Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Fort Worth: the bishop writes

Updated again Wednesday evening

Bishop Jack Iker has written 10 Reasons Why Now Is the Time to Realign.

This appears in the current issue of the diocesan newsletter, Forward in Mission. The complete newsletter is available here as a PDF.

The first URL above appears to be only temporary, so the full text is reproduced below the fold.

Update Wednesday morning

A detailed response to this has been published by Fort Worth Via Media and can be found at 10 Reasons Why Now Is NOT the Time to Realign.

Update Wednesday evening

Further responses can be found by Pluralist - Adrian Worsfold at Iker’s Inaccurate Slur, and also by Mark Harris at Bishop Iker’s Reasoning.

10 Reasons Why Now Is the Time to Realign

Our 26th annual convention is approaching, and a momentous decision is before us as a diocese. At last year’s convention, your clergy and elected delegates voted by majorities of around 80 percent each to remove language in our Constitution that affiliates us with the General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC). This year, clergy and delegates will be asked to ratify that decision to separate.

“Why now?” someone might ask. “Why is this the time for our diocese to separate from the General Convention of The Episcopal Church and realign with another Province of the Anglican Communion?”

Here are a few of the thoughts that come to mind:

1. This is God’s time – our kairos moment – and it has been coming for a long time. We believe that God the Holy Spirit has guided and directed us to this particular time and moment of decision. Some might well ask, “Why has it taken us so long to take definitive action, given the past 30 years of the shenanigans of The Episcopal Church?” We have explored every avenue and exhausted every possibility. Now is the time to decide to separate from the moral, spiritual, and numerical decline of TEC.

2. Actions of the General Convention have brought crisis and division to the whole Anglican Communion, not just TEC. More than 20 of the Provinces of the Communion have declared themselves to be in a state of broken or impaired communion with TEC because of the ordination of a homosexual bishop living in a sexual relationship with another man and the blessings of same-sex unions in many places throughout this church. We need to dissociate ourselves from the bishops and dioceses that are violating the teaching of Scripture by doing these things.

3. The heresies and heterodoxy once proclaimed by just a few renegade bishops – like James Pike and John Spong – are now echoed by the Presiding Bishop, who is the chief spokesperson for TEC and speaks on behalf of our church to the rest of the world. She does not reflect the orthodox beliefs of Episcopalians in this diocese. The greatest problem we face with Katharine Jefferts Schori is not that she is a woman, but that she is not an orthodox bishop.

4. If we do not act now, we will lose our momentum and lose our God-given opportunity. Many laity and clergy who have been standing with the Diocese, as a beacon of hope, will give up and leave for other Anglican bodies. We will never be stronger than we are right now! We will never have another chance to act with such a strong majority. The Episcopal Church many of us were born into or became members of many years ago no longer exists! It has been replaced by a liberal, revisionist sect that does not deserve our allegiance or support any longer.

5. TEC is not turning back and matters will only get worse. General Convention is out of control and beyond reform. The Deputies seem to think that they can do whatever they want as long as they can muster a majority vote, even if what they propose is contrary to Holy Scripture. We will not accept majority votes of the General Convention that compromise the Christian ?faith. The more they change the teachings of the church, the less tolerant they are of dioceses such as ours. By the time I retire (in the next 7 to 13 years), this diocese will be unable to elect an orthodox bishop to succeed me.

6. TEC is coming after us, and they are the ones that brought on this crisis. In October 2006 the chancellor to the PB wrote a letter to our diocese demanding that we change our Constitution to remove the clause that says that we will not accept General Convention dictates that are contrary to the Bible and the apostolic teaching of the church. In addition, we were instructed to remove provisions stating that all church property in this diocese is held in trust for the use of our congregations and to state instead that our property ultimately belongs to TEC. If we don’t make such changes, the letter asserted that the Presiding Bishop would have to determine what actions she must take “in order to bring your diocese into compliance.”

7. At this time there is nothing in the Constitution or Canons of TEC that prevents a Diocese from leaving. Oh, I know that General Convention officials claim that dioceses cannot leave TEC, but you will not find that anywhere in the Constitution and Canons as they presently stand. So we have this window of opportunity to do what we need to do, for you can be sure that the next General Convention will close off this option by adopting amendments that will make it even more difficult to separate in the future.

8. The vast majority of our younger clergy, those ordained in the last 10 years or so, are in favor of the decision to separate and realign. They are the voice of the future of this diocese; they are the leaders who will take us into the next decade and beyond. You will notice that most of the clergy leaders opposing this move are already retired or on the verge of retiring. This is not their battle; they have had their time to lead. Now it is time to let this next generation step forward and lead, as we prepare a future for our children and our grandchildren.

9. We have international support for making the move at this time. Not only has the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone made provision for us to join them on a temporary basis as full members and partners in mission, but several Global South Primates are standing with us and have expressed their willingness to support us in this bold move. They have stuck their necks out for us and offered their encouragement, assistance and support. We must now have the courage of our convictions and act! What a joy and relief it will be to be part of a Province where we are not always under attack and on the defensive. We will then aggressively pursue the formation of an orthodox Province in North America in conjunction with the Common Cause Partnership.

10. Most importantly, this decision is about the truth of the Gospel and upholding the authority of the Holy Scriptures. We believe in God’s full self-revelation in Jesus Christ, not in the speculation of humanist unitarians who have been elected to high offices in our church. Many leaders of TEC are teaching a false Gospel and leading people astray. Now is the time for us to take a bold, public stand for the biblical faith and practice of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

Now is the time to decide. Our cause is right, and the choice is clear. Let us act together, decisively, and with courage, faith and charity.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
September 2008

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Sunday, 28 September 2008

Pittsburgh: deposition performed

Updated Sunday evening

The deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh was completed, ENS reports in Jefferts Schori removes Pittsburgh bishop from office by Mary Frances Schjonberg.

The letter sent to Bishop Duncan is here (PDF) and the formal deposition document is here (also a PDF).

Subsequently, the Standing Committee of the diocese issued a further statement, and ENS reported that Convention will go forward, Standing Committee says.

The Church Times reported on all this in US Bishops depose Bishop Bob Duncan for secession by Pat Ashworth.

Six Church of England Diocesan Bishops Make Joint Statement of Support contains the statement signed by the bishops of Blackburn, Chester, Chichester, Exeter, Rochester, and Win­chester.

Update Sunday evening

Across the Aisle has launched a new website at http://www.episcopalpgh.org/

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Saturday, 27 September 2008

weekend opinion

George Pitcher in the Telegraph Archbishops should note the balance between serving God and Mammon

Andrew Brown in The Guardian The red archbishop?

Jonathan Sacks in the Times It would be a saner world if we put our children first

Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah in The Guardian There is even more cause to remember this Rosh Ha-Shanah

Giles Fraser writes on the current financial crisis in the Church Times The bubble needed to burst

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Thursday, 25 September 2008

Canterbury, York and Capitalism

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written in the Spectator Face it: Marx was partly right about capitalism.

The Archbishop of York gave a speech to the Institute of Worshipful Company of International Bankers Archbishop Labels HBOS short sellers as “Bank Robbers”.

Stephen Bates in The Guardian Archbishop offers praise for St Bernadette - and Marx
Sadie Gray and agencies in The Guardian Archbishops attack profiteers and ‘bank robbers’ in City
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Archbishops of Canterbury and York blame capitalism excesses for financial crisis
Ruth Gledhill in the Times The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in support of Karl Marx
and Time to curb the ‘asset strippers and robbers’ who ruin the financial markets, say archbishops
Steve Doughty in the Mail Archbishops attack the ‘bank robbers’ who have brought economy to brink of disaster
BBC Archbishops attack City practices

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Canterbury and Lourdes

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been participating in anniversary celebrations at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, at the invitation of the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, Monsignor Jacques Perrier. He preached this sermon at the International Mass there yesterday.

Stephen Bates in The Guardian Archbishop offers praise for St Bernadette - and Marx
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Dr Rowan Williams becomes first Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Lourdes

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Sunday, 21 September 2008

God’s Own Country

God’s Own Country
Power and the Religious Right in the USA
by Stephen Bates
Hodder and Stoughton July 2008 £9.99

Since Sarah Palin was nominated as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, newspaper articles about her religious views have poured off the presses. See for example, these from Salon: The pastor who clashed with Palin by David Talbot, or Sarah Palin, anointed by God by Alex Koppelman or Sarah Palin, faith-based mayor by Sarah Posner.

To most Britons, it seems quite extraordinary that a person holding such views could be a serious candidate for national office. But to anyone who had read Stephen Bates’ book God’s Own Country when it first came out in 2007 it would not be a surprise. It had good reviews in the Church Times, the Guardian, and the Independent.

The book was republished in paperback in the UK in July this year, with the subtitle changed to more accurately describe the content, just in time for the American election campaign. Inexplicably, the US edition is not due until February 2009, neatly missing what must surely be a major marketing opportunity. However, it can readily be obtained now from Amazon UK.

Although Sarah Palin does not appear in the book, John McCain is mentioned three times. Jim Wallis of Sojourners is quoted as saying:

“John McCain is taking a risk dealing with these people: he has to get the Republican nomination and unless he gets these people’s endorsement from the Religious Right, he has no chance.”

Well, with Palin on the ticket, that endorsement for McCain, which earlier looked quite remote, now appears likely.

The book is aimed primarily at UK readers, and covers a lot of US historical background which one hopes would not be new material for Americans. The purpose is described by Bates himself like this:

There is a tendency here, in the secular UK, to write off American religiosity as alien and monolithic when, of course, it is far from that; and to see all US religious people as crazed fundamentalists, when they are not that either…. What I am hoping to show in this book is that US religion’s relationship with politics did not start with George W. Bush… These motivations have shaped the USA from the beginning and have very deep roots in the American psyche.

In fifteen chapters and nearly 400 pages, Bates therefore has plenty of ground to cover. He keeps the reader’s interest by writing as a journalist rather than as an academic. As with his earlier A Church at War this makes the book a much more enjoyable read.

The Pilgrim Fathers, The Great Awakening, William Jennings Bryan, Mother Angelica, Father Charles Coughlin, Aimee Semple McPherson, Joel Osteen, Judge Roy Moore, Ken Ham, Tim LaHaye, TD Jakes, and many other religious personalities are all included. The religious aspects of recent presidential campaigns (Clinton, Bush) are also covered.

As background to the current US election campaign, it is the ideal, even an essential, introduction to the religious dimension of American politics. Which as the nomination of Sarah Palin demonstrates, will be a crucial factor in the race for the White House this time round as well.

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Saturday, 20 September 2008

update on New Westminster disputes

On 10 September, the Anglican Network in Canada issued a press release, Parishes ask court to clarify parish trustees’ responsibilities.

On 11 September, the Diocese of New Westminster published Supreme Court suit brought against Diocese and Bishop.

And on 15 September, the Anglican Journal published Former New Westminster clergy and lay leaders sue diocese.

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opinions collected

John Polkinghorne writes in The Times about Shining a light where science and theology meet.

Peter Francis writes in the Guardian that interfaith understanding is more important than a literal reading of scripture, see Face to Faith.

And yesterday, Jonathan Romain wrote about antisemitism and Islamophobia, see Keeping up the struggle. And there is more about that Pew survey both here and here.

Doug LeBlanc wrote Storming hell’s gates at Episcopal Life Online.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about A saint who taught me to see real reverence.

Two weeks ago, Ted Harrison argued for fewer bishops in the CofE, see A case of episcopal hyperinflation.

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Friday, 19 September 2008

more on the Duncan case

Updated again Sunday morning

Episcopal Café has the rollcall of the vote at The post-deposition news conference and minutes.

Saturday morning updates

Further reports from Pittsburgh newspapers:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Ann Rodgers Some expected to resist split from Episcopal Church

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Craig Smith Episcopal bishop’s ouster sets up battle line

And a further report by Pat McCaughan at ENS House of Bishops adjourns Salt Lake City meeting with ‘spirit of commitment’ includes a link to a pdf file containing the official copy of the minutes and the rollcall.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has set up an additional website, In Support of Bishop Duncan.

The Living Church has published the rollcall vote in a more userfriendly format, and also has News Analysis: Curial Powers Expanded.

Sunday morning updates

For many additional reactions see Bishop reactions to Duncan issue, Saturday edition at Episcopal Café and also see many recent entries at Anglican Mainstream.

The Pittsburgh group Across the Aisle now has a website here with materials and pictures from the recent event A Hopeful Future.

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press reports on Bishop Duncan

Updated Friday evening

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had this last night, and this morning has Episcopalians vote to oust Pittsburgh bishop by Ann Rodgers.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has Duncan out as bishop by Tony LaRussa.

The Associated Press has Breakaway Episcopal bishop ousted from ministry by Rachel Zoll.

Reuters has Episcopal church defrocks dissident bishop by Michael Conlon.

The Living Church has House of Bishops Deposes Bishop Robert Duncan.

Religious Intelligence has Bishop of Pittsburgh deposed by House of Bishops by George Conger.

Friday evening updates

The Times Ruth Gledhill Leading conservative bishop deposed in US

Telegraph Martin Beckford Bishop of Pittsburgh deposed by Episcopal Church for ‘abandoning communion’

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House of Bishops votes on Bishop Duncan

Updated Friday evening

The American House of Bishops has considered the case of Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh. ENS reports that House of Bishops votes to depose Pittsburgh bishop for ‘abandoning Communion’:

After nearly two days of prayerful and solemn closed-door sessions, the House of Bishops on September 18 voted by a two to one majority to depose Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh. The vote authorizes Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to remove Duncan from ordained ministry.

The vote total was 88 to 35 in favor of deposing Duncan, according to Episcopal Church spokeswoman Neva Rae Fox. There were four abstentions…

The Presiding Bishop issued this statement:

The House of Bishops worked carefully and prayerfully to consider the weighty matter of Bishop Duncan. The conversation was holy, acknowledging the pain of our deliberations as well as the gratitude many have felt over the years for their relationships with, and the ministry of, Robert Duncan. The House concluded, however, that his actions over recent months and years constitute “abandonment of the communion of this church” and that he should be deposed. Concern was expressed for the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in the face of leadership which has sought to remove itself from The Episcopal Church. In the days and months ahead, this Church will work to ensure appropriate pastoral care and provision for the members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, so that mission and ministry in that part of Pennsylvania may continue in the name of Jesus Christ and in the tradition of the Episcopal Church.

The House of Bishops Daily Account Thursday, September 18 contains comments from different sides of the debate.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a press release, Diocese of Pittsburgh Maintains Course after Purported Deposition, the Standing Committee has issued this statement. Bishop Duncan himself has issued this statement.

The Anglican Communion Network issued Network, Common Cause Leaders offer Support for Bishop Duncan and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America issued TEC’s Unilateral Removal of Bishop Duncan.

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh issued PEP Hopes Diocese Will Move Forward Gracefully After Duncan Deposition.

Episcopal Café points out that the Standing Committee statement is not unanimous, and has links to various other statements. And more background is here.

Friday evening updates

The Episcopal Café article titled Duncan deposed has been revised in a write-through. The remarks of Bishop Paul Marshall of Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) are particularly noteworthy.

Statements from other bishops can be found at Archbishops offer support to Bishop Duncan, Pittsburgh (Egypt, Sydney, Rwanda, Kenya, West Indies and Southern Cone), at Blogging bishops weigh in on the Duncan deposition and here (Fort Worth) and here (Western Louisiana).

And Stand Firm reports this:

“As was resolved by resolution made at the Provincial Synod in Valparaiso last November 2007, we are happy to welcome Bishop Duncan into the Province of the Southern Cone as a member of our House of Bishops, effective immediately. Neither the Presiding Bishop nor the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has any further jurisdiction over his ministry. We pray for all Anglicans in Pittsburgh as they consider their own relationship with The Episcopal Church in the coming weeks,” said Archbishop Gregory Venables.

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Thursday, 18 September 2008

Lambeth: a Welsh perspective

Archbishop Barry Morgan spoke to the Church in Wales Governing Body, and the full text of his address is available here.

A related press release is here: Lambeth talks need time to continue if church is to stay united, says Archbishop.

A press report about this was headlined Homosexuality should not be an issue to tear the Anglican Communion apart, says the Archbishop of Wales.

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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Lambeth Conference 2008

ECUSA: the claims about hierarchy

Recently, the Anglican Communion Institute published an article written by Mark McCall, a lawyer, entitled Is The Episcopal Church Hierarchical? You can read this article as a PDF file here.

There was an introduction to it on the ACI website titled Constitution And Canons: What Do They Tell Us About TEC?

A Response to Mark McCall’s “Is The Episcopal Church Hierarchical? has now been published by Joan Gunderson, a church historian in Pittsburgh. You can read that article as a PDF file here.

There is an introduction to it published by Progresssive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh and titled Historian Exposes Flaws in Argument That Episcopal Dioceses Are Independent.

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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Creationism in science lessons? - Tuesday update

Updated Tuesday evening to add Guardian and Telegraph articles.

Following his remarks about creationism and science lessons the Revd Professor Michael Reiss has resigned his position as the director of education at the Royal Society.

The Royal Society issued this statement today.

Royal Society statement regarding Professor Michael Reiss

16 Sep 2008

Some of Professor Michael Reiss’s recent comments, on the issue of creationism in schools, while speaking as the Royal Society’s Director of Education, were open to misinterpretation. While it was not his intention, this has led to damage to the Society’s reputation. As a result, Professor Reiss and the Royal Society have agreed that, in the best interests of the Society, he will step down immediately as Director of Education a part time post he held on secondment. He is to return, full time, to his position as Professor of Science Education at the Institute of Education.

The Royal Society’s position is that creationism has no scientific basis and should not be part of the science curriculum. However, if a young person raises creationism in a science class, teachers should be in a position to explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism is not, in any way, scientific.

The Royal Society greatly appreciates Professor Reiss’s efforts in furthering the Society’s work in the important field of science education over the past two years. The Society wishes him well for the future.

BBC ‘Creationism’ biologist quits job
New Scientist Royal Society prof resigns over comments
Lewis Smith and Mark Henderson in The Times Royal Society’s Michael Reiss resigns over creationism row
Ian Sample, science correspondent, in The Guardian Michael Reiss resigns over call for creationism in science lessons
Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent, in the Telegraph Royal Society scientist loses post in row over creationism in schools

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Sunday, 14 September 2008

Evolution and the Church of England

Update - early Sunday evening

The new website (more accurately a new section of the CofE website) is now online: On the origin of Darwin.
There is an accompanying press release Church of England marks Darwin’s contribution to science as bicentenary approaches.


There are reports in today’s papers that the Church of England will apologise to Charles Darwin for rejecting evolution in a new website to be launched tomorrow.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones in The Telegraph Charles Darwin to receive apology from the Church of England for rejecting evolution
Alexandra Frean and Lewis Smith in The Times Anglicans back Darwin over ‘noisy’ creationists
Jonathan Petre in the Mail Church makes ‘ludicrous’ apology to Charles Darwin - 126 years after his death

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Creationism in science lessons?

The British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA) held its annual Festival of Science in Liverpool last week. At the meeting the Revd Professor Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society and a priest in the Church of England, is reported to have said that creationism and intelligent design should be taught in school science lessons.

James Randerson, science correspondent, in The Guardian Teachers should tackle creationism, says science education expert
Aislinn Simpson and Richard Gray in the Telegraph Creationism should be taught in science classes, says expert
Lewis Smith, Science Reporter, and Alexandra Frean, Education Editor, in The Times Leading scientist urges teaching of creationism in schools
Steve Connor, Science Editor, in The Independent One in 10 pupils believes in creationism
BBC Call for creationism in science
Wendy Barnaby at the BA Creationism has a place in school science lessons
Robin McKie in The Observer Creationism call divides Royal Society
Reiss himself writes in The Guardian Science lessons should tackle creationism and intelligent design

The Guardian published a profile of Prof Reiss in November 2006 Michael Reiss: How to convert a generation

Some comment articles
Melanie McDonagh in The Times Creationism in class is nothing to fear
Ruth Gledhill in The Times You need to understand your opponents’ arguments
Archie Bland in The Independent The Big Question: Why is creationism on the rise, and does it have a place in education?
Adam Rutherford in The Guardian Teenagers are not stupid, even if creationism is
Damian Thompson in the Telegraph Creationism and the advance of counterknowledge
Rod Liddle in The Times Don’t get creative with facts when it comes to evolution
Robin McKie in The Observer Our scientists must nail the creationists

The Royal Society published this statement No change in Society position on creationism on 12 September.

The Royal Society is opposed to creationism being taught as science. Some media reports have misrepresented the views of Professor Michael Reiss, Director of Education at the Society expressed in a speech yesterday.

Professor Reiss has issued the following clarification. “Some of my comments about the teaching of creationism have been misinterpreted as suggesting that creationism should be taught in science classes. Creationism has no scientific basis. However, when young people ask questions about creationism in science classes, teachers need to be able to explain to them why evolution and the Big Bang are scientific theories but they should also take the time to explain how science works and why creationism has no scientific basis. I have referred to science teachers discussing creationism as a worldview’; this is not the same as lending it any scientific credibility.”

The society remains committed to the teaching of evolution as the best explanation for the history of life on earth. This position was highlighted in the Interacademy Panel statement on the teaching of evolution issued in June 2006.

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Saturday, 13 September 2008

Pittsburgh: latest about Bishop Duncan

Updated Sunday afternoon

The Bishop of Pittsburgh has issued a pastoral letter today. You can read it in full here.

In a letter to the House of Bishops yesterday, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made it clear that there will be a vote this coming Thursday on whether to depose me from the ministry of the Episcopal Church. The charge is abandonment of the Communion of the Church, a charge initiated by five priests and sixteen laypeople of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Much of the “evidence” in the case is put forward by the House of Bishops Property Task Force, drawn directly from the Calvary litigation. We have long suspected that a principal purpose in the Calvary litigation was to have me removed, by whatever means, before the realignment vote. Whatever the purported evidence, I continue to maintain that the House of Bishops “vote” will be a gross violation of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church…

He then refers to a letter he sent to the House of Bishops on 24 August, and this letter is available as a PDF. This letter is also summarised in a Living Church news article.

Stand Firm has published the letter from the Presiding Bishop to which Bishop Duncan also refers. That letter is here.

And there is also a covering memo and then a lengthy memorandum from the Task Force on Property Disputes. The latter is a PDF file.

Sunday afternoon update

George Conger has reported at Religious Intelligence that there is Legal doubt over Presiding Bishop’s move to depose Duncan. The new issue is summarised thus:

However, the rules of the House of Bishops forbid modifying the agenda of a special session after the meeting has been announced, placing her plans in legal and canonical limbo. Whether the bishops will challenge her request is unclear, however, as her past legal missteps in the cases of Bishops John-David Schofield and Williams Cox provoked protests from bishops and dioceses distressed over what they perceived was her abuse of office, but no action followed.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 13 September 2008 at 6:38pm BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
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weekend opinions

Roderick Strange writes in The Times that We must strive to forgive others as God has forgiven us.

In the Telegraph George Pitcher writes that United Jews put divided Christians to shame.

In the Guardian Simon Rocker writes about A mistake by Michelangelo in Face to Faith.

Earlier in the week, Riazat Butt wrote from Rome on Comment is free about The hard route to Heaven.

And Stephen Bates wrote Sarah Palin talks the God talk.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times When do bankers believe in socialism?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 13 September 2008 at 8:52am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Friday, 12 September 2008

Lambeth: another Scottish perspective

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop Idris Jones of Glasgow and Galloway has published his address to Diocesan Council in which he discusses the Lambeth Conference.

The full text is available here: Bishop’s reflections on Lambeth.

…The fact is that neither of the extreme positions if I can call them that can be expected to give up what they believe God has called them to witness to as part of the life of their Province. There may be a way through but it is not dear yet where it would take us - meanwhile we hold to the position that we are in pending further provision in the Communion to take account of the need for some enlarged thinking. Whether the proposed Pastoral Forum to take over the care of congregations that have chosen to renounce the leadership of their Diocesan Bishop can have any place in this process I personally doubt.

It seems to me that the issue is not that we lack structure but that the structure has failed to address the situation and when it has attempted to do so Provinces have simply continued to do what they wanted to do and ignored the proposals put forward by the Instruments of Unity. I do have an unease that at the heart of our Communion there is a lack of evenhanded dealing. It was almost as if we were trapped into a game of “my pain is bigger than your pain”. The approach of the Church of Canada about which we were able to learn so much more this year and which was praised for its theological method was completely ignored and brushed aside for example whilst and the interference of another Province in Canada where proper and full provision had been made for congregations who felt alienated remained un -rebuked in spite of it having been forbidden by the recent Primates meeting.

The Canadian Anglican church has a long and strong history of fidelity and development - it gave the Communion AYPA for example - and has been not accorded the respect that it should have. There is more than one way of destroying a Communion but injustice is high on the list of how to achieve it.

We heard much about the need to support churches in other parts of the world; but very little of the vulnerability of the church where society has moved ahead of the game in its provisions which is the position that we find ourselves in along with other churches in the developed world.

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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Lambeth Conference 2008 | Scottish Episcopal Church

interview with Archbishop Akinola

Third Way has published an interview with Archbishop Peter Akinola. It was conducted by Joel Edwards.

The title given it by the magazine is Solid as a rock.

There is also a news report in the Church Times by Pat Ashworth titled Akinola criticises West for cultural laxity and timidity.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 12 September 2008 at 3:27pm BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 11 September 2008

California Proposition Eight

The Episcopal Bishops of the six dioceses in the state of California have issued a joint statement calling for defeat of Proposition Eight, a ballot initiative approved for inclusion in the November 4 election that would amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Read the ENS report: California bishops call for defeat of proposition that would ban same-sex marriage which includes the full text of the joint statement. Here is an extract:

The group statement, signed by bishops of the dioceses of Northern California, California, El Camino Real, San Joaquin, Los Angeles and San Diego, said, “We do not believe that marriage of heterosexuals is threatened by same-sex marriage. Rather, the Christian values of monogamy, commitment, love, mutual respect and witness of monogamy are enhanced for all by providing this right to gay and straight alike. Society is strengthened when two people who love each other choose to enter into marriage, engaged in a lifetime of disciplined relationship building that serves as a witness to the importance of love and commitment.”

The bishops acknowledged that the Church is not of one mind on the blessing of same-sex unions, but said they are “adamant that justice demands that same-sex civil marriage continue in our state,” and noted that a resolution passed at the 2006 General Convention opposed any civil initiative that would make same-sex marriage unconstitutional on a state or national level.

The Los Angeles press conference is available online here. The Los Angeles Times report is here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 6:34pm BST | Comments (49) | TrackBack
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more stories about the Southern Cone

Updated yet again Saturday evening

First, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he has requested Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to facilitate a meeting between him, the primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, U.S. presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the primate of Brazil, Mauricio de Andrade, to discuss cross-border interventions.

See the report by Marites Sison in the Anglican Journal Canadian bishops to ponder implications of ‘next steps’ after Lambeth.

The three primates – Archbishop Hiltz, Archbishop de Andrade, and Bishop Jefferts Schori – have repeatedly asked Archbishop Venables to stop meddling in the internal affairs of their provinces. Archbishop Venables has, on his own accord, been providing episcopal oversight to churches that are in serious theological dispute with their respective provinces over the issue of sexuality. Archbishop Williams has said he will do his best to facilitate the request.

There is some more detail on the background, with links, in Canadian primate asks Archbishop of Canterbury to convene interventions meeting from ENS.

Second, the Diocese of Fort Worth issued a Third Report from the Bishop and Standing Committee concerning The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. There is a note which says:

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008, the Executive Council of the diocese adopted and endorsed - with only one dissenting vote - the following report and recommendation of the Bishop and Standing Committee.

Third, Episcopal News Service reports that Presiding Bishop removes MacBurney’s inhibition after retired bishop apologizes. This is related to confirmations on behalf of the Southern Cone that Bishop MacBurney performed in San Diego.

Thursday evening update

The Toronto Star has Breakaway faction has switched allegiance to S. American bishop which includes this (h/t to the Café):

Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, however, says he would find it “difficult” to attend such a meeting.

“We had been talking about a private meeting, and it rather surprises me that it is now public,” Venables told the Star in an interview from Buenos Aires.

“This makes it even more difficult for me to attend.”

Venables said he would make his formal response about the proposed meeting to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican church, who was asked by Hiltz to organize the meeting.

Friday morning update

I should have included earlier this Open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion by Bishop Don Harvey

5 September, 2008

After consulting with my Primate, Archbishop Gregory Venables, I report with great sadness that two Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) churches under my jurisdiction – St Matthews (Abbotsford, BC) and St Matthias and St Luke’s (Vancouver, BC) – received letters on 26 August 2008, informing them that the Bishop of New Westminster had taken action on 10 July 2008 to seize control of those parish properties. The letters also notified the wardens, trustees and parish councils that Bishop Michael Ingham had dismissed and replaced them and ordered the clergy to vacate the church buildings by mid-September. It is clear that our other two ANiC parishes in Vancouver, St. John’s Shaughnessy and Church of the Good Shepherd, will receive the same action in the near future…

Saturday evening update

The Living Church has an interview headlined Bishop Venables: Canadian Primate’s Proposal a ‘Publicity Stunt’.

“I talked to Fred about this at Lambeth, but it never occurred to me that a private discussion would become public without us both agreeing first,” Bishop Venables told The Living Church. “It looks more like a publicity stunt than a serious desire for dialogue.

“What more is there to discuss? I told him why I was doing this and he told me how he felt about it,” Bishop Venables said. “Boundary crossing is not the primary issue. It is a secondary issue resulting from the communion-splitting action of blessing sexual sin by the U.S. and Canadian churches.”

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Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Brewers and Bookshops

Updated Friday morning

A month ago, we provided a brief update here on the SPCK bookshops saga.

Recently, the bankruptcy petition filed in Houston was rejected.

Today, there are further developments:

A Motion For Sanctions Against J. Mark Brewer and the Law Firm of Brewer & Pritchard, P.C. has been filed. Read the full text of it here.

Matt Wardman has written about this in US Court Motion for Sanctions against Mark Brewer: Is the dam breaking at last?

Another recent post shows how the bookshops have not had the SPCK logo removed.

By an extraordinary coincidence, a meeting is being held today between ex-SPCK staff and suppliers, see agenda here.

Friday morning update

The Church Times has a detailed report by Pat Ashworth Bookshop employees will air grievances at tribunal:

THIRTY former employees of SPCK Book shops are taking their case to an employment tribunal, in a legal process that begins in Bury St Edmunds next Thursday.

Their represen tatives from USDAW, the shopworkers’ union, will meet the tribunal chairman at an admin istrative hearing that is the first stage in grievance proceedings against the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (SSG) and its directors, Mark and Phil Brewer.

In the light of the bankruptcy proceedings (see panel, below), USDAW’s legal office said on Tuesday that one key and complex task at the hearing would be to work out who was the employer at the time of dismissal, and whether appropriate responses had been made to the claims…

The article also includes a timeline of events.

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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

more developments in Pittsburgh

First, see this earlier report about a legal action in which Calvary Church asked a court to appoint a monitor to “inventory and oversee property held or administered by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.”.

Today, there was a news report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal Diocese prepares for secession vote.

In response to a lawsuit led by one of its parishes, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has agreed to have a court-appointed neutral party inventory all of its property and assets as it prepares for a final vote on seceding from the Episcopal Church.

The agreement between representatives of the diocese and Calvary Episcopal Church, Shadyside, came after a hearing yesterday before Joseph M. James, president judge of Common Pleas Court. In 2005, he oversaw a settlement after Calvary sued the diocese to prevent the transfer of property from the denomination to individual parishes…

The diocese will pursue “a fair and equitable distribution of property” if the realignment resolutions pass, said its spokesman, the Rev. Peter Frank.

The diocese also agreed yesterday to permit parishes that oppose secession to divert diocesan support payments to escrow accounts that would remain in the Episcopal Church.

The agreement assumes that new leaders affiliated with the church will be elected for Pittsburgh if Bishop Duncan secedes.

“It is highly likely that Bishop Duncan and the other leadership of the diocese will purport to separate from the Episcopal Church, and it is our position that the court order of Oct. 14, 2005, addresses what will happen in that regard,” said Walter DeForest, attorney for Calvary.

“It is certainly the position of Calvary that the new leadership of the diocese will be in charge of those assets.”

And later in the day, a press release was issued by the Diocese of Pittsburgh: Statement on the Sept. 8 Court Hearing.

“On Sept. 8, there was a hearing before Judge James in the Calvary litigation. Calvary took the position that the Realignment vote will violate the 2005 Stipulation and that Calvary was entitled to the appointment of a “monitor” to take over the financial affairs of the Diocese. Calvary first initiated this request in a July 2008 filing. Since July, we have documented with the Court the Diocese’s strong opposition to Calvary’s position, and the fact that Diocese has consistently complied with the Stipulation since it was signed, and will continue to comply with the Stipulation after the Realignment vote. The Diocese always has been, and remains committed to administering Diocesan assets for the beneficial use of all parishes and institutions of the Diocese, regardless of any parish’s position on Realignment.

“The relief Calvary sought — a court-appointed monitor who would effectively run the financial affairs of the Diocese — was not what was done yesterday. To the contrary, we proposed the appointment of an independent third-party (called a “Special Master”), who will have no role regarding the operation of the Diocese. Rather, the Special Master will review all Diocesan financial records and make recommendations to the Court regarding which property is covered by which provisions in the 2005 Stipulation (i.e., what is Diocesan property and what is parish property). The appointment of a Special Master has no impact on whether TEC or its representatives can make any claim to any property. These issues will be addressed at a later date. We have clearly stated our position that the minority who oppose Realignment are not entitled to seize the assets of the Diocese. If necessary, we will vigorously pursue this position in litigation…

Second, this press release GROUP ANNOUNCES PANEL TO ARGUE CASE FOR STAYING WITH EPISCOPAL CHURCH was issued by Across the Aisle. See this earlier report on that group.

One of the speakers on that panel,The Rev. Bruce Robison, Rector, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park, has written this Reflection on San Joaquin and Pittsburgh.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 September 2008 at 8:22pm BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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faith schools: more views

Madeleine Bunting wrote an article on Comment is free headed Faith schools can best generate the common purpose that pupils need.

Theo Hobson has written another article there, headed Throw open the doors which responds to her, noting that:

More recently, Madeleine Bunting wrote an excellent piece in support of Oasis, a Christian charity that runs new academy schools. It renounces the right to use selection by church attendance, and is thus in accord with Accord.

I agree with Bunting that this is the way forward. Unlike church schools in general, this organisation has grasped the crucial point: it is only possible for Christians to do good in the field of education if they reject a system that privileges the pushy and rewards hypocrisy. If Oasis changes the churches’ mind, it could be a real breakthrough in our broken education system. It will take courage and humility for the Church of England to admit that it has erred, and to recommend that all its schools open their admissions policies. There’s nothing stopping it, but pride and love of power.

Hobson also responds to the article by John Hall, Dean of Westminster, linked earlier, saying:

What is perhaps most objectionable about Hall’s article is the implication that a positive ethos is unlikely to be found in a non-faith school:

“Ethos in a school context is about the values the school espouses and the behaviour that results. A school built on the conviction that every member of its community is an individual made and loved by God and with an eternal destiny in God’s purposes will be one in which people treat each other with mutual respect and regard”.

I would like to invite Hall to an assembly at my children’s community primary school in Harlesden, where children of all faiths and none celebrate what they have in common, and are taught “mutual respect and regard” by dedicated staff (some of whom are religious believers – this is not about atheists v believers). The school community is no organic idyll – there’s lots of people with different cultural baggage coming into tentative contact with each other. But it’s here that real community is difficultly born.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 September 2008 at 6:35pm BST
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GAFCON: an Irish view

The Church of Ireland Gazette published an editorial article last week titled THE GAFCON PRIMATESCOMMUNIQUÉ.

…The fact of the matter, however, is that the traditionalist point of view in relation to same-sex relationships - and that, after all, is the real presenting issue leading to all of this confusion - is eminently reasonable and, indeed, eminently traditional and scriptural, but it is unfortunate that the GAFCON Primates use somewhat emotive language in their communiqué (e.g. “sinful practices”), however justifiable they may consider such terminology to be. Yet the 1998 Lambeth I.10 resolution did call for sensitivity, and effectively calling good people sinners is not a sensitive approach. That, however, is not the core issue. The core issue for Anglicans is that the consecration of bishops and the ordination of clergy in active same-sex relationships and public rites of blessing of same-sex relationships are all simply so lacking in consensus within Anglicanism that we have come to this very sorry pass, which has witnessed a Lambeth Conference boycotted by one-fifth to onequarter of those bishops invited. Unity-indiversity just cannot cope in this case.

The GAFCON Primates have invited applications for membership of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. While individual lay people, clergy and bishops will rightly decide their own response to this invitation, it is to be hoped that as an option it will be resisted by parishes and dioceses within the Church of Ireland. To have FCA parishes and FCA dioceses and non-FCA parishes and non-FCA dioceses would be sadly divisive, not least because within parishes and dioceses there are varying opinions about the presenting issue. Other parts of the Communion must work out their approach, but we do not need such division. The 1997 report of the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission, The Virginia Report, raised the allied issues of ‘discernment and reception’ in recognising truth. The commission stated: “In the matter of discussing the mind of Christ for the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, discernment, conciliar debate and decision making followed by a process of reception each have a part to play. It is not a matter of weakness that the Church is unable to make instant decisions in relation to the complex matters of faith, order and morals which come before it, but the way it lives in the process of discernment, decision making and reception may give profound witness and provide a model for other communities.” (Ch. 4, IV, 5.26). Unfortunately, Anglicanism is not presenting a very helpful “witness” or instructive “model” at the moment, although the Archbishop of Canterbury is doing his level best. Decision making is followed by reception. In that way, decisions have provisionality and those who feel badly done by can be reassured that there is always room, in proper proportion, for more discussion, more debate and more discernment. But experience has surely shown that within the Anglican Communion there is currently no positive, general reception for the consecration of bishops and the ordination of clergy in active same-sex relationships and public rites of blessing of same-sex relationships.

On the contrary, the issue has led to quite possibly the deepest acrimony known in the Church and has brought us to the realms of schism. Certainly, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, being autonomous, can proceed as they wish without let or hindrance, but the GAFCON Primates’ communiqué illustrates a very stark consequence.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 September 2008 at 6:18pm BST | Comments (43) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 6 September 2008

My time of abstinence

This week’s View from Fleet Street in the Church of England Newspaper is by Riazat Butt. Reproduced here by permission.

My time of abstinence

Ramadan is upon us and, taking my cue from Tower Hamlets council, I’m asking you to be sensitive to my needs during this 30-day period of abstinence and restraint by refraining from publishing stories about gay bishops during the hours of sunrise and sunset.

In the month of fasting I can think of no better example to set than a complete avoidance of phrases such as openly gay and Anglican Communion in the same sentence, especially when ever one is stuffed to the gills already with stories of schism. A little bit of perspective and reflection is required here. There are 80m Anglicans in the world. There are more than 800m Hindus, more than 300m Buddhists and more than 1bn Catholics. The Anglican Communion is, much like Springfield, Illinois, a one-horse town.

I was minded of how bizarre the obsession with gay sex must look to the outside world when I spotted the excellent Stonewall poster — “Some people are gay. Get over it” — on the westbound District line service to Blackfriars. I am thinking of bulk ordering these t-shirts for my Fleet Street colleagues, bishops and archbishops. I am so over gay sex. Alas, the combination of gay bishops and journalists is a bit like competitive dieting. You see other people doing it, so you have to as well. Nobody wants to be the fat one in the photo.

But I would much rather write about other religions, about other stories, which is why I am launching this Ramadan appeal — to go on a gay fast — and I am encouraging others to join me. This month could prove to be one of Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Quakers instead. Don’t get me wrong — I love gay bishops and I think there should be more of them — I just don’t want to have to write about them all the time. There will be a day when someone’s sexual orientation won’t matter in a recruitment or selection process — just as it is in almost every employment field except religion — and homosexuality will be as normalised and wallpaper-like as hair colour or eye colour and will be greeted with, if anything, a shrug of the shoulders.

At this point someone — probably a conservative evangelical — will think that a homosexual imam would be stoned to death and wouldn’t make it past the initial telephone interview let alone have the top job at a mosque so why the constant mud-slinging at Anglicans?

Undercover Mosque, shown earlier this week on Channel 4, exposed the situation perfectly. I agree that attitudes need a complete overhaul, the way our mosques are funded and run needs serious scrutiny, the way Islam is taught at schools, in the homes, needs to be re-examined and that there needs to be greater involvement from women and young people in the day-to-day activities in places of worship and community centres. There also needs to be less reliance on government money and more independence.

Islam in Britain is not — as some bishops would have you believe — as established as the Christian identity. Nor is it as structured, prevalent or fixed. It is relatively young and fluid. There are Muslim communities — notably in Liverpool and Cardiff — that have been around for longer than the ones in Bradford and Manchester. There are only 2m Muslims. We are not taking over Britain — even if we are taking over the Premier League. Does the Manchester City buyout mean that the only good Muslims are the rich ones?

Attacking Muslims is easy because there is over whelming evidence to support the popular notion that Muslims are mad, bad and dangerous. It is harder to see beyond the bigotry and engage with flesh and blood individuals — the ones who get parking tickets, or take their kids to the park or like Coronation Street — because that would require moving beyond the conventional narrative and talking to someone who has everything in common with you and nothing. Somewhere in there, there is a lesson for us all.

Riazat Butt is the religion correspondent for The Guardian.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 6 September 2008 at 10:05am BST | Comments (39) | TrackBack
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faith schools: debate continues

The Church Times carried two items this week:

A news report by Margaret Holness Faith groups slam ‘ignorance’ of new schools campaign and a comment article by Paul Vallely Beware the erosion of faith schools.

The Guardian had a leader column earlier in the week, which I failed to list previously, Testing faith.

Others writing there were: Savitri Hensman in support of the Accord position in Schooled to be neighbours and in support of the status quo, Henry Grunwald Have faith in our schools.

Two pieces of research which Accord cites in support of its position are:

National Foundation for Educational Research The impact of specialist and faith schools on performance

London School of Economics London faith secondary schools cater for affluent pupils

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 6 September 2008 at 9:41am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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opinions this weekend

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times about writing your own obituary, Providence takes us back to the history of the future.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about how Bees are eating Lichfield Cathedral.

And Craig Brown writes that Pop memorabilia are the holy relics of our time.

Also, George Pitcher comments on No women with top Church of England jobs.

At the Guardian David Bradnack argues that The Christian creed is full of bad science that makes it a religion of deception.

And Sue Blackmore writes about the teaching of science in Opening minds.

Giles Fraser’s Church Times column is about Joining the New Orleans resurrection.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 6 September 2008 at 9:30am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Friday, 5 September 2008

Lambeth followup

Bill Bowder in the Church Times reports Lambeth absentees press on as letters wait to be sent out:

A MONTH after the Lambeth Conference, the 230 or so absent Anglican bishops have not yet been contacted in order to “build bridges” with them. In the mean time, their leaders have stated that they have heard nothing from Lambeth to give them pause as they seek to form a new North American province.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Canon Kenneth Kearon, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, committed themselves at the Lambeth Conference to ensuring that the absent bishops were kept fully informed of what had taken place, and of the process expected to lead to the Anglican Covenant…

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports Archbishop accused of marginalising homosexuals and republishes the article by Bishop John Chane to which this refers under the title Scapegoats of the Anglican communion.

Archbishop Peter Jensen wrote this: Trusting God at GAFCON.

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Thursday, 4 September 2008

more on faith schools

Updated Thursday evening

Continuing the report from Monday:

Andrew Brown wrote on Comment is free taking issue with Simon Barrow, in Faith schools: is there really a better option?

Simon Barrow has now replied at Wardman Wire with Faithfully schooled for debate?

The Church of England Newspaper has published an editorial headlined Religious schools: open up or call time? That URL will only be valid for a week, but Ekklesia has reproduced the full text over here.

This mentions the Cantle report of 2001. You can find that as a PDF here. And the Church of England press release in response here.


Jonathan Romain also wrote at Comment is free under the title I’m for faith, not faith schools.

The Dean of Westminster, formerly the Church of England’s chief education officer, replied to him, see Schooling for tolerance.

And the Economist weighed in with Religious rights and wrongs.

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Pittsburgh: decision time approaches

Ann Rogers has written Episcopalians weigh options as secession vote draws near in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

As a final vote approaches on whether the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh should secede from the national church, local Episcopalians who want to remain part of the New York-based denomination are meeting to plan for their future.

“A Hopeful Future for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh: An Alternative Solution” will present reasons for opting to stay in the Episcopal Church.

It will also present what may happen with property, a new diocesan government and other issues if Bishop Robert Duncan and most local Episcopalians change their allegiance to the theologically conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which covers six nations in southernmost South America…

You can read more about this event here, or read the whole press release here.

More from the newspaper report:

…Across the Aisle has made a deliberate effort to include theologically conservative, moderate and liberal members. Another steering committee member is the Rev. James Simons, rector of St. Michael of the Valley, Ligonier, who was a staunch supporter of Bishop Duncan on all issues except the decision to leave the Episcopal Church.

Although Mr. Simons shares Bishop Duncan’s belief that many Episcopal leaders no longer uphold classic Christian doctrines or sexual ethics, he has said that he does not consider secession a good way to address problems in the church.

“We have reached ‘across the aisle’ in peace to those who are committed to Jesus Christ but who have different interpretations of scripture and events and who wish to remain part of one church,” Mr. Simons said.

Peter Frank, a spokesman for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said that “people are free to meet to discuss their future … If they wish to no longer be part of the diocese [after a vote to realign], we will do our best to make that as painless and charitable as possible.”

More background information here.

Update Even more background information is at Episcopal Life Online here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 September 2008 at 11:10am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Lambeth: Canadian perspectives

The Anglican Journal has published a number of articles on this.

Marites Sison has written:
Canadian church is ‘frustrated’
Dialogue, compromise highlight Communion’s Lambeth Conference
It is impossible to go back, bishops say of moratoria

And then there are two other pieces:
Theological Reflection: Stepping back from full inclusion by Walter Deller
Theological Reflection: Commitments of the mind and heart: Will the centre hold? by George R Sumner

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Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Lambeth: more American perspectives

The Bishop of Washington has some critical comments: The Lambeth Conference: The turning point that wasn’t.

The bishops of the Diocese of Dallas liked it a lot: Lambeth: Interview with the bishops.

The Presiding Bishop listened: Hearing the call.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 3 September 2008 at 11:29pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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more on Welsh elections

Updated Thursday evening

First, apologies for the break in service yesterday and today.

Now, further reports on the Bangor election.

Stephen Bates weighed in at Comment is free with a very detailed background report on earlier events, titled Diocesan machinations.

However, more recent reports show official spokespersons are suggesting that earlier reports may have been overstating the case:

Christian Today Jennifer Gold Church plays down speculation of gay cleric as next Bishop of Bangor

Wales Today Darren Devine Gay cleric’s bid to be bishop in Wales

…a spokeswoman for the Church in Wales yesterday refused to comment on whether Dr John was in the running, saying nominations are not made until an electoral college of the church convenes to make the appointment. And she suggested the appointment was unlikely as the Church in Wales is subject to a moratorium – agreed at a recent conference in Lambeth – on the appointment of gay bishops that covers Anglican churches worldwide…

The spokeswoman for the Church in Wales said the bench of bishops here wanted to uphold the Lambeth moratorium and the electoral college would be mindful of their advice.

But the six bishops on the bench do not make up a majority on the college and other members are not bound by their views.

“The bishops of the Church in Wales are mindful that the recent Lambeth conference called for a moratorium on the ordination of bishops in single-sex partnerships and they take that conference very seriously,” said the spokesperson. But she acknowledged that as a popular cleric fluent in Welsh, Dr John was “absolutely” qualified for the post.

St Albans Observer Alexandra Barham Will dean become a bishop?

CLAIMS that St Albans Dean Jeffrey John could be on the verge of moving to Wales to take on the role of Bishop of Bangor have been condemned as speculation.

Reports in national newspapers that the clergyman, who celebrated a civil partnership ceremony with another priest two years ago, has been nominated for the Bangor post in North Wales were denied by St Albans Abbey spokeswoman spokesman Arun Kataria…

Daily Post Eryl Crump Gay clergyman may be in line as Bishop of Bangor

Dave Walker has some useful links to Church Times reports of earlier events in Jeffrey John and the Bangor post.

Ruth Gledhill republished her interview with Jeffrey John, first published in Thursday 19 June 2003, see Is Wales ready for a gay bishop?

Damian Thompson at the Telegraph had If Dean Jeffrey John becomes a bishop, the floodgates will open.

Thursday evening update

Ruth Gledhill reports in The Times that there is a Resignation threat over gay bishop appointment.

This was first reported in the Western Mail this morning.

The Herts Advertiser also had a report Dean Of St Albans Tipped As New Bishop Of Bangor.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 3 September 2008 at 9:46pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Monday, 1 September 2008

Welsh episcopal elections

First, New Bishop of St David’s named.

THE new Bishop of St David’s has this evening been named as the Very Rev Wyn Evans, the current Dean of St David’s…

and the BBC has Dean named as St David’s bishop.

Second, Ruth Gledhill at The Times reports Gay priest Dr Jeffrey John could become a bishop in Wales and also comments New fears of schism in Anglican Church.

On Saturday, there was Bishop warns that Wales is set to appoint a gay bishop at Religious Intelligence and the letter from Bishop David Anderson was published by Anglican Mainstream.

Earlier today there was Gay man may be selected as Anglican bishop at PinkNews.

Also, Martin Beckford has Gay cleric Jeffrey John could become Britain’s first openly homosexual bishop in the Telegraph.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 1 September 2008 at 10:33pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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faith schools: changing the agenda

A new coalition was launched today, which aims to change the agenda on faith schools in Britain. The Accord website is here. The group’s aims are stated as follows:

We believe all state-funded schools should:

1. Operate admissions policies that take no account of pupils’ – or their parents’ – religion or beliefs.

2. Operate recruitment and employment policies that do not discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief.

3. Follow an objective, fair and balanced syllabus for education about religious and non-religious beliefs – whether determined by their local authority or by any future national syllabus or curriculum for RE.

4. Be made accountable under a single inspection regime for RE, Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship.

5. Provide their pupils with inclusive, inspiring and stimulating assemblies in place of compulsory acts of worship.

Advance press coverage of this, see for example New pressure over faith schools at the BBC and Faith schools accused on employment from the Press Association and Campaigners fight to stop schools recruiting staff based on religion in the Guardian produced some strong reactions, notably Melanie McDonagh: Faith schools work. Until you take the faith away at the Independent.

A counter-coalition called the Faith Schools’ Providers Group issued a press release reported in Mainstream religious leaders unite to defend faith schools.

And the Catholic Education Service also issued its own press statement: Catholic Education Service rejects ‘spurious’ claims of group opposing faith schools.

Today, Simon Barrow has written repeatedly about what Accord is really seeking:

Ekklesia A Christian case for Accord

Open Democracy Changing the agenda on faith schools

Comment is free Changing the faith schools’ agenda

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 1 September 2008 at 1:15pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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