Two pieces recently on Daily Episcopalian.
Adrian Worsfold wrote Taking over the Church of England.
…Why is GAFCON like Militant? Because a core group maintains control as a reaction to the failure of other Evangelicals to get their way in the wider Western Churches. It then infiltrates to force its agenda. Even at the Conference itself, that jumble of oddities called the Jerusalem Declaration was born in a back room - it was leaked even before the assembled could give it the rubber stamp. GAFCON itself was planned by annoying the local Anglicans in Jerusalem because of their opposition to its divisiveness.
In Britain came the entryism into one of the theological colleges and the scattering of much of its evangelical staff, replaced by hardliners and the agreeable. The same man, Chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has chaired the recent National Evangelical Anglican Consultation, in which, without notice, and without a right to amend, a pro-GAFCON motion was put to the meeting. The assembled would not have it, and refused to give it a vote. The result is that the CEEC will vote for it anyway on the spurious basis that it represents Evangelicals. Perhaps the CEEC once did, but as ever the hardliners continued to attend when others dropped away - it is how the entryists work…
George Clifford wrote An “alternative” province? Why not?
Until two weeks ago, I strongly advocated the Anglican Communion refusing to establish a new province in North America and mandating that provinces cease violating provincial boundaries by conducting ministries or establishing congregations within the Episcopal Church’s jurisdiction.
Then I read that the Episcopal Church had spent in excess of $1.9 million in 2008 on lawsuits connected to the departure of parishes and dioceses from this Church. Daily I read about critical needs for healthcare, food, sanitation, and shelter in the United States and abroad. I see the spiritual illness and death that afflict so many. I remember that Anglicans have wisely never claimed to be the only branch of the Christian Church.
I started to wonder, Was I wrong? Why not another North American province?
Also, Jonathan Wynne-Jones wrote at the Telegraph Squabbling evangelicals need to find a united voice.
…Now it’s the evangelicals who are fighting amongst themselves.
In truth, the unity that was central to their success in forcing the gay cleric, Jeffrey John, to stand down as Bishop of Reading has long gone.
With hindsight this may be viewed as something of a pyrrhic victory as it led to a splintering in the evangelical movement: Anglican Mainstream and Fulcrum emerged from the 2003 row to represent the conservative and more ‘open’ factions.
The simmering tensions spilt over at the recent meeting, held at All Souls Langham Place - the church which was home to the evangelical doyen John Stott for 30 years.
Lacking such an inspirational and unifying figure, they have been reduced to bickering and squabbling.
Richard Turnbull, the chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council, was heckled by a group led by Graham Kings - a leading member of Fulcrum, and his opposite number as it were.
While some there found this childish and inappropriate - more befitting the floor of the Commons than a church, it is nevertheless easy to appreciate their frustration…
The Church Times has a leader, The right way to spend Advent.
Roderick Strange writes in The Times that Advent teaches us the deeper lessons of waiting.
Stephen Plant reviews a new book about Methodism in The Times at All the world can still be John Wesley’s parish.
In the Guardian The hajj is the perfect opportunity for Muslims to put our anger behind us, says Kia Abdullah.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Auctioning off the bishop’s bequest.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Bonhoeffer went to Bradford.
Over at Fulcrum Graham Kings has highlighted a recent comment made here at Thinking Anglicans in response to the article Church Times on NEAC.
Today, the Church Times has an article on the proposed new province, see Province plan to be unveiled by Pat Ashworth.
The site described as “the new Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) web site set up by Anglican Mainstream South Africa” can be found here.
Updated again Thursday evening
ACNS announces that the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) Meeting is being held in London this week.
The report lists those who are attending and includes a picture of them.
Ruth Gledhill reports for The Times that Conservative Anglicans face “punishment” for helping US rebels.
And there is more on her blog under the heading Southern Cone heading south.
Looks like action is about to be taken against Greg Venables and the Southern Cone for sheltering no fewer than four TEC conservative bishops and their flocks, the latest being Jack Iker and Forth Worth. See our news report summing up the latest. I understand that the Joint Standing Committee meeting in London this week, from which significantly Egypt’s Mouneer Anis and Uganda’s Henry Orombi are absent, is to discuss suspending Southern Cone’s voting rights from the upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Jamaica next May. As long-standing readers will recall, this is what happened to TEC, then Ecusa, at the last ACC meeting in Nottingham in 2005. This is not so much a ‘booting out’ but should be regarded as a punishment, I am told. Meanwhile, it seems highly probable that TEC and Canada are to be rewarded for their restraint by being given a full seat back at the table again in May.
Episcopal Café notes these reports with a question: Southern Cone “suspension”: Sabre rattling? Trial balloon?
Wednesday evening update
Matt Davies of Episcopal News Service reports on the meeting, in Joint Standing Committee plans for 2009 ACC meeting.
The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has devoted much of its November 24-26 meeting to discussing budgetary issues and planning the next meeting of the ACC — the communion’s main policy-making body — set for May 1-12, 2009 in Kingston, Jamaica.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among those attending the JSC meeting, which was held behind closed doors at the Anglican Communion Office and Lambeth Palace in London. She noted that a November 26 report in The Times of London newspaper, that suggested the JSC had discussed plans to discipline the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone for its recent incursions into other provinces, was untrue. “The subject has not come up,” she told Episcopal News Service…
Thursday evening update
The Living Church has an article by George Conger titled Analysis: Recognition of Third Province Likely to Take Years, and there is a longer version of this piece over here.
There is an announcement about the meeting on 3 December, which is being billed as “historic”.
A Reuters report by Michael Conlon Episcopal Church dissidents aim for new church seems to have upset absolutely everybody.
George Conger wrote for the Church of England Newspaper about the province, see Lambeth faces Chicago test.
Mark Harris comments at The Third Province, the Anglican Church in North America, and other plots and plans.
Updated again Tuesday
Bishop Jack Iker has been inhibited by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.
You can read the official notice here (PDF).
It probably won’t get announced on the website of the diocese.
The Steering Committee of North Texas Episcopalians has issued a statement which you can read here.
Monday evening update
I was wrong in my prediction about the diocesan website. It now carries the following: Press Release in response to attempted inhibition which includes both a statement by the bishop and a statement by the standing committee.
Episcopal News Service has published a very detailed report by Mary Frances Schjonberg headed Presiding Bishop inhibits Fort Worth bishop. This includes links to the certificate issued by the Title IV Review Committee, and to the documentation, here, and here, and also here, which was submitted to the committee.
Religious Intelligence has published a report by George Conger Fort Worth Bishop inhibited.
The Living Church also has a report Bishop Iker Describes Inhibition by PB as ‘Irrelevant’.
Still no sign of the one by Christina Baxter.
Other presentations are linked here.
A Church of England Newspaper report of the meeting by Toby Cohen is at present only available here.
And another Church of England Newspaper article about it is A foot in many camps - a reply to Stephen Kuhrt by Chris Sugden.
Christopher Howse writes today in the Telegraph about Anglicans who’ve lost their memory.
Like an unwatched pan of milk, readers of the Church Times have seethed up and boiled over in response to an analysis of the Church of England by the ever-controversial historian Jonathan Clark…
Here are the links to the Church Times pages where this debate has proceeded:
First, Jonathan Clark wrote an article The C of E needs a strong story.
The next week, there were several letters in response, under the headline The new historiography: is an Anglican via media still defensible? from Jeremy Morris, Simon Heans and Andrew Burnham.
The following week, there was a further letter from Christopher Scargill and a response from Jonathan Clark, at The Church of England’s historical identity.
PewForum has an interesting report on How the News Media Covered Religion in the [US] General Election.
Stewart Dakers writes in the Guardian about how Faith and science need a collective reformation to celebrate the power of love.
Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times about Fashioning the world anew with winged thoughts.
Ekklesia has republished an article by Christopher Rowland on A kingdom, but not as we know it.
Giles Fraser talked on the BBC’s Thought for the Day last Wednesday.
Elaine Sciolino wrote in the New York Times about how Britain Grapples With Role for Islamic Justice.
Three items in today’s Church Times relating to the NEAC event last Saturday.
NEAC5 closes in acrimony after claims of ‘set-up’ by Pat Ashworth
Evangelicals cannot serve two masters by Giles Fraser
Leader column, Church parties within parties.
Peter Owen made reference yesterday to the Q and A concerning the cost of the Lambeth Conference. The full text of the relevant Questions and Answers is below the fold.
Mr Clive Scowen (London) to ask the Church Commissioners:
Q19. How much have the Church Commissioners given to defray the debts of the Lambeth Conference, and pursuant to what powers, and what impact will this decision have on the amounts made available by the Commissioners in coming years to support parish mission?
Mr Andreas Whittam Smith to reply as First Church Estates Commissioner:
A. In 2006 the Commissioners agreed to make a grant of up to £1.05 million over 2006-2008 to the Lambeth Conference in respect of certain specific costs (e.g. English bishops’ attendance fees and the conference manager’s salary costs). It is expected that the grant, which is consistent with what has been done for past Lambeth conferences, will be within budget.
In addition they agreed in August 2008 to make available an interest free loan facility of up to £600,000. £194,000 of the loan facility has been drawn down. The Directors of the company have recently indicated that they do not expect to have to draw down any of the remaining £406,000 and that they are now able to repay £19,000, leaving £175,000 outstanding to the Commissioners (and the same amount to the Archbishops’ Council).
The sums from the Commissioners have been made available under section 5 of the Episcopal Endowments and Stipends Measure 1943 which provides that the Commissioners “may at their discretion pay the whole or any part of … such office expenses … as it is, in their opinion, necessary for the Bishop to incur”. Thus the Commissioners have a discretionary power to meet expenses of the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his capacity as a diocesan bishop.
This expenditure will not impact on the Commissioners’ other distribution plans for the 2008-2010 triennium.
Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q24. How much has the Lambeth Conference so far cost
(a) the Church Commissioners;
(b) the Archbishops’ Council
and how much more is it expected to cost either body?
Mr Gerald O’Brien (Rochester) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q25. What contributions towards the cost of the 2008 Lambeth Conference are being made by the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners and any other Church of England bodies, and how much of these contributions is likely to be ultimately funded by dioceses (either through apportionment or through the loss of grants they might otherwise expect to receive)?
Mr Clive Scowen (London) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q26. How much has the Archbishops’ Council given to defray the debts of the Lambeth Conference, and pursuant to what powers, and what impact will this decision have on the amounts which dioceses will be asked to contribute towards the Council’s budget in coming years?
Mr Andrew Britton to reply on behalf of the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
A. With permission, I will answer questions 24, 25 and 26 together.
The Church Commissioners budgeted to make grants to the Lambeth Conference totalling up to £1.05 million in 2006-8 in respect of specific costs. This grant expenditure is expected to be within budget.
In addition, as announced in August 2008, the Council and Commissioners agreed to make available an interest free loan facility of up to £600,000 each to the Lambeth Conference. To date £194,000 has been drawn down on each of these facilities. The Directors of the company have recently indicated that they do not now expect to have to draw down more than this total of £388,000 and are this week making an initial repayment of £38,000. They are also continuing their fundraising efforts in order to repay as soon as possible the outstanding total of £350,000.
The Council’s loan has been made under its objects “to co-ordinate, promote and further the work and mission of the Church of England” under the National Institutions Measure 1998. The funds have been drawn from legacy receipts so will have no impact on the sums requested from dioceses towards the Council’s budget.
The Commissioners’ expenditure on the Conference and the loan have been funded from their bishops’ office and working costs budget and will not impact on their other distribution plans for the 2008-2010 triennium.
I do not have a figure for the total amount raised from within the Church of England towards the costs of the conference but I understand that dioceses generously contributed around £500,000 and parishes over £100,000, much of this to enable bishops from poorer parts of the Anglican Communion to attend the conference.
Bill Fleener Jr has drawn attention on his blog Est Anima Legis to some earlier cases which are of interest now in connection with two dioceses which have recently voted to leave The Episcopal Church.
Answers to written Questions have been posted on the Church of England website.
See press release Synod members put questions to church bodies.
The original PDF file is here.
TA has provided an html copy of the file here.
Here are some particularly interesting questions and answers. In addition the answers to questions 19 and 24-26 have interesting information on the contributions of the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners to the cost of the Lambeth Conference.
Mr Justin Brett (Oxford) to ask the Secretary General:
Q2. What research has been undertaken to establish the effect of the Church of England’s participation in an Anglican Communion Covenant upon the relationship between the Church of England and the Crown, given the Queen’s position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and the consequent tension between her prerogative and the potential demands of a disciplinary process within the proposed Covenant?
Mr William Fittall to reply as Secretary General:
A. The Church of England response of 19 December 2007 to the initial draft Covenant noted on page 13 that ‘it would be unlawful for the General Synod to delegate its decision making powers to the primates, and that this therefore means that it could not sign up to a Covenant which purported to give the primates of the Communion the ability to give ‘direction’ about the course of action that the Church of England should take.’ The same would be true in relation to delegation to any other body of the Anglican Communion. Since as a matter of law the Church of England could not submit itself to any such external power of direction, any separate possible difficulties in relation to the Royal Prerogative could not in practice arise.
Mr Andrew Presland (Peterborough) to ask the Chairman of the Clergy Discipline Commission:
Q12. What are the current best estimates of the total costs incurred in carrying out each of the tribunal hearings that have taken place so far under the Clergy Discipline Measure?
His Honour Judge John Bullimore to reply as Deputy Chairman of the Clergy Discipline Commission:
A. Seven cases so far have had full tribunal hearings. The current best estimate of the total costs for those cases from referral to the tribunal to final determination is approximately £194,000. Within that total, costs vary from case to case depending on a number of different factors. The lowest cost total for a tribunal case is estimated to be £8,300, and the highest cost total was £66,087. There has been one appeal; the total additional cost for that appeal is estimated to be £11,400.
The Revd Hugh Lee (Oxford) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q27. Will the House of Bishops assure the General Synod that neither it nor the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group is seeking to go back on any part of the motion passed in the General Synod in July 2008 and that they are not questioning the manner of the debate, the use of electronic voting, the results of the votes on each of the amendments and the final motion, or the competence of General Synod to decide upon having women as bishops?
The Bishop of Manchester to reply as Chairman of the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group:
A. The Group has met a number of times since the Synod debate in July. The motion required consultation with the House: it considered material from the Group in October and will do so again in December. The Group will complete its work later that month. The draft Measure, amending canon and code of practice will therefore be available for Synod to debate in February and to commit to a Revision Committee. Both the Group and the House will continue to work consistently with the mandate given by Synod.
Updated again Tuesday evening
Three reports that relate to the announcement made yesterday:
Living Church Primates Hold Key to New Province’s Recognition
Tuesday evening updates
Three more reports on this:
Covenant A New “Province” in North America: Neither the Only Nor the Right Answer for the Communion by Ephraim Radner
Washington Times Breakaway Episcopalians to unveil constitution by Julia Duin
Episcopal Café A new province: who makes the call? by Jim Naughton
Late Tuesday evening update
Anglican Journal Plans to create a conservative province ‘disturbing,’ says primate
Updated Monday afternoon
The Living Church reports in Convention Planned to Form New Anglican Province by Steve Waring that:
When the Diocese of Fort Worth voted Nov. 15 to become the fourth American diocese to leave The Episcopal Church, the leadership of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) scheduled a constitutional convention in the Chicago area Dec. 3 to form a new North American Anglican province. The event will be followed by “a province-by-province visitation and appeal for recognition of the separate ecclesiastical structure in North America.”
Significant details about the plan were revealed in a short AnglicanTV internet video clip containing remarks delivered by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and Bishop Bill Murdoch, a missionary bishop to the U.S. consecrated by the Anglican Church of Kenya…
The video clip can be found here.
Monday afternoon update
And now, here comes the press release, Anglican Leaders seek to unite North American Churches.
Draft Constitution to be Unveiled, Jerusalem Declaration Signed at Dec. 3 Chicago Gathering
WHEATON, IL, Nov. 14 — Leaders of the Common Cause Partnership, a federation of more than 100,000 Anglican Christians in North America, will release to the public on the evening of Dec. 3 the draft constitution of an emerging Anglican C–hurch in North America, formally subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and affirm the GAFCON Statement on the Global Anglican Future at an evening worship celebration in suburban Chicago.
This historic event comes in the wake of GAFCON held in Israel last June with leaders from more than one-half of the world’s 77 million Anglicans. At the close of that gathering, Anglican leaders released the Jerusalem Declaration and the GAFCON Statement on the Global Anglican Future, which outlined their Christian beliefs and goals to reform, heal and revitalize the Anglican Communion worldwide…
Mark Harris writes about NIGPNA here with some coloured maps.
Updated twice Monday afternoon
Bishop Jack Iker issued this statement to be read in parishes yesterday.
Katie Sherrod has detailed comments on it here.
The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone issued this statement of greeting to Fort Worth.
The official report of the convention voting results is here.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has another news report, After Fort Worth Diocese breakaway, area Episcopalians were back in church Sunday by Terry Lee Goodrich.
Monday afternoon updates
George Conger reports for Religious Intelligence Fort Worth votes to secede from Episcopal Church.
Mark Harris has some analysis of the press conference, at Bishop Iker asks some questions, doesn’t answer others.
Updated Monday afternoon
The presentation by Christina Baxter is awaited.
Meanwhile, Graham Kings has written an analysis, which appears on Comment is free as What would Wilberforce do? and also on Fulcrum where it is titled The Restoration of Evangelicalism: Differences without Division.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones reported for the Telegraph that Anglican Church lacks leadership, say bishops.
In a speech to conservative evangelicals, who debated proposals for a new “church within a church”, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali said that there has been a lack of discipline.
Traditionalists have been upset that the Episcopal Church escaped punishment despite consecrating Gene Robinson as Anglicanism’s first openly gay bishop.
The Bishop of Rochester told clergy that the new movement was equivalent to the Reformation in the sixteenth century, which led to the establishment of the Church of England…
And Agence France-Presse has a report Church of England Evangelicals dodge homosexuality vote.
Church of England Evangelicals meeting on Saturday refused to vote to establish their position on homosexuality — an issue that has caused deep splits within the worldwide Anglican communion.
The Church of England Evangelical Council met in central London but the 300 attendees declined an opportunity to vote.
“The opinions expressed were a wide range of opinions,” said The Reverend Doctor Richard Turnbull, chairman of the Church of England Evangelical Council.
“People decided that they didn’t actually want to vote on a resolution. The disadvantage of that is you then don’t exactly know what people think.”
The council meets again on December 4…
And now there is also a report there, by Wim Houtman, NEAC 2008: a Evangelical Dutch Report.
Updated Sunday evening
The New York Times has Diocese in Texas Leaves Episcopal Church by Gretel C Kovach.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese votes to dissociate from national church by Terry Lee Goodrich.
Associated Press has Fort Worth is 4th Episcopal diocese to break away by Rachel Zoll.
And the Dallas Morning News has a later version of its report, Fort Worth Diocese splits from Episcopal Church.
For earlier news reports see previous article.
A statement by The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians can be found here.
A statement by Fort Worth Via Media can be found here.
Sunday evening update
There is a transcript of the press conference here.
Updated again later Saturday evening
Quite a bit of press coverage in advance of today’s voting by the Diocese of Fort Worth.
Agenda information here.
Houston Chronicle Fort Worth Episcopals set to leave national church
Wichita Falls Times Record News Episcopalian realignment vote will affect local church properties
Religious Intelligence Fort Worth on verge of secession
Saturday evening update
Associated Press Fort Worth Is 4th Episcopal Diocese to Break Away
Dallas Morning News Fort Worth Diocese officially breaks away from Episcopal Church
The bishop’s address is published in full here.
The detailed results of the voting on the various resolutions are available from Katie Sherrod, see here.
Statement by the Presiding Bishop
Fort Worth Star-Telegram Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese votes to leave mother church
Living Church Fort Worth Convention Joins the Southern Cone
Episcopal News Service Fort Worth delegates vote to leave Episcopal Church, realign with Southern Cone
This report by Pat McCaughan is comprehensive.
And there is an earlier version with other detail, here.
Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times, The moral integrity that makes for a powerful speech.
George Pitcher writes in the Telegraph, The Prince of Wales must keep the faith.
Nick Jowett writes in the Guardian about Baron Friedrich von Hügel.
Earlier this week, Giles Fraser wrote in the Guardian about Proposition 8 in California, Sanctified discrimination.
Yesterday, in the Church Times he wrote Forces buck the me-first trend.
At Comment is free Belief the Question is Should we fight war to end wars? Those responding include Jonathan Bartley, see Redemptive violence is a myth, and Alan Wilson, see Crusading gives me the creeps. So does Valhalla.
And thanks to both Alan Wilson and David Keen, for linking to How To Actually Talk To Atheists (If You’re Christian) by Joe the Peacock.
Tomorrow, there is a meeting, the National Evangelical Anglican Consultation 2008, organised by the Church of England Evangelical Council. There are a number of articles about this already published.
The programme is here.
This week’s Church of England Newspaper has Preventing CEEC from becoming a ‘Rump Parliament’ by Stephen Kuhrt.
John Richardson has responded here to that article.
This week’s Church Times has Is NEAC5 really representative? by Graham Kings, currently subscription-only, but another copy is available here at Fulcrum.
Also, Andrew Goddard wrote Hopes for NEAC 2008: A Personal Reflection.
Below the fold, there is the full text of a memorandum written to the Canadian House of Bishops in October 2008 by the Primate of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz.
Part of this text was quoted in the statement issued by the Canadian House of Bishops on 31 October.
Reflection by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate, Anglican Church of Canada
At the recent Lambeth Conference, the blessing of same-sex unions was discerned in a variety of venues – hearings, self-select sessions, and Indaba groups. Indaba is an African word meaning “a gathering for purposeful conversation among equals.” In groups of 30-40, bishops spoke with one another and endeavoured in a spirit of mutual respect to listen to each other. This venue proved to be the most helpful in engaging in conversation over this contentious issue. All who entered into the spirit of indaba and willingly gave themselves to the conversation was moved by the experience. As we listened to one another we recognized that “the issue of homosexual relations is as sensitive as it is because it conflicts with the long tradition of Christian moral teaching. For some, the new teaching cannot be acceptable on biblical grounds as they consider all homosexual activity as intrinsically sinful.” (para 111, Indaba Reflections) We learned that “the whole issue of homosexual relations is also highly sensitive because there are very strong affirmations and denials in different cultures across the world which are reflected in contrasting civil provisions for same-sex marriage to criminal action against homosexuals. In some parts of the Communion, homosexual relations are a taboo while in others they have become a human rights issue.” (para 112, ibid) We learned of the struggle for some to refrain from proceeding with authorizing blessings, convinced as they are through a conscientious discernment of God’s will in this matter, that it is a matter of gospel imperative. We learned of the struggle of so many to equate blessings with marriage.
It was abundantly clear that these matters have been under discussion for over 30 years in some places and in other places it is a more recent conversation.
“The issue of homosexuality has challenged us in our churches on what it means to be a Communion.” (para 116, ibid) We reflected on the fundamental nature of the Church as relational: she is related to God, her members are related to each other, and our churches are related in a community of independent, participatory relationships.” (David Hamid) We discussed the nature of provincial autonomy and the principle of consulting with one another over significant matters of faith and order. We recognized the different politics of our churches and how they can produce misunderstandings and confusions that need to be addressed.” (para 102, ibid) We noted that “we need to acknowledge that the whole is more than the sum of the parts and that each part of the Communion, when it acts, must do so in the knowledge of what it means for the whole.” (para 102, ibid) We were convinced that an important way of “deepening our communion is (a) in the development of person to person relationships, (b) in diocesan partnerships and © in recovering our sense of belonging and mutual affection.”(para 102, ibid)
The outcome of discussions at the Lambeth Conference was agreement on the part of the majority of bishops present that, in accord with The Windsor Report, there be continuing moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, on the ordination of persons living in same-gender unions to the episcopate, and on cross-provincial interventions. In the Indaba Reflections document we read that, “If The Windsor Report is to be honoured, all three moratoria must be applied consistently.” (para 145, ibid)
Therein lies a significant challenge. The Archbishop of Canterbury recognized this in a letter he issued to all of the bishops of the Communion following the Lambeth Conference. He wrote, “A strong majority of bishops present agreed that moratoria on same-sex blessings and cross-provincial interceptions were necessary but they were aware of the conscientious difficulties this posed for some, and there needs to be a greater clarity about the exact expectations and what can be realistically implemented. How far the intensified sense of belonging together will help mutual restraint in such matters remains to be seen.” At the conference the Archbishop spoke of “a season of gracious restraint” to allow some space and time for conversation to continue.
I come to this meeting of the House of Bishop mindful of our Provincial context and the call for authorization of public rites for the blessings of same sex-unions in a number of our dioceses. I am mindful of the place of the Anglican Church of Canada in our worldwide Communion.
I trust the House of Bishops will support my call for respect for due process through the General Synod in this matter. In 2007, General Synod concurred with the opinion of the St. Michael Report (produced by the Primate’s Theological Commission) that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine. It is not creedal in nature but nonetheless it is doctrine. The same General Synod called for further work by the Primate’s Theological Commission in determining if this matter of blessings is a Spirit-led development of doctrine. Out of respect for the General Synod I believe we have a responsibility with the whole Church to await the opinion of the Commission. It is likely that an opinion will be forthcoming well in advance of General Synod in 2010. I believe that deliberations over this opinion across the church will have a significant impact on discussion at General Synod in 2010 and on the subsequent authority of dioceses through due synodical process to proceed with blessings.
As you can appreciate I am living with the tension of a call to honour gracious restraint and support of a call for bishops to act now in giving consent to the authorizing of public rites for blessing same sex unions. I am appealing for gracious restraint in this matter. I make this appeal out of respect for my brother and sister bishops who represent a diversity of perspectives on this issue; out of respect for due process through General Synod; and continuing Communion-wide conversation including going the Primates’ Meeting in February 2009 and to the Anglican Consultative Council in May 2009. I recognize that for some of you this appeal will be viewed as wise pastoral leadership on my part. Others will see it as a lack of bold prophetic leadership. I ask for your prayers.
Out of respect for those who would have us act now, I would encourage diocesan bishops to appoint a commission to consider what constitutes responsible pastoral care for gay and lesbian members of our Church asking for blessings of their committed monogamous lifelong relationships. I recognize that in some dioceses the work of the commission may include the drafting of a rite for public blessings. The Commission should be encouraged to do a thorough review of work done in this regard by other dioceses in Canada, and in other parts of the Communion.
In the meantime I want to draw your attention to two documents set out by the House of Bishops. One is called Shared Episcopal Ministry approved in the fall of 2004 and the other is Pastoral Generosity approved in the spring of 2007. That document in part reads:
“We are committed, as bishops in Canada, to develop the most generous pastoral response possible within the current teaching of the church. We offer the following examples of possible pastoral responses:
To those who experience these pastoral statements and possible pastoral provisions as inadequate or insufficient, we recognize that they are less than the blessing of same sex unions or marriage. However it is the discernment of the majority of the House of Bishops that as of today the doctrine and discipline of our church does not clearly permit further action.”
I would encourage bishops to incorporate this provision along with Shared Episcopal Ministry into a Bishop’s Guideline, accompanied by a pastoral letter commending it for use in parishes where such provisions may be appropriate.
I take this stance deeply conscious of the burden of responsibility I hold as Primate, as a member of the House of Bishops, as President of the General Synod, as a participant in the Lambeth Conference, 2008 and as a Primate in the Anglican Communion. I do not believe that any of us should move ahead too quickly so soon after a call for gracious restraint from the Archbishop of Canterbury, without continuing consultation with our House of Bishops, without continuing discernment within our dioceses and without respect for due process through the deliberations of General Synod.
Please know that I am mindful of the continuing havoc created in several of our dioceses through cross-border interventions on the part of Primates and bishops from other jurisdictions. I believe we must call them to account. They too must honour the Lambeth call for gracious restraint. I remain committed to addressing this issue within the Communion.
I ask for your prayers as we steadfastly seek to discern the mind and heart of Christ for the wholesome care of all members of his Body, the Church. Please know dear friends of my own deep hope that though we may never come to consensus over this matter of the blessing of same-sex unions, we will seek the capacity to live with difference in a manner that is marked by grace and generosity of spirit, one toward another. I remain absolutely convinced that this matter ought not to be a communion-breaking issue, for as the Archbishop of Canterbury has said, “of the tensions that assail us, the wider life of the Communion is broader and richer than these matters alone.” (para 2, ibid)
Write NOW in Support of Women Bishops
(There is still work to be done!)
We have heard that Archbishop Rowan is receiving huge amounts of mail from those opposed to women as bishops and to having a Code of Practice. The opponents of inclusion are still fighting and believe that they can still change or influence Synod’s decision.
Please write to the Legislative Drafting Group (who are creating the legislation to include women as Bishops in the Church of England). We should also write to Rowan as Chair of the House of Bishops making similar and related points.
We need to act quickly because the Legislative Drafting Group meets next on 14th November and the House of Bishops meets next on 12th December.
It is vital to mobilise ALL those in the Church who want to have women as bishops, and who think a Code is an acceptable way forward.
Once again, reactionary conservatives / fundamentalists have pulled out all the stops to try to shake Rowan’s confidence that going ahead is the right thing at this time and that a Code will suffice.
We need to be able to show that we speak for the vast majority of Anglicans in this country.
Some points that could be made in a letter include:
• We know that the Church is ready for and wishes to have women as bishops
• General Synod is competent to decide on having women as bishops
• General Synod in July showed some of what Synod did not want. This must not be put into the Code.
• A Code of Practice CAN work (Forward in Faith is saying it cannot work).
• There must be no separately consecrated bishops. In other words, no more ‘flying’ bishops, and those men who are currently flying bishops should be invited to become ‘proper’ assistant bishops, ministering to all in their area, not just to those who oppose women’s ordained ministries.
• Most of all, we must act in faith based on what we believe about what baptism in Christ means for all people, our mission imperative (over the past 2000 years women have been excluded from different types of ministry because of how it would affect the mission of the Church in the context of the surrounding culture. We need to be asking, what will help our mission now?), and trusting in where God has led us so far.
If you write nothing else, please reassure Rowan that there are many thousands of people in the Church who long to have women as bishops and who see this as God’s guidance and direction for the Church. He needs to be supported in his position as Archbishop of Canterbury and encouraged that the vast majority of the Church are behind him and the bishops in moving forward with consecrating women.
Letters to the Legislative Drafting Group should be sent to: The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishopscourt, Bury New Road, Manchester, M7 4LE
Letters to the House of Bishops should be sent to: Jonathan Neil-Smith, Secretary to the House of Bishops, Church House, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3NZ
With thanks to Christina Rees (Chair of WATCH)
Some developments since the previous report.
Montreal Gazette City’s top Anglican stands behind gay unions
Anglican Journal Diocese of Niagara bishop calls for rite for same-sex blessing
The following report appeared in a Canadian newspaper, the National Post. The article was titled Breakaway Anglicans to form own body.
Dissident Anglican churches in Canada and the United States say they will form a new conservative jurisdiction in the next year, adding that the Archbishop of Canterbury has lost the moral authority to have any real say in blocking the radical move.
Parishes that have left their national churches over the issue of same-sex marriage and a general trend toward liberalism want to create a single “province” that would report to a conservative North American bishop who shares their values.
“I believe the next year will be critical,” said Rev. Peter Frank, a spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, which voted last month to leave the U.S. Episcopal Church. “The first proposals will be formed in the very near term, in a matter of weeks, frankly.”
Mr. Frank said that any opposition from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will be moot because the spiritual head of Anglicanism has lost his moral authority.
“Frankly, [he] is not in a position to do anything. At this point, the leaders of a majority of the world’s Anglicans are going to recognize us when we [separate].”
But he added it would make it more difficult if Mr. Williams did not give his blessing.
Updated Thursday morning
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: Fort Worth diocese will vote on breaking away from Episcopal Church.
Meanwhile, some of those intending to remain in The Episcopal Church had an event titled The Once and Future Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth — Dealing with the present, planning for the future. Read about it in this blog article by Katie Sherrod.
And the Steering Committee of North Texas Episcopalians has prepared a range of materials for parishes to use after the vote.
Thursday morning update
There is an interview with the Bishop of Fort Worth, which contains much useful information, at Stand Firm see Stand Firm Interviews: Bishop Jack Iker by Greg Griffith.
In The Times Michael Smith writes that The crisis of confidence ignites a crisis of conscience.
In the Guardian Ian Bradley writes about TV talent shows in Face to faith.
At Comment is free Stephen Bates writes on How the faithful voted.
Gregory Chisholm at Thinking Faith explains What scares me about Obama (h/t Simon Barrow).
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Defending the Church by living out the gospel.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Dame Felicitas’s handwarmer sold by nuns.
Updated again Thursday morning
The Diocese of Quincy has voted to depart from The Episcopal Church and (separately) has voted to affiliate with the Province of the Southern Cone.
The Living Church has the details at Quincy Synod Votes to Join the Southern Cone.
Update Friday evening Episcopal News Service has a bulletin at Quincy members vote to leave Episcopal Church, align with Southern Cone.
Update Saturday evening
Episcopal News Service has this further very detailed report by Joe Bjordal Presiding Bishop says church laments Quincy departures.
Update Sunday morning
The Peoria Journal-Star has Episcopal diocese leaving national church by Erin Wood.
The Associated Press has 3rd Episcopal diocese splits from national church by Rachel Zoll.
Update Tuesday morning
Quad-City Times Episcopal Church split might turn into conflict over property by Deirdre Cox Baker
Update Thursday morning
There is a further report in the Living Church Quincy Promises ‘Christian Charity’ for Remaining Episcopalians.
Further to the recent announcement reported here, today Martin Dudley has a letter to the editor published in the Church Times. The original is subscriber-only at present, but it has nevertheless been reproduced in full by other websites and so can be read here, and is further copied here.
Martin Beckford has written about it on his Telegraph blog under the title Gay wedding: Dudley insists there was no apology and no frank discussions.
Updated again Sunday morning
The Southern Cone-affiliated Diocese of Pittsburgh held a convention today, and the former Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan was elected as its bishop.
See this press release, Diocese Re-Elects Bishop Robert Duncan.
See also this earlier item Bishop Robert Duncan’s Vision for the Diocese.
Addition More detail about this event can be found here. It includes this:
Given the asides that had been dropped throughout these presentations, Bishop Duncan at one point took the stand to address the question of a new province. It was “very near” he said, and recognition might come as early as December. Certainly, it is hoped that a draft constitution will be presented at the December meeting of the Common Cause Partnership.
Meanwhile, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh which is part of The Episcopal Church in the USA has announced a Special Convention to occur on 13 December.
Saturday evening update
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a report by Ann Rodgers Duncan elected bishop of breakaway Episcopalians. In this article she refers to the breakaways as Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican).
Lionel Deimel has written further about various issues of terminology, at The Anglican Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
Sunday morning update
Episcopal News Service has a report by Matthew Davies and Mary Frances Schjonberg headed Deposed Pittsburgh bishop elected to lead former Episcopalians, realigned diocese.
The Post-Gazette has a further story, Episcopal bishop Duncan stressing ministry.
A statement from the meeting held in September in Nairobi has now been published on Global South Anglican.
We met as Primates of Africa together with the Standing Committee of CAPA at the ACK Guest House on the 3rd and 4th of September 2008. This meeting provided the opportunity to reflect on our journey since our last Council Meeting in Mauritius in October 2007 and also on our experiences of life in the Anglican Communion; particularly in relation to the two great events of Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and the Lambeth Conference.
We felt a deep sense of warmth and fellowship with each other and expressed gratitude to God for his faithfulness. We were however saddened by the absence of our colleagues namely Archbishop Ian Ernest our Chairman who was ill; Archbishops Peter Akinola and Mouneer Anis, who had difficulties with flight connections. We were glad to welcome Bishop Jo Seoka, who represented Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. We welcomed Rev Canon Grace Kaiso our new General Secretary and his Commissioning at All Saints Cathedral was one of the highlights our meeting…
Updated Friday evening
Ruth Gledhill has a report in The Times headlined Barack Obama asked gay bishop Gene Robinson what it was like to be ‘first’.
Bishop Robinson, in London as a guest of the gay rights group Stonewall for its annual “Hero of the Year” awards dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum tonight, said that Mr Obama’s campaign team had sought him last year and he had the “honour” of three private conversations with the future president of the United States last May and June.
“The first words out of his mouth were: ‘Well you’re certainly causing a lot of trouble’, My response to him was: ‘Well that makes two of us’.”
There is a transcript of this interview, together with audio recordings, on her blog, under the heading Obama and the Gay Bishop: ‘Three Private Meetings’.
Friday evening update
The Hero of the Year Award was in fact awarded to Bishop Robinson. This award is based on the votes of Stonewall supporters, as is the annual Bigot of the Year Award, which last year was also won by an Anglican bishop.
See Stonewall press release here:
Hero of the Year chosen by Stonewall supporters - Rt Revd Gene Robinson. Openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire. Has bravely endured sustained personal attacks in recent months, as church debate on homosexuality has intensified. Recently barred from Lambeth conference.
This is the question now being asked at Comment is free Belief:
Is the US still ‘one nation under God’?
After the election, will America still be one nation? And will it still believe that it shelters under God’s providence?
The Farmers’ Market in Urbana, Illinois on the Saturday morning before the US election seemed a good place to get some views on this question. Among the stalls groaning with more types of squashes than I knew existed, was the Champaign County Democrats table. It was being staffed by Al Kurtz, a Democrat on the county board. What did he think? He was upbeat. (I would have, just to be clear, put this question to the local Republicans, but they weren’t at the Farmers’ Market – Illinois’ electoral college votes are about as safe as they can be in Senator Obama’s bag.)
Neither one nation, nor under God by Harriet Baber
In 2008, American religion is inextricably linked to social conservatism and the political right
One nation under secularism by George Neumayr
If America is still one nation, that is because no one who might be elected to public office takes religion as seriously as its founders did
Updated Tuesday morning
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Top Episcopal leader visits troubled members by Ann Rodgers
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Episcopal leader says exodus ‘tragic’ by Bonnie Pfister
There is a further diocesan announcement: Bishop Jones To Make First Parish Visit.
ENS has a full report by Mary Frances Schjonberg All involved in Pittsburgh split are saints, Presiding Bishop tells Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Part of that report:
Many of the questions concerned the tensions in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion that led to the October 4 vote. More than once, Jefferts Schori suggested that those tensions would ease in the next few years. She said that more bishops across the communion have a better understanding of the complexity of the issues. Those bishops have said “‘we don’t agree, but we recognize you are called to follow where you believe the Spirit is taking you, and we are called to try to understand that,’” according to the Presiding Bishop.
Others questions addressed theological matters, including the issue of whether Jefferts Schori had suggested there are ways to salvation other than following Jesus.
“That’s not what I said,” Jefferts Schori said, explaining that she has noted in the past that “most Christians believe Christ died for all, as savior for the whole world.”
She said she has also cited the Bible’s record of God’s promises to the Jewish people and other promises that “were not broken by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.”
“Therefore, Jews have access to salvation without consciously saying ‘Jesus is my Lord and savior.’ I didn’t do that; God did it. I also see that God made promises to Hagar and Ishmael, whom Muslims claim as their ancestor,” she said. “I don’t think God broke those promises when Jesus came among us.”
Jefferts Schori had touched on the question during her sermon, noting that “Episcopalians and other Christians wrestle with how broadly to understand the family of God, and whether non-Christians are included, for we can certainly point to holy examples who show us what God at work in the world looks like — people like the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi.”
She suggested that “it seems more fruitful to remember that Jesus’ saving work was and is for the whole world, and that our baptismal promises are about living holy lives, together, in community.”
Here’s even more criticism of what the Diocese of Sydney has recently said.
Over at Fulcrum Graham Kings has written:
The Diocese of Sydney, in allowing deacons, and (also in principle) lay people, to preside at Holy Communion, are breaking point 7 of the Jerusalem Declaration, which specifically upholds the ‘classic Anglican Ordinal’. This particular point needs noting.
7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.
The secretariat of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is based in the Diocesan Offices of the Diocese of Sydney. The Honorary Secretary of the FCA is the Archbishop of Sydney. It would be good to hear an explanation of this contradiction…
Then at the Prayer Book Society of the USA Peter Toon has written GAFCON & the Bishops & Diocese of Sydney! An excerpt:
My earnest suggestion to the leadership of GAFCON is this:
After appropriate warning, the Council of Primates of GAFCON should expel the Bishops and Diocese of Sydney immediately: by this action GAFCON will maintain its committed to the biblical, classic Anglican Way and will show that it does take discipline (a mark of the true church) seriously.
If GAFCON does nothing and allows the Diocese of Sydney, with its innovatory doctrine, and pride in that innovation, to remain as a full member, then GAFCON will become, and will be seen by thousands, as merely and only an international, Evangelical Anglican Group — with no serious claims to a serious catholic ecclesiology and historic Ministry, and no real opportunity or intention to set a godly example to the whole Anglican Communion of Churches.
A former Primate of the Province of the Southern Cone, Bishop Maurice Sinclair, has written an article, available at Global South Anglican, Why support an Anglican Province of North America in process of formation?
He starts out:
The question of the formation and recognition of a new Anglican Province in North America is currently being debated in the Anglican Communion. There is the urgent need on the one hand to regularise the situation of Anglicans who cannot in conscience assent to the innovations in doctrine and ethics being introduced into the life of TEC. On the other hand there is a natural reluctance to create a rival body alongside what has been a historic part of the Anglican Church. Institutions tend to avoid decisive measures, and minimise risk. However, reasons are given here for giving official support to the first steps in the formation of the new Province. It can be argued that failure to take these measures actually increases risk to the institutional as well as the spiritual life of the Communion…
AMiA Theologian Challenges CAPA Chairman Over Nature of the Church reads the headline at Anglican Mainstream South Africa. The article begins:
A theologian and former seminary Dean says that Archbishop Ian Ernest, chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), misunderstands the nature of the church when the prelate recently called upon the African church to put aside its differences and engage with its theological opponents within the Anglican Communion.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. John H. Rodgers addressed the Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean and Bishop of Mauritius saying Ern[e]st misunderstands the nature of the Church failing to see the difference between the Church Visible and the Church Invisible…
Read it all here.
The Church of England Newspaper had it on the front page. See Mixed response to Sydney communion decision by Toby Cohen. (In the paper edition, this story was headlined Sydney says deacons can now preside.)
The main report inside the paper was Sydney allows deacons to administer Communion, on a point of grammar by George Conger.
Forward in Faith has issued a rather brief and muted statement, see FiF reacts to recent news from Sydney.
George Conger reports in the Church of England Newspaper that Gafcon leaders dismiss ‘futile’ covenant draft.
The proposed Anglican Covenant is an “exercise in futility,” theologians affiliated with the Gafcon movement tell The Church of England Newspaper, and the current draft is beset with “a considerable degree of theological confusion.”
The latest Fulcrum newsletter is Life After Lambeth by Andrew Goddard. This also discusses the Covenant and GAFCON.
Judith Maltby writes in the Guardian that Barack Obama may be able to repair the damage done by the US Christian right, in Face to Faith.
The Times Literary Supplement has a book review titled Soulgasms of the Christian Right by Thomas Laqueur.
The New Yorker has an article titled Red Sex, Blue Sex by Margaret Talbot.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about GAFCON: A garment that will tear apart.
Last week, Peter Selby wrote in the Church Times about immigration policies: This means more pain for the poor.
Theo Hobson writes in The Times that Milton’s vision for Church and State is our answer.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph that Bomber Command’s bombing of Second World War civilians was wilful murder.