Thursday, 31 May 2007

Lambeth invitations: updates

Updated Friday morning

Anglican Mainstream and titusonenine have both published the full text of this week’s Church of England Newspaper letter from Lord Carey, from which I quoted only an excerpt earlier.

To read it in full go here, or alternatively here.

The text of (then) Archbishop Carey’s letter in February 2000 concerning the AMiA bishops, to which reference is made in the CEN letter can be found on ACNS by going here. It really deserves reading in full.

The Church of England Newspaper front page article by George Conger can be read by going to his blog: Fallout after Lambeth Invitations Continues.

There are interesting comments on the Fulcrum forum about both the authorship and the formal status of the CAPA ‘Road to Lambeth’ report referenced by various African primates recently: go here and scroll down.

Bishop Pierre Whalon also has some comments on his blog arising from his attendance at the recent Church of England bishops’ meeting:

…Among the many topics at this year’s meeting was the letter sent to most of the world’s Anglican bishops (well over 800, including eleven women) inviting us to the 2008 Lambeth Conference. While the proceedings of the meeting are confidential, I think I can make a few comments that are pertinent.
First, much has been made of the timing of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter. Clearly he would rather had sent them out after meeting with the American bishops in September, but the need to organize is becoming prominent. The last Lambeth Conference in 1998 has been described as a “organizational nightmare,” and this one seeks to be better, much better. Thus the invitations have been sent earlier than expected.
Second, the letter states that the Archbishop is still taking counsel for one or two cases. This means that no bishops of the Communion has been “uninvited,” yet. I am firmly convinced that Bishop Gene Robinson will be asked to participate. The question is, under what status? That remains to be negotiated. The Windsor Report had mandated that Rowan Williiams not invite him at all. Clearly the Archbishop wants to find a way forward despite that.
Third, the case of the bishop for the Convocation of Nigerian Churches in America, Martyn Minns, was not discussed at all. I did not know that he had not been invited until I was able to get some internet connectivity. This means that he is considered to be in the same category as the bishops of the Anglican Mission in America—validly consecrated but not a bishop of the Anglican Communion…

Pat Ashworth in the Church Times has Ugandan bishops shun Lambeth.

Another report from Uganda is in New Vision Orombi skips talks over gays.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 31 May 2007 at 10:14pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Lambeth invitations: further comments

Updated yet again Thursday afternoon

Andrew Brown has written this commentary at comment is free: Stand up for yourself, Rowan.

Jonathan Petre reports in the Daily Telegraph what Gregory Venables thinks in Anglican Church in a ‘mess’ over gay bishop row.

Akintunde Popoola took steps to remind us what Peter Akinola thinks when he spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria as reported by the Nigerian Tribune in Akinola Threatens To Boycott Anglican Meeting.

Henry Orombi of Uganda has issued this statement:

On 9th December 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda, meeting in Mbale, resolved unanimously to support the CAPA Road to Lambeth statement, which, among other things, states, “We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution are also invited as participants or observers.”

We note that all the American Bishops who consented to, participated in, and have continued to support the consecration as bishop of a man living in a homosexual relationship have been invited to the Lambeth Conference. These are Bishops who have violated the Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which rejects “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

Accordingly, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda stands by its resolve to uphold the Road to Lambeth.

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

See also the Living Church report here.
Further Update see ENS report UGANDA: Archbishop Orombi questions Lambeth Conference participation.

George Carey has written a letter to the Church of England Newspaper which in part says the following:

Sir, Kenneth Kearon suggests (CEN May 25) that the decision not to invite AMiA
bishops, or the recently consecrated CANA Bishop, to the Lambeth Conference
relates to a precedent I set in 2000…

…This, of course, was before 2003 when the Episcopal Church clearly signalled its
abandonment of Communion norms, in spite of warnings from the Primates that the
consecration of a practising homosexual bishop would ‘tear the fabric of the Communion’.
It is not too much to say that everything has changed in the Anglican Communion
as a result of the consecration of Gene Robinson.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s prerogative to invite bishops to the Conference is a
lonely, personal and important task. Before each Conference a number of careful decisions
have to be taken, with the focus being on the well-being of the Communion. The
circumstances facing each Archbishop of Canterbury will vary according to the needs
of the hour. For these reasons, I believe, that Dr Rowan Williams should not regard
the advice he has evidently received that this matter is ‘fixed’ as necessarily binding
on him in the very different circumstances of 2007.

Thursday afternoon update
The full text of letter of the 20 February 2000 letter from then Archbishop Carey to the Primates on the AMiA consecrations can be found here.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Jesus' Family Values - Seminar

Ekklesia is sponsoring an event:

You are invited to join Professor Deirdre Good in conversation about ‘Jesus’ Family Values’ and their challenge for the churches’ current stance.

11-12am (with refreshments), Thursday 31 May 2007.
St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace
, 78, Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AG.

The meeting is free. It would help if you could tell us you are intending to come by emailing:

British-born Dr Deirdre Good, now Professor of New Testament at General (Anglican) Seminary in New York, has already caused waves in the USA with her book Jesus’ Family Values, which argues that Jesus replaced his family of origin with differently configured communities and households.

The subject is highly topical. Churches are embroiled in angry arguments about adoption, sexuality and the future of marriage. The latest British Social Attitudes survey says traditional family structures are under pressure. And the government is highlighting family policy as a major focus.

This event - which launches Professor Good’s book in the UK - is being promoted by the UK think-tank Ekklesia, which examines the role of religion in public life. It is being hosted by St Ethelburga’s, a centre in the City of London for reconciliation among people of different religions and beliefs.

Full details here.

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Wycliffe Hall: a couple of items

First, wannabepriest has drawn attention to how the situation there has changed by linking to this from 2005:

Does the organisation Reform have a place within the evangelical firmament of the Church of England, not to mention the wider Anglican Communion? The question is prompted by the recent decision of the council of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, to ban meetings of the local student branch of the movement until a policy can be formulated on the ‘issue’…

Second, Giles Fraser has written a comment article Not faith, but fanaticism in today’s Guardian which concludes like this:

…Of course, what should really happen is that the bishops of the Church of England stop using colleges like this to train its priests. Places such as Wycliffe are turning Anglicanism into a cult. But it’s a symptom of how bad things are in the C of E, and how frightened its bishops have become of the financial muscle of conservative evangelicals, that they won’t find the gumption to cut Wycliffe adrift.

But clearly they should. For Anglicanism is fast becoming the nasty party at prayer, with traditionally inclusive theology being submerged by a bargain-basement prejudice that damns to hell all those who disagree. This isn’t faith, it’s fanaticism. And the University of Oxford should not be supporting its work.

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Sunday, 27 May 2007

Colorado Springs: the voting results

Updated again Wednesday morning

Episcopal Café reports in The latest from Colorado that:

In a news release [PDF, html version here] dated May 26, 2007, the parish leadership of Grace and St. Stephen’s, Colorado Springs, announced the vote which took place from Sunday, May 20th through Saturday, May 26th, saying that 93% of the congregations members chose to align the congregation with CANA and keep the property they now occupy.

According to a report in the Colorado Springs Gazette, there were 370 votes cast and 342, or 93%, were in favor of the parish leaving the Episcopal Church and joining CANA. The tally was 348 to 22 about authorizing the vestry to fight to retain control of the $17 million dollar plant.

Before the break-up, the parish reported a membership of 1500-2000 communicants. The breakaway parish claims 600 to 800 of these, while the Diocese claims that 200 to 400 members of the original parish now worship in the borrowed space down the street.

370 voting out of 600-800?

348 votes from a congregation previously reported as 1500+ strong?

These numbers simply don’t compute. Can anyone shed more light please?

See also Rocky Mountain News Colorado Springs parish votes to break from Episcopal Church.

Update Monday morning
Many thanks to commenters for their input, see below. Another paragraph from Andrew Gerns article on Episcopal Café says this:

The leadership of the Episcopal parish contends that the rules established by the breakaway parish make the outcome of the vote a foregone conclusion. The rules established for the vote require that members of the Episcopal parish must re-register as members of the CANA congregation, contribute to the new congregation and attend its worship. Members of the Episcopal congregation voiced concern that the use of the rolls, or even the possibility of signed ballots, might be used in court in validate the breakaway parish’s claim.

And another Rocky Mountain News article Secession leaves a fractured flock in Springs says this:

Armstrong opened services Sunday by noting the results of vote tallies showing that 93 percent of 370 voting members - out of 822 eligible voters - approved of the plan to leave the Episcopal Church. Saturday’s vote capped the uncertainty that began March 26 when Armstrong and a majority of the church’s governing board declared they were each individually leaving the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Colorado.

Update Wednesday morning
Episcopal News Service has Former members of Colorado Springs congregation approve break from Episcopal Church.

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Wycliffe Hall on BBC radio

The Sunday radio programme had a feature on Wycliffe Hall. You can hear it by going here, and going forward 34 minutes 20 seconds. Better URL later in the week, after the BBC updates its site on Tuesday. About 10 minutes long.

Better URL now here:

Wycliffe Hall dispute
One of the Church of England’s six evangelical training colleges is at the centre of a dispute over the management style of its new principal. Since Richard Turnbull took over the reins at Wycliffe Hall, more than a third of its staff have resigned. Some also fear he’s wishing to take the college in a more theologically conservative direction. Mike Ford has been trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Listen (8m 54s)

Richard Turnbull declined to be interviewed (though clips from the video are used) but you can hear various other Evangelicals, including David Peterson, Graham Kings, Pete Broadbent, Christina Rees, and Chris Sugden.

Update Monday morning
You can read evangelicals commenting on this at various places:
Fulcrum forum thread here and Ugley Vicar comment thread here.

There is now a summary of the broadcast, below the earlier transcript of the video, here, complete with cartoon sketches of the people speaking.

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Saturday, 26 May 2007

Whitsuntide columns

Vincent Nichols writes about Pentecost in The Times: Pentecostal drama explodes with energy, freedom and joy.

Carolyn Reynier writes about the Anglican chaplaincy in Nice in Face to Faith.

The Daily Telegraph has Christopher Howse on The enigma of Gerontius.

Giles Fraser writes about Ascensiontide in the Church Times: No clinging to the old ragged cloth.

The Tablet has a feature article: Pentecost is just the start by Denis Minns.

Last week’s Church Times had an article by Bob Holman about why Christians, especially bishops, should not seek power in the Lords: What happened to servanthood?

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Friday, 25 May 2007

Lambeth invitations: Church Times comment

The Church Times has this news report: Robinson, Kunonga, and Minns left off Lambeth Conference invitation list.

In addition the Church Times has a leader about it: Who can come to the party. This starts out:

THE AMERICANS are coming. Invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference went out to 800 bishops on Tuesday, scotching rumours that those in the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Church of Canada would not be welcomed without further concessions over Gene Robinson (and no further initiatives on gay partnerships).

The September deadline set by the Primates for the US bishops to agree an alternative structure for their conservatives still stands, but attendance at the Lambeth Conference will not hang on it. Threats might still be made, and attempts to persuade Dr Williams to invoke his right (which his letter carefully reserves) to withhold or withdraw invitations.

But Dr Williams is unlikely to act so unwisely. For all their talk of alternative gatherings, the conservatives will not want to walk away when they feel in possession of the centre ground, especially given their numerical confidence…

Read the whole article.

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yet more on Turnbull and the Reform video

The Independent has a news report by Andy Smith headed The man who says we are all going to hell and a commentary by Charles Nevin The Third Leader: Hell’s bells!

(The reference to the TA website in the news report is incorrect.)

And here is what Richard Turnbull writes in today’s Church of England Newspaper via Anglican Mainstream:
Forming Tomorrow’s Ministers - a renewed vision for theological education

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 May 2007 at 8:33am BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Pew Forum on Anglican Communion

Global Schism: Is the Anglican Communion the First Stage in a Wider Christian Split?

Some of the nation’s leading journalists gathered in Key West, Fla., in May 2007 for the Pew Forum’s biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life.

Philip Jenkins, a Penn State University professor and one of the first scholars to call attention to the rising demographic power of Christians in the southern hemisphere, analyzed the ongoing schism in the worldwide Anglican church. While the dispute concerns attitudes toward homosexuality, Jenkins argues the core of the conflict lies in how biblical authority is defined.

Will the current alliances between conservative Western and African leaders endure? Will African leaders begin to press an ultra-liberal economic agenda? Are other mainline denominations in the U.S. headed for similar splits? Jenkins answered these and others questions, while offering a fascinating glimpse into the life of African Christianity.

Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies and History, Pennsylvania State University

Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics & Public Policy Center; Senior Advisor, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Read the whole transcript here.

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Thursday, 24 May 2007

More on Wycliffe Hall and Richard Turnbull

Here is a transcript of the video linked previously which may be valuable to people without the time to watch it: Principal Dr Richard Turnbull speaking at the Reform Conference in October 2006.

And here is the article in tomorrow’s Church of England Newspaper via Religious Intelligence by Stephen Bates and titled College row reflects crisis in Anglican Church.

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Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Lambeth invitations: more reactions

Updated again Thursday evening

The Living Church has a further report, Presiding Bishop Urges Calm Approach to Lambeth News.

Reuters has African Anglicans could boycott summit over gays by Paul Majendie.

Associated Press has Archbishop of Canterbury still considering Lambeth Conference invitation for Harare bishop.

Affirming Catholicism has issued a press release, Disappointment at Lambeth invitations.

Changing Attitude has also issued a press release, Changing Attitude England regrets that bishop Gene Robinson has not been invited to the Lambeth Conference 2008.

ACI, Inc. issued Response to the Statement of the Archbishop of Canterbury Regarding Lambeth Conference Invitations.

Ruth Gledhill has links galore to other people at Bishops Gene and Martyn ‘not invited’ to Lambeth.

CANA has issued a 2007.05.23 Letter from Bishop Minns.

InclusiveChurch has issued a second press release (first one here) which appears in full below. It is now also available at InclusiveChurch.

Anglican Mainstream has published a list of Exactly who has not been invited.

An article by George Conger from the Friday, May 25, 2007 issue of the Church of England Newspaper has been published by Episcopal Café, see Cavalcanti not invited to Lambeth either.

Another CEN article is on Religious Intelligence at Anger as gay bishop snubbed for Anglican summit by Ed Beavan.

Doug LeBlanc has written at GetReligion about the US press coverage: Archbishop Williams: Bishop to G7.

AMiA has issued a statement.

ENS has Individual bishops respond to Lambeth Conference invitations announcement.

InclusiveChurch Press Release

InclusiveChurch has received a certain amount of adverse comment about the statement we released yesterday in response to the Lambeth Conference invitation announcement.

Our assessment was more positive than the statements of some of the organisations with which we work closely. It is our strong belief that although the situation is by no means perfect and the Bishop of New Hampshire should be there as a full member, the Lambeth Conference will offer an opportunity for serious dialogue on many subjects.

We are in a transitional stage in the life of the church and as we move towards the full inclusion of all people the cost is very high for those who are still excluded. The continued sacrifice demanded of lesbian and gay people, especially those in relationship, cannot be underestimated and we look forward to the day when sexuality is no longer the destructive issue it presently is.

Across the world, both in the Global South and in the rest of the Communion, lesbian and gay Christians are a significant part of the life of the church; we need to recognise this so that we can communicate afresh the Gospel truth of the inexhaustible love of God for the world.

It is our continued hope and prayer that all bishops will receive invitations to the Lambeth Conference. We especially hope that Bishop Gene Robinson will receive a full invitation, so that he can engage with the other bishops of the Communion. Should Bishop Robinson not receive a full invitation, we hope that, as the only openly gay bishop, he will be at the Conference. And we hope that the American bishops of the Episcopal Church will be there to witness to the full inclusion of all people as expressed so clearly in its understanding of the Baptismal Covenant.

The Archbishop of Canterbury affirmed in his letter of invitation that “An invitation to participate in the Conference has not in the past been a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy. Coming to the Lambeth Conference does not commit you to accepting the position of others as necessarily a legitimate expression of Anglican doctrine and discipline, or to any action that would compromise your conscience or the integrity of your local church.”

We hope that this chance for gracious engagement between bishops of very different theological hues is not missed so that the Communion can continue to grow in its welcoming inclusion. Successive Lambeth Conferences in 1978, 1988 and 1998 have requested genuine engagement with lesbian and gay Christians. We trust that the 2008 Conference will be part of the listening
process called for many times in recent years.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 May 2007 at 10:54pm BST | Comments (67) | TrackBack
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Richard Turnbull speaks to Reform

The Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Richard Turnbull spoke to the Reform Conference last year. You can hear and watch his remarks by following this video link. You may find them interesting.

Update: another copy of it is now here.

Stephen Bates of the Guardian has a report on this: Theologian damns most Britons to hell.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 May 2007 at 3:04pm BST | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Lambeth invitations: the morning papers

Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre Church conference snubs gay bishop
Guardian Stephen Bates Anger at decision to exclude gay bishop from conference
The Times Ruth Gledhill Gay bishop is left off Canterbury guest list
Daily Mail Steve Doughty Williams snubs U.S. bishop in church split

New York Times Laurie Goodstein Gay and Dissident Bishops Excluded From ’08 Meeting
Los Angeles Times Rebecca Trounson Anglican event excludes two U.S. bishops
Only a Nib in the Washington Post paper edition
Washington Times Julia Duin Minns, Robinson left off the list for Anglican meeting

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 May 2007 at 8:06am BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Lambeth invitations: other reactions

InclusiveChurch issued this statement:

InclusiveChurch welcomes the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the first invitations to over 800 bishops in the Anglican Communion to attend the Lambeth Conference 2008. We believe the Anglican Communion will benefit from engagement among this diverse group of bishops. It is regrettable that a small number of bishops are not to be invited, but recognizing the painful fractures within the Communion we understand the need for generous sacrifice on all sides. We hope that in the spirit of such sacrifice the bishops who are not receiving invitations to the conference, including Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire, might be welcome as observers.

‘We clearly have a mountain to climb, but this is a real sign of the underlying unity of the Anglican Communion’ said the Rev’d Giles Goddard, Chair of InclusiveChurch. ‘I am pleased that the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada will be able to share our experience of the ministry of lesbian and gay Christians’, said the Rev’d Scott Gunn, an American member of InclusiveChurch.

See also second statement.

Anglican Mainstream comment can be found here.

Canada’s Anglican Journal reported the news this way: Lambeth invitations exclude American gay bishop.

Episcopal News Service has First Lambeth Conference invitations sent out and Decision on Lambeth Conference invitations draws reaction.

Episcopal Café has Reactions to Lambeth invites: a round-up.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 May 2007 at 11:40pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Nigeria responds to Minns not being invited

According to Anglican Mainstream:

Witholding invitation to Minns is witholding invitation to all Nigerian Bishops - Akinola

Tuesday May 22nd 2007, 5:42 pm

In response to requests for comments on the Lambeth Conference invitations, Archbishop Peter Akinola reaffirms that the Church of Nigeria is committed to the CAPA commissioned report “The Road to Lambeth”.

Since only the first set of invitations had been sent, it is premature to conclude who will be present or absent at the conference. However, the withholding of invitation to a Nigerian bishop, elected and consecrated by other Nigerian bishops will be viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria.

The Lord bless you as you remain in Christ.

The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola
Director Communication
Office: +234 [0]9 523 6950/ 0987/ 0989 Fax: 1527
Mobile: +234 [0]805 800 1382
E-mail: ,
Primate’s Office, 24 Douala Str., Wuse Zone 5, P.O. Box 212 ADCP, Abuja,
F.C.T., Nigeria.

CANA has issued this Statement by Bishop Minns on Lambeth Conference:

(Fairfax, Virginia) — A statement was issued by the Anglican Communion Office on May 22 regarding the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Communion bishops scheduled for July 2008. The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America), has made the following response:

“I have read the statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office regarding next year’s Lambeth Conference. While the immediate attention is focused on the invitation list, it should be remembered that this crisis in the Anglican Communion is not about a few individual bishops but about a worldwide Communion that is torn at its deepest level. This point was made repeatedly at the Primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam. Depending on the response of The Episcopal Church to the Primates’ communiqué by September 30, the situation may become even more complex. One thing is clear, a great deal can and will happen before next July.”

CONTACT: Mr. Jim Robb, CANA Media Officer
mobile: 202.285.4390

The Living Church interprets this as Global South Attendance at Lambeth Conference Doubtful.

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Who has not been invited to Lambeth?

We list below reports on who has not been invited. From these it appears that they include Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and the bishops from CANA (Martyn Minns) and AMiA. Bishop Robinson may be invited as a guest.

Robert Barr (Associated Press) in The Washington Post 2 Bishops Not Invited to Anglican Parley [This article has been published on many other sites but this appears to be the earliest.]
Update that Washington Post page now contains a later AP story by Rachel Zoll Gay Bishop Kept Out of Anglican Meeting. The earlier Robert Barr story can be found here.

Reuters Luke Baker Gay bishop snubbed by Anglican conference
Ruth Gledhill in The Times Gay bishop not invited to Lambeth conference
Natalie Paris and agencies in The Telegraph Gay bishop’s church conference snub
BBC Gay row US Anglicans miss summit

Bishop Robinson has responded to his non-invitation here.

The Living Church has more detail on other exclusions at No Lambeth Invitation for Bishop Robinson by George Conger.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 22 May 2007 at 6:30pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Lambeth Conference invitations

The Archbishop of Canterbury has sent out the ‘first’ invitations to next year’s Lambeth Conference.

The invitations have gone out to over 800 bishops from around the Communion, but the Archbishop notes that he has to:

reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion. Indeed there are currently one or two cases on which I am seeking further advice. I do not say this lightly, but I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognises and honours the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this. Such trust is a great deal harder to sustain if there are some involved who are generally seen as fundamentally compromising the efforts towards a credible and cohesive resolution.

He also writes, in an extraordinary plea to all those invited to actually participate, that:

An invitation to participate in the Conference has not in the past been a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy. Coming to the Lambeth Conference does not commit you to accepting the position of others as necessarily a legitimate expression of Anglican doctrine and discipline, or to any action that would compromise your conscience or the integrity of your local church.

Further invitations will be sent later to ecumenical representatives and other guests, and Mrs Williams will send out invitations to a parallel spouses’ conference.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 22 May 2007 at 12:23pm BST | Comments (55) | TrackBack
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Monday, 21 May 2007

Bishop of Southwark - no further action

Press release from Lambeth Palace:

Monday 21st May 2007

For immediate use

Bishop of Southwark - no further action

The Archbishop of Canterbury has caused the incident involving the Bishop of Southwark, which was reported in the media last December, to be investigated under the Church’s new clergy discipline procedure.
In the light of all the evidence submitted to him Dr Williams has determined, under section 12(1)(a) of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, that no further action should be taken.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 21 May 2007 at 7:03pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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CANA update

Updated Monday evening

Julia Duin in the Washington Times reports Church schism set for Va. court.

The mother of all lawsuits pitting Episcopalian against Anglican kicks off today in the red-brick confines of Fairfax County Circuit Court.
The case has amassed numerous court filings involving 11 churches, two dozen lawyers, 107 individuals, the 90,000-member Diocese of Virginia, the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church and the 18.5 million-member Anglican Province of Nigeria…

Meanwhile, the CANA website has some new material:

  • The “CANA Celebration Sermon” preached on 5 May by Bishop Martyn Minns
  • An Essay: The Church is Flat: A New Anglicanism dated 3 May by Bishop Martyn Minns

The following 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…

Updated Monday evening More useful links to background documents on this can be found in Andrew Gerns post at Episcopal Café titled Virginia Split Goes to Court Today. He also links to this op-ed article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch EPISCOPAL DILEMMA The Church Betrays Its Own by the “vice chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia”.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 21 May 2007 at 8:48am BST | Comments (42) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 19 May 2007

Saturday opinion columns

The Times has a review by Geza Vermes of the book Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI.

And Alan Webster writes there about Life with Lenin in one corner and a holy icon in the other.

Peter Stanford writes in the Guardian about C Day-Lewis in Face to Faith.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about Gregorian chant in Where stone comes to life.

Giles Fraser’s Church Times column is titled Community life isn’t all about pubs.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 19 May 2007 at 10:38am BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
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Friday, 18 May 2007

The Last Confession

Last week’s Church Times carried my review of the new play at the Chichester Festival Theatre under the title Post-mortem on the year of three popes.

It has since been announced that The Last Confession will open in London in June at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 18 May 2007 at 10:15am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 17 May 2007

more on the Wycliffe Hall row

Updated Saturday

The Church Times has this report by Bill Bowder: Principal’s changes lead to resignations and wall of silence. It starts out:

WYCLIFFE HALL, Oxford, is the focus of a dispute involving allegations of a culture of bullying and intimidation, and of an ultra-conservative attitude to women.

The governing Council of the theological college, a permanent private hall of the University, is chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones. This week it said that it had embarked on a review of the college’s governance.

The complaints centre on the management style of the Principal, the Revd Dr Richard Turnbull, and his appointment of the Revd Simon Vibert as Vice-Principal. Mr Vibert had made public his belief that women should not teach men.

He co-wrote, with the Revd Dr Mark Burkill and the Revd Dr David Peterson, a Latimer Trust paper that argued that a woman on her own should not teach men about faith or lead a congregation (Ministry Work Group Statement concerning the ministry of women in the Church today). [PDF file]

Since Dr Turnbull was appointed in 2005, six full-time or part-time academic staff have resigned posts. In a letter of resignation to Dr Turnbull in March, the former director of studies, Dr Philip Johnston, accused him of leadership “without significant regard for your staff colleagues”. Dr Johnston wrote that the new Vice-Principal had been appointed despite a “very strong consensus” of staff and students in favour of a different candidate…

The Church of England Newspaper has, via Anglican Mainstream this report: Wycliffe Council backs Principal in process of change. Part of the report:

A LEADING evangelical theological college this week responded to allegations of bullying and deep divisions among staff due to it becoming more doctrinally conservative.

The Council of Wycliffe Hall, which is part of the University of Oxford, admitted the college was going through a period of change which was ‘unsettling’. The statement follows a document circulated to the press which claims the college in ‘in crisis’ after being ‘taken over’ by a ‘highly conservative evangelical faction who are deliberately trying to drive out longstanding and highly respected staff members by their aggressive, homophobic behaviour’.

The anonymous document claims that since the appointment two years ago of the current Principal, the Rev Dr Richard Turnbull,the culture at the college has ‘become increasingly hostile to women priests and openly homophobic’, and that a ‘culture of bullying and intimidation began to develop’.

It adds that unrest grew at the college when Dr Turnbull signed the controversial ‘Covenant for the Church of England’, a document drawn up by conservative evangelicals proposing alternative Episcopal arrangements for their churches in the row over homosexuality. The document claims that several members of the teaching staff have already resigned as they feel alienated and intimidated by the college management, and calls for the Church of England to intervene.

It concludes: “This college is no longer fit to be recognised either as a training institution for the ordinands of the Church of England or as a permanent private hall of Oxford University. It is not a safe place for women or gays … the Church and university must act to do something.”

A further report is in Cherwell24 Crisis at Wycliffe Hall as five staff resign in protest

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Archbishop Akinola talks to the press

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) website carries this: Press briefing by Archbishop Peter Akinola on Sunday 13th May at the end of the Abuja Diocesan Synod.

In addition to various comments on Nigerian matters, he also gives his views on legislative developments in the USA and on the Hereford tribunal case in the UK:

Many people look to the USA as a Christian country and its leaders often assume the role of moral leaders for the world who are ready to point the finger at problems around the globe and yet we must not forget that there is another side to their story. The present generation of Americans would do well to remember their own history. While they and their forebears claim their nation to be a gift from God it is in truth a land forcefully taken with no respect for the human rights of the despised and dispossessed Indians – it is also a land where a great deal of its early economic foundation was built on the sweat and blood of de-humanized African slaves.

Americans seem to have forgotten the same LORD in whom they say “In God we trust”. Deuteronomy 7 and 8 are relevant biblical passages

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” 8:18a

“Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.” 8: 19

The God who has blessed so abundantly is also a jealous God who requires obedience and holy living. But instead of calling for obedience to the Word of God we now have the situation where those who call for faithfulness in holy matrimony or abstinence outside of it risk being accused of hate speech. The breakdown in marriages in the USA is a scandal. It is causing a massive crisis in their own society and the rest of the world. But instead of admitting the problem and finding creative ways to strengthen traditional families we see a relentless promotion and protection of so called ‘alternative lifestyles.’ Recent legislative bill H.R. 1592 (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007) passed in the House on May 3rd 2007, and the H.R 2015 (Employment Non-Discrimination Act.) being discussed are worthy of note. God will not be mocked.

We see a similar crisis in the UK. The decline in marriages and the breakdown in families has become an epidemic. But instead of encouraging holy living and strengthening family life we read of a bishop of the Church of England called before tribunal to explain his refusal to hire a certain youth worker. His offence was ‘discrimination’, we were told because the job seeker in this case was a self-confessed homosexual and who said he had just ended a five-year homosexual relationship. Surely the Church has an obligation to promote holy living not apologise for it!

  • Where is the Christian voice in all these?
  • Why are Church leaders not concerned about this breakdown in society?
  • Why are they ashamed of promoting holy living?
  • Why have they lost their confidence in the Word of God?

We are very much aware of the challenges that face us today in Nigeria. Many of these we addressed in our Synod and continue to do so day by day. Our hope is in the Lord – the maker of heaven and earth - and in His Holy Word.

We call on Christians worldwide to rise to the challenge of protecting our Christian: -

  • Freedom to read the Bible privately and in public
  • Freedom to preach from the Bible, and declare uncompromisingly the total oracles of the Lord
  • Freedom to shield ourselves, and our children, from what we believe our God says is immoral and abominable.
  • Freedom to seek to help those willing to escape Satan’s deceitful traps.
  • Freedom to live holy and acceptable lives in the sight of God

The issue here is not about homophobia. We are concerned about defending the right to existence of Biblical Christianity. It is about allowing the Spirit of God to transform people rather than deceive them that there is nothing wrong in their unholy practices. It is about rejecting a world system that wants to curtail our freedom to live as our Saviour taught us to. It is simply trying our best to live and encourage others to live to be HOLY as our GOD IS HOLY.

May the Lord keep us Holy.

hat tip Jim Naughton who comments here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 6:17pm BST | Comments (57) | TrackBack
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interview with Rowan Williams

Stop doing that which is pulling us apart - Archbishop of Canterbury appeals in interview is the headline at Global South Anglican. This is the transcript of an interview with Lucilla Teoh for the Diocese of Singapore’s Diocesan Digest. Here is an extract:

Q – So how do you see then things developing pre-Lambeth 2008 and post-Lambeth? If you can make a wish, what will that be?

A – I’m hoping and praying that we shall have no more actions that polarize the Communion between now and Lambeth 2008. This is the point I have already brought to the Canadian House of Bishops which we are trying to get across to the American House of Bishops. But also trying to say to some other provinces: Don’t step up the level of intervention in this crisis because all of that is just pulling us further and further apart. So I hope we can have a bit of moratorium on this, and in a way, a reflection on what kind of a church we want to be. Now, some parts of the Communion would be happy if we could be just a federation of loosely connected local bodies. I’m not happy with that. We could be more than that. We should be more than that. We should be living out of each other’s life and resources and vision and be more closely connected. Because I think that is what the New Testament assumes the local church should do and not live in isolation. They lived with each other, from each other’s life. So, that’s my vision.

I see the next Lambeth Conference ideally as the place where Bishops can really be re-equipped for their central task of enabling mission and in every sense educating the people of God and equipping them for their outreach. That’s how I can see it.

Q – This actually gets you to my next question. Do you think therefore a sort of centrally driven or some sort of concerted organized effort through the Primates or Province representatives?

A – I think at the moment we are in a very confused state with the structure of the Anglican Communion. People turn to the Primates because there doesn’t seem to be anything else that works, a forum for people’s interest, that meets regularly, that can assemble at short notice, which can work together. At the same time, I don’t think the Primates’ Meeting ought to be isolated from other bodies. And I have some hope for the integration of the Primates in the Anglican Consultative Council. Perhaps that will give us a better tool. I think we do need in our shared counsel the voices of priests and lay people as well as Primates and bishops. And the challenge is how to find a structure that will help us cohere in that way. We have some good examples. In fact the meeting of the Theological Education group that has been going on in Singapore this weekend brings together bishops, priests, lay people for a common task around the Communion which is not driven I think by a London-based or a New York-based agenda. It’s owned by everybody. It’s quite a good model. I think we need that sense of the whole Communion setting the agenda and getting away from the suspicion, right or wrong, that the agenda’s been fixed from somewhere else.

Q – So I suppose that’s basically how you see it right now in terms of encouraging the provinces to take more initiative?

A – Oh yes. I think, as I said, with the integration with ACC is in principle a good idea. We just need to make it work properly. I think in the next two years, let’s say, up to the Lambeth Conference, there needs to be quite a lot of thinking of how we make our common structure work better for us, to concentrate our energy where they need to be concentrated and to give us a way of dealing with crisis that isn’t just reactive…

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Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Fort Worth reaffirms pursuit of APO

Updated Thursday

The Diocese of Fort Worth has issued this announcement as a PDF:

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Executive Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has adopted a statement of the diocesan Standing Committee calling for the diocese to move forward with its appeal for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO).

The Bishop and Standing Committee of the diocese first appealed for APO at the General Convention in June 2006. That appeal was endorsed by the diocesan Executive Council in September 2006 and by the Diocesan Convention in November 2006. The Bishop and diocese remain firmly convinced of the need for alternative oversight; therefore, the Standing Committee, meeting Monday, May 14, adopted the following statement as an assessment of the current situation and a proposal to actively pursue all viable options. It was adopted by the Executive Council in its regular bimonthly meeting. The mood of the council was both thoughtful and sad, yet it was considered prudent to “explore the possibilities and count the costs.” According to the Constitution of the diocese, the Executive Council “exercises the powers of the Convention between meetings thereof.”

The full text of the statement mentioned above is copied here below the fold.

There are two stories in The Times about this:
Anglican diocese defects over gays and the earlier Anglican diocese defects over gays (scroll down).
The Living Church reported it as Ft. Worth: Options Include Oversight Outside Episcopal Church.
See also what Episcopal Café and Preludium have to say about this.

Update Thursday
Episcopal News Service has a report FORT WORTH: Diocese renews its oversight request, proposes new structures.

Where are we with the appeal for Alternative Primatial Oversight?

When the Diocese of Fort Worth first appealed for APO at the General Convention in June 2006, it was hoped that a special pastoral relationship could be established with an orthodox primate, in the interest of preserving unity and fostering mission, in the face of an impaired relationship with the newly elected Presiding Bishop. The original appeal was made in good faith and was directed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates of the Communion and the Panel of Reference. (Subsequently, it was decided not to approach the Panel of Reference about this in light of other pressing cases already before it.)

As seven other dioceses made similar appeals during the course of the summer, it was agreed to combine them into one appeal, asking the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a commissary who would act on his behalf, providing a special primatial relationship with the appellant dioceses. He arranged a summit in New York in September with interested parties to discuss the matter in an attempt to come up with “an American solution to an American problem.” This meeting failed to reach an agreement, with the B-elect claiming that she has no primatial oversight of TEC dioceses and cannot therefore give to another what she does not have. Subsequently, representatives from the appellant dioceses met in November with the steering committee of the Global South Primates to present their requests for APO. This meeting ended with the assurance that they would respond with a plan to address the expressed needs of the appellant dioceses.

On November 18, 2006, the Fort Worth Diocesan Convention voted overwhelmingly in support of the APO request that the Bishop and Standing Committee had made in June. A second New York meeting was held later that month, but none of the appellant bishops attended because no proposal had been made for discussion. This meeting ended with the Presiding Bishop offering a plan for a Primatial Vicar, to be appointed by her and be accountable to her. The appellant bishops rejected the proposal as unacceptable.

The APO requests were presented to the Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam in February 2007. At the conclusion of the meeting, a Communiqué was issued that proposed the establishment of a Pastoral Council, which would oversee the ministry of a Primatial Vicar, to be selected by the Windsor Bishops coalition and be accountable to the Council. This plan was rejected by the House of Bishops at their March meeting at Camp Allen even though their approval was not sought. Nothing further has been heard about this from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Every attempt to find “an American solution to an American problem” has failed. Following the two meetings in New York and the House of Bishops’ rejection of the Primates’ proposed Pastoral Council at their March meeting, it now seems clear that there is no desire on the part of the present TEC leadership to provide an acceptable form of Alternative Primatial Oversight within The Episcopal Church.

The Presiding Bishop of this church has refused to accept the key recommendations of the Windsor Report, has failed to seek implementation of the essential requests of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué, and has denied basic tenets of the teaching of the New Testament. By her statements and actions, the course she wishes to pursue is clear: to lead TEC to walk apart from the Anglican Communion. This is a course we cannot follow. For all these reasons and others, we do not wish to be affiliated with her, nor with anyone she may appoint or designate to act on her behalf.

So where does this leave the Diocese of Fort Worth’s appeal for APO?

While we remain open to the possibility of negotiation and some form of acceptable settlement with TEC, it appears that our only option is to seek APO elsewhere. This may entail a cooperative effort with other appellant dioceses in consultation with Primates of the Anglican Communion, to form a new Anglican Province of the Communion in North America. A second possibility would be for the diocese to transfer to another existing Province of the Anglican Communion. Athird possibility would be to seek the status of an extra-provincial diocese, under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as presently recognized in several other cases.

We believe that we must now explore these possibilities.

The Bishop and the Standing Committee of The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
May 14, 2007

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 16 May 2007 at 11:52pm BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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"Unholy Row" in Oxford

There’s a story by Stephen Bates in today’s Guardian about trouble at Wycliffe Hall, a Church of England theological college in Oxford: Unholy row at Oxford’s college for clergy amid staff exodus and claims of bullying.

It starts:

One of England’s most respected theological colleges is facing claims that staff feel bullied and intimidated as the institution becomes increasingly conservative.

The discontent at Wycliffe Hall, an evangelical Anglican college which is part of Oxford University, has seen several resignations among its small academic staff and claims that one of its most prominent members, the regular Thought for the Day contributor Elaine Storkey, was threatened with disciplinary action.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 16 May 2007 at 10:00am BST | Comments (68) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 13 May 2007

Will Brown hand back powers to the Church?

Religious Intelligence carries this report by Christopher Morgan:

Will Brown hand back powers to the Church?

…The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told senior colleagues that he intends to give the church control over its own senior appointments. At the moment the Prime Minister plays a major role in the appointment of diocesan bishops and has the sole right to nominate deans of most English cathedrals. Mr Brown himself hinted at lifting control of the ecclesiastical appointments in a speech to the Fabian Society last year. Until 1976 the church had no formal role in the appointment of bishops at all, although it was consulted as a matter of courtesy. Thirty years ago, however, James Callaghan then Prime Minister established the Crown Appointments Commission, now renamed the Crown Nominations Commission, which draws up a shortlist of two names which it may offer in order of preference. The Prime Minister chooses either of the names or seeks other names from the Commission. Tony Blair used this veto at least once in 1997 to turn down both candidates proposed for the diocese of Liverpool.

The Prime Minister’s appointment secretary plays an active role in the whole process and is a non-voting member of the Commission.

Sources close to Mr Brown, who is a member of the Church of Scotland, indicated that he will introduce the change by producing a memorandum of agreement with the Church’s General Synod. One source said: “Brown does not need to introduce any legislation or take up any parliamentary time in this matter. He is simply altering convention.”

The present Crown Nominations Commission would remain but present only one name to Downing Street which the Prime Minister would then pass on to the Queen for her final appointment. In the case of cathedral deans it is said that Mr Brown will invite the bishop of the diocese to consult with his senior colleagues to produce one name which again he will then pass on to the Queen. However the Chancellor’s advisors are not so clear about these intentions. It is expected however that he would leave untouched the appointment of deans of Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in which the Queen still plays an active role. As “royal peculiars” the monarch remains the ultimate authority rather than a bishop…

Read it in full here.

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Saturday, 12 May 2007

views of the Anglican Communion

Episcopal Café has a major article by Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane:

The Primate of the Anglican Church of South Africa delivered a long and thorough address at St. Saviours Church this past Tuesday.

In his address, the Archbishop shares his concerns about the present state of the Anglican Communion, how the Church of South Africa came to be a part of the Communion and talks about the present roles of the “Instruments of Unity” as described by the Windsor Report. He speaks about what future course the Anglican Communion might take, both in terms of the roles of the Instruments of Unity and in terms of the relationships of the various provinces to each other.

Read the full address here.

Three other articles:

In response to the most recent ACI, Inc. article by Ephraim Radner, Vocation Deferred: The Necessary Challenge of Communion, Tobias Haller has written Rearranging the Chairs.

Christopher Seitz has written another article for the Anglican Communion Institute, Inc. this one titled Possibilities for an Anglican Future?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 May 2007 at 10:49am BST | Comments (64) | TrackBack
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under cover of darkness

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times this week about a church planting in West London: Beating the bounds into the bishop. He writes:

…the Vicar of All Saints’, Fulham, the Revd Joe Hawes, was hopping mad at the leaflet popped through his parishioners’ doors last week. Bearing the C of E logo, it proclaimed “a new church for Fulham”. The back of the glossy flyer had a map showing half of his parish.

It was the first he had heard of this new church. He phoned the Area Dean, who also hadn’t heard that any service was starting. He phoned the Central Fulham Churches forum. It was completely in the dark, too. We are always being told that church-planting requires extensive consultation. This one was parachuted in under the cover of darkness.

As usual, the story is complicated. It seems that Fr Hawes’s neighbouring parish — St Etheldreda’s, a small Anglo-Catholic outfit — has made room for a church plant from the Co-Mission Initiative. This is a nominally Anglican organisation that has proved itself indifferent to parish and diocesan boundaries.

It is the same team that secretly flew over a bishop from the Church of England in South Africa to perform its own ordinations, because it refused to submit its candidates to the diocesan selection procedures (News, 11 November 2005). The imported bishop wasn’t even in communion with the C of E. It’s the same lot that goes in for lay presidency. And will they pay a parish share? It looks unlikely.

“I believe this initiative seriously undermines the Church of England’s ministry in this area,” said Fr Hawes. He is right to be concerned. Despite the fact that he runs a growing church, with more than 600 on the electoral roll, the Co-Mission Initiative wouldn’t regard him as a proper Christian. He is a liberal Catholic, and therefore fair game for poaching…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 May 2007 at 10:27am BST | Comments (56) | TrackBack
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Saturday media columns

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times that Ascension raises more than a cordial for drooping spirits.

Christopher Howse writes from Spain in the Daily Telegraph about A ploughman who was Chaucer’s ideal.

Christina Rees writes in the Guardian about Li Tim-Oi in Face to faith. See also this site.

Two earlier columns from Ekklesia:
Simon Barrow asked last week Is religion the new parliamentary belief divide?
Even earlier Jonathan Bartley asked Is ‘Christian nation’ rhetoric aiding the far right?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 May 2007 at 10:12am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Friday, 11 May 2007

Zimbabwe update

The previous TA report on Zimbabwe is here.

Last week’s Church Times contained an article by Bishop Nick Baines entitled The real situation in Zimbabwe:

…Given this dire situation, which the Mugabe regime blames on everyone except itself, why does the Anglican Church appear to be silent? In contrast with the recent Pastoral Letter from the Roman Catholic bishops, which called for an end to bad governance and corrupt leadership, the statement issued after the (Anglican) Episcopal Synod of the Province of Central Africa, held in Harare on 12 April, appears typically bland and timid. That is how it has been caricatured in the world’s media. I think, however, that to say this would be to miss the point…

Read it all.

This week, there is a letter in response to the article (link available next week) which severely criticises this piece. The letter refers to the way the statement was interpreted in the government-controlled Herald in this article dated 20 April Anglican Bishops Rap Sanctions starting thus:

THE Anglican Church Province of Central Africa has added its voice to the growing condemnation of the illegal Western sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and called for their scrapping, urging Britain to honour its obligations to fund land reforms in the country.
In their Pastoral letter issued at the end of their Episcopal Synod in Harare last week, the 14 bishops and one canon, among them the head of the Province of Central Africa, the Most Rev Bernard Amos Malango, acknowledged that the economic situation in Zimbabwe stemmed from illegal sanctions.
“We, the bishops, are concerned and pained at the distressing occurrences that have been taking place in Zimbabwe; the deteriorating economy has rendered the ordinary Zimba-bwean unable to make ends meet.
“This, we note, has been exacerbated by the economic sanctions imposed by the Western countries, these so-called targeted sanctions (presumably) aimed at the leadership of the country have affected the poor Zimbabweans who have borne the brunt of the sanctions . . .
“We, therefore, call upon the Western countries to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, we further call upon the British government to honour its obligation of paying compensation to the white farmers.”
The Anglican Bishop’s pastoral letter exposes the patently political nature of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference that released its own letter ahead of the Easter holidays, accusing President Mugabe and the Government of corrupt governance and human rights abuses…

Another opinion article dated 11 May, from the Zimbabwe Independent and titled Diabolic is the Perfect Description includes this:

…And we have now the shocking scandal of Anglican prelates who are happy to identify themselves with tyranny and brutal repression.
The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, who was reported in the Herald as accusing the British media of “peddling lies” about Zimbabwe during a meeting with Cephas Msipa, has now clarified his position.
At no point did he say the British press had lied about Zimbabwe, he said.
“What I said was that they shouldn’t complain about poor reporting of Zimbabwean affairs if journalists were banned from the country and had to rely on second-hand information,” he told a British-based weekly paper.
A man calling himself a journalist from the Herald approached him, he said, and claimed to have evidence that Church of England groups supported the MDC.
“Of course I denied the assertion and asked him why on earth anyone would wish to recolonise Zimbabwe.”
All rather different from the Herald version isn’t it!
Meanwhile, Anglican bishops have complained that their church’s episcopal letter, condemning sanctions and framed in language which mirrors that of the ruling party, was penned by the Bishops of Harare and Manicaland (Nolbert Kunonga and Elson Jakazi) and two others in Central Africa.
The Bishop of Masvingo, the Rt Revd Godfrey Tawonezvi, says he didn’t even get to see it.
“I did not sign the statement and I know that most bishops did not sign since the statement was written after the bishops had left Zimbabwe,” he said…

Episcopal News Service and others carry the report by Trevor Grundy that Rowan Williams speaks on failed bid to help starving Zimbabweans:

…At a May 1 meeting held at the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London, Williams was asked why Anglican church funds were not used to fill trucks with food and send them across Beit Bridge from South Africa to Bulawayo in southern Zimbabwe where people are starving.
Williams surprised those attending the meeting by saying that four years ago he held discussions with Southern Africa Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town about the best approach to help Zimbabwe.
A year ago, Williams again held talks with central and southern African Anglicans — a meeting that did not include Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of Harare, a staunch ally of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Again, he asked what sort of intervention from outside could be useful.
“The message I had from them was any intervention under the name of the Archbishop of Canterbury would instantly be branded in Zimbabwe as the British government by another name,” Williams said.
Williams met with Kunonga in March “to ask him whether he would contemplate not only rediscovering his soul, so to speak, in relation to the Mugabe government, but whether he would contemplate an arrangement which we would willingly broker with the World Food Programme administered through the Anglican church in Zimbabwe. The answer was ‘No’!”…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 May 2007 at 10:22pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Akinola's US visit: yet more reports

Updated Friday

The BBC radio programme Sunday had this:

Breakaway Anglican church in Virginia
A British man, Martyn Minns, was installed as bishop of the breakaway Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which is a mission of the Church of Nigeria. The Nigerian Archbishop, Peter Akinola, led the service in Virginia, having ignored pleas not to go from both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, as well as the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori. Critics see it as an unwelcome form of Anglican colonialism. Julia Duin of the Washington Times reports.
Listen (3m 39s)

Michael Conlon at Reuters wrote Anglican church turmoil over gay issues deepens in which Bishop Mark Sisk is interviewed.

Andrew Brown wrote on Comment is Free about The end of communion. His article concludes like this:

…What Dr Akinola did was an act of unequivocal ecclesiastical aggression: it has been a recognised principle among Christians since the fourth century that there is only ever one bishop governing every diocese. So where you have two bishops claiming jurisdiction over the same territory, you have two churches. Dr Akinola’s actions show beyond any shadow of doubt that he does not consider himself to be part of the same church as the liberals. He is, in fact, in schism with them.

The rest of the churches which once constituted the Anglican communion will now have to choose whether they want to belong to any international body at all, and if so, who will head it. Here it seems that Dr Williams may have played a subtle game, because Dr Akinola’s ambition has repelled a great many of his potential supporters. The American, liberal line on homosexuality is not popular around the world; at one stage it seemed that 22 or more of the 38 Anglican primates would demand the Americans be expelled. But the more it became obvious that they would have to choose between being globally led by Dr Akinola or followed round the world by Dr Williams, the more popular the prospect of Dr William’s non-leadership became.

The number of primates supporting Akinola has steadily diminished from 22 to about eight. Even among the American conservatives, it is only a minority who are prepared to join up with him and his new enterprise. Installing Bishop Minns may prove to be the moment when he decisively over-reaches himself. Even if it does not, it is decisive for Dr Williams, too. Nothing that he now does or says can be justified on the basis that it preserves the unity of the Anglican communion. That unity has now been shattered. There is no communion, and no good reason for anyone to pretend otherwise.

Update Friday
The Church Times report by Rachel Harden is titled Akinola installs US bishop, despite appeals.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 10:22pm BST | Comments (65) | TrackBack
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Panel of Reference reports

ACO reports:

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference met in the offices of the Anglican Communion Secretariat during the week beginning 30 April 2007. In its meeting, it reviewed its work so far and discussed how best to follow up the work that had already been undertaken. It has currently completed outstanding work on all the references made to it by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Panel also reviewed the Report which the Chairman, the Most Revd Dr Peter Carnley AO, had made to the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam in February, and authorised him to release an updated version. The Panel also set dates for future meetings in late 2007 and in 2008.

The Review of the Work of The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference can be found here as a tiny PDF.

Earlier reports on Florida, Fort Worth and New Westminster, together with other material about the POR can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 7:26am BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Monday, 7 May 2007

Akinola replies to Williams

Archbishop Peter Akinola has replied to Rowan Williams’ letter to him concerning his US visit.

The full letter is contained in a press release on the Nigerian provincial website. (The full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter has not been released so far.)

The reply letter is reproduced here below the fold.

Episcopal News Service reports on the weekend at Nigerian Primate proceeds with CANA installation.

Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace, London

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

My dear Rowan,

Grace and Peace to you from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus the Christ.

I have received your note expressing your reservations regarding my plans to install Bishop Martyn Minns as the first Missionary Bishop of CANA. Even though your spokesmen have publicized the letter and its general content I did not actually receive it until after the ceremony. I do, however, want to respond to your concerns and clarify the situation with regard to CANA. I am also enclosing a copy of my most recent letter to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori.

We are a deeply divided Communion. As leaders of the Communion we have all spent enormous amounts of time, travelled huge distances - sometimes at great risk, and expended much needed financial resources in endless meetings, communiqués and reports – Lambeth Palace 2003, Dromantine 2005, Nottingham 2006 and Dar es Salaam 2007. We have developed numerous proposals, established various task forces and yet the division has only deepened. The decisions, actions, defiance and continuing intransigence of The Episcopal Church are at the heart of our crisis.

We have all sought ways to respond to the situation. As you well know the Church of Nigeria established CANA as a way for Nigerian congregations and other alienated Anglicans in North America to stay in the Communion. This is not something that brings any advantage to us – neither financial nor political. We have actually found it to be a very costly initiative and yet we believe that we have no other choice if we are to remain faithful to the gospel mandate. As I stated to you, and all of the primates in Dar es Salaam, although CANA is an initiative of the Church of Nigeria – and therefore a bonafide branch of the Communion - we have no desire to cling to it. CANA is for the Communion and we are more than happy to surrender it to the Communion once the conditions that prompted our division have been overturned.

We have sought to respond in a measured way. We delayed the election of our first CANA bishop until after General Convention 2006 to give The Episcopal Church every opportunity to embrace the recommendations of the Windsor report – to no avail. At the last meeting of the Church of Nigeria House of Bishops we deferred a decision regarding the election of additional suffragans for CANA out of respect for the Dar es Salaam process.

Sadly we have seen no such respect from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church. Their most recent statement was both insulting and condescending and makes very clear that they have no intention of listening to the voice of the rest of the Communion. They are determined to pursue their own unbiblical agenda and exacerbate our current divisions.

In the middle of all of this the Lord’s name has been dishonoured. If we fail to act, many will be lost to the church and thousands of souls will be imperilled. This we cannot and will not allow to happen. It is imperative that we continue to protect those at most risk while we seek a way forward that will offer hope for the future of our beleaguered Communion. It is to this vision that we in the Church of Nigeria and CANA remain committed.

Be assured of my prayers.

The Most Revd. Peter J Akinola, CON, DD
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 7 May 2007 at 10:44pm BST | Comments (138) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 6 May 2007

Akinola's US visit: Sunday

Neela Banerjee New York Times U.S. Bishop, Making It Official, Throws in Lot With African Churchman

…The hope among leaders of the new diocese, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, is that it will eventually be recognized by the communion as its rightful representative in the United States, replacing an Episcopal Church they say has strayed from traditional Anglican teachings.

“I see it as a building block for that,” Bishops Minns said in a news conference preceding his installation ceremony. He said the convocation would work with other groups of disaffected congregations to create a successor to the Episcopal Church…

Michelle Boorstein Washington Post Conservative N.Va. Priest Installed as Anglican Bishop

…Even some conservatives who theologically agree with Minns still disapprove of the way his group was created — without seeking consensus among U.S. conservatives or other Anglican leaders.
“This isn’t the right way, setting this up and then claiming it. It’s unilateralist. It creates distrust,” said the Rev. Ephraim Radner, a senior fellow at the conservative Anglican Communion Institute in Colorado.
Akinola initially said he created the group to serve Nigerians in the United States who were turned off by the U.S. church, but the group quickly shifted last year toward serving all conservatives and possibly being in position to became another branch of the communion — if communion leaders approve such a dramatic change.
And still, the number of U.S. congregations that have left for other branches is only a few dozen, according to the Episcopal Church. There are more than 7,400 Episcopal congregations.
Today, Minns said, one-third of his 34 congregations are ethnically Nigerian. One-third are in Virginia, the rest elsewhere in the United States.
Radner said he sees other conservative groups declining and hears “well-founded rumors” that several U.S. bishops are looking hard at joining Minns.
Among those present for yesterday’s ceremony was Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, who leads a group of U.S. parishes that remain in the Episcopal Church but are critical of it…

Associated Press Nigerian Anglican Installs U.S. Bishop

Julia Duin Washington Times Fairfax rector designated head of Anglican offshoot

…The congregation then gave a standing ovation to Archbishop Akinola for establishing CANA as the American offshoot of his 18.5 million-member Anglican Church of Nigeria, the largest province within the 77 million-member Anglican Communion.
No mention was made during the service of a private letter Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sent to the Nigerian archbishop asking him not to preside at a ceremony that elicited heated protests last week from the U.S. Episcopal Church. By the time the letter was sent, Archbishop Akinola already had arrived in the United States.
Clad in brilliant white, red and gold vestments, the archbishop has built an international reputation for his outspokenness and opposition to homosexuality. He kept a low profile all weekend, first failing to show at a scheduled appearance Friday at Church of the Apostles, another CANA congregation in Fairfax.
He also did not appear at a press conference yesterday and did not preach, celebrate Communion or deliver the kind of informal remarks typically given by visiting prelates during an installation…

Nick Mackenzie Religious Intelligence Archbishop rejects call to stay away

Lillian Kafka Richmond Times-Dispatch Bishop installed to lead breakaway Episcopalians

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Saturday, 5 May 2007

bank holiday weekend reading

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times about the new exhibition at the British Library in The peoples of the Book need to find a new ‘convivencia’.

Christopher Howse writes about a new book Heresies and How to Avoid Them in the Daily Telegraph: Heresy and the good press that now goes with it.

In the Guardian Bishop Paul Richardson writes about links between religion and good health, in Face to Faith.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Paul v. Jesus — a bid to take over?

Also in the Church Times this week Peter Doll writes about the history of the Episcopal Church in the USA, When a founding myth becomes a weapon.

In the Tablet Peter Kavanagh interviews the Canadian philosopher and Templeton Prize winner Charles Taylor in Called to question.

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Akinola's US visit: Saturday

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post report the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to ask Archbishop Akinola not to go to Virginia:

Michelle Boorstein Archbishop Angry About Minister Becoming Bishop

Neela Bannerjee Anglican Church Intercedes as an Episcopal Rift Widens

According to Anglican Mainstream here both David Banting and Gerry O’Brien are attending this event, and further, both the bishops of Rochester and Southwell & Nottingham have sent messages of greeting.

Jim Naughton has written some commentary about who are the intended audiences for Archbishop Peter Akinola’s visit to Virginia today at Daily Episcopalian: Who’s watching?

Dave Walker has a picture of The Contents of Archbishop Peter Akinola’s Waste Paper Basket.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 11:19am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Friday, 4 May 2007

Akinola's US visit: further reports

Anglican Mainstream has reproduced a report in the Church of England Newspaper which says, among other things:

The CEN Daily Edition for May 3 reports that around 30 members of the Church of England General Synod have signed a message of support for the new head of a breakaway Anglican denomination who is due to be installed this weekend.The Synod group, which is made up of members from over 20 different dioceses, include lay member GerryO’Brien from the Diocese of Rochester, who will be attending the service of installation in Virginia for the Rev Martyn Minns on Saturday…

…Lambeth Palace today confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the African Primate asking him to cancel his trip to Virginia to carry out the service. A spokesman for Dr Rowan Williams confirmed a letter had been sent to the Archbishop of Nigeria… But Mr O’Brien said he would be giving the greeting to Mr Minns to show solidarity with orthodox Anglicans inNorth America.

He said: “We’re wanting to stand together with orthodox Anglicans who find themselves under intense pressure. We wish it hadn’t come to this but we want them to know that they haven’t been abandoned.”

Episcopal News Service has a report on this also: Archbishop of Canterbury urges Nigerian Primate to cancel plans to install bishop by Matthew Davies:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has written to Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola asking him to cancel his plans to visit the United States and install Bishop Martyn Minns as head of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a conservative missionary effort in the U.S. sponsored by the Anglican Church of Nigeria…

…Anglican Communion communications director Canon James M. Rosenthal confirmed that Williams’ letter had been sent to Akinola. “Many people have noted that such an action would exacerbate a situation that is already tense,” Rosenthal said, “especially as we look forward to the September 30 deadline outlined by the Primates at their meeting in Tanzania and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s planned visit to the House of Bishops…”

Episcopal Café reports on a press conference held on Thursday by Bishop Martyn Minns.

And there is an official press release from the Anglican Communion Network: Bishop Duncan to Attend Minns’ Installation.

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Thursday, 3 May 2007

Akinola's US visit: more reports

Updated again Friday morning

Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia issued this letter yesterday:

…In the run up to this weekend you no doubt will read news accounts of the impending visit of the Archbishop of Nigeria the Most Rev. Peter Akinola to preside at a service of installation of the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns. This weekend’s ceremony will provide false comfort to those who seek certainty in an uncertain world. But in truth, it will serve only to inflame the differences we have been struggling with. When there is so much that brings us together as brothers and sisters in Christ, in a Church that has always celebrated and respected a wide variety of opinions, it is painful to see our shared ministry and faith overshadowed by our differences…

…The disagreements within The Episcopal Church are ours to resolve. As reaffirmed at the recent House of Bishops meeting, the Episcopal Church is a self-governing, autonomous and undivided church that cannot accept intervention in the governance of our Church by foreign prelates.

The Church of Nigeria, like The Episcopal Church, is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion with clearly defined boundaries. Bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion hold that provincial boundaries are not crossed by bishops without expressed invitation. Bishop Akinola’s effort to establish the Church of Nigeria within the boundaries of The Episcopal Church through something called the Convocation of Anglicans of North America (CANA) has occurred without any invitation or authorization whatsoever and violates centuries of established Anglican heritage. As the Archbishop of Canterbury has made clear, CANA is not a branch of the Anglican Communion and does not have his encouragement. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori also has expressed her concerns over the visit by Bishop Akinola without invitation, a violation of a centuries old practice and decorum…

Julia Duin of the Washington Times has two reports:
Episcopal bishop hits Anglican installation and Minns’ installation splits Episcopalians.

The Falls Church News Press has Nigerian Bishop Akinola Steps Into Virginia for Installation (scroll down, and there is a second item below that) and also commentary: Anything But Straight: Nigeria’s Frequent Flyer.

Rachel Zoll of Associated Press has Nigerian Anglican Helps U.S. Group.
Reuters Michael Conlon Episcopal Church faces divisions over gay issues.
Episcopal News Service Nigerian Primate responds to letter from Presiding Bishop.
Los Angeles Times Rebecca Trounson Anglican Church leaders engage in a war of words.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 2:06pm BST | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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CANA latest: PB writes to Akinola

Updated Thursday
Archbishop Akinola has responded to this letter. Scroll down for more detail.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to Nigerian Primate Peter J. Akinola asking him to reconsider plans to install Martyn Minns as a bishop in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), an action she says “would violate the ancient customs of the church” and would “not help the efforts of reconciliation.”

Read the Episcopal News Service article, Presiding Bishop urges Nigerian Primate to reconsider plans to install bishop.

The full text of her letter:

My dear Archbishop Akinola:

I am writing this letter with my prayers for you and for the entire worldwide Anglican Communion from a fellow child of Christ.

I understand from press reports you are planning to come to the United States to install Martyn Minns as a bishop in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. I strongly urge you not to do so.

First, such action would violate the ancient customs of the church which limits the episcopal activity of a bishop to only the jurisdiction to which the bishop has been entrusted, unless canonical permission has been given. Second, such action would not help the efforts of reconciliation that are taking place in the Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion as a whole. Third, such action would display to the world division and disunity that are not part of the mind of Christ, which we must strive to display to all.

I would carefully ask that you reconsider your plans to come to this country for this purpose. This request stems from the hope and vision of reconciliation which was the mind of the primates as we met in Tanzania.

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Thursday Update
Archbishop Akinola has replied, and the original can be found on the Nigerian provincial website:

My dear Presiding Bishop:

My attention has been drawn to your letter of April 30th ostensibly written to me but published on the Episcopal News Service website.

In light of the concerns that you raise it might be helpful to be reminded of the actions and decisions that have led to our current predicament.

At the emergency meeting of the Primates in October 2003 it was made clear that the proposed actions of the Episcopal Church would “tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division on this and further issues …” Sadly, this proved to be true as many provinces did proceed to declare broken or impaired communion with the Episcopal Church. Since that time the Primates have established task forces, held numerous meetings and issued a variety of statements and communiqués but the brokenness remains, our Provinces are divided, and so the usual protocol and permissions are no longer applicable.

You will also recall from our meeting in Dar es Salaam that there was specific discussion about CANA and recognition – expressed in the Communiqué itself – of the important role that it plays in the context of the present division within your Province. CANA was established as a Convocation of the Church of Nigeria, and therefore a constituent part of the Communion, to provide a safe place for those who wish to remain faithful Anglicans but can no longer do so within The Episcopal Church as it is currently being led. The response for your own House of Bishops to the carefully written and unanimously approved Pastoral Scheme in the Communiqué makes it clear that such pastoral protection is even more necessary.

It is my heartfelt desire – and indeed the expressed hope of all the Primates of the Communion – that The Episcopal Church will reconsider its actions – and make such special measures no longer necessary. This is the only way forward for full restoration into fellowship with the rest of the Communion. Further, I renew the pledge that I made to your predecessor, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, that the Church of Nigeria will be the first to restore communion on the day that your Province abandons its current unbiblical agenda. Until then we have no other choice than to offer our assistance and oversight to our people and all those who will not compromise the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

You speak in your letter of centuries old custom regarding diocesan boundaries. You are, of course, aware that the particular historical situation to which you make reference was intended to protect the church from false teaching not to prevent those who hold to the traditional teaching of the church from receiving faithful episcopal care. It was also a time when the Church had yet to face into the challenge of different denominational expressions of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I also find it curious that you are appealing to the ancient customs of the church when it is your own Province’s deliberate rejection of the biblical and historic teaching of the Church that has prompted our current crisis.

You mention the call to reconciliation. As you well know this is a call that I wholeheartedly embrace and indeed was a major theme of our time in Tanzania. You will also remember that one of the key elements of our discussion and the resulting Communiqué was the importance of resolving our current differences without resorting to civil law suits. You agreed to this. Yet it is my understanding that you are still continuing your own punitive legal actions against a number of CANA clergy and congregations. I fail to see how this is consistent with your own claim to be working towards reconciliation.

Once again please know that I look forward to the day when this current crisis is behind us and we can all be reunited around our One Lord and only Saviour Jesus the Christ. Until then be assured of my prayers for you and The Episcopal Church.

In Christ,


The Most Revd. Peter J Akinola, CON, DD
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 12:35pm BST | Comments (93) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Government guidance on new regulations

The UK Department of Communities and Local Government has published guidance documents relating to the two sets of Equality Act regulations that came into force on Monday 30 April.

Guidance on New Measures to Outlaw Discrimination on Grounds of Religion or Belief

This document gives guidance on Part 2 of the Equality Act 2006, which comes into effect on 30 April 2007. Part 2 prohibits discrimination against a person because of their religion or belief (including lack of religion or belief) when providing goods, facilities, services, public functions, or education, and in management and disposal of premises. The guidance sets out the effect of the law and the exceptions provided. The most significant exceptions allow charities and other organisations whose purpose is related to religion or belief to serve particular communities. There are also exceptions in public functions, including education.

The booklet can be downloaded as a PDF file here.

Guidance on new measures to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation- Part 3 of the Equality Act

This document provides guidance on the practical effects of Part 3 of the Equality Act 2006, which comes into force on 30th April, 2007. Part 3 outlaws discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities, services, education, the disposal and management of premises and in the exercise of public functions. The guidance sets out the effect of the law and the exemptions provided.

The booklet can be downloaded as a PDF file here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 10:45pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Canada: HoB statement on same-sex blessings

The Canadian House of Bishops has issued a Statement from the House of Bishops to the Members of General Synod.

See press release: Bishops’ pastoral statement to go to General Synod. The full text of the statement is reproduced here, below the fold.

See also this Anglican Journal report Bishops prepare for synod aftermath. And this report Groups issue cautions on same-sex resolutions.

More on the resolutions themselves can be found in CoGS resolutions on the St. Michael Report and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The St Michael Report itself is here.

Statement from the House of Bishops to the Members of General Synod

Pursuant to section 25 a) of the Constitution of the General Synod the Primate gives notice that the House of Bishops desires to submit to the Anglican Church of Canada General Synod 2007 the following statement which is concurred in by the House of Bishops:

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, meeting from April 16-20, 2007, once again discussed the question of the blessing of same-sex unions. Once again a number of diverse opinions were expressed. Again questions were raised about theology, scripture, discipline, and our church’s constitution. However we did find a common strong concern for the pastoral care of all members of our church. While not all bishops can conceive of condoning or blessing same-sex unions, we believe it is not only appropriate but a Gospel imperative to pray with the whole people of God, no matter their circumstance. In so doing we convey the long-standing Gospel teaching that God in Christ loves each person and indeed loves him/her so much that Christ is calling each person to change and grow more fully into God’s image and likeness. To refuse to pray with any person or people is to suggest God is not with them. All of us fall short of the glory of God but all are loved by God in Christ Jesus. We believe that in offering the sacraments we invite God’s transformative action in people’s lives.

  • We certainly hope no child is denied baptism solely on the basis of the sexual orientation, or the marital status, of the parents. It is inconsistent and unacceptable to deny baptism to children as a way of imposing discipline on the sexual behaviour of the parents.
  • We hope no baptized Christian will be denied communion or confirmation because of being in a committed homosexual relationship or because of their marital status.

We are committed, as bishops in Canada, to develop the most generous pastoral response possible within the current teaching of the church. We offer the following examples of possible pastoral responses:

  • When a civilly married gay or lesbian couple seeks our church’s reception of their civil marriage and asks their parish’s recognition, it may be possible, with their bishop’s knowledge and permission, to celebrate a Eucharist with the couple, including appropriate intercessory prayers, but not including a nuptial blessing.
  • When a gay or lesbian married or committed couple seeks to hold a reception or celebration in a church for their life in Christ, again intercessory prayers for their mutual fidelity, the deepening of their discipleship and for their baptismal ministry may be offered, not including the exchange of vows and/or a nuptial blessing.

To the gay and lesbian licensed clergy of our church, we again affirm your ministry as deeply valued and appreciated, and we acknowledge the pain and conflict that many of you live with daily in your ministry in Christ.

To those who experience these pastoral statements and possible pastoral provisions as inadequate or insufficient, we recognize that they are less than the blessing of same-sex unions or marriage. However it is the discernment of the majority of the House of Bishops that as of today the doctrine and discipline of our church does not clearly permit further action, although we acknowledge that General Synod 2007 will vote on several resolutions on the blessing of same-sex unions.

To those who fear that these pastoral provisions have gone too far, we assert that this discipline is entirely consistent with the doctrine of the Church and with our membership in the Anglican Communion, and fits within the pastoral guidelines of the Windsor Report (paragraph 143). We call upon every member of the Anglican Church of Canada to continue in their faithful discipleship and the work of theological and scriptural reflection and dialogue. We are each called to participate in God’s mission in the world and we believe we will do this by the grace of the Risen Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Looking ahead, we ask the Primate and General Synod for a report on:

  1. The theological question whether the blessing of same-sex unions is a faithful, Spirit-led development of Christian doctrine (St. Michael Report)
  2. The implications of the blessing of same-sex unions and /or marriage for our church and the Communion (The Windsor Report)
  3. Scripture’s witness to the integrity of every human person and the question of the sanctity of human relationships.

We ask that this report be available in advance of General Synod 2010.

We commit to taking this ongoing conversation to the Lambeth Conference 2008.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 9:43pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Windsor bishops, ACI latest

Updated Tuesday evening
On the one hand, the Anglican Communion Institute Inc. has a new URL and a new website: It also has a new Treasurer and explains that “The Anglican Communion Institute is pursuing incorporation in the state of Texas”.

The most recent pronouncement from this group is A Visit From the Archbishop (dated 25 April). It is signed by Christopher Seitz, Philip Turner and Ephraim Radner.

Their previous article was Questions We Avoid At Our Peril.

On the other hand, the Living Church reports that seven bishops have issued a statement: Windsor Bishops Write Archbishop Williams, Set Meeting Dates.

See here for earlier articles on how many “Windsor bishops” there might be in total.

Oh, I almost forgot: there was this article about the Anglican Communion Institute that I intended to link to once it became available to the public, and that happened last Friday: This is Andrew Brown’s press column in the Church Times dated 20 April 2007: What it takes to be an institute.
(Note: yes AB knows now (because I told him last week) that SDB is not yet a member of the clergy, so please save your comments on that.)
The Poor Man Institute site is here.

Tuesday evening
Jim Naughton has added his extended commentary on these matters, at 7 + ? =, including this:

…The steering committee’s cause has also been damaged by one of its own members. News of what transpires inside the Primates Meeting filters slowly through the Anglican system, so descriptions of Bishop Bruce MacPherson’s pointed personal attack on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the meeting in Tanzania is just beginning to achieve wide circulation. Observers say that MacPherson, who had been invited to the meeting to speak on behalf of the bishops who had endorsed the Camp Allen principles, characterized Bishop Jefferts Schori as the embodiment of everything that was wrong with the Episcopal Church. The comments, observers said, went well beyond the issues under consideration at the meeting and included a general condemnation of her beliefs and her ministry. MacPherson’s remarks made those of Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, who spoke on behalf of the Anglican Communion Network, seem mild by comparison, observers said.

MacPherson, who is bishop of Western Louisiana, is entitled to his opinion of the Presiding Bishop; his fellow bishops are entitled to their opinion of him. After his performance in Tanzania, he may no longer be able to lead the coalition of moderate and conservative bishops that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the ACI, and Bishops N. T. Wright and Michael Scott-Joynt of the Church of England, were attempting to will into existence before the meeting in Dar es Salaam.

The success of the Primates’ communiqué hinges on the existence of such a coalition. If it doesn’t exist, the fiction that a large minority of Episcopalians is crying out for the Communion to intervene in their Church’s affairs cannot be sustained. And what was once a clever plan to undercut the authority of the Episcopal Church’s elected leadership, empower a counter-establishment, and preserve the notion that the Communion will return to health as soon as Americans give up on the gay issue, unravels.

The supporters of this plan — which include the Archbishop of Canterbury and, it would seem, at least several key members of the Anglican Communion Office — have invested much in it. For reasons best known to themselves, they have been willing to pretend that the theological opposition in the Episcopal Church is much greater than it is. But there is no Plan B, so they are unlikely to abandon their delusions — if they are deluded, and not knowingly distorting the truth — lightly…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 8:55am BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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