Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Network council meeting decisions

Updated Wednesday afternoon

Doug LeBlanc reports further in the Living Church :Revised Network Charter Retains Clause Acceding to TEC Constitution.

Delegates to the annual council meeting of the Anglican Communion Network declined removing the organization from under the authority of the constitution of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church during a plenary session July 31.

The proposal would have deleted language from the group’s organizational charter that the Network “shall operate in good faith within the Constitution of the Episcopal Church.”

Instead, the council adopted a bylaws resolution that says Network affiliates outside The Episcopal Church are not required to submit to the constitution of The Episcopal Church.

The decision followed a plea by the Rt. Rev. James Stanton, Bishop of Dallas, that the council not act prematurely. Bishop Stanton pointed out that the General Conventions of 1964 and 1967 defined The Episcopal Church as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.

Press releases issued include:
Network States Willingness to “Engage in Mediation” with National Church
Bishop Duncan Re-elected Network Moderator
Council Ratifies Common Cause Structural Document
Network Approves Common Cause Theological Statement

One reaction to all this can be found in Ephraim Radner: A Brief Statement of Resignation from the Anglican Communion Network.

George Conger has a picture of all the bishops.

Update
Doug LeBlanc has a further Living Church report, Archbishop Venables Challenges ‘Curia’ Characterization:

During a press conference after the Anglican Communion Network’s two-day council meeting, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone challenged the notion among some Episcopalians that the primates are claiming curial powers for themselves.

Because Anglicans worldwide are led by locally elected bishops, he said, “Common sense and biblical concepts would say that the primates are at that highest level of authority, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, said the primates’ increased authority is in direct response to Resolution III.6 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That resolution said, in part, that the primates’ meeting should “include among its responsibilities positive encouragement to mission, intervention in cases of exceptional emergency which are incapable of internal resolution within provinces, and giving of guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture and in loyalty to our Anglican tradition and formularies.”

“The progressives dismiss everything that Lambeth says,” the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, said…

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Pittsburgh diocese plans for change

As Steve Levin of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports today, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has launched a Web site to provide resources for parishes and individuals “in deciding how to go forward.”

Read the newspaper report here: Episcopal diocese launches Web site to chart options.

The new website is Parish Toolbox and here is the press release about it on the official diocesan website.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Pittsburgh’s speech at the Anglican Communion Network annual council meeting in Ft Worth, Texas is reported by Doug LeBlanc writing in the Living Church this way:

“The American province is lost and something will have to replace it,” said Bishop Duncan, who has served as the Network’s elected moderator for three and a half years…

Bishop Duncan expressed his disappointment that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not supported Network members in ways that he and other Network leaders had hoped.

“Never, ever has he spoken publicly in defense of the orthodox in the United States,” Bishop Duncan said of the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, adding that “the cost is his office.

“To lose that historic office is a cost of such magnitude that God must be doing a new thing,” he said.

A reporter for The Living Church asked Bishop Duncan to expand on his remarks about the cost of the archbishop’s office. “I was actually expanding on a remark that the Archbishop of Sydney made during a breakfast I had with him two weeks ago,” Bishop Duncan said, explaining that both the See of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference have been lost as instruments of communion.

“The fact is that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not led in a way that might have saved his office and might have saved Lambeth,” Bishop Duncan said.

He cited the willingness of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt to go further than the law allowed during times of national crisis.

“In this crisis, we’ve had no leader to lead,” he said. Asked if he thought that being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury was essential to being Anglican, Bishop Duncan said that being obedient to scripture is of greater importance than being recognized by Canterbury.

For the full text of what Bishop Duncan said, see here.

See also an earlier Living Church report by Steve Waring: Bishop Duncan: Fall HOB Meeting is Windsor Bishops’ ‘Last Stand’

And also, see an earlier report, with a lot more background information, by Fr Jake Pittsburgh Continues Plans to Split.

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Monday, 30 July 2007

Akinola interviewed

The Guardian newspaper in Lagos, Nigeria has published this interview with Archbishop Peter Akinola: Homosexual Priests: Nigerian Anglicans Will Not Succumb To Pressure From The West, Says Akinola .

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Saturday, 28 July 2007

Scotsman interviews VGR

Andrew Collier has interviewed the Bishop of New Hampshire for the Scotsman. Read Millions believe this man is the Antichrist.

This is also reported in The Times by Ruth Gledhill as Without gay priests Church would be lost claims Bishop Gene and she includes the full interview transcript on her blog as CofE ‘would shut down’ without its gay clergy, says +Gene.

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Saturday columns for thought

Toby Green writes about the Inquisition in Face to Faith in the Guardian.

Roderick Strange writes in The Times that True prayer begins when we find the kingdom within.

Christopher Howse in his regular Daily Telegraph column writes about A meeting with three unknown persons.

In the Tablet Alain Woodrow writes about the Church in France in No sign of a rapprochement.

The Church Times had a second leader, noting the Church of England connection of John Wolfenden, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 (scroll down to 1967 and all that).

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Friday, 27 July 2007

Trial General Synod podcast

The following has appeared on the Church of England website.

General Synod podcast trial

The Church of England is currently offering a trial General Synod podcast.

This provides MP3 files available to download to your MP3 player or listen to on your computer in addition to the General Synod July 2007 sound files currently available here.

The feed address for the General Synod podcast is:
http://cofe.anglican.org/synod-podcast.xml

Files currently available as podcasts include the Debate of the Anglican Covenant Proposal, 7 July, and the Archbishop of York’s Presidential Address, 9 July.

How do I subscribe to a podcast?

You will need an internet connection, and a piece of podcast software or an RSS feed reader. This software can check for new episodes and automatically deliver them to your computer.

How you subscribe will vary depending on the software you use. To subscribe the first thing you need to do is add the ‘feed’ of the podcast to your software (or online reader). The feed is where the software will go to each time it wants to check for new content.

podcastingcastingnews.com provides a list of podcast software.

Further information about receiving RSS feeds is available at www.cofe.anglican.org/rssdetails.html.

As well as the two files mentioned above, the address by Archbishop Drexel Gomez is also available. The files are large (27 MB in one case) but they have the advantage that you can download them to your computer for later listening, unlike the streaming audio files that are also available.

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Hereford: another view

The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship has published its opinions on the tribunal judgment.

Although it is not yet visible on the LCF website, or even on the Christian Concern for our Nation website, it can be found at Anglican Mainstream.

Further Analysis of the Bishop of Hereford case (scroll down to get to the start of the full text of the document).

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Hereford: more from the Church Times

This week’s Church Times has three items about the Hereford tribunal case.

Two of them are subscriber only until next week, but for the benefit of subscribers here are the links:
Priddis loses, but sticks to his guns (this is a revision of my earlier article with new quotes from the bishop after I interviewed him last week).
Why this constitutes illegal discrimination in which I set out how the employment tribunal found against the Bishop of Hereford.

The third item is by Giles Fraser: The split of orientation and practice helps none.

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Thursday, 26 July 2007

Lambeth Conference: English boycott?

The Church of Ireland Gazette carries a report of an interview with the Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt: English bishops could have to consider positions over Lambeth Conference – Bishop of Winchester:

Following the debate on the Anglican covenant process at the meeting of the Church of England General Synod earlier this month in York, the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, told the Gazette that if the bishops of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States do not meet the demands of the Dar es Salaam Primates’ Meeting required by next September’s deadline, and if the bishops of the Global South decline to attend next year’s Lambeth Conference, as many as six in ten Church of England bishops could be considering their own positions about attending the ten-yearly episcopal gathering.

However, Bishop Scott-Joynt added that such bishops would feel “constrained” by their loyalty to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who personally invites the bishops.

Bishop Scott-Joynt also said that if the US bishops were not attending and the Global South bishops were, his estimated four in ten minority among the English bishops would be facing similar considerations to those of the majority in the opposite situation.

This is also reported by Ruth Gledhill for Times Online in Bishops threaten to boycott Lambeth Conference, and on her blog in ‘Six of the best’ for Rowan.

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ASA adjudicates on Times advert

Some time ago, we reported on the attack by Coherent and Cohesive Voice against the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

The Advertising Standards Authority finally published its adjudication of the 51 complaints that it had received about this. It upheld 3 of the 10 distinct issues raised by the complainants.

We concluded that the ad exaggerated the effect of the proposed regulations and was likely to mislead readers of The Times. We considered that although a parliamentarian readership would be likely to be aware of the content of the proposed SORs, the claims exaggerated their effect. We concluded that the ad was likely to mislead readers.

On these points, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness).

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Rewriting History

Ekklesia has published Re-writing History: the Episcopal Church struggle.

In the global intra-Anglican ‘wars’ about sexuality, biblical interpretation, authority and church polity, The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the USA has been singled out from other Anglican provinces and subjected to harsh criticism and threats of expulsion. Why is this? What are the underlying issues about the use of Scripture and other questions which explain why TEC is such a bone of contention? Can Christians learn to handle differences in more creative ways which honour the life-giving Gospel message they are supposed to exemplify?

To read this new report and analysis from Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman in PDF format go here.

For a nine point summary of the report go here.

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Wednesday, 25 July 2007

apology for Aitken error

The Guardian has published an apology to its readers, and has removed Jonathan Aitken’s original article This isn’t the Anglican split from the website.

In a Comment article, This isn’t the Anglican split, page 28, July 5, it was stated that Dr Elaine Storkey, in a meeting of staff and students, compared the principal of Wycliffe Hall, Dr Richard Turnbull, to “one of the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg”. This was incorrect. She did not compare Dr Turnbull to the Nazi defendants or use the words quoted. We apologise for this error.

For the curious, Google has a cached copy here.

That has now also gone. But you can still read the original article via this copy.

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Monday, 23 July 2007

Sentamu warns conservatives

Updated again Thursday evening

There is a further article Archbishop of York: Exclusive interview which contains more detail than the news report.
——-

The Daily Telegraph carries a report by Jonathan Petre headlined Archbishop warns Anglican conservatives.

The Archbishop of York has warned conservative Anglican leaders that they will effectively expel themselves from the worldwide Church if they boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Dr John Sentamu pleaded with them to attend the conference despite their war with liberals over homosexuality.

But he told them that if they “voted with their feet” they risked severing their links with the Archbishop of Canterbury and with historic Anglicanism, a breach that could take centuries to heal.

“Anglicanism has its roots through Canterbury,” he said. “If you sever that link you are severing yourself from the Communion. There is no doubt about it…”

And this:

But he also warned the American bishops that Dr Williams reserved the right to withdraw their invitations if they were not prepared to engage in the decision-making processes of the Communion in the future.

Update
Church Society is particularly concerned by the statement that:

“Dr Sentamu, a close ally of Dr Williams, said that as long as Anglican bishops did not deny the basic Christian doctrines they should all be able to remain within the same Church.
While liberal north Americans disagreed with conservatives over sexual ethics, these were not core issues, he said.”

See Telegraph reports Sentamu saying sexual ethics are not core issues.

Thursday evening Church Society has more to say about it in Archbishop Sentamu on Unity.

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Sunday, 22 July 2007

Hereford: BBC interviews the bishop

Updated

The radio programme Sunday contains a substantial item on the Hereford tribunal. Both Richard Kirker and Bishop Priddis are interviewed by Roger Bolton.

Bishop of Hereford and gay discrimination
Richard Kirker of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement believes the Bishop of Hereford should resign. His remark followed an employment tribunal ruling that the Bishop discriminated against John Reaney, a candidate for a position as a youth minister in his diocese, on the basis of his sexual orientation.

Reaney had held youth officer positions in Norwich and in Chester dioceses, but left his post in Chester early in 2006 [sic] after his relationship with another gay man had come to light. He told his interviewing panel in Hereford that he was gay, although now celibate, and the panel recommended to the Bishop that he should be given the job as youth minister. The Bishop was needed to give final approval, and after meeting Mr Reaney and discussing his sexuality, the Bishop refused to do so.

As a result John Reaney took the Bishop to an industrial tribunal. His claim that he had been harassed was not upheld, but his claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was. Richard Kirker and the Bishop both talked to Sunday.
Listen (8m 57s)

A transcript of the interview with Bishop Priddis can be found here.

Note: the mention of the year 2006 above is incorrect. Mr Reaney left Chester in 2002.

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Saturday, 21 July 2007

opinion columns for Saturday

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times about things he found in Geneva and Romania, see Science and politics can mean nothing without faith.

Christopher Howse writes about Orkney for the Daily Telegraph in A round tower in the sea.

In the Guardian the Face to Faith column is written by Gordon Lynch and criticises several modern writers on religion.

Also in the Guardian Karen Armstrong writes that An inability to tolerate Islam contradicts western values.

The Church Times had a leader this week about The Crown’s right to choose priests.

And Giles Fraser wrote about how 1950s Britain was stirred by Bond, not shaken.

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Hereford case: some other reactions

LGCM issued a press release: Gay Christian Triumphs in Battle Against Bigoted Church.

Changing Attitude issued a press release: Diocese of Hereford loses discrimination case against gay Christian youth leader.

The National Secular Society issued Bigoted bishop gets egg on his face.

The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association said BISHOP OF HEREFORD SHOULD HANG HIS HEAD IN SHAME.

The Lawyers Christian Fellowship said (link to site currently broken now fixed):

“At first sight this judgment appears to be a serious affront to the freedom for churches to guarantee that their children and teenagers are being taught by people who are living according to the Bible’s clear teaching about sexual morality.”

“The law is shifting rapidly so that where there is a ‘competition of rights’ it is the homosexual’s right that trumps the Christian’s right. This is a situation that needs to be reversed. At the very least, our law should recognise conscience exemptions for Christians so that they can live according to their faith.”

The Christian Institute said:

In an astonishing judgment, an employment tribunal has ruled that an Anglican Bishop was wrong to refuse employment to a gay youth worker. It is not known whether the Bishop will appeal.

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Hereford case: Church Times report

Yesterday’s Church Times carries my report on the case, but only on the website, as the paper edition went to press before the announcement was made. See Gay youth worker was discriminated against, tribunal rules.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 21 July 2007 at 3:57pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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"This is a critical time" - Global South Steering Committee

The Global South Steering Committee has issued a statement - This is a critical time - following a meeting held in London 16-18 July 2007. The membership of the steering committee is here.

Episcopal Life Online has responded with Global South Primates vow to continue violating Episcopal Church boundaries.
The Living Church Foundation has Global South Leaders Urge Emergency Primates’ Meeting.

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Friday, 20 July 2007

Hereford tribunal decision: full judgment

The full judgment of the employment tribunal in the case of John Reaney v the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance has been placed online by the Diocese of Hereford. It’s a 1.2 MB pdf file made up from scans of a fax so it’s not of the highest quality, but it is legible.

Update an html copy of this can at present be found here. (This URL will likely be replaced in the next day or so.)

An amended html copy is now available here. (Many thanks to pluralist for scanning the original PDF.)

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 20 July 2007 at 2:22pm BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Synod Questions

The questions asked at Synod this month are now online. Also available are the answers to the questions that were not reached during the synod session. The answers that were given orally will be put on line later as part of the transcript of the synod debates.

One question was about the theological colleges and courses attended by senior clergy. The details are here as a rtf file, but readers may find this html version more convenient.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 20 July 2007 at 1:17pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 19 July 2007

Hereford tribunal decision: press reports Thursday

The Times Nicola Woolcock Youth worker wins gay job rights claim against bishop.

Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre Bishop discriminated against gay youth worker.

Guardian Stephen Bates Bishop urged to resign after diocese loses gay bias case.

Daily Mail Rebecca Camber Gay Christian wins job tribunal against Church of England.

Western Mail Darren Devine Church faces payout over gay discrimination case and also Hailed as a victory for gay rights – here is reaction to yesterday’s tribunal decision.

And the BBC report linked yesterday has links to two video clips: these contain quotes from the bishop at yesterday’s press conference in Hereford, a short interview with Mr Reaney, plus other footage from the time of the Cardiff hearing.

Update The Hereford Times today has Bishop loses in gay worker case:

…The crux of the Bishop’s decision rested on a five-year gay relationship which Mr Reaney had ended four months before the interview.

Despite Mr Reaney’s promises of celibacy and self-control, the Bishop believed the situation would change.

The Bishop told the press conference he was “disappointed” with the outcome but insisted his decision was the right one and was not clouded by lifestyle.

“He had been living in a committed same-sex relationship for five years and that ended shortly before I met him,” he said at a press conference.

“I took the view that anyone who has been in a committed relationship of that kind for five years will be in a position of loss, grief and bereavement.

“If he had been a heterosexual person with a five-year relationship outside marriage then I still wouldn’t have appointed him because that’s not the teaching of the Church.”

Update Thursday evening: here’s one I missed earlier. The Hereford Journal had:

Bishop’s blessing as gay organists ‘wed’

As he awaits a landmark tribunal decision after turning down a homosexual man for a job, the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, has congratulated a Cathedral organist on his forthcoming gay wedding.

Hereford’s assistant organist Peter Dyke is set to tie the knot in a civil partnership ceremony with former church director of music Shaun Ward, at the city’s Town Hall.

An opponent of the C of E developing a formal Christian ceremony to bless gay couples in church,the Bishop has “offered his congratulations” to the couple.

A diocesan spokesman said: “Our eminent organist Peter Dyke has chosen to enter into a civil partnership.

The Bishop joins others in offering them his congratulations…”

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Wednesday, 18 July 2007

CofE response to Hereford judgment

The Archbishops’ Council has issued a Statement on Judgement of Employment Tribunal between Mr John Reaney and the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance:

A spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council said:

“The broader issue raised by this case is whether there are posts, including some non clergy posts, where the religious exemptions permitted under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations can properly be applied by bishops and dioceses. The Tribunal has helpfully confirmed that there are. It also held that the role of Diocesan Youth Officer is such a post, though on the specific facts before it - and in particular Mr Reaney’s assurance that he would continue to live a life consistent with the teaching of the Church - concluded that the bishop had taken the wrong decision.

“The regulations will continue to provide important protection for churches and other religious organisations in ensuring that their recruitment policies can reflect the organisation’s beliefs.”

Notes

A statement from the Diocese of Hereford is available here.

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Hereford diocese responds on tribunal judgment

Press Statement by the Diocese of Hereford:

TRIBUNAL DECISION IS MIXED BLESSING FOR CHURCH

The Employment Tribunal in which the Board of Finance of the Diocese of Hereford, was accused of Sexual Discrimination has issued its judgement. The Tribunal found in favour of the plaintiff, accepting that the Diocese did discriminate against Mr. John Reaney in not appointing him to the post of Youth Officer within the Diocese.

Commenting after receiving the Tribunal’s Judgement, The Bishop of Hereford, Anthony Priddis, who gave evidence at the hearing, said he was disappointed but not completely down. “The Tribunal accepted that I did not ‘interrogate’ Mr Reaney and that I had acted in accordance with the teachings of the Church of England. It also recognised that the post of Diocesan Youth Officer falls within the small number of posts outside of the clergy which are within the religious exemptions of the Sexual Discrimination Act Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.”

The House of Bishops teaching document “Issues in Human Sexuality” spells out in some detail the General Synod statements that the Church upholds the teaching that sexual relationships belong within marriage and that this high standard to which all people are called is especially expected of those in leadership within the Church.

That policy was endorsed by a General Synod motion of 1987, the Lambeth Conference of 1998 and the House of Bishop’s teaching document “Issues in Sexuality”. That policy, to which the Bishop of Hereford fully subscribes, is that those of homosexual orientation are wholly welcome and entitled to participate in the full life of the Church of England

It is the duty of every Bishop to uphold spiritual, moral and ethical standards and the Tribunal agreed. However, in the light of the tribunal decision the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance will now again look at its recruitment literature to make clear the teaching and requirements of the church in respect of the lifestyle of those in leadership roles.

In the light of the Tribunal decision, the Board of Finance will be taking further legal advice with a view to appeal.

The references above to “Sexual Discrimination” and to the “Sexual Discrimination Act” are what the press release says. They would appear to be errors. The case relates to the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

The second reference has now been corrected on the diocesan website.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 12:00pm BST | Comments (39) | TrackBack
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Hereford case: judgment published

The Employment Tribunal in Cardiff will formally publish its judgment tomorrow in the case of John Reaney v the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance.

TA’s previous report on this was in April: see Hereford case: hearing concludes and my Church Times article is here: Reaney judgment awaited.

Subsequently, the following article was published in the Hereford diocesan magazine: DIOCESE AWAITS YOUTH OFFICER TRIBUNAL DECISION.

Today, the Hereford Times carries this report:

Bishop of Hereford loses case
By Mark Bowen

A gay man has won his discrimination case against the Bishop of Hereford.

John Reaney,who was backed by gay rights group Stonewall, is celebrating today’s (Thursday) employment tribunal decision.

Mr Reaney was interviewed by a panel of eight people for the post of Youth Officer in the Diocese of Hereford last summer.

But an unanimous decision to appoint him was blocked by the Bishop of Hereford after a meeting Mr Reaney looks set to secure substantial compensation.

In its judgement, the Tribunal said: The Respondents discriminated against the claimant on the grounds of sexual orientation.The case will now be listed for a remedy hearing.’

John Reaney said: ‘I’m delighted that the Bishop of Hereford has lost this case. It demonstrates to many lesbian and gay Christians working for God within the Church of England that they are entitled to fair and respectful treatment.”

The case was heard over four days in Cardiff in April.

The diocese called a press conference for 9.30 am. More information about that will be published here when received.

Meanwhile, Mr Reaney’s solicitors have published this press release:John Reaney wins case against Church of England:

…His solicitor Alison Downie, partner at Bindman & Partners said:
“My client is pleased that he has won his claim. The Bishop and the Diocese were wrong and unlawfully discriminated against him because he is a gay man in refusing to appoint an excellent candidate to the post of Youth Officer. In this landmark test case the Tribunal found not only that he suffered direct discrimination but that if necessary they would have found indirect discrimination in the Diocese imposing a requirement of celibacy for lay people in employment within the Church. It is highly regrettable that the Bishop acted as he did and that my client lost a year of his life in bringing this claim to right the wrong done to him”.

And Stonewall Cymru has published this one: Stonewall Cymru celebrates tribunal victory against Bishop of Hereford:

…Matthew Batten, Stonewall Cymru’s Policy Officer, said: ‘This outcome is a triumph for 21st century decency over 19th century prejudice. We’re very happy for John. The tribunal has rightly made clear that the Church of England cannot discriminate against gay people with impunity. No one, not even a Bishop, is exempt from the law.’

And the BBC reports the decision as Bishop loses gay employment case:

…The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, said he was “naturally disappointed” and may appeal…

…speaking to a news conference in Hereford on Wednesday, the Bishop said: “I still think the decision I made was the right one.”

“I regret the polarisation of view which takes place when these things happen,” he said, adding he had made the decision after a “great deal of prayer and contemplation”.

Press Association report: Gay man wins Church tribunal claim

For the diocesan press release go here.

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Dagenham ordination row

The Guardian has a report by Stephen Bates about a dispute in the Diocese of Chelmsford: Ordination spurned in gay row.

The story refers to “a statement written by the Rev Mike Reith, vicar of Dagenham, on the parish website.” You can read that material here:
Why I wrote to the Bishop asking for another Bishop….!
Letter of Monday 23rd April ‘07

Further discussion of this occurs in the comments at Chelmsford Anglican Mainstream’s article Vicar of Dagenham issues statement on non-ordination of Chelmsford candidate.

Update
There is even more here from The Ugley Vicar Lost confidence in Chelmsford

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 at 7:28am BST | Comments (67) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 15 July 2007

WSJ on Religion in Europe

The Wall Street Journal has an article titled In Europe, God Is (Not) Dead by Andrew Higgins. Christian groups are growing, faith is more public. Is supply-side economics the explanation?

The Church of Sweden and its finances are described in detail.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 10:38pm BST | Comments (57) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 14 July 2007

The Common Cause of a Common Light

The Reverend Dr. Ephraim Radner, a member of the Covenant Design Group, and currently Rector of the Church of the Ascension, Pueblo, Colorado, USA but soon to become professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada has written a paper, published at the ACI website, entitled The Common Cause of a Common Light. Here’s how it starts:

The movement towards a separated North American Anglican church, aligned perhaps with one part of the Anglican Communion and not another, appears to be gaining steam. The focus of the Anglican Communion Network’s official leadership has shifted perceptibly towards this goal, overtly transferring its energies from its work as a coalition of American traditionalist bishops working representatively with the larger Communion, to the strategy of a “Common Cause” formation of a new ecclesial structure that would function either as a new Anglican Communion province, or as a province in a new alternative Anglican Communion. Regular consultation among Network bishops has diminished in frequency, while the work on Common Cause has demanded new and steadier communication.

Is this shift of energies positive? As a founding member of the Network, I would urge more open discussion about this. Indeed, it is a discussion that has not taken place in any organized, illuminated, and Communion-wide basis, and it needs to, quickly and honestly and without rancor. Obviously, the topic has long been a staple of blog debate. But however informative such debate can be, it is not a substitute for common prayer, discussion, and discernment as a Body in the Lord. Indeed, most bloggers are anonymous or pseudonymous, their representative roles blurred or hidden, and their actual numbers limited by the psychological demands of the genre. Yet, from Lambeth to North America to Africa, much that we know about the hopes and strategies of the coming months comes only on internet discussions culled from partially leaked memos, recorded off-hand comments, indirect interviews, secret informants, and pure speculation. And on this basis people declare their allegiances! The Anglican Church is longing for an open council, un-manipulated by guile and passion; yet what we are getting instead are the sparks of competing political strategies that have the effect of inculcating ecclesial passivity drunk on anxiety.

It’s worth reading right through, despite a problem with its formatting which one hopes will be fixed soon.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 14 July 2007 at 9:27pm BST | Comments (70) | TrackBack
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Network annual meeting and statistics

The American body named Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes also known as the Anglican Communion Network will hold its Annual Council Meeting on 30-31 July at St Matthew’s Cathedral in Bedford Texas, which is near Fort Worth. Here is the official announcement:

Over 80 representatives of the Anglican Communion Network will gather at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas for two full days July 30–31 for the Network’s Annual Council Meeting. This will be the third meeting of its kind since the birth of the Network in March 2004. The Bible teacher for the meeting will be the Most Rev. Greg Venables, Archbishop of the Southern Cone.

The press is welcome to attend plenary sessions of the council meeting. Press credentials can be obtained by registering online at www.regonline.com/annualcouncil2007. Suzanne Gill, Director of Communications for the Network Diocese of Fort Worth, will be coordinating press on site and can be reached at (817) 244–2885. The meeting is otherwise closed to the public.

And here is this morning’s report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Episcopalians’ struggle comes home

Area residents will get a close-up look this month at the decades-long rift that is continuing to tear apart the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church.

About 80 representatives of the Anglican Communion Network, of which Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker is a leading member, will meet July 30-31 in Bedford at St. Vincent’s Cathedral.

The network — formed three years ago by Episcopal members appalled by church actions such as the 2003 consecration of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire — likely will be a sounding board for more attacks on leadership of the U.S. church.

Strengthening dissent

The Rev. Ryan Reed, dean of the Bedford cathedral, said network representatives will discuss how to work more closely with other conservative Anglican groups. Archbishop Greg Venables, a conservative who leads the Anglican province that includes Venezuela and Bolivia, is the main speaker. Some sessions are not open to the public, but general gatherings are open.

The Anglican Communion Network and similar conservative groups contend that the American church no longer represents those abiding by the historic faith.

The network, based in Pittsburgh, represents 200,000 laity and 2,200 clergy in the U.S., said the Rev. Daryl Fenton, chief executive. It has 10 member dioceses, including Dallas and Fort Worth, and also has alliances with some 40 smaller U.S. Anglican groups that have left the Episcopal Church in opposition of what they say are departures from biblical Christianity by Episcopal leadership…

Back in December 2006, TA published this article: What size is NACDAP really? which included this:

The American Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes or Anglican Communion Network has published this map, showing at the time of writing a total of 737 parishes that are said to be affiliated with them in some way.

Curiously though, the same website also says:

We are currently ten dioceses and six convocations stretching from coast to coast, border to border. As of January 2005, ACN dioceses and parishes count 200,000 Episcopal Christians in more than 800 congregations, and the number of affiliated parishes grows weekly.

The map on the ACN website now lists a total of 845 “parishes” though from an English perspective “congregations” would be a more accurate term to describe them. Nevertheless the claims made by Daryl Fenton above are identical to the now updated page of the ACN website quoted previously which currently says:

We are currently ten dioceses, six convocations and the international conference stretching from coast to coast, border to border. As of January 2007, ACN dioceses and parishes count 200,000 laity and 2,200 clergy in more than 900 congregations, and the number of affiliated parishes grows weekly. We have received support throughout the Anglican Communion, including encouragement from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Fourteen leaders of the international Anglican Communion, representing 75 percent of the world’s 60 million Anglicans, have offered their recognition and pledged the full weight of their ministries to the Anglican Communion Network.

There are clearly a number of inconsistencies in these claims. An earlier attempt to get to the bottom of the numbers claimed by the Network was done in February this year: A Modest Analysis of NACDAP’s “Anglicans in the United States” by Lionel Deimel, Joan Gundersen, and Christopher Wilkins. You can read that here. The data provided to the primates in Dar es Salaam by Bishop Robert Duncan can be read in this PDF file here.

See also Let’s do the numbers and also NPR has fun with numbers at epiScope.

And much more recently, on 29 June, epiScope had this comment on the slightly different issue of counting “breakaway” churches:

…there may be 250 congregations within the continental United States that claim to answer to various Anglican bishops in Africa and Latin America—but that’s not the same thing as “up to 250 of the 7,000 congregations in the U.S. church.”

The numbers, as we’ve said before, are hard to pin down, because—as we all know—”congregations don’t leave, people do.” The vast majority of the congregations listed under foreign bishops appear to be fledgling “new church plants” meeting in homes and hotels, not established, full-bore, paid-up TEC parishes.

In fact, so far your editor has found less than a dozen TEC congregations that were officially listed by their dioceses as “closed” when a significant group chose to depart and re-form as an “Anglican” congregation. (More later; watch this space!) The rest remain open as TEC congregations, in many cases greatly renewing their mission and ministry in the absence of the controversy du jour.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 14 July 2007 at 4:11pm BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Saturday papers

Christopher Howse in the Daily Telegraph had this to say about the papal announcement on the Tridentine Mass: The facts about a misreported Mass.

David Bryant in the Guardian wrote about Jean-Paul Sartre in Face to faith.

In The Times Stephen Plant writes about Simone Weil in A passionate companion on the path to religious truth.

And for a bonus article, here is an extract that the Guardian reprinted from Stephen Bates’ new book, God’s Own Country: Tales from the Bible Belt. The piece is entitled Thou shalt not judge.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 14 July 2007 at 10:44am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Friday, 13 July 2007

Anglican Covenant: American response process

Those who felt uncomfortable about the process which the General Synod approved last Sunday for the Church of England to respond to the ACO about the Draft Anglican Covenant may be interested in this.

Nine members of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council (which is somewhat similar in function to the CofE’s Archbishops’ Council) have been appointed to draft the Church’s response to the first version of an Anglican covenant. None of them are bishops.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson made the appointments. The nine members of the Covenant Response Drafting Group are:

  • Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine (Diocese of the Virgin Islands) Chair
  • Kim Byham (Newark),
  • The Rev. Dr. Lee Alison Crawford (Vermont),
  • The Rev. Dr. Ian T. Douglas (Massachusetts)
  • Canon Victoria L. Garvey (Chicago)
  • The Rev. Canon Mark Harris (Delaware)
  • The Rev. Winnie S. Varghese (New York)
  • Ted M. Yumoto (San Joaquin)
  • Belton T. Zeigler (Upper South Carolina)

The group is charged with writing a proposed response of the Executive Council to the draft Anglican covenant for the council, to be considered at its October 2007 meeting in Dearborn, Michigan. Anderson said that the drafting group will also “design a process for continuing to gather input from the entire Episcopal Church to aid the Executive Council in its response to subsequent covenant drafts.”

More detail here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 July 2007 at 6:43pm BST | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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Anglican Covenant: Wycliffe Hall/ACI consultation

From the Wycliffe Hall website:

During the first week of July, Wycliffe Hall hosted over 100 visitors from around the Anglican Communion for a four-day consultation. Building on the work of a similar venture exactly five years ago, we were able to invite a wide selection of bishops and pastors, theologians and those in mission agencies. They came together to confer on two key matters of common concern: taking forward the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant and examining the challenges and opportunities for Anglican Mission in the ‘First World’.

There were good contingents of visitors from Australia and New Zealand and from the United States and Canada, as well as smaller numbers from Continental Europe, South America and the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. Each day included worshipping together and hearing from the Scriptures (focused on Ephesians). The consultation concluded with a Communion service in the chapel with a decidedly African feel as it was presided over by Bishop Gideon Githiga (Kenya), with a sermon from Archbishop Mouneer Anis (Egypt) on the theme of covenant renewal.

Wycliffe owes many thanks to those who made this consultation possible—especially our co-hosts in the Anglican Communion Institute. It is hoped that many of the ideas, generated through building good relationships and creative discussion, will bear fruit during the coming months as the Covenant Design Group receives input from around the Communion and as bishops prepare to gather for the Lambeth Conference in July 2008.

Papers are available as PDF files here and here and also here, and some are now on the ACI website:

When God Brings Things to a Point by Philip Turner
Why a Covenant, and Why Its Conciliar Form: a Response to Critics by Ephraim Radner
The Place of Confession in an Anglican Covenant: Outline by Ephraim Radner
Covenanting in the Church and in Scripture – Congruent or Discordant? by Christopher Seitz
Following Christ the Lord by Martin Davie

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 July 2007 at 3:11pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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South Carolina election: no extra candidates

From the Diocese of South Carolina website:

No Petition Candidates Submitted for Bishop’s Election

The deadline for the submission of petition candidates for the Bishop’s Election of the Diocese of South Carolina has come and gone. No petitions were submitted.

The special Bishop’s Election, as previously called by the Standing Committee on June 9, will be begin at 10:00 am on August 4, 2007 at St. James Church, James Island. Registration of clergy and lay delegates will begin at 8:00 am. Immediately following the celebration of Holy Communion the convention will convene to elect the XIV Bishop of South Carolina. We request that each mission and parish submit the names of their specially elected lay delegates to the Diocesan office as soon as possible.

The Rev. J. Haden McCormick
President, Standing Committee

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GS: Sins of the Synod

The Church Times has a leader about the General Synod: Sins of the Synod.

Giles Fraser writes about the synod too: Talk about life, not church politics.

And there is a summary of what happened in Synod pushes Brown for more power.

Full detailed reports of synod are in this week’s paper edition of the Church Times and will be on the public web next week.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 July 2007 at 11:45am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Archbishop Orombi's views on Anglicanism

The Ugandan primate, Archbishop Henry Orombi has written an article entitled What Is Anglicanism?

The article is a very clear statement of his views. He says that he will not meet with the ECUSA House of Bishops in New Orleans, as he has been invited to do by the Archbishop of Canterbury. And the Ugandan bishops will not attend the Lambeth Conference next year if ECUSA bishops attend. There are further comments on this at TitusOneNine including some by Ephraim Radner and Stephen Noll. Mark Harris has also written about this here.

It ends with this:

…If, as I have suggested, the future of Anglicanism lies in a revival of the key Reformation and evangelical principles that shaped the Church of Uganda and our mother Church of England, then our instruments of communion need to find a way to serve that vision. I fear, however, that our conciliar instruments are in danger of losing their credibility and being rendered irrelevant. The resolutions of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops have always had a moral authority among the communion’s autonomous but interdependent provinces, yet some of those resolutions are now flagrantly defied and even mocked.

We primates have worked hard in recent years to find consensus even in our present situation of broken or impaired communion. Through the grace of God, our communiqués have been consensus statements, unanimously agreed upon, and they are evidence of our commitment as primates to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Yet some provinces have not taken our communiqués seriously, and the primates, as an instrument of communion, have been scorned.

The current crisis presents us with an opportunity to mature into a global communion that represents not just historic bonds of affection but also an advancing mission force for the Kingdom of God that Jesus inaugurated. For this to happen, our instruments of communion may also have to become instruments of discipline. As a member of the primates’ standing committee, I was invited to come to the United States in September 2007 to attend the meeting of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops. But I recently wrote the archbishop of Canterbury and informed him that I could not participate.

Among my reasons is this: In February 2007, the primates of the Anglican Communion met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and made certain requests of the Episcopal church. It is my conviction that our Dar es Salaam communiqué did not envision interference in the American House of Bishops while they are considering our requests. For me to violate our hard-won agreement in Dar es Salaam would be another case of undermining our instruments of communion. My decision to uphold our Dar es Salaam communiqué is intended to strengthen our instruments of communion so we will be able to mature into an even more effective global communion of the Church of Jesus Christ than in the past.

In December 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda unanimously adopted “The Road to Lambeth,” a statement drafted for a council of African provinces. Among other things, it stated, “We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution [1.10] are also invited as participants or observers.” Accordingly, if the present invitations to the Lambeth Conference stand, I do not expect the Ugandan bishops to attend.

It is important that this decision not be misunderstood as withdrawing from the instruments of communion. On the contrary, our decision reflects the critical importance of the Lambeth Conference: Its value as an instrument of communion is greatly diminished when the persistent violators of its resolutions are invited. If our resolutions as a council of bishops do not have moral authority among ourselves, how can we expect our statements on world affairs to carry weight in the world’s forums? An instrument of communion must also be an instrument of discipline in order to effectively facilitate meaningful communion among its autonomous provinces.

The Church of Uganda takes its Anglican identity and the future prospects of the global Anglican Communion very seriously. Our thoughtfulness in how we participate in the instruments of communion reflects our fundamental loyalty to our Anglican heritage. Likewise, our devotion to the Word of God—expressed through our martyrs, revival, and the historic episcopate—reflects our commitment to the ongoing place of the Church of Uganda as a province of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 July 2007 at 11:15am BST | Comments (41) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 12 July 2007

Wycliffe Hall: Peter Stanford writes

The Independent’s Education section has a feature on Wycliffe Hall, written by Peter Stanford: Fear and loathing at Wycliffe: Oxford’s theological college is being rocked to its foundations.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 July 2007 at 2:14pm BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

GS: further reports

Guardian Stephen Bates Church moves to reclaim lost wedding market by loosening rules on venues

The Times Ruth Gledhill Rules are relaxed on wedding venues

Earlier, in the Sunday Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones had Choose your church, the CofE tells couples

Yorkshire Post Michael Brown
Synod backs move to halt gay priest split
Church eases restrictions on weddings
Archbishop of York warns of hatred born of fear
Archbishop backs fund for farmers

BBC
Appeal to help flood-hit farmers and Flood-hit farmers get church aid

Alastair Cutting has several interesting reports on his blog Synod.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 11 July 2007 at 10:08am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 10 July 2007

GS: Tuesday morning

The Archbishop of York said farewell to the bishops of Worcester and Coventry, who are retiring, the bishop of Sodor and Man, who is to become the Dean of St Paul’s, and Michael Chamberlain, who is retiring as chair of the Finance Committee of the Archbishops’ Council.

The morning’s main business was the Archbishops’ Council’s draft budget for 2008 (GS 1665). Synod agreed the gross expenditure figures in the table below. There are some small sources of income, but the net expenditure, shown in the last column, is provided by the dioceses. The apportionments on individual dioceses are shown in GS 1665.

Vote Gross
Expenditure (£)
Net
Expenditure (£)
1 Training for Ministry 10,947,200 10,647,200
2 National Church Responsibilities 10,060,328 10,060,328
3 Grants and Provisions 1,596,200 1,596,200
4 Inter-diocesan Support/
Mission Agencies Clergy Pension Contributions
800,000 791,000
5 Church’s Housing Assistance for the
Retired Ministry
2,960,000 2,813,000
TOTALS 26,363,728 25,907,728

Finally Synod gave final approval to the Church of England Marriage Measure. The voting figures were:

  Ayes Noes
Bishops 26 0
Clergy 106 3
Laity 123 3

The measure requires parliamentary approval before it can come into effect.

Official report of Tuesday here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 10 July 2007 at 12:16pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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An African Perspective

Bishop Ben Kwashi, Bishop of Jos in Northern Nigeria, chairman of SOMA (Sharing of Ministries Abroad) and co-ordinating Bishop of CANA (The Convocation of Anglicans in North America) spoke at the Anglican Mainstream Fringe meeting at the General Synod of the Church of England held in York on 9th July 2007.

Read the full text of his remarks here.

Update
Changing Attitude has a press release: Davis Mac-Iyalla meets Bishop Ben Kwashie at Church of England General Synod, York.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 10 July 2007 at 10:35am BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
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GS: Tom Wright's covenant debate speech

TitusOneNine has an unofficial transcript of the speech made by the Bishop of Durham in Sunday’s debate. The link to that transcript is here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 10 July 2007 at 10:23am BST | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Monday, 9 July 2007

GS: other Monday reports

See official afternoon report here.

Church Times Monday 9 July.

The Times leader in Tuesday’s paper: Church and/or State.

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GS: Senior Church Appointments

The afternoon session started with a presentation by Sir Joseph Pilling (chair of the Senior Church Appointments Review Group) about the group’s report Talent and Calling (GS 1650).

As we have already reported the proposed consideration of the report was overtaken by the Government’s green paper The Governance of Britain (online here and here) proposing that the Prime Minister should no longer play an active role in the selection of diocesan bishops. As a result the debate and motion were extended to include this.

The Bishop of Leicester moved

That this Synod, noting that proposals in the Government’s Green Paper of 3 July (attached to GS 1650A) will necessitate further discussion with the Church:

(a) welcome the prospect of the Church achieving the ‘decisive voice in the appointment of bishops’ for which Synod voted in 1974;

(b) affirm its willingness for the Church to have the decisive voice in the selection of cathedral deans and canons appointed by the Crown, given the Prime Minister’s wish no longer to play an active role in the selection of individual candidates;

(c) invite the Archbishops, in consultation with the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops, to oversee the necessary consequential discussions with the Government and to report to the February group of sessions, including on the implications for those matters covered by chapter 8 of GS 1650; and

(d) endorse the recommendations in chapter 10 of GS 1650, with the exception of recommendations 20-30, invite those responsible to give effect to them and invite the Archbishops’ Council to report to Synod during 2008 on progress with implementation.

Several amendments to the motion were proposed, two of which were carried, so that the final wording of the motion became

That this Synod, noting that proposals in the Government’s Green Paper of 3 July (attached to GS 1650A) will necessitate further discussion with the Church:

(a) welcome the prospect of the Church achieving the ‘decisive voice in the appointment of bishops’ for which Synod voted in 1974;

(b) affirm its willingness for the Church to have the decisive voice in the selection of cathedral deans and canons appointed by the Crown, given the Prime Minister’s “commitment to a process of constructive engagement between the Government and the Church” (The Governance of Britain Green Paper, CM7170);

(c) invite the Archbishops, in consultation with the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops, to oversee the necessary consequential discussions with the Government and to report to the February group of sessions, including on the implications for those matters covered by chapter 8 of GS 1650; and

(d) subject to the above, endorse the recommendations in chapter 10 of GS 1650, invite those responsible to give effect to them and invite the Archbishops’ Council to report to Synod during 2008 on progress with implementation.

At the end of the debate the amended motion was carried by 297 votes to one.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 July 2007 at 5:24pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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GS: Monday morning

Monday morning started with the Archbishop of York’s presidential address on the theme “Do Not be Afraid” - online here and here.

The First and Third Church Estates Commissioners (Andreas Whittam Smith and Timothy Walker) made a presentation on the commissioners’ report for 2006.

Diocesan Synod motion on the Church Commissioners

Mr Adrian Greenwood moved on behalf of the Southwark Diocesan Synod.

That this Synod request an urgent review by the Archbishops’ Council of the status and accountability of the Church Commissioners.

Mrs April Alexander (Southwark) moved as an amendment.

Delete all words after “That this Synod” and insert

“request:

(a) the Archbishops’ Council to prepare an independent report to the Synod on the Church Commissioners’ own proposal that there should be a General Synod Select Committee on the Parliamentary model to facilitate their further accountability to the Synod, having due regard to:
i. representation of the House of Laity on the Select Committee; and
ii. the interest of the Synod in the major investment and disinvestment decisions of the Assets Committee;

(b) the Ethical Investment Advisory Group to prepare a report to the Synod on the feasibility of advising the Church Commissioners on the ethical implications of their major decisions in the purchase, sale and management of land and real estate and on the EIAG’s recommendations for making this advice effective, acceptable and within the spirit of the Commissioners’ own policy statements; and

(c) both to report back by July 2008”.

Even though Mr Greenwood supported this amendment it was defeated by 110 votes to 93. The unamended motion was then put to the vote and clearly defeated on a show of hands.

Background papers from the diocese of Southwark and the Church Commissioners.

Disability issues for ministry in the Church of England

The Revd John Naudé made a presentation on disability issues for ministry in the Church of England.

Background paper GS 1663.

The Bishop of Sheffield moved:

That this Synod affirm the value of the contribution made by disabled clergy in the life and witness of the Church of England and its commitment to and support for their ministry by asking dioceses to:

(a) take note of the report Disabled clergy in the Church of England and the outcome of this debate;

(b) ensure that a “lead” person on disability issues is appointed in each diocese and that appropriate training is made available; and

(c) ensure that disability issues are made an integral part of the functioning of diocesan structures.

The Revd Stephen Lynas (Bath & Wells) moved two amendments:

Leave out the words “disabled clergy” and insert “clergy with disabilities”.

At the end of paragraph (c) insert “, particularly Diocesan Advisory Committees and Parsonage Boards”.

Both amendments were carried so that the substantive motion became:

That this Synod affirm the value of the contribution made by clergy with disabilities in the life and witness of the Church of England and its commitment to and support for their ministry by asking dioceses to:

(a) take note of the report Disabled clergy in the Church of England and the outcome of this debate;

(b) ensure that a “lead” person on disability issues is appointed in each diocese and that appropriate training is made available; and

(c) ensure that disability issues are made an integral part of the functioning of diocesan structures, particularly Diocesan Advisory Committees and Parsonage Boards.

The amended motion was overwhelmingly carried.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 July 2007 at 1:00pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 8 July 2007

GS: more on the covenant debate

The complete audio recording of the debate is linked from the official report page here.

The full text of the opening address by Archbishop Drexel Gomez can be found here.

Also, the speech of the Bishop of Rochester here.

News reports of the debate:

Church Times Synod: Sunday 8 July

BBC Church agrees plan over disputes

Update And Robert Pigott also has Nervous support for Church rules.

Guardian Stephen Bates Synod agrees deal over discipline to head off church rift over gay clergy

The Times Ruth Gledhill Church takes a step back from schism with gay expulsion plan

Update And now also Ruth’s blog comments on this at: Synod Days 2,3 & 4.

Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre Anglican covenant ‘will halt slide to a schism’

Press Association Synod try to avoid schism over gays

Church Society has this version of what happened.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 8 July 2007 at 11:46pm BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
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GS: other business Sunday afternoon

Other items of business concerned The Anglican-Methodist Covenant and Minority Ethnic Anglicans.

See the official report here for details of the motions that were passed on these two subjects.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 8 July 2007 at 11:25pm BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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GS: covenant debate

The Sunday afternoon session of General Synod opened with an address by the Most Revd Drexel Gomez (Archbishop of the West Indies and chair of the Anglican Covenant Design Group). Synod then went onto a full-scale debate on the proposed Anglican Covenant. The debate was on the following motion moved by the Bishop of Chichester.

‘That this Synod:

(a) affirm its willingness to engage positively with the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007 for a process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion;

(b) note that such a process will only be concluded when any definitive text has been duly considered through the synodical processes of the provinces of the Communion; and

(c) invite the Presidents, having consulted the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council, to agree the terms of a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office by the end of the year.’

Three amendments were moved. Mr Tim Cox (a council member of Church Society) moved:

Leave out everything after “That this Synod” and insert:

(a) note the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007;

(b) believe that the Covenant process will prove inadequate to address the problems presently dividing the Communion; and

(c) urge all the Provinces of the Anglican Communion to declare themselves in communion only with those Provinces, dioceses and congregations that:
(i) assert whole-heartedly that the Scriptures are the Word of God;
(ii) uphold the historic Anglican formularies (the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal); and
(iii) on the current presenting cause of division, uphold the Biblical teaching that sexual intercourse belongs solely within the lifelong commitment of a man and woman in marriage.

Mr Justin Brett (Oxford) moved:

In paragraph (a) leave out the words “affirm its willingness to engage positively with” and insert “note”.

The Revd Jonathan Clark (London) moved:

In paragraph (c) leave out all the words after “the Archbishops’ Council” and insert “to bring back to the next group of sessions of Synod for approval a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office”.

Each of the three amendments was defeated on a show of hands. Finally the Bishop of Chichester’s unamended motion was put to the vote and carried on a show of hands.

The background paper to the debate is here with Annex 4 and Annex 5.

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 8 July 2007 at 4:55pm BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 7 July 2007

GS: report of Saturday afternoon

The official report of this afternoon’s session can be found here.

The afternoon started with some appointments which Synod was asked to approve. Allan Bridgewater’s appointment as Chair of the Church of England Pensions Board was extended until 31 December 2008. Andrew Britton was appointed to the Archbishops’ Council for a five-year term from 1 October 2007, where he will replace Michael Chamberlain, and Katherine McPherson and Anne Sloman’s membership of the Council was extended to 31 December 2009.

Synod then moved onto the clergy pension scheme and gave final agreement to the modifications to the scheme provisionally agreed in February. These will reduce the benefits for future service a little but will keep costs within manageable limits.

The debate on the Private Member’s Motion about Possible Military Action Against Iran that should have been debated during the afternoon was terminated early.

The original motion was:

That this Synod, in the light of growing international concern about possible US military action against Iran, believe that in present circumstances unilateral pre-emptive military action by the US or any other government against Iran cannot be justified.

There was also a long amendment proposed by Dr Philip Giddings which replaced the above with a series of more detailed recommendations, including one urging the government of Iran to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and Treaty obligations.

Immediately after the proposer, The Revd Canon Simon Bessant, had made his opening speech, Dr Chris Sugden put a procedural motion to move to next business. His stated reason for this was to avoid prejudicing the position of the new and soon-to-be-installed Anglican bishop in Iran.

This motion was eventually passed, but only after a formal division of the synod. The voting was 113 to 96. The motion therefore lapsed and the topic cannot be taken up again in the lifetime of this synod, without express approval of the business committee.

This opened up a half-hour space in the agenda so Synod started to consider amendments to its standing orders.

Finally, there was a short presentation on plans to provide hospitality to visiting bishops in the days leading up to next year’s Lambeth conference.

Church Times Report of Saturday

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GS: Question about Wycliffe Hall

There was an unusually large number of Questions directed to the Ministry Division about the supervision and inspection of theological colleges. Most of these did not mention Wycliffe Hall by name. One however did:

The Revd Jonathan Alderton-Ford (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chairman of the Ministry Division:

Q. Given the reports in the media that staff relationships have broken down at Wycliffe Hall theological college, what steps is the Ministry Division taking to resolve the matter?

The Bishop of Derby to reply as Vice Chairman of the Theological Education and Training Committee

A. The Bishop of Norwich, the Chair of Ministry Division has been in regular contact with the Bishop of Liverpool, the Chair of the Wycliffe Council. Further, the Bishops’ Committee for Ministry has set in place a process to inform itself regarding the situation at Wycliffe. A small team of independent advisors, drawn from current Senior Inspectors, will report to the Bishops’ Committee for Ministry, which can then take any further action, if required.

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GS: report of Saturday morning

The official report of the morning’s business is here. Full audio recordings are available there.

The revision stage of the Marriage Measure was completed with no substantive changes to the draft published at GS 1616B.

The BBC has a report on this: Church relaxes rules on marriage.

The Parochial Fees Order was approved with one substantial amendment: the fee payable to the PCC in respect of a service for the burial of cremated remains in a churchyard was increased: from £55 to £74.

The item to consider the report of the Standing Orders Committee was not reached before the lunch break and will probably be taken up on Monday afternoon.

Further report of the afternoon’s business to follow.

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weekend columns

Colin Slee writes in the Guardian about the Anglican covenant proposal.

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times about Elijah and the prophetic truth of the ‘still, small voice’.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about Iraqi Christians, in On the plains of Nineveh.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about how Faith is on the front line in the war on terror.

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GS: report of Friday

The official reports, including audio of the entire proceedings, can be found here.

TA will publish some further details of Answers to Questions later today. Meanwhile, Church Society has some notes here.

The Church Times has a brief report here.

Jonathan Petre has a report of the presentation by the Children’s Commissioner, Prof Sir Albert Aynsley Green: Church told to defend youth ‘failed by Britain’.

Alastair Cutting also has a report of this, see Children have more fun - (b) 6July2007.

GS 1650A has been issued, in which it says:

…The Synod agenda already provides for substantial consideration of appointments issues on Monday afternoon. The report Talent and Calling (GS 1650) did not, however, consider the appointment arrangements for diocesan bishops and its recommendations in respect of Crown appointments to cathedral posts were made before this week’s announcement from the Government. The Presidents have decided, therefore, that some change is needed to Monday’s business so that there can be a debate that takes account of the Green Paper.

The Presidents have directed that after item 26 (address from Sir Joseph Pilling) there should be a debate on a motion moved by the Bishop of Leicester [copy below]. This will be place of items 27 and 28 in the agenda.

The new motion will give Synod the opportunity to consider how it wishes to respond both to the Government’s proposals and the recommendations in Talent and Calling.

The new motion is:

That this Synod, noting that proposals in the Government’s Green Paper of 3 July (attached to GS 1650A) will necessitate further discussion with the Church:

(a) welcome the prospect of the Church achieving the ‘decisive voice in the appointment of bishops’ for which Synod voted in 1974;

(b) affirm its willingness for the Church to have the decisive voice in the selection of cathedral deans and canons appointed by the Crown, given the Prime Minister’s wish no longer to play an active role in the selection of individual candidates;

(c) invite the Archbishops, in consultation with the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops, to oversee the necessary consequential discussions with the Government and to report to the February group of sessions, including on the implications for those matters covered by chapter 8 of GS 1650); and

(d) endorse the recommendations in chapter 10 of GS 1650, with the exception of recommendations 20-30, invite those responsible to give effect to them and invite the Archbishops’ Council to report to Synod during 2008 on progress with implementation.

In the light of this direction, the Bishops of Sheffield and Leicester give notice that they do not intend to move items 27 and 28.

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Friday, 6 July 2007

Friday news reports as synod gathers

Pat Ashworth in the Church Times reports: Synod members to urge caution over Anglican Covenant.

and also PM to withdraw from choosing diocesan bishops.

Jonathan Petre in the Daily Telegraph has Church of England coalition to tackle liberals.

Earlier in the week, he had Biggest change since Henry VIII and Pope.

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Thursday, 5 July 2007

GS: Is an Anglican Covenant a good idea?

It appears that Church Society doesn’t think so. Read Is an Anglican Covenant a good idea? and then also read General Synod The Anglican Covenant.

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InclusiveChurch on covenant proposals etc.

press release from InclusiveChurch

Covenant proposals and extra-Provincial Bishops

5th July 2007

The growing number of bishops created by African provinces for “pastoral oversight” in North America (and potentially in other provinces), the attempts to create a Covenant that defines Anglican doctrine and ethics, and the apparent intention to organise an alternative to the Lambeth Conference in London next year all point towards one thing. The strategy to destabilise the Anglican Communion is moving into another phase.

The creation by the provinces of Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria of extra-provincial Bishops is against the expressed wish of the Windsor Report and the post Lambeth ’98 process of listening and reconciliation. It is more evidence that the Primates of those provinces and their supporters in the US and Britain profoundly misunderstand the nature of the Communion. We very much regret that the Chair of the Covenant Design Group, the Archbishop of the West Indies, has welcomed these appointments.

Inclusive Church’s aim is to support and celebrate the traditional breadth and generosity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it has been received and passed on through Anglican history and lived out in the Communion. This creates challenges when there are fundamental disagreements. But the way to respond to disagreements is not to walk apart, nor to create separate structures, nor to seek to impose one particular point of view on the Communion. It is to engage, to communicate, to speak, to listen and to learn.

Clearly there are outstanding issues over how the Communion should respond to the reality that many Provinces include lesbian and gay Christians who live with partners in loving, faithful relationships. But the extraordinary way in which this issue has been allowed to dominate the life of the Communion over the past ten years is not coincidence.

There can be little doubt that the issue is being used by some, mainly conservative, Christians as a lever to try to change the Communion into something it is not; from a conciliar church into a confessional one. From a praxis-based Communion where the bonds between us are the bonds of fellowship and love to a codified Communion where exclusions are legally determined and legally enforced, and where the Communion defines itself not by who it includes but by who it excludes.

The Covenant process has been moved, by this group, away from its original intention which was to affirm the bonds of fellowship which exist. The way in which the draft was received by some at the Primates meeting in Tanzania is indication that, whatever the intention, it will be used to enforce a particular interpretation of the Scriptures to the detriment of the life of the Communion. We do not need a Curia, and the process of drafting a Covenant is already giving more power to the Primates than is justified by our history, by our life and by some of their actions to date.

Hard cases make bad laws. We wish to see, urgently, greater understanding between provinces, and we can see the value of a Covenant which enables this to happen . But the proposed draft before us is likely to be an instrument of further division, not unification. Some of our structures may need reform – but it is already clear that this Covenant process is unlikely to help.

The suggestion of an alternative “not the Lambeth Conference” is, simply, sad. Those who suggest it are walking away from the possibility of dialogue. The suggestion has little to do with dealing with our post-imperial past, and little to do with ensuring that particular voices are heard. It has a great deal to do with power; and with the location of power in the Communion.

We call on those supporting these actions to recognise that there is more than one answer to the questions which face us. Resolution will be achieved only through mutual respect and communication, and an acknowledgement that different views are sincerely held by faithful and loyal members of the Communion.

Inclusive Church is deeply committed to continuing the debate over these questions. The Anglican Communon has faced problems before and moved through them. With God’s help, we will again.

Giles Goddard
Chair, IC

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Wycliffe Hall: Jonathan Aitken comments

Jonathan Aitken a former Conservative cabinet minister and subsequent student at Wycliffe Hall, writes in today’s Guardian about the situation there. See This isn’t the Anglican split.

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Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Ruth Gledhill interviews Archbishop Akinola

In The Times tomorrow Ruth Gledhill interviews Peter Akinola.

The main newspaper article is titled For God’s sake.

There is also African bishops ready to boycott conference in row over gay clergy.

And there are two items on Ruth’s blog that expand on this:
Peter Akinola: ‘Unity will never be at the expense of truth’ and
Akinola on Lambeth, Canterbury, Islam and ritual sacrifice.

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Tuesday, 3 July 2007

church responds to government

The Archbishop of York has issued this statement:

Archbishop Responds to Prime Minister’s Statement

The Most Revd. and Rt. Hon. Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, has welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister regarding changes to the process by which diocesan bishops are appointed.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is on study leave, was made aware at the outset of the Government’s wish to talk to the Church about its intentions announced today. Dr. Williams agreed that the Archbishop of York was to deal with the matter and was briefed by Dr. Sentamu in advance of the Prime Minister’s statement.

Dr Sentamu said: “The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Justice consulted me about his intentions which I believe accord with the declared wish of the Church of England.

“I welcome the prospect of the Church being the ‘decisive voice in the appointment of bishops’ which the General Synod called for 33 years ago (in 1974).

“I am grateful for the Prime Minister’s thoughtfulness and for his overt support for the role of the Queen and the establishment by law of the Church of England which have been strongly reiterated in the Green Paper.

“The challenge we face as the Church of England is to use the sacred trust, enshrined in law, for the common good of all the people of England. Our vocation is to love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves: doing to others that which we would wish to be done to us. Our presence in every part of England must be used for bridging, bonding, partnership and friendship for all.”

Following the Prime Minister’s Statement and the publication of the Green Paper outlining his proposals, the Church of England will also engage in a constructive conversation with the Government concerning the appointment by the Monarch of Deans, Canons and Parish Clergy where the Sovereign has a prerogative.

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proposals for constitutional reform

Here is what the Green Paper from the Ministry of Justice says about church matters:

The Government’s role in ecclesiastical, judicial and public appointments

Appointments in the Church of England

57. The Church of England is by law established as the Church in England and the Monarch is its Supreme Governor. The Government remains committed to this position.

58. Because The Queen acts on the advice of Ministers, the Prime Minister as her First Minister has a role in advising The Queen on certain appointments within the Church. Diocesan and Suffragan Bishops, as well as 28 Cathedral Deans, a small number of Cathedral Canons, some 200 parish priests and a number of other post-holders in the Church of England are appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister.

59. In the case of Archbishops and Diocesan Bishops, reflecting the agreement reached between the Church and the State in 1976, the Crown Nominations Commission (formerly the Crown Appointments Commission) passes two names to the Prime Minister, usually in order of preference, who may recommend either of them to The Queen, or reject both and ask for further nominations. The Crown Nominations Commission is a Church based body, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as Chair and the Archbishop of York as Vice-Chair. However, the Prime Minister’s Secretary for Appointments is an ex-officio and non-voting member. The chair of the Crown Nominations Commission is taken by the Archbishop in whose province the vacancy has arisen.

60. For the appointment of Suffragan Bishops the relevant Diocesan Bishop is required by law to submit two names to the Crown. These are passed to the Prime Minister by the Archbishop of the Province concerned with a supportive letter. It has been the convention for more than a century that the Prime Minister advises the Monarch to nominate the person named first in the petition.

61. In the case of Deans appointed by the Crown, it is the practice for the Prime Minister to commend a name to the Queen, chosen from a shortlist provided by the Prime Minister’s Secretary for Appointments and agreed with the Diocesan Bishop, and following consultations with the Cathedral, Bishop, Archbishop of the province concerned and others as appropriate. (The aim is to reach agreement with the Bishop on the preferred order of the list.) In the case of the Crown canonries and parishes, following consultations led by the Downing Street Appointments Secretariat, the Prime Minister recommends the appointment to The Queen.

62. In considering the role which the Prime Minister and the Government should play in Church appointments, the Government is guided by four principles:

  • the Government reaffirms its commitment to the position of the Church of England by law established, with the Sovereign as its Supreme Governor, and the relationship between the Church and State. The Government greatly values the role played by the Church in national life in a range of spheres;
  • The Queen should continue to be advised on the exercise of her powers of appointment by one of her Ministers, which usually means the Prime Minister;
  • in choosing how best to advise The Queen on such appointments, the Government believes in principle that the Prime Minister should not play an active role in the selection of individual candidates. Therefore, the Prime Minister should not use the royal prerogative to exercise choice in recommending appointments of senior ecclesiastical posts, including diocesan bishops, to The Queen; and
  • the Church should be consulted as to how best arrangements can be put in place to select candidates for individual ecclesiastical appointments in line with the preceding principles.

63. To reflect the principle that, where possible, the Prime Minister should not have an active role in the selection of individual candidates, for diocesan bishoprics the Prime Minister proposes that from now on he should ask the Crown Nominations Commission to put only one name to him, a recommendation he would then convey to The Queen. The Government will discuss with the Church any necessary consequential changes to procedures. The current convention for appointing Suffragan Bishops will continue.

64. The Government respects and understands the different arrangements for Cathedral, parish and other Crown appointments in the Church. Developing any new arrangements for such appointments will require a process of constructive engagement between the Government and the Church, and the Government is committed to ensuring a productive dialogue. The Government is aware that a Church review of certain senior appointments, including Cathedral appointments, is to be debated by General Synod later this month; it hopes that this will be a good starting point for that dialogue. Until new arrangements are agreed, the Secretary for Appointments will continue to assist as appropriate.

65. These changes would also have implications for the Lord Chancellor’s patronage of some 450 parishes and a small number of canonries. It would be sensible for any changes agreed to the procedures for Crown patronage to be also agreed for the Lord Chancellor’s patronage.

66. No changes are proposed to Crown appointments to the Royal Peculiars such as Westminster Abbey and St. George’s Chapel,Windsor, reflecting the personal nature of the relationship of these institutions with the Monarch. Current conventions will continue.

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GS: proposed amendment on the covenant

The Affirming Catholicism press release published below mentions that an amendment has been tabled by Jonathan Clark.

The amendment reads as follows:

to delete all the words after “the Archbishops’ Council,” and replacing them with:

“to bring back to the next group of sessions of Synod for approval a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office.”

The original motion would then read this way:

That this Synod:

a) affirm its willingness to engage positively with the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007 for a process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion;

b) note that such a process will only be concluded when any definitive text has been duly considered through the synodical processes of the provinces of the Communion; and

c) invite the Presidents, having consulted the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council, to agree the terms of a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office by the end of the year. to bring back to the next group of sessions of Synod for approval a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office.

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GS: Affirming Catholicism on the draft Anglican Covenant

Affirming Catholicism press release:

Alarm raised over draft Covenant

In the week before the General Synod of the Church of England will be asked to endorse the process to create an Anglican Covenant, Affirming Catholicism has sounded alarm over the current proposed draft. In a commentary on the Covenant design group’s proposal to give the final say on Anglican doctrine to the meeting of the leaders of national churches, the Primates, The Rev’d Dr Mark Chapman, editor of a forthcoming Affirming Catholicism publication on the Anglican Covenant, and Vice-Principal of the Ripon College, Cuddesdon, said:

The emphasis given in the current proposals to the Primates’ Meeting (composed of 38 men and one woman) downplays the importance of synods. There is something disingenuous about giving power to determine membership of the Communion and to decide what constitutes the ‘common mind’ of the Churches to a group who at the moment refuse even to share Eucharistic communion with each other.

Affirming Catholicism has previously welcomed the idea of an Anglican Covenant as one possible way of healing divisions over Church discipline regarding homosexuality which have fractured the global communion, and Dr Chapman’s paper reiterates the movement’s hope that an instrument which creates dialogue and affirms the progressive elements within Anglicanism might provide a way forward.

The Chair of Trustees, Canon Nerissa Jones, MBE, said:

We support any attempt by the Archbishop of Canterbury to hold us all together. Affirming Catholics are progressive and inclusive Anglicans who value our place in a diverse and global Communion. And that is why we argue that only a covenant which values the role of local Synods, and recognises that episcopal power must be shared with lay people, can win the support of ordinary Anglicans. We hope that Synod will vote to support the ongoing process provided that it also insists that these features are vital to the future of Anglicanism as we know it.

This weekend’s Synod motion, if passed, would give authority to top officials in the Church of England to comment on the draft ahead of next year’s gathering of Anglican Bishops at the Lambeth Conference. Fr Jonathan Clark, a member of the group Affirming Catholics in Synod and rector of the Anglican Society of Catholic Priests, has tabled an amendment to the motion to ensure that the Synod itself – the only elected body in the Church – endorses the Church’s official response to the current draft covenant. Fr Clark has also jointly published an article with the Rev’d Canon Dr Graham Kings, theological secretary of the evangelical organisation, Fulcrum, in which the two affirm the need for a covenant which can build mutual respect and increased tolerance amongst Anglican Christians.

3/ 07/ 07

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Monday, 2 July 2007

GS: Anglican Covenant another paper

Updated

Andrew Goddard has written another briefing document, now available at Fulcrum The Anglican Covenant: Background and Resources. It now includes many links, including to a few articles that Thinking Anglicans has not mentioned previously. Reading this document is strongly recommended.

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follow-up on Nigerian news item

This report was in the Sun: CAN: How clerics aborted Akinola’s tenure elongation bid.

Previous item is here.

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Sunday, 1 July 2007

GS: Anglican Covenant contribution

Graham Kings, vicar of St Mary Islington and associated with Fulcrum and Jonathan Clark, rector of St Mary Stoke Newington and associated with Affirming Catholicism have jointly written an article which you can read here: Stretching and the Spirit: The Anglican Covenant.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 1 July 2007 at 11:08pm BST | Comments (42) | TrackBack
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more on these extra bishops

The Church of England Newspaper has a report by George Conger Uganda Appoints US Bishop. It includes this:

Further overseas bishops are expected to be appointed by the Church of Nigeria. On March 7 the Nigerian House of Bishops stated, “In light of the report from the recent meeting of primates in Dar es Salaam we agreed to defer the request for additional Episcopal elections for CANA until our meeting in September 2007.”

Central African Archbishop Bernard Malango is not expected to appoint a bishop to oversee his province’s US congregations, however.

The appointment of Bishop Guernsey was an interim measure to keep open a door for embattled traditionalists in the US to remain part of the Communion, Archbishop Orombi wrote on June 21.

“The need for a domestic episcopate for our Ugandan congregations grows daily, yet the anticipated, Biblically orthodox domestic ecclesial entity in the USA is not yet available. It has, therefore, seemed good to the House of Bishops and the Holy Spirit for us to take an interim step that acknowledges the need for a domestic bishop while at the same time affirming [their] full status as members of the Church of Uganda, and, therefore, of the Anglican Communion.”

And the Archbishop of the West Indies, Drexel Gomez, who is to speak to the English General Synod next Sunday in favour of an Anglican Covenant, endorsed the earlier announcement by the Province of Kenya:

The Archbishop supports the decision of the Province of Kenya to provide resident Episcopal oversight for the clergy and congregations in the United States who placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Kenya after they had arrived at the conclusion that the Episcopal Church no longer offered them the assurance of continuity with “The faith once delivered to the saints.” The provision of adequate pastoral care and episcopate oversight constitutes a deliberate and intentional effort to provide stability in an environment in which Anglicanism is being severely tested and challenged.

The Primates of the Communion at their meeting in Tanzania in February produced a communion response to the embattled state of Anglicanism in the United States in their offer of a provisional pastoral arrangement which provided space for the participation of all the major Anglican entities in the United States. Unfortunately, the unanimous offer of the Primates was rejected by the House of Bishops and the Executive Committee of the Episcopal Church. In the face of this unequivocal rejection, the Instruments of Communion must determine the most appropriate response to this unfortunate spectacle of a fragmented Anglicanism within the United States of America.

In this context, the decision of the Province of Kenya signals a willingness on the part of that Province to act responsibly to provide care for persons already under its jurisdiction. In addition, the selection of the Rev’d. Canon Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop is highly commendable. Canon Atwood is well suited for this particular ministry given his long association with Kenya and some of the other Provinces in CAPA and his unquestionable knowledge and appreciation of the ecclesial situation in the United States.

Finally, the willingness of the Province of Kenya to collaborate with the other orthodox Anglicans in the United States could serve the point towards a creation of a viable, stable and orthodox Anglican presence in the United States.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 1 July 2007 at 1:32pm BST | Comments (40) | TrackBack
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