Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Pittsburgh: disagreement in the ranks

Updated Thursday

Episcopal Café has the story, Rift amongst conservative Episcopalians is showing.

In the first public sign of disagreement among theologically conservative clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh over the leadership of Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr., 12 such rectors and priests told him this week they disapprove of his effort to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church and will, instead, remain with the denomination.
The 12, including the president of the diocese’s clergy association and its longest-tenured rector, mailed a signed, one-paragraph letter yesterday to the diocese’s 66 churches saying that while they supported the “reformation of the Episcopal Church … we have determined to remain within, and not realign out of” it….

TO THE PEOPLE AND CLERGY OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH:

We are rectors and clergy in good standing of the Diocese of Pittsburgh who believe the best way forward for renewal and reformation of the Episcopal Church is support for the Windsor Report and its recommendations. While we understand the need of many of our brothers and sisters to leave the Episcopal Church, we have determined to remain within, and not re-align out of, the Episcopal Church. We intend to “keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:6).

Dated this 29th day of January, 2008:

• The Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker, priest in charge of St. Stephen’s, Wilkinsburg
• The Rev. Jay Geisler, rector of St. Stephen’s, McKeesport
• The Rev. Daniel Hall, priest associate, assigned to First Lutheran Church
• The Rev. Norman Koehler, priest, chaplain at Presbyterian Senior Care, Oakmont
• The Rev. Jeffrey Murph, rector of St. Thomas’, Oakmont
• The Rev. Scott Quinn, rector of Church of the Nativity, Crafton
• The Rev. Bruce Robison, rector of St. Andrews’, Highland Park
• The Rev. James Shoucair, rector of Christ Church, North Hills
• The Rev. James Simons, St. Michael’s of the Valley, Ligonier
• The Rev. Stephen Smalley, rector of St. Barnabas’, Brackenridge
• The Rev. Philip Wainwright, rector of St. Peter’s, Brentwood
• The Rev. Don Youse, priest in charge, Emmanuel, North Side

Thursday updates

Here are some links I did not have time to include here yesterday:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steve Levin Letter shows rift among Episcopal conservatives

Episcopal News Service PITTSBURGH: Group of priests tells Duncan they will not leave Episcopal Church

And a later article at Episcopal Café notes that:

…of the 180 clergy others are in progressive parishes and were not part of this group of 12 conservatives. It has been estimated that together the opponents of the course Duncan is [taking] could represent as much as 45 percent of average Sunday attendance in the diocese.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 30 January 2008 at 2:44pm GMT | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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GAFCON: a shadow conference

Updated Thursday

Fulcrum has published an article that also appears in this week’s Church of England Newspaper by Graham Kings entitled Substance and Shadow: Lambeth Conference and GAFCON. An extract:

…What is being planned to happen at GAFCON? No mention is made of the background documents of the Lambeth Conference: The Windsor Report, the Covenant Process and the Advent Letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the Ontario conference mentioned above, Chris Sugden described a group of Anglicans (and implied he was included in the definition) who are made up of:

those who disagree with The Episcopal Church in its teaching on doctrines and ethics, and no longer trust the Archbishop of Canterbury to deal adequately with the problem.

This ‘no longer trusting in the Archbishop of Canterbury’ matches his earlier article, ‘Not Schism but Revolution’, in Evangelicals Now (September 2007), where he stated, after a quotation from Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh:

In other words, since the Archbishop of Canterbury has not provided for the safe oversight of the orthodox in the United States, he has forfeited his role as the one who gathers the Communion.

Some of the planners of GAFCON have a tendency to be militant. They are intent on the setting up a ‘shadow Communion’ not centred on Canterbury. This ‘non-Canterbury Communion’ is openly being discussed on conservative American web sites. The insistence that there are now ‘two branches’ of the Anglican Communion is a crucial part of the deposited legal defence of the churches of the Anglican District of Virginia, part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) led by Martyn Minns, against The Episcopal Church…

Thursday updates

Vinay Samuel has written a letter to the Church of England Newspaper see Dr Vinay Samuel responds to Bishop Tom Wright.

Archbishop Peter Akinola held a press conference in Lagos about GAFCON, see Press Conference - 30th January 2007:

The Primate of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Peter Akinola, gave a press conference in Lagos, Nigeria on January 30 announcing the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in the Holy Land. The occasion was a gathering of the GAFCON Theology Resource Team.

Archbishop Akinola said:

“We are planning a conference in the Holy Land in the month of June: GAFCON - Global Anglican Future Conference. That conference is called by those members of the Anglican Family who see themselves as orthodox Anglicans, who are upholding the authority of scriptures, and believe that the time has come to come together to fashion the future of our Anglican family. This has to be done within a theological framework. They will be producing a book to help all members of the conference to study beforehand. That book will cover the themes for the conference. What are the challenges? Why are some people deviating from the orthodox faith? Why are they allowing modern culture to overwhelm the word of God. They will be highlighting the Lordship of Jesus Christ over his church and over the world. If the Lord is king why are people not following his leadership? Why are people interpreting this word in a way that suits their fancy?

We must also look at the Church of God in our time and the whole area of its mission : what is God doing in our time, responding to the needs of our time – e.g. Aids, poverty, corruption, good and bad governance. We are going to use that conference to address all these issues.

By early May the book will be available. These are very exciting times. On behalf of the Church of Nigeria and GAFCON I want to thank you for spending sleepless nights brainstorming for us to give us the road map that will guide us in our generation.”

Press Questions

What led to the creation of GAFCON? There is the Lambeth Conference and the ACC. There are three bodies. Is the church of USA represented in GAFCON?

Primate: Let me answer the last question first: America as a church is not part of GAFCON. But there are many individual members of the church, bishops, each in his own right that will be part of GAFCON. Officially TEC is not part of GAFCON.

What led to GAFCON? It is a very long story. In the last five years we have had this endless controversy in the Anglican Communion. To the world this is about homosexuality. To us it is just a symptom of the real problem. Homosexuality is not peculiar to Anglicans but Anglicans have the courage to discuss it openly. The issue is that there are members of our Anglican family who are not paying attention to scripture, but are giving prominence to modern culture. They are bringing new principles to interpret scripture. The word of God has precedence over any culture. Those of us who will abide with the Word of God, come rain come fire, are those who are in GAFCON.

Those who say it does not matter are the ones who are attending Lambeth. There might be a view, for whatever it is worth, that they want to be there to observe what is going on. But Uganda, Rwanda, Sydney, Nigeria: we are not going to Lambeth conference. What is the use of the Lambeth conference for a three weeks’ jamboree which will sweep these issues under the carpet. GAFCON will confer about the future of the church, which will set a road map for the future. We are a movement that will move away from the “maybe - maybe not”.

The issue is that church leaders are endorsing what is wrong. They are not willing to make the gospel that the Lord can bring change available. We want to move forward with commitment to the word of God. The question is asked how many people we are. The question is rather how many people we are representing. Four primates who are in the leadership of GAFCON represent more than 30 million Anglicans…

The press conference also refers to the paper Global Anglican Orthodoxy: A Blueprint by Stephen Noll which is available on the GAFCON site.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 30 January 2008 at 12:36pm GMT | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Monday, 28 January 2008

South Carolina has a new bishop at last

Updated

Episcopal News Service has South Carolina consecrates Lawrence as 14th bishop.

The Living Church has South Carolina Celebrates Bishop Lawrence’s Consecration:

… The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III, Bishop of East Carolina and president of Province 4, was the chief consecrator. Co-consecrators were: the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., retired Bishop of South Carolina; the Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison, retired Bishop of South Carolina; the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester in the Church of England; the Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy; and the Rt. Rev. Julio Cesar Holguin, Bishop of the Dominican Republic.

In all, some 40 bishops participated, including the Rt. Rev. Benjamin A. Kwashi, Bishop of Jos in the Anglican Church of Nigeria; the Rt. Rev. Anthony Burton, Bishop of Saskatchewan in the Anglican Church of Canada; the Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers, interim dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and retired missionary bishop for the Anglican Mission in the Americas; and the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the Anglican Communion Network. The preacher was the Rt. Rev. Alden Hathaway, retired Bishop of Pittsburgh. As a young priest, Bishop Lawrence served under Bishop Hathaway. Bishop Lawrence is the first graduate of Trinity seminary to be consecrated a bishop of The Episcopal Church…

And the report later continues:

…In an interview after the consecration with The Living Church, Dean McKeachie referred to a statement he recently published on the internet for insight into the likely near-term future of the diocese. “Our hope in South Carolina is that Mark Lawrence’s consecration, along with the present Archbishop of Canterbury’s willingness to follow his predecessor’s lead, will bear fruit at Lambeth 2008 in a clear and definitive affirmation, on the part of the vast majority of bishops present, that the Anglican Communion is (in Archbishop Williams’ words) ‘truly a gift of God to the wholeness of Christ’s Church’.”

Here’s the text of the sermon preached by Bishop Alden Hathaway.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 28 January 2008 at 10:12pm GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 26 January 2008

opinions this weekend

Geoffrey Rowell writes that Paul shows how faith could turn all our lives around in The Times.

Alan Wilson also writes about Saint Paul, in The Power of Love.

Stephen Smith writes about the Holocaust in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about a Coincidence in a Bath bookshop.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Technology: does it dispel the wonder?

And the Church Times carried a leader about Christian unity: Two ways to hold the body together.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 26 January 2008 at 12:13pm GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Friday, 25 January 2008

more San Joaquin developments

Updated yet again Monday evening

First, at the Lambeth press conference on Monday, the Archbishop of Canterbury said this, as reported by the Living Church in response to a question about Bishop John-David Schofield:

Regarding the attendance of San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield, inhibited by the Presiding Bishop earlier this month, the archbishop said he is “waiting on what comes out of the American House of Bishops’ discussion of that. It’s not something I’ve got a position on yet. At the moment he still has an invitation.”

Second, there are several reports from Episcopal News Service that relate:

San Joaquin: ‘Moving Forward, Welcoming All’ conference to host online audience January 26

and

Province VIII seeks lay representative for vacated Executive Council seat

And then there was this statement from Forward in Faith North America FiF NA President responds to inhibition of Bishop Schofield.

And finally, there was a letter in last week’s Church Times by the Bishop of Horsham, see Why I signed the San Joaquin letter.

Friday evening update

Here is the official ACO page for the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Saturday evening update

Episcopal News Service reports that San Joaquin Standing Committee not recognized as official, Presiding Bishop says.

The full text of the letter she sent to the committee members can be read here (PDF).

Monday evening updates

There are various opinions being expressed about this letter, see:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 January 2008 at 2:30pm GMT | Comments (39) | TrackBack
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GAFCON developments

Updated again Saturday morning

According to the Church Times in this report by Pat Ashworth headlined Dawani fails to divert GAFCON ‘pilgrims’:

THE ORGANISERS of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) insist that they will be holding the event in Jerusalem, despite strong protests and an alternative suggestion from the Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, and his colleagues in the Holy Land.

However, the following announcement has just appeared on the GAFCON website:

Global Anglican Future - Travel Plans

This morning we have released the following communication on behalf of the leadership team of GAFCON:

“We have heard that GAFCON has aroused considerable interest and enthusiasm. We would encourage those who are planning visits to the Holy Land to coincide with GAFCON to await the announcement of the venue and the exact start and finish dates before making final plans”

The GAFCON Leadership Team.

An article in today’s Church Times by Bishop Tom Wright, criticising GAFCON, is behind the subscription paywall until next Friday now available there, and also at Fulcrum, but you can read criticism of the article by going to this blog post here.

Friday afternoon update
According to Ruth Gledhill writing on her blog, Gafcon ‘to take place as planned’:

Paul Eddy, doing the PR for Gafcon, insists that nothing has changed. He says: ‘The final details of venue, hotels are being finalised, a team was out in Middle East just last week with conference and hotel and transport reps, all according to plan. Full details to be sent out to non-Bishops March 1.’ He continues, ‘The timetable agreed at the beginning has always been that Bishops nominate clergy and lay folk and the official invites will be sent to non-Bishops on March 1.’

She also includes a link to the report of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, by Andrew Brown which is available at How Christians love each other.

Last week’s Church Times had a clutch of letters about GAFCON. See Both a gaffe and a con? The Global Anglican Future Conference.

Saturday morning
The article by Tom Wright is now also available here at Covenant.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 January 2008 at 12:05pm GMT | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Lambeth 2008: Church Times reports

Paul Handley wrote in the Church Times about Monday’s press conference:

Lambeth Conference to go ahead with most of the bishops present.
(Scroll down for other information about the programme, the cost, and the spouses conference.)

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Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Lambeth Conference: some reactions

From the blogs:

Alan Wilson gives some background on Indaba in The Morning After: Indaba or Prozac?

He then also comments on the press coverage in Ten Rules for cooking up a Gay Schism:

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Are we wobbling off piste? Reporting the same Lambeth Conference launch, Riazat Butt in the Guardian concludes “Gay Climate of controversy clouds Anglican gathering” whilst, probably more accurately, Ruth Gledhill of the Times reports “Sexuality will barely be on the Lambeth Conference agenda.” The blue train is wobbling on the tracks, friends. Entirely as an exercise in communications studies (and not theology, you understand) may I humbly propose a facetious little something to help keep this thing rolling…

Only Connect has an article by Paul Bagshaw titled Lambeth Conference in no sense a law making body.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 January 2008 at 7:46pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Bishop Lee explains

Episcopal Café has this:

Lee also did not consent to Duncan inhibition

Bishop Peter Lee, the bishop of the Diocese of Virginia has released the following statement in response to questions about whether or not he agreed to consent to acting to inhibit Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh who has been charged with the abandonment of the Communion of the Episcopal Church:

I along with the two other most senior active bishops in the House of Bishops were asked by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to review the evidence and give consent to moving forward with the inhibitions of the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin on the charge of abandonment of the communion of this Church. I gave my consent for the inhibition of Bishop Schofield. It is clear that by his actions and their result he has abandoned the communion of this Church. I did not give my consent for the inhibition of Bishop Duncan at this time. The Diocese of Pittsburgh, which Bishop Duncan leads, has not formalized any change to their membership within the Episcopal Church. I do not take either of these actions lightly, the giving or withholding of consent to these inhibitions. I fear that Bishop Duncan’s course may be inevitable. But I also believe that it is most prudent to take every precaution and provide every opportunity for Bishop Duncan and the leadership of the Diocese of Pittsburgh to turn back from the course they seem to desire and instead to remain in the Episcopal Church.

The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee
Bishop of Virginia

See also: Bishop Frade explains and Bishop Wimberly explains.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Lambeth and GAFCON

Updated Tuesday evening

At yesterday’s press conference about Lambeth 2008, Rowan Williams was asked about GAFCON. He replied:

I think it’s important to remember that before the last Lambeth, and indeed on other occasions, there have been major international gatherings — regionally or in other ways constructed — preparing for Lambeth, and I am very happy to see such regional events going forward. But I do have real concerns that in this case there are unresolved issues for the local Church, for the Church in Jerusalem, which has pinpointed some anxieties about having such a conference at this time in the Holy Land. I really hope they can be addressed.

Here is a link to the Bishop in Jerusalem’s earlier press statement.

More recently, the Bishop in Jerusalem held two meetings about the GAFCON proposal, separately with the Archbishop of Sydney and then two days later with the Primate of Nigeria. The minutes of both those meetings can be found here.

This is reported on the Guardian website in Bishops attack rival summit for Anglican clergy in Holy Land by Riazat Butt.

Update
Further reports on this:

Episcopal News Service has GAFCON organizers challenge Jerusalem bishop’s concerns for planned Holy Land event by Matthew Davies

Ruth Gledhill has Gafcon ‘disastrous’ for Holy Land says local bishop on her blog and Rival Lambeth conference ‘disastrous’ for Jerusalem in Times Online.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 January 2008 at 11:24am GMT | Comments (37) | TrackBack
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General Synod Papers

Most papers for next month’s General Synod are now online and are listed below. We will update the list as the remainder become available.

Updated 29 January to link to remaining papers

Agenda
Monday 11 February
Tuesday 12 February
Wednesday 13 February
Thursday 14 February
Special Agenda I (Legislative Business)

Papers for debate
The day set for debate is shown in brackets. Deemed business will only be debated if there is a request from members for this to happen.

GS 1598D Amending Canon No 27 (Tuesday)

GS 1599C Vacancy in See Committees Regulation 1993 (Tuesday)

GS 1637A Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure (Tuesday)
GS 1638A Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Regulations (Tuesday)
GS 1639A Draft Amending Canon No 29 (Tuesday)
GS 1637-9Y Report by the Revision Committee
GS Misc 874 Background Note to Illustrative Material

GS 1642A Draft Amending Canon No 28 (Wednesday)
GS 1642Y Report by the Revision Committee

GS 1672 Draft Ecclesiastical Fees (Amendment) Measure (Wednesday)
GS 1672X Explanatory Memorandum
GS Misc 877 Four Funerals and a Wedding

GS 1673 Growing Together in Unity and Mission (Thursday)

GS 1675 Report by the Business Committee (Monday)

GS 1677 Forty-Second Report of the Standing Orders Committee (deemed business)
First Notice Paper

GS 1678 Mental Health Issues (Wednesday)

GS 1679 Anglican Communion Covenant (Wednesday)
Annex 1 and Annex 2

GS 1680 Crown Appointments (Thursday)
Annex

GS 1681 Detention without Charge (Thursday)

GS 1682 Draft Church of England Pensions (Amendment) Measure (Tuesday)
GS 1682X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1683 Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure (deemed business)
GS 1683X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1684 Code of Practice under Part V of the Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure 2007 (Tuesday)

GS Misc 875A and GS Misc 875B Casinos (private member’s motion - Tuesday)

GS Misc 876A and GS Misc 876B Eucharistic Prayer for Children (Diocesan Synod motion - Wednesday)

GS Misc 878A and GS Misc 878B Bible Availability (private member’s motion - Thursday)

Other papers circulated to members of the General Synod

GS Misc 873 Review of Extended Communion: Analysis of Diocesan Responses
GS Misc 881 Zimbabwe

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 22 January 2008 at 9:47am GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Canada: Canterbury replies to letter

The Anglican Church of Canada has issued this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury responds to Primate’s letter.

This relates to the letter reported here.

January 21, 2008 — Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written to Canadian Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz to say that he “cannot support or sanction” foreign interventions in the affairs of the Canadian Church.
Archbishop Williams was responding to a letter Archbishop Hiltz wrote to all the Primates of the Anglican Communion earlier this year in which he explained where the Canadian Church was in its discussion of same-sex blessings.

In that letter, Archbishop Hiltz appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury “in his capacity as one of the Instruments of Communion and as chair of the Primates’ Meeting to address the very serious issues raised by this intervention and to make clear that such actions are not a valid expression of Anglicanism.”

The full text of Archbishop Williams’ letter follows:

“Thank you very much for your letter about the situation in the Canadian Church; I thought it very helpful, clear and eirenic, and I hope it will be well received.

“I noted also the reference to the appeal of the Canadian Church to myself about interventions and irregular ordinations: as you will understand, I have no canonical authority to prevent these things, but I would simply repeat what was said in my Advent Letter, to the effect that I cannot support or sanction such actions, in line with what successive Lambeth Resolutions and Primates’ Communiques have declared, as well as the statements of my predecessor about irregular ordinations and the clear directions of the Windsor Report.

“I apologise for not responding sooner to this, but had had to focus in December on the preparation of the Advent Letter, which was intended to set out a perspective within which all such irregularities should be viewed.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 January 2008 at 12:26am GMT | Comments (40) | TrackBack
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Monday, 21 January 2008

Lambeth Conference launched

Updated again Wednesday evening

Today, a press briefing was held at Lambeth Palace to launch the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

Here is the official press release.

Here is information about the programme.

Episcopal News Service has published Lambeth Conference program launched; audio streams available.

Press reports so far:

Riazat Butt Guardian Gay ‘climate of controversy’ clouds Anglican gathering and later Williams puts sexuality on the agenda for bishops.

Ruth Gledhill The Times Six hundred bishops sign up for Lambeth despite threats of schism and also blog article The importance of Archbishop Ernest and Boycott fear on conference.

Update Tuesday evening

Lambeth Palace has released video recordings of the press conference:

Update Wednesday evening

Dave Walker has written about the event at Launch of the Lambeth Conference. Dave has an important role in the Conference, as explained here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 21 January 2008 at 11:50pm GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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February General Synod

The Church of England General Synod will meet in London from Monday 11 February to Thursday 14 February. The official press release is here and starts:

Major debates on detention without charge, mental health issues and casinos will be on the agenda of the General Synod when it meets at Church House, Westminster, from Monday, February 11, to Thursday, February 14, 2008. There is a large programme of legislative business, the most substantial item being the Revision Stage of the Clergy Terms of Service legislation. Synod will have further opportunity to debate the Anglican Communion Covenant and Senior Church (Crown) Appointments, following earlier debates in July 2007, and there will also be a focus on Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue.

We will be linking to the full agenda and online papers as these become available. There is an outline agenda which you can download here or read online here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 21 January 2008 at 4:50pm GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 20 January 2008

another development in San Joaquin

Updated Monday morning

Dan Martins an Episcopal priest who was formerly in the Diocese of San Joaquin reports on his blog about what happened on Saturday to the Standing Committee of that diocese in A Saturday Morning Massacre:

…In the post previous to this one, I drew attention to the role of the Standing Committee in the Diocese of San Joaquin. All eight members—four clergy and four lay—are solidly orthodox in their theological positions, all “reasserters.” All have been energetic supporters of Bishop Schofield’s advocacy for the received moral teaching of the Church Catholic. All have agonized over their relationship with an Episcopal Church that causes them shame and embarrassment at every turn. I am well acquainted with five of the eight, and know two of the three others, having served on that very Standing Committee as recently as six months ago. I shared their mixed feelings when we contemplated our relationship with TEC and the Anglican Communion. We worked hard to present a united front with our bishop in bearing witness to the faith of the saints, apostles, prophets, and martyrs.

As of this morning, six of those eight are now ex-members of the San Joaquin Standing Committee. Only … which ones are the six and which ones are the “remaining” two?

Here are the facts…

…Then we have this , from the duly-elected president of the Standing Committee:

During the Standing Committee meeting of January 19th, the Bishop determined that the elected members of the Standing Committee who had not publicly affirmed their standing in the Southern Cone [whose congregations are in discernment, some over the legality of convention’s actions] were unqualified to hold any position of leadership in the Diocese, including any elected office. He pronounced us as unqualified. No resignations were given. The question of resignations was raised and rejected. The members of the committee at this morning’s meeting were quite clear on this point, we did not resign, we were declared unqualified to hold office. The Bishop’s decision affects up to 6 of the 8 elected members of the Committee including all of the clergy members…

Let the record show that three of the four clergy members who are now clearly not members of the Standing Committee of the Southern Cone Diocese of San Joaquin are rectors of the three largest parishes of the diocese. Two of them are the two most senior priests of the diocese (in terms of time in cure) and the other is in the top five, having held his position for 12 years.

Bishop Schofield’s action has effectively (pardon the metaphor) “outed” these priests, revealing a divide within the diocese that cannot be casually dismissed. We’re not talking about the liberal fringe (I use “liberal” in a relative sense) who have always been malcontents in the diocese, now under the umbrella of Remain Episcopal. We’re talking about actual conservatives—those who, in grand San Joaquin tradition, wore out the ‘No’ buttons on their clickers during legislative sessions of the House of Deputies. We’re talking about the potential seeds of a viable continuing conservative TEC presence in the Central Valley of California…

Read the whole article, and here is the previous article mentioned: San Joaquin annotated.

Monday morning Update

Dan Martins has provided the names of some of those involved and additional confirmation of what happened, see Update…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 20 January 2008 at 12:29pm GMT | Comments (28) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 19 January 2008

American news roundup

Religion News Service has this report by Daniel Burke Episcopal Bishop Keeps Her Cool in the Hot Seat.

Episcopal News Service has reports of some areas of trouble:

The Living Church has a rather confusing headline on Dissident Groups Organize to Oppose Diocesan Departures.

From the Albany Times-Union there is House of Deputies president visits Albany as church faces rift. Note: I can’t reach that site at present, but there is a copy of the article here.

And Via Media USA has a Schism Quiz.

To see how Fr Jake applies this to Fort Worth, read this article.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 7:29pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Bishop Frade explains

The Episcopal Café reports that Bishop Frade consented to inhibition of Bishop Duncan:

The Rt. Rev. Leo Frade, Bishop of the Diocese of Southeast Florida has released the following statement explaining his consent to the inhibition of Bishops Duncan and Schofield:

Dearly Beloved in Christ:

Greetings from the Holy Land! While leading my yearly pilgrimage of the faithful to the land of our Lord Jesus, I have been asked to comment on the decision of the Three Senior Bishops to unanimously move to inhibit the Bishop of San Joaquin, but not to inhibit the Bishop of Pittsburgh.

I must state that after carefully examining the decision of the Review Committee headed by the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, which recommended the move to inhibit both bishops—of the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and of San Joaquin—and after reviewing all the supporting documents that give evidence of their actions, I was astonished that we neglected to take action any sooner on their obvious violation and breach of their oath to engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.

I firmly believe that any bishops whose words and actions are in violation of this oath, as stated by church canon, should be equally subject to the appropriate canonical discipline.

I also believe that it is my episcopal duty to assiduously safeguard both the membership and patrimony of our Church as a whole. The faithful of those dioceses that have been betrayed by their bishops need to know that they are not abandoned by their Church.

The Episcopate must not tolerate such actions as these bishops have taken; they have betrayed the trust that was given them when we, their brother and sister bishops, consented to their election. The seriousness of this betrayal is not mitigated by the fact that in one of the cases the goal of turning away from The Episcopal Church has not been fully achieved. As I have learned to say in America, “You can not just be a little pregnant.”

It was with great sadness that I concluded I had no other choice but to vote to move to inhibit two of my brothers who have betrayed their trust to be faithful shepherds of their dioceses, which are integral parts of our Episcopal Church.

The beauty and flexibility of Anglican polity has allowed since its foundation disparate and disagreeing parties to remain in full communion. It is my sincere hope and prayer that these two bishops, who once pledged of their own free will to engage to remain faithful to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church, will in a spirit of reconciliation choose to fulfill their previous promises.

If they are unable to do so, we in the HOB must do our sad duty to discipline them and move in a timely manner to protect and provide for the many remaining faithful of these dioceses.

Blessings,

The Rt Rev Leopold Frade
Bishop of Southeast Florida and Senior Bishop with Jurisdiction of TEC. (780)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 5:21pm GMT | Comments (41) | TrackBack
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opinions in Christian Unity Week

Ekklesia brings us a piece by Martin Marty titled Catholic but not necessarily Roman.

And also, Kersten Storch writes about Praying for unity across a century of division.

Peter Steinfels writes in the New York Times about Praying for Christian Unity, When Diversity Has Been the Answer.

Roderick Strange writes in the Tablet about Newman, in Saintly, but very human.

The Guardian has Theo Hobson writing Face to Faith, and he argues that The Church of England’s gay crisis makes clear that that liberal Anglicanism is finished.

In the Church Times Giles Fraser writes that I cannot eat at your table, Plato.

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Friday, 18 January 2008

GAFCON explained

From last week’s Church Times:

Why hold a conservative Anglican conference?

The gathering is vital to ensure that Churches are not overwhelmed by Western culture, argues Chris Sugden:

Archbishops and bishops from both the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic wings of the Church, who lead 30 million of the world’s 55 million active Anglicans, will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in June 2008 for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON: News, 4 January). They are travelling to the places of Christ’s ministry, where the gift of the Holy Spirit was first poured out, in order to strengthen them for what they believe will be difficult days ahead…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 2:24pm GMT | Comments (55) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 17 January 2008

Bishop Wimberly explains

The Lead at Episcopal Café has this report: Bishop Wimberly: why I did not consent to inhibition

Bishop Don Wimberly of Texas has released the following statement on his reasons for not consenting to inhibit Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori asked me along with the other two most senior bishops (Peter Lee of Virginia and Leo Frade of Southeast Florida) for consent to move forward with two inhibitions, one for John-David Scofield, Bishop of San Joaquin and Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburg[h], for abandonment of the Communion of the Church. We consented to Scofield because the Diocese of San Joaquin had recently voted to leave the Episcopal Church. We did not consent to the request for Bishop Duncan because the Diocese of Pittsburgh has not held their annual convention yet and therefore has not formalized any change to their membership within the Episcopal Church, as the Diocese of San Joaquin had. Even though waiting postpones the issue coming before the House of Bishops, I believe it is prudent to take every precaution and afford Bishop Duncan the opportunity to remain in the Episcopal Church.

The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly, Bishop of Texas

It is not known whether or not the other senior bishops gave consent.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 9:42pm GMT | Comments (24)
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Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Pittsburgh: press coverage

Updated again Friday morning

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has Episcopal Church formally warns Pittsburgh bishop over split by Ann Rodgers:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori of the Episcopal Church has warned Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh that he has been declared out of communion with the Episcopal Church and is danger of being removed from office if he does not abandon his efforts to realign the diocese with an Anglican province outside the United States…

The Associated Press report via PennLive.com: Episcopal Church acts against Pittsburgh bishop:

An Episcopal committee says that conservative Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan has “abandoned the communion of this church” — a potential first step toward stripping him of religious authority in the denomination.

The committee blocked the national Episcopal Church from imposing the penalty of “inhibition,” which would have barred him from performing religious duties. But the Episcopal House of Bishops is expected to consider imposing the punishment near the end of this year.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who notified Duncan that he had abandoned the communion on Tuesday, told Duncan that she sought permission to inhibit him.

The Living Church has Pittsburgh Bishop Accused of Abandonment; Senior Bishops Deny Inhibition.

Religious Intelligence has Bid to depose US Bishop backfires by George Conger.

Thursday morning update

Ann Rodgers Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Removal vote nearing for Episcopal bishop

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Bid to depose Pittsburgh bishop blocked (the Associated Press report again)

Reuters Michael Conlon Episcopal church cracks down on dissidents

Friday morning update
Church Times Pat Ashworth Consent for inhibition withheld

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Bishop Iker gets another letter

Updated Wednesday evening

The Bishop of Fort Worth has received another letter from the Presiding Bishop.

You can read the letter here (PDF). The full text is here below the fold.

Earlier correspondence is here.

The Living Church reports this as Bishop Iker Receives Another Letter Threatening Disciplinary Action.

Update
Bishop Iker also wrote a message to to all Clergy and Convention Delegates of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. And he commented to the press on both the letter from the Presiding Bishop to him (the letter itself is included on the same page) and on the letter from the Presiding Bishop to Bishop Duncan.

January 9, 2008
The Rt. Rev Jack L. Iker, D.D.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
2900 Alameda
Fort Worth, TX 76108

Dear Jack,

Thank you for your letter. I believe you have misinterpreted my previous letter. I gave no “acknowledgement that dioceses can and do leave the Episcopal Church.” On the contrary, I continue to aver that individuals may leave, but congregations and dioceses do not. I continue to urge you to withdraw from any encouragement of such a belief, or action toward departure, as i believe it to be a violation of the vows we have both repeatedly taken to “conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.”

I lament your belief that clergy and laity with your theological position are being systematically eliminated from positions of leadership and influence. If they are disappearing, it is by their own decision and at their own hands. I note how carefully the current and former Presidents of the House of Deputies have been to ensure broad representation in appointment to various church bodies, and know that my predecessors and I have also sought to include all theological positions in appointments within our purview.

You state your concern about those who would stand by their convictions being threatened with depositions and lawsuits. I would also note that depositions and lawsuits have no substance if there has been no violation. Fear of same is probably not rational if there is no basis for same.

I pray that your ministry may be one of abundance in the coming year, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

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The Bishop of Pittsburgh

Updated again Wednesday evening

Episcopal News Service has announced that:

The Episcopal Church’s Title IV Review Committee has certified that Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan has abandoned the communion of the church.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori informed Duncan on January 15 of the certification and sent him a copy.

Her letter told Duncan that she sought the canonically required permission from the House’s three senior bishops with jurisdiction to inhibit him, based on the certification, from the performance of any episcopal, ministerial or canonical acts.

“On 11 January 2008 they informed me that such consents would not be given at this time by all three bishops,” Jefferts Schori wrote.

“Pursuant to the time limits stated in Canon IV.9, the matter will not come before the House of Bishops at its next scheduled meeting in March 2008, but will come before the House at the next meeting thereafter,” the Presiding Bishop wrote in her letter.

“I would, however, welcome a statement by you within the next two months providing evidence that you once more consider yourself fully subject to the doctrine, discipline and worship of this Church,” Jefferts Schori wrote in her letter to Duncan.

The three senior bishops with jurisdiction — Leo Frade of Southeast Florida, Peter Lee of Virginia, and Don Wimberly of Texas — did give their permission on January 11 for Jefferts Schori to inhibit Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield in another case where the Title IV Review Committee certified an abandonment of the communion of the church. The House will consider the case matter involving Schofield in March.

The time limit to which Jefferts Schori referred is a two-month period afforded to bishops subject to such a certification to retract their acts, demonstrate that the facts alleged in certification are false, or renounce their orders by way of Title IV, Canon 8, Sec. 2 or Title III, Canon 12, Sec. 7.

Read the full press release.

The letter from the Presiding Bishop to Bishop Duncan can be read here. (Small PDF file)

The letter from the Title IV Committee to the Presiding Bishop, starting with a cover letter, can be read here. (This is a 2Mb PDF file, with many attached documents.)

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued this press release:

An effort to inhibit the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, has not been supported by The Episcopal Church’s senior bishops.

The news, along with a copy of the allegations made by the chancellor to the Presiding Bishop against Bishop Duncan and the Title IV Review Committee’s decision to certify that, in their opinion, Bishop Duncan “had abandoned the communion of this church,” came in a letter from The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori late in the day on January 15.

Bishop Duncan offered a brief response to the news, saying, “Few bishops have been more loyal to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church. I have not abandoned the Communion of this Church. I will continue to serve and minister as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.”

Update Wednesday afternoon

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh has issued a press release:
Progressive Episcopalians See Review Committee Action As Providing Reconciliation Opportunity. See the full text of this below the fold.

Update Wednesday evening

Episcopal News Service has a further report containing information about responses to the earlier letter: Pittsburgh’s Duncan, Progressive Episcopalians react to Review Committee’s certification.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — January 16, 2008 — Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP) sees reason for hope in the statement issued yesterday by The Episcopal Church’s Title IV Review Committee certifying that, in its view, Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan has abandoned the communion of The Episcopal Church. PEP believes that the canonical procedures set in motion by this decision will clarify issues of polity that have become confused in this diocese.

Under Canon IV.9, the House of Bishops will, at its fall meeting or at a special meeting called earlier, give or withhold its consent for Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to depose Bishop Duncan.

“The action of the Review Committee gives all of us in Pittsburgh serious cause to reflect,” said Dr. Joan Gundersen, President of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. “This can be an opportunity for all of us to consider how we can change course and restore relations with one another and with The Episcopal Church.”

The Rev. Diane Shepard, First Vice President of PEP, commented, “We understand that Bishop Duncan must follow his conscience regarding the kind of church he believes is faithful to the Gospel. Whether he can resume his role in The Episcopal Church or must relinquish it, we pray that he finds a way to serve Christ’s Church in peace and good conscience.”

PEP is committed to a diocese that finds its strength in diverse understandings of Christian faith and, as our Baptismal Covenant requires, respects the dignity of every human being, ideas that exemplify The Episcopal Church at its best. “Especially now, in this time of crisis, PEP encourages all Episcopalians in the diocese to engage in dialogue about how we can move forward together. Some people may choose to leave The Episcopal Church. We hope their number will be few,” declared president Gundersen.

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Monday, 14 January 2008

Confusion and tragedy in Harare

Today both Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office issued statements about the Diocese of Harare.

Episcopal News Service has a report by Matthew Davies Williams, Kearon condemn state disruption of Zimbabwe’s Anglican church services.

Episcopal Café has an article titled Confusion in Zimbabwe.

Ruth Gledhill has a blog article titled More on the tragedy of Zimbabwe. And on Times Online she has Churches raided in Zimbabwe for opposing disgraced bishop.

Nehanda Radio has State security moves in to help Mugabe bishop.

New Zimbabwe.com has Zimbabwe police disrupt Anglican services, priests held.

SW Radio Africa has Priests And Parishioners Arrested As Police Disrupt Church Services.

The Association of Zimbabwe Journalists in the UK has CIO called in to help Kunonga’s men take over.

Earlier, the Zimbabwe Independent had Anglicans Revoke Kunonga’s Licence.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 10:00pm GMT | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Scotland responds to draft covenant

The response of the Scottish Episcopal Church to the Draft Anglican Covenant is now available.

You can read it here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 12:34pm GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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evangelical differences

Covenant has an article, sparked by the Wycliffe Hall dispute, which discusses the differences between open and conservative evangelicals in England, mostly from an American perspective.

See “Open Evangelicalism”, the Wycliffe Hall Labor Dispute, and Our Theological Divide by Craig Uffman.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 8:55am GMT | Comments (37) | TrackBack
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Advent Letter rumbles on

Updated Thursday

First Anglican Mainstream published a response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent Letter.

That response can be read here.

Then Andrew Goddard published an analysis of that response. You can read that analysis here at Fulcrum.

Update Thursday

And now here comes Michael Poon with a response to Andrew Goddard: Reaffirming our Vows and Rekindling our First Love: the Sanctification of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 8:47am GMT | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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New Zealand responds to draft covenant

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, 
New Zealand and Polynesia has issued a document in response to the Draft Anglican Covenant.

You can read it here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 8:31am GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 12 January 2008

statements re San Joaquin

First, this statement was issued by email from a PR company on behalf of Bishop Schofield:

The Episcopal Church’s assertion that Bishop Schofield has abandoned the communion of this Church is an admission that TEC rejects the historical Anglican faith which is why The Diocese of San Joaquin appealed to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America for emergency and temporary protection. The majority of the other provinces of the Anglican Communion hold to the traditional faith. It is the primary duty of bishops to guard the faith and Bp Schofield has been continually discriminated against for having done so while Bishops and Archbishops around the world have affirmed not only his stance but the move to the Southern Cone. Bishop Schofield is currently a member of both the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church and the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone, a position not prohibited by either house. Governing documents of TEC do not prohibit relationships between different members of the Anglican Communion, rather they encourage it. TEC’s action demonstrates that there is an enormous difference between their church and most of the Anglican Communion Again, this action is a demonstrationthat TEC is walking apart from the faith and its expression of morality held by the rest of the Anglican Communion..

The Episcopal Church’s own identity is dependent upon its relationship with the whole Anglican Communion. TEC should consider whether it is imperiling that relationship by taking such punitive actions.

How is it that over 60 million Anglicans world wide can be wrong while a few hundred thousand in the American Church can claim to be right?

Note: The Diocese of San Joaquin at its annual convention on December 8, 2007 took a historic step and voted to disassociate from The Episcopal Church. The convention also accepted an invitation from Archbishop Gregory Venables and the bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone of South America to be welcomed into their membership.

Second, this clarification was issued by The Rev. Cn. Bill Gandenberger Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of San Joaquin:

As a point of clarification, there is no confusion on the part of the Bishop of San Joaquin or the clergy, people, leadership, and convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin of their status. The claims of the Episcopal Church to have oversight or jurisdiction are not correct. The fact is that neither the Diocese nor Bishop John-David Schofield are part of The Episcopal Church. The Bishop is a member of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone as of December 8th, 2007. The Diocese is a part of the Southern Cone. Neither the Presiding Bishop or the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church have any further jurisdiction. Bishop Schofield is no longer a member of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church.

A statement from The Most Reverend Gregory Venables, dated January 11,2008:

“As of December the 8th, 2007 Bishop John-David Schofield is not under the authority or jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church or the Presiding Bishop.He is, therefore, not answerable to their national canon law but is a member of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone and under our authority.

Un fuerte abrazo.

—The Most Rev. Greg Venables, Archbishop of the Southern Cone

Third, this statement was issued by the Bishop of Fort Worth:

It comes as no surprise that the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church has initiated canonical actions against the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield to remove him from office. However, the matter is complicated by the fact that Bishop Schofield and the Diocese of San Joaquin, by constitutional action of their Convention, are no longer a part of The Episcopal Church. They now function under the authority of the Province of the Southern Cone. Disciplinary actions cannot be taken by this Province against a Bishop who is a member of another Province of the Anglican Communion.

The House of Bishops of TEC can indeed prevent Bishop Schofield from functioning as a Bishop in congregations of The Episcopal Church. However, they cannot invalidate his consecration as a Bishop in the Church of God, nor prevent him from functioning as such in congregations that welcome and affirm his ministry as their Bishop.

The Bishop of San Joaquin has my friendship, my support, and my prayers during this time of turmoil in the life of our church.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
January 12, 2008

Episcopal Cafe also has an article about the confusion at Is he or isn’t he?

Note, other church-related work from the same PR company can be seen here.

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opinions after Epiphany

In the Guardian’s column Face to Faith John Coutts argues that “Mainstream Islam stands where the churches stood in 1650 in terms of religious freedom”.

The Times has Baptism allows us to share fully in the life of Jesus by Roderick Strange.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times that Theologians promoted atheism.

Ekklesia has a piece by Simon Barrow titled Rethinking religion in an open society.

Two weeks ago, the Observer had this article by Richard Harries It is possible to be moral without God.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 January 2008 at 2:40pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Bishop Schofield inhibited

Mary Frances Schjonberg of Episcopal News Service reports:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on January 11 inhibited Diocese of San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield.

In the text of the inhibition, Jefferts Schori wrote: “I hereby inhibit the said Bishop Schofield and order that from and after 5:00 p.m. PST, Friday, January 11, 2008, he cease from exercising the gifts of ordination in the ordained ministry of this Church; and pursuant to Canon IV.15, I order him from and after that time to cease all ‘episcopal, ministerial, and canonical acts, except as relate to the administration of the temporal affairs of the Diocese of San Joaquin,’ until this Inhibition is terminated pursuant to Canon IV.9(2) or superseded by decision of the House of Bishops.”

Jefferts Schori acted after the Title IV Review Committee certified that Schofield had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.

On January 9, Upper South Carolina Bishop Dorsey Henderson, committee chair, wrote to Jefferts Schori, telling her that the nine-member committee had met that day and that a majority agreed that the documentation provided to them “demonstrated that Bishop Schofield has abandoned the communion of this Church by an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline or Worship of this Church.”

Jefferts Schori needed, in accordance with Title IV, Canon 9, Sec. 1, the consent of the three senior bishops of the church with jurisdiction (as opposed to being retired or not in diocesan seats) to issue the inhibition. She noted in the inhibition that Leo Frade of Southeast Florida, Peter Lee of Virginia, and Don Wimberly of Texas gave their consents January 11.

Read the full press release from Episcopal News Service.

Note that one of those giving his consent to this was the Bishop of Texas, Don Wimberly, convener of the “Windsor bishops”.

See the report of the Title IV Review Committee here (PDF).

See the text of the inhibition here (PDF).

And there is another ENS report on the activities of Remain Episcopal previously reported here, see San Joaquin’s remaining Episcopalians to gather for reconciliation, inclusion, celebration.

See the lengthening list of places of worship here.

Early press reports:

Associated Press Episcopal Church Bans Bishop for 2 Mos.

Rebecca Trounson Los Angeles Times Fresno bishop barred from carrying out religious duties for Episcopal Church

Bakersfield Californian San Joaquin Episcopal bishop ordered out of communion

Fresno Bee Local bishop is banned from practicing

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Friday, 11 January 2008

Newcastle Bishop on GAFCON

That’s Newcastle NSW, not Newcastle England.

Bishop Brian Farran of Newcastle New South Wales, Australia has issued a press release.

You can read it as a web page here or as a PDF file here.

It starts out:

The prospect of an international conference of Anglican bishops and other leaders, the Global Anglican Future Conference, immediately prior to the Lambeth Conference is disturbing simply because whatever rhetoric dresses up that conference, it is a counter-conference to the Lambeth Conference. It is a one-dimensional conference designed to bolster the conservative voice within the Anglican Communion.

GAFCON is being organized because its proponents are dissatisfied with the breadth of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation list to Lambeth. It is therefore a theologically political conference. It will cause embarrassment whether intended or not to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Dr. Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of Sydney, is one of the conservative leaders who are promoting this conference. It needs to be understood that Dr. Jensen is an organizer of this conference in his own personal capacity or possibly in his capacity as the Bishop of the Diocese of Sydney. It must be seen that Dr. Jensen has no authorization to do this as the Metropolitan of the Anglican Province of New South Wales. I am not suggesting that Dr. Jensen would act in this way as the Metropolitan of New South Wales but public perception might not be discriminating in this regard.

As the Bishop of Newcastle I wish to dissociate myself from any movement such as GAFCON that might damage or lessen the moral authority of the 2008 Lambeth Conference…

There’s a lot more.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 January 2008 at 6:38pm GMT | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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The Covenant tightrope walk

The Covenant tightrope walk is the title of an article in last week’s Church Times by David Walker Bishop of Dudley.

…LOOKING at contributions to the debate, one can see a parallel with the way diocesan synods debate parish share. Ostensibly, the discussion is about principles, but (by apparent coincidence) everyone’s proposal just happens to benefit his or her own parish financially.

In the case of the Covenant, many responses rest on whether or not their authors favour a text narrow enough to expel provinces that take unilateral decisions on same-sex relationships. These authors then create the necessary theology to lead to this outcome — again, by apparent coincidence…

Please read the whole article. He also said:

…THIS IS the first significant Anglican Communion debate in which bloggers have played a major part. They were particularly in evidence in their responses to Archbishop Rowan’s Advent letter to his fellow Primates, which was hailed by some as a shot across the bows of the theological conservatives, and by others as a capitulation to the right wing.

The challenge, especially once a revised text is issued and subjected to their intense scrutiny, is how to harness the bloggers’ energies and passions for what needs to be a prayerful, reflective, and non-polemical search for the widest degree of consensus. Can they be part of the solution, not just part of the problem?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 January 2008 at 6:08pm GMT | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Press Release on behalf of Elaine Storkey

Press release on behalf of Dr. Elaine Storkey surrounding her unfair dismissal from Wycliffe Hall

Issued by Mortimers Solicitors

Following the pre-hearing review in the Reading Employment Tribunal on Monday 7th January Dr. Storkey is very pleased that Wycliffe Hall has acknowledged that she had been dismissed unfairly and has accepted that appropriate compensation is payable.

This was not merely a procedural matter. Dr Storkey brought a claim against the Hall alleging both that procedures were not followed and there were no grounds for dismissal.

The Hall, as Dr Storkey’s employer had alleged that Dr Storkey contributed to her dismissal in that there had been a breakdown of trust as a result of Dr Storkey’s behaviour. This was strongly contested by Dr. Storkey whose contention was that any breakdown of trust and confidence was due to the conduct of the Principal, the failure by the Hall to consider the concerns repeatedly presented by a large number of staff members, and the further failure to properly address her written grievance against the Principal.

Dr. Storkey had raised a formal grievance to the Hall Council, concerning the treatment to which she had been subjected. But that procedure which had been commenced in February 2007 was not concluded, before being prematurely terminated by her dismissal.

At the hearing the Hall formally withdrew the allegations it had previously made against Dr. Storkey and agreed a settlement for this part of her claim which will equate to her salary and benefits until her previously anticipated date of retirement together with a 50% uplift in recognition of its unlawful failure to follow statutory procedures.

The Tribunal, given Dr. Storkey’s intent on pursuing her claim for religious discrimination, has listed the matter for a preliminary issue hearing later in the year. At that hearing the Tribunal will consider whether the religion or belief relied upon by Dr. Storkey which she defines (for this purpose) as ‘open evangelicalism and/or membership of Fulcrum’ constitutes a religion or belief for the purposes of the Employment Equality (Religion of Belief) Regulations 2003 as distinct from conservative evangelicalism.

The Tribunal, expressing some disquiet as to its qualification to determine matters of theology has given the parties leave to adduce independent expert evidence and to call one witness, which they anticipated in the case of Dr. Storkey, given her expertise, would be her.

It is Dr Storkey’s hope that the resolution of these issues will leave Wycliffe Hall in a stronger position to pursue its calling of training people for Christian ministry in a context of truth and good governance.

The case continues.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 January 2008 at 6:03pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Wycliffe Hall: Church Times report

Bill Bowder has Wycliffe Hall admits breach of law over sacked lecturer:

THE Bishop of Liverpool and the Mayor of Kensington, named trustees of the Oxford theological college Wycliffe Hall, in an action brought against them and against the Hall’s Trustees as a body, have admitted this week that they broke employment legislation….

…Dr Storkey also claimed that she was religiously discriminated against by the college. That claim was now due to be tested at a two-day preliminary hearing on 11 and 12 June, which opened up the possibility of a “Punch and Judy” battle between conservative and liberal Evangelicals, the pre-hearing was told.

Mr Lewis said that the preliminary issue to be tested at that June meeting would be “whether the religion/belief rested on by the claimant in these proceedings which she defines as open Evangelicalism, liberal Evangelicalism, and/or membership of Fulcrum constitutes a religion or belief for the purposes of the 2003 regulations as distinct from conservative Evangelicalism”. Was open Evangelicalism “a religion or belief within the meaning of the regulations and could it attract the protection of the discrimination laws”, he wondered.

Mr Carr said that Dr Storkey, who chairs Fulcrum, was saying that she had a kind of belief that stood in distinction to conservative Evangelicalism. She would have to say that this nuanced difference between liberal open Evangelicals and conservative Evangelicals was a religion or belief protected by the discrimination laws.

The tribunal would have to decide whether those differences were enough to amount to a separate belief protected by the regulation. He said that the position of the Trustees was that there was no such difference. They believed that there was nothing in the regulations that required a further definition within a sub-set of beliefs.

For Dr Storkey, her counsel, Mr Charles Crow, said that she should not have to show that open Evangelicalism was a separate religion or belief, only that she had been discriminated against on the basis of those beliefs. That her beliefs might match the beliefs of others did not deprive her of protection. It would be sectarian to argue that she was protected only if she could that show her beliefs were different.

Mr Lewis said that the ability to make such theological distinctions was “wholly absent” from his job description; but the matter was important, and the tribunal would be prepared to hear it. He ruled that for the preliminary hearing one witness and one expert witness should be heard from both parties. They should exchange the papers they would rely on beforehand.

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Nazir-Ali: Church Times weighs in

Pat Ashworth has a lengthy article in the Church Times headed Clergy criticise Nazir-Ali’s talk of no-go areas.

CLERICS working in predominantly Muslim areas of British cities have rebutted assertions by the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, that Islamic extremism and multiculturalism have resulted in “no-go” areas for non-Muslims.

The Bishop’s comments, made in an article for The Sunday Telegraph, have angered many working in interfaith relations, who says that he has undermined years of patient work. He wrote that one result of a worldwide resurgence of the ideology of Islamic extremism had been “to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up and turn separate communities into ‘no-go’ areas”…

The article includes comments from clergy working in Leicester, Oldham (Manchester), Tower Hamlets (London) and Manningham (Bradford).

There is a leader as well: Dr Nazir-Ali’s view of Britain:

THE Bishop of Rochester is uniquely placed in the House of Bishops to speak about the experience of Christians as a beleaguered minority in a hostile society, though not by virtue of his see in southern England. His continuing interest in Pakistan has shown him how Christians there are becoming increasingly anxious about the growth of intolerant strains of Islam. As a global observer, he is inclined to take the “clash of cultures” view of the relationship between Islam and the West, and the treatment of Christians in the Indian subcontinent and parts of the Middle East contributes to this view.

There are several surprising aspects about his attempt, in a newspaper article, to place the British situation in this context. It is perhaps unfair to criticise him for what he did not say: Dr Nazir-Ali tends to need a larger canvas to develop his views. None the less, there were three elements missing from his article which might have tempered the glee with which his comments about no-go areas were seized on in some quarters….

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Thursday, 10 January 2008

Virginian property dispute continues

The Washington Post has a report by Michelle Boorstein on the legal disputes in Virginia: In Property Dispute, Litigation Drags On, And the Costs Grow.

An earlier report in the Washington Times by Julia Duin Va. Diocese opens $2 million line of credit is referenced but not linked by the Post.

The January issue of the Virginia Episcopalian can be found as a PDF file here.

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Fort Worth and the Southern Cone

Episcopal News Service has this report by Mary Frances Schjonberg FORT WORTH: Bishop, Standing Committee give preliminary approval to joining Southern Cone province.

Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker and the diocesan Standing Committee said January 9 that “the structure and polity of the Province of the Southern Cone would afford our diocese greater self-determination than we currently have under the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.”

Iker and the committee came to that conclusion in a “preliminary report” issued in response to a resolution passed at the diocese’s November 17 convention. The resolution, which thanked the province for its invitation, asked for a report within 60 days on “the constitutional and canonical implications and means of accepting this invitation.”

…Iker and the Standing Committee said that they reviewed the South American province’s constitutions and canons — an English-language version of which is due to be released soon, according to the report.

…Early on in the two-page report, Iker and the Standing Committee accuse the leadership of the Episcopal Church with threatening the diocese “with false claims of canonical power to correct and discipline us while condoning or even promoting in other dioceses false teaching and sacramental actions explicitly contrary to Holy Scripture.”

Read the full report which has hyperlinks to all the relevant original documents,including the “preliminary report” and goes on to say:

…Episcopalians who do not agree with the direction in which Iker and the rest of the diocesan leadership is headed have been gathering and exchanging information through the Fort Worth Via Media organization. The group is a member of Via Media USA, an alliance of Episcopal laity and clergy formed in 2004 to offer a counterpoint to efforts to “realign” the Episcopal Church along more conservative lines.

Fort Worth Via Media sponsored a visit to the diocese September 8 by House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson. After Iker issued a letter criticizing Anderson’s visit, the group said Iker sees disagreement as disobedience and disrespect and he did not object to the meeting in mid-July when he was invited to attend.

On January 19, the organization plans a workshop, titled “What is at stake for Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth?” The leader will be the Rev. Tom Woodward who recently retired as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salinas, California, a part of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Woodward, who now attends St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the Diocese of the Rio Grande, has opposed the “realignment” efforts…

Details of the Fort Worth Via Media workshop can be found here.

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Newfoundland discipline

The Right Reverend Cyrus Pitman Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador has issued an ad clerum. You can read it in full as a PDF file here.

You can read more about it in this news report from the Toronto Star Anglican clergy told to declare loyalties:

In what could be the start of real schism in the Anglican Church, a Newfoundland bishop is demanding clergy come to the provincial capital to declare whether their loyalties lie with him or his predecessor, the leader of a breakaway conservative movement.

“Attendance at these gatherings is mandatory,” Cyrus Pitman, bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador warns in a Dec. 18 letter to clergy obtained by the Star.

Clergy from Eastern Newfoundland’s 33 parishes are to be in St. John’s on Jan. 21 to restate their ordination vows and to get new licences, with a date for those from the six Labrador parishes yet to be set.

Clergy need a licence from the church to minister to a parish or perform marriages…

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Wycliffe Hall press release

There is as yet no trace of this press release on the website page that one might logically expect it, but it is to be found here:

Wycliffe Hall press statement regarding Elaine Storkey’s dismissal
January 10th, 2008

1. At a Pre-Hearing Review in relation to Dr Elaine Storkey’s claims of unfair dismissal and religious discrimination, the College accepted that she had been unfairly dismissed as the College had not, prior to dismissal, gone through the statutory procedures. We are hopeful that a full and amicable settlement can be reached.

2. Nevertheless, we strongly refute any allegation that Elaine’s dismissal from Wycliffe was in any way connected with her religious beliefs. At Wycliffe Hall, our key priority is to equip men and women for modern ministry and this happens in an environment that encourages wide discussion and debate, reflective of the broad range of thinking within the Church as a whole.

3. We look forward to resolving the whole matter as swiftly as possible so that we can concentrate purely on our priorities of maintaining high standards of training, theological teaching and academic excellence at Wycliffe Hall, in equipping men and women fully for modern Christian ministry.

Helen Mitchell
College Administrator
Wycliffe Hall, 54 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PW
Direct line: +44(0)1865 274201

College office: +44(0)1865 274200
College fax: +44(0)1865 274215
www.wycliffe.ox.ac.uk

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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

abolishing the blasphemy law

Updated Friday morning

According to the Daily Telegraph in Church ‘accepts end of blasphemy law’:

The Church of England has signalled that it is prepared to see the abolition of blasphemy offences after the Government announced a review of the ancient law…

… The principle of blasphemy laws dates back to ancient times, but the present common law offence of “blasphemous libel” is based on 19th century court rulings.

In 1838, it was limited to cover only the “tenets and beliefs of the Church of England”.

Yesterday, the Church signalled it could accept abolition. “We are open to the possibility of a review,” said a Church spokesman, urging a “cautious” approach.

It is understood that Church leaders could be willing to back the abolition of blasphemy offences if new laws banning the incitement of religious hatred can provide significant protection for Anglicanism…

The Guardian report on this Ministerial compromise averts backbench revolt over repeal of blasphemy offence says:

…A Church of England spokesman said last night it became clear last year during the debates on the crime of incitement to racial and religious hatred that the church was open to the idea of the blasphemy law being abolished. “But first there has to be adequate time to assess the impact of the new legislation,” he added…

And the Guardian has a leader: An offensive law.

The BBC had Blasphemy law ‘may be abolished’.

Update Friday morning

Rachel Harden has a report in the Church Times Blasphemy report might be repealed.

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Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Archbishop Hiltz writes to all Primates

Anglican Journal reports:

Archbishop Hiltz clarifies Canadian situation for fellow primates by Solange De Santis and Marites N Sison

Saying that he hoped to “dispel rumour or misunderstanding,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has written to his fellow leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion explaining the developments around the blessing of same-sex unions, which has embroiled Canadian Anglicans in conflict.

In his four-page letter, which was sent to the other 34 Anglican primates and four moderators of the Anglican Communion’s United Churches on Jan. 9, Archbishop Hiltz, who is the national archbishop, underscored that the Anglican Church of Canada has not yet agreed upon a definitive position on the issue. “It is important to note that the Anglican Church of Canada has not altered its doctrine of marriage as outlined in our prayer books and canons (church laws).”

However, he put the situation in context: Canadian Anglicans, he noted, “do live in a country where the federal government in 2005 approved legislation that allows the marriage of same-gender couples.”

Archbishop Hiltz also reaffirmed the Canadian church’s “commitment to full membership and participation in the life, witness and structures of the Anglican Communion.” He also called on Anglican leaders to respect each other’s boundaries and desist from intervening in the affairs of provinces other than their own…

The full text of his letter can be found here.

At the foot of the letter, there are hyperlinks to all the key Canadian statements.

  • Shared Episcopal Ministry - Addendum to the Primate’s Task Force report on Alternative Episcopal Oversight - Nov. 3, 2004
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San Joaquin development

Remain Episcopal carries news of this:

Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin Listening Tour

The Rev. Canon Bob Moore, appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as an interim pastoral presence in the Diocese of San Joaquin, will make a 5-day “Listening Tour” of the central valley.

From January 21st through the 25th, Canon Bob will travel the valley meeting with both clergy and laity who wish to remain in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of San Joaquin. At stops in Stockton, Lodi, Fresno, Hanford, Bakersfield, and other towns in between, Canon Bob will listen to the stories, concerns and hopes of the Episcopal faithful in San Joaquin. To assure that your parish, clergy or laity group is included in the Listening Tour, please contact us at contact@remainepiscopal.org…

…At the conclusion of the Listening Tour, the Rev. Canon Bob Moore, interim pastoral presence in San Joaquin appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, will keynote a day-long gathering at the Church of the Saviour in Hanford on Saturday, January 26th, 2008. Canon Bob will be joined by special guest Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church. This will be Bonnie’s second visit to San Joaquin following an event in Lodi held in February, 2007. Both Canon Bob and Bonnie will address those gathered and have additional time set aside to take questions.

There was also a report on Episcopal News Service In San Joaquin, Episcopal Church ‘alive and well’.

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Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Wycliffe Hall admits unfair dismissal

Updated again Thursday morning

There are reports in both the Daily Telegraph and The Times about this.

Jonathan Petre writing in the Daily Telegraph under the headline Leading theologian sues bishop over ‘bullying’ reports:

One of the Church of England’s best-known theologians is suing the Bishop of Liverpool following a row at an Oxford theological college.

Dr Elaine Storkey, a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day slot, told an employment tribunal in Reading yesterday she had been bullied while a senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall.

She accepted around £20,000 from the trustees of the college after they acknowledged that she had been unfairly dismissed from the post. But the 64-year-old is still seeking a ruling of religious discrimination against the president of the 130-year-old college, Bishop James Jones, over the row…

And Fran Yeoman in The Times adds some further information:

…Bruce Carr, representing the trustees of Wycliffe Hall, acknowledged this version of events, adding: “The respondent accepts that the dismissal of the claimant was unfair.”

Charles Crow, representing Dr Storkey, then turned to the issue of alleged religious discrimination. “Within Christian evangelism there are two strands; conservative evangelism and an open and more liberal evangelism,” he said. “As an open and clear proponent of one of those strands, [Dr Storkey] has been discriminated against.”

Mr Carr rejected that, saying Dr Storkey could not allege discrimination against people of the same faith as her. “She is not saying, ‘I’m being discriminated against because of my Christianity’,” he said. “She is saying, ‘I have a particular type of Christian evangelism.’ To paraphrase, she is the wrong type of evangelical.”

The tribunal has scheduled a further hearing for 10 June, but:

urged both parties to reach an agreement before the full hearing, pointing out the difficulties in attempting to resolve a theological dispute in an employment tribunal.

Update
The Liverpool Echo has picked up this story but has a misleading headline, Bishop of Liverpool sued by BBC (the headline has now changed to: Bishop of Liverpool James Jones caught up in bullying row)

…The case has now been adjourned until June, at which point the three members of an employment tribunal will have to decide whether the Doctor’s evangelical stance constitutes a religion as compared with other evangelists.

Their decision could have far-reaching implications within religious circles.

Dr Storkey has named Bishop James as chairman of Wycliffe Hall’s trustees in her legal action along with and Andrew Dalton, the Hall’s treasurer…

…Today Charles Crow, representing Dr Storkey, said of the outstanding claim. He said: “Within Christian evangelism there are two determinate strands; conservative evangelism and an open and more liberal evangelism.

“Those are open and definable strands and as an open and clear proponent of one of those strands, Dr Storkey has been discriminated against.”

Yesterday (Mon) Bruce Carr, representing the trustees, accepted her dismissal was unfair but claimed Dr Storkey could not allege discrimination against people of the same faith as her…

And Education Guardian has Unfairly sacked Oxford college theologian sues bishop.

Tuesday evening

Ruth Gledhill has blogged about this, see Elaine Storkey: ‘Don’t shoot the heretics.’ Ruth has talked to Elaine, part of what she says is this:

…She told me this afternoon: ‘For me, this never started out as a battle between conservatives and open evangelicals. For me, this was trying to draw attention to the fact that we were unhappy with the style of management at Wycliffe Hall. But as time evolved, it started to feel more theological.

‘I am alarmed at the way big walls between people and groups have started to emerge in the way they did not before. People had nuances and differences, but we all worked well together. From the Fulcrum point of view [Elaine is chairman of Fulcrum], it is not what we are wanting. We want to work with everybody rather than create a new camp.

‘I am alarmed at the belligerence of the conservative camp, where they are seemingly going out of their way to make life as difficult as possible for the Archbishop of Canterbury. I cannot imagine what the reasons are. They are being destructive rather than constructive, finding something to argue about rather than working together to find a fruitful outcome…

Wednesday morning

Oxford Mail Ex-don settles dismissal claim

Independent Fire and brimstone! College principal says we’re all going to hell

Guardian College denies theological vendetta

Thursday morning

Ekklesia has a report, Tearfund president accused of double standards over religious discrimination.

Cambridge Evening News has Presenter in a battle of faith.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 8 January 2008 at 7:42am GMT | Comments (49) | TrackBack
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Monday, 7 January 2008

Nazir-Ali: further reactions

Updated again Wednesday morning

The Lancashire Telegraph which is based in Blackburn has Mixed reaction to Bishop’s no-go zone comments.

The BBC has Blears rejects ‘no go’ area claim. On that same page, there is an audio report broadcast on the World at One radio news programme at lunchtime today. This includes an interview by Christopher Landau with the Bishop of Rochester. The relevant government minister Hazel Blears and Bishop Stephen Lowe are also interviewed by Martha Kearney.

At Comment is free there are two articles:

Inayat Bunglawala Don’t go there

By accusing Muslims of creating ‘no-go’ zones in the UK for non-Muslims, the Bishop of Rochester is stirring up racial hatred, pure and simple.

and

Andrew Brown A narrow church

The Church of England has lost its traditional social framework. It may yet come to stand for an England that is, above all, not a Muslim country.

Tuesday morning update

Bradford Telegraph & Argus No-go area suggestion ‘scaremongering’:

Bradford community leaders have accused an Anglican Bishop of “scaremongering” after he claimed certain areas across the UK had become no-go areas for non-Muslims…

…The Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend David James, said: “I was dismayed to read the inflammatory headline in a Sunday newspaper claiming that Islamic extremists have created no go areas across Britain where it is too dangerous for non Muslims to enter’. We certainly do not recognise this supposed reality in Bradford.

“Of course, we are aware that there are difficulties arising from a significant measure of residential and cultural separation across communities, especially in the inner city. However, this has generated a range of imaginative initiatives such as the nationally-recognised Linking Schools Project, and the University’s Programme for a Peaceful City - to name but a few.”

And the Daily Telegraph has a leader, Bishop of Rochester leads the way.

Wednesday morning

Jonathan Petre Daily Telegraph Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali stands by his views:

…speaking from India, where he is attending a conference, the bishop claimed successive governments had failed to foster an “integrating vision” for Britain.

He said he was echoing concerns voiced by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality Commission, and those in the 2001 Cantle Report on the race riots in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley…

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Sunday, 6 January 2008

reviews of 2007

First, here is George Conger’s review in the Church of England Newspaper: A year of turmoil but the Communion is still intact.

Second, here is the Church Times review of the news of 2007.

The Church Times also had additional reviews, for example here is Andrew Brown on the Press.

If you want to read the others, go to Issue 7554 of the archive.

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some survey information

The Church of England Newspaper trumpeted a new survey on its front page last Friday (you can see this partially on their website front page this week only):

THE GOVERNMENT is failing to defend the place of religion in public life, the results of the inaugural Church of England Newspaper survey of General Synod members has shown.
More than half of Synod members who took part in the poll, 57 per cent, said the government was currently unsuccessful in upholding the place of Christianity in the UK today, with another 23 per cent of respondents saying it was ‘not particularly successful’.
The results come as another blow to Gordon Brown’s Government, already reeling from the lost data fiasco and questions over donations…

And so on and so on. And finally:

The survey, carried out by religiousintelligence.com, canvassed a total of 102 members of General Synod between December 7-17, 2007, representing a response rate of 21 per cent, and included clergy, laity and bishops.

This was the same survey which The Times reported as follows:

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been named “Anglican of the Year” by members of the Church of England…

…In the survey, 29 per cent of Synod members named Dr Sentamu in response to the question: “Which Anglican figure do you think has done most to help the Church in 2007?”

Dr Williams was nominated by 24 per cent, Archbishop Tutu by 12 per cent, Dr Nazir-Ali by 6 per cent and Dr Akinola by 3 per cent.

More than half those surveyed, 57 per cent, said the Government was unsuccessful in upholding the place of Christianity in Britain today, with a further 23 per cent saying the Government was “not particularly successful”.

For the exact wording of the survey, see below in the Comments.

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Saturday, 5 January 2008

"no-go" areas across Britain?

Updated Sunday morning

The Sunday Telegraph has an article by the Bishop of Rochester which is headlined Extremism flourished as UK lost Christianity.

There is also a news report by Jonathan Wynne-Jones headlined Bishop warns of no-go zones for non-Muslims.

Here’s another bit of what Bishop Nazir-Ali says in his article:

It is now less possible for Christianity to be the public faith in Britain.

The existence of chapels and chaplaincies in places such as hospitals, prisons and institutions of further and higher education is in jeopardy either because of financial cuts or because the authorities want “multifaith” provision, without regard to the distinctively Christian character of the nation’s laws, values, customs and culture.

Not only locally, but at the national level also the establishment of the Church of England is being eroded. My fear is, in the end, nothing will be left but the smile of the Cheshire Cat.

In the past, I have supported the establishment of the Church, but now I have to ask if it is only the forms that are left and the substance rapidly disappearing. If such is the case, is it worth persevering with the trappings of establishment?

Update
I published this article before the Sunday Telegraph leader had appeared: Britain has changed but its values must endure. This includes the sentence:

Bishop Nazir-Ali’s concern that the rapidity and scale of immigration, together with the policy of multiculturalism, threaten Britain’s Christian heritage are echoed by the Church of England General Synod, a majority of which worries that large-scale immigration is “diluting the Christian nature of Britain”.

Is that a majority of the synod, or is that a majority of those who responded? Anyway, according to the Telegraph’s own news report (my emphasis added):

In the Synod survey, to be published this week, bishops, senior clergy and influential churchgoers said that an increasingly multi-faith society threatens the country’s Christian heritage and blamed the divisions on the Government’s failure to integrate immigrants into their communities.

It found that more than one in three believe that a mass influx of people of other faiths is diluting the Christian nature of Britain and only a quarter feel that they have been integrated into society.

The overwhelming majority - 80 per cent - said that the Government has not upheld the place of religion in public life and up to 63 per cent fear that the Church will be disestablished within a generation, breaking a bond that has existed between the Church and State since the Reformation.

Meanwhile, the bishop’s remarks are getting huge attention via the news agencies:

Press Association ‘UK Islamists creating no-go areas’
Associated Press UK Bishop Denounces Islamic Extremism
Agence France-Press ‘No-go’ zones in some Muslim areas: British bishop

and the BBC Bishop warns of ‘Islamic areas’

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 11:40pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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opinions before Epiphany

The Church Times leader this week is Wisdom from the East?

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about why Christianity needs to ditch Plato.

Christopher Howse tells us in the Daily Telegraph What Hrabanus Maurus says about doves.

As Christians celebrate the Epiphany, it’s the people not the presents that matter, argues Chris Chivers in the Guardian’s Face to Faith.

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that you should Count your blessings and begin to change your life.

And from before Christmas, there is this interesting article in The Times by Alan Franks in which Terry Eagleton explains why a Marxist critic has written about Jesus Christ and the Gospels.

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Friday, 4 January 2008

more on Draft Covenant responses

Updated midday

The Church Times reports on this:
C of E told it cannot cede power to Primates by Pat Ashworth

For convenience, here are links to recent responses from various provinces:

Church of England

Church of Ireland (PDF)

Episcopal Church, USA

Anglican Church of Canada

Updates
There is also comment on the English response by Church Society see here.

Religious Intelligence has Articles are ‘too much’ by Nick Mackenzie.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 9:09am GMT | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 3 January 2008

Canadian update

The Anglican Journal updates on the border crossings there:

Foreign province makes bid for Canadian churches:

…The network has about 500 individual members and 16 member parishes, said Canon Charles Masters, national director of the network. The Anglican Church of Canada has about 2,800 congregations and 641,000 on parish rolls…

Proposed structure of the Anglican Network in Canada

The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America

Countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay
Members: 22,490

Canada calls on Canterbury to intervene:

Canadian church leaders have appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury to address moves by dissidents to join a South American church and minister illegitimately in Canada.

In a pastoral statement dated Nov. 29, a week after the Anglican Network met, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate (national bishop) of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he deplored “recent actions on the part of the primate and General Synod of the Province of the Southern Cone to extend its jurisdiction in Canada.” The statement was also signed by the church’s four metropolitans, or regional archbishops.

Referring to Bishop Don Harvey and Bishop Malcolm Harding’s intent to minister to disaffected churches in Canada, Archbishop Hiltz said such ministry is “inappropriate, unwelcome and invalid.”

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More on GAFCON

Updated again Friday midday

The Australian press has caught up with their local angle on this story. See

Melbourne Age Barney Zwartz Anglican archbishop spurs opposition to gays:

OUTSPOKEN Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen is galvanising opposition to homosexuality in the church, in the lead-up to an unofficial meeting of conservative bishops in Jerusalem.

As rifts in the worldwide Anglican Church threaten to become a schism, the Sydney Archbishop said American Anglicans had become missionaries for homosexuality in defiance of the Bible and Anglican teaching…

The Australian David King Jensen leads separate force:

THE conservative Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has emerged as a leader of a “provocative” breakaway summit for bishops opposed to gay clergy.

Peter Jensen confirmed yesterday he was part of the leadership group of the Global Anglican Future Conference, an international meeting of bishops and churchmen in Israel, to take place in June, just weeks before the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Conference.

He said the GAFC meeting would address “the current reality of a Communion in disarray over fundamental issues of the gospel and biblical authority”.

Andrew Brown has this comment article on Comment is free Dither on, Williams:

Over the last few years, Dr Rowan Williams has sometimes looked criminally innocent (“The trouble with Rowan is that he’s too damn Christian,”) as one of his colleagues remarked; sometimes merely well-meaning but powerless; very occasionally he has looked as if he is working to an angelically cunning plan. This week has been a good week for the cunning plan interpretation. It is not that he has done anything - but his rigorous policy of inaction and delay has given his opponents an opportunity to fall apart which they have exploited to the full…

The Jerusalem Post has a further report by George Conger Regional Anglicans fear Jerusalem conference could ‘inflame tensions’.

Arab Anglican leaders have called for the cancellation of a June gathering of Anglicans in Jerusalem, claiming it could exacerbate Christian-Muslim tensions in the Palestinian territories…

Friday updates

The Church Times has this report by Pat Ashworth Conservatives plan alternative meeting before Lambeth.

The Church of England Newspaper has this report Archbishop defends letter by George Conger which is mostly about the Advent Letter, but continues:

…Global South primates contacted by The Church of England Newspaper said they were mulling over Dr. Williams words, with some stating they would be sending him private responses, while others expected a public statement of some sort to be prepared sometime after Christmas…

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Archbishop Jensen on capital punishment

The Archbishop of Sydney is quoted in the Australian press on this topic:

Australian religious leaders were yesterday divided over the death penalty. Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen said official church doctrine in the 39 Articles of 1662 endorsed it: “The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences.”

Dr Jensen said Christians were concerned about the abuse of capital punishment for crimes that did not merit death. “But I cannot absolutely rule out capital punishment in all circumstances, since the Bible itself allows it.”

See Death row pleas for citizens only in the Melbourne Age.

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San Joaquin letter of support

This letter with 31 signatures on it has been posted at the website of the former Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

The list includes a number of Church of England bishops:

The Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Matthias Medadues-Badohu, Bishop of Ho
The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester
The Rt. Rev. Gerard Mpango, Bishop of Western Tanganyika
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Ross Davies, Bishop of The Murray
The Rt. Rev. Keith L Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. A. Ewin Ratteray, Bishop of Bermuda
The Rt. Rev. Michael Hough, Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley*
The Rt. Rev. John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley
The Rt. Rev. Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough*
The Rt. Rev. Robert Forsyth, Bishop of South Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet*
The Rt. Rev. Lindsay Urwin, Bishop of Horsham
The Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes
The Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, Province of Kenya
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. David Anderson, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. John Gaisford, lately Bishop of Beverley RETIRED*
The Rt. Rev. Edward MacBurney, lately Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Roger Jupp, lately Bishop of Popondota
The Rt. Rev. David Silk, lately Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. Nöel Jones, lately Bishop of Sodor and Man RETIRED
The Rt. Rev. Edwin Barnes, lately Bishop of Richborough RETIRED*
The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, lately Bishop of Eau Claire
The Rt. Rev. Donald Parsons, lately Bishop of Quincy

Among the Church of England bishops, one is a diocesan bishop, the others are either suffragans, or retired bishops, and several are current or former Provincial Episcopal Visitors.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 10:40pm GMT | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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recent British media reports on CofE

The BBC reports on the CofE response to the Draft Anglican Covenant: Church comments on Anglican rows:

The Church of England has made clear its disapproval of Anglican provinces which intervene in the affairs of other churches without authorisation.

In a document it said such interventions should not take place except as part of “properly authorised schemes of pastoral oversight”.

It is a response to attempts in the draft Anglican Covenant to commit the Communion to practices to resolve rows…

Riazat Butt’s online report on Tuesday also made it into the Guardian on Wednesday: Anglican rift on gay clergy leads to breakaway summit.

Jonathan Petre at the Daily Telegraph had his own story on Wednesday about the Bishop of Manchester and the Lambeth Conference. See Bishops ‘must face gay clergy debate’:

A Church of England bishop has criticised the Lambeth Conference, which starts in July, for shying away from the issue of homosexuality.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said it would be “odd” and “irresponsible” for the meeting to sweep the controversy “under the carpet”.

…Bishop McCulloch criticised conservative bishops who are threatening a boycott because the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has invited American liberals…

Here’s the full text of the bishop’s remarks as provided by the diocese:

This is the year of the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference. It is always an important occasion. I was among the first bishops to respond affirmatively to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation. I am sorry that some bishops are still threatening to stay away.

The Anglican Communion is a family. The Christian pattern for family life - for which the church and especially its bishops should be a model - is that, however deep family arguments and differences are, we (of all people) ought to be following the New Testament pattern of meeting together to pray, to learn, to eat and to share.

That said, I do have sympathy with bishops who feel the agenda ought to contain more than simply the currently planned episcopal in-service training. The first Lambeth Conference was called in the wake of controversy; and it would be exceedingly odd - even irresponsible - for the bishops to avoid, and appear to sweep under the carpet, the very issues that are currently inhibiting our common witness to Christ across the world.

Incidentally, would clergy please observe the convention of checking with me before inviting any bishop/archbishop to minister? Such courtesies avoid unwelcome problems - most of which can thereby be overcome.

And earlier, there was a bizarre piece of reporting in The Times by Dominic Kennedy headlined Bishop left in dark over secret gay service. For a better report on this matter try the Evening Standard ARCHBISHOP SPARKS ROW AFTER HOLDING SECRET COMMUNION FOR GAY CLERGY. Note the comment there from the Bishop of London’s spokesperson:

“The extent to which the Bishop of London is annoyed has been exaggerated - he’s not annoyed in fact and canon law was not broken. The whole thing seems to have been blown out of proportion.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 8:52am GMT | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Jerusalem speaks on GAFCON

Updated Wednesday evening

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani has issued a press release:

Re: Global Anglican Future Conference planned for the Holy Land in June 2008

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Bishop Suheil Dawani, has expressed his concern about the Global Anglican Future Conference planned for the Holy Land in June this year.

“Regrettably, I have not been consulted about this planned conference,” said Bishop Suheil. “The first I learned of it was through a press release.

“I am aware that the post-Christmas announcement that this conference is to be held here has excited considerable interest around the Anglican Communion, and has become the subject of online discussion. Yet we Anglicans who minister here have been left out in the cold.

“I also note that the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who appears to be one of the organisers, is encouraging clergy and lay people from his diocese to attend the conference with him and his bishops. He speaks of the meeting taking place because the Anglican Communion is, he says, ‘in disarray over fundamental issues of the gospel and biblical authority’.

“I am deeply troubled that this meeting, of which we had no prior knowledge, will import inter-Anglican conflict into our diocese, which seeks to be a place of welcome for all Anglicans.

“It could also have serious consequences for our ongoing ministry of reconciliation in this divided land. Indeed, it could further inflame tensions here. We who minister here know only too well what happens when two sides cease talking to each other. We do not want to see any further dividing walls!

“I believe our Primate, Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis,is also concerned about this event. His advice to the organizers that this was not the right time or place for such a meeting was ignored.”

“I urge the organizers to reconsider this conference urgently.”

Update
Further reports on this:

Religious Intelligence has this by George Conger Warning over Anglican conference. It includes this:

The leadership team of GAFCON contacted ReligiousIntelligence.Com to say that a letter was sent to Bishop Suheil Dawani on December 24, two days prior to the press announcement. Two of the leadership team, Archbishop Peter Akinola and Archbishop Peter Jensen, had already reqested a meeting with him to discuss his concerns with him in the next two weeks.

Episcopal News Service has this by Matthew Davies Jerusalem bishop objects to conservative Anglicans’ planned Holy Land pilgrimage.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 6:42pm GMT | Comments (31) | TrackBack
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CofE response to Draft Anglican Covenant

Updated Wednesday evening

Press Release Church responds to draft Anglican Covenant

Church responds to draft Anglican Covenant

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, as Presidents of the General Synod, have submitted a Church of England Response to the draft Anglican Covenant published last year for discussion around the Anglican Communion.

All Anglican Provinces were invited to comment on the text prepared by the Covenant Design Group chaired by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez. The Church of England’s response follows a General Synod debate on the principle of an Anglican Covenant in July 2007, when the following motion was carried.

‘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.’

The text of the response has been overseen by the House of Bishops’ Theological Group and builds on the earlier work of the Faith and Order Advisory Group. The draft response was discussed by the House of Bishops in October and by the Archbishops’ Council in November.

The Covenant Design Group will be meeting at the end of January to consider all Provincial responses. A ‘take note’ debate on the Church of England response to the Anglican Covenant is planned for the General Synod in February 2008.
—-

The text of the response can be found here, as an RTF file.

Update
An html version of the entire document can now be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 12:05pm GMT | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 1 January 2008

BBC interviews Presiding Bishop

Updated Wednesday morning

Christopher Landau interviewed Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the BBC Radio 4 programme PM today, Tuesday.

Hear the interview here, go forward 45 minutes into the recording. This link will only work for one week.

Update Here is another place to listen to the interview, which should be more permanent, and doesn’t require going forward first.

Read the related news report: US Anglican head in sexuality row:

The head of the Anglicans in the United States has accused other churches, including the Church of England, of double standards over sexuality.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the BBC her church is paying the price for its honesty over sexuality…

Update

The Associated Press reported this story as Episcopal Leader Defends Gay Bishops and the report has therefore appeared on hundreds of US newspaper and other websites (including the Guardian) overnight.

It’s not yet reported in any of the London newspapers.

There’s a partial transcript of the interview in the comments of this thread at T19.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 6:38pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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update on GAFCON

Updated Tuesday afternoon

Reactions to the GAFCON announcement continue to appear.

George Conger had an article in the Jerusalem Post Anglicans choose Jerusalem for key June conference.

Changing Attitude issued a press release: Changing Attitude responds to the GAFCON announcement.

And there is a report on Sydney Anglicans titled Future Anglicans Unite.

Bishop David Anderson of CANA and the AAC, had this to say about it in his weekly email:

Orthodox Primates with other leading bishops from across the globe are inviting fellow Bishops, senior clergy and laity from every province of the Anglican Communion to a unique eight-day event in Jerusalem, to be known as the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) 2008. This GAFCON event, which was agreed upon at a meeting of Primates in Nairobi a few weeks ago, will give the orthodox Anglicans from around the world the opportunity to gather, to learn, to take counsel together and to go forward equipped to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to a world sitting in the shadow of unbelief. The gathering will be in the form of a pilgrimage back to the roots of the Church’s faith: thus this journey begins with a pilgrimage.

The first thing that springs to my mind is the planning necessary to accommodate all the people who will want to come. I remember the summer of 2003 when Canon David Roseberry and I had planned a small gathering of church leaders at his church near Dallas, to take place after the General Convention in Minneapolis and to be jointly hosted by Christ Church, Plano, and the American Anglican Council. As people heard of the gathering, more wanted to come, so we upped our estimated attendance several times. Finally, as a number of unfaithful and unholy decisions were made by the General Convention of TEC, the rallying cry of the orthodox became, “See you in Plano,” and David Roseberry and I had to begin to think really big. Hurting people who wanted to be hopeful came, bishops, priests and deacons and laity came, over 2000 in all. Over 800 clergy were vested in the great procession in the Eucharist. A note of encouragement from Cardinal Ratzinger, later to become Pope Benedict, was read by Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh. Plano became a term and Plano II and Plano West happened as people took the hope and enthusiasm back home to their areas. The relentless grinding down of the orthodox members by the Episcopal Church, the subsequent departures and planned departures, the law suits and litigation, the depositions and deceit of TEC have all taken their toll, and many of our faithful Anglicans in North America are hungry and hopeful.

Could Jerusalem 08 (GAFCON) be more than a simple gathering of the faithful? Might this meeting be on a global scale what Plano was in the USA: the crystallization of the future; the future taking form and substance in our midst, and bringing us forward into a reality shaped and formed by the Holy Spirit of God? What might God do with Jerusalem 08 and GAFCON?

Tuesday afternoon update
Riazat Butt has published an article on the Guardian website Conservative Anglicans plan rebel summit.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 2:11pm GMT | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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