to recognise Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori, who backed the Robinson elevation, at a meeting in Tanzania next year

Bishop Schori was elected to head the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion and will be installed later this year as the first woman to head any branch of the Anglican church.

The Global South bishops said they would chose another bishop to represent the U.S. Episcopal church at the meeting.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 3:37pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Transforming the World?

InclusiveChurch is holding a conference with this title on Saturday 14 October at St Mary’s Church Putney.

After the success of our two National services in 2004 and 2005 and our Partners’ Conference last year, we now offer our supporters the opportunity to participate in our first National Day Conference.

Transforming the World? has been created to ask the question – how do we re-engage with an indifferent world? Our preoccupation with issues of sexual orientation and gender have distracted us from preaching a Gospel of inclusion, justice and fairness. It seems to us at Inclusive Church that it is urgent that we rediscover our voice to our wider society.

Clare Herbert, Ann Morrisey and Jeremy Davies will encourage us to ask the questions, - why continue to bother with the Church? What can we offer to transform the world? Is the inclusive gospel something to celebrate?

Programme

10.00 am Arrival and coffee

10.30 am Keynote Speaker: Clare Herbert ‘What can we offer an uninterested world?’

12.00 noon Lunch

12.45 pm Workshops

  1. Ann Morrisey – ‘Transforming the world – engagement and involvement?’
  2. Jeremy Davies – ‘Transforming liturgy?’

1.45 pm Workshops re-run (so you all get a chance to go to both!)

2.45 pm Plenary – conclusions and the future, including our international residential conference in Swanwick, November 2007.

3.15 pm Eucharist – celebrant Giles Fraser

4.15 pm Tea and depart.

We know you’re all busy people and so are starting to book your diaries up for October already so we’re offering you an incentive - a reduction in conference fees if you book early. For booking and payment before 1 October 2006, the fee will be £20.00 only. After 1 October and on the door, the fee will be £25.00. Both prices are still a bargain for such a great day.

Please make your cheques payable to The Inclusive Church Network and send them to

The Revd. Giles Goddard
Chair, InclusiveChurch
St Peter’s Church,
Liverpool Grove
London SE17 2HH

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 1:12pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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another Nigerian document

At the recent Port Harcourt Standing Committee meeting, Archbishop Akinola delivered these opening remarks. Here is an extract.

Global Anglican Relations

Sadly, the vexed issues of human sexuality still occupy significant prominence even after the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) and the General Synod of the Church of England both of which were held recently. Canterbury is now proposing a two-tier level of relationship as the way forward for the communion in response to the recommendation of the Windsor Report’s call for some sort of ‘covenant’ to bind membership. The Episcopal Synod has already given an initial response to this proposal

“Synod is satisfied with the move by the Global South to continue with its veritable project of defending the historic faith committed to us against present onslaught from ECUSA, Canada, England and their allies. The need therefore, to redefine and/or re-determine those who are truly Anglicans becomes urgent, imperative and compelling. Synod therefore empowers the leadership of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to give assent to the Anglican Covenant”.

And at this meeting, a group is to focus on comprehensive review of all the statements and documentations prepared, and to recommend appropriate position for the Church into the future on the matter. Also, on the issue of the ‘covenant’, the Global South has taken the initiative to prepare a response. The group will also come up with our position after a thorough review.

We continue to participate in the work of the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations through representation at the 50th Session with the status of Women and Empowerment. Our participation has been highly commended by the outgoing Anglican Observer at the United Nations – Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatapaloa-Matalavea. We hope to participate in the 51st Session next year focusing on “The Elimination of all forms of Discriminations and Violence against the Girl child and the Evaluation of progress made on the role of Men and Boys in achieving Gender Equality (as resolved in 2004).

Meanwhile, Changing Attitude has announced it has 2000 Nigerian members in eight local groups. See Changing Attitude Nigeria worries Archbishop Akinola. The report suggests that this topic might even have been discussed at the standing committee meeting.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 10:25am BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 21 September 2006

Nigeria: violence destroys cathedral

ACNS has Cathedral burned and Bishop’s Office attacked in a riot

Other reports:
Reuters Nigeria clamps curfew on town after churches burnt
Associated Press Nigerian Christians flee to police after Muslim rioters burn churches, homes
BBC Arrests after Nigerian violence
Anglican Mainstream Cathedral burnt in Nigeria

And a background report to give some context: Norwegian Refugee Council via Reuters Nigeria: heightened risk of violence and displacement ahead of 2007 elections

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 7:07pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Private Members' Motions

Individual members of General Synod can put down private members’ motions. They are available for signature by members and the most popular are actually debated, typically one or sometimes two at each meeting of Synod. From today the motions are available on the Church of England website.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 12:05pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 20 September 2006

letter to Archbishop of Latvia

Earlier this year, the Bishop in Europe wrote to the President of Latvia. You can read that letter here.

Now, Archdeacon Mark Oakley has written another letter, this time to the Archbishop of Latvia, on behalf of the Deanery Synod of the Baltic and Nordic Countries. This new letter can be read in full here.

The synod had passed this resolution:

This Synod affirms the motion carried at the Diocesan Synod of 2006 affirming the statement of the Anglican Primates in the Dromantine Communiqué of February 2005, that “in our discussion and assessment of the appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual persons. The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual persons that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship”, and asks the Venerable Mark Oakley to draft and sign an open letter to the Archbishop of Latvia and others on its behalf, stating the same and expressing its support for the Revd Juris Calitis as a member of this Synod.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 20 September 2006 at 11:37pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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news from Kigali

Updated Thursday evening

Some news reports from the Global South bishops meeting at Kigali in Rwanda:

Reuters Conservative Anglican bishops to sign anti-gay pact:

Conservative Anglican bishops largely drawn from developing countries are expected to agree on a pact condemning the ordination of gay clergy, Nigeria’s archbishop said on Wednesday.

The agreement, expected to be signed later this week by clerics from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia meeting in Rwanda, is likely to deepen rifts between the conservatives mainly from the “Global South” and liberals in the United States and Europe.

“In order to put to rest this issue of homosexuality, we are working on an Anglican covenant with provisions that very clearly say what it means to be an Anglican,” Nigeria’s Archbishop Peter Akinola, told reporters.

“Who ever subscribes to this covenant must abide by it and those who are unable to subscribe to it will walk out.”…

Associated Press via Beliefnet: Anglican Conservatives Seek Formal Statement Banning Gay Priests

…Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola said the proposed statement, or covenant, is being drafted at this week’s gathering of 25 bishops mainly from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The meeting in Kigali ends Friday.

“We have provisions in the covenant that very clearly state what it means to be an Anglican. The dos and don’ts of an Anglican,” said Akinola, the chairman of Global South grouping, which represents more than two-thirds of the Anglican Communion’s members.

…Akinola and his backers see moves to embrace homosexuals and many other liberal church movements as violations of Scripture.

Akinola said that proposed Global South document would condemn homosexuality and demand that any followers in disagreement must “walk out.” …

IRIN AFRICA: Anglican prelates focus on poverty eradication:

KIGALI, 20 Sep 2006 (IRIN) - A conference of Anglican prelates, which opened on Wednesday in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, is due to deliberate ways of overcoming poverty in the South, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria said.

“In the past we went to the North, cup in hand, asking for donations to enable us to do our work; this can’t continue,” said Akinola, who is chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa representing some 37 million believers.

Twenty-five archbishops from North, South and Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East are attending the conference, which runs until 22 September.

The archbishops are part of a conservative network known as Global South, which brings together churches opposed to changes in the doctrines of the Anglican church…

New Times (Kigali) via allAfrica.com Rwanda: Premier Makuza Hails Visiting Religious Leaders

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 20 September 2006 at 10:32pm BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Bishop Duncan interviewed

There is a fascinating video interview with the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Robert Duncan. It can be found here. (changed URL)

It is almost 26 minutes long, and so takes a while to download. However, it is well worth watching if you wish to understand what and how he thinks.

It includes more “colour” on the New York meeting and also discusses briefly this week’s Camp Allen meeting.

Update
Greg Jones has commented at Anglican Centrist Response to Bob Duncan.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 10:02am BST | Comments (46) | TrackBack
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Monday, 18 September 2006

South Carolina episcopal election

Updated Wednesday evening

South Carolina is an ECUSA diocese that is part of the NACDAP or Anglican Communion Network, and one of those that has recently requested “alternative primatial oversight”. It is one of the fastest growing dioceses in ECUSA. There are 48 parishes and 27 missions with a total of 28,703 baptised members, and 105 active parish clergy.

The previous diocesan bishop, who had been in office since 1990, reached mandatory retirement age in early 2006. The episcopal election for his successor was originally planned for 2005, but was caught by the moratorium on approvals of elections that was imposed by the House of Bishops in its initial response to the Windsor Report. Last Saturday the election finally took place. Mark Lawrence from the diocese of San Joaquin was elected on the first ballot.

The diocesan press statement is here. The ENS report of this can be found at San Joaquin priest elected Episcopal bishop of South Carolina and explains the slightly unusual lay delegate election procedure.

The local newspaper has published a report of this election under the headline Bishop vote reflects schism. One of the persons interviewed, John Burwell, has strongly repudiated the quotations attributed to him.

You can however get a good flavour of the nature of this diocese by reading its own profile prepared for the election process, and available as a PDF file here. This includes the results of a survey of the diocesan clergy. You can also see the exact form of the survey document and read the answers of Mark Lawrence by going here (also a PDF file). His answers to other questions (mentioned in the ENS report) are here. Other remarks are here also.

The consecration of Mark Lawrence is scheduled for February 24, 2007. First, the consents of a majority of both bishops with jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must be obtained: some resistance is likely. It is unclear who will preside at this service.

Update Here is the Living Church report.

Update Tuesday
Fr Jake has published Consents and Covenant Considerations in which he discusses why some of Mark Lawrence’s statements will give concern to others in ECUSA.

Update Wednesday
Tobias Haller has also discussed this issue of consents in Consenting Adults.

There is a further news article by Associated Press Election of S.C. bishop could further divide Episcopalians

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 18 September 2006 at 3:20pm BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 17 September 2006

Nigeria

Updated

Mark Harris has drawn attention to the latest pronouncements of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

The original documents are: PASTORAL LETTER TO THE CHURCH which includes:

…We also took considerable time to reflect on the context and application of the theme. We came under the conviction that whatever we do to replace the supremacy of God, He would destroy. We also discerned afresh that the voice of the people is not always the voice of God since, as in the case of the Israelites and the golden calf, the voice of the people can actually be rebellion. The serious implication for us is that when our culture, tradition and disposition go against the Word of God, we must choose to be on the Lord’s side. The time-tested and inerrant rule of life must remain the written Word of God. To toy with these in the name of cultural accommodation or contextualization can only lead to worship of pseudo gods and the inevitable attendant confusion and disharmony, as in the case in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

… As part of our growing mission emphasis, we have also sought to understand better ways of understanding and evangelizing our neighbors in other faiths, particularly the Islam in the context of growing worldwide concerns. It is apparent that there is a worldwide Islamic agenda which has the political domination of every nation in view. Considering the negative consequences of this development, it is therefore imperative for Christians to be properly informed about what Islam stands for and dialogue with Muslims only when it is done on equal terms…

and MESSAGE TO THE NATION which includes:

Human Sexuality
The Church affirms our commitment to the total rejection of the evil of homosexuality which is a perversion of human dignity and encourages the National Assembly to ratify the Bill prohibiting the legality of homosexuality since it is incongruent with the teachings of the Bible, Quran and the basic African traditional values.

Mark Harris’s comments are at The Church of Nigeria Standing Committee Speaks. Who speaks back? and also at Pearls of Great Price from The Church of Nigeria (Anglican)

In case you forgot what “Bill” they are talking about, Political Spaghetti has a full explanation here. Or ask CANA. The latest letter from their Missionary Bishop can be found here.

Update Monday
Jim Naughton has chimed in about this too.

Update Tuesday
Matt Thompson has another go in What kind of black eye are Minns and the ACN hoping for?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 17 September 2006 at 5:45pm BST | Comments (47) | TrackBack
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South Africa

In South Africa the government is considering a Civil Unions bill, and Reuters has reported that Thousands in South Africa protest gay marriage bill. The Anglican church there made its position known at a press briefing earlier in the week:
Cape Times ‘Church won’t challenge civil unions bill’
Daily Dispatch Anglican cleric searches for unity over gay issue
iAfrica.com Gays are God’s children - Archbishop

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 17 September 2006 at 5:16pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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an eighth diocese calls for alternative oversight

As expected, the Diocese of Quincy in west central Illinois, at a special synod held yesterday, voted to seek “alternative primatial oversight”. This is a small diocese with no more than 2500 baptised members in 23 congregations.

Local newspaper report: Peoria Journal Star Diocese of Quincy seeks alternative oversight. (The clergy delegate number of 100 quoted here is surprising as ECDplus shows only 61 clergy canonically resident including all retired clergy.
Update the newspaper reporter now tells me he was wrong, and there were 39 clergy members voting and 68
lay delegates voting. The article has been amended online.l)

Update here is the diocesan press release.

And here is the Living Church report.

ENS has caught up with Episcopal Diocese of Quincy seeks alternative oversight

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 17 September 2006 at 2:51pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 16 September 2006

still more about the New York meeting

The Living Church has published a further report which contains a lot more “inside information” about what happened. See Consensus on APO Requests Still Elusive. The most amazing detail is this one:

It soon became apparent that Canon Kearon and at least some of the bishops had not received a copy of the consolidated request for APO which had been sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury at his request in July.

This document was published in full here and elsewhere on 9 September.

Mark Harris has some further opinions in Curiouser and Curiouser: Mapping the Anglican Swamp. Incidentally it appears that the NY meeting involved only 11 bishops not 12 as some including me previously supposed.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 September 2006 at 10:53pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Evangelicals worry about image

The Evangelical Alliance’s general director, Joel Edwards wrote an interesting article recently in the Baptist Times. This was reproduced by Ekklesia as ‘Time for rethink of how evangelicalism presents itself’ says Evangelical supremo. Edwards is quoted as saying:

“Evangelicalism has become a synonym, in popular understanding, for moralising bigotry, fundamentalism and reactivity.”

Maybe the EA has noted the growth of Fulcrum whose history was recently published in a newsletter written by Graham Kings and which was formed largely in response to the increasingly conservative positions being taken by other evangelical Anglican groups who claimed to represent the whole of the spectrum.

Then there is also this report from the USA: Meet the New Evangelicals by Mark Pinsky.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 September 2006 at 10:29pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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report from New Zealand

In New Zealand the General Synod has voted in favour of a motion for inclusion. Here’s what Tony Fitchett wrote for the official magazine Anglican Taonga. (The original is in a large PDF file which can be accessed from here.)

A vote for inclusion

Tony Fitchett explains why he asked General Synod to uphold the listening process

“The cancer needs to be cut out.” So said some who would like to exclude the Episcopal Church of the USA and the Anglican Church in Canada from the Anglican Communion.

The Episcopal Church’s consecration of Gene Robinson, a homosexual in a relationship, and the authorisation of blessings of same-sex unions by the Canadian Diocese of New Westminster provoked a flood of denunciation from parts of the Communion.

Guided and funded by traditionalist groups in the United States, this strategy initially aimed at complete exclusion of ECUSA and Canada from the Communion. But in the longer term, it’s a thrust for domination of the Communion.

Though claiming, with partial justification, that the Windsor Report supports their attitude, they have been as selective in abiding by the Windsor proposals as in their interpretation of Scripture. And they have achieved considerable success.

The Primates at Dromantine, in February 2005, asked ECUSA and Canada not to attend the Anglican Consultative Council – the only constitutional body among the so- called Instruments of Unity– and the rump of the ACC, shamefully and by a wafer-thin margin, endorsed that request.

Some of what I heard at ACC-13 last year concerning ECUSA and Canada (and homosexuals) could best be described as a ‘hymn of hate’, reminiscent of the genocidal parts of the Old Testament rather than of the gospels, and profoundly un-Christian.

Hence my motion at this year’s session of General Synod/te Hinota Whanui, which

  • noted the present situation,
  • endorsed the traditional Anglican teaching that all human knowledge is incomplete,
  • agreed that Anglicans should therefore listen to those with different views, acknowledge their integrity, and remain in communion with them,
  • recommended that all Communion- wide gatherings should try to include all churches of the Communion.

Uncontroversial stuff, a few years ago – but not now.

The debate in General Synod was passionate from both sides, and at times angry. Though not plumbing the depths of virulence at ACC-13, the same sub-text emerged: that homosexual love is the ultimate evil. I was reminded of the dramatic image from Lambeth 1998, of an arrogant bishop attempting to exorcise a homosexual lobbyist.

When the synod motion was put, the voices sounded even both ways. Hearteningly, what that showed was not that synod was evenly divided, but that some synod members can shout! In a division, the motion passed overwhelmingly in each House, with a total of 67 “Ayes” to 14 “Noes.”

So, what was achieved?

Firstly, this church has not adopted any particular position in regard to homosexual relationships and leadership. Despite what was said in debate, my motion was not about homosexuality, though triggered by different responses from different churches to the place of homosexuals in the church.

What this church has done is to restate its support for the Jesus model of relationship – inclusive, not exclusive, tolerant of diversity, accepting rather than rejecting, loving rather than hating.

Will the synod motion make any difference to the Communion?

Perhaps not: this small banner for tolerance and Christian relationship appears to have gone unnoticed in the wider Communion as it focuses on the agonies of ECUSA’s response to the Windsor Report, and the denunciation by some [often the same who denounce acceptance of homosexuals] of its election of a woman Presiding Bishop. [Remember: neither Lambeth nor the ACC opposed the ordination of women.]
This church has a reputation in the Communion for innovation, lateral thinking, and tolerance. And that may get us into trouble: The Times of London, reporting Rowan Williams’ recent speech about the Communion, listed us with ECUSA, Canada and Scotland as likely to be relegated to the outer marches of a two-tier Communion.

But, nonetheless, we have upheld that banner of tolerance and love – and, God willing, we will continue to do so.

The young people of our church have got it right in the prayer for Toru, the Anglican Centre for Youth Ministry Studies: “Most merciful God, your love compels us to come to the table of unity, despite our differences…”

Tony Fitchett is a lay representative of the Diocese of Dunedin in General Synod/te Hinota Whanui. He is also a lay representative of this church on the Anglican Consultative Council.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 September 2006 at 9:41pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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opinions this weekend

Colin Slee writes in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column about how the recent guidance from bishops on same-sex civil partnerships is unworkable and totally wrong-headed.

Stephen Bates writes at the Guardian’s blogsite commentisfree about how the Pope has been misunderstood about Islam: Whoops, a pontiff.

Giles Fraser seems less sure of that in the Guardian itself: The unmistakable whiff of Christian triumphalism.

Damian Thompson also weighed in on this topic at the Telegraph in He bears no malice, but he is a worried man.

Ruth Gledhill also had an analysis on The Times website and more thoughts on her blog.

Addition
Andrew Brown has also written about the papal statement for commentisfree: Appealing to reason.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 September 2006 at 12:04pm BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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alternative primatial oversight

Two items. First, the Diocese of Fort Worth’s Executive Council issued this (original is PDF file):

FORTWORTH, Texas – The Executive Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, meeting in regular session, today approved the following Resolution supporting the diocesan Standing Committee’s June 18 decision to seek Alternative Primatial Oversight.
Be it resolved that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth endorses and affirms the appeal made to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion by the Standing Committee and Bishop of our diocese for Alternative Primatial Oversight and pastoral care.
The resolution came before the Council on the day following the conclusion of a special Summit Meeting in New York City. The Summit was called by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the purpose of “finding an American church solution to an American church problem,” as Bishop Iker expressed it in his statement on the meeting, which was also released today. Participants at the Summit, who included Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori, failed to reach any agreement.
The Standing Committee’s June 18 resolution came as a response to the election of Bishop Jefferts Schori to succeed Bishop Griswold. The election was held during the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which met in Columbus, Ohio. In late June and July, six other dioceses filed similar appeals, prompting the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for the Summit.
The Standing Committee is the Bishop’s council of advice; the Executive Council has power act for the Diocesan Convention when that body is not in session. Both bodies are elective. A further resolution affirming the appeal will come before the Diocesan Convention when it meets in plenary session on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Second, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his pastoral letter yesterday, said this about it:

I have also received – as you will have done also - the appeals of seven dioceses of the Episcopal Church for ‘alternative primatial oversight’. As we move to reflecting on these requests, we have to acknowledge that we are entering uncharted waters for the Communion, with a number of large issues about provincial identity and autonomy raised for all of us. I write having just heard the outcome of the meeting in New York which was requested in order to see what might emerge from a carefully structured discussion between American Bishops of diverging views. So far, no structure has been agreed, but there is a clear sense that the process has been worthwhile and that it is not yet over. I am sure that there will be more need in the months ahead for such face-to-face discussion, and I continue to hope that colleagues will not take it for granted that there is a rapid short-term solution that will remove our problems or simplify our relationships for good and all without the essential element of personal, probing conversation.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 September 2006 at 11:33am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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archbishop issues pastoral letter

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a Pastoral Letter to the Anglican Communion’s Primates and presiding bishops. The full text of it is included in this Lambeth press release.

This is reported here by ENS and here by the Living Church.

The pastoral letter include this:

In our uncertainties and explorations in the Communion, my prayers are not only for those who, like ourselves, have the responsibility of leadership in our Provinces, but most especially for all those ordinary people of God, in the Episcopal Church and elsewhere, who are puzzled, wearied, or disoriented by our present controversies. So many say they simply do not want to take up an extreme or divisive position and want to be faithful to Scripture and the common life. They want to preserve an Anglican identity that they treasure and love passionately but face continuing uncertainty about its future.

This letter includes information about the initial report Joint Standing Committee’s group of four “set up to advise in the wake of the Episcopal Church’s 75th General Convention”:

…You will recall that the Joint Standing Committee appointed a small group of representatives from its number (two Primates and two laypeople, along with staff support) to assist me in preparing an initial response…

The membership of this group is not named in the letter but is: Archbishop Bernard Malango (Central Africa), Archbishop Barry Morgan (Wales), Mrs Philippa Amable (West Africa), and Mrs Elizabeth Paver (England). Their initial thinking is presented as follows:

It is clear that the Communion as a whole remains committed to the teaching on human sexuality expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, and also that the recommendations of the Windsor Report have been widely accepted as a basis for any progress in resolving the tensions that trouble us. As a Communion, we need to move forward on the basis of this twofold recognition.

It is also clear that the Episcopal Church has taken very seriously the recommendations of the Windsor Report; but the resolutions of General Convention still represent what can only be called a mixed response to the Dromantine requests. The advisory group has spent much time in examining these resolutions in great detail, and its sense is that although some aspects of these requests have been fully dealt with, there remain some that have not. This obviously poses some very challenging questions for our February meeting and its discernment of the best way forward.

Concerning the proposed Anglican Covenant, the archbishop says this:

My earlier observations — building on the Windsor Report — on the possibility of a Covenant have on the whole been received with sympathy, and the work on this continues. At the March meeting of the Joint Standing Committee, it was decided to adopt a short introductory paper on the Windsor Covenant proposals, outlining some of the issues that would need to be addressed. It would be of great help to receive observations from any of you who have not yet expressed views on this paper (available at http://www.aco.org/commission/covenant/index.cfm.).

The Joint Standing Committee also asked me to appoint a small Covenant Design Group to take forward the work. I have asked Archbishop Drexel Gomez to chair this and would now welcome your suggestions for membership before I proceed to nominate people who might serve. We are envisaging a small number of full members (perhaps no more than ten in the core group) with a wider circle of ‘corresponding members’, and in the first instance I shall be looking for nominations representing expertise in ecclesiology, missiology, ecumenical relation[s] and canon law. If you wish to make a nomination, perhaps you could indicate something of the background and competence of the person or persons you suggest. I hope, as I wrote earlier, that this will be a major and serious focus for the Lambeth Conference, and the work now commissioned will be a vital task in preparation for the Conference.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 September 2006 at 11:22am BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Christ Church, Plano, Texas

Updated Saturday and Sunday

Christ Church Plano and the Bishop of Dallas have both issued statements which can be read in full here.

The Episcopal News Service has issued this release: Plano parish will pay to leave Episcopal Church.

The Living Church has Christ Church, Plano, Leaves The Episcopal Church.

Updated Saturday
The Dallas Morning News reports this: Church gets OK to leave Episcopal denomination.

Updated Sunday
Fort Worth Via Media notes here that:

They have a debt of 6.8 million on the building and they have 11 acres of property. At today’s prices you can’t buy 1 acre out there for less than 2 million. Could one say the Bishop and Standing Committee gave it away?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 September 2006 at 7:08am BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Friday, 15 September 2006

New statistics

The Church of England has released two sets of statistics today.

1. Church Statistics 2004/5
Official press release: Statistics show increased giving and ordinations

These statistics cover

Parochial affiliation and attendance 2004
Licensed ministers 2005 (figures at 31 December 2005)
Parochial finance 2004

and in many cases include comparative figures for earlier years.

Statistics for previous years are also available.

2. Bishops’ Office and Working Costs 2005
Official press release: Bishops’ office and working costs published

Bishops’ costs for earlier years are also available.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 8:23pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 14 September 2006

two bishops comment

Updated again Friday evening

Episcopal News Service has a report on four bishops comments: in addition to those below, they have Bishop Mark Sisk and Bishop James Stanton, see More bishops offer reflections on New York meeting

Here’s a third bishop, Bishop John Lipscomb Bishops fail to reach consensus over ‘primatial oversight’ issues

First Bishop Peter Lee:

A letter to the Diocese of Virginia from the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop

September 13, 2006

Dear Friends:

As you know I have just completed a three-day meeting which I co-convened with Bishop John Lipscomb of the Diocese of Southwestern Florida at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The purpose of our meeting was to address the many complex issues that face our church as one of the 38 autonomous provinces of the Anglican Communion and of the Communion itself.

You no doubt will have read the statement we adopted this morning which says, in effect, we have not reached a conclusion. I feel as though I am writing you with that sentiment an awful lot these days. While each of us in that meeting and many church observers are finding this process frustrating, especially as we operate in a culture which desires quick, decisive action, I am reminded of the lesson from the Epistle of James this past Sunday and the call to us to be quick to listen and slow to action.

In that spirit, I want to share with you my sense of hope coming out of this meeting. While it is true we did not reach a conclusion, the level of candor and charity shared in our meeting was remarkable. I am hopeful that as we continue to meet, the Church will reclaim its historic generous orthodoxy and its respect for diversity and offer the Anglican Communion an example of faithfulness in unity and mission.

I am grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for his care for our Church at this time and the sensitivity with which he has asked leaders of our province to assemble to address the complex issues within our Church. I look forward to our next meeting.

Faithfully,

Peter James Lee
Bishop of Virginia

Second, Bishop Jack Iker:

BISHOP IKER COMMENTS ON THE NEW YORK SUMMIT

Another meeting has come and gone, with no clear results or final resolutions. Another “conversation” has taken place, where diverse views were exchanged, but no unified way forward could be discerned.

So where does that leave us? Well, it does not leave us in the same place as where we began! We have moved further along the path to the difficult decisions that ultimately must be faced, in every diocese and in every parish. Certain options have been discarded; others remain open.

I am grateful that the New York summit provided an opportunity to “clear the air” in face-to-face encounters among bishops who stand on opposite sides of the issues that so deeply divide us. It was helpful to say what was on my heart and mind and to hear directly from the other side as to how they see things. It was not always a pleasant exchange of views. At times the conversations were blunt and even confrontational. Nonetheless, what needed to be said was said and heard, in a spirit of honesty and love. That being said, it is my sense that the time for endless conversations is coming to a close and that the time for action is upon us. I am not interested in having more meetings to plan to have more meetings.

Our appeal for Alternative Primatial Oversight is still before the church, and provision must be made for the pastoral need we have expressed. The initial appeal from this diocese was made to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates and the Panel of Reference. (We soon withdrew our request for consideration by the Panel of Reference due to its apparent inability to act on any of the petitions that have been placed before it over the past year or so.) When six other dioceses made very similar appeals, we consolidated them into one joint appeal and submitted it to the Archbishop of Canterbury in late July.

After prayerful consideration and consultation, the Archbishop called for the New York summit, which took place on September 11-13, 2006, in hopes of finding an American church solution to an American church problem, but to no avail. We could not come to a consensus as to how to recognize and respond to the needs expressed in the appeal. So back to Canterbury it goes, as the principal Instrument of Unity in the Anglican Communion, but this time with a renewed emphasis on appealing also to the Primates of the Communion as a whole and not to Canterbury alone. The Primates Meeting is a second, very important Instrument of Unity in the life of worldwide Anglicanism. We ask for their intervention and assistance when they meet in February.

Some have balked at the terminology of our appeal requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight, pointing out that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church does not really have canonical oversight of any of our dioceses in the first place. While I can see their point, nonetheless the official job description for the PB is “Chief Pastor and Primate,” and it is this role that we seek to have exercised on our behalf by an orthodox Primate of the Communion, and not just someone other than the Presiding Bishop-elect of ECUSA. We require a Primate who upholds the historic faith and order of the catholic church and is fully compliant with the recommendations of the Windsor Report as the way forward for the Anglican Communion. Only in this way will we have an unclouded primatial relationship with the rest of the Communion.

Thank you all who prayed so fervently for us in our deliberations in New York City this past week. I am sincerely grateful for your encouragement and support. Your prayers were indeed answered - and are being answered still, in ways that are yet to be revealed.

Please note that a very important gathering of “Windsor Bishops” will be held at Camp Allen in Houston next week, from September 19-22, and that I will be present for those discussions. This is a much larger consultation that includes all Bishops who fully support the recommendations of the Windsor Report and believe that General Convention made an inadequate response to what the Report requested of ECUSA. The Archbishop of Canterbury is fully aware of the purpose of this meeting, and two Church of England Bishops will be present to share in our deliberations and then report back to the Archbishop on what took place. Please do pray daily for us as we consider next steps to be taken in pursuit of the unity and mission of the church.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
Holy Cross Day

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 6:27pm BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Nigeria and the Network

Matt Thompson at Political Spaghetti has a long article headed Nigeria: Why doesn’t the Anglican Communion Network come clean and speak out?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 4:00pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 13 September 2006

now there is news

Updated throughout the evening

The Anglican Communion Office issued this statement:

A group of bishops met in New York on 11-13 September at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and in consultation with the Presiding Bishop to review the current landscape of the church in view of conflicts within the Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury had received a request from seven dioceses for alternative primatial pastoral care and asked that American bishops address the question. The co-conveners of the meeting were Bishops Peter James Lee of Virginia and John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida. Other participating bishops were Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishops Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, James Stanton of Dallas, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Mark Sisk of New York, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, and Robert O’Neill of Colorado. Also participating was Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face. We recognized the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward. We could not come to consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight. The level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us.

Rowan Williams issued this response:

It’s a positive sign that these difficult conversations have been taking place in a frank and honest way. There is clearly a process at work and although it hasn’t yet come to fruition, the openness and charity in which views are being shared and options discussed are nevertheless signs of hope for the future. Our prayers continue.

The Associated Press reported on this as follows:

NEW YORK — Episcopal bishops at odds over homosexuality ended a private meeting Wednesday saying they had failed to reach agreement over dioceses that reject the authority of the church’s incoming national leader, who supports gay relationships.

The 11 bishops said they “were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward,” although they recognized the need to accommodate the dissenting dioceses.

“The level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us,” the bishops said in a statement. They did not say whether another meeting was planned.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the world Anglican Communion, had asked the U.S. bishops to hold the talks. He is struggling to keep the Anglican family unified despite deep rifts over whether same-gender partnerships violate Scripture…

Later version of this report: No Deal at Episcopal Meeting

Bishop Duncan issued this statement to the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Bishop Robert Duncan thanked the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and from across the Church for their prayers and support during the just-completed meeting of Episcopal bishops in New York. The meeting, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has not led to a mutually agreeable way forward.

“It was an honest meeting. It became clear that the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Duncan, “Our request for Alternative Primatial Oversight still stands. We wait on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion to answer our request,” he added.

Bishop Duncan encouraged the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to continue focusing on the local mission of their churches in the days ahead. “In season and out of season, we have the Good News of Jesus Christ’s love to share with the people of southwestern Pennsylvania and all the world. As I said after General Convention this summer, pray, but don’t worry.”

Bishop Duncan issued this statement to the Anglican Communion Network:

Pittsburgh, PA —Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, thanked the people of the Network for their prayers and support during the just-completed meeting of Episcopal bishops in New York. The meeting, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has not led to a mutually agreeable way forward.

“It was an honest meeting. It became clear that the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Duncan, “Our request for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) still stands. We wait on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion to answer our request,” he added. Among the many items discussed in New York was the fact that even if fulfilled, the APO request only deals with the situation of those in Network dioceses. While that situation is important, a far more desperate situation exists for congregations in non-Network dioceses. Bishop Duncan made it clear that as moderator of the Network, he will make every effort to see those needs fully and honestly addressed.

Bishop Duncan encouraged the people of the Network to continue focusing on the local mission of their churches in the days ahead. “In season and out of season, we have the Good News of Jesus Christ’s love to share with all the world. As I said after General Convention this summer, pray, but don’t worry.”

The Living Church has a report with some additional fragments of information: New York Meeting of Bishops Yields No Agreement:

Despite producing the draft of an agreement, the group of bishops meeting in New York City from Sept. 11 to 13 failed to reach any conclusions or consensus.

…The group produced a draft statement last night shortly before adjourning. Afterward each side made final changes. When they met again this morning they were unable to reconcile the two versions, according to several sources who had been briefed on meeting details…

The Episcopal News Service has issued a lengthy report, Meeting on primatial oversight adjourns without agreement. A few extracts:

…”We’re hoping to call another meeting later this fall to continue to wrestle with the issues,” Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori said after the meeting concluded, adding that there is a “general commitment” among those present at this week’s meeting to attend a subsequent meeting.

“It has occurred to me that it might be helpful to expand the group slightly so that it’s not too large but includes the variety of perspectives” that exist, Jefferts Schori added.

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and Jefferts Schori both said after the meeting ended that the conversations that took place were valuable. “According to some of the participants, it was for them the most fruitful exchange they’ve been able to have,” Griswold said.

Jefferts Schori called them “open and frank, sometimes challenging conversations, but very healthy ones.”

…Jefferts Schori said that the sessions helped her begin “to get a sense of the diversity of the context in which this church functions,” that there are diverse perceptions and that “diocesan landscapes are not uniform.”

Griswold echoed that understanding, noting the sessions showed the diversity that exists “even among people who are sometimes characterized as of the same mind.”

…”The great value in this meeting was the ability to have face-to-face conversations with people who frequently are caricatured by others,” Jefferts Schori said after the meeting. “Communicating on the internet about such issues relieves us of the incarnate necessity of engaging our neighbors.”

A further ENS release says Participants, observers reflect on bishops’ meeting in New York and includes reactions from Bishop Lipscomb, Bishop Duncan, Bonnie Anderson, and Christopher Wilkins.

Reuters has Gay issues again stump Episcopal church leaders. It includes this:

But Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, a meeting participant and moderator of the conservative, 200,000-member Anglican Communion Network, said “this is the first real admission that the church is broken in two parts, both of which claim to be the Episcopal church”.

He told Reuters the worldwide Anglican primates would take up the oversight question in a February meeting, and he predicted that a “staggeringly high” number of Episcopalians could eventually align with a different Anglican leadership.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 6:53pm BST | Comments (38) | TrackBack
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Southern African bishops speak

The Synod of Bishops of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, during its recent meeting, reflected on the position of the Anglican Communion and the present tensions within the Communion.

Read the full statement here.

…As Bishops, we remain convinced that within the Anglican Communion what unites us far outweighs what divides us. Our Spirituality and Worship with the daily reading of Holy Scripture within the Eucharist and the Daily Office unites us. Our experience has been that this has maintained and deepened our unity with each other. The Lambeth Quadrilateral has provided a framework for Anglicans for over a century and the Instruments of Unity as they have developed have played an important role in the unity of the Communion. We believe that the role of the Anglican Consultative Council ought to be strengthened as it best reflects the synodical governance of our churches. The Anglican Communion continues to unite us through the Cycle of Prayer, the networks it has established as well as through its work in the fields of Ecumenism, Theological Education, Mission and Canon Law. We look forward to the consultation needed towards the proposed Covenant and believe that it will further strengthen our unity. We remember with gratitude the support given by the Anglican Communion to the countries within our Province during our struggle for liberation and recognise the positive effect the Communion can have in situations of conflict and human need.

We urge the Anglican Communion to choose to remain united in accordance with the will of the Triune God whom we seek to serve. We understand that, given the situation in which we find ourselves at present, there is no simple or quick solution to the difficulties we face. We urge every part of the Anglican Communion to recognise, in one another, our common sanctification in Christ and to seek steps that, in time, will lead to reconciliation and the unity and peace that Christ wills for his Church. We pledge ourselves to continue to pray and work with all concerned for such reconciliation and unity and are ready to assist in this process where appropriate.

News reports of this:
iAfrica.com Bishops urge unity on homosexuality
Christian Post Southern Africa Bishops Call for Unity as Anglican Schism Looms
Catholic Information Service for Africa South Africa: Anglican Bishops Root for Unity of Communion

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 1:14pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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more Kunonga/Malango reports

allAfrica.com has two reports:

Zimbabwe: ‘Mudslinging Leaves Anglican Church On Brink of Collapse’ from the Harare Herald:

…Asked to expand on his claims of factionalism on the sidelines of the anniversary, Archbishop Malango — who was flanked by Bishop Kunonga — said there were three factions in the Anglican Church. Two of them, comprising liberals and homosexuals (both gays and lesbians), were contending against one made up of faithful adherents to the church orthodoxy and doctrine.

Bishop Kunonga singled out the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Rowan Williams, the head of the Church of England and titular, as opposed to substantive, leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as the driving force behind the negative publicity the local church was getting.

“Williams should explain the real reasons why he is interfering and frustrating my work in my diocese. He should mind his own business.

“He has no jurisdiction over Harare, he has no authority over and above Archbishop Malango who is the overseer of Central Africa. He hates us for categorically supporting the land reform in this country,” said Rev Kunonga.

Zimbabwe: ‘Mugabe Bishop’ Shuts Down Churches to Mark Wedding Day from Catholic Information Service for Africa

The controversial Anglican bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, who is widely thought to be allied to President Robert Mugabe ordered all churches in his diocese to close on Sunday to mark his 33rd wedding anniversary.

Instead he held a prayer meeting and a fundraiser at a sports arena to celebrate the occasion, according to a report by Independent Catholic News.

Individual parishes attending the event were asked to contribute 500,000 Zimbabwe dollars (2,000 USD) and each member of the congregation was to bring 5,000 Zimbabwe dollars (20 USD).

The 5,000-seat sports arena was less than half full, with some stands taken up by choirs and parties of school children…

And SW Radio Africa has Nineteen parishioners banned for disrupting Kunonga wedding party:

Nineteen Anglican Church wardens and members of the choir have been banned by a Harare court from attending services at the cathedral in the city. This follows an application by Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga who accused them of trying to disrupt his wedding anniversary at the weekend. Kunonga shot himself in the foot by ordering the closure of over 45 Anglican churches in Harare. The directive, which also saw the closure of St Mary’s cathedral in the city-centre, was meant to facilitate the celebration of his 33rd wedding anniversary at the city sports centre…

Update
The Living Church has a report by George Conger Zimbabwe Bishop Cancels Sunday Services for Wedding Anniversary Party

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 11:39am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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no news

Nobody knows anything about what is happening at the meeting of 12 American bishops and an Irish canon in New York City, but that does not prevent continuing speculation about it.

Ruth Gledhill’s newspaper report in The Times provoked a rather worried response from Matt Kennedy, to which Ruth responded in her blog article.

Meanwhile, Lionel Deimel wrote this detailed analysis, which found approval from Fr Jake. The latter also wrote his own response to Ruth.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 9:21am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 10 September 2006

before the New York meeting

Updated Monday
The Living Church reports on the consolidated appeal for alternative oversight in Bishops’ Appeal Seeks to Prevent Further Incoherence and Fracturing.

The original diocesan statements can be found here:

Central Florida
Dallas
Fort Worth
Pittsburgh
San Joaquin
South Carolina
Springfield

Statements of dissent:
Central Florida
Dallas
Fort Worth
Pittsburgh
San Joaquin
South Carolina

Via Media USA

Update Monday
The Times has a news report: Clergy seek ‘two-church solution’.
Fr Jake has a comprehensive summary of events leading up to today, in Episcopal Leaders to Discuss AlPO.
Tobias Haller compares it all to a lost episode of Yes, Minister.

National Public Radio has a 3.5 minute audio item about the meeting. John Yates, Jack Iker, Gene Robinson, Peter Lee, are all interviewed. Link to it from this page.

The Telegraph also has a story: ‘Adoption’ plan for anti-gay dioceses.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 10:26pm BST | Comments (47) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 9 September 2006

Has any Ahmanson money reached the UK?

Link updated August 2012

I was recently asked this question.

The answer is in an earlier article, which quoted directly from Jim Naughton’s articles published in April this year Following the Money: Donors and Activists on the Anglican Right. Here it is again (refer to page 3 of the original for the footnotes):

By 2004, the AAC was a well-established advocacy group, not unlike others that flourished in Washington . It spent just under $600,000 that year on employee compensation, $124,000 on travel, and $114,000 in printing and publications. 39

It was also developing a global reach. Summarizing its expenditures for that year, the AAC says it spent more than $361,000 on “advocacy and diplomatic efforts with international partners on issues surrounding Anglican communion.” Three of those partners-the British evangelical organizations Anglican Mainstream ($60,000), the Church Missionary Society ($27,000) and the Oxford Center for Mission Studies ($7,000)-received gifts from the AAC during 2003-04. 40

The AAC was not the only Ahmanson-funded organization aiding conservative Anglicans in the United Kingdom . The International Fellowship of Evangelical Mission Theologians (INFEMIT), which is based at the Oxford Center for Mission Studies (OCMS), pursues philanthropic activities beyond the scope of an advocacy organization. 41 However, it plays a significant role in the Anglican controversy.

From 2000 to 2004, its American branch, INFEMIT USA , which lists the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Institute as its U. S. mailing address, contributed $357,414 to OCMS and $262,000 to the Network for Anglican Mission and Evangelism, (NAME.)

NAME held an international conference in Africa in 2004 which produced papers justifying the actions of foreign bishops who had claimed Episcopal churches as their own, or announced plans to found a missionary church in the United States. 42

According to IRS Forms 990, INFEMIT USA raised more than $2.75 million from 2000-2003. More than $2.6 million was contributed by an unnamed donor or handful of donors. It is not clear how much of this money was donated by Ahmanson, but he listed INFEMIT 14th on the list of charities to which he has given the most money. 43

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 11:29pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Saturday opinions

Simon Barrow has written a detailed analysis of the recent Rowan Williams Dutch interview: Why Rowan Williams helps stem the drift to idiocracy.

Geoffrey Rowell reports on what he found in Nicaragua this summer: Searching for the Garden of Eden in a remote corner of Nicaragua.

There’s been a lot of criticism of the decision of the Washington Cathedral to host a talk by Mohammed Khatami the former president of Iran. What he actually said can be read here. Almost as interesting is the involvement of President Bush in granting his visa. The cathedral’s reasons for doing this are explained here. Bishop Chane’s concluding remarks are here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 7:42pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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APO document published

The Connecticut Six website has published in PDF format the full text of:
AN APPEAL TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
By the Bishops of Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, South Carolina, and Springfield (20 July, A.D. 2006).

This is the consolidated document previously mentioned.

It consists of a main document (4 pages, reproduced in full below the fold here) and several appendices:

APPENDIX A (pages 5 and 6) html copy here
Functions and authority of the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA under Title I of Canons

Appendix B (pages 7 and 8) html copy here
Theological Commitments of the Petitioning Bishops

APPENDIX C (pages 9-13)
Concerns about the Presiding Bishop-elect html copy here.

AN APPEAL TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
By the Bishops of Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin,
South Carolina, and Springfield (20 July, A.D. 2006)

The Situation

There are effectively two churches under one roof. The common roof is called the (Protestant) Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Separation of the two churches became all but inevitable and irreversible at the General Convention of 2006. Both hold principled, but irreconcilable, religious views. Both claim to be the Episcopal Church where they are.

One church has a revolutionary character. The other church has the character of evangelical and catholic via media. One church leads the way in Anglican Communion innovation. The other church seeks submission to the common mind of world Anglicanism. Significant parts of one church seek elimination of its conserving minority and confiscation of that minority’s patrimony. The other church would gladly negotiate fair and graceful terms of co-existence, or in a worst-case scenario, disengagement.

Seven dioceses are seeking to reshape their life together as dioceses — faithful to what the Episcopal Church has been and submitted to what the Anglican Communion has taught - under the oversight of a Canterbury appointed Commissary, temporarily exercising some of the responsibilities normally assigned to the American primate. Some of these dioceses have requested “alternative primatial oversight.” One has requested “a direct pastoral relationship.” One has requested “alternative primatial relationship and, as appropriate, oversight.” While worded differently, what these requests seek in common is a special relationship of pastoral care and accountability under the Archbishop of Canterbury described more fully below. We anticipate that these seven dioceses may be joined in this request by at least two other dioceses in September.

Given the hostility now being expressed by ECUSA’s majority leadership – suggesting among other things that our “dioceses be declared vacant” — we see the special relationship for which we are appealing as the best means of preserving the status quo and balance among American dioceses, both progressive and conserving, until the longer-term issues can be decided. For the next several years, while negotiated settlements or court proceedings may run their courses state by state across the United States, and while development of an Anglican Communion Covenant edges forward among the Provinces of the Communion, these seven dioceses propose to function separately from the ECUSA majority, but under the Constitution and Canons of ECUSA as received.

The minority ECUSA church needs protection. The request is not a request to enter into the legal affairs of the Episcopal Church, except that the Constitution of the Episcopal Church and of the several dioceses all require “constituent membership” in the Anglican Communion and “communion with the See of Canterbury.” These are matters determined not by us in the United States but by Canterbury and the rest of the world, so it is to Canterbury and the rest of the world that we must turn.

Are the seven dioceses, all Network Dioceses, “constituent members of the Anglican Communion?” Are the seven dioceses, all Network Dioceses, “in communion with the See of Canterbury?” Can the precedents and the structures of the Communion find the means to “acknowledge the standing of” and to “protect” — through an affirmation of legitimate Communion status and the extra-ordinary creation of a Communion Commissary during the present crisis - the witness of these Windsor-compliant Dioceses, and any other dioceses that may choose to join us, threatened by a hostile and litigious ECUSA majority?

The Appeal

The appeal is for a Commissary under the auspices of the Archbishop of Canterbury, charged with responsibility for general supervision, direction, gathering, pastoral care and accountability concerning ourselves and our dioceses.

We seek acknowledgement that the Dioceses that have made this appeal, all dioceses of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, are legitimate and recognizable dioceses of the Anglican Communion in their several locations, at least insofar as the Communion is concerned. We also seek recognition that as dioceses fully submitted to the Windsor Report, we should be given status in the Communion that is at least the equivalent of that accorded the majority of dioceses of the Episcopal Church, a majority that has failed to embrace the Windsor Report.

We seek provision of a Commissary, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, preferably in episcopal orders, to act as our point of connection to him and to exercise general supervision, direction, gathering, pastoral care and accountability on his behalf.

We seek to remain faithful to the Constitution and Canons of our several Dioceses, and to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church as the basis of church order, church life and church discipline, limited only by the rejection of innovations inconsistent with evangelical truth and catholic order, with special reference to the teachings of the Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998, and to the Windsor Report of 2004.

“Nuts and Bolts”

We seek to remain accountable to the wider Church. We believe the tasks constitutionally and canonically assigned to the Presiding Bishop are for the good order of the Church.
Because of the spiritual and disciplinary nature of the tasks, however, it is clear that neither the present nor incoming incumbent can exercise these tasks fairly or impartially on our behalf. The tasks are listed in Appendix A.

We imagine that a Commissary might be appointed to exercise these responsibilities over us and on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury. This is a provisional (transitional) arrangement until (1) such time as our future as dioceses is settled in the US and (2) the status of the two ECUSA churches here - progressive majority and conserving minority — can be sorted out vis a vis Anglican Communion membership and covenant.

We propose that the Commissary be in episcopal orders and have standing and understanding of the American situation, with a theological consonance with the group of dioceses being overseen. We could imagine that a former primate like Maurice Sinclair or retired bishop like Stephen Jecko might serve in such a role very well.

We believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury could reasonably approach the present and incoming Presiding Bishops, seeking their willingness to refrain from objection to this plan. While intensely distasteful to the ECUSA majority, this plan (1) offers a “cease-fire” that would be broadly appreciated in the Communion; (2) would be seen by Canterbury and the rest of the Communion as a positive action by the ECUSA leadership in what has, to date, seemed like intransigence and arrogance on the part of the progressive majority; and (3) does not preclude negotiated settlements or court actions by any of the parties in the American dispute. Whether the Presiding Bishop or Presiding Bishop-elect agree to remain neutral for the good of the Communion is a matter that should be offered to them, but their refusal to cooperate should not be permitted to block that which is minimally protective of the ECUSA minority and maximally to the good of the Communion. It is our contention that ECUSA has passed the point of being allowed to continue to define the terms.

Statement of Common Faith and Commitment of the Requesting Dioceses

The Bishops making this appeal reaffirm our common faith in the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ and our common commitment, both to the Anglican Communion and to one another.

Without equivocation, we embrace and submit ourselves to the principles and recommendations of The Windsor Report. We are Windsor Bishops. Likewise, we are Lambeth Bishops, who fully endorse the clear teaching of the Communion as expressed in the resolutions of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Of particular importance to the current crisis that faces us are Resolution 1.10 on human sexuality and Resolution III.2 on the unity of the Anglican Communion.

Appendix B offers an expanded theological statement prepared as a part of this submission.

Some of us support the ordination of women as priests and bishops as a legitimate development in the historic faith and order of the Church, but others among us do not, finding insufficient warrant in Holy Scripture, and no warrant or requirement in the Apostolic Tradition of the Church, to justify such a change in the historic practice of the Church. We are, however, all in complete agreement as to the moral authority of the Lambeth resolutions.

While recognizing the difficulties presented by our theological differences on the issue of women’s ordination as priests and bishops, we are mutually committed “to live together in the highest degree of Communion possible.” To maintain our unity, we uphold the principle of “open reception” as defined by the Eames Commission on Women in the Episcopate, recognizing that in the end the Church ultimately may accept or reject the practice of ordaining women as priests and bishops. In the words of Resolution III.2, we “affirm that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate, are both loyal Anglicans,” and “that there is and should be no compulsion on any bishop in matters concerning ordination or licensing.”

Why Now?

Too much energy continues to be spent on the fight. All of us who love the gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ yearn to refocus our efforts on mission. That, of course, is the greatest response to “Why Now?” But there is more.

This is a kairos moment for the Episcopal Church and for the Anglican Communion. The comprehensive picture emerging from General Convention actions and inactions, as concerns the Windsor Report in particular, is more than sufficient for a judgment that it is continuing its “walk apart.” Appendix C illustrates the Presiding Bishop-elect’s commitment to the present direction of the majority.

For Network churches in non-Network dioceses the conclusion is that it is time to negotiate separation from ECUSA. With no new options introduced, this separation invariably takes the form of affiliation with a diocese of the Global South, whether Rwanda, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Central Africa or Southern Cone.

Furthermore, for leading congregations in Network dioceses (e.g., Christ Church, Plano, Texas, in the Diocese of Dallas) there is an unwillingness any longer to be associated with the Episcopal Church.

In practical terms, this means that the strongest congregations of Network dioceses are contemplating leaving their dioceses unless there is some way for the dioceses themselves to be sustained in a meaningful way by a direct relationship to the Communion. Departure to the Global South by these congregations will have the dual effect of deepening the incoherence of Anglicanism in the United States and weakening, perhaps fatally, the Network dioceses.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has historically played a pivotal role in the life of the American Church, including consultation on the Book of Common Prayer and in securing the episcopate. The present Archbishop has now given the whole of the Communion a compelling vision in his “The Hope and Challenge of Being an Anglican Today.” We ask him to consider this appeal in the hope that we can together respond to his leadership, avert the incoherence and fracturing already suggested, and work toward a new day within a Covenant that will bear fruit.

The seven dioceses that make this appeal are faithful Anglican dioceses. We stand with the rest of the Communion in Faith and Order. Can the existing systems of the Communion find a way, in this extraordinarily challenging moment, to provide for our recognition and continuity in the face of the aggressive innovation embraced by the majority of our own Province, whose leaders seem to us determined to bring about our elimination?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 5:06pm BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 7 September 2006

The Fundamentalists

A Channel Four television programme with this title, lasting two hours, airs in the UK on Saturday at 7.15 pm. The presenter is Mark Dowd. The official publicity blurb reads:

Former Dominican friar Mark Dowd travels the world to explore the origins of and reasons for religious fundamentalism. Examining five different faiths and a century of history, Dowd strives to discover who fundamentalists are, what their common attributes might be, and why a literalist approach to the religious text is so important to them.

Mark Vernon who has seen the programme, has written this preview:

The Fundamentalists - Channel 4, Saturday 9th Sept

Would you know a fundamentalist if you met one? A black hood and Kalashnikov might rouse your suspicion. But what of the peaceful sort, in regular clothes. What would give them away?

Four individuals featured in Mark Dowd’s film, ‘The Fundamentalists’, shatter preconceptions. For one thing they are women - a Hindi nationalist in India, a settler wife in Israel, an evangelical grandma in the US, and a Palestinian mum in Gaza. These four are also of four different religions - Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Fundamentalists are as likely to be Buddhist too, particularly if you live in Sri Lanka where they wear saffron robes. You needn’t go abroad for fundamentalism either. I recently spent the day with a fundamentalist from the home counties. He is white, middle class and a minister in the Church of England. We drank tea as he told me homosexuals are at risk of burning for all eternity.

From its origins in America, modern media have given the word fundamentalist global recognition in a few short decades, as Dowd shows when it is instantly recognised by people across four continents. Inspired by American fundamentalists, all sorts of people who feel politically embattled and/or personally unsure now turn to it for security. What fundamentalists have in common is breaking with the past: they do religion without tradition; something written or spoken two or three thousand years ago can be directly and unproblematically applied to today.

How should liberals respond to fundamentalism? Dowd shows how it is partly a political problem but it is also a spiritual problem. This leads him to make some pertinent suggestions. First, recognising that fundamentalism is here to stay, it is important to be savvy about their sense of the sacred to ensure that peaceable fundamentalists stay peaceable. Second, and more aggressively, it is important to challenge them religiously, particularly on the break with tradition: for example, as Jonathan Sacks puts it, God’s word without interpretation is like nuclear fuel without insulation. Third, we must strive for more spirituality enlightened times: the spiritual crudity of fundamentalism is a reflection of the spiritual crudity of materialism. As Dowd concludes, ultimately, only towering spiritual figures can lead fundamentalists away from their fears.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 7 September 2006 at 11:08pm BST | Comments (50) | TrackBack
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Uganda: Orombi calls for change to constitution

George Conger reports in the Living Church reports that the Primate of Uganda Proposes Altering Constitution:

The Most Rev. Henry Orombi, Primate of the Church of Uganda, has proposed altering the provincial constitution to clarify its “biblical and evangelical character” within the Anglican Communion. If approved, the measure would become effective in 2008 and would formalize the 2003 declaration of “broken communion” with The Episcopal Church, extending the breach to encompass the entire progressive wing of the Communion.

In his presidential address to the biennial assembly of the Church of the Province of Uganda held Aug. 30 at Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Archbishop Orombi asked the assembly to revise its constitution to state the Church of Uganda “shall be in full communion with all churches, dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion that receive, hold and maintain the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God written.”…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 7 September 2006 at 6:13pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Kunonga: latest spree

Updated Friday

From the Telegraph a report by Peta Thorneycroft Mugabe bishop accused over ‘spree’:

The Anglican Bishop of Harare has cancelled church services on Sunday to mark the occasion of his wedding anniversary and instructed clergy and congregations to contribute gifts and food to his party…

The Church Times has a more detailed report on this by Pat Ashworth Kunonga tells churches to close on his anniversary.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 7 September 2006 at 5:54pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Abp of York may attend Primates Meeting

Two reports, both by George Conger, have appeared:

Living Church Archbishop of York to Represent England at Primates’ Meeting

The five-member committee recommended to Archbishop Rowan Williams last spring that Archbishop Sentamu represent the interests of the Church of England at the annual gathering of the 38 archbishops, presiding bishops and moderators of the Anglican Communion. The rationale is that Archbishop Williams would then be freed to exercise a presidential role within the meetings, the committee said…

…The next scheduled meeting is Feb. 14-19, 2007, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Church of England Newspaper Primates role for York?

…The proposal was made by the members of the five members of the Primates’ Standing Committee earlier this year to the Archbishop of Canterbury. However, the final decision to add Dr Sentamu to the primates’ ranks lies with Dr Williams. A spokesman for the Anglican Consultative Council confirmed the proposal was under active consideration stating: “”There have been suggestions that would include the Archbishop of York, but as of August 24, the invitations, to my knowledge, have not gone out.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 7 September 2006 at 3:44pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Network opposition speaks out

Two reports: first from San Diego (not a Network diocese) there is this article on the St Paul’s Cathedral site, by Catherine Thiemann: By Their Fruits Shall You Know Them: An Analysis of AAC and Network Activities.

Second, from South Carolina which is a Network diocese, An Open Letter to Episcopalians in the Diocese of South Carolina from The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina.

There is a related news report here on the South Carolina episcopal election.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 7 September 2006 at 2:09pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 5 September 2006

two more conservative documents

First, Anglican Mainstream has just republished another older document. It was prepared in May 2004 and submitted to the Windsor Commission on behalf of the Global South. It is titled Called to Witness and Fellowship.

Second, the Anglican Communion Institute website has published an article What Are We Meeting About? The Current Shape of our Common Discussions in the Episcopal Church.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 5 September 2006 at 7:08pm BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 3 September 2006

a petition from Rwanda

Updated Monday and again Thursday and Friday

Monday Concerning the document below: there was an article in Christianity Today in November 2005, that discussed an earlier version in some detail, Anglicans ‘Severely Wounded’ (hat tip AG).

Thursday And there is now an interview with Bishop Rodgers, about this document in the Christian Post here.

Friday The Church Times carries a news report also: Root out tares from Anglican wheat, says Rwandan bishop.

Rwanda is where the Global South primates will be meeting later this month. The Province of Rwanda also sponsors the Anglican Mission in America.

The Rt. Rev. John K. Rucyahana is bishop of Shyira diocese, in Rwanda. He has recently published a large document which can be found at the website of The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine (SPREAD). This body has an HQ address in Illinois, and its chairman is The Rt Rev John H. Rodgers,Jr. He is a former dean of TESM and a retired bishop of AMiA.

The document, which is in PDF format, can be downloaded here (650K). The covering letter includes this:

…This document is not written to compel or demand any action. Rather, we seek to clarify the state of the Anglican Communion and advise what actions we may need to take to defend the Anglican faith and promote the Gospel. We want to “know the times” and “understand what we should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32) as faithful followers of Jesus in the Anglican Church.

I hope this record will help us to be aware and alert as we engage in covenants with others in the Communion, so that we know fully who and what we are covenanting with.

This document is meant to help assess the level of contagiousness of the apostasy, heresy, and denial of the Bible which may be imported into our churches from the wider Communion. I am thankful to the Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine for their research and work on this document.

The petition is 44 pages long but starts out this way:

PETITION TO THE THIRD GLOBAL ANGLICAN SOUTH TO SOUTH LEADERSHIP TEAM AND PRIMATES ADVISORY GROUP

TO: The Leadership Team under the presidency of the Most. Rev. Peter Akinola and the Primates Advisory Group elected at the Third Global Anglican South to South Encounter held in Egypt on October 25-30, 2005.

The petitioner, The Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine, is a society dedicated to the spread of faithful, Biblical theology, as found in the historic Anglican Formularies and such other information as will support the same, to all people and all churches, particularly to those who are members of the Anglican Communion. The petitioner wishes to thank the Primates of the Global South for their orthodox leadership, and to share with your Graces the results of some of our research and analytical thought so that we may be equipped for whatever action the Lord graciously calls us to undertake…

The document argues at great length (emphasis and words in square brackets added) that:

…II. What the Global South upholds is true and historic Anglicanism. At one time the whole Anglican Communion was united in the Anglican faith, which is defined by the Articles of Religion and the doctrinal tenets contained in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal, and which holds as a central tenet that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.

III. The controversy over whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations shows that the Anglican Communion is no longer united in the Anglican faith, but is divided over whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.

IV. Our research and reflection indicates that the churches and bishops of the Anglican Communion are divided into three groups concerning whether the Church should approve of same gender sexual relations and whether the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.

V. The view of the authority of Scripture held by the revisionist [Rowan Williams] and traditionalist/pragmatist [George Carey] groups is irreconcilably contrary to the view thereof held by the Anglican [Peter Akinola] group.

VI. The revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups can go together in the Anglican Communion because they share the fundamental belief that the Church is not subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture.

VII. Since the members of the Anglican group believe that the Church is subordinate to the sovereign authority of Scripture, they cannot go together with the members of either the revisionist group or the traditionalist/pragmatist group.

VIII. Scripture gives clear direction on how faithful Anglicans should deal with the revisionist and traditionalist/pragmatist groups, who are essentially false teachers in the Biblical sense.

IX. The ability of the Anglican churches to carry the faith will be weakened and finally destroyed if they wait too long to carry out the Biblical instruction on how to deal with false teachers…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 September 2006 at 6:17pm BST | Comments (38) | TrackBack
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more American church reports

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram had this report on the state of the Episcopal Church yesterday: A church in crisis.

And the Witness recently published this article by Daniel Webster Waging Fragmentation.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 September 2006 at 6:11pm BST | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 2 September 2006

weekend reading material

Updated Sunday

Keith Ward writes in the Tablet about evolution and “intelligent design”: Beyond boundaries: the infinite creator. Time also has a column about The Pope and Darwin. The New Scientist has Papal summit to debate Darwinian evolution. Earlier the Guardian had Pope prepares to embrace theory of intelligent design.

Update But see what John Allen has to say about that article, here and his earlier interview with Dominique Tassot here.

In today’s Guardian Face to Faith is by Mark Pinsky who writes about American evangelicals.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about No comfort for Betjeman.

Andrew Louth writes in The Times that There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion’s joyful, inaccurate tales.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 2 September 2006 at 9:30am BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Friday, 1 September 2006

other American Anglicans

The number of congregations in the United States of America that regard themselves as “Anglican” but “outside of ECUSA” is already quite large. Some of these go back to the nineteenth century. There is an interesting map here, which shows a total of 457, although it also says that it is incomplete. These numbers include a few Canadian parishes (see comments).

This total breaks down as follows:

Groups which are directly linked to some other province of the Anglican Communion:
AMiA-113, Southern Cone-26, Uganda-23, Nigeria-15, Kenya-14, Brazil-Recife-6
The AMiA is, according to its own website “a missionary outreach of the Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda”.

Other Groups:
APA-71, REC-38, ACA-36, EMC-27, UEC-25, Unknown-18, CEC-17, UAC-12, , ACiC-6, APCK-4, OAC-2, DHC-2, ACCC-1, APCGS-1
More information about these groups can be found in the Anglicans Online list of ‘Not in the Communion’.
AMiA, APA, and REC are Common Cause Partners as is CANA.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 1 September 2006 at 9:41am BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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