Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Canadian news roundup

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada recently met, and issued this Letter to the Church.

Earlier the new primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz had visited Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office. See this report:

…Throughout these visits, Archbishop Hiltz heard encouraging feedback about how the Anglican Church of Canada is dealing with the issue of same-sex blessings.

“It’s always nice to hear someone like the Archbishop of Canterbury or from the Anglican Communion Office say you’re handling this coherently, cautiously, judiciously, and you’ve got some things I would hold up as a model for others to consider as they grapple with the issue,” said Archbishop Hiltz. “Of course that’s very encouraging and I’m looking forward to sharing those kinds of reflections at the Council of General Synod and the House of Bishops. Because we need to hear that.”

Two dioceses have recently voted on the matter of same-sex blessings, see Anglican Journal reports:

Ottawa votes yes to same-sex blessings

Ottawa synod followed process, says primate

Montreal diocese becomes second to urge same-sex blessings

“Progressive” Anglicans urge bishops to allow gay marriage

Ontario priest disciplined for marrying same-sex couple

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 10:59pm GMT | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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South Carolina re-election confirmed

The Diocese of South Carolina announces that it has been notified that a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and a majority of Standing Committees have consented to the election of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as the 14th bishop of South Carolina.

The consecration will be held January 26, 2008 at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston, South Carolina. There is no indication in the official announcements of who will preside at this service.

More details of this in the Episcopal News Service report here.

The Diocese has also announced that:

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori has accepted our invitation to meet with the leadership of the Diocese of South Carolina February 25-26, 2008. This will give us an opportunity to state with clarity and charity the theological position of this Diocese in a manner similar to when we met with Most. Rev. Frank T. Griswold shortly after his Installation as Presiding Bishop.

An appropriate agenda will be developed after the Consecration.

Press reports:

Associated Press New Episcopal Bishop for S.C.

The State Diocese names new bishop

Bakersfield Californian Pastor named bishop after long struggle

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 10:12pm GMT | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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magistrate loses appeal

A Christian magistrate who was told he could not opt out of homosexual adoption cases has lost his appeal.

Having lost an initial hearing at an employment tribunal in Sheffield earlier in 2007, Mr McClintock took his case against the Department for Constitutional Affairs to appeal in London.

However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the Department for Constitutional Affairs had not acted unlawfully and that Mr McClintock had not suffered discrimination on grounds of his religious beliefs.

Mr McClintock intends to appeal this decision.

You can read the full judgement of the appeal tribunal as a PDF file. Here is the official summary:

The appellant was a Justice of the Peace. He sat on the Family Panel which, inter alia, places children for adoption. He objected to the possibility that he might be required to place a child with a same sex couple. The reason he gave was that he considered that there was insufficient evidence that this was in the child’s best interests and he felt that children should not be treated like guinea pigs in the name of politically correct legislation.

He asked to be relieved from hearing cases which might raise these issues. Representatives of the respondent refused to allow this and he resigned from the Family Panel. He complained that this was both direct and indirect discrimination and harassment, contrary to the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

The Tribunal found that on the facts there was no unlawful conduct of any kind. He had not indicated that his objections were rooted in any religious or philosophical belief. There was in fact no direct or indirect discrimination for religious or philosophical reasons, nor any evidence of harassment. Even if there were a criterion adversely impacting on the appellant, the respondent was justified in requiring him to carry out the full duties of the office in accordance with his judicial oath.

The EAT rejected the appeal. The case was dismissed largely on the facts, but in addition the Tribunal was fully entitled to find that any indirect discrimination was justified.

Press coverage of the decision:

BBC Gay couple adoption appeal lost

Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre Magistrate loses gay adoption appeal

Religious Intelligence Nick McKenzie Christian Magistrate to appeal after losing tribunal case

The Christian Institute and the LCF-sponsored CCFON are both unhappy, see here and here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 9:43pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Central Florida saga, next episode

According to the November issue of the diocesan newspaper, one of the seven parishes that was departing has changed its mind:

*LATE BREAKING NEWS: Fr. Holsapple, St. Anne’s, Crystal River, e-mailed Bishop Howe at press time, saying he had reconsidered and would not leave, nor would his parish.

Meanwhile, the Central Florida Episcopalian published full details of the proposed protocol by which any disaffiliations will be handled: see here.

Note that this has not yet been agreed to, as the bishop explains:

How we move forward will necessarily differ from one case to another. If an overwhelming majority of the members of a given congregation were to decide to leave, we might face a situation in which disposal of the property would eventually have to be considered.

I have shared the following proposed protocol with the clergy at our annual Clergy Conference at Canterbury, and it will be presented to the Diocesan Board and Standing Committee later this month. It has not yet been adopted, but I believe that it – or something very like it – must ensure that the spiritual needs of all the members of the Diocese will be protected. (This is more detail than most of you will want, but for everyone concerned we need to be as clear as possible.)

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Sunday, 28 October 2007

chinese whispers on the covenant response

Updated

The Sunday Telegraph has a report by Jonathan Wynne-Jones headlined C of E to empower foreign bishops.

The Church of England is set to allow foreign archbishops to intervene in its affairs, secret papers reveal.

Under controversial plans being drawn up by the Church’s bishops, leaders from Africa and South America would be able to take over the care of parishes in this country.

They threaten to end the historic power of bishops to have ultimate control over their dioceses because parishes could ask for overseas prelates to carry out important duties, such as leading ordination services.

The proposals are part of a covenant or rule book of beliefs that has been endorsed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as a last ditch attempt to prevent the Anglican Church from splitting over gay clergy…

Episcopal Café has reported on this as Let’s see who salutes while epiScope has Telegraph plays telephone…?

Watch for clarifications to emerge…

Reminder: at the CofE General Synod in July the covenant draft was discussed with this outcome, and further reports are linked here.

Update
For clarification, see both the comment by Pete Broadbent below, and his comment here on Fulcrum.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 28 October 2007 at 12:09pm GMT | Comments (62) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 27 October 2007

more on child protection and the CofE

Following on from here, this week the Church of England issued a press release, Church confirms principles of protocol to review past child protection cases and the press duly reported:

Guardian Riazat Butt Church pledges to root out decades-old child abuse cases

Church Times Pat Ashworth Child-protection protocol agreed

Religious Intelligence Ed Beavan Child protection review ordered

BBC Church abuse case review outlined

Transcript of last May’s radio interview with the archbishop.

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weekend opinion columns

Mark Vernon writes in the Guardian that seeing scientific knowledge as limitless erodes our capacity for contemplative wonder. Read Face to Faith.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about Women alone in Paris and Mecca.

Roderick Strange asks in The Times How many of us have given until we felt the pinch?.

And there is another article: Church’s historic home in the City.

In the Church Times Giles Fraser asks Is secularism neutral on faith or anti-religious?.

And there is a leader column: Unity agreeable to God’s will.

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Friday, 26 October 2007

appointing cathedral deans

See earlier report here on the proposals for changing the way Crown Appointments are made. The full text of the document is here. The proposals relating to deans start at paragraph 31.

Three former deans wrote a letter to The Times this week:

Sir, Deans have been part of a system of checks and balances in the English Church, at least since the Reformation, when papal powers were divided between the Crown and the Archbishop of Canterbury (report, Oct 16).

Deans of cathedrals of the New Foundation (formerly monastic communities) are successors of their abbots and priors. Indeed, on the eve of the Reformation there were more abbots in the House of Lords than bishops. Canon law lays down that the government of the Church of England is by “archbishops, bishops, deans and archdeacons . . .” But suffragan bishops and archdeacons are already appointed by diocesan bishops: deans, therefore, appointed by the Crown, represent an independent focus in the life of the Church.

If the Crown wants to repudiate its responsibility in this regard, some other method of appointing deans should be found, because deans have a community rather than a purely ecclesiastical function.

Rather than abandon the appointment of deans by the Crown, consideration should be given to the appointment of all deans (including those of the parish church cathedrals, until recently called provosts) by the Crown.

John Arnold
Dean Emeritus of Durham

Richard Lewis
Dean Emeritus of Wells

Edward Shotter
Dean Emeritus of Rochester

The Church Times has a report by Bill Bowder Deans question power of diocesan bishops.

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Church colleges get advice on sacking staff

A report in the Times Higher Education Supplement tells about the advice given to its members by Council of Church Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

See Academia checks on faith in The Times:

Advice from the Council of Church Colleges and Universities tells universities to mention their Christian ethos in employment contracts so that staff who “openly flout” their ideals can be said to be in breach of contract.

It is thought that the rules are most likely to affect senior staff, chaplains and teachers of theology.

“If an employee acts in a way that is detrimental to the employer, by openly flouting the ethos . . . it may be possible to conclude that there has been a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence,” the advice adds…

And also Universities told how to use Christianity to sack staff on Ekklesia:

…But Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said that the advice was deeply disturbing.

“This report obliquely suggests ways of ensuring that some positions are not held by those whose lifestyle is at odds with some Christian doctrine, presumably in terms of sexual orientation, attitudes to abortion and maybe even to marriage”, the Times reports…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 26 October 2007 at 9:52am BST | Comments (39) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation

more follow-up on New Orleans and the JSC report

Andrew Goddard has made a very detailed analysis of the Joint Standing Committee Report which you can read at Fulcrum: The Anglican Communion after New Orleans and the Joint Standing Committee Report.

It includes an interesting description of how the report was compiled.

Kendall Harmon had A Conversation with Elizabeth Paver, member of the ACC Standing Committee.

Peter Jensen spoke to the Australian General Synod: Responding to the American House of Bishops - Archbishop Peter Jensen.

George Conger wrote in the Church of England Newspaper US House of Bishops Letter sparks debates on both sides.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 26 October 2007 at 8:18am BST | Comments (49) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Thursday, 25 October 2007

more comment on the Central Florida letter

The Bishop of Fort Worth and the President of the Standing Committee of that diocese welcomed the letter.

The Living Church reported that the Letter Doesn’t Sway Central Florida Parishes who were presumably the primary target.

One blogger I omitted previously was Tobias Haller who wrote Strange Advice and then followed up with States of Things.

George Conger reported on it for the Church of England Newspaper this way: Archbishop’s Letter Angers Liberals.

Andrew Carey wrote about it in his CEN column: New direction?

Cary McMullen asked in the Lakeland Ledger Has Bishop John Howe averted Schism?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 25 October 2007 at 11:36pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Zimbabwe update

Further developments since this report:

Living Church Two Sees in Central Africa Declared Vacant by George Conger

Anglican Communion News Service From the Dean of the Province on the withdrawal from the Province of Bishops Kunonga and Jakazi

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 25 October 2007 at 8:45pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Lam Pal clarifies the letter to Bishop Howe

Updated

The following comment from Lambeth Palace has been issued:

“It should be understood that the Archbishop’s response to Bishop Howe was neither a new policy statement nor a roadmap for the future but a plain response to a very urgent and particular question about clergy in traditionalist dioceses in TEC who want to leave TEC for other jurisdictions, a response reiterating a basic presupposition of what the Archbishop believes to be the theology of the Church.

The primary point was that – theologically and sacramentally speaking – a priest is related in the first place to his/her bishop directly, not through the structure of the national church; that structure serves the dioceses. The diocese is more than a ‘local branch’ of a national organisation. Dr Williams is clear that, whatever the frustration with the national church, priests should think very carefully about leaving the fellowship of a diocese. The provincial structure is significant, not least for the administration of a uniform canon law and a range of practical functions; Dr Williams is not encouraging anyone to ignore this, simply to understand the theological priorities which have been articulated in a number of ecumenical agreements, and in the light of this not to increase the level of confusion and fragmentation in the church.”

Update
The Living Church has a report by George Conger that elaborates a little on this: Archbishop Williams’ Letter ‘Not a Roadmap for the Future’

Second Update
Episcopal News Service has issued a report on the whole episode: CENTRAL FLORIDA: Howe letter quotes Canterbury; Lambeth issues clarification.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 23 October 2007 at 6:50pm BST | Comments (132) | TrackBack
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Monday, 22 October 2007

reactions to the Central Florida letter

Updated Monday evening

The letter from Rowan Williams to John Howe of Central Florida (full text here) has already caused quite a stir in the blogosphere. Here are some of the early reactions:

Covenant Ephraim Radner with Chris Seitz and Philip Turner: A Statement Regarding Upholding the Ministry of Faithful Bishops (also on the ACI site)

The Anglican Scotist A Glimpse into Williams’ Ecclesiology

Fr Jake More Confusion From Canterbury

Episcopal Café Think before you leap

Ruth Gledhill Rowan tells Orthodox: ‘Stay loyal to sacramental communion’

Dan Martins A Sudden Burst of Fresh Air

Adrian Worsfold National Anglican Churches Demolished…

Nigel Taber-Hamilton The Great Betrayal - Rowan Williams and the end of the Anglican Communion as we know it

Living Church Archbishop of Canterbury Discourages Separatist Solution

Updates

Covenant Doug LeBlanc Interpreting the First Epistle to Central Floridians

The Anglican Centrist The Letter from Canterbury to Orlando

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 22 October 2007 at 11:32am BST | Comments (89) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 21 October 2007

news from Central Florida

Amended

The Diocese of Central Florida has reported that a number of its parishes are discussing leaving the Episcopal Church.

See the Living Church report, Central Florida Parishes, Church Plants Plan to Disaffiliate.

Or this from the Lakeland Ledger Episcopal Leaders in Separation Talks

Bishop John Howe has issued a pastoral letter to be read today in churches. You can read the full text of it here on No Claim to Sainthood: The Bishop speaks.

The following paragraph (emphasis added) is of particular interest beyond Florida:

I have said repeatedly that it is my desire to remain both an Episcopalian and an Anglican. In that regard, let me share something with you that the Archbishop of Canterbury has written to me just this past week: “Any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such…. I should feel a great deal happier, I must say, if those who are most eloquent for a traditionalist view in the United States showed a fuller understanding of the need to regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the “National Church.”

Addendum On some other blogs, the direct quote from the archbishop has been extended to the end of the paragraph, but this is clearly not so in the source from which I have quoted.

Amendment Bishop Howe has now released the full text of his letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury and it can be read in full here. This text shows that the quotation should indeed go to the end of the paragraph, and not as previously indicated above stop at the word “such”. However, there was a very substantial section between the two sentences which was omitted, as indicated in the correct version by an ellipsis. The source from which I originally quoted has now also been corrected (and the error there explained).

I do strongly recommend reading the full text of the archbishop’s letter, which I have reproduced below the fold.

Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to Bishop John Howe of Central Florida

14 October 2007

Dear John

I’ve just received your message, which weighs very heavily on my heart, as it must - though far more so - on yours. At this stage, I can say only two things. The first is that I have committed myself very clearly to awaiting the views of the Primates before making any statement purporting to settle the question of The Episcopal Church’s status, and I can’t easily short-circuit that procedure. The second is that your Rectors need to recognize that this process is currently in train and that a separatist decision from them at this point would be irresponsible and potentially confusing. However, without forestalling what the Primates might say, I would repeat what I’ve said several times before - that any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such. Those who are rushing into separatist solutions are, I think, weakening that basic conviction of Catholic theology and in a sense treating the provincial structure of The Episcopal Church as if it were the most important thing - which is why I continue to hope and pray for the strengthening of the bonds of mutual support among those Episcopal Church Bishops who want to be clearly loyal to Windsor. Action that fragments their Dioceses will not help the consolidation of that all-important critical mass of ordinary faithful Anglicans in The Episcopal Church for whose nurture I am so much concerned. Breaking this up in favour of taking refuge in foreign jurisdictions complicates and embitters the future for this vision.

Do feel free to pass on these observations to your priests. I should feel a great deal happier, I must say, if those who are most eloquent for a traditionalist view in the United States showed a fuller understanding of the need to regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church’. I think that if more thought in these terms there might be more understanding of why priests in a diocese such as yours ought to maintain their loyalty to their sacramental communion with you as Bishop. But at the emotional level I can understand something of the frustration they doubtless experience, just as you must.

With continuing prayers and love,

+Rowan

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 21 October 2007 at 1:16pm BST | Comments (73) | TrackBack
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child protection and the CofE

In the Sunday Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones has a report that:

Child abuse has gone unchecked in the Church of England for decades amid a cover up by bishops, secret papers have revealed.

Read C of E child abuse was ignored for decades.

And also, Giles Fraser has an accompanying analysis: The truth must out.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 21 October 2007 at 1:02pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Rowan Williams writes about abortion

The Archbishop of Canterbury has an article today in the Observer, Britain’s abortion debate lacks a moral dimension.

There is a related news article, British women treat abortion as the easy option, claims angry Archbishop.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 21 October 2007 at 12:46pm BST | Comments (41) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 20 October 2007

Women Bishops and the Church of Sweden

The full text of the talk given by retired Swedish bishop Christina Odenberg, at a lunchtime meeting during the York General Synod sessions last July, can be found on the InclusiveChurch website.

Here it is.

And if you haven’t yet booked for Drenched in Grace in November, go here for details.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 6:33pm BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Anglicanism and Protestantism

Alister McGrath writes an article in the Church of Ireland Gazette under the title: Focus on Anglican Identity - Anglicanism and Protestantism.

You can read it all here.

This appears to have been provoked by this article from the Church Times some months ago:
Ecumenical spring is already here
by Gregory Cameron.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 9:22am BST | Comments (67) | TrackBack
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opinion columns on Saturday

The Times has Peter Mullen writing that Wealth creation can atone for the sins of Mammon.

The Guardian has Paul Oestreicher writing about Franz Jägerstätter.

The Daily Telegraph has Christopher Howse reviewing books: In and out of Hitler’s Reich.

Giles Fraser in the Church Times wrote about a film: This move hands the atheists a PR coup.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 8:08am BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Friday, 19 October 2007

Zimbabwe goings-on

Updated Friday evening

Pat Ashworth reports in the Church Times that Harare Anglicans are urged to stand up to Kunonga.

George Conger reports in the Church of England Newspaper that Central Africa Issues Ultimatum to Kunonga.

And he also has Provincial Leaders Tell Harare Bishop to Resign in the Living Church.

Episcopal News Service reports CENTRAL AFRICA: Provincial dean declares two Zimbabwe dioceses of Harare and Manicaland vacant.

See also these reports on Episcopal Café Harare chancellor warns diocese and Kunonga must go, say provincial leaders.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 19 October 2007 at 3:08pm BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 18 October 2007

Reform gets more publicity

Updated again Thursday evening

Reform, “a 1,700-strong evangelical network”, which was in the news earlier with this report, held an annual conference in central London this week. See announcement, and the detailed agenda (PDF file).

Media coverage of this:

The Times Conservative clergy told to leave care of bishop if he’s a liberal and later, Call to ignore ‘liberal’ CofE bishops and another version headlined Evangelicals told to defy bishops
Daily Telegraph Anglican Parishes To Ordain Own Clergy (Telegraph website temporarily unavailable, see copy here)
BBC Church makes threat over gay row

Update
The Church of England Newspaper also has coverage, headlined Reform warns of further actions: copy of it here.

And Religious Intelligence now also has More irregular action ‘highly likely’- Reform by Ed Beavan.

Second Update
The motions passed by the conference can be found at Anglican Mainstream, Motions from Reform Conference.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 18 October 2007 at 8:41am BST | Comments (65) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Humility, Grace and Freedom

Dr Joseph Cassidy of St Chad’s College, Durham gave a talk on the place of humility and grace within the Anglican Communion, to the Inclusive Church day conference held at St Matthew’s Westminster on 22 September.

The full text of his talk can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 11:09pm BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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PB speaks to American Episcopalians

In another live webcast, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has talked about the New Orleans meeting of the House of Bishops. She then answered many questions, both from a studio audience and submitted by email.

You can read her introductory remarks here.

You can watch the entire programme here.

An ENS report on the programme is here: ‘There will be no outcasts in this Church,’ Presiding Bishop tells live webcast audience.

Why can’t the Church of England have this kind of event?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 7:00pm BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
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Monday, 15 October 2007

Crown Appointments: consultation paper

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have published a press release and a consultation document.

The press release is here: Archbishops consult on Crown Appointments.

The consultation document to which it refers is published as a word processing file here.

An html copy of it is available here.

Here is the Introduction:

Introduction

1. On 3 July the Government published a Green Paper, The Governance of Britain. It contained a wide range of proposals for constitutional renewal. Paragraphs 57 to 66 (copy attached at Annex A) signalled the Government’s wish for some change in the role that Ministers and civil servants play in relation to some Church appointments.

2. In particular, the Green Paper proposed that the Prime Minister should no longer use the royal prerogative to exercise choice in recommending appointments in senior ecclesiastical posts. In consequence, the Church would in future be asked to forward one name for the Prime Minister to convey to the Queen in relation to diocesan bishop appointments. The Government also committed itself to discussing with the Church how changes could be made in relation to cathedral, parish and other Crown appointments (excluding those to the Royal Peculiars) so that the Prime Minister no longer played an active role in the selection of individual candidates.

3. The scheduled General Synod debate on 9 July on the Pilling Report, Talent and Calling, provided the opportunity for the Church to give an initial response to the Government’s proposals. Attached at Annex B is a copy of the motion that the Synod passed by 297 votes to 1.

4. The Synod noted that there would now need to be a process of discussion both within the Church and between the Church and the Government in order to develop new arrangements that would command a wide measure of support. It invited us to report back to the Synod in February.

5. The purpose of this document is to set out some thoughts on a possible way forward and to invite comments from around the Church. The time-scale is necessarily challenging. Those wishing to respond to this consultation document are asked to do so not later than Friday, 7 December, preferably by emailing or by sending written comments to Dr Colin Podmore at Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ (crown.appointments@c-of-e.org.uk).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 2:30pm BST | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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Peter Jensen on ABC radio

ABC Radio in its Sunday Profile programme has Monica Attard interviewing the Archbishop of Sydney.

There is a full transcript here. A lot of it is about why he is against women in the episcopate.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 7:53am BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 14 October 2007

Idowu-Fearon in Dallas

Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News spoke to Josiah Idowu-Fearon Bishop of Kaduna, Nigeria, and until recently the archbishop for that region.

Read the whole interview here: Josiah Idowu-Fearon: At the heart of two flashpoints.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 5:59pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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one bishop on Lambeth

Alan Wilson, who is Bishop of Buckingham in the Diocese of Oxford, has written on his blog:

What kind of party spirit am I on? Someone asked me if I’m going to the Lambeth conference.

Read it all…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 4:30pm BST | Comments (58) | TrackBack
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Ottawa votes on same-sex blessings

A Canadian diocese has voted in its diocesan synod in favour of authorising same-sex blessings. As the Anglican Journal explains:

The synod of the diocese of Ottawa, by an overwhelming vote of 177 to 97, today approved a motion requesting its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized” and to authorize rites for such blessings.

But despite what he called a “strong majority” (65 per cent in favour) and “a clear directive,” the diocesan bishop, John Chapman, cautioned that the approved motion was only “a recommendation and is not binding on the diocese or bishop.”

Read the Anglican Journal report in full here.

Earlier, this story was published: Embrace differences, regardless of outcome of vote, says Ottawa bishop.

The Ottawa Citizen reports Anglicans back same-sex blessings and includes the wording of the motion:

‘Be it resolved that this Synod requests that the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where one party is baptized; and that he authorizes an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.

The Toronto Star reports this as Synod backs gay rights.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 1:06pm BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 13 October 2007

Saturday roundup of columns

The Times Credo column last week had Jonathan Sacks on Religion and science are twin beacons of humanity.

This week it has Peter Selby on It’s time to stop giving credit to our culture of debt.

Guardian Face to Faith column: Fasting is not just about giving up food, but trying to be a better person for it, writes Hamza Yusuf.

Daily Telegraph Christopher Howse has The flowering of Exeter’s carvings.

Church Times Giles Fraser wrote about When the real question is: ‘Are you saved?’

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CAPA: reports from the Church Times

See below for CAPA speaks.

The Church Times has two reports:
AIDS heads African agenda
Council resists sexuality debate

… How sad, though, that the fractures of the Communion’s struggles over sexuality kept appearing, in an attempt to persuade the meeting to adopt an entrenched line in response to the US Bishops’ statement from New Orleans (News, 28 September). How sad that whenever we looked at a document, we found it had been drafted by a Western pen. How sad that paragraphs appeared in the draft communiqué that spoke of matters that had not even been debated. And how encouraging it was that the meeting roundly threw them out, and left the issue of sexuality to the Primates.

How rich an experience it was to share the diversity of fellowship across the continent and beyond. How humbling to see the concerted attempts by many delegates to build a sense of community across the traditional lines of high or low church, pro- or anti-Lambeth 2008 — delegates younger and older, female (well, a few), and male.Here was a mature Church, in creative dialogue with itself, on matters of importance.

While there was a concerted attempt to get both the Council and the CAPA Primates to take a firm stand with the “Global South” and against Lambeth, this was clearly not the mood of the meeting. Their concern was an African agenda. Yes, the majority take a conservative view on the sexuality debate, but there was much talk over coffee and tea about the pressure being exerted by the US conservatives (who were very visibly present at the meeting) to “keep CAPA on board”.Many resented this, even those who would sympathise with the position…

…Yet the mood of the meeting was expressed most strongly when the final communiqué, hich, it appeared, had been drafted largely by the Rt Revd Martyn Minns, was discussed. Its many references to the sexuality debate, which had simply not been discussed, were voted off…

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CEEC on the Americans

Updated
See here.

The Church of England Evangelical Council has published a Statement on The Episcopal Church’s Response to the Primates and the Lambeth Conference.

You can read that here.

To understand who the members of the CEEC are, read this page. To understand how members get to become members, see over here.

The Daily Telegraph has reported this in C of E faces boycott over gay priests row by Jonathan Petre.

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Friday, 12 October 2007

two reports on African Christianity

Hat tip to epiScope for both of these.

Nigerians meld Christianity, Islam with ancient practices from the Associated Press. This includes some quotes from Nigerian Anglican spokesman Akintunde Popoola.

And excerpts from Philip Jenkins’ article titled Unholy Communion in the New Republic are available here.

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Thursday, 11 October 2007

a sermon from Oxford

Marilyn McCord Adams preached at Matins last Sunday in Christ Church, Oxford.

Her sermon titled Sinning Against The Holy Spirit can be found as a pdf file here.

An html copy is over here.

Here’s the conclusion:

Two weeks ago, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) replayed the scenario, to its—at any rate, to my—shame. Evidently, their conversations with the Archbishop began by celebrating the uniqueness of the ‘79 prayer book’s baptismal covenant in which, besides renouncing Satan and turning to Christ, besides pledging faithfulness in common prayer and Christian service, we promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.” The Presiding Bishop reports that while the majority interpret this to mean that gays and lesbians are deserving of “the fullest regard of the church,” the House of Bishops showed itself “willing to pause” in “its consideration of full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the life and ministries of the Episcopal Church.” Bishops reaffirmed 2006 General Convention resolution to exercize restraint by withholding consents to episcopal elections of persons whose lifestyle would pose a serious problem for other members of the Anglican communion. Bishops went further by promising not to authorize rites for the blessing of same sex partnerships until the communion is of a different mind or a future General Convention decides otherwise. (The American House of Bishops has no authority to bind future General Conventions.)

For some bishops, these resolutions were a matter of conscience. It’s no secret that I disagree with them, but that is not my point right now. My focus is instead on the spiritual danger of “going along to get along,” of willingly sacrificing what one believes to be the dignity and well-being of real and present persons on the altar of institutional objectives. The lust for institutional harmony and stability is strong. It repeatedly seduces us, whether the issue is race, gender, sexual orientation, fair trade and wages, immigration and asylum, or something else. But Jesus Christ did not show Himself “willing to pause”: Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, the woman with scoliosis, the lame and the blind on the Sabbath day! Jesus warns, “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven!”

Happily, the bible’s God does not observe pop-psychological parenting rules not to threaten without following through. Repeatedly, the bible’s God prophesies doom and ruin to wake people up and win repentance. In the midst of present church controversies, one thing is certain: Jesus’ pronouncement should shock us out of our complacency, chasten our behavior, and keep us on our knees!

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Barna on American Teenagers

Although quite general in scope, this American research from The Barna Group is of interest.

See:

A New Generation Expresses its Skepticism and Frustration with Christianity

What Teenagers Look for in a Church

A sample:

The Set of Perceptions

While Christianity has typically generated an uneven reputation, the research shows that many of the most common critiques are becoming more concentrated. The study explored twenty specific images related to Christianity, including ten favorable and ten unfavorable perceptions. Among young non-Christians, nine out of the top 12 perceptions were negative. Common negative perceptions include that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%) - representing large proportions of young outsiders who attach these negative labels to Christians. The most common favorable perceptions were that Christianity teaches the same basic ideas as other religions (82%), has good values and principles (76%), is friendly (71%), and is a faith they respect (55%).

Even among young Christians, many of the negative images generated significant traction. Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.

Interestingly, the study discovered a new image that has steadily grown in prominence over the last decade. Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual.” Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians. One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a “bigger sin” than anything else. Moreover, they claim that the church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians.

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Tuesday, 9 October 2007

incitement extension proposed

Yesterday the UK Government announced in Parliament that it would table an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality.

Mr Straw said:

The Government have a strong record of promoting equality and of tackling discrimination and bigotry in all its guises. We have strengthened the sentencing framework, so that sentences can be increased where race, religion, disability or sexual orientation are aggravating factors. We have also introduced legislation to outlaw the stirring up of religious hatred, as my hon. Friend reminded the House. We have received many representations on the matter, and I am pleased to say that we will propose a further step to strengthen the protection afforded to homosexual people. It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the last 10 years that we are all now appalled by hatred and invective directed against gay people, and it is now time for the law to recognise the feeling of the public. In Committee, we will table an amendment to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality. Homophobic abuse, lyrics and literature are every bit as abhorrent to those concerned as material inciting hatred based on race or religion, and have no place in our communities.

Media reporting of this today gives some prominence to objections from religious groups:

The Times Inciting hatred against gays could lead to 7 years in prison and yesterday before the announcement, Christians fear jail for criticising gays
Daily Telegraph Seven years jail for gay hate preachers
Guardian Straw moves to ban incitement against gays
Daily Mail New law means anti-gay comments could lead to seven years in jail
Daily Express JAIL THREAT TO VICARS UNDER GAY HATE LAW
BBC Plans to outlaw inciting gay hate

According to the Daily Mail (no other paper mentioned this):

Last night a CofE spokesman said: “We will be scrutinising any legislation to ensure that it safeguards the safety and rights of minorities without jeopardising wider concerns for freedom of expression, including the expression of religious faith.”

Update
The Christian Institute is already on the case, see Gospel freedom threatened by homosexual hate crime.

More Updates
The text of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act is here.

The Evangelical Alliance had this to say about it.

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Wycliffe Hall: inspection brought forward

According to Ruth Gledhill in The Times the next inspection of Wycliffe Hall by the Church of England will occur in 2008 rather than 2009.

Bishops to inspect Wycliffe Hall after fears about management

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Monday, 8 October 2007

Bishop Nazir-Ali may not attend Lambeth

Update
There are further quotes from the bishop here.

Jonathan Petre reports in the Daily Telegraph that the Bishop of Rochester has said he may not attend:

…Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Bishop Nazir-Ali backed the calls of African archbishops for Dr Williams to convene an emergency meeting of all the primates to decide whether to discipline the Americans or postpone Lambeth.

He said: “My difficulty at the moment is not with a particular person, such as Gene Robinson, but with those who felt it right to approve and to officiate at his ordination.

“Unless they are willing to say that what they did was contrary to the Gospel, and we all of us from time to time need to repent about what we have done wrong, I would find it very difficult to be with them in a council of bishops.”

He said if the conference was no longer to be regarded as an authoritative council, as it had been in the past, then he might be able to attend, but many would then question whether such a costly gathering had any point.

Bishop Nazir-Ali dismissed the view of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, that conservatives who boycotted Lambeth would be expelling themselves Anglicanism because they had broken their links with the Archbishop of Canterbury…


Read the whole article here
.

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Peter Jensen's opinion on New Orleans etc.

The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has written The Next Twenty Years for Anglican Christians.

…Uncertainty is now over. The decisive moments have passed. Irreversible actions have occurred. The time has come for sustained thought about a different future. The Anglican Communion will never be the same again. The Windsor process has failed, largely because it refused to grapple with the key issue of the truth. A new and more biblical vision is required to help biblically faithful Anglican churches survive and grow in the contemporary world.

Some have still set their hopes on the Lambeth Conference. But that is to misunderstand the significance of our time. It can no longer either unify Anglicanism or speak with authority. The invitations have gone to virtually all, and it is likely that some of those not invited will still attend as guests. There are faithful Anglican bishops who are not invited, and there are others who cannot be present in good conscience. The solemn words of the 1998 Conference were ignored by the American Church in 2003, and any authority which we may have ascribed to the deliberations of the Bishops has been lost permanently. Not surprisingly, Lambeth 2008 is not going to attempt a similar exercise in conciliar pronouncements. Why would it? There is no vision here….

… That leads to this fundamental conclusion. Those who believe that the American development is wrong must also plan for the next decades, not the next few months. There is every reason to think that the Western view of sexuality will eventually permeate other parts of the world. After all, it has done so spectacularly in the West, and the modern communication revolution has opened the way for everyone to be aware of what happens in New York, London, San Francisco and Brighton.

Thus the question before the biblically orthodox in the Communion is this: what new vision of the Anglican Communion should we embrace? Where should it be in the next twenty years? How can we ensure that the word of God rules our lives? How are we going to guard ourselves effectively against the sexual agenda of the West and begin to turn back the tide of Western liberalism? What theological education must we have? How can we now best network with each other? Who is going to care for Episcopalians in other western provinces who are going to be objecting to the official acceptance of non-biblical practices? The need for high level discussion of these issues is urgent.

As an initial step I look to the Global South leadership to call for another ‘Blast of the Trumpet.’ The ensuing consultation must start with the reality of where we are now, and look steadfastly to a future in which the bonds of Communion have been permanently loosened. It has to strengthen the fellowship by which churches will help each other to guard their theological good health while engaging together with the task of preaching the gospel to an unbelieving world…

Read it all.

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Sunday, 7 October 2007

NPR on foreign archbishops

National Public Radio has a 6 minute report: Foreign Archbishops Flock to U.S. Congregations.

Those interviewed include Miranda Hassett and Jim Naughton.

Listen by going here.

The NPR blurb is:

The U.S. Episcopal Church has been estranged from parts of the global Anglican church since a church in New Hampshire consecrated a gay bishop. The controversy has abated somewhat, but many in the church now worry about another potential divide. Depending on your point of view, African bishops are either stealing American worshippers — or rescuing them.

Just as Western missionaries spread the Christian message to Africa, African and other Anglican leaders are staking claims in the United States.

In the past two years, there’s been a flurry of reverse colonization as archbishops from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Bolivia and Singapore have taken conservative Episcopal churches under their wings.

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ACI responds to New Orleans and JSC

The Anglican Communion Institute which on this occasion appears to mean:

Archbishop Drexel Wellington Gomez, Bishop Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop N.T. Wright, Bishop Edward L. Salmon, Bishop John W. Howe, Bishop James Stanton, Christopher Seitz, Philip Turner, Ephraim Radner, Andrew Goddard

has published:
Response to the New Orleans House of Bishops Statement
With brief reflections on the report of the Joint Standing Committee

The ACI copy is here, but the one linked above is easier to read.

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Saturday, 6 October 2007

weekend roundup

Jane Shaw writes in the Guardian about why the bond of baptism means we have no need for a new ‘essential’ Anglican covenant, in Face to Faith.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about Worshipping God through icons.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Ambition: the spiritual battle in the dark.

Harriet Baber writes in the Church Times that Most Episcopalians just don’t care.

Pat Ashworth writes in the Church Times about how Bishops wade in as Hurricane Katrina aid dries to a trickle.

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More African opinions

The Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi, has commented on the New Orleans statement of the American bishops and on the JSC report. See the Living Church reportby Steve Waring: Primate of Uganda: Episcopal Bishops Were Coached.

…“The report is severely compromised and further tears the existing tear in the fabric of our beloved Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Orombi wrote. “It is gravely lamentable that our Instruments of Communion have missed the opportunity in this moment to begin the healing that is so necessary for our future.”

Archbishop Orombi said the primates never asked the House of Bishops to make new policy for The Episcopal Church. Given that General Convention would not meet again for three years, he said the primates wanted the Episcopal bishops to clarify parts of two General Convention resolutions which the primates believed could be interpreted several different ways.

“TEC has lost the right to give assurances of their direction as a church through more words and statements,” Archbishop Orombi said. “They write one thing and do another. We therefore cannot know what they mean by their words until we see their meaning demonstrated by their actions.”

The full statement is here.

Some comparisons with earlier events are made at Episcopal Café see Abp. Orombi criticizes the New Orleans report.

Meanwhile, CANA bishop-elect David Anderson had this to say about the process in an email to the AAC mailing list:

When a Father Betrays the Family, All Suffer

This cannot be said in a few words. What is really going on in the Anglican Communion? Is there more going on than meets the eye? The answer is shocking and disappointing. A number of events are coming together to change the fundamental character of the Communion and re-establish the hegemony of the spiritually revisionist West.

Why has Rowan Williams overlooked the facts given him and welcomed the Episcopal Church to Lambeth anyway? The AAC provided Archbishop Williams with comprehensive documentation of the Episcopal Church’s words and actions relating to compliance with Dar es Salaam, usually in their own words, in direct quotes, with sources footnoted and internet weblinks. Did he bother to read it? Some pundits and commentators expected the Archbishop of Canterbury to actually review the facts, weigh the facts fairly and accurately, and properly discipline the current official branch of American Anglicanism, TEC.

Williams not only came to New Orleans with a closed mind to the provable facts, he came with a plan to swiftly undercut the orthodox Global South and those orthodox Americans whom they have supported. Within days, the optimistic pundits and commentators who thought that Dr. Williams cared about the morality and integrity of the Communion, cared about the Windsor Report, cared about the Dromantine and Dar es Salaam Communiques, were shown to be mistaken. What Dr. Williams cares about is holding onto American financial support, holding onto the revisionist provinces of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and allowing the pantheistic and homosexual agendas to continue their unfolding and flourishing.

Dr. Williams took two important actions upon leaving New Orleans: launching the Joint Standing Committee Report (very likely written before New Orleans by the Rev. Canon Dr. Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office); and immediately commencing a telephone campaign, phoning Anglican Primates to ask (read convince or coerce) their agreement that the Episcopal Church had substantially met the standards of the Dar es Salaam Communique.

With ears carefully turned to Lambeth, we find that Rowan Williams is determined that Lambeth 2008 will absolutely take place, and on his terms.

The AAC has been advised from trustworthy sources that Dr. Williams is already obligated for Lambeth Conference costs in Canterbury next summer, which means that if he cancels it, he is still responsible for most of the costs of the conference anyway. In order to secure their booking for the University of Kent, which is the venue for the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, one deposit of £440,000 (about $880,000 USD) was due on October 1, with a second payment for the same amount due on December 1. Did he receive the amount of money needed for the first payment in time to meet the October 1 deadline? Was this why his actions to secure a blessing for TEC were so frantic?

Perhaps he already had the down payment in hand for the October 1 installment, but he knows that the next deadline is December 1 when he will need another £440,000 (or $880,000 USD). Where will he acquire such enormous funds? If TEC is neither invited to Lambeth nor given a passing grade, the Lambeth Conference would be in as much trouble financially as a well known bank in the UK which had to be suddenly rescued. Who will rescue Lambeth and Rowan Williams? Would TEC put the envelope in the mail if they were treated favorably? The New Orleans Statement pressed for an invitation to Lambeth for Bishop Gene Robinson and offered to help the Archbishop of Canterbury achieve that. What might this help be? Stressors and motivations like these, though unseen by the public, are constant factors in the relationship between Canterbury and TEC. Sadly, that relationship is determining the direction and focus of a 77 million member church.

His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury, contacted the Primates quietly and individually, ostensibly to gather their views on whether TEC had passed the test. It is imperative to Dr. Williams that a substantial number of the Primates, no matter how small their province, agree that TEC has at least tried hard enough for a further chance. Dromantine and Dar es Salaam were unanimous, and he knows his best chance is to keep the Primates separated and unable to confer together in a meeting. We note that several members of the Joint Standing
Committee did not attach their names in agreement to the railroaded text, and the AAC applauds the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis (President Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East and a member of the Primates Standing Committee) for his courageous and accurate minority opinion to the JSC report, as well as his cogent observations based on his experience in New Orleans.

Let’s watch the news carefully over the next eight weeks. Will Dr. Williams coerce a slight majority of Primates to agree favorably towards TEC? Will Dr. Williams find the £440,000 for the next installment due December 1 and save both face and the Lambeth Conference - at least until the next installment is due? Follow the money and watch for updates as answers to these questions become available. Watch for the official announcement from Dr. Williams that TEC is OK, and then later, that Gene Robinson is coming to Lambeth. Am I wrong on this analysis? I believe I am spot on, but I am willing to issue a challenge to Lambeth Palace: prove me wrong…

There is more, read it all here.

Update Still more opinions from David Anderson here.

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CAPA speaks

Three statements have been issued from the meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) :

CAPA Communique, Mauritius, Indian Ocean, October 2007

Eleven of the twelve provinces of CAPA were represented: Burundi, Central Africa, Congo, Indian Ocean, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and West Africa.


African Archbishops respond to New Orleans, October 2007

Here is part of that:

4. While meeting in Mauritius we received a copy of the report of the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council. On first reading we find it to be unsatisfactory. The assurances made are without credibility and its preparation is severely compromised by numerous conflicts of interest. The report itself appears to be a determined effort to find a way for the full inclusion of The Episcopal Church with no attempt at discipline or change from their prior position.

5. We are convinced that what is at stake in this crisis is the very nature of Anglicanism - to understand it simply in terms of the need for greater inclusivity in the face of changing sexual ethics is a grave mistake. It is not just about sexuality but also about the nature of Christ, the truth of the Gospel and the authority of the Bible. We see a trend that seems to ignore the careful balance of reformed catholicity and missionary endeavor that is our true heritage and replace it with a religion of cultural conformity that offers no transforming power and no eternal hope.

6. In our considered opinion, however, there is a possible way forward. The Anglican Communion Covenant is the one way for us to uphold our common heritage of faith while at the same time holding each one of us accountable to those teachings that have defined our life together and also guide us into the future. We therefore propose the following actions:

a. Call a special session of the Primates Meeting.

We believe that meeting together is essential if we are prayerfully to allow the Holy Spirit to work through our interactions and bring us to a common mind. We would need to:

i. Review the actual response made by The Episcopal Church - both their words and their actions.
ii. Finalize the Covenant proposal and set a timetable for ratification by individual provinces.

b. Postpone current plans for the Lambeth Conference

We recognize that such an action will be costly, however, we believe that the alternative - a divided conference with several provinces unable to participate and hundreds of bishops absent would be much more costly to our life and witness. It would bring an end to the Communion, as we know it. Postponement will accomplish the following:
i. Allow the current tensions to subside and leave room for the hard work of reconciliation that must be done.
ii. Ensure that those invited to the Lambeth Conference have already endorsed the Covenant and so can come together as witness to our common faith.

7. We make these proposals in good faith believing that they provide an opportunity for us to reunite the Communion consistent with our common heritage and give us a way forward. We also stand ready to work with the various instruments of the Communion to ensure their success.

The signatures on this statement are:

The Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
**The Most Rev’d Justice Akrofi, The Church of the Province of West Africa
The Rt. Rev’d Philip Baji*, The Anglican Church of Tanzania
The Most Rev’d Fidele Dirokpa, Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo
The Most Revd Ian Ernest, The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
The Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, L’Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda
The Most Rev’d Bernard Malango, The Church of the Province of Central Africa
The Rt Rev’d Trevor Mwamba*, The Church of the Province of Central Africa
The Most Rev’d Bernard Ntahoturi, The Anglican Church of Burundi
The Most Rev’d Benjamin Nzimbi, The Anglican Church of Kenya
The Most Rev’d Henry Orombi, The Church of the Province of Uganda
**The Rt Rev’d Johannes Seoka*, The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Rev’d Canon Dr. Sami Fawzy Shehata*, Diocese of Egypt
*Representing the Province
** Absent during discussion of Communiqué due to travel schedule

A Statement from the Most Rev’d Ian Ernest, Bishop of Mauritius, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, the newly-elected Chairman of CAPA

For some background on Archbishop Ernest, see Episcopal Café African Primates wrap up meeting.

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Friday, 5 October 2007

Wycliffe Hall: Church Times report

The Church Times has a report by Bill Bowder Wycliffe Hall criticised by resigning governor.

CLARE MACINNES, a member of the Council of Wycliffe Hall, the increasingly troubled Evangelical theological college in Oxford (News, Letters, 28 September), wrote to its chairman on Monday to resign and explain her reasons.

She said on Tuesday that she had also written to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the college’s Visitor, and to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. “My responsibility is to tell my story,” she said. “I am deeply saddened by this, and it gave me no pleasure to write this letter.”

The chairman of the Council of Wycliffe Hall, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones, had replied immediately, “which I appreciated”, but she declined to give any details of his reply…

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Church Times reports on the US

Today’s Church Times has coverage of recent events and due to a postal strike in the UK, the whole newspaper is available this week without subscription.

Pat Ashworth Official support for US Bishops, while others doubt

And ‘Parallel Church’ for North America

Barry Morgan New Orleans: the inside story

Andrew Brown Press: Staying at home for the schism

Letters:The Pittsburgh traditionalists are unlikely to be united for long

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Thursday, 4 October 2007

Fort Worth prepares to dissociate

The Diocese of Fort Worth has published documentation for its annual convention to consider:

“Today the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth announced its decision to sponsor five proposed amendments to the Diocesan Constitution and Canons for consideration at the diocese’s 25th Annual Convention on November 16 and 17, 2007. [PDF document below]

If adopted, the Diocese would take the first step needed to dissociate itself from the General Convention of The Episcopal Church and to begin the process of affiliating with another Province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Since constitutional changes do not go into effect until they are approved by two successive diocesan conventions, the second, ratifying vote would come at the annual meeting in 2008. Under the proposals, the Diocese would reaffirm its position as “a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, consisting of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces and regional churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.”

Read the full announcement here.

See also the full report of the Committee on Constitution and Canons as a PDF file here.

Read the Episcopal News Service story: FORT WORTH: Standing Committee proposes severing Episcopal Church ties.

And the Living Church story Fort Worth Will Vote on Affiliations at Convention.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported it as Panel advises splitting from U.S. Episcopal Church.

The Dallas Morning News had Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese proposes break from church.

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press reactions to JSC report

New York Times Neela Banerjee Panel Says Episcopalians Have Met Anglican Directive

Los Angeles Times Rebecca Trounson Anglican leaders urge unity

Associated Press Rachel Zoll Anglican Panel Praises Episcopalians

Religious Intelligence Ed Beavan Primates give green light to Episcopal Church

Living Church Joint Standing Committee: Bishops ‘Clarified All Questions’. Also, George Conger Primates Asked to Critique Bishops’ Response.

The Times Ruth Gledhill Church needs to get ‘closure’ on gay row, says report to Archbishop of Canterbury

Episcopal News Service Matthew Davies House of Bishops provides necessary clarifications, Joint Standing Committee report finds

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 October 2007 at 11:17pm BST | Comments (40) | TrackBack
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updated JSC report on New Orleans

The PDF file that contains the report of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion on The Episcopal Church House of Bishops of Meeting in New Orleans has been amended. It now includes as an addendum the text of the submission of Bishop Mouneer Anis, Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

The report has this statement:

The present text was developed from the remarks of JSC members in New Orleans and in consultation with them.

In electronic correspondence, the following members of the Joint Standing Committee have signified their assent to this text:

  • Phillip Aspinall, Primate of Australia, Primates’ Standing Committee
  • Barry Morgan, Primate of Wales, Primates’ Standing Committee
  • Katharine Jefferts Schori, Primate of The Episcopal Church, Primates’ Standing Committee
  • John Paterson, Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council and of the ACC Standing Committee
  • George Koshy, Vice-Chair, ACC and Standing Committee
  • Robert Fordham, ACC Standing Committee
  • Kumara Illangasinghe, ACC Standing Committee
  • Elizabeth Paver, ACC Standing Committee **
  • Nomfundo Walaza, ACC Standing Committee

The following members have signified dissent:

  • Mouneer Anis, Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Primates’ Standing Committee . (The text of Bishop Mouneer’s submission is attached as an addendum.)

Responses have not yet been received from:

  • Philippa Amable, ACC Standing Committee
  • Jolly Babirukamu, ACC Standing Committee

** Following communication from Canon Paver her name has been moved to those who assented to the document.

Revised. Thursday, 4th October, 2007

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 October 2007 at 10:59pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Wycliffe Hall: council member resigns

Religious Intelligence has reported that there is a New crisis for Anglican college as council member resigns by Ed Beavan.

A COUNCIL member of the under-fire Oxford theological college Wycliffe Hall has resigned because of her concerns over failures by the body to ‘respond to allegations of bullying, intimidation of Council members and a lack of transparency in its decision making’.

Clare MacInnes announced her resignation in a letter to the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, who is chair of the Council of Wycliffe Hall, which she also sent to The Church of England Newspaper.

Mrs MacInnes said she had decided to put the letter in the public domain because of the ‘importance of the issues for the ongoing welfare and governance of the Hall and the wider church’.

In the letter she says that that the Council had ‘failed to observe due process’in the areas of terminating staff employment, staff recruitment, the Listening Process, records of Council discussions, and Council membership…

The story is also reported in the Guardian by Stephen Bates under the headline College council member quits over ‘bullying’.

…In her letter of resignation this week, council member Clare MacInnes told the Rt Rev James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, who is chairman of governors: “I am disturbed by the council’s failure to respond to allegations of bullying, intimidation of council members and a lack of transparency in its decision-making … I regret I have no confidence in the chair, the principal or the council as a whole to address these serious matters of governance, employment practice and simple human relationships.” Her letter suggests that a decision to pay Dr Turnbull a salary thousands of pounds above national pay scales was not properly appraised by the council when he was appointed two years ago.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 October 2007 at 7:59am BST | Comments (42) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Joint Standing Committee reacts to New Orleans

The Anglican Communion News Service reports today as follows.

House of Bishops Meeting in New Orleans

The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion have now submitted their Report on The Episcopal Church House of Bishops of Meeting in New Orleans. The Archbishop of Canterbury has sent the Report to all the Primates and to all members of the Anglican Consultative Council and asked them to consult in their Provinces on the Report, and respond to him by the end of October.

A PDF of the Report can be found here. It’s quite long (19 pages).

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 3 October 2007 at 3:50pm BST | Comments (122) | TrackBack
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Wycliffe Hall - another interview with Eeva John

The BBC Radio Ulster programme Sunday Sequence carried an interview with Dr Eeva John this last weekend. The programme ended with a statement from the principal of Wycliffe Hall (Dr Richard Turnbull) and the chair of the hall council (the Bishop of Liverpool).
Listen (11m 39s)

We linked to an earlier interview with Dr John on BBC Radio 4 here.

Update
Clare MacInnes, a member of the hall council, has resigned “because of her concerns over failures by the body to ‘respond to allegations of bullying, intimidation of Council members and a lack of transparency in its decision making’.”
Details here.
[hat-tip to badman]

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 3 October 2007 at 1:55pm BST | Comments (37) | TrackBack
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Monday, 1 October 2007

Irish and Scottish primates and the communion

The Most Revd Dr Idris Jones, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway spoke at an Inclusive Church seminar in Manchester Cathedral on 29 September. His subject was Communion and Canterbury. Here is a brief extract.

Actually I can suggest the wording of a Covenant like this - “As sisters and brothers in Christ we pledge ourselves to remain together in spite of any differences that arise.” We really do not need anything more structured in order to facilitate what began and remains in essence a relational experience.

The Most Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland has issued a statement in response to the 25 September 2007 Statement of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. He concludes:

I hope that member churches of the Anglican Communion will now calmly and fairly reflect upon the New Orleans Statement and conclude that TEC Bishops have gone a considerable way to meeting the reasonable demands of their critics.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 1 October 2007 at 3:55pm BST | Comments (79) | TrackBack
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