Saturday, 30 August 2008

opinions at the end of August

In the Guardian this week, Riazat Butt wrote about her sister’s experience wearing a face veil in Southampton, see Turning the tables and if you have time, read the comments too.

Today, in Face to Faith, Shahid Malik writes about Ramadan.

Over at The Times Jonathan Sacks writes about Genesis and the origin of the Origin of the species.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about A delightful case of curiosities. More details about this exhibition are available here. And there is more here.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about his Norfolk holiday in Surely God is specially present here?

The On Faith website asked various pundits the question: Advise John McCain and Barack Obama on the role religion should play in their presidential campaigns.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 30 August 2008 at 2:01pm BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Friday, 29 August 2008

GAFCON issues a communiqué

Updated yet again Saturday morning

From GAFCON:

The first meeting of the GAFCON Primates Council took place in London from Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd August 2008. A Communiqué is now online, together with a letter sent by US bishops for council’s consideration.

GAFCON Communiqué on establishment of Primates Council and Fellowship

Letter from US bishops to GAFCON

An invitation from the Primates Council

Friday evening updates

Mark Harris offers an analysis of these documents, at Preludium, see The GAFCON / FCA Primates Council Plots, Plans and Fusses.

So also does Pluralist at Full Steam Ahead.

The Telegraph has a news report by Martin Beckford headlined Archbishop of Canterbury’s rescue plan for Anglican Communion rejected

The Living Church has an interesting interview with Bishop Gregory Venables in GAFCON Primates: Priority Will be Given to the Possible Formation of a Province in North America by Steve Waring.

Saturday morning update

The Guardian has Anglicans still divided over homosexuality by Riazat Butt

Graham Kings has some analysis at Covenant: on first reading the communique from the GAFCON Primates’ Council.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 29 August 2008 at 4:07pm BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 28 August 2008

more from Uganda

Last week, we had these stories from Uganda.

This week, we have Premier urges Church on Mengo row in New Vision. Although mainly about other matters, the article includes some references to church issues:

PRIME Minister Apolo Nsibambi yesterday asked Church leaders to mediate between the Government and Buganda Kingdom over the proposed Land Amendment Bill.

Nsibambi was yesterday speaking at the 19th Provincial Assembly of the Church of Uganda at the Uganda Christian University, Mukono.

Over 30 bishops from the Anglican Church and 100 delegates from 32 dioceses are meeting to discuss the future of the Church, the Church House project and other challenges including homosexuality…

… Nsibambi asked the clergy to fight homosexuality.

“One challenge is the vice of homosexuality in our own institutions and families. How ready are we to deal with homosexuality in our schools and universities alongside the global crisis in the Anglican Church?” he asked.

He commended Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi for fighting homosexuality. He urged the clergy to assist the Government end the burning of schools.

Nsibambi said religious education would not be scrapped from the syllabus. “We could not make religious education compulsory because that way, it can be resented. Religion is sacrosanct and we do not have to force it on people,” he stated…

…Orombi repeated his stand against homosexuality. While acknowledging Canterbury as an historic See, Orombi said the Archbishop of Canterbury had no jurisdiction over the Ugandan Province.

“When he acts contrary to the Word of God, we resist because we know he is wrong.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 28 August 2008 at 9:54pm BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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more from New Westminster

Updated Friday morning

Further to this recent news, letters have been sent by the Diocese of New Westminster to all parishioners at the two parishes affected.

Read Letters sent to parishioners regarding Canon 15 actions.

Full text of the letter to parishioners at St Matthew’s Abbotsford here (PDF).

And to parishioners at St Matthias & St Luke here (PDF).

Friday morning update

There is still no mention of any of this in the Canadian (or other) media. However, there is a press release from the Anglican Network in Canada headed Diocese moves to seize control of ANiC parishes. Also, there is a reaction from a parish which has not yet been sent any letters, Response to Diocese invoking Canon 15 Against St. Matthew’s and St. Matthias-St. Luke from St John’s Shaughnessy.

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Categorised as: Canada

‘a cult of bones’?

The Independent reports on the plan to exhume the remains of Cardinal Newman from a grave in which he was buried at his own request beside a priest, Fr Ambrose St John. The intention in moving his remains is to allow them to be venerated in a more suitable place, Birmingham Oratory.

The issue touches first on what we consider Christianity to be. Is it based on the bodily resurrection of Jesus, his appearances, an empty tomb with no bones remaining, and communion with the living Lord through the sacrament of the Eucharist in which we share his body and blood, or is it based on a cult of the bones of good people?

If we believe in ‘the resurrection of the body’ what is communicated by the tearing apart of the remains of saints limb from limb and sometimes slice by slice so that parts can be taken to different places for veneration?

I can venerate Newman by continuing to draw inspiration from his writing and his life without the need to be close to his mortal remains, just as I can be a Christian without the need to visit the Holy Sepulchre.

I have led pilgrimages to the places where saints lived and worked, in particular to places associated with St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross, and find the same is true. I may be inspired by the context in which saints lived and worked, particularly at a place like the Convent of the Incarnation in Avila. But Teresa’s body isn’t there. The place remains an inspiration just as the Birmingham Oratory is one without needing the bones of Newman. It was part of his life, and the life can still inspire.

The removal of Newman’s remains raises another issue. Cardinal Newman wrote shortly before his death: ‘I wish, with all my heart, to be buried in Fr Ambrose St John’s grave — and I give this as my last, my imperative will.’ If the Church values the inspiration of Newman, his wishes should not be set aside. Moving his body against his stated wish is not an honourable way to venerate him. When he stated his wishes for his burial he knew all about the ways in which the deceased are venerated within his Church, and deliberately chose not to be buried at the Oratory, which others may have seen as an obvious choice.

The Independent article highlights the reason for Newman’s choice of burial place; his close affection for Ambrose St John. If Newman is to be reburied, then the remains of the other member of the Oratory should also be moved back to the place where he also served. These men were united in life and in mission, and they should be united for eternity. More importantly, if we wish to remain close to Newman’s heart, and treasure his memory, then our faith, like his, should be in the presence of the risen Lord.

Posted by Tom Ambrose on Thursday, 28 August 2008 at 9:12pm BST | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: some perspectives from the sidelines

First, Jean Mayland of MCU wrote Holding together but going nowhere.

Second, two people from Inclusive Church have written personal reflections:

Clare Herbert “Beyond the Fringe” and

Greg Tucker Reflections on the Lambeth Conference.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 28 August 2008 at 2:50pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Bishops give a clear lead

The report to General Synod (GS 1685A) from the House of Bishops on the legislation for women bishops was clear. A majority of that house wished to avoid the creation of any new structures, and considered that a national code of practice was both necessary and sufficient to protect the consciences of those unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops.

We knew before the 11 July debate that “a significant minority within the House” was opposed to the approach embodied in the draft resolution submitted. But we did not know the size and composition of the majority or the minority. Now we do. The results of the electronic voting in the House of Bishops are available, either here, or over here.

The final outcome saw 68% of the bishops present, and 72% of the House of Clergy voting in favour of a motion that had been amended only slightly from the text the House of Bishops had originally put forward. The laity were less enthusiastic with a majority of only 61%. (Overall, exactly a two-thirds majority.) So the Synod accepted the view of the episcopal majority, and rejected all attempts to adopt any of the other options that the Manchester Report had proposed.

Episcopal opposition turned out to be almost entirely limited to a core group of only twelve bishops. These included five who later signed the 15 August letter (see below) and who also have votes in Synod, i.e. the Bishops of Blackburn, Chichester, Europe, Burnley and Beverley. There were also seven others: the Bishops of Birmingham, Exeter, London, Rochester, Winchester, Dover and, significantly, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

At the end of the debate, the Archbishop abstained, and the other eleven all voted against the substantive motion. The only other bishop who voted “No” was the Bishop of Durham, whose earlier motion to adjourn the debate had support from only 46% of the synod. He had consistently opposed every amendment throughout the debate.

The group of twelve also supported several amendments that would have moved the outcome in a conservative direction.

First, all twelve voted in favour of an amendment proposed by the Bishop of Winchester. Only two other bishops joined in this action: Bradford and Southwell & Nottingham. This amendment sought to do two things:

  • commit the synod to a restatement “that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate are both loyal Anglicans,” (Resolution III.2 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference)
  • remove the limitation on the drafting group to work “within the existing structures of the Church of England”.
    The amendment was rejected in all three houses: by 69% of the bishops, 66% of clergy, and 59% of laity.

Next, a small wording change, proposed by Prebendary David Houlding, to change “wish” to “wish of the majority” [for women to be admitted to the episcopate] was narrowly approved, by 62% of Bishops and 51% of Laity but by only by a single vote in the House of Clergy. Curiously, the Bishop of Rochester voted against this.

Ten of the twelve then voted in favour of Fr Simon Killwick’s amendment that sought to allow new dioceses to be considered. London opposed this and Canterbury abstained. No other bishop voted for it. The amendment was defeated by 71%, 68.5%, and 61% margins in the three houses.

Eleven then voted for the Bishop of Exeter’s amendment, which aimed to allow a structural solution based on existing rather than new dioceses. Again London voted against, but two others (Bradford and St Edmundsbury) added support. It also was defeated by margins of 64%, 64% and 59%.

Finally, ten of them voted for the Bishop of Ripon & Leeds’s amendment to keep open the possibility of “statutory transfer of specified responsibilities”. Altogether 21 bishops supported this, but amazingly both Chichester and Birmingham opposed it, leading to a 21-21 tie in that House. (The chair of the drafting group, the Bishop of Manchester, abstained on many though not all votes.)

The amendment did obtain a 53% majority in the House of Laity, but failed in the House of Clergy where it obtained only 47% support. Had the vote not been by houses, the amendment would have passed by the slim margin of 203-200, with 3 abstentions.

For completeness, I should also note that two other amendments were both voted down by huge margins. The Reverend Steven Trott’s amendment, to keep open all the options of the Manchester report, was voted down by huge margins in all houses: 89% of bishops, 82% of clergy, and 78% of laity. Among all the bishops, only Chichester, Rochester and Beverley voted “yes”.

To match this, the Reverend Miranda Threlfall-Holmes’ amendment to adopt the “simplest statutory approach”, and exclude even a national code of practice, was also voted down by large margins, though smaller than in the previous case. The figures against were 82%, 59%, and 62%. Seven bishops were in favour of this, namely Southwark, Bristol, Liverpool, Bath & Wells, Hereford, Derby and Portsmouth. The Bishop of Ripon & Leeds abstained.

The net effect of all this is that the view of the overwhelming majority of the House of Bishops was accepted by the whole synod. The recent letter from fourteen traditionalist Anglo-Catholic bishops, only five of whom have votes in General Synod, highlighted that the House of Laity vote was below the two-thirds level that will be needed for final approval of the women bishops legislation. It also pointed to close voting on the amendment offered by the Bishop of Ripon & Leeds as another indicator of less than overwhelming support for legislation without “new structures”.

However, the final approval vote will not occur in the life of this Synod, but only after new elections have been held in 2010. This issue may well dominate those elections. The House of Bishops, to whom the letter writers are explicitly appealing, does not meet again until October. By that time, the Legislative Drafting Group should be halfway through its task of preparing a draft for the General Synod to consider in February. General Synod has clearly instructed the group to do so only on the basis of a statutory code of practice. The strength of support for that in the House of Bishops is now clearly on the record.

Note: Sheffield and Truro were vacant sees at the time of the vote, and there were six bishops who were either not present or who never voted at all (Coventry, Chester, Sodor & Man, Ely, Salisbury and Leicester).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 27 August 2008 at 3:43pm BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
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New Westminster moves to reclaim parishes

The Diocese of New Westminster has issued this announcement: Diocese takes steps under Canon 15

The Diocese has taken steps under Canon 15 towards removing clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada rather than accepting the decisions of the Diocesan Synod and General Synod.

The Diocese has invoked the provision that returns control of the parishes to the Diocese, an action that was approved by Diocesan Council.

The parishes are St. Matthew’s Abbotsford and St. Matthias and St. Luke, Vancouver. Former diocesan clergy who have continued working in the parishes are Trevor Walters, Michael Stewart, and Don Gardner at St. Matthew’s, and Simon Chin at St. Matthias and St. Luke.

No steps have been taken at present at Good Shepherd, and at St. John’s Shaughnessy, Vancouver, two other parishes where former diocesan clergy remain who have left the Anglican Church of Canada.

In a memorandum to diocesan clergy, Commissary (Acting Bishop) Peter Elliott wrote that implementing this canon is a time consuming process, hence at this time the diocese was only proceeding with two parishes.

George Cadman, chancellor (chief legal officer) of the Diocese, said he hopes that the former clergy will now decide to leave voluntarily and that resort to the courts will be unnecessary, even though the possibility of litigation was raised in letters from the former officials at St. Matthew’s. No communications have been received from St. Matthias and St. Luke since its priest left the Anglican Church of Canada.

There is a formal press release (PDF) here, Diocese of New Westminster takes steps to remove clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada and there is the full text of a Memorandum to Diocesan Clergy (PDF).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 27 August 2008 at 7:43am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

pastoral letter from Lambeth

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has today sent a letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion, setting out his personal reflections on the Lambeth Conference. You can read the full text of it at Archbishop’s Pastoral Letter to Bishops of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 26 August 2008 at 1:38pm BST | Comments (39) | TrackBack
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Monday, 25 August 2008

A response to Bishop Duncan's email

Readers will recall this item.

Several contributors to Covenant-Communion have written an open letter, which you can read at A Word in Time: An Open Letter to the Anglican Communion Also available as a PDF here.

It starts out:

We the undersigned contributors to www.Covenant‐Communion.com believe that “a word in time” is now needed in order to assist the Communion to move forward in a constructive manner following the Lambeth Conference. We would like to speak such a word by specifically addressing the points Bishop Bob Duncan raises in his email to Bishop Gary Lillibridge, which has now been made public with Bp. Duncan’s permission…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 25 August 2008 at 4:12pm BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 24 August 2008

MCU conference papers

Many of the papers from the 2008 Modern Churchpeople’s Conference, Saving the soul of Anglicanism: the nature and future of the Anglican Communion are now available on the MCU website.

Here are the links to the PDF files. More detail and links to Word files are available here.

The Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan
Questions not Answers: A way forward for the Anglican Communion?

The Right Rev Michael Jackson
Anglicanism, blessing or curse - the Irish experience

The Right Rev Trevor Mwamba
A Holy Mess and the Grace of Ambiguity

Revd Dr Marilyn McCord Adams
The proposed Anglican Covenant and its implications for the Communion

Revd Dr Janet Wootton
A Dissenter’s view of Anglicanism and Establishment

Andrew Brown
A Journalist’s view of Anglicanism

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 24 August 2008 at 10:37pm BST | Comments (86) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 23 August 2008

more opinions

I have written two more columns for Matt Wardman.

Last week it was titled Reporters Begging, Press Officers Blagging, Bishops Blogging.

This week, it is Sex, Race and Religion in American Politics. Architectural Open Days in Britain.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 23 August 2008 at 5:55pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Bank Holiday weekend opinions

Giles Fraser asked in the Church Times How should children behave in church?

Mark Vernon wrote about Humanism in Face to Faith in the Guardian.

Earlier this week A C Grayling wrote The rise of Miliband brings at last the prospect of an atheist prime minister.

Christopher Howse wrote in the Telegraph about Cardinal Newman’s miraculous bones.

Peter Townley wrote in The Times about The value of William Temple’s vision in a cynical world.

Susan Jacoby wrote at the Washington Post’s On Faith site about Saddleback Church Forum: A Religious Test For The Presidency. Other opinions on this topic here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 23 August 2008 at 12:36pm BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Friday, 22 August 2008

origins of homosexuality

Updated 29 August

Back in late July, the Church Times published an article by Professor Michael King, titled How much is known about the origins of homosexuality?

The full text of the earlier report from the Special Interest Group mentioned in this article can be found here.

This week’s Church Times contains several letters responding to the article. (These are not yet available online, except to subscribers.)

As promised, here is a link to last week’s Church Times letters, Sexual orientation and the Church: navigating between the competing claims of the extremes and the middle.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 August 2008 at 2:29pm BST | Comments (73) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 21 August 2008

more on Lambeth Conference funding

See here first.

The Church of Ireland Gazette has an editorial today, Lambeth Conference Funding which says:

…However, should the Church of Ireland be approached to contribute some funds towards the £1.2m shortfall, it should not rush to join in footing the bill because what the shortfall points to is a serious level of mismanagement. It is the height of financial irresponsibility to run a massive international conference venture without being sure that the necessary finance is in place…

The Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council is a priest of the Church of Ireland.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 6:23pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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three canon law articles

The Church of Ireland Gazette has now completed publication of its three-part series:

What is Canon Law? by Simon Doogan

Canon Law of Communion and Inter-Anglican Relations: the draft Anglican Covenant by Kenyon Homfray

Ecclesiastical courts and disciplinary jurisdiction by Terence Dunlop

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 6:08pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Lambeth: two conservative perspectives

Ephraim Radner published at Covenant an article titled True Christian Unity? Reflections on the Lambeth Conference.

Graham Kings published at Fulcrum an article that will also appear in this week’s Church of England Newspaper titled Patience and Urgency Lambeth Conference 2008.

Adrian Worsfold has commented on both these pieces at Fawning and Imagining and there are several useful links to discussions of them on conservative blogs at this Fulcrum forum thread.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 10:37pm BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
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news reports from Uganda

Updated Thursday evening

The Archbishop of Uganda writes in the East African Business Weekly:

Church cannot heal this crisis of betrayal

So, why did the bishops of the Church of Uganda and I decide not to attend the present Lambeth Conference? Because we love the Lord Jesus Christ and because we love the Anglican Communion. St Francis of Assisi said: “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary use words.” We believe that our absence at this Lambeth Conference is the only way that our voice will be heard. For more than ten years we have been speaking and have not been heard. So maybe our absence will speak louder than our words…

From New Vision we have Museveni backs church against gays:

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has praised Anglican bishops for resisting homosexuality.

“I salute the Archbishop and bishops of Africa for resisting disorientation and a decadent culture, which he said was being passed by Western nations.”

Describing homosexuality as mtumbavu (Swahili for stupid), the President said: “Don’t fear, resist and do not compromise on that. It is a danger not only to the believers but to the whole of Africa. It is bad if our children become complacent and think that people who are not in order are alright…”

And earlier in the month, New Vision had Canterbury hits back at Archbishop Orombi:

THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has dismissed a suggestion by the Archbishop of Uganda that his position as head of the worldwide Anglican Communion is a left-over from British colonialism…

Update Thursday evening

There is a further report by Ecumenical News International via Episcopal Life Online UGANDA: Anglican leaders support president’s speech on homosexuality by Fredrick Nzwili:

…Some Ugandan Anglican church leaders have expressed support for a statement by President Yoweri Museveni in which he commended the denomination’s bishops for resisting homosexuality.
“It was great of the president to speak about the issue,” Anglican Bishop Stanley Ntagali of Masindi–Katara told Ecumenical News International on August 20. “We have been inspired by the president’s positive comments.”

and

“When he speaks in this manner to the bishops, it will energise the resolve against homosexuality,” said the secretary of Uganda’s Anglican church, the Rev. Aaron Mwesigye, in an interview with ENI. “The Uganda church has been very bold against homosexuality.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 20 August 2008 at 9:11am BST | Comments (69) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Lambeth: another American perspective

Bishop Pierre Whalon, who is Bishop in Charge, Convocation of American Churches in Europe has written On polygamy, homosexuality, and generosity.

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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA | Lambeth Conference 2008

Lambeth: three more English perspectives

The Bishop of Ely, Anthony Russell has written On returning home from Lambeth.

Paul Richardson, Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, has written Analysis: Will the Lambeth Conference bring peace to the Anglican world?

The Bishop of Oxford, John Pritchard has written Bishop John reflects on Lambeth.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 August 2008 at 4:22pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Pittsburgh: an email from the bishop

Updated Wednesday evening
The authenticity of this email has now been confirmed and the original recipient identified as Bishop Gary Lillibridge of the Diocese of West Texas. See Bishop Duncan Shares Concerns on Windsor Continuation Group.

The following email has now appeared on several blogs.

From: Duncan, Bob [mailto:Duncan@pitanglican.org]
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 12:35 PM
To:*********
Subject: Windsor Continuation Group Concerns

Dear *******,

It was very good to be with you at Lambeth. I especially appreciated the time we spent together looking at the relationship between the Common Cause Partners and the Communion Partners, as well as considering issues that are before the WCG.

I thought that you might appreciate hearing from me about concerns the approach of the WCG has caused for me and for all the Common Cause Partners.

The WCG proposes “cessation of all cross-border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction.” There are at least four serious problems with the thinking surrounding the work of the Windsor Continuation Group in this regard.

The first difficulty is the moral equivalence implied between the three moratoria, a notion specifically rejected in the original Windsor Report and at Dromantine.

The second is the notion that, even if the moratoria are held to be equally necessary, there would be some way to “freeze” the situation as it now stands for those of us in the process of separating from The Episcopal Church. The three dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth have taken first constitutional votes on separation with second votes just weeks away. We all anticipate coming under Southern Cone this fall, thus to join San Joaquin. This process cannot be stopped — constitutions require an automatic second vote, and to recommend against passage without guarantees from the other side would be suicidal.

The third reality is that those already separated parishes and missionary jurisdictions under Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Cone (including Recife) will never consent to the “holding tank” whose stated purpose is eventual “reconciliation” with TEC or thevAnglican Church of Canada. (It was obvious to all at Lambeth that the majorities in the US and Canada have no intention of reversing direction.)

The fourth matter is that the legal proceedings brought by TEC and ACC against many of us have been nowhere suspended by these aggressor provinces, with no willingness to mediate or negotiate though we have proposed it repeatedly, not least since Dar es Salaam.

For your information, I have written to John Chew and Donald Mtetemela in a similar way. I have also written to the Global South Primates who signed the open letter dated 3 August.

I hope this finds you well. As I pledged when we saw each other, I will do what I can to keep you informed of thinking among the Common Cause Partners, and will do what I can to see that any solutions imagined include both the Communion Partners (on the inside) and the Common Cause Partners (most of whom are on the outside of TEC, or on their way out.)

Blessings to you and yours,
+Bob

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 August 2008 at 3:52pm BST | Comments (39) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 17 August 2008

Fort Worth: some backpedaling on Rome

Katie Sherrod reports this message was issued yesterday evening:

Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2008 9:42 PM
Cc: Bishop Iker
Subject: Ad Clerum: Statement

To the clergy,

The following statement has been released jointly by Canon Charles Hough, Fr. William Crary, Fr. Christopher Stainbrook, and Fr. Louis Tobola in reference to the document released earlier this week concerning a June meeting between them and Bishop Kevin Vann.

Bishop Iker and the Standing Committee have asked that it be conveyed to you via Ad Clerum. It will be sent to all convention delegates and alternates as well.

Suzanne Gill

+++++

From: Fathers Crary, Hough, Stainbrook, and Tobola
Date: August 16, 2008
To: The Clergy and People of the Diocese

We wish to emphasize:
1. That the documents and our conversation with Bishop Vann solely ever represented the four priests named.
2. In retrospect, we regret our choice of timing for starting these conversations.
3. We deeply regret the phraseology of the document which has caused hurt and division.
4. We remain fully committed to the goal of this Diocese, as plainly stated by Bishop Iker, to realign with an Orthodox Anglican Province.

Respectfully submitted,
The Very Rev. William A Crary, Jr.
The Rev. Canon Charles A. Hough, III
The Very Rev. Christopher C. Stainbrook
The Rev. Louis L. Tobola, Jr.

To see the earlier document mentioned, go here.

And there is another interesting document on the Fort Worth website, titled FAQs on “Fiduciary Duty”.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 17 August 2008 at 3:33pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 16 August 2008

Pittsburgh: further developments

Back in January, we reported on a letter published by a group of Pittsburgh clergy not associated with “Progressive Episcopalians…” who were not prepared to support the diocesan plan for “realignment”. See Pittsburgh: disagreement in the ranks.

Now one of that same group has published a Narrative Regarding the Signing of the January 29th Statement by 12 Clergy of the Diocese of Pittsburgh which contains a detailed history of how that statement came to be made.

Earlier there was The Case For Staying in the Episcopal Church.

More background on this is at Preludium where Mark Harris has written In Pittsburgh there are preparations for a storm.

There is also a further stage in the legal dispute between the diocese and Calvary Church, see this ENS report from last month, PITTSBURGH: Parish wants court-appointed monitor to oversee possession, use of diocesan property.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 11:08pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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opinions this weekend

Giles Fraser in the Church Times writes about China. See Watch what else China is doing.
Unfortunately the website has truncated the article; as a temporary measure I have copied the full text below the fold.

Andrew Brown has written on Comment is free The discussion of religious differences online is not a game.

And earlier in the week, he wrote The religion of politics.

At the Telegraph Christopher Howse wrote At the Gate of the Year.

Rather more interesting is the blog article by George Pitcher titled Exposed: Christian unity preached in church.

Jonathan Romain writes at The Times about Time and chance in the hurdle race of human life.

And earlier, Libby Purves had written about Richard Dawkins, the naive professor.

Giles Fraser: Watch what else China is doing

MAO ZEDONG died in 1976, and since then, two big things have happened to China. The first is the explosion of the Chinese economy. Everybody has been talking about that. The other is the explosion of religion.

The distinguished sinologist Professor David Ownby went so far as to tell a United States congressional committee: “I would wager that the growth rate in popular participation in both official and unofficial religions in China has been equal to, if not greater than,the growth rate of the Chinese economy over the past 25 years.”

So, while many of us are glued to the Olympics, it is worth reflecting on the treatment China has been dishing out to the persecuted religious organisation, the Falun Gong. Although it is less well-known in this country than the Dalai Lama and the Buddhist struggle for Tibetan autonomy, the Falun Gong is arguably a far more significant organisation.

Mao once claimed that “religion is poison,” and he systematically repressed faith. Yet, in the decades after his death, China experienced a charismatic revival. It began with the popular rediscovery of traditional Chinese medicine, and developed into claims of miraculous healings, and some thing remarkably similar to speaking in tongues. The whole phenomenon had a New Age feel, and became amazingly successful, gaining up to 100 million followers (more than the 77 million we claim for Anglicanism).

The star of this powerful revival, known as the qigong, was a former government official and amateur trumpet player, Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong. His writings became essential reading for millions of Chinese, filling parks around the world with stretching Falun Gong exercisers.

The Falun Gong might seem a bit wacky for Christian sensibilities — rather gnostic, from the stuff I have read from Master Li — but it is a peaceful organisation, whose teachers are not allowed to charge for handing on their version of enlightenment. It just got far too big — with a larger membership than the Communist Party — and this flashed red for the deeply anti-religious imagination of the Chinese government.

So, in 1999, the Falun Gong was banned,and derided as an “evil cult”. Li Hongzhi now lives in New York. But many of his followers are not so lucky. According to the UN, 66 per cent of all Chinese torture cases involve a member of the Falun Gong, and half the labour-camp population are members. Many believe that there is an extensive programme of forced organ-harvesting taking place. Amnesty International has been jumping up and down to highlight this wicked persecution — and so should we.

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Friday, 15 August 2008

Lambeth: a third English perspective

This time from the Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham.

Read Bishop Michael’s account of the Lambeth Conference.

Earlier entries in this series:

Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford.
Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 15 August 2008 at 7:49am BST | Comments (40) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: further Church Times reports

All of these are from last week’s paper edition.

It would be foolish to let such a gift fall apart, say bishops

What happened? No one quite knows by Pat Ashworth

Spouses tell their stories by Margaret Sentamu

Lambeth bishops in their own words by Simon Sarmiento

Images of Lambeth

The Readers Digest Church Times version of Reflections from the Lambeth Conference 2008 (PDF)

Leader The story of Lambeth ’08

IT IS TROUBLING that, five days after the close of the Lambeth Conference, many people are asking: what did the bishops do? We suspect that some bishops fall into this group, and not just those who stayed away. Part of the reason for the uncertainty is that the bishops did many things. We hope that our digest of the long Reflections document will help readers to pick out the most important of these.

They did talk about sexuality. They did talk about the threat of schism and the means of heading it off. The two-and-a-half weeks in Canterbury were not an avoidance exercise; for it was known beforehand that the Conference by itself had no authority to resolve the crisis over homosexuality, even had the GAFCON bishops been present. For this reason, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his team devised a programme that emphasised conversation rather than resolution.

We have no quibble with the Lambeth Conference conceived as a means of enlarging bishops’ vision and enabling them to serve their dioceses better. We should not mind, even, if in 2018 the Archbishop (it might be Dr Williams: he would be only 68) clears the programme completely of meetings and turns the whole thing into a bishops’ holiday — just so long as the Conference has no executive function…

Do read all of this.

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Thursday, 14 August 2008

women as bishops: fourteen bishops write

Updated again Friday afternoon

The text of the letter from fourteen English bishops to the signatories of the open letter from 1,400 clergy to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York concerning the ordination of women to the episcopate is copied in full below the fold.

Original reports of the earlier letter, and a link to the original with signatures, are here.

Today’s Telegraph report by Jonathan Wynne-Jones is headlined ‘Substantial number’ of clergy will leave over plans for women bishops.

Update Friday

Church Times report Bishops offer lead to Catholics: Wait and be charitable by Pat Ashworth

Church of England Newspaper report English bishops dismiss Code of Practice proposal by Matt Cresswell

The Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham has set out his thoughts on the latest General Synod debate on the ordination of women to the episcopate.

Dear colleagues,

We share the shock and disappointment you must be feeling following the recent debate and decision of the General Synod on provision for those opposed to the ordination of women to the episcopate in the Church of England.

The Lambeth Conference has given us good opportunities to meet together to talk and support one another. We want to share with you the experience that through our time together we have discovered a new sense of unity among us as bishops, and indeed our need of one another. In conversation we have become increasingly aware of the many priests and deacons, as well as other faithful, who are looking to us for a lead at the moment. It is particularly to you, the 1,400 clergy who signed the open letter to the Archbishops, that we are writing, but we hope you will share this letter, as we shall, with others, both clergy and parish members, who share our concerns.

We write to assure you that we understand the difficulties we are all facing in the light of the instruction by General Synod to the Legislative Drafting Group (“The Manchester Group”) to prepare legislation with only a statutory code of practice for those unable for reasons of theological conviction to recognise or accept the ordination of women to the episcopate in the absence of wider Catholic consensus.

We identify with your difficult and painful feelings because they are ours too.

It is now clear that the majority in this General Synod, and probably in the Church of England at large, believes it is right to admit women to the episcopate. If that is so, it is vital for the most catholic of reasons that there must be no qualifications or restrictions to their ministry. That means however that proper ecclesial provision must be made for those who cannot accept this innovation.

A code of practice in any form cannot deliver such ecclesial provision, and we want the Manchester Group and the House of Bishops to be in no doubt about the seriousness of the situation. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that the General Synod vote was merely an instruction to the Legislative Drafting Group, and it is by no means clear that the House of Laity would support legislation whose inevitable consequence would be the exclusion of substantial numbers of faithful Anglicans from the Church of England. The patterns of voting in the General Synod, not least on the amendment proposed by the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds (seeking to keep open the option of “statutory transfer of specified responsibilities”), may also give the House of Bishops pause for thought, and everyone should remember that the House of Bishops has determined that it wishes to remain “in the driving seat” in this process. We shall be encouraging the House of Bishops to recognise that proper ecclesial provision would enable the Church of England both to honour the wish of the majority for women to be admitted to the episcopate and also create a space in which the theological convictions of others are respected in fact as well as in words. In this way both groups would have the opportunity to flourish in as high a degree of fellowship as possible while the “open process of reception” continues.

This is a complex situation and we acknowledge that people and groups will react differently. Different decisions should be respected and supported, including that of those who have come to believe that fidelity to the faith we have received means that they can no longer remain within the communion of the Church of England. As bishops, however, we want to say that this is not a necessary conclusion. We are being encouraged by friends in the other historic churches to continue to struggle for the catholic identity of the Church of England. The legislative and synodical process will be long and we have time to reflect and pray before any final decisions are taken.

Many matters will become clearer during the next few months - critical moments will be the House of Bishops meetings in October and December and the General Synod in February 2009. We are not saying, “We are bishops, trust us”, but we are assuring you that we are doing what we can to ensure that the Church of England at the very least honours the solemn assurances of an honoured and permanent place given by undertakings it made in the early 1990s. We are also determined to remain faithful to the ARCIC vision of full visible unity which has been an Anglican commitment for forty years and is the context in which we have consistently understood our Anglican ecclesiology.

At the same time as we are feeling bewilderment and disappointment, others in the Church of England are rejoicing. However hard it is, it is essential that we behave with grace and charity towards everyone. We are faced with apparently irreconcilable differences in matters of faith and order, and it is important to try to conduct all conversations and debates in a spirit of generosity even when church-dividing issues are at stake.

Remember too that some speeches in the General Synod and reactions since have shown that there are many people, including bishops, who do not agree with us about women bishops but do not want to see the marginalisation or exclusion of our contribution from the ongoing life of the Church of England. We hope that ever yone will remain in close touch with their own bishops. This is both for the sake of catholic principle and so that they are aware of your determination to continue to strive for Gospel truth and unity in the Church of England.

We want you to know that we are committed to praying for each other and for you. We want to thank you for your faithfulness in difficult days and invite anyone who wants to speak or write to any of us to do so.

In one of his meditations, the great John Henry Newman reminds himself of his calling, “I have a part in a great work. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good.” Twice Newman consoles himself in the same meditation with the words, “He knows what he is about … Still, he knows what he is about.”

Therefore, comfort one another with these words.

Your friends and fellow servants in Christ,
The Rt Revs John Hind (Bishop of Chichester),
Nicholas Reade (Bishop of Blackburn),
Geoffrey Rowell (Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe),
John Broadhurst (Bishop of Fulham),
Andrew Burnham (Bishop of Ebbsfleet),
John Ford (Bishop of Plymouth),
John Goddard (Bishop of Burnley),
Martyn Jarrett (Bishop of Beverley),
Robert Ladds (Bishop of Whitby),
Keith Newton (Bishop of Richborough),
Paul Richardson (Assistant Bishop of Newcastle),
Tony Robinson (Bishop of Pontefract),
Lindsay Urwin (Bishop of Horsham),
Peter Wheatley (Bishop of Edmonton)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 11:13am BST | Comments (49) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Quincy in the news

Updated Thursday evening to add link to ENS article

According to Episcopal Café:

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Quincy is studying the question, “Shall the Diocese of Quincy separate from the Episcopal Church?”

It has distributed a 35-page document, “The Church in Crisis: A Resource for the Diocese of Quincy,” to every member household in the diocese. The standing committee says it contains “reliable information on the current situation.”

The document is a 2.3 Mbyte PDF file and can be found via this page (follow Download link to extract the PDF itself).

Episcopal Café has more analysis of the content of the document at Quincy studies separation.

Quincy, with an Average Sunday Attendance of 1105 in 2006, is not the smallest diocese in The Episcopal Church.
The Diocese of Springfield is next door to Quincy and has an Average Sunday Attendance of about 2400.

Detailed ten year statistics for all dioceses are available in a PDF here.

Update Wednesday evening

There are reports about this in the Living Church Quincy Delegates will Consider Separation in November and also Quincy, Springfield Plan Joint Meeting.

Update Thursday evening

Episcopal News Service has a long article, QUINCY: Diocese offers ‘resource’ for making realignment decisions by Joe Bjordal and Mary Frances Schjonberg

…In a cover letter, the diocesan Standing Committee said that the 35-page document resulted from requests following a meeting last May attended by “all priests with a parish, mission or cure” and all elected officials of the diocese, clergy or lay. The reported purpose of the meeting was to begin “a discernment exercise where self-selected groups were asked to discern the following question: ‘Shall the Diocese of Quincy separate from the Episcopal Church? If so, why and how? If not, then why not?’”

Called “The Church in Crisis: A Resource for the Diocese of Quincy,” the document was included in a mailing sent to households on the mailing list of The Harvest Plain, the diocesan newspaper.

Also included in the mailing was a video recording of a presentation by Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, to the Diocese of Forth Worth in March…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 August 2008 at 10:02pm BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Lambeth: an Irish view

The Church of Ireland Gazette has an editorial in its issue of 15 August, which is titled Anglican Governance.

It concludes with this:

… It is also important to emphasize that the Anglican Communion is not, as Dr Williams did at least suggest in his statement, a Church. It is a communion of autonomous Churches. If the Lambeth Conference were empowered to speak for the Anglican Communion as a whole, it would have been astounding that, at its recent two and a half week meeting - at a cost of some £5m - it did not issue any resolution and was reportedly boycotted by between one-fifth and one-quarter of its members.

However, as a conference, it is appropriate not to have resolutions, and members of a conference are free to attend or not to attend or to ‘boycott’, as they wish. If one has a role in governance, however, one does not have that choice.

Certain current proposals in the Anglican Communion would tend to lead towards a ‘global Church’ model. However, any such proposals will need to be the subject of very careful consideration and scrutiny, and cognisance will need to be taken of the fact that, according to our Preamble and Declaration, the General Synod is the chief legislative and administrative body in the Church of Ireland (BCP, p.777, Section IV). It should remain so.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 12 August 2008 at 11:43pm BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: Too big a tent

Savitri Hensman has written an article on Comment is free which is titled Too big a tent with the strapline:

Rowan Williams preaches tolerance, but the Anglican church would rather pander to bigots than fight homophobia.

Her article concludes:

Meanwhile, at the Lambeth conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury appealed for a “covenant of faith” that would “promise to our fellow human beings the generosity God has shown us”, and suggested “a Pastoral Forum to support minorities”. But to him, those needing greater generosity and pastoral care were mainly Christians with strong objections to same-sex partnerships. While he is a humane man, his priorities seem strange. If Anglicans are to remain relevant, and a force for good, bishops need to listen more carefully to people like Michael Causer’s family.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 12 August 2008 at 4:00pm BST | Comments (36) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: another English perspective

This one is from the Bishop of Guildford, Christopher Hill.

Read the transcript of his audio interview in this PDF file: Lambeth Conference 2008 Mark Rudall talks to Bishop Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford.

The audio itself is linked from this page.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 12 August 2008 at 11:11am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Fort Worth: some look to Rome

Updated again Wednesday morning

The Dallas Morning News has this report: Episcopal priests from Fort Worth may be looking at Catholicism.

A delegation of Episcopal priests from Fort Worth paid a visit to Catholic Bishop Kevin Vann earlier this summer, asking for guidance on how their highly conservative diocese might come into “full communion” with the Catholic Church.

Whether that portends a serious move to turn Fort Worth Episcopalians and their churches into Catholics and Catholic churches is a matter of dispute.

The Rev. William Crary, senior rector of the Fort Worth diocese, confirmed that on June 16 he and three other priests met with Bishop Vann, leader of the Fort Worth Catholic diocese, and presented him a document that is highly critical of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

The document states that the overwhelming majority of Episcopal clergy in the Fort Worth diocese favor pursuing an “active plan” to bring the diocese into full communion with the Catholic Church…

The document was published yesterday by Katie Sherrod and can be found in full at So. How do you feel about being Roman Catholic?

Update Tuesday evening

Bishop Jack Iker has issued a statement, headed A Statement by Bishop Iker on Roman Catholic Dialogues. It reads, in part:

…The priests who participated in this meeting with Bishop Vann have my trust and pastoral support. However, in their written and verbal reports, they have spoken only on their own behalf and out of their own concerns and perspective. They have not claimed to act or speak, nor have they been authorized to do so, either on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth or on my own behalf as their Bishop.

Their discussion with Bishop Vann has no bearing upon matters coming before our Diocesan Convention in November, where a second vote will be taken on constitutional changes concerning our relationship with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. There is no proposal under consideration, either publicly or privately, for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to become part of the Roman Catholic Church. Our only plan of action remains as it has been for the past year, as affirmed by our Diocesan Convention in November 2007. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth intends to realign with an orthodox Province as a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion…

Wednesday morning update

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has Episcopal priests propose aligning Fort Worth diocese with Catholic church.

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Monday, 11 August 2008

Lambeth: one English perspective

Updated Thursday evening

Today, the Bishop of Winchester has published a lengthy article, The Lambeth Conference 2008 – and the future of the Anglican Communion A Report to the Diocese of Winchester although I cannot at present find it on the Winchester diocesan website, but only on the Global South Anglican website, and, in part, on the Anglican Mainstream website.

Anyway you can read it all here.

Update
Jonathan Wynne-Jones has written about this letter, see Senior bishop predicts Anglican battle ahead.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 11 August 2008 at 6:45pm BST | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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Lambeth Conference funding

The Church of England issued this press release today:

Lambeth Conference: Funding
11 August 2008

The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners, and the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England have both met within the past few days to discuss an approach from the Lambeth Conference Company* for financial help. The Board met this morning (August 11th) and the Council on Thursday August 7th.

The Company has assured the Board and the Council that it is continuing to make further approaches throughout the Anglican Communion to meet the full cost of this year’s Conference. It cannot, however, be confident that these will generate funds sufficiently quickly for it to meet all of its obligations as they fall due over the coming weeks and months.

The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council have therefore each agreed to make available to the Company up to £600k as required to enable the Company to honour its commitments while fundraising efforts continue. At this stage both bodies regard these amounts as interest free loan facilities.

They will be considering these matters again at their September meetings when they expect a further report from the Company about the progress of its fundraising efforts.

Notes

There has already been generous support from the Church of England for the Lambeth Conference. Parishes and dioceses have made donations towards the costs of overseas bishops attending and the Church Commissioners have met the fees of the English bishops and their wives attending the Lambeth Conference, the costs of some of the conference organising staff, and some of the hospitality offered by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

More information about the Lambeth Conference is available at www.lambethconference.org.

*The Lambeth Conference Company is the body given responsibility for managing the finances and administration of the Lambeth Conference 2008.

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Sunday, 10 August 2008

Lambeth: two American perspectives

Katie Sherrod has written on her own blog, That Wild Uncontrollable Force.

Watching Lambeth unfold was like watching one of those foreground/background optical illusions where, as you stare at the picture, either the profile of a beautiful young woman moves to the foreground or the image of an old woman moves forward while the young woman’s image disappears. It is almost impossible to see them both at the same time.

Lambeth was the same-there were two Lambeths occurring simultaneously, one out in front, the other in the background.

The Lambeth of the Indaba and Bible Study groups was the one in the foreground most of the time. But at key points, the Lambeth of the Windsor Continuation Group [WCG] and the group writing the Reflections documents moved out of the background into sight…

Jim Naughton has written at Comment is free The archbishop’s hands are tied, not ours.

The politics of the church make Rowan Williams act against his beliefs on gay marriage. We don’t have to do the same.

Extensive research has proven that I am not the Archbishop of Canterbury. Neither, in all likelihood, are you. These facts, in hand for some time now, acquired new significance yesterday with the revelation that Rowan Williams, who is the Archbishop of Canterbury, believes, what a great many Anglicans believe, namely: “that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might … reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 10 August 2008 at 10:43pm BST | Comments (52) | TrackBack
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What about Resolution 19?

Bishop David Rossdale asks this question: If resolution 1.10 is important, what about resolution 19?

The more I read the final Lambeth Document, “Capturing Conversations and Reflections”, the more I rejoice that we did not go down the road of resolutions and votes. To have a ’snapshot’ of the engagement between the Bishops is probably of far more worth, than adding to the fossilised remains of earlier conferences, which leave skeletal resolutions disconnected from the tissue of conversation lying behind them as some sort of guide to the heart and mind of the church.

Much has been made of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Conference, as though this is an enduring and unerring piece of truth. It has become almost a test for orthodoxy. But if this resolution has such enduring status, then all resolutions of the Lambeth Conference must be given the same status. So what about Resolution 67 from 1908? Very importantly it states…

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Saturday, 9 August 2008

Lambeth: some other stories

Updated Sunday morning

Daniel Burke of Religion News Service interviewed Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland. The Washington Post carries this story at Raising Issues Of Race in Anglican Rift.

The Times had interviews with seven bishops by Bess Twiston Davies in The Anglican balancing act, in a church near you.

The Los Angeles Times had an unsigned opinion article, Adding to division.

Martin Beckford reports in the Telegraph that Archbishop may be forced to do fundraising tour to solve £1m Lambeth financial crisis.

Related to this is the ACNS press release, Finances and the Lambeth Conference 2008.

The webcast press conference held by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Mark Sisk is reported for Episcopal Life Online by Solange de Santis here.

Sunday morning update

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote for Comment is free The road from Lambeth.

I wrote a second column for Wardman Wire Lambeth Conference: Sex or Power?

More about the Lambeth financial deficit in the first few minutes of the BBC Sunday programme, listen here (URL for one week only). See also this BBC report, Church considers £1.2m shortfall.

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Pitt letters: further press coverage

Updated again Thursday 14 August evening to include new letter from Deborah Pitt

The original batch of material in The Times itself was linked here, together with the first reports in other newspapers.

The response of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the letter to The Times from 19 CofE bishops was linked here.

The Times also published on 8 August, Dr Williams ‘has made a split inevitable in the Anglican Church’ by Ruth Gledhill.

Today, The Times published another article, Bishops back Rowan Williams in gay sex row - even though some don’t agree with him.

Here’s how some others covered this story:

Religious Intelligence first had Gay relationships ‘comparable to marriage’, says Archbishop of Canterbury , followed by Letters put fresh pressure on Archbishop and then had Bishops decalre their support for ‘magnificent’ Williams.

George Pitcher at the Telegraph has written Rowan Williams and sex: a clarification.

TIME magazine had Anglican Church Gay Row Heats Up.

The BBC had Gay ties like marriage - Williams.

Sunday update

Austen Ivereigh, writing for the journal America has No longer the ‘Labor Party at prayer’ in which he reveals:

What the 19 bishops do not realise is that the letters arrived on the desks of the religious correspondents of The Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian two whole weeks ago. But because the reporters were at Canterbury following the conference, they did not see the brown envelopes until after they got back. Amazing but true: no-one opened their mail in their absence. Because journalists no longer receive scoops by post — fax and email are the usual channel these days — their staff do not bother to open their mail.

Update Thursday See this letter to The Times from Deborah Pitt herself, Why I leaked the Archbishop’s letters.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 August 2008 at 11:21am BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Weekend opinion

Andrew Brown in The Guardian Dr Williams’ contortions

Mary Ann Sieghart in the Times Rowan Williams was selected as a liberal and now he should govern as one

Roderick Strange writes about Edith Stein in the Times The life and death of a German Jewish Christian nun.

Dr Bernard Ratigan in The Guardian writes that The needs of young people brought up in homonegative faiths are being neglected.

Justin Thacker in The Guardian God and evolution can coexist

Tom Frame in the Church Times Jesus’s checklist for good leadership

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 9 August 2008 at 10:28am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Friday, 8 August 2008

the Pitt letters: Archbishop and bishops respond

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following statement in response to the release of the Pitt letters.

Friday 08 August 2008

In response to the recent coverage of the correspondence dated back to 2000, The Archbishop Canterbury has made the following statement:

In the light of recent reports based on private correspondence from eight years ago, I wish to make it plain that, as I have consistently said, I accept Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference as stating the position of the worldwide Anglican Communion on issues of sexual ethics and thus as providing the authoritative basis on which I as Archbishop speak on such questions.

That Resolution also recognises the need for continuing study and discussion on the matter. In the past, as a professional theologian, I have made some contributions to such study. But obviously, no individual’s speculations about this have any authority of themselves. Our Anglican Church has never exercised close control over what individual theologians may say. However, like any church, it has the right to declare what may be said in its name as official doctrine and to define the limits of legitimate practice. As Archbishop I understand my responsibility to be to the declared teaching of the church I serve, and thus to discourage any developments that might imply that the position and convictions of the worldwide Communion have changed.

The Bishop of Durham and 18 other bishops have written a letter to The Times which begins:

Sir, As bishops in the Church of England, we wish to protest in the strongest possible terms at what we regard as a gross misrepresentation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 8 August 2008 at 11:07pm BST | Comments (35) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: more Church Times Reports

Here are more Lambeth Conference news items from last week’s Church Times that were only available to subscribers until today.

Williams urges generous love
Lawyers see 1662 as still able to unite
Bishops tackle extremism and ‘daily business of dialogue’
Spouses aim to build good faith
Step up moral pressure over climate, Conference is told
Millennium Goals must be met, say Lambeth walkers
Ecumenical participants grapple
Murphy-O’Connor warns of ‘ecumenical shadow’

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 8 August 2008 at 10:51am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Jim Naughton on the British press

Jim Naughton wrote the Church Times press column last week. It is now available online at What I ‘learnt’ at Lambeth.

FOR AN American church flak like me, learning to work with the British news media has been similar to learning to drive on British roads. The enterprises are fundamentally similar, and yet one’s reflexes need reconditioning to avoid accidents.

As a former journalist, I was struck first by the difference in the ways that American and British journalists attribute (or don’t attribute) the information in their stories. The British press is freer in its use of anonymous sources than its American counterpart. One is constantly reading that a paper “has learnt” something. Well, how, exactly?

Perhaps this wink-and-nod approach makes a certain sense in the cosy world of the Anglican Communion, but it’s open to abuse. A friend of mine recently found her fondest hopes transformed into the hidden agenda of the Episcopal Church by a reporter who assumed that my friend had much more influence that she has…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 8 August 2008 at 9:22am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: the Economist weighs in

The Economist has several articles about the Lambeth Conference:

The high price of togetherness
The bishops got on fine for a while—but was it only a holiday romance?

Anyone for Schadenfreude?
What Roman Catholics fear from an Anglican split.

Leader: United we fall
The writhings of worldwide Anglicanism are another reason to disestablish the Church of England.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 8 August 2008 at 8:15am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 7 August 2008

SPCK bookshops saga update

The last update on here was CartoonChurch and the owner of the former SPCK bookshops.

Matt Wardman now reports: Dave Walker/SPCK Bookshops Campaign Moving Soon.

The place to which this move is taking place is: SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 7 August 2008 at 3:33pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | News

What Bishop Cathy Roskam said

I linked last week to three reports in London newspapers about what Bishop Cathy Roskam was alleged to have said about husbands beating their wives.

These reports all referred to the Lambeth Witness as the source of the quotes, rather than to any Episcopal Church news briefing.

The relevant issue of the Witness is available as a PDF here.

Bishop Roskam’s own response to the press reports can be found on her blog (scroll down to item 9) and is reproduced in full below the fold here (emphasis added).

Bishop Roskam’s blog, #9, July 31, 2008

Imagine my horror to read in an English newspaper this morning a headline that screamed Woman Bishop Says Third World Clergy Beat Their Wives over a picture of yours truly. The article went on to quote very selectively from an interview I had given as one of the press briefers a couple of days ago when the theme of our day was Equal in God’s Sight: When Power is Abused. Let me tell you a bit about the day itself. The program originated from the Spouses Conference under the able leadership of Jane Williams, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The bishops and spouses met together in plenary, men one one side of the tent and women on the other. Jane Williams gave the first theological reflection on violence. She said in the course of it that violence done in the body of Christ is violence done to the body of Christ. Dr. Jenny Te Paa followed with remarks about the program to follow, saying that the morning’s focus would be solely on violence against women and girls.

A really excellent theatre company then performed a very moving piece on the conversations and healings of women by Jesus. This powerful and moving drama included the woman taken in adultery, Jairus’s daughter, the woman with the hemorrage who touched Jesus’s garment, the woman who could not stand up straight until Jesus heals her on the Sabbath, and, with an added twist, the parable of the Prodigal Daughter.

The play was immediately followed by the reading from 2 Samuel 13:1-22, the rape of Tamar. Dr. Gerald West led the Bible study on this passage. We shared in groups of three in response to six or seven questions. Then there was some sharing in plenary before Jenny Te Paa returned to bring the program to its conclusion.

So it was on this day that I was one of the press briefers for the Episcopal Church. And no, I did not say that clergy in the Third World beat their wives! In fact I said nothing about violence in the developing world per se. All my comments were made in the context of the pervasive nature of violence against women all around the world. The only area I singled out was our own context, siting the recent spate of murders in the New York area of women, and sometimes their children also, by husbands or boyfriends. But of course, those comments were not quoted.

In Lambeth 1998 Jack Spong, then the Bishop of Newark, made some very hurtful comments to the press about African bishops that sting people to this day. We made a big mistake then by not addressing his comments at the time. I was not going to make that mistake again. I asked for a point of personal privilege during the afternoon plenary today and addressed the matter. I stated unequivocally that I never said—nor would I say—that clergy in the third world beat their wives. I told them of the context of what was quoted and told them of what had been omitted. I apologized for anything I might have said that led to misunderstanding toward my brother bishops or jeopardized already difficult ongoing conversations at this conference. I said that if anyone had any further question, I would wait after the session at the back of the room and be happy to speak with them. I also suggested that they ask some of our partners in other parts of the world if the person in the article bore any resemblance to the person with whom they had been working all these years.

Afterward a couple of bishops had a few questions for clarification, but many bishops from both near and far came over to express their understanding and support, for which I am very grateful. ENS will also issue a statement I am told and I will continue to do what I can to clear the air about this matter.

I have to say it is very disheartening after all these years of building relationships around the globe to think of these lies going out over the internet to people who don’t know me and who will believe what was said. At the same time, I also need to reiterate that violence against women remains a problem the world over, and all of us within the church and in the larger society must do all we can to prevent it.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 7 August 2008 at 3:03pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Rowan Williams: the Pitt letters

Updated Thursday morning

The Times has released some correspondence between Rowan Williams ( who at the time was Archbishop of Wales) and Deborah Pitt.

Read all about it:

Ruth Gledhill Rowan Williams: gay relationships ‘comparable to marriage’ and

New light on Archbishop of Canterbury’s view on homosexuality

and on her blog, Archbishop Rowan: gay sex comparable to ‘marriage’

Mary Ann Sieghart Rowan Williams was selected as a liberal and now he should govern as one

Times Leader: Rowan Williams: pragmatism and belief

PDF of original letters here.

Update
The Telegraph has several reactions to this from conservatives (only) in Archbishop of Canterbury compares gay relationships to marriage. The Guardian and the Independent and the Mail also have reports.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 11:15pm BST | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: catching up on reports

The BBC Northern Ireland radio programme Sunday Sequence can be listened to via the BBC iPlayer. Last week’s programme hosted by William Crawley can be heard here, until next Sunday.

There is a segment on blogging at the conference, about 24 minutes in that lasts about 6 minutes. It includes contributions from Bishop David Chillingworth, and also from me.

Another article that I wrote on Saturday can be read at Wardman Wire titled Lambeth Conference - Touching Base: Guest Column by Simon Sarmiento.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 7:34pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Lambeth: three more items

First, Tony Sadler formerly the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments, writes to The Times Arch appointment.

Second, Priyamvada Gopal who teaches postcolonial studies at Cambridge University, writes for Comment is free about Orombi: a child of empire?

Third, Will Self, columnist at the Evening Standard, writes It’s your job to stand up to the bigots, Archbishop.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 8:37pm BST | Comments (33) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: Tuesday after reports

Updated Tuesday evening

Robert Pigott of the BBC has published his final entry in Lambeth Diary. Read DARING THE EXTREMES TO LEAVE.

Anglican TV has Archbishop Orombi clarifies The Times letter.

The Living Church has What the Lambeth Conference Accomplished by Steve Waring.

Regarding the final press conference, there is now a transcript of it here (thank you Lichfield), and ENS has video recordings here (navigate by date to two segments dated 08/03/08).

ENS also has two further reports by Mary Frances Schjonberg:
Lengthy reflections document called ‘narrative’ of Lambeth experience and
Reactions to Lambeth Conference span the spectrum.

Tuesday evening additions

Yesterday’s Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 had a segment at 8.53, which includes both a report by Robert Pigott and an interview with Bishop Nick Baines.

And Premier Christian Radio has two segments: Lambeth Conference draws to a close and Anglican Church looks to the future. Those interviewed include Graham Kings and Rod Thomas.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 8:29am BST | Comments (58) | TrackBack
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Monday, 4 August 2008

Glasgow news

The Scotsman reported Gay bishop thanks Scottish Church for recognising ‘all God’s people’.

The Herald has Applause and tears as gay US bishop preaches in Glasgow.

And The Times has Gay clerics certain to win struggle, Right Rev Gene Robinson says.

The full recording of the sermon is available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 4 August 2008 at 11:29pm BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: yet more Monday news reports

The Telegraph added another article, this one by George Pitcher and headlined Archbishop of Canterbury upbeat after Lambeth Conference.

The New York Times which sent a war correspondent rather than a religion correspondent to cover the conference has Anglicans to Seek Pact to Prevent a Schism by John F Burns.

Rachel Zoll of Associated Press filed this from New York: Anglican Leader Seeks Moratorium On Gay Bishops.

The Washington Post filed this from London: Gay Bishop Dispute Dominates Conference by Karla Adam who concludes with:

Diarmaid MacCulloch, a professor of the history of the church at Oxford University, said many of Williams’s efforts to “prevent some from grandstanding,” like meeting in small groups, were “sensible in trying to keep the temperature as low as possible.”

MacCulloch predicted that the controversy about homosexuality would “rumble on because it can’t be resolved with two great cultural gaps” but that in time, the factions might learn to live with their differences.

“Overall, the conference did less damage than it could have,” he said, “and that’s something to be thankful for.”

Comment is free has an article by Theo Hobson titled The death of liberal Anglicanism.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 4 August 2008 at 11:01pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 3 August 2008

Lambeth: closing sermon

From ACNS comes Sermon given by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Concluding Eucharist of the Lambeth Conference.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 August 2008 at 10:43pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: final press conference

Audio of the entire press conference is now available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 August 2008 at 6:44pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: Third Presidential Address published

The full text of The Archbishop of Canterbury Concluding Presidential Address to the Lambeth Conference 2008 is now available online.

PDF copy also.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 August 2008 at 4:11pm BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: Reflections document published

The final version of the Reflections document is now available at Lambeth Indaba Reflections.

The Notes are separate as a PDF.

A PDF version of the main document is here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 August 2008 at 3:11pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: Global South statement

Global South Anglican has published this Statement at the Lambeth Conference 2008.

The note at the bottom says:

A note from Archbishop John Chew: “Signatures are still being gathered at the point of posting and will be released as soon as we are able to. Bishops who were at the special meeting on the 22nd of July are welcome to add their names to the undersigned list. To indicate, please email us at admin@globalsouthanglican.org

When a list of names is posted, I will update here too.

Monday morning update

The Most Revd Gerald James (Ian) Ernest (Indian Ocean)
The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi (Burundi)
The Most Revd Dr. Dirokpa Balufuga Fidèle (Congo)
The Most Revd Archbishop John Chew (Southeast Asia)
The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo (Myanmar)
The Most Revd Valentino Mokiwa (Tanzania)
The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak (Sudan)
The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis (Jerusalem & The Middle East)
The Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi (West Africa)
The Most Revd John Wilson Gladstone (South India)
The Rt Revd Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania)

(Ed: This list is still being updated)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 August 2008 at 10:34am BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: Sunday morning reports

The Sunday Programme on BBC Radio 4 is devoted entirely to the conference. Listen to Jane Little here (URL lasts for only one week).

Robert Pigott of the BBC has another diary update here: read A TWO-TIER COMMUNION: 2 AUGUST.

Bishops blogging: Episcopal Café has a new roundup here.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones at the Sunday Telegraph has Bishops ask Archbishop of Canterbury for an ‘orderly separation’.

For a different viewpoint, read Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times at That’s the spirit, Bishop Bigot. Let’s hate everybody.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 August 2008 at 8:44am BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 2 August 2008

Lambeth: Saturday evening news

Updated Saturday 11 pm

The fourth draft of the Reflections document is available in full as a PDF here.

The Church Times blog has a commentary on it by Bill Bowder at The Bishops’ reflections – comprehensive, but rather hurried.

The Episcopal Café has extracted the two controversial sections of the text and they can be read at Live: Semi-final draft of Lambeth Reflection paper with some commentary by Jim Naughton.

And earlier, Jim wrote Live: bits and pieces as time ebbs at Lambeth.

See also Live: feudal morality.

The BBC’s Robert Pigott has updated his Lambeth Diary again, see A TWO-TIER COMMUNION: 2 AUGUST.

Update
Marites Sison at Anglican Journal has No concrete action anticipated on sexuality before Lambeth concludes

And also, Bishops of South Asia urge ‘continuing listening and healing’.

Solange de Santis at Episcopal News Service has Lambeth bishops air differing views on covenant.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 2 August 2008 at 8:18pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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opinions as Lambeth draws to a close

The Scotsman carries an article by Kelvin Holdsworth Scotland leads on tolerance – will the Church of England follow?

The Guardian has Jonathan Magonet writing about the new Reform Judaism prayer book in Face To Faith.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about A flinty treat at Southwold.

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that: It is the young who will likely put an end to knife crime.

The Church Times has a leader: The challenge to do miracles.

And Giles Fraser writes: Beware of the morality of legalism.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 2 August 2008 at 3:28pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: Covenant or bust

Yesterday’s press conference was about the proposed Covenant. Here are the reports of that:

ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg Lambeth Conference begins two-day covenant discussion

Anglican Journal Marites Sison Lambeth seeks common ground in proposed covenant

ACNS Press Conference on Anglican Covenant: ‘We are on a pilgrimage together’ and the full audio recording of the press conference is here.

Jim Naughton has some background links and commentary at Live: softpeddaling the appendix.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 2 August 2008 at 9:16am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Friday, 1 August 2008

Lambeth: sexuality draft and Mouneer Anis

Updated Saturday evening

The Bishop of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and presiding bishop of Jerusalem & the Middle East,Mouneer Anis, has held a press conference and issued a written statement.

You can read the written statement in full here.

Update For a full video record of this press conference, go to this ENS page, and navigate by date to to the two videos dated 08/01/08

You can read Jim Naughton’s take on this at Live: Mouneer Anis forgets his lines.

Ruth Gledhill also reports on it, in Endless debate on sexuality ‘is exposing Anglicans to ridicule as the Gay Church’.

The First draft of the Lambeth reflection on the bishop and human sexuality can be found at Episcopal Café under Live: Lambeth bishops reflecting on sexual ethics.

It is also discussed here on ENS and at “No idea” consecration of gay bishop would cause such a stir on Anglican Journal.

Martin Beckford has this in the Telegraph Liberal agenda of Western churches a ‘new form of colonisation’

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 1 August 2008 at 10:55pm BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
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News from the Big Blue Tent (16)

… or more accurately today it’s news from the big white train, as I head back north and west ready for tomorrow’s Three Choirs Festival opening service.

We took photos in our bible study group this morning and I handed round Celtic style cards with knot patterns on like the ones I have at times designed and fabricated into rugs, cushion covers and jumpers. I inscribed in each a Franciscan tau cross and Latin greeting and then appended my email address. Put together that says quite a lot about my spiritual wells. Yesterday a colleague had given each member a copy of the TEC Book of Common Prayer which brought back happy memories of when I used the rite to say matins each morning whilst staying with a Texan priest in Peru.

The indaba groups are moving from direct discussion of sexuality to matters of covenant. I guess there’s a general recognition that we’re not, in two or three weeks, going to build levels of agreement (or agreement to differ) the whole way, but there’s a sense of having made enormous progress in terms of mutual understanding, love and (dare I say it) trust in each other and each other’s integrity. Whilst nothing will satisfy Orombi and Akinola, nor the shady figures from North American behind them, there’s been good solid evidence on campus that archiepiscopal bullying has its limits and that there is a more representative voice of southern conservatism which will listen to those of its neighbours who have been at Lambeth and are able to share the seriousness with which we are working at our unity and respond to such visible signs of progress as can be signed off by Sunday night.

Highlight of the day: (actually last night at the Old Palace reception) yet more conversations with amazing people such as Sebastian Bakare of Harare and Cardinal Walter Kasper.

Lowlight of the day: Train struck a tree so we limped to the next station before being decamped onto the following stopper. Reached Charing Cross 30 minutes late to find Bakerloo line closed.

Last word: Thanks everyone for your comments.

Posted by David Walker on Friday, 1 August 2008 at 8:58pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Big Blue Tent | Lambeth Conference 2008

Lambeth: Church Times news reports

Updated 5.30 pm with items from Friday:

Covenant is ‘future-directed’ says Gomez by Paul Handley

The sexuality section of the draft ‘Reflections’ document

Feeling stuffed before the final meal

Ugandan Primate criticises Dr Williams

In the paper today:
Many of these are subscriber-only, but here is what you can read now:

Group proposes standstill to ease Anglican tensions

Surmise, frustration, and interest greet proposals

Chief Rabbi pleads with Communion to stay one despite differences

Bishops given frank talk on rape and beatings

See also this list here.

And the CT blog has The indaba groups talk about sex

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 1 August 2008 at 9:28am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: other news reports

Other that is than the opinion article in The Times by Archbishop Henry Orombi which is here.

BBC Robert Pigott Lambeth Diary updated again on 1 August, read No Changing of Minds.

The Times Joanna Sugden Hazy deliberation brings no resolution, just reflection

Guardian Riazat Butt ‘Mini Lambeth’ would be the way forward, say dissatisfied bishops and also Lost property, naked bishops, and the mark of the beast.

Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury ‘betrayed churches over gay bishops’ (this covers other topics besides Orombi).

And there are numerous stories about what Bishop Cathy Roskam wrote. See here, here, and here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 1 August 2008 at 7:53am BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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