Friday, 31 October 2008

Canadian bishops issue statement

Updated Saturday morning

A post-Lambeth statement was released by the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada at the conclusion of its meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Link to it in full here.

This statement is also available as a PDF here.

The earlier document on Shared Episcopal Ministry is linked from this page.


The Anglican Journal has a report on this, by Marites Sison headed ‘Large majority’ of bishops agree to moratoria

Earlier reports:
Montreal bishop will work out rite for same-sex blessing by Harvey Shepherd
Ottawa bishop seeks approval for same-sex blessings by Art Babych
Central Interior assembly says ‘yes’ to blessings by Marites Sison

Also, see Lutheran Bishops issue statement on joint meeting.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 31 October 2008 at 5:41pm GMT | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Church Times on the Covenant

Today’s Church Times contains a news report by Bill Bowder on the recently published A Lambeth Commentary on the Saint Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Communion. See Bishops’ approval of Covenant hangs in the balance.

See also the review by the Bishop of Guildford of the book by Professor Norman Doe, An Anglican Covenant: Theological and legal considerations for a global debate. What should the Covenant actually say?

And, read the Church Times Leader: Perfection and the Anglicans.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 31 October 2008 at 4:07pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Duncan writes in the CEN

Bishop Bob Duncan has written an article for this week’s Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Mainstream has reproduced it. See An Emerging North American Province.

Or, now read it at Religious Intelligence.

The twin trajectories of The Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Church of Canada away from any Communion-requested restraint on matters of moral order and legal prosecution have made permanent a widespread separation of parishes from their historic geographical dioceses in the United States and Canada. Now these alienated parishes representing the moral (and theological) mainstream of global Anglicanism are being joined (or are about to be joined) by the majorities of four former Episcopal Church dioceses: San Joaquin in California, Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Quincy in Illinois and Fort Worth in Texas. The reality of a significantly disintegrated North American Anglicanism now stretches from coast to coast and from the Arctic to the Rio Grande…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 30 October 2008 at 1:21pm GMT | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Quincy bishop announces retirement


An email was published yesterday which announces that Bishop Keith Ackerman of the Diocese of Quincy will retire, effective 1 November. That’s the day after tomorrow!

The text of the announcement can be found here, or here, or here.

The Diocesan Synod is scheduled for the following weekend, 7-8 November. The resolutions due to be considered can be found in this PDF file here.

A recent local newspaper report explains what is expected: Illinois Episcopalians face historic vote.

There is now a Living Church report titled Bishop Ackerman to Resign Saturday.

ENS now has a comprehensive report at Quincy’s Bishop Ackerman announces retirement.

Forward in Faith announces that Bishop Keith Ackerman will remain as President of Forward in Faith North America.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 30 October 2008 at 7:29am GMT | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

further reactions to the Sydney report

Dale Rye has written at Covenant under the title What’s Up Down Under?

The recent decision of the Diocesan Synod of Sydney, in the Anglican Church of Australia, to allow the administration of Holy Communion—i.e., the celebration of the Eucharist—by deacons and eventually laity seems outlandish to many overseas Anglicans. It makes considerably more sense within the context of Australian Anglicanism, which has a very different history than The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its various offshoots (I will get to that later). Australian Anglicanism is exceptionally diverse as a result of that history, and its diversity has led the Anglican Church of Australia to adopt a unique pattern of organization.

Just as some Episcopalians are frustrated when other Anglicans cannot understand TEC’s particular form of synodical governance, so I expect Australians feel when outsiders try to apply their own context to matters Down Under. I write the following as an American outsider, but one who has long been fascinated enough by the local variations on the common Anglican theme to make a study of them. (I hope that any Australians who read this will take the trouble to correct my inevitable mistakes by commenting below…)

Note: Dale Rye has added a substantial update to his original article.

Andrew McGowan who is Warden of Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, has written Power and Presiding: The Reality of “Lay Administration”.

The Diocese of Sydney’s reaffirmation, at its recent Synod, of lay presidency (or as many of its leaders prefer, “lay administration”) at the Holy Communion has had Anglicans around the world again wondering what we are putting in the (increasingly scarce!) water down here.

Sydney’s motives are quite unlike the occasional stirrings in this direction voiced on the liberal edge of US or British churches. The original theological engine driving this is the theology of Church and sacraments taught by former Moore College principal Broughton Knox, and now pursued by his students including key figures in the Sydney episcopal leadership and the present staff of Moore. Some of these, like their “Reform” counterparts in the UK, see the Reformation as an incomplete work and the Elizabethan settlement as a bit of a Laodicean compromise. The real interest in “lay administration” lies, for them, in carrying through a principled protestant disposal of catholic accretions upon a supposed New Testament model of ministry and worship.

There are links to other comments here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 at 11:33pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

more on Sydney

Episcopal Life Online has a lengthy article, with some historical background at AUSTRALIA: Sydney diocese votes for lay and diaconal presidency — again.

Bishop Alan Wilson has commented on this subject on his blog, see Lay Presidency: 2 heads better than 1.

Contradictory signals from down under, driven by gross ecclesiological revisionism about Eucharistic Lay Presidency. I’m confused, anyway, about the news from Sydney. The fatuous notion that “this will make the diaconate a real diaconate” demonstrates simple but complete ignorance of Catholic order. In those terms all the Sydney innovators’ proposals would do is make deacons, functionally, priests. This would obviously tend to obscure distinctively diaconal ministry. The C of E meets pastoral need from within a traditional understanding of Church, by authorizing Extended Communion. Cursing in fluent Kangaroo, as Dr Doolittle called it, is a non-traditional sport…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 at 12:00am GMT | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 25 October 2008

Sydney votes for deacons to preside

Updated Sunday evening

Muriel Porter reports in the Church Times that Sydney votes for diaconal and lay presidency.

SYDNEY DIOCESAN SYNOD has affirmed that deacons — including women deacons — may preside at holy communion.

In a motion moved by a Sydney regional bishop, Dr Glenn Davies, the synod accepted arguments that there was no legal impediment to deacons’ presiding, given that, under a 1985 General Synod canon, deacons are authorised to assist the priest in the administration of the sacraments.

A report accompanying the mo­tion argued that, because deacons can administer the sacrament of bap­tism “in its entirety”, and because “no hierarchy of sacraments is ex­pressed in describing the deacon’s role of assisting the presbyter,” deacons are therefore authorised to “administer the Lord’s Supper in its entirety”.

Bishop Davies told the Synod that the Archbishop could not prevent a deacon’s “administering the Lord’s Supper”. But the motion, though it also affirmed lay presidency, could not approve lay people’s presiding at Sunday services, as the Archbishop would need to license them, Bishop Davies said. “The Archbishop will not license a lay person at this time.”

This reluctance is believed to relate to Sydney’s relationship with the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) bishops…

There is also a report of this on the Sydney Anglicans website Sydney restates Lord’s Supper position.

Sydney Synod has overwhelmingly restated its principled support for lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper.

More significantly - in what supporters said is ‘a great outcome’ for women deacons - the motion also ‘accepts’ the argument that there is no longer any legal impediment to deacons officiating at Holy Communion given the wording of The Ordination Service for Deacons Canon 1985 and the repeal of the 1662 Act of Uniformity by a recent General Synod Canon.

However the motion itself does nothing to change the legal situation.

“We don’t make law or change law in a motion,” said the Bishop of North Sydney, Glenn Davies, in moving the motion “we merely express our view.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 7:36pm BST | Comments (90) | TrackBack
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Episcopal Church responds to recent actions

The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church passed a number of resolutions at its recent meeting relating to the issues raised by the recent and anticipated actions of some dioceses in aligning with the Southern Cone.

There is a comprehensive report Executive Council promises support, money to continuing Episcopalians by Mary Frances Schjonberg at Episcopal Life.

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council October 23 renewed its ongoing support of dioceses in which the leadership has left or plans to leave the church, and pledged the church to seek reconciliation “without precondition on our part.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told council members that she appreciated their sense that irreconcilable differences are inconsistent with the gospel. “It is profoundly unchristian and unhopeful to say that differences can be irreconcilable,” she said…

There is also a report Executive Council Wants Dialogue with Common Cause Partnership by Doug LeBlanc at the Living Church.

Executive Council has called for a reconciliation-oriented conversation with members of Common Cause Partnership, according to the two top officials of The Episcopal Church. They spoke to members of the media Oct. 23 during a brief conference call at the conclusion of the council’s four-day meeting in Helena, Mont.

The council approved a resolution from its Committee for National Concerns, said Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies. Mrs. Anderson said the resolution is based on council’s belief that talk of irreconcilable differences is a contradiction of the Christian gospel.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she was expressing nothing new when she said earlier in the week that she would “strongly discourage” General Convention from voting on a final form of the proposed Anglican Covenant in July 2009, if the final draft is released in May 2009. She said she has made the same remark for several weeks in various locations, and that she has not encountered any resistance to her plans…

Also, there is a report about: Bishop to Advise Pittsburgh Episcopalians.

The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones, the bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, has accepted an invitation from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to serve as a “consulting bishop” as it rebuilds.

Bishop Jones will provide the Pittsburgh diocesan Standing Committee, the current leadership team, with practical advice on the details of diocesan administration, clergy deployment, and support for congregations remaining in the Episcopal Church in the United States…

The Living Church report on this also mentions that:

…In a similar development, the Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey, Bishop of Northwest Texas from 1980 to 1997, confirmed that he has participated in preliminary discussions about serving as the provisional bishop of Fort Worth in the event that the majority of delegates to the annual convention on Nov. 15 votes to leave The Episcopal Church. No formal offer to serve in that capacity had been made yet, he said.

And, from San Joaquin there is a report that Realigning clergy are charged with abandonment of communion. See here for more details.

And also, the Presiding Bishop will visit Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh on Sunday 2 November. Read more details of this in their latest newsletter here (PDF).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 4:00pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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weekend collection

Giles Fraser asks in the Church Times Why don’t humanists give value to humans?

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writes about Peter Howson’s harrowing of hell.

Theo Hobson writes in the Guardian about the sex life of Adam and Eve in Face to Faith.

Stephen Bates asks on Comment is free Who would God vote for?

John Lloyd writes in the Financial Times about Uganda’s controversial pastors.

Earlier in the week, Andrew Brown wrote about The cult of personality.

Simon Barrow wrote a column for Ekklesia titled Beware politicians and ‘God talk’.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 10:36am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Friday, 24 October 2008

latest Church of England statistics

updated Friday afternoon

The latest Church of England statistics, for 2006/2007, have been released. These are now only published online, although some are usually published later in the Church of England Year Book.

The official press release states Statistics show increased ordinations, vocations and giving.

Bill Bowder in the Church Times reports Clergy numbers up, but laity down.

The statistics cover a lot more than is picked up in the press release and the Church Times article, and a full list is below the fold.

Statistics for earlier years are also available.


David Walker has covered this story in his Church Times blog where he draws our attention to an analysis by David Keen: Fewer and Older: New Church of England stats on clergy, ordinations, schools and finance.

  • Summary diocesan statistics
    • Diocesan Statistics
  • Parochial affiliation and attendance 2006
    • Attendance comparisons 2000 to 2006
      • Average weekly attendances 2006 and 2005
      • 2006 all age church attendance: two year increases map
      • Parochial church attendance 2000 to 2006
      • All Age Church Attendance 2000 to 2006
    • Average Attendances 2006
    • Easter and Christmas
      • Easter and Christmas 2006
      • Parochial Easter and Christmas comparisons 1922 to 2006
    • Parochial baptisms and thanksgiving
    • Confirmations
      • Confirmations 2006
      • Confirmations by age and gender 1976 and 2006
    • Church electoral rolls
    • Affiliation and attendance comparisons 1900 to 2006
      • Parochial Easter and Christmas comparisons 1922 to 2006
      • Baptisms and thanksgivings
      • Parochial funerals and deaths in England, 2000 to 2006
      • Confirmations
      • Electoral rolls and usual Sunday attendances
    • Marriages and funerals
      • Parochial marriages and funerals 2006
      • Total marriages in England 1982 to 2005
      • First marriages, England and Wales 1982 to 2006
    • Church Schools 1990 to 2007
      • Church of England licensed ministries 2007
      • Summary of licensed ministers
      • Full-time stipendiary diocesan clergy
      • Chaplaincy and other ministries
      • Readers and Church Army
        • Licensed readers and Church Army 2007
        • Changes in Reader ministry 1997 to 2007
      • Age profiles and age structures
        • Age profiles of stipendiary clergy
        • Age of clergy at 31 Dec 2007
      • Minority ethnic backgrounds
      • Age profile of licensed ministers 2007
      • Gender of diocesan clergy, 2007 and 1994
      • Full-time stipendiary clergy: losses and gains 1990 to 2007
      • The stipendiary clergy share system
      • Distribution of stipendiary diocesan clergy
      • Projections of stipendiary diocesan clergy shares
        • Projections of stipendiary clergy numbers
        • Projections of diocesan stipendiary clergy shares 2008 to 2012
      • Recommended candidates age profiles 1994 to 2007
      • Ordinations and reader admissions 1994 to 2007
  • Parochial finance 2006
    • Financial comparisons 1964 to 2006
      • Tax-efficient planned giving
      • Giving to and unrestricted income of Parochial Church Councils
      • Tax-efficient planned giving as a percentage of unrestricted recurrent income
      • Growth in income and expenditure
      • Unrestricted recurring income
      • Total recurring expenditure
      • Income from 1998 to 2006
      • Expenditure of Parochial Church Councils
    • Planned giving
      • Combined unrestricted and restricted tax-efficient planned giving to PCCs 2006
      • Combined unrestricted and restricted tax-efficient planned giving to PCCs 2005
    • Direct and other giving
    • Recurring income
      • Unrestricted recurring income 2006
      • Unrestricted recurring income 2005
    • Recurring expenditure
      • Recurring expenditure 2006
      • Recurring expenditure 2005
  • Maps
Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 24 October 2008 at 10:10am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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more on disestablishment


The Times carries two articles on this:

Should the Church be disestablished? Yes, says Dr Sean Gabb

Should the Church be disestablished? No, says Rt Revd Christopher Herbert

Update Saturday

There is a letter to the editor from Augur Pearce Should Church and State be kept separate?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 October 2008 at 9:12am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 23 October 2008

that London church service redux

The Diocese of London website carries this Statement on the Service at St Bartholomew the Great signed by Bishop Pete Broadbent. (Hat Tip to Ruth Gledhill who has published a fuller version of Martin Dudley’s letter on her blog under the heading Dudley pulls it off! and also wrote about it under a more sedate headline on The Times website as Vicar who performed ‘wedding’ ceremony for two gay clergy expresses regret.)

The Assistant Bishop of London has issued the following statement regarding the service that took place at St Bartholomew the Great on 31 May.

Dear Colleagues,

I am contacting you all on Bishop Richard’s behalf since, as you know, he is currently away on holiday.

Earlier this year, the Bishop wrote to you regarding a service held at St Bartholomew the Great on May 31st, which had generated considerable publicity and consternation.

Since this time, under the Bishop’s instructions, the Archdeacon of London has carried out an investigation into the matter, alongside the Chancellor of the Diocese. This has involved a series of frank discussions with the Rector, Revd Dr Martin Dudley.

As a consequence, the Rector has made expressly clear his regret over what happened at St Bartholomew the Great and accepted the service should not have taken place. Bishop Richard has considered the matter and has decided to accept the Rector’s apology in full. The matter is therefore now closed.

To avoid any uncertainty over what has been said, I have enclosed below, with the Rector’s permission, his statement of apology to the Bishop:

“I can now appreciate that the service held at St Bartholomew the Great on 31 May 2008 was inconsistent with the terms of the Pastoral Statement from the House of Bishops issued in 2005. Whilst the precise status of this pastoral document within the Church of England generally and the Diocese of London in particular may be a matter of differing interpretations, I ought to have afforded it far greater weight. I regret the embarrassment caused to you by this event and by its subsequent portrayal in the media. I now recognise that I should not have responded positively to the request for this service, even though it was made by another incumbent of your Diocese, who is a colleague, neighbour and friend of us both nor should I have adopted uncritically the Order of Service prepared by him and his partner. I had not appreciated that the event would have been attended by so many nor that it would have attracted the publicity and notoriety which it did.

“I share your abhorrence of homophobia in all its forms. I am profoundly uneasy with much of the content of the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement which anecdotal evidence suggests is being widely, though discretely, disregarded in this Diocese and elsewhere. Nonetheless, I am willing to abide by its content in the future, until such time as it is rescinded or amended, and I undertake not to provide any form of blessing for same sex couples registering civil partnerships.”

As I say, following the Rector’s full and frank apology, the Bishop considers the matter now closed.

With best wishes and prayers

Pete Broadbent
Assistant Bishop of London

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 6:39pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Lambeth Conference: George Conger's perspective

Two articles by George Conger have just been published in places you might not normally look.

The Institute on Religion & Democracy The Seinfeld Conference: A Reflection on Lambeth 2008

The Christian Challenge The Hollow Men—Lambeth 2008, What Happened And Why

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 6:20pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Lambeth Conference 2008

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury meets Duncan

Episcopal News Service reports:

ENGLAND: Archbishop of Canterbury, deposed Pittsburgh bishop meet at Lambeth Palace

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and deposed Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Bob Duncan met privately in London last week.

The Lambeth Palace press office confirmed that the meeting took place on October 15, but would not disclose details of the conversation between Williams and Duncan, saying it was “one of many private meetings” the archbishop hosts at his London residence…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 6:56pm BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Covenant Design Group: Lambeth Commentary

From ACNS:

The Covenant Design Group publish today the Lambeth Commentary [PDF], which sets out the responses of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference in their discussions of the St Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Covenant.

The Commentary was complied by the Covenant Design Group at their recent meeting in Singapore and also sets out some of the initial thinking of the CDG in response to the comments of the bishops.

The Commentary has already been sent out to all Provinces to assist in their discernment and response to the St Andrew’s Draft, and encourages Provinces to submit their responses to the St Andrew’s Draft, while contributing to the ongoing thinking on the development of the text.

ACNS spoke to the Chairman of the Design Group, Archbishop Drexel Gomez about the Covenant Process.The full transcript is available here.

The Anglican Covenant section of the ACO website can be found here.

The statistical report can be found here [PDF].

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 6:26pm BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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a politician mentions disestablishment

There has been a lot of material in The Times about this.

Alice Thomson and Rachel Sylvester interviewed Phil Woolas on 18 October. At the very end, he is reported thus:

But he also warns Christians that they need to be more accepting of other faiths. The Church of England will, in his view, be disestablished in the end. “It will probably take 50 years but a modern society is multifaith.”

Rachel Sylvester wrote There’s a God-shaped hole in Westminster. Towards the end, she said:

When Alice Thomson and I interviewed Phil Woolas last week, his comments on immigration hit the headlines - but it was his suggestion that the Anglican Church would be disestablished that got Downing Street in a jitter. The minister’s claim that the link between Church and State would be broken within 50 years because “a modern society is multi-faith” was potential dynamite, with implications for the monarchy, the armed forces and the judiciary as well as Parliament. In fact, Mr Brown has already started to break the link between Church and State - he has given up the power to appoint bishops and is considering a plan to abolish the Act of Settlement, which ensures that only a Protestant can succeed to the throne - but he had hoped to move to the point of disestablishment by stealth.

It would be wrong to suggest that Britain is any longer a Christian country in terms of the population - only 7 per cent of people regularly attend an Anglican church. Yet neither is Britain a secular State like France. Its history, culture and constitutional settlement are based on the link between Church and State. Earlier this year, Nicholas Sarkozy criticised the French republic’s obsession with secularism and called for a “blossoming” of religions. “A man who believes is a man who hopes,” he said. It is ironic that politicians in this country have abandoned belief - at the very moment that the people need hope.

Then, there was this report by Richard Ford and Ruth Gledhill that enlarges on the point. Phil Woolas contradicts government policy over position of Church of England:

Phil Woolas, the new Immigration Minister, was again at the centre of controversy last night after contradicting official government policy over the position of the Church of England.

The outcome of the Government’s attempt to reform the House of Lords would be to strip the Church of its privileges, he said. Within 50 years the Church of England would have lost the special position it has held in English life since the Reformation.

Mr Woolas told The Times: “Disestablishment – I think it will happen because it’s the way things are going. Once you open debate about reform of the House of Lords you open up debate about the make-up of the House. It will probably take 50 years, but a modern society is multifaith.”

His remarks caused consternation in Whitehall: the Government has no intention of igniting a political row over the issue, which has consequences for the monarchy…

The Times has also published a leader on this, titled Church and nation. This concludes:

…Disestablishment would in a sense allow the Church of England to be more Christian. Its concerns would be less expansive, and a more distinctive voice might thereby emerge. Whether that is the right course for the Church and for the nation is a conversation worth holding. It should, however, be conducted with an eye to posterity, if not eternity. While a national church might appear an anachronism, changing its status must not be undertaken lightly.

Above all, this is an issue on which the Church itself should deliberate. Politicians have transient authority, whereas the Church has existed for centuries. For a decision that would be irrevocable, there is no need to adopt a timetable.

A sidebar in the Ford/Gledhill article says this:

Disestablishment would put at risk

— The presence of a parish priest for every community

— The right of all, unless there is a separate legal inhibition, to be married, baptised or given a funeral at their parish church

— The Church’s central role in helping the nation to mark important events, such as royal weddings

— The role of the Church as an education provider through church schools

— The public enactment of church legislation. The laws of the Church are part of the laws of England – measures passed by General Synod also need to be passed by Parliament – and therefore the Church’s courts are part of the English legal system

— The role of the Sovereign as supreme governor of the Church

— The role of the Crown in appointing bishops and other senior clergy

— The presence of bishops in the House of Lords – they are not there to protect self-interest but to represent communities in a non-party-political way

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 11:21am BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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PB says GC should not consider covenant

Episcopal News Service reports that General Convention should not consider Anglican covenant, Presiding Bishop tells Executive Council:

If a proposed Anglican covenant is released in mid-May for adoption by the Anglican Communion’s provinces, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will “strongly discourage” any effort to bring that request to the 76th General Convention in July.

Jefferts Schori briefly discussed the covenant process during her remarks to the opening plenary session October 21 on the second of the Executive Council’s four-day meeting in Helena, the seat of the Diocese of Montana.

Anglican Communion provinces have until the end of March 2009 to respond to the current version of the proposed covenant, known as the St. Andrew’s Draft. The Covenant Design Group meets in London in April 2009 and may issue another draft of a covenant. That draft is expected to be reviewed by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) during its May 1-12, 2009 meeting. The ACC could decide to release that version to the provinces for their adoption.

If the ACC decides to do that, “my sense is that the time is far too short before our General Convention for us to have a thorough discussion of it as a church and I’m therefore going to strongly discourage any move to bring it to General Convention,” Jefferts Schori told the Executive Council. “I just think it’s inappropriate to make a decision that weighty” that quickly, she added.

The 76th General Convention meets July 8-17 in Anaheim, California…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 7:43am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

women bishops: further reports

In addition to this earlier report, Religious Intelligence has published two more items about the FiF conference, written by Michael Brown.

Traditionalists warn church of evangelism threat:

An extraordinary claim that if traditionalist Anglicans are “destroyed”, the Gospel in England “will suffer” because no one else is evangelising, was issued by the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, last weekend…

General Synod accused of ‘ignoring the wider church’:

The Church of England’s General Synod was roundly accused by a “flying bishop” last week of being determined to “go against the corporate mind of the Church Catholic”.

The accusation came from the Bishop of Beverley, the Rt Rev Martyn Jarrett, in a sermon at a Mass at St Alban’s, Holborn, for members of Forward in Faith, the traditionalist Anglican body, who were attending their annual assembly in Westminster.

The September issue of New Directions carried this article by Christina Rees titled A mutual challenge:

The result of the debate in General Synod on 7 July should have come as no surprise. The outcome was consistent with how General Synod has repeatedly voted on the subject of opening the episcopate to women. And yet for some, there was surprise, and more than that, a sense of shock, even disbelief…

The Autumn issue of Forward! Plus, available here, has an article on page 3 titled The Women Bishops Vote - An Obituary for Anglo-Catholics? and another article on page 7 which is largely a response to the New Directions article linked above.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 11:15pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Monday, 20 October 2008

Our RSS feeds

At Thinking Anglicans readers sometimes ask us how they can know when there are new articles or new comments. One way, of course, is to visit the site and have a look. But that is not very convenient, particularly if you are looking for new comments on an article published sometime ago (such as the one on the Church Representation Rules 2006 which is still attracting comments).

A more convenient way is to use our RSS* feeds. These feed new content from our site to, for example, a website which you can then check from time to time for updates. We have two.

for this site
for comments on this site

If you click on these links you will be taken to a list of links to recent articles or comments with some or all of the actual text. What’s most convenient though is to subscribe to our feeds with an RSS reader such as Bloglines. There’s also Live Bookmarks in the Firefox browser and the News & Blogs feature in the Thunderbird email program.

How to subscribe to our feeds
We’ve made it easy for you to subscribe to our feeds. Follow the link to one of our feeds and click on the “Subscribe Now” button at the top. By default you will be subscribed using Bloglines. Then do the same for the other feed. Then whenever you visit the Bloglines website you will be able to see our latest articles and comments.

If you want to try other readers there is a short drop-down list above our “Subscribe Now” button or a longer list here.

*You don’t need to know what RSS stands for to use the feeds, but it is “Really Simple Syndication”.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 20 October 2008 at 4:38pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 18 October 2008

opinions and views

Roderick Strange wrote for The Times that We have been beguiled and betrayed by Mammon.

The economy may be in crisis, but there is a wealth of social capital at our disposal, says Pete Tobias in Face to Faith.

Christopher Howse wrote in the Telegraph about The survival of England’s Syon.

Giles Fraser’s column in the Church Times is about The fantasy of easy killing.

Simon Barrow wrote for Ekklesia about Seeking to build a just economy.

George Packer in the New Yorker had a very interesting article about the disaffection of Ohio’s working class. See The Working Vote. It turns out that Andrew Brown also read it, and he comments at Poverty and the sexual marketplace.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 6:14pm BST | Comments (34) | TrackBack
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Bishop Duncan visits London

Updated further Wednesday evening

There was a press conference yesterday, at All Souls, Langham Place. You can read all about it at Episcopal Life which has Former Pittsburgh bishop warns Church of England traditionalists against ‘complacency’ written by me.

Toby Cohen of the Church of England Newspaper was also there. His report on Religious Intelligence is titled Deposed Bishop issues warning to Church of England.

Anglican Mainstream has a transcript of part of the press conference, at Bishop Bob Duncan on recognition of new province in North America.

Maria Mackay of Christian Today has Deposed bishop warns traditionalists against ‘illiberal takeover’.

Anglican Mainstream has now added transcripts of further portions of the press conference:

First, his opening statement: Thanks, a report and a warning - Bishop Duncan’s statement to the press.

Second, some of the initial answers to questions: Questions to Bishop Bob Duncan -1: on what could happen in the UK, the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Windsor Continuation Group.

Third, more answers to questions: Questions to Bishop Bob Duncan 2:on Sour Grapes, Catholic Order and Martyrdom.

Ruth Gledhill has posted video of part of the conference, see her blog at Bob Duncan: Over-stressed, over here and over?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 8:32am BST | Comments (47) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Reform conference

Updated again Wednesday afternoon

Reform has been holding its annual conference in Central London.

The programme for the conference is here (PDF).

Reports are coming in.

Ruth Gledhill has written on her blog England’s ‘Pittsburgh’ unfolds as parishes seek new bishop and for The Times she has written Church of England schism over gays.

Martin Beckford has written for the Telegraph that 3,000 Church of England worshippers may defect to overseas provinces, Reform warns.

A large part of Mr Thomas’ speech is reproduced on Ruth’s blog entry.


Riazat Butt has written for the Guardian Evangelical leader urges Anglicans to break away.

The complete text of the speech by Rod Thomas is now available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 14 October 2008 at 10:29pm BST | Comments (83) | TrackBack
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Archbishop Jensen's presidential address

The Presidential Address delivered by the Most Rev. Dr. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church, on the opening night of the 2008 diocesan synod can be found here. There are PDF and audio versions as well as the html.

He has quite a lot to say about GAFCON in the second half of the talk. That part starts out:


As I look back over the tumultuous months of June and July - tumultuous for me at least - I am more certain than ever that the path we chose to take as bishops from this Diocese was the right one: it was right to attend the conference in Jerusalem, and it was right to stay away from Lambeth.

I was there when GAFCON was planned. In a hotel room in Nairobi were squeezed Archbishop Nzimbi from Kenya, Archbishop Orombi from Uganda, Archbishop Akinola from Nigeria, Archbishop Mtetemela from Tanzania, Archbishop Kolini from Rwanda. As well there were leaders from England, from the US, from Canada. It was December 2007, late, far too late to plan a major conference, let alone one in Jerusalem.

But we were late for a worthy reason - there had been hope against hope that a solution would be found to the problems in the Anglican Communion. They had placed their hopes in the Archbishop of Canterbury and the usual processes of the Communion. Now they believed that all those hopes had been dashed and there would be no solution offered, apart from more delay. The time had come to act.

Persistent attempts to portray GAFCON as a breakaway movement or an attempt to split the Anglican Communion are perverse, almost malign. The ‘tear in the fabric of the Communion’ occurred in the events of 2003 with the appointment of a divorced and actively homosexual bishop in the United States, and the blessing of same-sex unions in the US and Canada. GAFCON represents a refusal on theological and pastoral grounds to act as though this major division had never taken place.

The Anglican Communion is, I believe, the third largest body of Christians in the world. It is vastly more important than we here often realise. It represents one of the chief ways in which Christians all around the world receive fellowship, missional help, and attention when they are persecuted or in other trouble. It is a highly significant entity, to be cherished and maintained, not torn apart. The aim of GAFCON is to renew and invigorate the Communion and to help bring order and peace out of the mayhem created by the American division…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 14 October 2008 at 3:42pm BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Inquiry into Lambeth Conference finances

The Church of Ireland Gazette reports in Inquiry established into Lambeth Conference finances that:

Following reports of a £1.2m shortfall in the funding of this year’s Lambeth Conference, the Church of England’s Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners have set up a review, under the independent chairmanship of John Ormerod, a former senior partner of Deloitte, to examine the financial management of the Lambeth Conference.

The team has also been asked to make recommendations regarding the future involvement of the Council and the Board of the Church Commissioners in assisting the financing of meetings of the Lambeth Conference. A spokesman for the Church of England told the Gazette: “The inquiry is due to report back to the Council and the Board early in 2009 with a preliminary report on the financial difficulties and how these arose. A final report, examining the way forward, will be produced in summer 2009. The Council and Board have indicated that the inquiry’s report should be published.” The membership of the inquiry will be: John Ormerod; the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, and Christina Baxter (both Archbishops’ Council); and Timothy Walker, Third Church Estates Commissioner…

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Monday, 13 October 2008

Fort Worth: a report on some discussions

Updated Wednesday evening

The Bishop of Fort Worth reports that Clergy Discussions on Conflict Produce No Solution.

…At the same time as these conversations were going on, a group of diocesan officials from Fort Worth were meeting with our counterparts in the Diocese of Dallas to see if a pastoral agreement could be worked out between our two dioceses, whereby parishes in Fort Worth that wanted to remain in TEC could do so as part of the Dallas Diocese. These meetings included the Bishops, Chancellors, Canons to the Ordinary, and Presidents of the Standing Committees of the two dioceses. We came up with a proposal whereby, under certain conditions, Fort Worth parishes and clergy could have “associate membership” in Dallas, including seat, voice and vote at their Convention, and their property could be placed temporarily in the name of the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, to be held in trust for their use.

This plan was then presented to the Rectors, Wardens and Chancellors of five Fort Worth parishes that we thought would like to pursue such an arrangement, at least on a trial basis. They were asked to discuss the proposal with their vestries, and then we would meet a second time for further exploration. Unfortunately, at that second meeting, the Chancellor of Dallas reported on conversations he had initiated with the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, David Booth Beers, about the proposal under discussion. Mr. Beers stated that neither the PB nor the General Convention would support such a plan, and without their support, the Fort Worth parishes were unwilling to continue steps to implement the plan…

Episcopal Life Online now has a report by Mary Frances Schjonberg FORT WORTH: Effort to let parishes join Diocese of Dallas fails.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 October 2008 at 10:34pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Pittsburgh: an interview with Bishop Duncan

Christianity Today carries an interview by Timothy C. Morgan with the former Bishop of Pittsburgh, Robert Duncan.

It is titled The Comeback Bishop.

Some extracts:

Do you have any second thoughts about creation of this new province for conservative Anglicans?

No second thoughts about it. I would have hoped that the Anglican Communion might simply recognize us as the legitimate bearers of the Anglican franchise here. But that’s not likely to happen in the short run. The significance of the Episcopal Church deposing me is much greater than what most people would assume in this battle for a province. For the worldwide Anglican Communion to see me deposed has been absolutely sobering, and even moderates are shocked and stunned by it…

Some conservatives continue to support an Anglican Covenant and the Windsor continuation process as vehicles for reform. Do you hold out much hope for these initiatives?

The covenant is a good concept. Sadly, the form, in which it comes forward, has no great strength to it. A better form of covenant would have been the Thirty-Nine Articles or The Book of Common Prayer. Those have been the things that actually functioned as the covenant for three centuries and more. So the covenant is a useful idea. But as it’s being developed it’s not [useful]. About the Windsor continuation group, the glacial timetable on which it’s working is like every other proposal that’s come from the Anglican Communion office, from the Archbishop of Canterbury. They have been too little and far too slow…

Are you confident that there will be a new province for the North American Anglicans a year from now? And are you the most likely person to be the primate of that province?

The simple answers are yes and yes. I do believe that the Common Cause partners will put everything in place that we need to put in place by Christmas. The time has come. In terms of my leadership I think I understand, and those who put me in this place understand, that in this particular moment my task, my call has been to bring the partners to a place, to the creation of a province and to the beginning of its life, and then I’ll be happy to give it over as soon as it’s clear that I’m not called to do it anymore. We will operate in a way in which the primate of the province is a diocesan bishop, will serve for a term, and may be reelected for a term. Then another will take up that primacy…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 October 2008 at 5:50pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 12 October 2008

three African reports

From Nigeria, there is this report in Vanguard Homosexuality is totally unacceptable — Clerics.

…As one of the leaders of the Global South within the Anglican Communion, Akinola has taken a firm stand against theological developments which he contends are incompatible with the biblical teachings of Christianity, notably setting himself against any revisionist or liberal interpretations of the Bible and, in particular, opposing same-sex blessings, the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals or, indeed, any homosexual practice.

He is the leader of some conservatives throughout the Anglican Communion including the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. One of his first actions as primate was to get together 400 bishops, priests, lay members, and members of the Mother’s Union to elaborate a vision for the Church of Nigeria under the chairmanship of Chief Ernest Shonekan.

At the end of deliberations, they articulated a vision for the church, which include: “The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) shall be bible-based, spiritually dynamic, united, disciplined, self supporting, committed to pragmatic evangelism, social welfare and a Church that epitomizes the genuine love of Christ.”

Based on that vision, Akinola has been in the forefront of the fight against the weird intrusion of homosexuality into the Christian faith. Just like most parts of the world were shocked with that ordination, Akinola has earned accolades from around the world for his doggedness in condemning the practice; at one point threatening to lead other African countries out of the Anglican fold if the practice of gay ordination continued…

From Uganda, there is this report by George Conger in the Church of England Newspaper Uganda synod gives backing to US traditionalists.

…The call to faithfulness also applied to the controversies dividing the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Orombi said. “Many of the churches in the Western world seem to be unrepentant in their promotion of unbiblical faith and practice,” he said, singling out the Anglican Churches in America, Canada, England and Scotland for “permitting the blessing of same-sex unions.”

The 2008 Lambeth Conference failed to address these issues and the Anglican Communion “may be in a worse place now than before Lambeth.” However, the Gafcon movement, he argued, “will help us return to our Biblical roots.”

Delegates to the synod also continued work on the revision of the provincial constitution, with an eye towards redefining the Church of Uganda’s ecclesial ties of communion in terms of a shared “adherence to doctrine and upholding the Bible,” and ending the Nineteenth century tie of communion through the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Synod affirmed the broad principles behind the changes to the Church of Uganda’s ecclesiology, backing Archbishop Orombi’s position “that as a Church we declare that ‘we are in full communion with all Churches, Dioceses and Provinces of the Anglican Communion throughout the world that receive, hold, and maintain the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the Word of God written and the ultimate rule and standard of faith given by inspiration of God, and containing all things necessary for salvation’.”

From Kenya, Changing Attitude reports on some rather surprising events, in Revd Michael Kimindu ejected from Nairobi clergy chapter meeting.

The Revd Michael Kimindu, an Anglican priest who was a member of the LGBT team at the Lambeth Conference this year, was ejected from a meeting of the clergy chapter meeting in the diocese of All Saints Cathedral. The chapter meeting was held in the offices of the diocese at Karen on Wednesday 8th October 2008.

Michael is the Co-ordinator for >Other Sheep Ministries East Africa. Other Sheep is an international ecumenical Christian organization founded in 1992 dedicated to empowering sexual minorities.

… When the meeting opened, Michael’s presence was questioned. It was alleged that since he is openly pro same sex orientation which the Diocese opposes, he should not be allowed in the meeting.

The Archbishop gave a very tolerant defence, but the Archdeacons insisted that his presence was tantamount to a change of position for the Diocese on the matter. After some homophobic pleas from the four Archdeacons, the chapter adjourned briefly so that he could leave.

Before leaving he talked with the Archbishop who agreed to invite him on another date to provide an educational talk to the full house of clergy. One of the Archdeacons later sent a text message agreeing that the two of them would meet with the Archbishop.

Some clergy asked that what took place between Michael and the chapter be not minuted for fear that they would be accused of persecuting him but they were overruled. There was division in the meeting after his departure, with some clergy saying he should not be refused attendance to future chapter meetings…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 12 October 2008 at 3:00pm BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 11 October 2008

women bishops: more reports

Martin Beckford reports in the Telegraph on a speech made by the Bishop of Fulham: Church of England’s parliament is ‘sinful’ over women bishops vote, says Bishop of Fulham.

…In a keynote address to the annual meeting of Forward in Faith, the church’s Anglo-Catholic wing of which he is chairman, Bishop Broadhurst told members that the Synod’s decision had been wrong and urged them not to leave the church as the outcome of the dispute could still be changed.

He said: “The General Synod is presuming to change things as it wills, presuming to decide doctrine separate from the tradition, separate from scripture, separate from the universal brief and practice of the church. Sinful presumption, sinful.

“This is not a vote we’ve lost, this is sin. This is human beings presuming to tell God in Jesus Christ he got it wrong, presuming to tell the majority of Christians we know better.”

He went on to say the Synod is “unfit for purpose” because it does not consider God first and added to applause: “The sooner it is trimmed, culled, sorted or even destroyed, the better.”

Bishop Broadhurst, who earlier in the year accused liberals of “institutional bullying” and warned of legal battles over churches if traditionalists defect to Rome, added that the Synod’s decisions can be undone and reiterated that he wants it to create a separate jurisdiction enshrined in law for opponents of women bishops, not a “ghetto for bigots”…

You can hear the whole of this speech, by going to this link.

At the same page, there is also a presentation on what happened in the July General Synod debate by David Houlding.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones has also commented on this here.

The Church of England Newspaper had a report by Toby Cohen about the recent meeting of the House of Bishops. Religious Intelligence carries English Church discusses ‘complementary’ bishops plan.

As the English House of Bishops met to discuss the Church of England’s future, a Synod insider revealed that plans are already in place to provide ‘flying bishops’ for those who cannot accept women bishops.

The bishops gathered in London earlier this week with a series of momentous debates to be thrashed out, on topics including women bishops, complementary or ‘flying’ bishops, Anglican governance, and the broken state of the Communion following the divisions in The Episcopal Church. The agenda for the discussions is supposedly kept private, but several of the debates have already spilled out into the public domain.

An anonymous bishop revealed last weekend that flying bishops would be provided for those who could not accept the authority of women bishops. Synod lay member, Paul Eddy, has now confirmed to Religious Intelligence that the reports were true, although he was not at liberty to reveal the identity of the Bishop.

He said the Church was preparing to offer oversight for traditionalists who could not accept the authority of women bishops: “It will happen, there’s no doubt about it. That’s why we need to stop playing politics with it, and actually unite and do something about it.

“There are conversations going on already, I know at least 12 parishes and two key dioceses where people have come together and have already sorted out the oversight.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 11 October 2008 at 4:52pm BST | Comments (38) | TrackBack
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opinions for discussion

Paul Vallely asks in the Independent Religion vs science: can the divide between God and rationality be reconciled?

Ann Pettifor writes in the Guardian about usury, see Face to Faith.

Graham Kings writes in The Times about Living in time with the rhythm of the Church’s year.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about the Episcopal Church, It does not look like a snake-pit in the pews.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones writes at the Telegraph that Happy-clappy songs are judged to have ruined Britain.

Christopher Howse writes about A tax on the font water of our struggling churches.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 11 October 2008 at 7:31am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Friday, 10 October 2008

press coverage of Pittsburgh

Upated Friday evening

The Church Times has Pittsburgh diocese votes to secede from Episcopal Church by Pat Ashworth.

In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette there is Minority recognized as ‘true’ Episcopal Diocese by Ann Rodgers.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has Episcopal Church recognizes loyal parishes by Craig Smith.

Friday evening

Episcopal News Service has Pittsburgh Standing Committee fills vacancies, seeks Presiding Bishop’s assistance by Mary Frances Schjonberg

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 10 October 2008 at 9:11am BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 9 October 2008

Pittsburgh: the new diocese emerges

Updated Thursday evening

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has a new website, at which we find

From The President of the Standing Committee of The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of The Episcopal Church of the United Sates of America

…Later in the day, I received a letter by e-mail from David Wilson informing me that the remaining seven members of his Standing Committee consider themselves to be aligned with the Province of The Southern Cone.

This information was conveyed to the Presiding Bishop’s office and today we received recognition as the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in the Episcopal Church and because of the absence of a Bishop, the ecclesiastical authority.

I am also pleased to announce that the Standing Committee has made several staff appoints. Andy Roman has agreed to be our Chancellor, Rich Creehan is Director of Communications, Joan Gunderson is the Treasurer, and Scott Quinn is the Director of Pastoral Care.

I am also pleased to announce that The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will be holding a reorganizing Convention on Saturday December 13th. Details as to time and place will follow shortly…

Meanwhile a meeting has been called for 16 October.

The FAQ for Parishes previously published by Across the Aisle has been updated with two additional items.

Over at the website of those joining the Southern Cone, there is this letter: Standing Committee Responds to Demand it Repudiate Convention Actions.

Thursday evening update

There is also a press release: Reorganized Episcopal Diocese Recognized as Legitimate:

October 9, 2008

New Leadership Formed from Group that Opposed Realignment;
Governing Convention Set for December 13

Pittsburgh, PA – Today the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church recognized a local group committed to the U.S. church as the legitimate Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The recognition by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori came in the form of accepting a new Standing Committee as the governing body of the diocese that remained after former leaders voted to leave the church on October 4th.

“I do recognize the Rev. James Simons and the two people he appointed as the rightful Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh,” Jefferts Schori wrote in an e-mail to the Rev. Simons, the only remaining member of the Standing Committee and the one responsible for reorganizing a diocese within the Episcopal Church…

The full text of the letter from the Presiding Bishop is available as a PDF here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 5:58pm BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Welsh election result

To complete the story reported on here, and also here, the Church in Wales has announced New Bishop of Bangor elected.

The Archdeacon of Cardigan, the Venerable Andrew John, is the Bishop Elect of the Diocese of Bangor.

The announcement was made this afternoon by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, at the west door of Bangor Cathedral on the third and final day of the meeting of the Electoral College.

The election follows the death of the Rt Rev Anthony Crockett in June, who served as bishop of the diocese from 2004. The new bishop will be the 81st Bishop of Bangor, serving an area stretching across north-west Wales from Holyhead to Llanidloes.

Press reports:
BBC Bishop chosen after secret ballot
North Wales Chronicle New Bishop of Bangor named
Wales Online Bishop of Bangor announced
Daily Post New Bishop of Bangor elected

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 4:24pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

more about God's Own Country

Not the book again, but a few follow-up items on the country itself, and its religious attitudes.

Bishop Alan Wilson drew attention to Sarah Palin — total nutshell.

Jonathan Raban wrote a fascinating column for the London Review of Books titled Cut, Kill, Dig, Drill.

Ruth Gledhill has set up a poll for readers of her blog, on the topic of Is Sarah Palin a good Christian?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 10:13pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Monday, 6 October 2008

more on planning for women bishops

The Telegraph has a report by George Pitcher today, Women bishops face ‘flying bigots’, which follows up on the recent reports of national proposals with an account of what the Diocese of London did on Friday:

Some priestly women activists had urged a boycott of the event, fearing a mugging from the Anglo-Catholics. In the event, they had nothing to fear. The oppressive St Paul’s felt like that foreign land where women did things differently, but it was unmistakably of the past.

Dr Chartres, too, was playing an open hand. He acknowledged that, for some, the gender issue is one of justice, over which there can be no compromise.

The London Plan, first devised by Dr David Hope as Bishop of London, offers an Episcopal oversight, in the shape of the Bishop of Fulham, for those who cannot accept women as bishops. The question is whether it can be a paradigm for the wider Church. My guess is that the women’s faction will accept such provision for male traditionalists if it’s from an area bishop, like Fulham, within the diocese (whose diocesan bishop may well be a woman) and within a simple code of practice, but not flying bishops effectively from a “third province” founded in law. As Dr Chartres affirms, there can be no “episcopacy-lite” for women.

But that takes no account of the real-politick in evidence in St Paul’s on Friday. Some of the men-only camp are set on legal protection by the back door, after Synod voted clearly for a code of practice. One or two of them were indulging on Friday in what Canon Winkett called “competitive vulnerability”, invoking a term coined by novelist Sara Maitland for those who believe their pain must be bigger than that of others.

There are important further details on his blog at Language of women bishops and ‘flying bigots’.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 6:10pm BST | Comments (41) | TrackBack
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Stock Exchange chaplain criticised

Updated again Tuesday afternoon

The chaplain to the London Stock Exchange, Peter Mullen is in trouble.

According to the Evening Standard , in a report by Robert Mendick and Simon Kirby Chaplain: Gay men should have sodomy warning tattoos

The chaplain to the London Stock Exchange is under pressure to quit today after demanding gay men should be forced to have “sodomy” warnings tattooed on their bodies.

The suggestion is contained in a series of comments on the internet blog of the Rev Peter Mullen.

The Bishop of London today branded Mr Mullen’s comments “highly offensive” and Stonewall, the gay rights charity, said he should resign…

…the bishop today also rebuked Mr Mullen for his remarks.

In a statement issued to the Evening Standard, a spokesman said: “While clergy are entitled to their own personal views, we recognise that the content of this text is highly offensive and is in no way reflective of the views of the Diocese of London.”

A source at the Diocese said the chaplain may now face a disciplinary inquiry over his comments. The source said: “These comments are now being looked at internally within the Diocese and he faces disciplinary procedures.”

Other newspapers are following up:

Telegraph Aislinn Simpson Homosexuals should carry warning tattoos, says chaplain

Guardian Riazat Butt Vicar could be disciplined for blog slurs against gays and Muslims

Press Association via the Independent Rector condemned for ‘sodomy’ remarks

BBC Tattoo gay people, priest writes

Andrew Brown has noted this item at Comment is free in A taxi-driver, oops, vicar writes.

Ruth Gledhill has Peter Mullen should have his bottom spanked!

And Times Online finally has a report, Chaplain’s blog calls for homosexuals to be tatooed.

Now, after a day of this, second stories:

Press Association Clergyman apologises over call to tattoo gay people

BBC Priest ‘sorry’ for gay comments

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 3:57pm BST | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 5 October 2008

press reports on Pittsburgh secession

Updated Monday morning

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal diocese chooses to secede by Ann Rodgers

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Episcopal diocese votes to split by Brian Bowling

New York Times Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese Votes for Split by Sean D Hamill

Associated Press Diocese to Break From Episcopal Church and there was this earlier report, prior to the vote from Rachel Zoll Episcopal dioceses mulling split over Bible, gays.

Agence France-Presse US diocese splits from Episcopal Church amid gay crisis

The glossy brochure mentioned in some reports can be seen as a PDF file here.

Monday morning update

A further report in the New York Times by Sean D Hamill After Theological Split, a Clash Over Church Assets

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 5 October 2008 at 8:29am BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 4 October 2008

women bishops: further proposals

Updated Sunday afternoon

Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports in the Telegraph about what the drafting group is now proposing.

The first version of this story published online on Saturday afternoon is Bishops to serve male clergy only in plans to avert exodus from Church of England.

The second version, which is presumably what is going into the Sunday paper edition, was published online this evening as Church of England clergy ‘flying bishops’ opt-out proposed to aid move to women bishops

And there is this “Analysis” piece, Church of England ‘flying bishops’ plan offers traditionalists new hope with a very out-of-date picture of the General Synod chamber as it used to be.


Religious Intelligence has published Church of England still divided over women bishops vote.

This includes the following from the Bishop of Blackburn:

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Nicholas Reade, has agreed that the relationship between Synod and the episcopacy needs to be clarified. He said: “Synodical government served us well in the early days but it’s been a kind of juggernaut. I think it’s got totally out of control.”

Bishop Reade spoke against the Synod becoming parliamentary with two competing sides: “Ideally I think the House of Bishops should be there, and we should be listening to the debate, and we should go away and make the decisions.”

He said the clergy and laity should vote, but that it should simply be used as information for the bishops.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 4 October 2008 at 11:38pm BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
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Pittsburgh votes today

Updated again late Saturday evening

The Pittsburgh newspapers have reports on this:
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Mike Cronin Episcopal diocese to vote today on split
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Ann Rodgers Episcopal Diocese set to vote today whether to secede

Earlier the New York Times had Pittsburgh Episcopalians Weigh Division by Sean Hamill.
One item in that article caused Episcopal Café to respond with Proclaiming Jesus as Son of God never in debate.

Across the Aisle has published this List of Parishes Committed to Remaining in the Episcopal Church and has also published information about what will happen if “realignment” is approved, see NEXT STEPS: if “Realignment” Happens.

lunchtime update
Episcopal News Service has Convention could create four parishes in midst of realignment vote by Mary Frances Schjonberg.

Statements from the leadership of some of the parishes who are not “re-aligning” can be found here.

evening update
Resolutions considered can be found in this PDF file.

Diocesan press release:

Constitutional Changes Approved

The diocese has voted with a clear majority to remove its accession to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.

A total of 191 laity voted. 119 voted in favor. 69 voted against, 3 abstained. A total of 160 clergy voted. 121 voted in favor. 33 voted no. 3 abstained. 2 invalid ballots were cast.

ENS has Bulletin: Pittsburgh votes to leave Episcopal Church, align with Southern Cone.

Further press releases from the diocese:
Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Changes Constitution, Joins Anglican Province
Diocese Begins Process to Recall Bishop Duncan

Two press releases from those opposed to the “realignment”:

Across the Aisle To the Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh Episcopal Group Vows to Help Return Pittsburgh Diocese to Health

And a full report from ENS is now published, Pittsburgh votes to leave Episcopal Church, align with Southern Cone by Mary Frances Schjonberg.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 4 October 2008 at 11:36am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA

opinions gathered

The Times has The spark of God within us is truth, not empty words by Musonda Trevor Selwyn Mwamba, Bishop of Botswana.

Last week, the Church Times had Creationism has to be exposed by Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester.

This week, the Church Times has Giles Fraser who asks about Facial hair: progressive or passé?

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about John Betjeman on the wireless.

In the Guardian Zaki Cooper and Michael Harris write about Yom Kippur in Face to Faith.

Andrew Brown writes on his new Comment is free blog about God and mammon, redux.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 4 October 2008 at 10:06am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Pennsylvania: Bishop Bennison sentenced

An ecclesiastical court has determined that Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison should be deposed from the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

ENS has a full report by Mary Frances Schjonberg at Court for the Trial of a Bishop calls for Bennison’s deposition with various links to documents.

The Living Church has a report by Doug LeBlanc at Church Court Rules for Deposition of Bishop Bennison.

The Associated Press reported it, see Pennsylvania Episcopal bishop ousted in cover-up.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has Episcopal court rules to defrock Pa. bishop.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 4 October 2008 at 7:29am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Friday, 3 October 2008

Worcestershire rector claims harassment

The Church Times reports today on the case of The Reverend Mark Sharpe.

See Diocese accepts priest in harassment case is ‘worker’ by Shiranikha Herbert with some additional material by me.

A CHURCH OF ENGLAND cleric is a “worker” who is entitled to bring a claim against the Church, the diocese of Worcester conceded as a preliminary point in a claim brought in an employment tribunal at Birmingham by the Revd Mark Sharpe, Rector of Teme Valley South.

Mr Sharpe, who is 41, a former police officer who was ordained in 2001, claimed that during his three-year tenure he had been subjected to constant verbal abuse, his pet dog had been killed, faeces had been smeared on his car, and his tyres had been slashed. He also claimed that the vicarage where he lived with his wife and four children was infested with mice and frogs, the heating and electrical systems were danger ous, and deadly asbestos had been found.

He applied for damages for economic loss, injury to health and to his feelings, and aggravated damages for his time in the parish, which, he said, had a 40-year history of vicars, including his two immediate predecessors, who had left in controversial circumstances…

There is a further report on the Charity Finance website headed Church denies union claims of employment rights revolution.

The Church, however, says that the tribunal case has no impact on the status of any clergy outside the case itself. Agreeing to consider Revd. Sharpe a ‘worker’ was a requirement to allow the case to move forward, said Sam Setchell, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Worcester.

“The Unite union is making much of a legal technicality that is part of the normal preliminaries to a tribunal. It does not have the wide-ranging implications claimed,” said Ben Wilson, a spokesman for the Church of England. “As the union themselves concede, this case is still in its preliminary stages.”

The tribunal is hearing a case brought against the Diocese of Worcester by Revd. Sharpe who alleges that over his three years at the parish he has been subject to verbal abuse and harassment. The Reverend claims that his living conditions were extremely poor; that asbestos was found at his accommodation and that its electricity and heating systems were dangerous. The Diocese of Worcester denies the allegations, but has refused to make further comment while the case is ongoing.

The claims made by the Unite trade union can be found in its press release.

For more links and background to this case, see the Church Times blog article headed ‘Clergy set for biggest boost in employment conditions in 500 years’, according to union.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 3 October 2008 at 8:43am BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Hereford ends fight against pay-out

I reported in February on the award made by the employment tribunal in the case of John Reaney. See Reaney awarded £47K and also Hereford: Church Times report.

At the time, we all thought that was the end of the matter. But it was not. As I reported in the Church Times last week:

Hereford ends fight against pay-out

by Simon Sarmiento

THE Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance has withdrawn the notice of appeal it filed in March in the employment discrimination case involving John Reaney. Mr Reaney will now receive the full award, exceeding £47,000, directed by a Cardiff employment tribunal in February (News, 15 February).

In July 2007, the tribunal decided that the diocese had unlawfully discriminated against Mr Reaney because of his sexual orientation, when the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, refused to confirm his appointment as Diocesan Youth Officer in July 2006 (News, 20 July 2007; News and Comment, 27 July 2007).

The diocese did not appeal against this finding, and said in a statement in February: “We are glad we can draw a line under this unhappy situation.” Nevertheless, in March the diocese filed a notice of appeal against the major portion of the Remedies judgment.

Mr Reaney, who had been employed by the Weston Spirit charity, was made redundant earlier this year, as had been forecast in his submission to the Remedies hearing last December.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 3 October 2008 at 8:12am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Nigeria General Synod

Updated again Thursday morning

The opening address of the Primate, Archbishop Peter Akinola, can be found here (PDF).

Also available is the synod’s Message to the Nation.

And this Pastoral Letter to the Church.

Some critical comments on parts of the opening address have been made by Mark Harris, see Archbishop Akinola, Back Off.


Further comments have been made by Andrew Brown who has written Satan, bestiality, and Sunday trading.

There is also this interview with the archbishop in Punch War against graft, mere rhetoric – Akinola. An excerpt:

But sir, are you aware that in spite of your deep opposition to their practices, there is now a gay church operating in Nigeria? What is your reaction to the report that some gays in Ojodu area of Lagos now have a church for gays?

There is nothing like that; it is all just mere media propaganda. It is not real. If there is anything like that at all, it must have been arranged by some people who just want to take money from those abroad who will like to fund anything just because of our stand on the issue. There is no gay church in Nigeria; it is only a deception, a media propaganda. Efforts have been made to meet them before but they could not be located anywhere.

You have said that many of those who argue in support of the gay culture in the church have also insisted that it is an issue of human rights. What if your resolute stand on this matter leads to a division of the global Anglican Communion?

If that will be the price to pay, so be it. Those of us who shall be left can proudly call ourselves true Anglicans, true Christians.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 6:41pm BST | Comments (37) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Pittsburgh: more information

First, two items from within the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Bruce Robison who is Rector of St Andrew’s Highland Park, wrote to his parishioners about the deposition, explaining the current situation there, see Rector’s Announcement concerning the Deposition of the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan.

Joan Gunderson president of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh and a member of the steering committee of Across the Aisle, wrote about the current situation, and this was reproduced on the web by Lionel Deimel, see Gundersen Offers Pittsburgh Update.

Also, this news report by Ann Rodgers in last Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is relevant: Diocese found breaking up hard to do, but still a relief.

Second, some more expressions of support for Bishop Robert Duncan:

Archbishop Henry Orombi wrote this Open Letter of Support.

Global South Anglican published this Statement by the Primates’ Council of GAFCON on the alleged deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh. The GAFCON website is broken at the moment, no list of signatories is included at GSA.
Update The GAFCON website has no list of signatories either.

Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina wrote this: Bishop Lawrence Reports on the House of Bishops’ Meeting, September 17-19, 2008.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 3:25pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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report on CAPA meeting

George Conger reported in the Church of England Newspaper on the recent joint meeting of primates and standing committee of CAPA in Nairobi.

His full report is on Religious Intelligence at African Anglican leaders call for dialogue.

The chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) has called upon the African church to put aside its differences and engage with its theological opponents within the Anglican Communion. CAPA should eschew a political solution to the divisions over doctrine and disciple Archbishop Ian Ernest said, and focus instead on the church’s transformation through Christian witness…

The version of this report at Global South Anglican omits an interesting final paragraph:

Archbishop Ernest told he was unable to attend the meeting, due to a back injury, and his address was read to the assembly. Rwandan Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini chaired the meeting in his absence. A delayed flight prevented Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola from attending the meeting, while Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi was obliged to leave early. The conference communiqué will be released shortly, Archbishop Ernest said.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 9:22am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion