Martyn Minns and Gene Robinson both appear to have received the same letter concerning fund raising for the Lambeth Conference.
Read George Conger Traditionalist bishop inadvertently invited to Conference.
Read Jim Naughton Dear New Hampshire, Send your money, not your bishop.
The detailed Church Times reports of this month’s debates at General Synod are now available online. They are spread over two issues and are linked from these pages.
Or you can go directly to the individual articles.
Presidential Address: Sorry if I was clumsy — Dr Williams’s address in full
Bibles: ‘Place Bibles in every church’
Code of practice
Casinos: Synod urges fight on gambling
Ecclesiastical fees: Synod holds up fees decision
Terms of service: Synod votes down moving parsonages to dioceses
Detention of terror suspects: Case is ‘flimsy’ for extending detention
Mental health: ‘Prisons are the new asylums’
Communion in LEPs: Dispensing with a C of E Easter eucharist
Children’s liturgy: Eucharistic prayers sought for children
Anglican Covenant: New Covenant draft welcomed more warmly
Crown appointments: Synod feels its way towards a greater self-determination
Relations with Rome: Spirit of gloom descends on Rome discussions
Updated Thursday morning
The Living Church has published two items which add new information to running stories:
House of Bishops will Address ‘Bishops in Communion’ Plan updates alternative oversight in the USA. Curiously, there has not yet been any mention of this matter on Episcopal News Service.
Further to that, the Southern Cone primate is to visit the Diocese of Fort Worth. See official Fort Worth diocesan announcement: Southern Cone Primate to visit Fort Worth Diocese.
Thursday morning update
Episcopal News Service has a very detailed report on developments in California: More San Joaquin congregations opt to remain within Episcopal Church; March 29 special convention anticipated:
A growing number of Episcopalians in the Diocese of San Joaquin are opting to remain within the Episcopal Church (TEC), as the Fresno-based diocese prepares for an anticipated March 29 special convention that would elect a provisional bishop.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in a letter to be distributed via a new diocesan newspaper, notes the proposed convention date and reassures the people of the diocese that work is ongoing “to ensure that you and your fellow Episcopalians may continue to bless the communities around you well into the future.”
“I anticipate convening a Special Diocesan Convention on 29 March, at which you will elect new diocesan leaders, and begin to make provision for episcopal leadership for the next year or so,” Jefferts Schori writes. “That gathering will be an opportunity to answer questions you may have, as well as to hear about plans for the renewal of mission and ministry in the Diocese of San Joaquin…”
Read the whole article for much more information. Also see Remain Episcopal here.
A Response to the Pastoral Presence from Bishop Schofield can be found here.
The Bishop of Carlisle, Graham Dow has issued a statement, snappily entitled Statement from the Bishop of Carlisle clarifying remarks about the Government.
…While people are of course free to make choices, at the heart of the problem is the fact that our society is institutionalising these changes in marriage and sexual morality with legislation. In a meeting where almost all of those attending look to the Bible for moral teaching, I reminded those present of the difference attitude towards the Roman state between the Letter to the Romans and the Book of Revelation.
By way of clarification I would want to say that the Government has certainly been “God’s instrument for good” (Romans 13), for example in the promotion of the equality and in social inclusion, in its support for poorer nations and its emphasis on the environment. However in the last year or two it has been imposing its own moral agenda in a way that is contrary to long standing Christian morality and the significant voice of Christian churches…
Earlier reports about the event to which he refers can be found here.
A different view of the book which was being launched can be read here.
General Synod now uses electronic voting for some of its votes. This saves time at Synod but also means that voting lists can be made available. Those for this month’s group of sessions are now available and are linked from the agendas and papers page.
Unfortunately the lists come as pdf files containing only graphics of the voting lists, so, for example, it is not possible to search them electronically to see how a particular member voted. I have extracted the graphic files from one and fed them through my OCR program so that I could generate this html file. This is the voting list for the motion to take note of the report on the Anglican Covenant that was debated on Wednesday 13 February.
In the Guardian’s Face to Faith column, Alex Klaushofer says that Lebanon’s pluralism could teach the west much about religious tolerance.
In The Times Roderick Strange writes that Water can bring us death or a new life in Christ.
Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about Rock of Ages and the rebel pilgrims.
Stephen Brown writes at Ekklesia that Church and media need new understanding, says Lutheran bishop (German readers can learn more here).
Paul Vallely writes in the Church Times that Religion can be a solution in Kosovo.
Also, Giles Fraser explains Why I worry about moral foreign policies.
Updated again Monday evening
George Conger reports on Religious Intelligence that Presiding Bishop backs US deal:
US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has endorsed a programme of alternative Episcopal oversight brought to her by a group of conservative American bishops.
The “Anglican Bishops in Communion” seeks to meld the Primates’ Dar es Salaam pastoral council scheme with the “Episcopal Visitor” programme created by Bishop Schori in a bid to hold the fissiparous elements of American Anglicanism together until an Anglican Covenant is agreed.
“This is a step forward, albeit a small one,” the Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev John W Howe noted, that permits freedom of conscience for traditionalist while preserving good order in conformance to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.
However, critics charge there is nothing in the plan to compel a liberal bishop to permit alternative oversight, while spokesmen for the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Fort Worth told The Church of England Newspaper they were unable to comment on the merits of the plan as they had not been consulted in its creation and were unaware of the details…
…Bishop Stanton of Dallas, working with leaders of the Anglican Communion Institute and the Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, took the Episcopal Visitor programme forward. Led by Prof Christopher Seitz, the team sought to meld the needs articulated by traditionalists with the structures suggested by the Primates and the Presiding Bishop.
On Jan 31 Dr Williams met with Archbishop Gomez, Bishop Stanton, Prof Seitz and Dr Ephraim Radner and gave his backing to the emerging “Anglican Bishops in Communion” project, agreeing to issue invitations to the primates of the West Indies, Burundi, Tanzania, the Indian Ocean and Jerusalem and the Middle East to offer primatial pastoral oversight to the Episcopal Visitors.
The Presiding Bishop was briefed by Bishops Stanton of Dallas, Smith of North Dakota, Howe of Central Florida, and Bishop Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana on Feb 21, giving her “nihil obstat” to the Communion plan, one participant reported…
There is also a report in the Daily Telegraph by Jonathan Petre Secret plan to avoid church gay split which presumably also refers to these events, albeit in less detail.
Update Saturday evening
Bishop John Howe of Central Florida has issued a further letter, which has been published earlier today on several blogs, e.g.
titusonenine Bishop John Howe responds to the Telegraph article Alleging a Secret Plan
Stand Firm Bishop John Howe responds…
Episcopal Café A new plan emerges
And also, see at ACI The Communion Partners Plan by Christopher Seitz or the copy of it at Covenant and there is also Response to Various Queries Regarding the Communion Partners Plan.
Update Monday evening
George Conger has published a further report on Religious Intelligence Bishop endorses new traditionalist programme:
US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has endorsed a programme of alternative Episcopal oversight brought to her by a group of conservative American bishops.
The ‘Anglican Bishops in Communion’ seeks to merge the Primates’ Dar es Salaam pastoral council scheme with the ‘Episcopal Visitor’ programme created by Bishop Schori in a bid to hold the fissiparous elements of American Anglicanism together until an Anglican Covenant is agreed…
Updated again Monday evening
According to Stephen Bates in the Guardian’s People column:
Interesting times beckon in Antipodean Anglicanism, where the former Canadian bishop Victoria Matthews - narrowly beaten to become Canada’s primate last summer - has been elected Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, a place she has never visited. She is a theological conservative who nevertheless voted that gay partnerships do not violate core church doctrines, which should bring her into interesting relations with the arch-conservative Archbishop of Sydney across the Tasman Sea, Peter Jensen, who does not believe that women should be put in charge of anything, least of all a church. The defeated candidate for Christchurch was the combative dean of Southwark cathedral, Colin Slee, who will thus remain a thorn in the flesh of C-of-E conservatives.
Updates Sunday evening
Two further reports, from New Zealand:
Gay-supporting bishop could split Anglicans from stuff.co.nz
Canadian woman tipped to be bishop from the New Zealand Herald
Update Monday evening
Anglican Journal reports from Canada that New Zealand diocese chooses Matthews as bishop:
Canadian bishop Victoria Matthews has reportedly been chosen bishop of the diocese of Christchurch in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, according to church sources and published reports.
The news was communicated to the Anglican Journal by church sources and also reported in the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain. Bishop Matthews, who served as bishop of the diocese of Edmonton for 10 years until she stepped down last year, declined to confirm news of her selection until the New Zealand church made an official announcement.
Lloyd Ashton, the Auckland-based media officer for the province, also declined to confirm the report. “What has happened is there has been a leak to a U.K. newspaper and it is quite regrettable that confidentiality has been breached. The election is still in process.”
My report published in last week’s Church Times is now available to the public: John Reaney awarded £47,000.
John Reaney awarded £47,000
by Simon Sarmiento
An Employment Tribunal in Cardiff published its final judgment last Friday, awarding John Reaney more than £47,000, but made no other recommendations. Last July, Mr Reaney won a case of unlawful discrimination against the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Anthony Priddis (News, 20 July).
The tribunal noted that: “the Respondents have accepted the need to provide equal-opportunity training to all of its individuals who are engaged in a recruitment exercise. Furthermore if a genuine occupational requirement does apply in a particular case then thought will be given by the Respondents to make that clear in any advertisement . . . we are satisfied that these matters have been taken seriously by the Respondents.”
The compensation includes £25,000 for future loss of wages, £8000 for future pension loss, £7000 damages for psychiatric injury, and £6000 for injury to feelings.
Alison Downie, Mr Reaney’s solicitor, said: “Given his comments [in the Temple lecture last week], the Archbishop of Canterbury should ensure that the Church of England and its bishops act in full and complete accordance with UK and European law now — otherwise we are likely to see more discrimination cases against the Church in the future.”
Mr Reaney said: “I remain sad that the Church fought my case even after being found to have acted unlawfully. I would much prefer to be working as a Christian within the Church to promote and develop youth work, but was stopped from doing so because I am gay.”
In a press release, the diocese of Hereford said: “We are now aware that, when making such an appointment, we must make it clear if it is a genuine occupational requirement that the post-holder should believe in and uphold the Christian belief and ideal of marriage, and that sexual relationships are confined to marriage. This is the crux of the matter, not sexual orientation.”
A spokesperson for the pressure group Stonewall responded: “The crux of the matter is that discriminating against gay people in employment is unlawful. Let’s hope this is covered in the equal-opportunities training diocesan staff will be attending.”
Here are the four articles from last week’s Church Times that are now available on the public web:
Andrew Brown behind the ‘bonkers’ headlines
Paul Vallely Listen to the electronic alarm bells
Mona Siddiqui Why sharia is so misunderstood
Mark Rice-Oxley of the Christian Science Monitor wrote Anglican Archbishop: too intellectual to lead?
When it comes to leadership in the Church of England, the former Bishop of Norwich once reportedly said: “If you want to lead someone in this part of the world, find out where they’re going. And walk in front of them.”
Rowan Williams, who celebrates five years as Archbishop of Canterbury next week, could never be accused of doing that…
Andrew Brown wrote at Comment is free that We need the Church of England:
There’s no point now in kicking the corpse of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s career as a public intellectual. After the debacle of Rowan Williams’ speech on sharia, no one who has to make decisions will ever take seriously anything he says again. Nor will they take seriously the church he is supposed to lead. If you want to know what he is good at, there is a rather fine funeral oration online that he gave at the funeral of a Cambridge don in the middle of all the outrage. But nothing he says now matters to anyone who isn’t mourning.
It is time to look at the damage he has done to others, and not just himself; one of the things that his flameout has illuminated is just how dangerous disestablishment might prove. The last thought-provoking thing that I heard him say was at a radio award ceremony where he had to present himself, or at least his producer, with a third place prize for religious radio. He said that it was not true that religion must always lead to conflict, but almost always true that in any sufficiently serious conflict you would find religion.
I wish he had developed and made more explicit that line of thought, because it provides the beginning of a justification for the existence of the Church of England. The defenders of a place for religion in public life do not have to suppose that religious belief is true, and many of them don’t - in fact all of them suppose that most religious dogma must be false. The question is not whether irrationality is irrational; it is how it can best be managed…
Women and the Church (WATCH) has issued a press release. The headline is Women bishops “highly unlikely” for another five years.
At the recent meeting of General Synod, members were told by the Chair of the
Legislative Drafting Group that it was “highly unlikely” that the vote on women
bishops would be taken by July 2010.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, chair of the group
preparing draft legislation for women bishops, outlined the process and predicted
the likely time it would take.
The bishop’s statement shocked a large number of Synod members, who met and
expressed their outrage at the length of time the process was taking…
This release also includes these remarks of Professor Anthony Berry, a member of General Synod, from Chester diocese:
The opponents of women priests and bishops argue that men and women were
created as complements to each other as a creative and creating sexual couple. But
such opponents then adduce that one of the sexes is, to borrow Orwell’s, phrase
“more equal than the other” in matters of authority. This argument surely cannot hold
in matters of the church spiritual for if it did, we Christians would have to accept that
the created order would place men or women subservient to the other.
“Further if this equal but sexually different argument is driven into matters of church
order (the church temporal) then it sexualises the whole of my male human identity
and capabilities and claims that these are in all cases superior to the sexualised
identity and capabilities of all women. I find this profoundly offensive to my
understanding of human sexuality, identities and capabilities and also to my
relations with both men and women.
“The business managers of the Church are probably right to have some sensitivity in
the run up to the Lambeth Conference, but in the Anglican covenant process it has
been legally confirmed that the Church of England has the right under the Queen in
Parliament to order its own affairs. Wisely, this ordering is done in the context of the
wider Anglican Communion, where a number of provinces do already have women
“It is inconceivable that the process of legislation to put into effect the
decision of General Synod to proceed to Women Bishops should take more
than a year and a half. Certainly the legislative process could easily be
completed by July 2010. It would be negligent of the General Synod to permit
the matter to drag on into the next decade. The business managers of Synod
should already be considering having additional meetings of Synod to ensure
that this business is accomplished.”
More Canadian churches align with South American province, reports Solange De Santis in the Anglican Journal.
Six churches in five dioceses, voting at their general meetings on the weekend of Feb. 16-17, decided to leave the Anglican Church of Canada due to disputes over theological issues, including homosexuality, and join a South American Anglican church.
A seventh congregation, which is not a member of the Canadian church, also voted to come under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone, which covers the southern part of South America. Such jurisdiction is to be administered through retired Canadian bishop Donald Harvey, leader of a breakaway group called the Anglican Network in Canada.
The congregations are: St. George’s Lowville, Ont. and St. Hilda’s, Oakville, Ont., both of the diocese of Niagara; St. Chad’s, diocese of Toronto; St. Mary’s Metchosin, Victoria, diocese of British Columbia; St. Matthew’s, Abbotsford, B.C., diocese of New Westminster; St. Alban’s, diocese of Ottawa. The seventh is Holy Cross, Abbotsford, B.C.
George Conger reports on Religious Intelligence Gafcon conference ‘rearranged’:
The Gafcon organizing committee, which is arranging an alternative to the Anglican Lambeth Conference, has announced that the dates and venue of the Jerusalem conference have been changed.
Following consultations with the Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Rev Suheil Dawani, the conference will now be broken into two parts: a consultation for church leaders in Jordan from June 18-22 and a pilgrimage to Jerusalem from June 22-29.
“We are very grateful for the feedback that we have received on the many complex issues that confront us,” the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen (pictured) said on Feb 19…
For the details, see the GAFCON website: Jerusalem Pilgrimage plans for the Global Anglican Future Conference and the Pilgrimage Brochure is a PDF file here (265K).
After consultation with a number of church leaders in Jerusalem, and around the world, the pilgrimage of the Global Anglican Future Conference will now take place from June 22nd through June 29th. An important Consultation in Jordan from 18-22 June will include the conference leadership, theological resource group, those bishops serving in majority Islamic settings and other key leaders. The Jerusalem pilgrimage will focus on worship, prayer, discussions and Bible Study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land.
“We are very grateful for the feedback that we have received on the many complex issues that confront us,” said Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney and a member of the leadership team. “The emphasis of our time together will be our future in the Anglican Communion and the reformation and renewal of our common life rooted in the Holy Scriptures and our common faith in Jesus Christ.”
Participants will include bishops and their wives, key clergy and laity.
Update The Nigerian website describes this change as “GAFCON repackaged”.
The Primate of Brazil, The Most Revd Maurício Andrade has written about the boycott by five Anglican Primates of the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
… I believe The Episcopal Church of the United States has been showing all of us an example of the path to unity and reconciliation, because they have met all the requests for visits that were made and answered all the questions that were posed. They have spent time, money, and energy to meet the primates’ requests, always with generosity and openness. I think we need to keep in mind that we are Anglican. We are seeing a disregard of our richness and our ethos, that is, autonomy of the Provinces.
The Anglican Province of Brazil has already spoken out against the creation of a new pact, because our way of being Anglican has already been defined in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. We are not nor do we want to be a mere federation of churches. We wish to continue in communion with Canterbury, a symbol of our unity, as full members of the Anglican Communion.
We intend to go to Lambeth open to dialogue, and to feel the presence of God guiding us as His people, breaking the bread that unites us in the Body of Christ, and expressing solidarity with the world in need of the Word of transformation and salvation. We therefore reaffirm our reply to the invitation of Archbishop Rowan Williams and deeply regret the boycott by five archbishops.
Church Society has published this: An open letter to the Primates and faithful Anglicans of the Global South.
This item has been reported in the Guardian see today’s People column by Stephen Bates.
The Australian reports this: Anglican conference ‘is wrong time, wrong place’:
WHEN the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, meets his ecumenical colleague the Bishop of Jerusalem this week for an informal afternoon tea, even lashings of cream and jam for the scones won’t be able to cover the chill in the air…
…Bishop Dawani, visiting Australia this month to speak to local congregations, was not consulted about GAFCON and believes the meeting will have a negative impact on efforts to create peace in his diocese, which covers Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan…
Archbishop Jensen spoke to his diocesan standing committee about not attending Lambeth, and the full text of his remarks is in a PDF file here. The standing committee issued this press release endorsing his decision.
First, we had Uganda’s Anglicans hail boycott of Lambeth meeting from Reuters on Sunday.
And the BBC Sunday programme had a segment on Uganda which you can listen to here (9 minutes audio):
Uganda shuns Lambeth Conference
The Anglican Church of Uganda has announced that its bishops will not be attending this year’s Lambeth Conference, the meeting of worldwide Anglicanism that takes place once a decade. The Ugandan bishops cited what they called the “crisis” over homosexuality. The Most Reverend Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, talked to Sunday.
Stefan Stern writes about business and management issues for the Financial Times. In a recent column he turned his attention to the challenges facing the Archbishop of Canterbury. He discussed his take on the Anglican ‘brand’.
Now, today, we have Uganda’s Anglicans threaten to secede from global church from Associated Press today.
And allAfrica.com republishes from yesterday’s Kampala Monitor Homosexuality - COU May Secede.
This morning we also had Ugandan Anglicans in ultimatum to US church over gay marriages in the Guardian.
This afternoon, ACNS reports Church of Uganda Still a Part of Anglican Communion.
As the Living Church reports,
An English translation of the canons and constitution of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone has recently been completed. Translating the 20-page document from Spanish to English was accomplished by staff members from the dioceses of Fort Worth and San Joaquin.
The Diocese of Fort Worth has published the translation on its website. Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Fort Worth and the standing committee recently prepared a second report concerning the possibility of aligning with the Province of the Southern Cone. This comparative report reflects on key points of difference between the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church and those of the Southern Cone. The report concluded that affiliation with the Southern Cone would provide Fort Worth with “greater self-determination” than it currently has under The Episcopal Church…
The PDF file of the translation is here.
The report on their content is here.
An article that I wrote recently has been included in the LGCM Anglican Matters newsletter that was also published as an advertising supplement to this week’s Church Times.
The entire supplement is available online as a PDF file here (900Kb).
The article is a summary of Anglican Communion events during the past six months or so. It was published with the title Has the Covenant already sunk? and an html copy of it is now here.
Ekklesia has published a paper written by Savitri Hensman and titled Binding the church and constraining God. Here is the abstract:
In a paper carefully analysing the popular use and misuse of biblical and doctrinal language about God and Church, Savitri Hensman shows that inflexible, one-sided, naïve or ideological conceptions of God in sections of the Christian tradition can reinforce domineering models and practices in the Church – which is in fact supposed to be a creative vehicle of Jesus’ broken body in the world, not a defensive fortress. God is not confined by rules set by humans and our institutions, she argues, however powerful they may be by earthly standards. In the biblical tradition, God is at work outside as well as within institutions, including those that claim to be about God’s business. Liberation, reformation and healing will continue to happen even if, at first, they are not acknowledged by the authorities (ecclesial and otherwise); and in time truth will break through our illusions. This paper is highly relevant to issues being discussed in and beyond Anglicanism, concerning its disputed future, and in other sections of the worldwide Church. It makes specific reference to the debate about an Anglican Covenant in the run-up to the Lambeth Conference 2008. It may also give those outside the Church a better understanding of how language and tradition is being applied and misapplied within very diverse Christian communities during a time of considerable upheaval and anxiety, both inside and outside the Church.
Read the whole paper here.
Updated Monday afternoon
The news item concludes rather interestingly with these paragraphs:
…Schism has been looming over Anglicanism since 2003, when American liberals ordained a gay bishop, Gene Robinson. And—a sign of how far apart the camps are—the conservatives’ worry is not that Lambeth will endorse homosexual relations among the clergy or anybody else; it is rather that decisions there will not provide clearly enough for the expulsion of churches which stray in a liberal direction.
In the latest move, Drexel Gomez, the conservative Archbishop of the West Indies, has started drafting a compromise that would allow old-timers to attend the Lambeth meeting, on the understanding that proper arrangements will be made for disciplining gay-friendly liberals. To people who are neither Christian nor Muslim, it must all sound a bit like sharia law.
The leader draws this conclusion from it all:
…Faced with this anomaly, the archbishop proposes to expand the privileges of all religions. It would be better instead to curtail the entitlements of his one. It makes no sense in a pluralistic society to give one church special status. Nor does it make sense, in a largely secular country, to give special status to all faiths. The point of democracies is that the public arena is open to all groups—religious, humanist or football fans. The quality of the argument, not the quality of the access to power, is what matters. And citizens, not theocrats, choose.
Cut it free
Disestablishing the Church of England does not mean that it has no public role to play. America’s founders said there should be no established religion, but religion shapes public debate to a degree that many in Europe find incomprehensible. Let religion compete in the marketplace for ideas, not seek shelter behind special privileges. One law for all, with its enlightened insistence on tolerance and free speech, is not a “bit of a danger”. It is what underwrites the ability of all religions to go about their business unhindered.
Ekklesia which had already expressed a view on this in Disestablishment may be back on the agenda as church feels pressure has now commented directly on the Economist response in The Economist calls for cutting the cord that binds church and state.
And Simon Barrow wrote about Giving up Establishment for Lent.
Here is a link to the BBC Sunday item (7 minutes audio):
Controversy has surrounded the comments Rowan Williams recently made about Sharia. The religious think tank Ekklesia has now weighed into the debate with the suggestion that the Archbishop’s speech demonstrates the need for the disestablishment of the Church of England. Jonathan Bartley, the co-director of Ekklesia, and the Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, gave their views.
Terry Philpot writes about Catholic care homes in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.
Usama Hasan writes in The Times about What is Sharia?
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that the Democrats now do God.
Christopher Howse following the archbishop’s lead tells more Ronald Knox jokes in When Islam and the C of E unite.
Craig Brown tries to be amusing in Dr Rowan Williams’ ‘Cat Sat On The Mat’.
And for a real contrast to that, try the sermon given by Rowan Williams at the memorial service for Charlie Moule last weekend.
Both the Church Times and the Tablet have multiple articles on this topic. Unfortunately several are not available at present except to subscribers. When more becomes available, we will publish links.
Meanwhile, here is what you can read:
Church Times Lambeth endures protests and Page 3 girls in sharia row by Rachel Harden
Synod welcomes Dr Williams’s robust defence by Pat Ashworth and Margaret Duggan
Church Times leader: First, they came for the Muslims
The primates of Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and the Southern Cone have issued a public response to the letter they were sent signed by 21 English evangelical bishops.
The full text of the response is here: GAFCON Response to Evangelical English Bishops. Part of it reads:
… You will know that some of us have not been able to take communion with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church since February 2005, - a period of about three years. The reason is that TEC took an action to consecrate Gene Robinson as Bishop in 2003 contrary to the resolution of the Lambeth Conference, an action of which they have not repented. The consecrators of Gene Robinson have all been invited to Lambeth, contrary to the statement of the Windsor Report (para 134) that members of the Episcopal Church should “consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion”.
You will know that some of those who objected to this consecration in the United States and have made arrangements for orthodox oversight from other provinces including ours have been charged with abandonment of communion. Their congregations have either forfeited or are being sued for their properties by the very bishops with whom you wish us to share Christian family fellowship for three weeks.
To do this is an assault on our consciences and our hearts. Further, how can we explain to our church members, that while we and they are formally out of communion with TEC, and provide oversight to these orthodox colleagues, we at the same time live with them at the Lambeth Conference as though nothing had happened? This would be hypocrisy.
We are also concerned that the invitation list reflects a great imbalance. It fails to address fundamental departures from historic faith that have triggered this crisis and yet excludes bishops of our own provinces, of Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda who teach and practice Biblical faith. As constituted, the invitations suggest that institutional structures are superior to the content of the faith itself.
We are also mindful of the press interest in the Conference, and in the presence in some form or other of Gene Robinson and his male partner, and of 30 gay activists. We would be the continual target of activist campaigners and media intrusion. In these circumstances we could not feel at home…
First, the Bishop of British Columbia (that’s the diocese next door to New Westminster), James Cowan issued this letter (PDF file) to his diocese on 30 January:
Then, Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster wrote a letter to his diocese on 6 February.
The Anglican Journal reported all this as West Coast bishops warn parishes against separation on 12 February.
…“I am very concerned that there are a few parishes that may be considering a motion to withdraw from the fellowship of the Anglican Church of Canada, and to place themselves under the jurisdiction of another Province of the Anglican Communion,” he wrote, urging reconsideration.
“It is not necessary for any parish to consider such action. The House of Bishops has designed a model for Shared Episcopal Ministry. This model enables a diocesan Bishop to share his or her Episcopal oversight with another Bishop for parishes finding themselves in conscientious disagreement with the Bishop and Synod over the matter of the blessing of same sex unions.
“With this provision in place there is no need for pastoral interventions by bishops from jurisdictions outside of the Anglican Church of Canada. Such interventions in fact are inappropriate. Indeed the Archbishop of Canterbury in a recent letter to me said he cannot “support or sanction” such actions.
Nevertheless on that same day, members of the parish of St John’s Shaughnessy did just that. The diocese reported it this way: Diocese regrets decision of people to leave Anglican Church of Canada
Results from the Vestry meeting of St. John’s Shaughnessy on February 13 indicate that members of that parish plan to leave the Anglican Church of Canada.
The parish congregation voted to request that Donald Harvey, a retired bishop who left the Anglican Church of Canada in November, give it episcopal oversight, as a bishop in a South American Anglican Church. Harvey’s jurisdiction is not recognized by the Canadian Church or the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dean Peter Elliott, speaking for the Diocese while Bishop Michael Ingham is out of the country, said: “We regret the decision of any person to leave our Church.”
Read the whole report here.
Anglican Journal Vancouver church votes to leave Canadian church
Reuters Anglican church split over gays widens in Canada
Toronto Globe & Mail Anglican church seeks oversight from bishop in South America
Vancouver Sun Anglicans vote to split over same-sex blessings
There is a further development in relation to the Diocese of San Joaquin (previous report here). ENS reports:
…A steering committee has been appointed to begin to reconstitute the Fresno-based Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, while a second priest has been appointed as “interim pastoral presence” in the Central California Valley diocese.
“The steering committee has been formed and there are about 20 people involved,” said the Rev. Canon Robert Moore, appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as an interim pastoral presence late last year.
“It is important for people both inside and outside California to understand that this committee represents a broad spectrum of theological positions,” Moore said. “We are really trying to stay away from designations like liberal and conservative, because it is very important to the Presiding Bishop that it be a representative group of people.”
Moore confirmed that the Rev. Canon Brian Cox, 16-year rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara in the Diocese of Los Angeles, also has been appointed as an interim pastoral presence in San Joaquin.
“He is, by his own description, a well-known conservative and trained in reconciliation work,” Moore said. “The hope is that he will be able to reach out to additional folks. He and I are now beginning a healing kind of reconciliation process,” he added…
…The transformation we have witnessed in the Diocese of Central Ecuador gives us hope in light of the attempt of the Bishop and Convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin to remove their diocese from The Episcopal Church and transfer it to another province in the Anglican Communion.
We are deeply concerned for those who are members of The Episcopal Church but now find themselves in parishes or dioceses attempting to depart. To the members of The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, know we stand with you. Your struggles and needs inform our prayers, deliberations, and plans. This is a new and unfamiliar landscape for all of us. We stand with you and commit ourselves to provide pastoral care, to aid in re-organization, and to support legal actions necessary to retain the assets of the diocese for ministry. We will hold clergy leaders accountable to their vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline and worship of this Church, and lay leadership accountable to the fiduciary responsibilities of the offices they hold. Up to $500,000 of income from trust funds will be made available in the calendar year 2008 to support the mission work of the Diocese of San Joaquin and similarly situated dioceses…
The full letter text is available as PDF file here.
The Living Church also has a report on this.
Updated Thursday evening
Religious Intelligence had this on Tuesday:
Theological convictions, not bruised feelings, will prevent at least three provinces from attending the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the Primate of the West Indies has said.
In an interview with the Nassau Guardian yesterday, West Indian Archbishop Drexel Gomez stated “there are at least four provinces in Africa that have either said they will not attend or are still considering if they will attend, but there are three who said they will definitely not be attending.”
Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda had announced they will not be attending the conference as it is currently organized. Sources in the Anglican Church of Kenya tell us that the Church was to have made a decision at its House of Bishops meeting scheduled for this week. However, the post-election violence has postponed the meeting to April when a decision will be taken…
The Nassau Guardian article itself is here. It also says:
It would be “scandalous” if gay Anglican Bishop Canon V. Gene Robinson appeared at the upcoming Anglican Lambeth Conference in July with his partner, Archbishop Drexel Gomez told The Guardian Monday.
The upcoming conference, held once every 10 years, is expected to see the coming together of a number of Anglican Bishops at the University of Kent in Canterbury. But because of the on-going schism within the Communion as a result of the ordination of Robinson almost six years ago, Gomez said some provinces recently indicated they would not attend the upcoming conclave.
Uganda’s decision is now reported widely in the media:
Religious Intelligence again on Thursday: Uganda to boycott Lambeth
The African Province announced its intention in a statement issued last night by the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev Henry Orombi, pictured, on the same day the Church of England’s General Synod discussed the content of a Covenant which is being drawn up to try and keep the worldwide Communion together.
The boycott revolves around the Church’s long-running row over homosexuality, which came to the fore after the consecration of an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, by the Episcopal Church (TEC) of the USA in 2003. In the statement Bishop Orombi writes that Bishop Robinson’s consecration and the TEC’s continued practice of blessing same-sex couples is ‘in flagrant disregard’ of a resolution passed at the 1998 Lambeth Conference which described homosexual practice as ‘incompatible with Scripture’.
He added that their non-attendance was a means of expressing their disapproval that American bishops have been invited to the ten-yearly gathering of Primates. He said: “This decision has been made to protest the invitations extended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Rowan Williams, to TEC Bishops whose stand and unrepentant actions created the current crisis of identity and authority in the Anglican Communion.” He added they planned to meet with other traditionalist bishops at an ‘alternative Lambeth’ called the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem in June, which is expected to be attended by other conservative leaders from Africa and Australia.
Press Association Uganda boycotts Anglican conference
The decision by Rwanda not to attend goes back to June 2007, see Lambeth invitations: Rwanda not attending.
Episcopal Majority has published, in four parts, an essay by Christopher Webber titled Unity and Diversity in the Lambeth Conference.
Updated Thursday evening and Friday morning
Official Reports: General Synod - Summary of Business Conducted on Thursday 14th February 2008 AM
General Synod - Summary of Business Conducted on Thursday 14th February 2008 PM
These include links to audio recordings of all the items.
Alastair Cutting (a member blogging from the floor of synod)
Day four: Thursday
Episcopal Life Online
Synod calls for Guantanamo Bay’s closure, debates detention without charge by Matthew Davies
Synod warns of terror fears eroding liberty
Synod Report Thursday 14th
In the morning Synod debated Crown appointments and agreed to the proposals in paragraph 58 of GS1680 by 290 votes to 16 with 16 recorded abstentions. Synod then debated a following motion calling for the chair of the Crown Nominations Commission, when it is considering the choice of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to be chosen by the Church’s appointments committee instead of by the Prime Minister as at present. This was defeated by 142 votes to 107 with 20 recorded abstentions.
Synod debated GS1673 Growing Together in Unity and Mission and passed the following motion by 258 votes to 10 with 5 recorded abstentions.
That this Synod, welcoming the work that has been done towards the Agreed Statement of the International Anglican - Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission and endorsing its stated aim of closer collaboration in unity and mission between our two communions:
(a) note the assessment of the Agreed Statement in GS 1673 as a contribution to the further development of the text and endorse the concerns of the Faith and Order Advisory Group set out in section 4 of GS 1673;
(b) affirm the further growing together in unity and mission will depend on common witness and the exchange of spiritual gifts, as well as clarity between areas where doctrinal agreement has been achieved and areas that require further work; and
(c) encourage Anglicans to implement, with Roman Catholics, the practical initiatives for bishops and people in Part 2 of the Statement;
(d) request that debates take place in Synod on all the documents listed in Appendix 2, Second Phase in Growing Together in Unity and Mission as the next stage in the process.
After lunch Synod debated GS1681 Detention without Charge and passed the following motion by 235 votes to 2 with 7 recorded abstentions.
That this Synod, mindful both of the Christian teaching that enforcement of law should be just in process and outcome, and of the challenge that the advent of suicide attacks poses for the general public and for those who bear responsibility for protecting the public from terrorism:
(a) emphasise the importance of society maintaining a careful balance between the liberty of the individual and the needs of national security;
(b) express grave concern that an extension to the current 28-day maximum period for detention without charge of terrorist suspects would, in the absence of the most compelling arguments, disturb that balance unacceptably;
(c) while welcoming the release of most UK prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, deplore the continued holding of prisoners there without charge or due process and encourage Her Majesty’s Government to continue to use all available means to press the United States administration to close the Guantanamo Bay facility and restore the full application of the rule of law; and
(d) affirm the desirability of an early review by the Government of the restrictions and other obligations that may be imposed on individuals under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 and the use of undisclosed material in control order proceedings.’
The amendment below was proposed to the above motion but it was defeated on a show of hands.
Leave out paragraph (b) and insert:
“(b) urge Her Majesty’s Government to adopt a more purposive approach to the problem of balancing the need for sufficient investigative time against the need to maintain the liberty of the individual through a process of holding suspects on a weekly basis under the review of a senior High Court Judge;”
This completed Synod’s business for this group of sessions.
Matt Wardman is quite clear about the answer to this: he blames the BBC. Read Archbishop Rowan Firestorm was Started by the BBC before Interview was even Broadcast (H/T Alan Wilson)
News Sniffer shows you how the BBC’s own web reporting of the story changed over time.
There are others, though, who believe that what Rowan Williams said was wrong. See for example, Christopher Hitchens at Slate in To Hell With the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Theo Hobson has written Rowan Williams: sharia furore, Anglican future at openDemocracy.
And at ourKingdom Simon Barrow’s latest piece in the Sharia Subjects series is The real purpose of the Archbishop.
He also wrote A question of conscience on Comment is free.
More links to other opinions on all this on Ruth Gledhill’s blog at Sharia show shuts down? No it doesn’t. Bad luck Rowan. She includes this from Archbishop Akinola:
‘We have received news of what the Archbishop of Canterbury allegedly said. If it is true that this statement about the inevitability of the introduction of Sharia law into the UK credited to Rowan Williams was actually said by him, it is most disturbing and most unfortunate. With what Christians are going through in Muslim lands around the world, it is unbelievable that any Christian leader - not to talk of an Archbishop - would make such a statement under whatever guise. This matter will be discussed at the next meeting of our House of Bishops.’
update Thursday morning and afternoon
The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd Graham Dow, spoke at the launch today of God, Gays and the Church. He may regret what he said.
Ruth Gledhill in her Times blog Graham Dow: UK Government a ‘Revelation 13’ Govt
Ruth Gledhill in the Times Bishop sees demons in Downing Street
Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph Brown Government ‘like a demonic beast’
Updated Wednesday night, Thursday morning and Friday morning
Official Reports: General Synod - Summary of Business Conducted on Wednesday 13th February 2008 AM
General Synod - Summary of Business Conducted on Wednesday 13th February 2008 PM
These include links to audio recordings of all the items.
Archbishop of Canterbury
contribution to the debate on a Covenant for the Anglican Communion
Episcopal Life Online
ENGLAND: Synod discusses Anglican covenant; debate draws mixed reactions
Anglican Covenant will unite, not divide - Sentamu by Maria Mackay
General Synod Report 13 February 2008
In the afternoon Synod debated eucharistic prayers for children and mental health issues and passed these two motions.
That this Synod request the House of Bishops to commission the expeditious preparation of Eucharistic Prayers suitable for use on occasions when a significant number of children are present or when it is otherwise pastorally appropriate to meet the needs of children present.
That this Synod:
a) affirm the vital necessity of improving services, in hospitals and in the community, for the support, care and treatment of people with mental health problems;
b) welcome the acceptance by Her Majesty’s Government during the passage of the Mental Health Act 2007 of amendments to protect the liberty and interests of those subject to compulsory detention and treatment for mental disorder, and express the hope that the operation of the Act will be carefully monitored;
c) note with concern the rising incidence of mental distress among young people;
d) call attention to the acute needs of people with mental disorders in the criminal justice system and request effective measures to divert them, where appropriate, from prison; and
e) welcome the recognition within mental health services of the significance of spirituality for assessment and treatment, and encourage parishes to ensure that the support and care of people with mental health problems, their carers and NHS staff is a key priority for the Church’s ministry.
The day ended with a general debate on the Anglican Communion Covenant and a vote on the motion ‘That the Synod do take note of this report.’ [where ‘this report’ was this]. The take note motion was carried by 266 votes to 20 with 19 recorded abstentions.
updated Wednesday morning, Thursday morning and afternoon and Friday morning
Official reports: General Synod - Summary of Business Conducted on Tuesday 12th February 2008 AM.
General Synod - Summary of Business Conducted on Tuesday 12th February 2008 PM
These include links to audio recordings of most of the items.
Church ‘land grab’ thrown out by synod by Ruth Gledhill
Synod rejects proposals for £4bn vicarage ‘land grab’ by Ruth Gledhill (basically same story as the one above)
Clean up your ‘human pollution’, Archbishop of Canterbury tells gambling trade by Ruth Gledhill
Synod calls on minister to scrap planned casinos by Riazat Butt
Church vows to tackle Bible shortage by Jonathan Petre
Archbishop of Canterbury slams casinos in Synod debate by Maria Mackay
General Synod Report 12 February 2008
Tuesday’s main business was consideration of the clergy terms of service legislation which came back from the revision committee. This is the legislation to introduce common tenure, a uniform set of conditions for all clergy. Synod appeared to have little problem with the general principle, but the proposal to transfer ownership of much clergy housing to new diocesan parsonage boards was strongly opposed and was effectively killed by one amendment. This was carried in each of the three houses of synod by the following votes.
Following this vote the committee responsible for steering the legislation through synod withdrew all the clauses about the ownership of clergy housing and as a result there will be no changes to the current arrangements.
Later Synod debated gambling and casinos and passed the following motion by 258 votes to 4 with 9 recorded abstentions.
That this Synod, gravely concerned that the total national spend on gaming has risen in each year over the past four years from £4 to £40 billion:
a) endorse the public opposition expressed by church leaders to the introduction of regional and large casinos, and encourage local churches to participate in local authority consultations on plans for new casino applications;
b) declare its support for programmes of education, research and treatment undertaken with the aim of checking the growth in problem gambling, and request the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to invoke the powers granted by the Gambling Act 2005 to introduce a statutory levy on the gambling industry to fund such programmes;
c) call upon Her Majesty’s Government to monitor the addictive effects of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals and to seek an international framework for a code of conduct on internet gambling; and
d) call upon the Mission and Public Affairs Council to report back to Synod by February 2009 on measures being taken by the churches to combat the detrimental effects of gambling in various forms.
The final item of business was a debate on the availability of bibles in churches at the end of which the following motion was carried overwhelmingly.
That this Synod, believing in the importance of Scripture, desire that anyone entering a church building or attending a church service should have easy and unfettered access one of the versions of the Bible referred to in the note by the House of Bishops on Versions of Scripture dated 9th October 2002 or one of the versions of the Bible that may be used by virtue of the Prayer Book Versions of the Bible Measure, and would request all dioceses to take steps to give effect to this desire in their churches.
* Synod has introduced electronic voting and this allows members to record an abstention as well as a vote in favour or against.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced the formation of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG), as proposed in his Advent Letter. The WCG will address outstanding questions arising from the Windsor Report and the various formal responses from provinces and instruments of the Anglican Communion.
Details on the Anglican Communion News Service.
Updated Tuesday morning, Thursday morning and Friday morning
Official report : General Synod - Summary of Business Conducted on Monday 11th February 2008 PM
This includes links to audio recordings of all the items.
Archbishop defends his comments on Sharia law Riazat Butt Paper version: Archbishop defends sharia law remarks but admits his words may have lacked clarity
A very Anglican resurrection by Andrew Brown
Williams, sharia and a mea culpa … of sorts by Stephen Bates
In an age of red-top fury, here is a hero by Giles Fraser
Guardian leader: Wounded and wiser
Synod backs Archbishop in Sharia controversy by Philippe Naughton and Ruth Gledhill headline now changed to ‘Sorry for any confusion but it is my right and duty to talk about religion and the law’
St Rowan seeks forgiveness for the sin of ‘unclarity’ by Alan Hamilton
Archbishop won’t back down over sharia row by Jonathan Petre
Dr Rowan Williams may suffer lasting damage by Jonathan Petre
Synod fails to cast first stone at Archbishop by Andrew Gimson
Dr Rowan Williams’s gift to Gordon Brown by Rachel Sylvester
Telegraph leader: Dr Rowan Williams’s words were understood
‘I was right to speak out on sharia law,’ says Archbishop by Steven Doughty
He stood there, hands clasped in front of him, the beard moving roughly in sync with his lips by Quentin Letts
Williams tries to defuse row over sharia law but refuses to apologise by Jonathan Brown
Clumsy maybe, but not sorry by Paul Vallely
Episcopal News Service
Canterbury defends Sharia comments in General Synod address by Matthew Davies
General Synod Report 11 February 2008
The full text of what Rowan Williams said can be found here.
This was preceded by a standing ovation from the members of the synod.
Complete audio recording of this address available here.
Riazat Butt in the Guardian has Archbishop tears up script to face critics
And also, Ayesha Khan on Sharia sensibilities
Jonathan Petre in the Daily Telegraph has Synod turns on Rowan Williams in sharia row
Andrew Grice in the Independent says Williams resists calls to resign over sharia row
And Johann Hari has Rowan Williams has shown us one thing – why multiculturalism must be abandoned
See previous TA article for reports in The Times.
The Press Association has Archbishop ready to defend himself
Reuters says Williams to speak out after storm
Here’s the timetable for today’s General Synod session:
3.15 p.m. to 7 p.m.
2. PROGRESS OF MEASURES AND STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS
3. PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
4 and 5. REPORT BY THE BUSINESS COMMITTEE (GS 1676)
6. FORTY-SECOND REPORT OF THE STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE (GS 1677)
And the BBC has this helpful Q&A: The General Synod explained
Tomorrow in The Times Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correpondent, and Philip Webster, Political Editor report that: Archbishop faces critics on his day of judgment:
An embattled Archbishop of Canterbury will confront anger within the Church of England as, on this most critical day of his five years in office, he tries to justify his remarks about Islamic law.
Dr Rowan Williams will open the General Synod in Central London this afternoon with a presidential address in which he will show that he can weather the storm over his recent remarks. He will attempt to set the record straight, insisting that he never advocated a “parallel jurisdiction” of Sharia.
The Archbishop, whose liberal stance has provoked fury among evangelicals, will face further pressure when a senior bishop launches a renewed attack on the Church’s approach to homosexuality.
The Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester and fifth most senior clergyman in the hierarchy, will give warning that the Church’s integrity has been “gravely undermined” by its implicit acceptance of same-sex relationships.
The issue of homosexuality and the Church is due to be debated by Synod when the Covenant, a new agreement on doctrine supported by Dr Williams, is examined on Wednesday.
In a forward to God, Gays and the Church, a book to be published this week and seen by The Times, Bishop Scott-Joynt attacks what he calls the “public advocating and vaunting of behaviour contrary to the teaching of the Church of England” at last year’s Synod, which was presided over by Dr Williams…
For more background to this book, see Anglican Mainstream’s announcement: God, Gays and the Church and also the announcement by The Latimer Trust God, Gays & the Church: Human Sexuality in Christian Thinking
Also the same journalists have this: Row over gay clergy threatens to divide a Synod still reeling over Sharia furore:
…In a new book, God, Gays and the Church, the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, attacks the acceptance of “alternative, revisionist teaching” on the issue of homosexuality.
Bishop Scott-Joynt, referring to a debate on sexuality at the synod last February, claims that there was a “public advocating and vaunting of behaviour contrary to the teaching of the Church of England”. Several priests in that debate spoke openly of the joy and fulfilment they get from being in openly gay relationships, even though official church discipline demands that gay clergy be celibate.
Bishop Scott-Joynt condemns the fact that personal experience appears to be given the same weight as Scripture, tradition and the Church in the debate over homosexuality…
And Ruth Gledhill has this comment piece: The intellectual arrogance that pervades the heart of Lambeth Palace wisdom:
…Dr Williams was advised before his speech on Thursday evening that the content could prove controversial. He heeded the warnings but went ahead anyway. He was “taken aback” by just how controversial it then proved but remains “chirpy” and unrepentant about his comments because he believes that they needed to be made.
Although he is a holy and spiritual man, danger lies in the appearance of the kind of intellectual arrogance common to many of Britain’s liberal elite. It is an arrogance that affords no credibility or respect to the popular voice. And although this arrogance, with the assumed superiority of the Oxbridge rationalist, is not shared by his staff at Lambeth Palace, it is by some of those outside Lambeth from whom he regularly seeks counsel…
Read the whole article for more on the Lambeth Palace scene.
As a change from the secular media reports, here is what Ekklesia has published:
And see also Real problem, wrong solution
And see also on Comment is free A multi-faith muddle
Giles Fraser wrote in the G2 section of the Guardian about his recent American travels, God moves to the left.
And he also wrote in the Church Times about Lambeth: a conference of shame.
John Wilkins writes in The Times that Divine justice is perfect and tempered with mercy.
Alec Gilmore writes in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Will Woodward and Riazat Butt Williams defiant over Islamic law speech
Clare Dyer Jewish Beth Din could be archbishop’s model
Riazat Butt Forget the beheadings, and think of settling marital disputes
Andrew Brown Misjudgment that made martyrs of others
Madeleine Bunting A noble, reckless rebellion
Guardian leader: The simplicity complex
Jonathan Petre Rowan Williams faces calls to resign and Church members call on Archbishop to resign
Charles Moore Archbishop, with sharia it’s all or nothing
Simon Heffer Sharia courts? Get off your knees, archbishop
Ruth Gledhill Archbishop faces calls to quit over Sharia row
Frances Gibb Was Archbishop’s obscure phrasing and bad timing to blame for uproar? Don’t miss this one, well worth reading
Matthew Parris Williams is dangerous. He must be resisted
Times leader: A Devalued Faith
Colin Brown and Jerome Taylor Church moves to the defence of Archbishop
Deborah Orr Don’t be fooled… the archbishop wants to beat extremists at their own game
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown What he wishes on us is an abomination
Independent leader: The Archbishop has stepped into a political and intellectual minefield
The Bishop of St Albans wrote to his clergy and readers: Bishop of St Albans says Archbishop’s lecture raises major issue.
Justin Lewis-Anthony wrote The Archbishop and those who will not hear.
Lambeth Palace has issued a statement headlined What did the Archbishop actually say?
Friday 08 February 2008
There has been a strong reaction in the media and elsewhere to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks of yesterday on civil and religious law…
…The Archbishop made no proposals for sharia in either the lecture or the interview, and certainly did not call for its introduction as some kind of parallel jurisdiction to the civil law.
Instead, in the interview, rather than proposing a parallel system of law, he observed that “as a matter of fact certain provisions of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law” . When the question was put to him that: “the application of sharia in certain circumstances - if we want to achieve this cohesion and take seriously peoples’ religion - seems unavoidable?”, he indicated his assent.
A selection of further material:
The Church Times which went to press before this story broke has now published a website article by Paul Handley Williams provokes row over sharia law.
James Behrens wrote Legal opinion on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s interview on Shariah Law.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali wrote English law and the Sharia (PDF).
Bishop Alan Wilson wrote Abdul the Bogeyman.
Frances Gibb Legal Editor of The Times reported Lawyers: Sharia can’t trump English law. Meanwhile Ruth Gledhill has Archbishop of Canterbury ‘should resign’ over Sharia row and there is Sharia in Britain: the reaction.
The Daily Telegraph has Bishop: Impossible to have sharia law in UK by Jonathan Petre, Andrew Porter and Gordon Rayner.
The Guardian has Laying down the law: ministers cool on archbishop’s sharia suggestion by Will Woodward and Riazat Butt.
Updated Friday evening see Bindmans press release below
Here is the outcome of the Hereford tribunal case as reported by icWales:
A gay Christian who won a discrimination claim against the Church of England was awarded more than £47,000 in compensation today, the organisation backing him said.
John Reaney, a 42-year-old from North Wales, took the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance to an employment tribunal after his appointment to the role of youth worker was blocked on the grounds of his sexuality by the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis.
Stonewall, the gay equality organisation which funded the claim, said the Diocese of Hereford was today ordered to pay Mr Reaney £47,345.
A spokesman for Stonewall said this included £33,000 for loss of future earnings and £7,000 damages specifically awarded for “psychiatric injury”.
Mr Reaney said: “I’m delighted that this case is finally over. Lesbian and gay Christians working within the Church of England are entitled to be treated with humanity. I’m very grateful to Stonewall for supporting this case throughout.”
Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “We’re delighted that the tribunal has sent such a robust signal, both to the bishop and other employers.
“The substantial level of compensation sends out a very clear message. Not even a bishop is above this law.”
According to Stonewall the Bishop’s costs are estimated to be a further £50,000.
Stonewall added that the tribunal had also said it expects the Bishop to undergo equal opportunities training…
Here is the full text of the press release from the Diocese of Hereford:
Diocese of Hereford & the Employment Tribunals Service
February 08th 2008
The Employment Tribunal has issued its final judgment in the case of the diocese of Hereford and Mr. John Reaney. “We are glad we can draw a line under this unhappy situation. It has been a difficult time for all of us involved in the tribunal,” said Anni Holden, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Hereford. “It has been a long drawn out process and we are pleased that it is finally complete.”
The ‘Remedy Hearing’ of the tribunal took place in December following its decision in July 2007. The Employment Tribunal has decided that the Diocese of Hereford is to pay £47,345 to Mr John Reaney. The legal costs of the case to the Diocese are being met by an anonymous donation.
“We are now aware that when making such an appointment we must make it clear if it is a genuine occupational requirement that the post-holder should believe in and uphold the Christian belief and ideal of marriage, and that sexual relationships are confined to marriage”, added Anni Holden. “This is the crux of the matter, not sexual orientation.”
According to this report from Hereford-based 24dash.com:
The total compensation ordered by the tribunal included £25,000 for future loss of wages, £8,000 for future pension loss, £7,000 damages for psychiatric injury, £6,000 for injury to feelings, £1,320 for counselling and £25 for costs incurred seeking work.
Other press coverage:
BBC Gay man wins £47k church payout
North Wales Daily Post Gay Christian wins £47,000 pay-out and later Church must pay out to gay Christian
The Sun Gay Christian’s £47k compo and later Rev’s £47k gay worker snub
Hereford Times Gay man wins Church payout
Daily Mail Gay Christian rejected for post by Bishop awarded almost £50,000 in damages
Daily Telegraph Bishop fined in gay discrimination case
The Times Bishop ordered to have equality training over gay discrimination
Guardian £47,000 for gay youth worker bishop rejected
Ekklesia Bishop faces equal opportunities training after discrimination award
There is a full press release from Bindmans titled Tribunal awards substantial compensation in landmark gay discrimination case against Church of England:
John Reaney wins over £50K compensation and interest
John Reaney v Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance
Cardiff Employment Tribunal
The Employment Tribunal has just awarded John Reaney over £50,000 (including interest) as compensation for unlawful discrimination against him by the Diocese and the Bishop of Hereford.
Alison Downie, of Bindman & Partners, lawyer for John Reaney said today:
“The Employment Tribunal has just ordered the Diocese of Hereford to pay substantial damages, over £50,000 including interest, to my client as compensation for the unlawful gay discrimination against him by the Bishop and Diocese of Hereford…
Update added 15 Feb: the Stonewall press release is here: Tribunal orders Bishop of Hereford to pay £47,000 to gay youth worker.
Pat Ashworth in the Church Times has Disputed parts of Anglican Covenant redrafted.
… Just 13 of the 34 Anglican provinces submitted a formal response to the first draft of the Anglican Covenant (the Nassau Draft), something that the Covenant Design Group (CDG) suggests might be attributed to “lack of translation” or indeed “other foci in the life of Provinces”…
Scroll down the Church Times article for a summary of the Appendix: Four routes for discipline:
THE PROCESS for disciplining a Church is graded according to whether there is a threat to “the unity of the Communion or effectiveness or credibility of its mission” and how urgent this is.
Informal conversation is the first resort, Route 1. If that fails, the next step is to consult the Archbishop of Canterbury. He then has a month either to resolve the problem by issuing pastoral guidance, or to refer it to three Assessors of his choice. The Church that is getting the guidance has a month to respond. If the outcome is unsuccessful, it refers it to the Assessors. The Assessors have a month in which to choose one of four routes, depending on the perceived urgency of the dispute.
If a threat to unity is clearly involved and is considered to be a matter of real urgency, the Archbishop requests action by the Church involved. The Church has six months to consider: if it doesn’t respond after that time, it is considered to have rejected his request. The Church can appeal to the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) if it does not believe that it is threatening unity and mission. The JSC decides whether there is a threat. If the appeal is lost, the matter goes to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).
Route 2 comes into play if it is unclear whether there is a real threat to unity or not, but the matter is still considered urgent. If so, it can be referred by the Archbishop of Canterbury to another of the Instruments of Communion to decide whether there is a threat. The Instrument makes a request to the Church, and then the matter proceeds as with Route 1.
Route 3 takes a longer view. The Archbishop refers longer-term issues that “would benefit from rigorous theological study” to a commission for evaluation. He chooses the commission in consultation with the secretary general of the Anglican Communion. The commission studies it for 18 months, and then pass on its judgement to an Instrument of Communion. If rejected, it then goes to the ACC.
Route 4 provides mediation, if no threat to unity is perceived. This is a three-year process. The mediator has no decision-making authority, and cannot compel the parties to accept a settlement. The matter is declared closed after three years.
The ACC is the final arbiter over Routes 1, 2, and 3, and whether a Church’s action is compatible with the Covenant. “If the Council decides the rejection is incompatible, the Church can declare voluntarily that it relinquishes the force and meaning of the Covenant; or the Council decides it for them.”
If either declares relinquishment, the ACC must initiate “a process of restoration with the Church of the Communion and other Instruments of the Communion”.
The Church Times reports the story: Bishop Jones apologises for Reading-affair open letter.
The Guardian has a profile: Whether you think he’s gone too far or not far enough, he has made an honest, brave and thoughtful contribution by Riazat Butt.
Riazat Butt Archbishop backs sharia law for British Muslims and later, Uproar as archbishop says sharia law inevitable in UK and
Will Woodward and Riazat Butt Laying down the law: ministers cool on archbishop’s sharia suggestion
Elizabeth Stewart Q&A: Sharia law
Andrew Brown Laws of the land
Guardian leader: Sharia and the state
Ruth Gledhill and Philip Webster Archbishop of Canterbury argues for Islamic law in Britain
Ruth Gledhill Has the Archbishop gone bonkers?
Daniel Finkelstein Why the Archbishop is wrong about Sharia
Ian Edge and Robin Griffiths-Jones Does Islam fit with our law?
Times leader: Church in a State
Jonathan Petre Archbishop Williams sparks Sharia law row and later
Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent, and Andrew Porter, Political Editor Adopt sharia law in Britain, says the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams
Christopher Howse Sharia is no law for Britain
Gordon Rayner Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Williams attacked over Sharia law comments
Daily Telegraph leader: Archbishop of Canterbury’s inept intervention
Ben Russell and Colin Brown Archbishop of Canterbury warns sharia law in Britain is inevitable
Paul Vallely Williams is snared in a trap of his own making
Press release from the MCU available here:
MCU opposes the Draft Covenant
The proposed Anglican Covenant (The St Andrew’s Draft) would only make the church more autocratic and outdated, says the Modern Churchpeople’s Union (MCU).
‘It takes the Anglican out of Anglicanism and there wouldn’t be much left’, says the MCU General Secretary, Jonathan Clatworthy. ‘Until now we have lived together respecting differences of opinion. This Covenant would mean every time there’s an objection someone will lay down the law’.
The wording of the Covenant itself is a clear improvement on previous drafts. But the sting is in the tail. An Appendix to the Draft Covenant sets out ways in which members of the Communion could be disciplined.
Members of the Anglican Communion would be asked to commit themselves to accept a ‘request’ from the Archbishop of Canterbury or the global Primate’s Meeting. If they refused the request they could ultimately be expelled from the Communion.
MCU objects to the Covenant because it would centralize decision-making and reduce the traditional autonomy of Anglican Provinces. Just one Anglican Province could object to developments elsewhere and so changes could only be made at the speed of the slowest. Churches would become increasingly out of date.
MCU believes that the threat of expulsion will impoverish Anglican church life. The short timescales envisaged are likely to stunt discussion and suppress the search for consensus. The character of the international ‘Instruments of Communion’ which currently bind the Communion together would be changed as they take on semi-judicial roles.
The practical result of the St Andrew’s Draft Covenant would be a much more centralized, authoritarian and unadventurous Communion. It is likely to magnify disputes and to turn them into judicial processes. It is likely to leave the Church less able to face the challenges of the modern world.
To read the Appendix mentioned above go here.
And for more material on the Covenant from MCU, go here.
Updated: full text of lecture now available
The BBC reports:
The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams says the adoption of Islamic Sharia law in the UK is “unavoidable”.
Dr Williams told BBC Radio 4’s World at One that the UK has to “face up to the fact” that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.
Dr Williams argues that adopting some aspects of Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.
For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.
He says Muslims should not have to choose between “the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty”.
In an exclusive interview with BBC correspondent Christopher Landau, ahead of a lecture to lawyers in London later on Monday, Dr Williams argues this relies on Sharia law being better understood. At the moment, he says “sensational reporting of opinion polls” clouds the issue.
He stresses that “nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that’s sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states”.
His comments are likely to fuel the debate over multiculturalism in the UK…
The full text of the lecture is available here.
And here is the Lambeth Palace press release about the lecture.
Updated Thursday morning
Anglican Communion News Service Covenant Design Group issues communique and draft
An Anglican Covenant - Draft Appendix Framework Procedures for the Resolution of Covenant Disagreements
Initial press reactions:
Tameka Lundy Bahama Journal New Try At Consensus In Anglican Church
Jonathan Petre Daily Telegraph Anglican Church sets up peacemaker court
Religious Intelligence Draft Covenant text issued
Marites N Sisson Anglican Journal Communion distributes second draft of proposed ‘covenant’
Episcopal News Service Covenant Design Group issues communiqué and second draft
Updated again Thursday morning
Riazat Butt in the Guardian reports that Bishop of Liverpool apologises for opposing gay cleric:
One of the country’s most senior bishops has argued that the Bible sanctions same-sex relationships, using the bonds between Jesus and John the disciple, and David and Jonathan as examples.
The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, a conservative evangelical, expressed the views in a book, A Fallible Church, in which he apologised for objecting to the appointment of the gay cleric Dr Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading. He was one of nine bishops to sign a public letter criticising the proposed consecration.
The bishop also apologised for his conduct and its effect on John, who eventually withdrew his acceptance of the post after bowing to pressure…
Update The Bishop of Liverpool’s chapter in the book is now online at the Liverpool diocesan website: Making Space for Truth and Grace
Further press reports:
Liverpool Daily Post Bishop’s rethink over gay relations
Liverpool Echo Bishop is sorry for gay cleric objection
Ekklesia has by far the best report so far on this matter: Leading Evangelical bishop calls for fresh approach to sexuality row:
The Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, has called for a change of heart among Evangelicals and others in the often bitter argument about sexuality, Scripture and authority.
But Bishop Jones has not, as reports in The Guardian and the Daily Mail newspapers have suggested, directly sanctioned same-sex relationships. In a lecture delivered at the end of 2007 and published in a new book designed to build-bridges in the run-up to the Lambeth Conference, he nevertheless points out that it is possible on the basis of the Bible to recognise that people of the same gender can have deeply involved emotional and physical friendships.
The bishop, who is a senior figure on the Evangelical wing of the Church, also forthrightly apologises for the form of action he took in opposing the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John, who declared himself to be in a non-sexual gay partnership, as Bishop of Reading. He expresses sorrow and regret over its hurtful impact, but he does not state that his reasons for doing so at the time were wrong…
Updated Monday evening
…The next Lambeth Conference has been summoned for July-August 2008. The Archbishop of Canterbury is responsible for the guest list, and he has invited all except for the Bishop of New Hampshire on the one hand and some of the new bishops appointed to care for the dissidents on the other. Thus, for example the Bishop of New Westminster has been invited although his actions have caused the Reverend David Short and his congregation (which includes Dr Jim Packer) to withdraw as far as they can from the Diocese. An invitation to share the Conference under these circumstances has posed a real difficulty for many of us.
Several African Provinces have indicated that they will not be attending Lambeth, because to do so would be to acquiesce with the North American actions. They are not ending the Anglican Communion, or even dividing it. They are simply indicating that the nature of the Communion has now been altered by what has occurred. They see that since the American actions were taken in direct defiance of the previous Lambeth Conference, the Americans have irreparably damaged the standing of the Conference itself. They asked without success for the Conference to be postponed. They do not think that this Conference is what is needed now. To attend would be to overlook the importance of the issues at stake.
The Anglican Future Conference is not designed to take the place of Lambeth. Some people may well choose to go to both. Its aim is to draw Biblical Anglican Christians together for urgent consultation. It is not a consultation which can take place at Lambeth, because Lambeth has a different agenda and far wider guest list. Unlike Lambeth, the Future Conference is not for Bishops alone – the invitations will go to clergy and lay people also. It seeks to plan for a future in which Anglican Christians world-wide will increasingly be pressured to depart from the biblical norms of behaviour and belief. It gives an opportunity for many to draw together to strengthen each other over the issue of biblical authority and interpretation and gospel mission…
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the reaction of the Primate of Australia, Phillip Aspinall to Dr Jensen’s decision not to attend the Lambeth Conference:
…Dr Aspinall said in a statement that he was disappointed over the move by Dr Jensen, and urged him to reconsider.
“I find it difficult to understand the view that the Lambeth Conference is not a proper place to deal with issues facing the international Anglican Communion,” Dr Aspinall said.
“Lambeth happens once every 10 years and basically all the bishops of the international Anglican Communion are invited.
“It is a very significant gathering in which the vast majority of bishops will participate.”
He said the only way to address issues of “deep difference” in the church was to “come together, pray together, study the scriptures and speak openly with each other”.
“That some bishops seem willing to forego this important opportunity is disappointing,” Dr Aspinall said.
He said he hoped that another key conservative bishop, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, who heads the Anglican Church in the West Indies, could convince Dr Jensen to rethink his move…
Earlier Ruth Gledhill had written about the Gafcon ‘power struggle’. She reproduces the text of a lengthy note about GAFCON by an unknown hand.
There are also links there to her video interview of me, and another interview of Jim Rosenthal, made just after the Lambeth Palace press conference two weeks ago.
And today, The Times has published Ruth’s article Archbishop aims to save divided Church. It is neither Rowan Williams nor Peter Jensen but rather Drexel Gomez, who is interviewed:
The Anglican archbishop in charge of drawing up the document intended to reunite his warring Church said he believes that schism can still be averted in spite of divisions over the issue of homosexuals.
The Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev Drexel Gomez, said that a new formula had been found that would allow the disciplining of errant churches while respecting the traditional autonomy of the 38 worldwide Anglican provinces. Urging all Anglican bishops to attend the Lambeth Conference this year, he said that it would be a “tremendous tragedy” if the Church fell apart.
A new document to be published this week would form “a basic way of holding each other accountable as a Communion”, he said. But he indicated that the Episcopal Church of the United States was unlikely to face discipline or any form of exclusion from the Anglican Communion as a result of consecrating Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003…
There is more in the Sydney Morning Herald for Tuesday:
Article by Peter Jensen Lambeth boycott needed to stand by biblical view
Newspaper editorial article Absence is no argument:
THE old adage that the absent are always wrong is not necessarily true. But in matters of tactics, it remains a useful rule of thumb: you cannot win a debate by boycotting it. Yet this is precisely what Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop, Peter Jensen, and the bishops of his diocese are proposing to do by refusing to attend this year’s Lambeth Conference - a once-in-a-decade meeting of the world’s more than 800 Anglican prelates. It is the latest development in a potentially schismatic dispute over church attitudes to homosexuality between the conservative leaders of the strongly evangelical Sydney diocese and their allies, notably in Africa, on one side, and more liberal Anglicans elsewhere (including Australia)…
The previous report about the Diocese of San Joaquin was this one.
The letter from the Presiding Bishop to the remaining members of the Standing Committee, and some initial responses to that, were linked at the end of the article.
Dan Martins a former DSJ Standing Committee member, now removed to Northern Indiana, and who earlier made these comments, has recently commented about this on various other blogs and has kindly published this record of his comments elsewhere: More San Joaquin Flotsam and Jetsam.
The following press release has been issued by the Diocese of Sydney:
Archbishop’s statement on Lambeth
Statement from Archbishop Peter Jensen - speaking after the service of ordination of 48 deacons at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney -
‘With regret, the Archbishop and Bishops of the Diocese of Sydney have decided not to attend the Lambeth Conference in July. They remain fully committed to the Anglican Communion, to which they continue to belong, but sense that attending the Conference at this time will not help heal its divisions. They continue to pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference.’
Evangelicals, beginning to voice concern for God’s earth, are critical to the US elections, says James Jones in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.
Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that Love can teach us to listen to our enduring melodies.
Christopher Howse in the Daily Telegraph has An addiction to behaving badly.
Giles Fraser, in the Church Times says that Too much religion is bad for your faith.
Rowan Williams gave an interview to Martha Linden of the Press Association which you can read in full at his site. It’s more wide-ranging than the headline, Archbishop criticises 24 hour drinking.
Simon Barrow wrote about Challenging the neo-liberal paradigm for Ekklesia.
Updated again Sunday
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has published three documents on the Rochester diocesan website:
The Times has a news report about the bishop by Ruth Gledhill Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, faces death threats.
Ruth Gledhill also has some of the remarks made by Bishop Nazir-Ali at the Oxford Union in Rochester, Oxford and the ‘call to prayer’.
The Sunday Telegraph has Support for ‘no-go’ bishop after death threats by Jonathan Wynne-Jones.
The Archbishops’ Council has issued a press release which contains a whole lot of detailed information about Church of England attendance, and other statistics.
See Latest figures show changing trends in church-going. It’s worth reading all the way through.
The Church Times has an article about this today, Attendance slides, but several dioceses buck the trend.
The underlying data is available in a PDF file here.
The Daily Telegraph reported this as Festive services boost CofE attendance by Jonathan Petre.
Religious Intelligence has Sunday attendance figures down, Church of England reveals.
The Church Times has this report: UK Evangelicals ask conservative Primates to rethink:
A GROUP of Evangelical bishops in the Church of England have written to conservative Primates urging them to rethink their objections to the Lambeth Conference.
The group, seven diocesan bishops and 13 suffragans, wrote to the Primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Southern Cone of America that they “long to share with you in fellowship and in celebration at Lambeth”. To stay away, they suggest, “would inevitably split apart those who share an equally high regard for scriptures [sic] and for the historic faith of the Church”.
The letter arose from an annual gathering of Evangelical bishops. The signatories are the Bishops of Bradford, Bristol, Carlisle, Durham, Lichfield, Oxford, Southwell, Barking, Bedford, Crediton, Croydon, Doncaster, Dunwich, Lancaster, Lynn, Maidstone, Penrith, Southampton, Swindon, and Tewkesbury…