Thursday, 30 July 2009

reactions to Rowan on Thursday

Stephen Bates at Cif belief Anglicanism’s one-track mind

The Anglican church is once again mired in a debate about sexuality. Why does it remain such an obsession?

Bishop Tom Wright at Anglican Communion Institute (in partnership with Fulcrum and now also available there) Rowan’s Reflections: Unpacking the Archbishop’s Statement

In the two days since the Archbishop released his ‘Reflections’ on TEC’s General Convention, they have already generated widely differing responses. We always knew, say some conservatives, that the ABC was a hopeless liberal, and this has confirmed it. Not so, declare many horrified radicals: he has obviously sold out to the conservatives. Some have warmly welcomed the statement and hailed it as paving the way forward. Cautious voices in between are trying to discern strengths and weaknesses. In my view, there is much to welcome, and much whose implications need further unpacking. The two main sections of this paper deal with these two aspects…

Changing Attitude Changing Attitude response to Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future

The Church of England is already a church which incorporates the ministry of partnered lesbian and gay lay people, priests and bishops. Hundreds of LGBT people in the ordained ministry, including the episcopate, act in a representative role in apparent contravention of the Church’s teaching…

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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

another batch of reactions to Rowan

Updated Thursday

Andrew Brown writes at Cif belief Rowan’s road to schism

Has Rowan Williams just set the Church of England on the road to disestablishment? Or does he envision it as standing outside the central body of Anglicanism that he is trying now to erect? I have just read carefully through his response to the American Church’s recognition of equal gay rights, and there are two things that are really striking about it…

From IT writing at Friends of Jake Rowan Williams then and now

…He argued that scriptural prohibitions were addressed to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety. He wrote: “I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.” Dr Williams described his view as his “definitive conclusion” reached after 20 years of study and prayer…..by the end of the 1980s he had “definitely come to the conclusion” that the Bible did not denounce faithful relationships between people who happened to be gay…

From Thanksgiving in all Things Christopher writes of Analyzing Rowan Williams’ Rhetoric About LGBT Persons

In his body of theological work, Mark D. Jordan reminds us repeatedly to pay attention to rhetoric, especially the rhetoric of Christian leaders about lgbt persons.

In his most recent letter, Williams weaves a story of willful choice on the part of lgbt Christians. And we are to get what we deserve in consequence…

Update And the previous day, had also written The Fundamental Problems with Archbishop Williams’ Ecclesiology and Many Who Wring Their Hands About Catholicity

The fundamental problem with the working ecclesiology of the Covenant, of Archbishop Williams, and of the anxieties that somehow we hold together Christ’s Body is that it is a “pipeline theory of grace” rather than an eschatology of Christ’s Presence present to us in every age, and time, and place, wherever we call upon the Name of Jesus, proclaim His Person and work, celebrate the Dominical Sacraments, and go forth to serve the world’s needs. Ironically, such a supposed “catholic” approach to Christ or the apostles’ ministry is memorialist of sorts, always harkening to the past rather than to His Presence, or becomes Pelagian as we try to do it ourselves, rather than rely on Christ…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 29 July 2009 at 6:37pm BST | Comments (69) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Chicago Consultation responds to Rowan

Press Release: CHICAGO CONSULTATION RESPONDS TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY’S REFLECTIONS ON GENERAL CONVENTION

CHICAGO, IL., July 28, 2009 — The Chicago Consultation released this statement from its co-convener, Ruth Meyers, in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflections on the Episcopal Church’s General Convention. Meyers is the Hodges Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific:

During General Convention, the Episcopal Church was pleased to welcome many international visitors, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. We are glad that he felt generously welcomed and are grateful that he experienced first-hand the Episcopal Church’s deep and abiding commitment to the worldwide Anglican Communion.

In his statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to the entire Communion, including provinces in parts of the world where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people face serious criminal penalties and even death. We hope and pray that the Archbishop’s strong condemnation of prejudice against GLBT people, and his call to penitence for our inconsistencies on these issues, will embolden Anglicans across the world to stand against hatred and discrimination when they encounter it in their midst.

We also urge all Anglicans, including the Archbishop, to regard the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the body of Christ as nothing less than a Gospel mandate and a requirement of our baptismal vows. To understand this issue as simply one of civil liberties or human rights — to which the Gospel also calls us — does grave injustice to our sisters and brothers in Christ and our fundamental understanding of baptismal theology.

The Archbishop raises important questions about how the Anglican Communion can best structure itself and continue to develop Anglican doctrine. The Episcopal Church has a long, albeit imperfect, history of developing theology and doctrine to support fully including women, people of color, and GLBT people in the life of the church. We can contribute this valuable experience to the Communion, and we look forward to working together with our fellow Anglicans around the globe as we continue discerning God’s call for our common life and mission.

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. We believe that our baptismal covenant requires this.

The Chicago Consultation believes that, like the church’s historic discrimination against people of color and women, excluding GLBT people from the sacramental life of the church is a sin. Through study, prayer and conversation, we seek to provide clergy and laypeople across The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion with biblical and theological perspectives that will rid the church of this sin.

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more reactions to Rowan

Updated Tuesday evening

From blogs:

Changing Attitude Archbishop’s Reflections impossible for Changing Attitude supporters to accept

Integrity Integrity Responds to Archbishop of Canterbury’s post-GC2009 Statement

A. S. Haley Ex Cathedra

The Anglican Scotist Archbishop Williams’ Latest Missive

Tuesday evening update

Nick Knisely What is Rowan Williams thinking?

Savitri Hensman at Cif belief The archbishop’s response falls short

Sam Candler The Notion of “Choice” in Anglican Communion Matters

And Episcopal Café has a roundup including several more worth reading.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 2:32pm BST | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Monday, 27 July 2009

reactions to Rowan's Reflections

Updated Tuesday morning

Media coverage:

The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishop of Canterbury attempts to paper over Church schism and also on her blog: Archbishop Rowan and TEC: Two-track communion the way forward.

Guardian Riazat Butt Archbishop warns ordination of gay clergy could lead to two-tier church

Telegraph Matthew Moore Archbishop of Canterbury foresees ‘two-track’ church to avoid gay schism

ENS Canterbury reflects on General Convention

Associated Press Meera Selva Anglican Church may have ‘two track’ structure

Blog coverage:

Episcopal Café Reactions to +Rowan’s essay vary

Adrian Worsfold The Real Archbishop of Anglicanism

Jared Cramer The Blindspots in Archbishop Rowan’s Perspective

Scott Gunn Parsing Rowan: Catholic, Covenant, and “chosen lifestyles”

Tuesday morning update

Los Angeles Times Duke Helfand Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams speaks of ‘two-tier’ church

Washington Times Julia Duin Anglican leader foresees two paths

Christianity Today Timothy C. Morgan Just Shy of Schism, Anglicans May Sub-Divide

Religion News Service Daniel Burke Williams Suggests Secondary Role for Rebel Episcopal Church

Living Church Archbishop: Two-Track Communion Possible

USA Today Cathy Lynn Grossman Restructuring, not schism, ahead for Anglicans

New York Times Alan Cowell Archbishop Sees ‘Two-Track’ Anglican Church

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 11:33pm BST | Comments (59) | TrackBack
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Canterbury reflects on General Convention

From Lambeth Palace comes Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future.

Reflections on the Episcopal Church’s 2009 General Convention from the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 1:11pm BST | Comments (85) | TrackBack
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yet more reflections on General Convention

The Bishop of Rochester wrote about it, in the Washington Times, a rather odd place for a CofE bishop to write, you might think. His article is titled Episcopal gay moves risk schism.

(This provoked Adrian Worsfold into a spoof version.)

A much more useful article, by somebody who was actually there, can by found at Anglicans Online. See Pierre Whalon What Didn’t Happen at General Convention 2009—and What Did?

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Saturday, 25 July 2009

Niagara and civil marriage blessings

The Diocese of Niagara in the Anglican Church of Canada is in the news.

See Anglican Journal Marites N. Sison Deep divide over sexuality continues, and earlier, Diocese of Niagara to offer same-sex blessings.

And Religious Intelligence George Conger Bishop authorizes same-sex blessings.

From the diocesan website:

Niagara Rite of Blessing of Civil Marriage

The Niagara Rite is intended for the voluntary use of priests who wish to offer a sacrament of blessing regardless of the gender of the civilly married persons who wish to receive the blessing of the church and wish to affirm their life commitment to each other before God in the community of the church.

As such it does not imply nor is it intended to suggest that those who do or do not make use of this rite are excluded from the economy of God’s salvation. The rite is a means for the church to extend affirmation, support, and commitment to those who present themselves seeking a sign of God’s love in response to the love and commitment they express for each other and have already affirmed in a civil ceremony.

It is designed for the blessing of any couple who have been civilly married. It may also be used for the blessing or renewing of marriage vows for a couple celebrating a significant moment in their married life together.

Effective September 1, 2009, permission will be granted by Bishop Michael Bird for the use of the Niagara Rite as outlined in the protocols that are included.

And there are links from that page to other documentation.

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opinions in late July

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times We must guard love in this world of easy pleasures.

Michael Wright writes in the Guardian about becoming a Quaker.

Diana Butler Bass writes at Beliefnet about The Real Decline of Churches.

Robin Gill wrote in last week’s Church Times about Turning from the slippery slope.

Giles Fraser writes in this week’ s Church Times If I have to push, I shall push.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 11:09am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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more reflections after Gen Con

The Church Times press column this week was written by Rebecca Wilson and is titled Rare moment of cake.

In the news pages, Pat Ashworth summed up developments in US decision triggers postal activity.

Doug LeBlanc wrote for the Living Church that Bishops Discuss Paradoxical Votes on Consecrations, Blessings.

Adrian Worsfold wrote “Rowan Williams’s game is up” for Episcopal Café.

The Anglican Communion Institute wrote Resolutions and the Windsor Moratoria.

Religion Dispatches published Episcopal Church Walks with American Clergy on Gay and Lesbian Equality.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 9:26am BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
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court ruling for San Joaquin

The Diocese of San Joaquin has reported Court Determines that Bishop Lamb is the Bishop of the Diocese.

On July 23, 2009, the Diocese received an order issued by the Superior Court of Fresno County, California, sustaining the position of the Church and the Diocese that the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb is the Bishop of the Diocese and the officeholder of the Diocesan corporations, and that former Bishop John-David Schofield is no longer the Bishop and has no claim to any of the corporate or ecclesiastical offices of the Diocese…

The Court Order is here as a PDF file.

The Diocese of Fort Worth has also reported this case, and in greater detail, see Superior Court of California grants summary adjudication to the continuing Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

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Friday, 24 July 2009

‘untainted’ bread?

Not only is the Church of England responding to the swine flu epidemic by denying the chalice to its congregations, now Blackburn Cathedral is reported to be providing ‘untainted bread’. Read on…

Ruth Gledhill in The Times reports that Worshippers who oppose women priests receive ‘untainted’ bread.

Worshippers at a Church of England cathedral are being offered a two-track Communion service with a separate supply of “untainted” Communion bread for those who object to its being consecrated by a woman priest.

A special container, for the hosts — unleavened bread representing the body of Christ — which have been previously consecrated by a male priest, is brought out during Sunday morning services at Blackburn Cathedral if a woman priest is presiding.

The special arrangements, which have been condemned by supporters of women priests, were introduced because of the recent installation of Dr Sue Penfold as one of three residentiary canons. Even though she is legitimately ordained and employed, it means that when she is celebrating the eucharist those who dispute the validity of her orders can make sure they receive “untainted” sacrament consecrated earlier by a man…

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Thursday, 23 July 2009

swine flu

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today written to Bishops in the Church of England recommending the suspension of the sharing of the chalice at communion.

The Archbishops’ letter follows advice from the Department of Health not to share “common vessels” for food or drink.

For those who wish still to offer both bread and wine, the Archbishops have recommended use of “personal intinction by the presiding minister” allowing the priest to dip communion wafers in the chalice before handing them out to communicants.

The full text of the letter is here, or over here, and also here.

More detailed advice from the Church of England is here.

The text of the Sacrament Act 1547 can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 23 July 2009 at 11:55am BST | Comments (76) | TrackBack
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another college inspection report

The Church of England has published the inspection report on the Oxford Partnership for Theological Education and Training (OPTET), the body that enables the ministerial training colleges in Oxford to co-ordinate their activity and to relate to the University of Oxford.

The Oxford Partnership for Theological Education and Training (OPTET) was formed following the demise of the Church of England’s General Ministerial Examination (GME) in 1992. The three Anglican Theological Colleges in Oxford, Ripon College Cuddesdon, St Stephen’s House and Wycliffe Hall with the cognizance of the Theology Faculty of Oxford University collaborated to produce the Oxford Diploma of Ministry (ODM) course that was then validated by the participating colleges. Mansfield (United Reformed Church) and Regent’s Park (Baptist) joined in to form OPTET which was established in 1994. Since then other colleges have opted into the partnership…

Find the full report via this page.

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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Presiding Bishop writes to TEC

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued a letter to the church about General Convention, which was held July 8-17 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.

The full text is available here, and is also below the fold.

My brothers and sisters in Christ:

The 76th General Convention is now history, though it will likely take some time before we are all reasonably clear about what the results are.

We gathered in Anaheim, as guests of the Diocese of Los Angeles, for eleven full days of worship, learning, and policy-making. The worship was stunning visually, musically, and liturgically, with provocative preaching and lively singing.

Our learning included training in Public Narrative, as well as news about the emergent church, in the LA Night presentation.

We welcomed a number of visitors from other parts of the Anglican Communion, including 15 of the primates (archbishops or presiding bishops), other bishops, clergy, and laity.

You can see and hear all this and more at the Media Hub: http://gchub.episcopalchurch.org/

The budget adopted represents a significant curtailment of church-wide ministry efforts, in recognition of the economic realities of many dioceses and church endowments, which will result in the loss of a number of Church Center staff who have given long and laudable service. Yet we will continue to serve God’s mission, throughout The Episcopal Church and beyond. This budget expects that more mission work will continue or begin to take place at diocesan or congregational levels. Religious pilgrims, from the Israelites in the desert to Episcopalians in Alaska or Haiti, have always learned that times of leanness are opportunities for strengthened faith and creativity.

As a Church, we have deepened our commitments to mission and ministry with “the least of these” (Matthew 25). We included a budgetary commitment of 0.7% to the Millennium Development Goals, through the NetsforLife® program partnership of Episcopal Relief & Development. That is in addition to approximately 15% of the budget already committed to international development work.

We have committed to a domestic poverty initiative, meant to explore coherent and constructive responses to some of the worst poverty statistics in the Americas: Native American reservations and indigenous communities.

Justice is the goal, as we revised our canons (church rules) having to do with clergy discipline, both as an act of solidarity with those who may suffer at the hands of clergy and an act of pastoral concern for clergy charged with misconduct.

The General Convention adopted a health plan to serve all clergy and lay employees, which is expected to be a cost-savings across the whole of the United States portion of the Church. Work continues to ensure adequate health coverage in the non-U.S. parts of this Church. The Convention also mandated pension coverage for lay employees.

Liturgical additions were also included in the Convention’s work, from more saints on the calendar to prayers around reproductive loss.

What captured the headlines across the secular media, however, had to do with two resolutions, the consequences of which were often misinterpreted or exaggerated. One, identified as D025, is titled “Anglican Communion: Commitment and Witness to Anglican Communion.” It

  • reaffirms our commitment to and desire to pursue mission with the Anglican Communion;
  • reiterates our commitment to Listening Process urged by Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988, and 1998;
  • notes that our own participation in the listening process led General Convention in 2000 to “recognize that the baptized membership of The Episcopal Church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships ‘characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God’”;
  • recognizes that ministry, both lay and ordained is being exercised by such persons in response to God’s call;
  • notes that the call to ordained ministry is God’s call, is a mystery, and that the Church participates in that mystery through the process of discernment;
  • acknowledges that the members of The Episcopal Church, and of the Anglican Communion, are not of one mind, and that faithful Christians disagree about some of these matters.

The other resolution that received a lot of press is C056, titled “Liturgies for Blessings.” The text adopted was a substitute for the original, yet the title remains unchanged. It

  • acknowledges changing circumstances in the U.S. and elsewhere, in that civil jurisdictions in some places permit marriage, civil unions, and/or domestic partnerships involving same-sex couples, that call for a pastoral response from this Church;
  • asks the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, and the House of Bishops, to collect and develop theological and liturgical resources for such pastoral response, and report to the next General Convention;
  • asks those bodies to invite comment and participation from other parts of this Church and the Anglican Communion;
  • notes that bishops may provide generous pastoral responses to the needs of members of this Church;
  • asks the Convention to honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality.

The full text of both resolutions is available here: http://gc2009.org/ViewLegislation. I urge you to read them for yourself. Some have insisted that these resolutions repudiate our relationships with other members of the Anglican Communion. My sense is that we have been very clear that we value our relationships within and around the Communion, and seek to deepen them. My sense as well is that we cannot do that without being honest about who and where we are. We are obviously not of one mind, and likely will not be until Jesus returns in all his glory. We are called by God to continue to wrestle with the circumstances in which we live and move and have our being, and to do it as carefully and faithfully as we are able, in companionship with those who disagree vehemently and agree wholeheartedly. It is only in that wrestling that we, like Jacob, will begin to discern the leading of the Spirit and the blessing of relationship with God.

Above all else, this Convention claimed God’s mission as the heartbeat of The Episcopal Church. I encourage every member of this Church to enter into conversation in your own congregation or diocese about God’s mission, and where you and your faith community are being invited to enter more deeply into caring for your neighbors, the “least of these” whom Jesus befriends.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 6:15pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Archbishop writes to the Communion

Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America has written An Open Letter to the Anglican Communion (PDF).

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) has issued a press release: Archbishop Duncan Writes Open Letter to Anglican Communion.

The letter is also to be found on the site of the Anglican Church in North America.

Or, see below the fold.

22nd July, A.D. 2009
Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Two Cities: One Choice
An Open Letter to the Anglican Communion

Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There are times in the history of God’s people when the prevailing values and behaviors of those then in control of rival cities symbolizes a choice to be made by all of God’s people. For Anglicans such a moment has certainly arrived. The cities symbolizing the present choice are Bedford, Texas, and Anaheim, California. In the last month, the contrasting behaviors and values of the religious leaders who met in these two small cities made each a symbol of Anglicanism’s inescapable choice.

Jerusalem and Babylon come to mind as the Scriptural cities which are enduring symbols of choices to be made by God’s people, and of what can happen when God’s people make a choice for something other than God’s Way, God’s Truth, God’s Life, as set out in God’s Covenant, whether Old or New.

Charles Dickens contrasts London and Paris in the last quarter of the 18th Century in his Tale of Two Cities. Both cities are in crisis, but one operates from received values and behaviors, while the other attempts to re-make the world to its own revolutionary tastes.

St. Augustine of Hippo in his De Civitate Dei contrasts the City of God and the City of the World, explaining the fate of Rome in terms of the favor that comes from conforming to the behaviors and values of the Heavenly City as over against the Earthly City.

The Anglican Church in North America, whose leaders met at Bedford, Texas, from June 20th to June 25th, embraced the values and behaviors familiar to Christians in every age: daily repenting of human sin in disobeying the one Lord, embracing the need (both personal and corporate) of a divine Savior, and recommitting to the proclamation in word and deed of the gospel of transforming love. The unity at Bedford, despite very real differences, was palpable.

The Episcopal Church, whose leaders met at Anaheim, California, from July 8th to 17th, blessed the values and behaviors of a re-defined Christianity: enabling a revisionist anthropology, budgeting litigation rather than evangelism, and confusing received understandings of Scriptural truth, not least concerning the necessity of individual salvation in Christ Jesus. At Anaheim, there were those who valiantly stood against the revolutionary majority, and their pain and grief at what was happening was heartbreaking for all who saw it, not least for their brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church in North America.

The North American poet, Robert Frost, once wrote: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by. That has made all the difference.” For Anglican Christians, for the Instruments of Unity (Communion), for interdependent Provinces, for ordinary believers, there is a choice to be made. The choice is between two religions, two roads, two cities, two sets of conflicting values and behaviors. In Deuteronomy, chapter 30, Moses sets the choice as between blessing and curse, life and death. For contemporary Anglicanism the present choice is this stark.

I write this humbly and as a sinner. I also write it as one whose hope is in Christ alone, and with deepest love for all for whom He died and rose again.

Faithfully and Obediently,

The Most Reverend Robert William Duncan, D.D.
Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America
Anglican Bishop of Pittsburgh

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 8:16am BST | Comments (56) | TrackBack
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Communion Partners write to Lambeth

A letter has been published, signed on behalf of a substantial number of clergy, in support of the “Anaheim Statement”.

Letter from the Communion Partners to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The full text of this letter is copied below the fold. For the list of signatures to the attached Communion Partners Rectors’ Statement, follow the link above, or there is another copy at the Anglican Communion Institute site.

Letter from the Communion Partners to the Archbishop of Canterbury

104th Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace
London, England
SE1 7JU

Your Grace:
You will be sent a hard copy of this letter, statement and the list of signatories, but because of our desire to put this material in front of you soon, we are e-mailing this correspondence as well. We must share with you that this letter will also be made public via the trusted websites of the The Livng Church and The Anglican Communion Institute.

Enclosed, please find a statement of the Communion Partner Rectors who welcome and declare our appreciation for the witness of the over 30 Episcopal bishops who have signed the minority statement read in the House of Bishops at the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim, California on Thursday, July 16, 2009.

Though we have been in touch with you throughout the last year and a half, we simply reiterate our deep desire and commitment to remain constituent members of the greater Anglican Communion. We, as we believe it to be well documented now, concur with your leadership, and that of Lambeth Conference and the ACC that the road to stronger bonds of affection amongst the members of the Communion is our shared commitment to our Lord and His Church, the instruments of Communion and the parameters and councils set forth in the Windsor Process, the three (at present) requested moratoria, the most recent Lambeth Conference, Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and the unfolding Covenant Process, to which we are fully committed.

We do not concur with any action taken that would be interpreted by the larger Communion as divisive, dismissive of our larger Anglican Communion or schismatic. The outgrowth of the decisions of the General Convention has yet to be ultimately determined as to its impact on our common bonds of affection that we should all share, and honor, as part of the worldwide Anglican family.

Some will clearly share the assessment of His Grace, Bishop N.T. Wright that The Episcopal Church has, by its most recent actions, chosen to “walk apart.” It would be our hope that if you share that assessment, that you would also share Bishop’s Wright’s counsel to “…not forget the ‘Communion Partner’ bishops, who doggedly loyal to their church, and to the Windsor Report as expressing the mind of the wider Communion, voted against the current resolution. Nor should we forget the many parishes within revisionist dioceses (and, for that matter, worshippers within revisionists parishes) who take the same stance,” (The Times, 15 July, 2009). Again, let us categorically state, that we believe our ties to both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion must remain solid and unfettered by any action, resolution or statement that would in any way further tear the very fragile fabric that is now our Anglican family; and therefore would not support any such action, resolution or statement.

Lastly, we reaffirm our pledge of support for the unfolding Covenant process and it is our hope that Part IV of the Ridley Draft will soon be revisited and approved as a pathway for not simply Provinces, but Bishops, Dioceses and individual parishes to renew their commitment not only to the Anglican Communion, but to those vital pillars that in the end, draw us all together, rather than cause further division.

Toward that end and toward all of these matters, we pledge our prayers and support to you, to our Communion Partner Bishops and those Bishops who joined them in signing the Anaheim Statement, and to those Bishops who have made similar statements to their own Dioceses. Please let us know how we can further support you.

Faithfully, on behalf of the attached list of Communion Partner Rectors,

The Advisory Committee of the Communion Partner Rectors

The Reverend Dr. Charles Alley, Rector, St. Matthews, Richmond, Virginia
The Right Reverend Anthony Burton, Rector, Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, Texas

The Very Reverend Anthony Clark, Dean, St. Luke’s Cathedral, Orlando, Florida
The Reverend S. Brooks Keith, Rector, Church of the Transfiguration, Vail, Colorado
The Reverend Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr. Rector, St. Martin’s, Houston, Texas
The Reverend Leigh Spruill, Rector, St. George’s, Nashville, Tennessee

The Communion Partner Rectors’ Statement:

July 22, 2009

We, the undersigned clergy in good standing in the Episcopal Church welcome and declare our appreciation for the witness of the bishops who signed the minority statement read in the House of Bishops in Anaheim, California on Thursday, July 16, 2009. We also express our on-going support for all the reaffirmations listed in that document, which read as follows:

  • We reaffirm our constituent membership in the Anglican Communion, our communion with the See of Canterbury and our commitment to preserving these relationships.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them (BCP 526, 538).
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the Anglican Communion Covenant process currently underway, with the hope of working toward its implementation across the Communion once a Covenant is completed.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship” which is foundational to our baptismal covenant, and to be one with the apostles in “interpreting the Gospel” which is essential to our work as bishops of the Church of God.

We are committed along with said bishops to be a positive force for the spread of God’s Kingdom in this world; to pray for Christ’s Body, the Church, the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, all bishops and other ministers. We hold that as Christ’s Body, the Church is to be a “pillar and buttress of truth,” (1 Timothy 3:15) through which the Gospel is held high in witness and proclamation, and we pray for the reconciliation of all humankind through the saving life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

For more information about the Communion Partner Rectors, contact CPRectors@stmartinsepiscopal.org

list of signatures follows - use links above

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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

General Convention: another letter to Lambeth Palace

First, there was the letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury concerning Resolution D025.

Now, ENS reports in Presiding officers write Canterbury explaining same-gender unions resolution that a further letter has been sent concerning Resolution C056.

The letter is here as a PDF. The full text is now available below the fold.

The official press release reads:

Following its passage in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson sent a letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams discussing Resolution C056 at the recently completed 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. (Text of letter is at the end.)

Additionally, the Presiding Bishop forwarded the letter to the 38 Primates and clergy and lay leaders of the Anglican Communion. (Text of letter is at the end.)

In the letter, the Presiding Officers noted, “While the Resolution honors the diversity of theological perspectives within The Episcopal Church, it does not authorize public liturgical rites for the blessing of same-gender unions. The Book of Common Prayer remains unchanged, the marriage rites are unaltered and the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer define marriage as a “solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God.”

It also explained, “It is now left to each bishop to determine what such a generous pastoral response might mean in her or his diocesan context. This Resolution neither forces nor demands any bishop, diocesan convention, congregation or clergy to take any action it considers contrary to its will. The Resolution honors and acknowledges this Church’s continuing commitment to and honoring of theological diversity and the inclusion of a variety of points of view on matters of human sexuality.”

General Convention 2009 was held July 8 to July 17 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California (Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles).

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention, held every three years, is the bicameral governing body of the church. General Convention, the second largest legislative body in the world, is comprised of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 members, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay representatives from the 110 dioceses, at over 850 members.

The Episcopal Church, with 110 dioceses in 16 nations, is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.


Letter to Archbishop Rowan Williams

from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President Bonnie Anderson.

17 July 2009
The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Rowan Williams
Lambeth Palace
London

Dear Archbishop Williams,

We greet you once again as we write regarding another significant resolution adopted today by the 76th General Convention. Like Resolution D025, about which we wrote to you several days ago, Resolution C056 will impact both the life and work of The Episcopal Church and have implications for our relationships within the Anglican Communion. A copy of Resolution C056 is attached to this letter.

While the Resolution honors the diversity of theological perspectives within The Episcopal Church, it does not authorize public liturgical rites for the blessing of same-gender unions. The Book of Common Prayer remains unchanged, the marriage rites are unaltered and the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer define marriage as a “solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God.”

The Resolution encourages this Church and its members to engage in several actions over the coming three years until The General Convention gathers again as the only body of The Episcopal Church that can speak definitively for this Church. Resolution C056:

  • Calls on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (an interim body of The General Convention made up of laity, clergy and bishops) in consultation with the House of Bishops and House of Deputies to collect and develop theological and liturgical resources around the blessing of same gender unions and report the results of its work to the 77th General Convention which will convene in 2012. The collection and development of these theological and liturgical resources is a way by which further theological inquiry and debate/discussion can take place, but does not commit any future General Convention to formal adoption of any rites.
  • Calls for wide participation in an open process of conversation and consultation across The Episcopal Church in congregations and dioceses and with individuals. We pray this work will contribute to the Listening Process on all levels since we earnestly desire to listen to all as encouraged by successive Lambeth Conferences.
  • Allows bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, to provide a generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church.

It is now left to each bishop to determine what such a generous pastoral response might mean in her or his diocesan context. This Resolution neither forces nor demands any bishop, diocesan convention, congregation or clergy to take any action it considers contrary to its will. The Resolution honors and acknowledges this Church’s continuing commitment to and honoring of theological diversity and the inclusion of a variety of points of view on matters of human sexuality.

The House of Bishops received Resolution C056 from the legislative Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music (made up of bishops, clergy and laity). A group of over 25 bishops representing diverse and divergent views gathered informally and, using the Indaba process learned at the Lambeth Conference 2008, had thoughtful, loving and candid conversation. The fruit of their conversation and prayer was presented to the House of Bishops in the form of a revision to Resolution C056 which was adopted by both Houses thus becoming the action of the General Convention thus speaking definitively for The Episcopal Church. This resolution is seen as a continuation of the pastoral response and listening process asked for and encouraged by successive General Conventions and Lambeth Conferences.

As our letter of July 16 stated, “it is not our desire to give offense. We remain keenly aware of the concerns and sensibilities of our brothers and sisters in other Churches across the Communion.” The Episcopal Church treasures our relationships and partnerships as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, and prays fervently for its life and mission, as we pray for you, brother Rowan, and your ministry as the spiritual leader of the Communion.

With all prayers and best wishes, we remain,

Your sisters in Christ,
Bonnie Anderson, D.D.
President of The House of Deputies

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate

Letter to the Anglican Primates
TO THE PRIMATES OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION:
17 July 2009

Dear Brothers in Christ,

Having written you once to explain something of the process and significance of Resolution D025, adopted here in our 76th General Convention, it is important to send you this second, follow-up letter addressed once more to the Archbishop of Canterbury. This letter, again co-signed by myself and the President of our House of Deputies, concerns Resolution C056, which was adopted today, in the hopes of being clear with the Archbishop and with all of you about what the resolution does, and does not, mean.

As the attached letter notes, C056 does not authorize public liturgical rites for the blessing of same-gender unions. It is crucial to note that the Book of Common Prayer remains unchanged and the marriage rites unaltered.

What this resolution in fact does is honor the diversity of theological perspectives in our own cultural context, and encourage this Church’s members to pursue thoughtful and informed conversation and the study of resources that have been developed. Please note the second page of the letter that describes the careful process that resulted in the amendment of this resolution, a process influenced greatly by the Indaba process learned at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

As with the previous correspondence, I welcome any questions or feedback you might have. And once again, I offer my thanksgiving to God for the presence of so many of you here at this Convention. As we move forward, may we do so with prayers for one another and God’s blessings on our respective ministries.

Your servant in Christ,
The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate

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how many Anaheim statement signatories?

According to Anaheim Statement Attracts More Support in the Living Church there are now 34 signatories.

That’s five more than the 29 that were reported in this earlier article, Dissenting Bishops Issue ‘Anaheim Statement’.

But that listed only 27 names. So we are still missing two names.

And, several of these names are of bishops who voted in favour of one or more of the resolutions which provoked the statement. According to this tally, at least nine of the original 27.

Update

George Conger has kindly supplied a complete list of the names. Here it is:

The Rt. Rev’d James Adams, Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev’d Lloyd Allen, Honduras
The Rt. Rev’d David Alvarez, Puerto Rico FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d John Bauerschmidt, Tennessee
The Rt. Rev’d Peter Beckwith, Springfield
The Rt. Rev’d Frank Brookhart, Montana FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Andrew Doyle, Texas
The Rt. Rev’d Philip Duncan, Central Gulf Coast
The Rt. Rev’d Dan Edwards, Nevada
The Rt. Rev’d William Frey, Rio Grande
The Rt. Rev’d Dena Harrison, Texas, Suffragan
The Rt. Rev’d Dorsey Henderson, Upper South Carolina FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Julio Holguin, Dominican Republic
The Rt. Rev’d John Howe, Central Florida
The Rt. Rev’d Russell Jacobus, Fond du Lac
The Rt. Rev’d Don Johnson, West Tennessee FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Paul Lambert, Dallas Suffragan
The Rt. Rev’d Mark Lawrence, South Carolina
The Rt. Rev’d Gary Lillibridge, West Texas
The Rt. Rev’d Edward Little, Northern Indiana
The Rt. Rev’d William Love, Albany
The Rt. Rev’d Bruce MacPherson, Western Louisiana
The Rt. Rev’d Alfredo Morante, Litoral Ecuador FOR C056
The Rt. Rev’d Henry Parsley, Alabama FOR C056
The Rt. Rev’d David Reed, West Texas Suffragan
The Rt. Rev’d Sylvestre Romero, El Camino Real assisting in New Jersey FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Jeffrey Rowthorn, Europe
The Rt. Rev’d William Skilton, Dominican Republic
The Rt. Rev’d John Sloan, Alabama Suffragan FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Dabney Smith, Southwest Florida
The Rt. Rev’d Michael Smith, North Dakota
The Rt. Rev’d James Stanton, Dallas
The Rt. Rev’d Pierre Whalon, Europe FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt.Rev. Don Wimberly, Texas retired

I have annotated the list (George is not responsible for my annotations):
italics denotes retired
Suffragan
Voted FOR C056 and/or FOR D025

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Monday, 20 July 2009

The Episcopal Church's new resolutions

press release from Inclusive Church

The Episcopal Church’s new resolutions

Inclusive Church welcomes the clarity of the new resolutions passed at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA (TEC). They accurately and honestly describe the current situation, affirming that homosexual orientation should not be a bar to ordination as priest or bishop, and recognising that same sex blessings are being performed in some parishes and dioceses.

It is our wish that such honesty prevail in all current dialogues within the Anglican Communion - for example, recognising that within the Church of England there are a great many gay and lesbian clergy, single or in committed relationships, and many churches offer blessings or thanksgivings for same-sex relationships.

We equally acknowledge the costly lengths to which TEC has gone over many years to encourage the unity of the Anglican Communion, and note that the moratoria previously agreed regarding human sexuality have not been overturned.

We urge members of the Communion to consider carefully what has actually been agreed at Anaheim. The Presiding Bishop has stated in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other Primates ‘This General Convention has not repealed Resolution B033. It remains to be seen how Resolution B033 will be understood and interpreted in light of Resolution D025. Some within our Church may understand Resolution D025 to give Standing Committees (made up of elected clergy and laity) and Bishops with jurisdiction more latitude in consenting to Episcopal elections. Others, in light of Resolution B033, will not.’

Inclusive Church believes that excluding LGBT people from the sacramental life of the church is a sin similar to the historical discrimination against people of colour and women. We value Anglican diversity, and acknowledge that there is a breadth of views on questions of human sexuality. We salute the considerable efforts made to recognise and contain that breadth with TEC, and regret the attempts by others who have withdrawn to undermine the territorial integrity of local Anglican churches.

Above all we pray that the slow and often tortuous process in which the Communion is engaged over these issues will, in the end, enable all the member churches to speak more prophetically and more clearly of God’s inexhaustible love and justice for the whole world.

For further information visit www.inclusivechurch.net

Giles Goddard
Chair, Inclusive Church
07762 373 674
gileswgoddard@gmail.com

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Sunday, 19 July 2009

after GC: press releases

Several groups have issued press releases.

Chicago Consultation: Chicago Consultation Statement on the 76th General Convention

Integrity: Integrity USA Achieves Its Goals At General Convention 2009

Anglican Communion Institute: Committing to the Anglican Communion: Some Will, Others Won’t

Fulcrum: Fulcrum Response to TEC General Convention 2009 Resolution C056:
official promotion of a process to develop liturgies for the blessing of same-sex unions

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Saturday, 18 July 2009

after General Convention...

Updated Sunday morning

Some media reports:

Associated Press Episcopalians: Bishops can bless same-sex unions

Reuters Episcopal Church moves toward blessing gay unions

Los Angeles Times Episcopal leaders affirm new policy on same-sex blessings

New York Times Pared-Down Episcopal Church Is Looking to Grow Through ‘Inclusivity’

Some comment:

Guardian Jim Naughton Face to faith

And some heavyweight analysis:

Wall Street Journal Philip Jenkins Their Separate Ways

And some simple explanation:

Changing Attitude Caro Hall Is this the Schism (finally)?

…The Presiding Bishop has stated in a letter to Rowan Williams and the other Primates ‘This General Convention has not repealed Resolution B033. It remains to be seen how Resolution B033 will be understood and interpreted in light of Resolution D025. Some within our Church may understand Resolution D025 to give Standing Committees (made up of elected clergy and laity) and Bishops with jurisdiction more latitude in consenting to Episcopal elections. Others, in light of Resolution B033, will not.’

So once again this resolution ‘holds the tension’ and provides a big tent within which people of many different theological stripes can come together. It’s classical Anglicanism – both/and not either/or and that drives some people crazy!

The Presiding Bishop describes D025 as descriptive not prescriptive and that’s probably what she’ll say about C056 as well which allows bishops to make a ‘generous pastoral response’ to those in same-gender relationships. It also calls for collecting and developing theological and liturgical materials for blessing same-gender relationships. It does not go as far as developing a rite for public blessings.

Just like D025 the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. How bishops interpret this will depend on their local circumstances. America is a big country and things vary a lot from place to place so local discernment makes a lot of sense…

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opinions after General Convention

Jim Naughton writes about the Bishop of Durham and the General Convention in Face to Faith in the Guardian.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times Afghanistan war: we must see it through

Last week, he wrote If marriage has friends like these . . .

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times that At the heart of the common life there lies humility

Donald Reeves wrote in the Church Times last week about Kosovo, Where paranoia and prejudice rule.

And there was a back page interview with Europe expert James Barnett.

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Friday, 17 July 2009

General Convention last day actions

Updated again Thursday

The “Anaheim statement” current information has been moved over here.
———

Resolution C056 has now been passed by the House of Deputies. The voting was Lay: 78 yes, 23 no, 7 divided. Clergy: 74 yes, 27 no, 7 divided. The text is here.

The Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies have written to the Archbishop of Canterbury concerning Resolution D025. The original is available as a PDF. The full text of this letter is reproduced below the fold. The same letter was sent to all Primates of the Anglican Communion with a cover letter. This also is reproduced below the fold.

These documents were issued under the cover of a short press release which reads as follows:

Presiding Bishop, HOD President send letter to Archbishop Williams,Anglican Primates on GC actions, affirms close relationship with Anglican Communion

[July 17, 2009] A letter describing the steps taken by The Episcopal Church’s 76th General Convention and reaffirming the close relationship with the Anglican Communion was sent today to Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson. A copy of the letter also was sent to the 38 Primates, and clergy and lay leaders of the Anglican Communion

The letter to Archbishop Williams outlined Resolution D025, which was adopted at this General Convention, explaining that Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and President Anderson understood Resolution D025 to be more descriptive than prescriptive in nature. It stated that some are concerned that the adoption of Resolution D025 has effectively repealed Resolution B033 but reiterated that is not the case. The letter continued, “This General Convention has not repealed Resolution B033. It remains to be seen how Resolution B033 will be understood and interpreted in light of Resolution D025.

The letter also states that the Episcopal Church “is deeply and genuinely committed to our relationships in the Anglican Communion.” It also says, “In adopting this Resolution, it is not our desire to give offense. We remain keenly aware of the concerns and sensibilities of our brothers and sisters in other Churches across the Communion. We believe also that the honesty reflected in this resolution is essential if indeed we are to live into the deep communion that we all profess
and earnestly desire.”

The letter expresses the profound appreciation of the Presiding Officers that Archbishop Williams, 16 Anglican Primates, and lay and clergy leaders of the Anglican Communion attended the General Convention and stressed the importance of finding ways to communicate directly about different cultural and ecclesial contexts.

The letter to Archbishop Williams was hand-delivered. Copies of the letter were emailed to the Primates and to Anglican lay and clergy leaders on July 17, and were distributed to the House of Bishops and House of Deputies.

General Convention 2009 continues until July 17 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California (Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles).

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention, held every three years, is the bicameral governing body of the church. General Convention, the second largest legislative body in the world, is comprised of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 members, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay representatives from the 110 dioceses, at over 850 members.

16 July 2009

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Rowan Williams
Lambeth Palace
London

Dear Archbishop Williams,

We are writing to you as the Presiding Officers of the two Houses of The General Convention of The Episcopal Church. As your friends in Christ, we remain deeply grateful to you for your gracious presence among us recently during our 76th General Convention in Anaheim.

As you know, The General Convention voted this week to adopt Resolution D025, “Commitment and Witness to the Anglican Communion”—a multilayered resolution that addresses a range of important issues in the life of The Episcopal Church that clearly have implications for our relationships within the Anglican Communion.

Because this action is already being variously interpreted by different individuals and groups, we want to offer our perspective to you with the hope that some background, context, and information will be helpful in understanding this action of our General Convention. If you have not already had an opportunity to read it, a copy of the resolution is attached.

We understand Resolution D025 to be more descriptive than prescriptive in nature—a statement that reaffirms commitments already made by The Episcopal Church and that acknowledges certain realities of our common life. Nothing in the Resolution goes beyond what has already been provided under our Constitution and Canons for many years. In reading the resolution, you will note its key points, that:

  • Our Church is deeply and genuinely committed to our relationships in the Anglican Communion;
  • We recognize the contributions gay and lesbian Christians, members of our Church both lay and ordained, have made and continue to make to our common life and ministry;
  • Our Church can and does bear witness to the fact that many of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters live in faithful, monogamous, lifelong and life-giving committed relationships;
  • While ordination is not a “right” guaranteed to any individual, access to our Church’s discernment and ordination process is open to all baptized members according to our Constitution and Canons; and
  • Members of The Episcopal Church do, in fact, disagree faithfully and conscientiously about issues of human sexuality.

It is important to understand the process through which this Resolution came into being.

In 2006, the 75th General Convention adopted Resolution B033 which “called upon Standing Committees and Bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider Church and will lead to further strains on communion.”

While adoption of that resolution was offered with a genuine desire “to embrace The Windsor Report’s invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation” within the Anglican Communion, it has also been a source of strain within the life of our own Church.

This year at least sixteen resolutions were submitted asking the 76th General Convention to take further action regarding B033. These resolutions fell into three categories—those calling for the repeal of B033; those restating or seeking to strengthen our Church’s nondiscrimination Canons; and those stating where The Episcopal Church is today. From these options, our General Convention chose the third—along with reaffirming our commitments to the Anglican Communion—with the hope that such authenticity would contribute to deeper conversation in these matters.

The complex and deliberative nature of our legislative process involving bishops, lay deputies, and clerical deputies prevents the General Convention from acting rashly. However, it does lead eventually to a profound consensus. Sometimes this consensus takes years to achieve. As Resolution D025 itself states, we are still not all of one mind. Passage of this Resolution represents another step in a conversation that began with the 65th General Convention in 1976 which stated that homosexual persons are “children of God and have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church.” The discussion of these issues has continued consistently through every General Convention for the past thirty-three years, and we understand it to be an important contribution to the listening process invited by the successive Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988, and 1998.

Some are concerned that the adoption of Resolution D025 has effectively repealed Resolution B033. That is not the case. This General Convention has not repealed Resolution B033. It remains to be seen how Resolution B033 will be understood and interpreted in light of Resolution D025.

Some within our Church may understand Resolution D025 to give Standing Committees (made up of elected clergy and laity) and Bishops with jurisdiction more latitude in consenting to episcopal elections. Others, in light of Resolution B033, will not. In either case, we trust that the Bishops and Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church will continue to exercise prayerful discernment in making such decisions, mindful and appreciative of our relationships in the Anglican Communion.

In adopting this Resolution, it is not our desire to give offense. We remain keenly aware of the concerns and sensibilities of our brothers and sisters in other Churches across the Communion. We believe also that the honesty reflected in this resolution is essential if indeed we are to live into the deep communion that we all profess and earnestly desire.

Please know that we continue to hold you in our prayers even as we invite yours for us.
We remain,

Faithfully,

Your sisters in Christ,

Bonnie Anderson, D.D.
President of The House of Deputies

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
——————————————————————————-
TO THE PRIMATES OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION:

15 July 2009

Dear Brothers in Christ,

My heart was filled with joy at seeing so many of you here last week at the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church meeting in Anaheim, California. It is important to me that we continue to find ways to communicate with one another directly about our different cultural and ecclesial contexts, and thereby prevent any misunderstandings.

For this reason, I am sending you a copy of a letter addressed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and co-signed by myself and the President of our House of Deputies. It outlines in some detail Resolution D025, which was adopted at this Convention, explaining both what this resolution means and what it does not mean. With so much misinformation circulating through the press and other sources, it is crucial to me that I provide the Archbishop and all of you with accurate information. To this end, I am also attaching a copy of Resolution D025, so that you may read it in its entirety for yourself.

As the attached letter notes, some people have been concerned that the adoption of D025 has effectively repealed the 2006 General Convention Resolution B033. Let me stress that this is not the case. Rather, we understand D025 to be more descriptive than prescriptive in nature, acknowledging the realities we face in various parts of our own Church while reaffirming our ongoing commitment on all levels to our relationships within the Anglican Communion.

I would welcome any questions or feedback you might have, and reiterate yet again my profound appreciation and joy at having so many of you with us as we gathered as a Church to worship, fellowship, and deliberate together. May God continue to bless your ministries and strengthen our bonds of affection.

Your servant in Christ,
[signed] Katharine Jefferts Schori

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General Convention update

Updated Friday evening

Resolution C056 reported earlier when it passed the House of Bishops, will be considered by the House of Deputies at 0930 California time.

Meanwhile, a group of bishops has issued a statement. The list of names is not yet available but their number is said to be in excess of 20. The full text is below the fold.

The ENS report on this is here: West Texas bishop drafts ‘Anaheim Statement,’ reaffirms moratoria commitment.

The Church Times carries this report of earlier events: Gay bishops more likely after US passes ‘nuanced’ motion.

And published this leader: Schism must not be allowed to happen.

Friday evening update

Here is the press release from West Texas. Still no list of names.

Religious Intelligence George Conger US vote ‘not a snub to Archbishop of Canterbury

Episcopal Café Richard Helmer Eyes on the floor: Matters of conscience, matters of psyche

New York Times Laurie Goodstein Episcopals’ First Openly Gay Bishop Speaks

The Anaheim Statement, General Convention, 2009

At this convention, the House of Bishops has heard repeated calls for honesty and clarity. As the conversation has proceeded within the HOB, repeated attempts to modify wording which would have been preferable to the minority in the vote were respectfully heard and discussed, but in the end most of these amendments were found unacceptable to the majority in the House. Many in the majority believed the amendments would make the stated position of this House less honest about where they believe we are as The Episcopal Church.

It is apparent that a substantial majority of this Convention believes that The Episcopal Church should move forward on matters of human sexuality. We recognize this reality and understand the clarity with which the majority has expressed itself. We are grateful for those who have reached out to the minority, affirming our place in the Church.

We seek to provide the same honesty and clarity. We invite all bishops who share the following commitments to join us in this statement as we seek to find a place in the Church we continue to serve.

  • We reaffirm our constituent membership in the Anglican Communion, our communion with the See of Canterbury and our commitment to preserving these relationships.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them (BCP 526, 538)
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the Anglican Communion Covenant process currently underway, with the hope of working toward its implementation across the Communion once a Covenant is completed.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship” which is foundational to our baptismal covenant, and to be one with the apostles in “interpreting the Gospel” which is essential to our work as bishops of the Church of God.
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CofE and the Church of Sweden

My report for the Church Times on this subject is published today. It can be read at
English bishops say Swedish proposal redefines marriage.

For the General Synod questions which announced this to the world, go here.

For the original of the CofE letter, see this PDF file.

Other reports covering this:

George Conger Religious Intelligence English Church attacks Swedish same-sex blessing move

Ruth Gledhill also dealt with it towards the end of her blog entry Princely Bishop of Durham rides to the rescue.

Since all these articles were written, there have been reports in the Swedish press too. The following are in English:

Stockholm News The Anglican Church criticizes homosexual marriage in Sweden

The Local Anglo-Swedish rift over church gay marriage

….Sven Thidevall, the Church of Sweden’s bishop in Växjö in south central Sweden, was surprised by the letter, which he called “not especially flattering”.

He interpreted it as a warning that Sweden’s church risks being isolated if it moves forward with the proposal.

“How we handle the marriage question affects so much more than how we refer to same-sex church weddings,” he said in a statement.

“Now it’s also about our place in the community of Christian churches.”

Thidevall went on to say that, while he is in favour of the proposal to allow same-sex couples to be wed in Churches, he thinks it’s important for the Church of Sweden to listen to other churches.

“The Church of England has made some polite but critical reflections on how the Swedish church is addressing important theological questions,” he said.

“We need to listen carefully to our sister churches before we decide how we can best do things. What else is a communion of churches for anyway?”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 17 July 2009 at 7:36am BST | Comments (34) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 16 July 2009

Further views on D025 and Tom Wright

Updated again Thursday evening

Scott Gunn has written at Seven whole days When Tom Wright gets it totally wrong….

Nicholas Knisely has written at Covenant D025, the blogsphere and the House of Bishops, and also Wait…, what?

Ann Rodgers has written for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopalian gay bishops decision confounds activists

And now, here comes Stephen Bates at Cif belief with The Anglican church’s crumbling foundations.

…As it is, this week’s Anaheim resolution will probably become the occasion for a split in the ranks of worldwide Anglicanism, the third largest Christian denomination. The Americans insist they don’t want it and indeed it has almost exclusively been the church’s conservative, largely evangelical, movements and pressure groups which do and have done all along.

The conservative forces are ready to go and have their organisations and lobbyists already in place and flexing their muscles, keen to take over the communion and reshape it in their image – though, interestingly, the conservatives are already falling out among themselves, united in what they oppose rather than what they agree. In England certainly if the conservative evangelicals get their way the established church will look very different from the broad, tolerant institution that it has been up till now – even Tom Wright might find himself anathematised. Some of them insist that the 17th-century Reformation did not go far enough and needs to be finished, which may come as a surprise to the high church Anglo-Catholics with whom they have allied, whose dearest wish is to reunite with Rome. Perhaps someone should tell them…

Afternoon update

Some more British journalists:

Ruth Gledhill has Anglican schism: Is this it? and earlier had Princely Bishop of Durham rides to the rescue.

And Gay marriage approval sounds death knell for Anglican unity (this relates to C056 approval which still needs concurrence in the HoDeputies, but never mind.)

Jonathan Wynne-Jones has Anglican schism means Archbishop Rowan must act.

Evening update

Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury faces final divide in Anglican Communion over gay clergy

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Now on to C056

The American House of Bishops has passed a resolution relating to same-sex blessings.

Here is the text of what they approved. (This still has to go to the House of Deputies.)

The voting on this was 104-30 with two abstentions.

ENS reports at Bishops call for ‘resources’ for same-gender blessing. Comments on this from numerous bishops are included.

The Living Church reports this as Bishops Call for Development of Liturgies for Same-Sex Blessings.

The Associated Press reports it as Episcopal bishops OK prayer for gay couples.

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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

more about D025

First, the House of Deputies has concurred in the version that was previously approved by the bishops.

Here is the final version of the Resolution. It’s worth reading the text in full, including the Explanation.

ENS reports this (taken from the PDF file of the Convention Daily, inexplicably this story is not yet on the ENS website):

Convention passes Resolution D025
By Melodie Woerman

The House of Deputies July 14 concurred with the House of Bishops in their action on Resolution D025 and passed it as amended.

The resolution affirms that ordination is available to anyone in the church through the discernment process outlined in the Constitution and Canons of the church. It also said that God’s call to ordination is a mystery and reaffirmed the Episcopal Church’s participation in the Anglican Communion, while noting that the communion is not of one mind on this matter.

The resolution passed in a vote by orders called for early in the debate. The final vote in the lay order was 78 yes, 21 no and 9 divided. In the clergy order the vote was 77 yes, 19 no and 11 divided. A simple majority – 55 votes among laity and 56 among clergy – was required for the resolution to pass.

This vote followed previous action on D025 July 12 that was passed by deputies with a 2-1 majority. Because the resolution passed with an amendment by the bishops July 13, deputies had to vote on the amended version in order for the resolution to be adopted.

In the debate leading up to this vote, the Very Rev. Philip Lindner (Upper South Carolina) said the time for this action had arrived. “I saw our passage of D025 as our acknowledgement of what is – a way forward that is not perfect but is nonetheless a way for us to state boldly that we as Anglicans, as Episcopalians, are now recommitting to our faith and love in Jesus Christ now with a desire to fully focus on mission and ministry in his name.”

Grace Aheron, a member of the Official Youth Presence from the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, noted that the house already had spoken and needed to reaffirm that vote. “It is time to move past this resolution,” she said. “This house has already decisively spoken. I ask you to quickly pass this resolution again. There are many other issues requiring our attention, and we have delayed this long enough. The debate is over, and it’s time to vote. As we say in Virginia, let’s get ‘er done.”

Two other members of the Official Youth Presence urged the resolution be defeated. Michael Sahdev of Southeast Florida said, “I am extremely worried about the future of this church and what will happen to it. We already have lost so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please, I beg and plead of you, don’t leave me and my generation with half a church or no church at all.” Zach Brown of Upper South Carolina said, “I fear more conservative members will leave our church. My fear is that parishes and dioceses will leave our church. Without the communion’s unity, the Episcopal Church will gradually diminish.”

However, ENS has published this roundup of responses to the action of the bishops: Resolution D025 draws mixed responses. This reveals a variety of opinions about what the resolution does and does not do with reference to the B033 “moratorium” resolution of 2006.

Kendall Harmon has an opinion, see Kendall Harmon on D025.

Mark Harris also has an opinion: The Vote, Canterbury’s uninformed reaction.

See also Terry Martin D025: An Honest Statement.

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more on General Synod

ENS Matthew Davies Archbishop addresses synod on Anglican Communion issues. This is the most detailed report yet of this agenda item.

ENS Trevor Grundy Synod rejects cuts for ‘top heavy’ church

Also, there are several posts on the General Synod Blog from Justin Brett and Alastair Cutting.

Justin also blogs here. And has an additional guest posting here.

BBC Robert Pigott Faith Diary: ‘Open your wallet’

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Times leader praises Episcopal Church decision

The article on D025 yesterday included a link to this Times leader , but it might get overlooked in the long list there. This is part of the context for Tom Wright’s op-ed article.

Honest to God

The consecration of homosexual bishops is a matter of justice

The Episcopal Church in the United States voted last week to overturn a moratorium on the ordination of gay bishops. Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, told the General Synod yesterday that he regretted that decision.

The ground of Dr Williams’s concern is clear. Since his enthronement six years ago, he has sought to preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion. He spoke last week of his hopes and prayers that “there won’t be decisions in the coming days that will push us further apart”.

It is a noble aim to maintain a federation of 38 autonomous churches united by tradition. But Dr Williams’s appeal for restraint is ultimately untenable. It cannot override a simple and direct acknowledgment that homosexual clergy, including bishops, belong in the Church.

Dr Williams should state that principle, even aware of its divisiveness. Churches that insist on the inerrant word of Scripture, notably the Pauline epistles, will not accept the consecration of open homosexuals. Yet social attitudes to homosexuality have shifted radically in the past generation. The sources of Christian inspiration are diverse. They do not derive only from a private response to Scripture.

It is possible to maintain that the Episcopal Church has been impolitic in its vote, but still maintain that it is right. A united Anglican witness to the nation and to the world is a valuable civic as well as religious resource. Those member Churches, including many in Africa, who conscientiously cannot accept homosexual bishops, should not have appointments forced upon them. But the issue is not one of denominational preference alone. It is also a matter of justice.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Episcopal Church bishops pass D025

Updated again late Tuesday evening

Here is the text of Resolution D025, as amended, and then passed by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church.

Commitment and Witness to Anglican Communion.

ENS news story: Bishops approve resolution opening ordination to gays, lesbians Headline later changed to read: Bishops affirm openness of ordination process

Bishops voted 99-45, with two abstentions, for the revised resolution, which goes to the House of Deputies world mission legislative committee. The committee must make a recommendation to the full house about whether to concur in the amended resolution, amend it further, or defeat it, according to Deputy Sally Johnson (Minnesota).

The bishops amended the fourth resolve, which originally read “that the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church which call is tested through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.” They inserted the words “and that God’s call to the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church is a mystery which the church attempts to discern for all people” after the words “to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church” and deleted “which call is tested.”

Church Times blog has some more here.

First update 10 am Tuesday

Associated Press Rachel Zoll Episcopal church to affirm gay clergy

BBC US Church drops gay bishops ban

press release from Integrity Bishops Vote For “No Outcasts”

Second update 6.30 pm Tuesday

press release from Fulcrum Fulcrum Press Statement on the decision by the House of Bishops of TEC to pass D025

The Times
leading article: Honest to God
Ruth Gledhill Schism ‘inevitable’ after US bishops approve gay ordination

Guardian Riazat Butt and agencies US Episcopal church bishops vote for ordaining gay clergy

Los Angeles Times Episcopal Church, at Anaheim convention, moves to end ban on gay bishops

New York Times Laurie Goodstein Episcopal Church Moves to End Ban on Gay Bishops

Episcopal Café How to interpret D025, and its consequences and also Updated, but imperfect roll call

Third update 10.30 pm Tuesday

Cif belief Savitri Hensman Episcopals vote for inclusion

Ekklesia Savitri Hensman US Anglicans forty years after Stonewall

The Times Tom Wright The Americans know this will end in schism

press release Anglican Mainstream Anglican Mainstream responds to decision of TEC House of Bishops to overturn moratorium on consecrating bishops in same-sex relationships

press release Anglican Communion Institute Statement on the Repudiation of B033

Living Church George Conger News Analysis: Passage of D025 May Place TEC Outside Communion

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Monday, 13 July 2009

ACNA and FCA

Updated - now 8 bishops

The Private Members Motion which has been tabled at the General Synod reads as follows.

Anglican Church in North America
Mrs Lorna Ashworth (Chichester) to move:

‘That this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America.’

This has signatures from over 100 synod members including these bishops:

Blackburn
Winchester
Europe
Rochester
Beverley
Burnley

Also:

Ely
Willesden

For an explanation of the PMM process, see here.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Sherborne has written about FCA at Cif belief. Read The Queen, the church and the Fellowship.

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GS and GC: press reports Monday evening

George Pitcher wrote at the Telegraph Sack the bishops and make them earn their livings.

Riazat Butt wrote in the Guardian Vote on gay bishops threatens archbishop with another schism.

And at Cif belief General synod: the tightrope walk continues.

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General Synod: Monday

Here’s the official report: General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Monday 13th July 2009

It includes, as usual, complete audio recordings of each session.

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Clergy Discipline Measure

On Monday afternoon Synod debated a diocesan synod motion about some perceived shortcomings in the Clergy Discipline Measure.

The Revd Prebendary David Houlding moved on behalf of the London Diocesan Synod:

That this Synod whilst recognizing the need for discipline in the exercise of ordained ministry nonetheless note with grave concern and regret the pastoral implications of the new Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 and request the Archbishops’ Council at the earliest possible opportunity to review its practical outworkings and with reference in particular to the attached Code of Practice.

His Honour Judge John Bullimore (Wakefield) moved as an amendment:

Leave out all the words after “exercise of ordained ministry” and insert:
“(a) note the concerns that exist about aspects of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 (especially as regards the perceived pastoral implications of the Code of Practice made under it);
(b) welcome the response by the Clergy Discipline Commission to its consultation on aspects of the Measure (circulated as GS 1747B); and
(c) invite the Archbishops’ Council to seek a report from the Commission before the end of the quinquennium on whether there is a case for bringing forward, early in the lifetime of the next Synod, draft legislation to amend the Measure or amendments to the Code of Practice.”.

Synod voted in favour of Judge Bullimore’s amendment.

As a result the substantive motion became:

That this Synod whilst recognizing the need for discipline in the exercise of ordained ministry
(a) note the concerns that exist about aspects of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 (especially as regards the perceived pastoral implications of the Code of Practice made under it);
(b) welcome the response by the Clergy Discipline Commission to its consultation on aspects of the Measure (circulated as GS 1747B); and
(c) invite the Archbishops’ Council to seek a report from the Commission before the end of the quinquennium on whether there is a case for bringing forward, early in the lifetime of the next Synod, draft legislation to amend the Measure or amendments to the Code of Practice.

The amended motion was carried on a show of hands.

Background paper
A note from the Clergy Discipline Commission (GS 1747B)

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Synod votes not to move backwards

This morning Synod debated some changes to the Church Representation Rules. One of these turned out to be controversial. This was to repeal the provision that dioceses should provide candidates in elections to General Synod with a list of e-mail addresses of electors (where available). The reasons for this were set out in an Explanatory Memorandum from which the following is the relevant extract.

13. Paragraph 6 gives effect to recommendation (g) of the report, to the effect that the requirement contained in Rule 39(5)(b) CRR and Rule 20(3)(b) Clergy Representation Rules to supply candidates in elections to the General Synod with e-mail addresses should be repealed.

14. In the elections to General Synod in 2005 a number of dioceses had noted with concern the impact of the Data Protection Act in relation to the new requirement to communicate electors’ e-mail addresses to candidates where electors had authorised the use of such an address. Those implications arose in terms of (a) the need for the explicit consent of individual electors to be obtained to allow their e-mail addresses to be circulated to candidates and (b) the need to protect electors from subsequent over disclosure of their e-mail addresses by candidates. The Group took the view that the requirement to supply e-mail addresses placed a disproportionate cost on dioceses in relation to the theoretical benefit that might be gained if a candidate asked for the list, as the sparsity of email addresses made it ineffective as a resource for electioneering purposes. Additionally, while everyone had a postal address of some kind, there were still people who did not have e-mail addresses, and so it would be impossible to require either electors or candidates to provide them.

Synod members argued that this was a backward move and did not agree that the practical problems were good enough reason to stop making e-mail addresses available. The proposal was thrown out.

Note: In elections to General Synod candidates can send a two-page election address to each elector at the expense of the diocese. Candidates are also entitled to a list of names and addresses of electors so that they can send out further election material at their own expense. The number of electors in each constituency is typically several hundred.

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ABC reacts to news from General Convention

Updated Monday afternoon

ENS reports that Deputies support fully inclusive ordination process, ongoing commitment to communion.

The House of Deputies by more than a 2-1 margin adopted a resolution July 12 that declares the ordination process of the Episcopal Church open to all individuals while expressing its ongoing commitment to the Anglican Communion.

The vote was 77-31 in the lay order and 74-25 in the clergy order. It now goes to the House of Bishops, where it must be passed to be enacted.

Resolution D025 was created as a response to resolution B033, which was adopted in the waning hours of the 2006 General Convention and urged restraint concerning the election of bishops whose “manner of life” would cause offense to the wider Anglican Communion. That was widely believed specifically to refer to gays and lesbians in committed same-sex relationships.

Ruth Gledhill has a comprehensive report on what the Archbishop of Canterbury said during the first item of business on Monday.

Archbishop of Canterbury ‘regrets’ TEC move to gay ordination.

Responding to a question by Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream, Dr Williams said: ‘As for General Convention it remains to be seen I think whether the vote of the House of Deputies will be endorsed by the House of Bishops. If the House of Bishops chooses to block then the moratorium remains. I regret the fact that there is not the will to observe the moratorium in such a significant part of the Church in North America but I can’t say more about that as I have no details.’ Dr Williams also responded to concerns about the funding for the ‘listening process’ saying that he had been personally involved in securing that funding and had been completely unaware of any ‘agenda’ attached to the funding.

The Church Times blog has a good report on the story from General Convention, see House of Deputies affirms ministry of gay and lesbian persons.

Updates Monday afternoon

The Times Ruth Gledhill Schism closer as US Anglicans vote to overturn ban on gay ordinations

Guardian Riazat Butt Archbishop of Canterbury ‘regrets’ move to ordain gay bishops

Press Association Martha Linden Archbishop’s ‘regret’ over US decision over gay bishops

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General Synod: Questions about Church of Sweden

Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield) asked the Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:

Q. Has the Council considered the implications from the point of view of the Porvoo Agreement of the announcement by the Church of Sweden that it is going to change its marriage service to take a gender neutral form so that the same form of service can be offered to same-sex couples as to heterosexual couples?

The Bishop of Guildford, Christopher Hill, replied:

A. The Church of Sweden has not yet taken a decision in response to recent state legislation providing for gender neutral marriage. The Synod meets in September and again in October and there is a proposal before it that the marriage liturgy should not be gender-specific. In the light of a letter from the Archbishop of Uppsala advising the Porvoo churches of likely developments in the legislature and the Swedish Synod, the Faith and Order Advisory Group considered the issues raised by this proposal at its last meeting and the Chairs of the CCU and FOAG have published an open letter to the Archbishop reflecting FOAG’s concerns about the implications of any revision of its marriage liturgy by the Church of Sweden. This letter is now on the Church of England website and I have arranged for a copy to be placed on the notice board.

PDF version of the letter mentioned above

Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield) asked the Chairman of the Council of Christian Unity:

Q. In the light of the considerable difficulties experienced in the Anglican Communion following the consecration of a practicing homosexual as a bishop, has the Council considered the implications of the recent decision by the Church of Sweden to appoint a practising lesbian as a bishop?

The Bishop of Guildford replied:

A. The Council for Christian Unity has not had the opportunity to reflect on this recent development. When it does so it will need to consider the similarities and differences between the Anglican Communion and the communion of Porvoo Churches. However, in both contexts, the interchangeability of ordained ministries is subject to the discipline of the churches involved, which in the case of the Church of England is the discipline set out in the Revd Tony Higton’s 1988 General Synod motion and in the 1991 report Issues in Human Sexuality. The CCU has proposed that there should be a consultation next year in which the Porvoo churches share the work they have done in human sexuality and the doctrine of marriage, in order to see where there is common ground and where there are genuine differences between them.

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General Convention: Windsor and ACNA and the CofE

Two reports from ECUSA General Convention, related to polity issues:

Episcopal Cafe reports The remarks of Dr. Jenny Te Paa to the House of Deputies.

…It may be worth my repeating here something I said the other day in my contribution to the Chicago Consultation luncheon event at which I spoke. I was sharing in all humility one of my deepest regrets (one that I know is shared by other Commissioners) that as members of the Lambeth Commission we were never fully apprised of the full facts of your polity and in particular of the limits to the power of the office of Presiding Bishop.

As a result of that crucial gap in knowledge and understanding it is my belief that the very unfair, in fact the odious myth of ‘The Episcopal Church acting (in the matter of the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson) with typical unchecked US imperialism’, was more readily enabled and abetted to grow wings and fly unchecked for way too long across the reaches of the Anglican Communion.

It was only in hindsight as a number of us as Commissioners managed to catch our breath, to compare notes and to consult with our trusted Episcopal Church sisters and brothers that I realized, that we realized, to our utterly deserved chagrin that we had perhaps failed albeit inadvertently to prevent something of the unprecedented vilification of the Episcopal Church and especially of its leadership that inevitably resulted…

George Conger writing for the Washington Times reports in Episcopal bishop warns of further schism

The presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church warned the Church of England not to foment schism in America, responding to a threat made over the possibility that the U.S. church will start ordaining actively gay bishops.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said Sunday, in response to questions from The Washington Times, that calls by conservatives in the Church of England for recognition of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) over gay-related issues would wound her church, already split by the secession of conservative dioceses and congregations to form the ACNA.

She urged Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to remember the “pain of many Episcopalians in several places of being shut out of their traditional worship spaces, and the broken relationships, the damaged relationships between people who have gone and people who have stayed.”

“Recognition of something like ACNA is unfortunately likely only to encourage” further secessions, she said, reminding the Church of England that “schism is not a Christian act…”

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Sunday, 12 July 2009

Winchester views the Equality Bill

Jonathan Petre at the Daily Mail has a report: ‘Britain has become a cold place for Christians’ - Bishop warns.

A leading Church of England Bishop has warned that Britain has become a ‘cold place’ for Christians because of a raft of controversial equality laws.

The Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt, criticised the new Equality Bill, due to be law next year, which will force religious organisations that regard same-sex relationships as sinful to employ gay workers.

In a foreword to a report by the pressure group Christian Action Research and Education, the Bishop wrote: ‘The sad fact is that Britain – which owes so much to its Christian heritage – is increasingly becoming a “cold” place which, as any reflection on the fruit of Christian good works will demonstrate, is not in the general interest of society.’

He said there appeared to be a ‘concerted’ attack on the rights of Christians and when there were clashes, gay rights triumphed.

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General Synod: Sunday

Official report of the day is at General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Sunday 12th July 2009.

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Greenbelt, CMS, Rochester

Dave Walker has the report: Anglican Mainstream attacks Greenbelt and CMS.

As Anglican Mainstream mentions the Moral Maze radio programme, readers may wish to listen to the most recent edition. Here is the synopsis:

Michael Buerk chairs a debate on the moral questions behind the week’s news. Claire Fox, Michael Portillo, Clifford Longley and Kenan Malik cross-examine witnesses.

While Conservative and Labour politicians are trading insults with each other in a bid to win over the ‘gay vote’, the Bishop of Rochester has taken a different tack. With the rainbow bunting from London’s Pride festival hardly yet packed away, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said homosexuals should change and repent their sin.

The Church of England has been embroiled in a doctrinal battle over sexuality since the ordination of the first openly homosexual bishop in 2003. The Bishop of Rochester was speaking just before the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, a conservative group in the Church of England. ‘We want to hold on to the traditional teachings of the Church. We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church.’ Well, despite Michael Nazir-Ali’s attempts to clarify his position, saying that we all need to repent for straying from God’s purpose for us, it hasn’t stopped the accusations of homophobia…

Listen here for another six days.

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Episcopal and Senior Church Appointments

As its last item of business on Sunday afternoon Synod considered a diocesan synod motion from Bradford.

The Revd Dr John Hartley (Bradford) moved on behalf of the Bradford Diocesan Synod:

That this Synod request the Archbishops’ Council to formulate proposals for reductions in the numbers of episcopal and senior clergy posts, taking into account reductions for the number of stipendiary clergy since 1979; and submit a report with recommendations to the General Synod within three years.

Canon Dr Christina Baxter (Southwell & Nottingham) moved as an amendment:

Leave out all the words after “That this Synod” and insert
“, welcoming
(a) the recent establishment of the new Dioceses Commission;
(b) the decision of the House of Bishops to decouple, from January 2011, national support for episcopal ministry from actual episcopal numbers; and
(c) the intention of the Archbishops’ Council later this year to begin consideration of future policy on the number of bishops and dioceses,
invite the Archbishops’ Council to prepare for the new Synod in November 2010 a progress report on the delivery of changes to the present pattern of dioceses and of episcopal deployment.”.

Dr Baxter’s amendment was carried on a show of hands.

The Revd Jonathan Clark (London) moved as an amendment:

At the end insert “and request the Faith and Order Advisory Group (or its successor body) to present to this Synod early in the next quinquennium a report:
(i) bringing together existing material in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion relating to the exercise of senior leadership in the Church; and
(ii) setting out biblical and theological perspectives to inform the Church’s developing patterns of senior leadership.”.

Mr Clark’s amendment was carried on a show of hands.

Following the two amendments the substantive motion became.

That this Synod, welcoming
(a) the recent establishment of the new Dioceses Commission;
(b) the decision of the House of Bishops to decouple, from January 2011, national support for episcopal ministry from actual episcopal numbers; and
(c) the intention of the Archbishops’ Council later this year to begin consideration of future policy on the number of bishops and dioceses,
invite the Archbishops’ Council to prepare for the new Synod in November 2010 a progress report on the delivery of changes to the present pattern of dioceses and of episcopal deployment and request the Faith and Order Advisory Group (or its successor body) to present to this Synod early in the next quinquennium a report:
(i) bringing together existing material in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion relating to the exercise of senior leadership in the Church; and
(ii) setting out biblical and theological perspectives to inform the Church’s developing patterns of senior leadership.”.

The amended substantive motion was carried on a show of hands.

Background papers
Note from the Diocese of Bradford (GS 1733A)
Note from the Dioceses Commission (GS 1733B)

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General Synod: Review of Constitutions

On Sunday afternoon Synod debated a report Review of Constitutions (GS 1737) that proposed replacing most Church of England central boards and committees by a lead person supported by a small reference group.

Canon Dr Christina Baxter (Southwell and Nottingham), who chaired the group that produced the report, moved:

‘That this Synod
(a) welcome the further report of the Constitutions Review Group (GS 1737);
(b) endorse the recommendations set out in Annex 1 of the report; and
(c) invite the Archbishops’ Council and the Standing Orders Committee to take the steps necessary to give effect to those recommendations.’

Dr Philip Giddings (Oxford) moved as an amendment:

Leave out all the words after “That this Synod” and insert
“(a) decline to endorse the proposals set out in GS 1737; and
(b) request the Archbishops’ Council, after consultation with the boards and councils concerned, to produce revised proposals which:
(i) provide for the participation of elected Synod members in deliberation and policy-formation as well as in scrutiny and accountability; and
(ii) reflect the individual remits and sets of stake-holders of each area of activity.”

Dr Giddings’ amendment was carried on a show of hands.

As a result the substantive motion became:

That this Synod
(a) decline to endorse the proposals set out in GS 1737; and
(b) request the Archbishops’ Council, after consultation with the boards and councils concerned, to produce revised proposals which:
(i) provide for the participation of elected Synod members in deliberation and policy-formation as well as in scrutiny and accountability; and
(ii) reflect the individual remits and sets of stake-holders of each area of activity.

The amended motion was then carried on a show of hands.

Note: The report GS 1737 is not available online.

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General Synod: press reports Sunday

Updated Sunday afternoon

Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones
Church accuses Government of favouring Muslims

Archbishop of Canterbury in bid to prevent church split over homosexuality

BBC Church to consider fewer bishops

Press Association via Independent Synod to debate calls to sack bishops

Press Association Clergy retirement age may increase

There is also an excellent piece about the Synod on the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme, link via this page.

Afternoon Update

Not strictly a report from General Synod, but very interesting:
Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre Bishops ‘will lose right to vote’ in Labour’s reform of Lords

The Times Ruth Gledhill Dr John Sentamu warns of dangers of power as Church seeks cetralisation

Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of York compares teen murder victims to John the Baptist

Living Church George Conger Motion in English Synod to Recognize ACNA

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Saturday, 11 July 2009

Bishops contribute to debate on Waddington

In the debate on retaining the “Waddington amendment” reported earlier, the bishops of Chichester and Winchester both made speeches.

Hansard reports the full texts:
Bishop of Chichester

Bishop of Winchester

Here’s an extract from his contribution:

…The question that we are facing in this debate is accurately described as one of free speech. What is at stake is whether your Lordships’ House and this Parliament intend to outlaw open discussion and teaching, not just among Christians but among others, of views that differ from the currently dominant political orthodoxy, and therefore privilege, in the face of others, that currently dominant orthodoxy. To be explicit, I mean the orthodoxy that sexual preference is as innate and fixed as ethnicity, and that sexual preference or orientation is more akin to ethnicity than to religious belief. That is the current political orthodoxy that lies behind the Government’s Clause 61. People of all sorts in this country need to be assured, peaceably and quietly, whether on street corners, in churches, mosques, synagogues or wherever, that they are free to express views that others may strongly disagree with but which question the current dominant political orthodoxy.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill: The right reverend Prelate had the good fortune not to hear what I had to say. I first reassure him that I believe everything he just said to be amply protected by the law. Secondly, although he refers to what he calls “current political orthodoxy”, surely even a Lord Spiritual would accept that there is scientific evidence to show that the reason why people are gay is innate and not to do with some kind of personal choice.

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: No. My own studies, which I suspect are comparable to that of the noble Lord in these matters, suggest that that is the case for some of those who understand themselves to be gay but for others it may not be. Substantial scientific, psychological and medical research points to the statement that I made a moment ago. That is why I say that this question is by no means settled. To pass law on the assumption that we can use the language of sexual orientation and believe that we are talking about something that is absolutely fixed and clear, as ethnicity might be thought to be, is a mistaken political orthodoxy…

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General Synod: Equality Bill

Mr Clive Scowen (London) asked the Secretary General:

Q. Have any representations been made to HM Government, or briefings given to members of Parliament and peers, concerning the Equality Bill currently before Parliament, in particular relating to the likely impact of its provisions on Christian employers wishing to recruit committed disciples of Christ wishing to fashion their lives according to biblical precepts and, if so, what in outline was the substance of those submissions and briefings?

Mr William Fittall replied:

A. There is a copy on the Church of England website of the substantial submission produced by the Archbishops’ Council in response to the Government’s earlier consultation exercise. We produced a briefing document for MPs for the Second reading of the Bill and I gave oral evidence to the Bill Committee on 9 June at which, with representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Board of Deputies I argued strongly against the narrowing of the provisions for religious organisation in relation to employment. Our lobbying, in partnership with others, continues both publicly and privately.

Two supplementaries were asked:

  • The first one asked if there was any evidence of the effect of this lobbying? My contemporaneous note summarises the reply as “We are still at an early stage of this bill, nothing more until November, hard to predict…” but I have not yet been able to listen to the audio to check this for accuracy.
  • The second question asked why the CofE thought the bill constituted a narrowing of the existing law, particularly in light of the Amicus decision of 2004? This was ruled out of order by the chair, on the grounds that it was asking for an expression of opinion.

The materials mentioned by Mr Fittall can be found:

Submission to the earlier consultation (A Framework for Fairness)

Briefing for 2nd Reading

Oral evidence on 9 June

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General Synod: Questions about ACNA

The Revd Angus MacLeay (Rochester) asked the Chairman of the House of Bishops:

Q. What representation did the House of Bishops have at the recent inauguration of Bishop Bob Duncan as the Primate of the Anglican Church of North America on June 24?

The Bishop of Bristol replied on behalf of the Chairman:

A. None. It is not the practice of the House to arrange such representation.

Mrs Lorna Ashworth (Chichester) asked the Chairman of the House of Bishops:

Q. Has the House of Bishops considered the relationship of the Church of England to the new Anglican Church in North America?

Mrs Alison Ruoff (London) asked the Chairman of the Ministry Division:

Q. Has the House of Bishops considered what degree of recognition and welcome the Church of England can offer to the new Anglican Church in North America?

The Bishop of Bristol, Michael Hill, replied to both these questions:

A. The House has not specifically considered this matter.

Supplementary questions were asked. These revealed, according to my contemporaneous notes, that:

  • The HoB Theology Group had that same day tabled the ACNA Constitution and Canons for future consideration (according to Bishop Tom Wright)
  • The question of who can properly consider the issue of recognition was, said the Bishop of Bristol, something that should be considered by the House of Bishops in the first instance, but no precedents exist.
  • He was unable to say if any individual bishop in the CofE considered himself in communion with ACNA.

The audio recording of these supplementaries is available from this page, but I have not yet had time to listen to it. My notes may be inaccurate.

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General Synod: Saturday

The official report of Saturday’s proceedings is here: General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Saturday 11th July 2009. This includes links to audio recordings of each session. No doubt this page will be further updated at the end of the evening.)

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General Convention: sexuality issues continue

Updated Saturday evening

Some ENS reports:

Marriage equality, same-gender rites receive broad support at hearings

Testimony is overwhelmingly in favor of moving beyond B033

Resolution B033 continues to spark passionate debate

Ruth Gledhill has a guest blogger, Sue Carter who writes at #ECGC Danger of ‘spiritual earwax’ at Anaheim.

From Episcopal Café

Eyes on the Floor: B033 – A Festering Wound by Richard Helmer

Fear and the Episcopal future by Rebecca Wilson

And by the way The secret theology committee is secret no more.

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General Convention: how to keep up

Because General Convention is meeting at the same time as the General Synod of the Church of England, coverage of the former here is inevitably limited. I linked before to a post of Dave Walker which suggested sources of information.

Here are some additional sources:

Episcopal Life Online

Integrity

Titusonenine (Kendall Harmon)

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opinion columns in mid-July

Catherine Pepinster writes in The Times about how Social justice and the spiritual walk hand in hand.

Simon Rocker writes in the Guardian that Anti-discrimination law can be a double-edged sword for religious minorities.

At the Church Times David Edwards asks Does the C of E really value the Bible?

Last week, Colin Craston wrote that Communion doesn’t mean agreeing.

And Rebecca Paveley talked to Stephen Green about The credit side of banking.

At Ekklesia Symon Hill writes about Penitent homophobes.

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General Synod press reports so far

The Times Ruth Gledhill wrote yesterday about the forthcoming debate on re-organising many of the General Synod committees. Her news report was headlined Reform to hand Archbishop of Canterbury huge power. On her blog she added more information, including the whole text of a note by Philip Giddings. See General Synod: Laity asked to pay for loss of power.

Riazat Butt at the Guardian previews some other items, Church of England could cut number of bishops amid funding crisis.

Martin Beckford reports on yesterday for the Telegraph Church of England General Synod should talk more about wallets than people’s anatomy’ and Church of England bishops fear for ‘fragile unity’ of Anglicanism over new gay marriage moves.

Steve Doughty has two reports in the Daily Mail Church of England asks its flock for £1,000 a year and Church of England under pressure to accept gay marriage.

The letter about the Church of Sweden to which Steve and Martin refer can be found here.

There is a BBC report Synod to discuss boosting income.

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Friday, 10 July 2009

General Synod: Friday

Official report of the day’s proceedings, together with audio recordings of them, is at
General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Friday 10th July 2009 PM.

For some indications of what the Questions covered, see my Twitter entries from that session.

I will post more information about the Questions and Answers during the day tomorrow.

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Thursday, 9 July 2009

Waddington amendment upheld in Lords

For the background to this, see bishops oppose repeal of Waddington.

The relevant bill reached the House of Lords this week, and as the Independent reports,

Peers today defeated the Government’s attempt to overturn a “free speech” defence to the law on homophobic hatred.

The move by Tory former Home Secretary Lord Waddington to uphold the provision was passed by 186 votes to 133, majority 53.

Read ‘Free speech’ defeats incitement laws by Nicholas Randall and Anthony Looch, Press Association.

The BBC also reports it as Labour defeat on incitement laws.

Riazat Butt has written a comment article on Cif belief Free speech or homophobia?

…The Bishop of Winchester, a senior Anglican cleric, said: “What is at stake is whether this House and this Parliament intends to outlaw, among not just Christians but others, open discussion and teaching of views that differ from the currently dominant political orthodoxy.”

Some peers, as well as the Ministry of Justice, were disappointed with today’s result, saying the free speech provision would be used as a defence by those looking to incite hatred towards gays and lesbians.

In what was portrayed as a battle for free speech, a coalition of Anglican bishops, Conservative peers, Labour malcontents and leading crossbenchers united to block the proposals…

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General Convention: sexuality debate

The Chicago Consultation has published this study guide Christian Holiness and Human Sexuality. (PDF file).

The contributors are:

Marilyn McCord Adams, Oxford University
Wil Gafney, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
A. Katherine Grieb, Virginia Theological Seminary
Louis Weil, Church Divinity School of the Pacific
Ellen K. Wondra, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary
Sylvia Sweeney, Episcopal Theological School at Claremont (Bloy House)

Edited by
Gary R. Hall, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary
Ruth A. Meyers, Church Divinity School of the Pacific

ENS has a news report, Chicago Consultation releases homosexuality study guide.

Bringing its support for full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians to General Convention, the group called the Chicago Consultation released on July 7 a study guide designed to help people in the pew face tough questions about homosexuality — and come up with their own answers.

But leaders of the 18-month-old group made clear that the 34-page booklet, Christian Holiness & Human Sexuality: A Study Guide for Episcopalians, presents a perspective in support of same-sex blessings and the ordination of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Episcopalians.

“In parishes everywhere there are members of the church who are struggling with misconceptions about human sexuality in the context of scripture, tradition and liturgy,” said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, co-editor of the new publication. “We’re trying to reconcile that with this study guide by providing information that can help people to make up their own minds.”

The booklet’s five essays, written by eminent Episcopal and Anglican theologians, review human sexuality within the context of scripture, tradition, ethics and liturgy, followed by eight pages of discussion questions. The publication, however, does not pretend to be an objective presentation of different opinions.

“Presenting disparate views on the issue is not the purpose of this study guide,” Meyers said. “The purpose is to show why we believe GLBT persons are a part of God’s gift to us.”

Meanwhile, Resolution B012 Pastoral Generosity in Addressing Civil Marriage was considered at legislative hearings.

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That this 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church acknowledge the pastoral concerns facing those dioceses in states where the civil marriage of same gender couples is legal; and be it further

Resolved, That in those dioceses, under the direction of the bishop, generous discretion is extended to clergy in the exercise of their pastoral ministry in order to permit the adaptation of the Pastoral Offices for The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage and The Blessing of a Civil Marriage for use with all couples who seek the church’s support and God’s blessing in their marriages; and be it further

Resolved, That in order to build a body of experience for the benefit of the church, each bishop in those dioceses where this pastoral practice is exercised provide an annual written report on their experience to the House of Bishops each March and to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music for its report to the 77th General Convention.

See ENS report Resolution to allow ‘generous discretion’ for same-sex blessings draws passionate debate.

Episcopal Café also has reports, Hearing no objections and Chicago Consultation reception draws quite a crowd.

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Archbishop visits General Convention

Updated Saturday

The Archbishop of Canterbury is at Anaheim, California, where the American General Convention is being held.

Reports of his visit, from ENS:

Global economics a ‘crisis of truthfulness,’ Archbishop of Canterbury tells convention

Describing the global economic downturn as a “crisis of truthfulness,” Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams addressed more than 2,000 people attending a July 8 forum in Anaheim, California, as part of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention.

During the last six to nine months, Williams said, “we have suddenly discovered we have been lying to ourselves. For the last decade or more there has been a steady erosion of trust in our financial life. Our word has not been our bond. We have learned to tolerate high levels of evasion and anti-relational practices.

“We have lied to ourselves about the possibility of profit without risk,” Williams told those gathered at the forum, titled Christian Faithfulness in the Global Economic Crisis.

“We have lied to ourselves consistently about the possibility of limitless material growth in a limited world. We have denied precisely that ubuntu that this convention seeks to venerate and reinforce,” Williams added, referring to the convention theme that emphasizes the interconnectedness of people in community…

Archbishop hears from cross section of Episcopal Church

…In addition to observing the work of the House of Bishops, Williams met with members of the convention’s official youth presence, the House of Deputies president’s council of advice and a small group of lesbian and gay deputies. He also met with provisional and assisting bishops in the four dioceses that are reorganizing after the majority of their members and leadership left the church…

And from Episcopal Café

Anderson and advisors meet with Archbishop Williams

…Anderson said she and her council expressed to Williams their concern that communications and requests to the Episcopal Church are typically addressed only to the Church’s House of Bishops, which does not have authority, on its own, to respond to them.

“We are a church of more than one order of voices,” Anderson said to several reporters after the meeting.

Sally Johnson, Anderson’s chancellor and a deputy from the Diocese of Minnesota, said that the group told Williams it hoped that requests to the Episcopal Church be addressed to the Episcopal Church, rather than to the House of Bishops. “Allow The Episcopal Church to decide for it who decides,” she said.

“No one can respond and bind the Episcopal Church except the General Convention,” Johnson added. “These may seem like fine distinctions to other people, but to us they are foundational…“

The archbishop also attended the opening service where the Presiding Bishop preached.

Dave Walker explains how to follow General Convention on the internet.

Update
The full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s meditation at the eucharist is available here.

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Santa Ana preschoolers

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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

FCA: full texts of letters

Anglican Mainstream has now published the full texts of the two exchanges between FCA and Buckingham Palace.

Correspondence between Her Majesty the Queen and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans

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RC adoption agency given leave to appeal

The previous report on this matter is at RC adoption agency loses appeal.

The latest development is that the Charity Tribunal has given approval for an appeal to the High Court against some of its recent findings.

The full text of its decision on the appeal is here: Ruling on Catholic Care’s request for Permission to Appeal (6 July 2009)

Charity Finance explains:

Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) has been granted leave to appeal to the High Court against certain parts, but not all, of the Charity Tribunal’s recent decision not to allow it to discriminate against gay people.

As the case is believed to have been the first in which a court or tribunal was asked to consider the correct interpretation of regulation 18 of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, the Tribunal said the case “raises a point of law of public importance which it would be appropriate for the High Court to consider on appeal”.

…But now it has said that Catholic Care can take the case to the High Court to argue seven of its 14 grounds for appeal. The seven that are allowed collectively raise the same point of law, namely that the Tribunal erred in its interpretation of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and its interpretation of regulation 18 in particular.

However, it will not allow the charity to appeal against the other seven points raised, concluding that these were “misconceived”.

Third Sector also has a report.

Any appeal will presumably also be of great interest to the Scottish Charity Regulator, which appears to have allowed a Scottish RC agency to make similar changes to its trust deed.

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House of Lords rejects Falconer amendment

Martin Beckford reports in the Telegraph House of Lords votes against allowing Britons to help terminally ill die at ‘suicide clinics’.

Controversial plans that were feared to “give the green light” to the state sanctioning assisted suicide have been thrown out by peers….

Two bishops spoke in this debate:

Other news reports:
The Times Amendment to relax law on assisted dying is thrown out by peers
Guardian Disabled peer pleads against legalising assisted suicide

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FCA: follow-up

Updated Wednesday noon

George Pitcher at the Telegraph has written Anti-gay Anglicans take Queen’s name in vain.

…“Sources close to the Palace”, as they say, have coughed lightly and raised an eyebrow to one another. That’s a courtier’s equivalent of being incandescent with rage.

Because Her Majesty said no such thing. A secretary wrote in reply to representations that Her Majesty (as Supreme Governor of the Church of England) “understands the commitment to the Anglican Church that prompted you and your brethren to write as you did”. And that was a year ago, in reply to a letter to her from what was then called Gafcon, when the traditionalists met in Jerusalem. She then sent her “good wishes to all concerned” last week in response to a separate approach from Foca. Even Foca’s trumpet-bearers at the Anglican Mainstream website carry these passages…

BBC Radio 4 tonight: The Moral Maze:

…While Conservative and Labour politicians are trading insults with each other in a bid to win over the ‘gay vote’, the Bishop of Rochester has taken a different tack. With the rainbow bunting from London’s Pride festival hardly yet packed away, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said homosexuals should change and repent their sin.

The Church of England has been embroiled in a doctrinal battle over sexuality since the ordination of the first openly homosexual bishop in 2003. The Bishop of Rochester was speaking just before the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, a conservative group in the Church of England. ‘We want to hold on to the traditional teachings of the Church. We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church.’ Well, despite Michael Nazir-Ali’s attempts to clarify his position, saying that we all need to repent for straying from God’s purpose for us, it hasn’t stopped the accusations of homophobia…

Full details here.

Dave Walker at the Church Times blog has a selection of blog posts titled Anglo Catholics unimpressed by the FCA launch meeting.

Update
Dave has now added a comprehensive roundup of links to bloggers who have commented on the FCA meeting. See Bloggers on the FCA launch.

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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

FCA: two more items

Updated - make that three items…

Colin Coward has written Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali condemned by The Times.

…Changing Attitude took to task the group of bishops supporting yesterday’s launch back in September 2008 when Blackburn, Chester, Chichester, Exeter, Rochester and Winchester wrote in support of Bishop Bob Duncan in the USA…

…Today’s Times leader says that Michael Nazir-Ali is willing to provoke splits and risk schism within the Anglican Communion and has now signalled insubordination to the authority of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Bishops of Exeter and Winchester emailed me in anger last September, Exeter saying there was absolutely no reason to assume that any of them were contemplating or would desire the kind of action about which I speculated. Yet at the time, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said a new Province was needed in England and all six bishops either attended or send messages of support yesterday.

The Bishop of Rochester thinks homosexuals should “repent and be changed.” The Times says he has “inflamed an issue on which social attitudes have changed radically for the better within a generation.”

I have yet to hear any of the other five bishops publicly disown the stance taken by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, either in his comment about needing a new Province or in his attitude to lesbian and gay people which is doing so much damage to ability of the Church of England to evangelise in England…

Jonathan Bartley has written for Cif belief Evangelicals are betraying their heritage.

On Monday a new coalition of evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes launched within the Church of England, claiming to uphold the “traditional biblical view” on homosexuality.

But such a coalition was unlikely to be contemplated by evangelicals at many times gone by. For the original evangelical spirit with its reforming zeal and progressive outlook was more often at odds with traditionalists, than aligned with them. The idea of an alliance with those of a conservative disposition would have been an anathema…

Simon Rundell wrote FoCA – the beginning of the end.

…The (few) members of the House of Bishops supporting this schism should be ashamed. If they aren’t ashamed, then they should have the integrity to resign from this Church. This would, of course, leave Chichester without Episcopal oversight, but hey, at least all those gay priests in Chichester would know where they stood. Likewise, I note with sadness the support of the PEVs – they who have in their care a disproportionately high number of gay priests, most not even safely in the closet, but many who have active partners – I went to Mirfield, and that is how I know this to be the case. I wonder how cheated they feel at present. As MadPriest asked yesterday, is it worth the sacrifice of their integrity and their self-worth just simply to keep the girls out? We ordain women because we baptise girls…

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Monday, 6 July 2009

FCA: further coverage

Updated again Tuesday afternoon

Religious Intelligence FCA threatens Church run by “Satan” by Toby Cohen

Reuters Orthodox Anglicans won’t leave Church of England by Harpreet Bhal

Cif belief Anglican schism? Bring it on by Theo Hobson

The Times The spiritual battle for the soul of Anglicanism by Ruth Gledhill on Articles of Faith.

BBC Church group ‘not planning split’

The full text of Archbishop Peter Jensen’s presentation is here.

And the presentation on behalf of Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council delivered by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Bendel, Nigeria, is here.

Updates

The Times
Ruth Gledhill Britain in battle for its soul, says Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen
and
Leading Article: Bishop’s wrong move

…Bishop Nazir-Ali is a longstanding critic of modern mores and church accommodation with them. He has become increasingly outspoken as his early retirement from Rochester approaches. But his willingness to provoke splits and risk schism within the Anglican Communion serves neither Church nor nation. He commented before yesterday’s gathering that homosexuals should “repent and be changed”. He thereby inflamed an issue on which social attitudes have changed radically for the better within a generation, and signalled insubordination to the authority of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. To adapt the words of Clement Attlee to an obstreperous Labour critic: a period of silence on his part would be welcome…

Telegraph Martin Beckford Bishop of Lewes: Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans formed to counter ‘heartache’

And an earlier report that I missed, Religious Intelligence Bishop attacks ‘lurid’ headlines

The Bishop, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, had given an interview to the Sunday Telegraph ahead of today’s launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in London.

In the interview he was reported as calling for gay people to repent and change, and his comments provoked a strong backlash from gay groups, liberal Christians and from the media…

Two items from Changing Attitude:
Davis Mac-Iyalla reports on Archbishop Okoh’s visit to Christ Church Beckenham
Schismatic bishops obsessed with gays

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FCA greetings revealed

Greetings to Be Faithful from Her Majesty the Queen, Archbishops and others

Her Majesty the Queen:
After the Jerusalem conference we wrote to her Majesty the Queen expressing our concerns for the Anglican Communion, our loyalty to her as the Supreme Governor of the CofE, and the pressing need for the Anglican Church to remain faithful to the biblical gospel. She replied that she ‘understands the commitment to the Anglican Church that prompted you and your brethren to write as you did’. She sent us another message last week, expressing her encouragement for our meeting today, and her (quote) ‘good wishes to all concerned for a successful and memorable event’.

The Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury:
‘I shall be glad to hold all of you in my prayers for the occasion’.

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Sunday, 5 July 2009

more press coverage of Nazir-Ali

Updated Monday morning

The Independent has three items:

News article: Condemnation for bishop who called for gay people to ‘repent’ by Lewis Smith

Opinion column: Forget about a ‘cure’ for homosexuality by Philip Hensher

Leading article: The bishop is embracing a lost cause

George Pitcher at the Telegraph has There’s no pride in bashing gays, Bishop:

…But his comments in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, which he is expected to repeat today, that homosexuals should “repent and be changed” cannot pass unchallenged. Or rather, they should not go challenged only by homosexual rights campaigners, such as Peter Tatchell, who you would expect to be somewhat antipathetic to the expressed view.

Because Dr Nazir-Ali is wrong in the eyes of a broad swath of kind and tolerant people of differing sexualities, social mores and of the Christian faith, other faiths and no faith at all. Badly, badly wrong…

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FCA in Monday's newspapers

The Times Ruth Gledhill Bishop of Sherborne Graham Kings says new group could split Church

…Dr Graham Kings, consecrated last month as Bishop of Sherborne and founder of the moderate evangelical grouping Fulcrum, said the new fellowship represented a structure that would allow its founders to “split” from the Church of England.

Dr Kings said: “I do not see a problem with a voluntary agency.”

But he said there was evidence that the fellowship would have no more than formal links with the Church of England, and he feared that these could easily be broken.

“I think there should be deep, invigorating moral links between the new fellowship and the Church of England,” Dr Kings said.

“There should not be a split, but one of their frontline clergymen has already split from the Church of England. Another one is seeking alternative episcopal oversight, which is not encouraging. It would be disastrous if the new fellowship moves from being a voluntary agency to becoming a Church within a Church, which is what happened in America.”

…The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is opposed to the ordination of gay clergy, blessings for gay marriage or civil partnership, and the consecration of women bishops.

The new fellowship will today publish letters from the Queen, supreme governor of the Church of England, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, acknowledging its launch.

Buckingham Palace said that it did not comment on private correspondence. However, sources told The Times that the letters from the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury were standard acknowledgements and should not be interpreted as endorsements of the fellowship…

Guardian Riazat Butt Dissident Anglicans launch protest movement against CofE liberalism

…One of the English churchmen supporting the FCA is Michael Nazir-Ali, bishop of Rochester, who continues to draw criticism for his views on homosexuality.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, and then today from the pulpit of the Church of St Peter in Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire, he said homosexuality was a threat to the Christian way of life and that it had divided the Anglican communion.

In his sermon he said: “When we ignore what the Bible tells us we do so at our peril, as we continually discover.

“If we continue in God’s way then we will flourish as persons. Marriage will be strong, family will be strong and society will be strong. It’s not rocket science.”

The other danger to Christians and the Church of England was “syncretism” ‑ the attempted reconciliation of opposing principles or beliefs, he said. “It happens daily when we capitulate to the forces around us,” he warned. “The values of culture are not necessarily values of the Christian faith…”

Telegraph Martin Beckford and Jonathan Wynne-Jones Queen sends ‘supportive’ letters to leaders of church movement that has angered gay campaigners

…Leading figures in the FCA wrote to the Queen to assure her of their loyalty to the Church of England following last year’s upheavals, and a reply sent on her behalf said she understood their concerns about the future of the Communion.

The clerics wrote again recently, telling the monarch about their plans for tomorrow’s gathering, which will be attended by the bishops of Exeter and Chichester and Rochester as well as conservative archbishops from around the world.

Courtiers wrote back saying that the Queen hoped the event would be successful and memorable.

Buckingham Palace said it would not comment on private correspondence. Royal sources said the Queen was not endorsing the FCA and pointed out that she corresponds with a great number of organisations.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 July 2009 at 12:16am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 4 July 2009

Nazir-Ali says change and repent

Updated Sunday morning

Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports that:

…In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Dr Nazir-Ali said: “We want to uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible. We believe that God has revealed his purpose about how we are made.

“People who depart from this don’t share the same faith. They are acting in a way that is not normative according to what God has revealed in the Bible.

“The Bible’s teaching shows that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way to express our sexual nature.

“We welcome homosexuals, we don’t want to exclude people, but we want them to repent and be changed.”

Read the whole report at Change and repent, bishop tells gays.

…Derek Munn, the director of public affairs for Stonewall, the homosexual campaign group, criticised Dr Nazir-Ali’s comments.

“It is unfortunate that in 2009, a church leader should continue to promote inequality and intolerance,” he said.

“Stonewall knows that most people of faith are accepting of lesbian and gay people. We also know that many lesbian and gay people who are themselves religious believers are not well served by some of those who claim to speak on their behalf.”

The Rev Dr Giles Fraser, the president of the Inclusive Church, a liberal grouping in the Church of England, said: “Homosexuality is not a sin. It is the way many people love each other and is a gift from God. Ordinary people in the pews know this. And they are a lot more theologically aware than the handful of narrow- minded bishops who want to play politics with the Anglican Communion.”

This story has been commented on by Damian Thompson of the Telegraph with the headline ‘Repent!’ Rochester tells gays as Synod starts. ‘No, you repent’, snap other bishops. ‘You’re spoiling everything!’ .

The BBC has Gay row ‘may cause Church split’.

And from the USA, where there is another Bishop of Rochester, comes TWO BISHOPS OF ROCHESTER OFFER DIFFERENT MESSAGES TO THE CHURCH.

Religious Intelligence has Bishop warns of liberal threat to faith.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 4 July 2009 at 10:56pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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religious opinions

Jane Shaw writes in the Guardian about feeding in church.

Roderick Strange writes in The Times about the virgin birth.

Giles Fraser asks in the Church Times Is secular France so fragile?

Over at Cif belief, Giles answers the question Is religion the opium of the people? in a column titled Radical faith.

Civitas published a report on sharia law. You can find the report itself as a PDF file, here. By far the most interesting column published in consequence of this report is Sharia law and me at Cif belief.

Madeleine Bunting reported on a seminar at Lambeth Palace, see Science, religion and our shared future.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 4 July 2009 at 9:30am BST | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Friday, 3 July 2009

Baroness Scotland and the Equality Bill

Updated Tuesday

This week’s edition of The Tablet has a news report, unfortunately subscriber-only until next Friday, that the Attorney-General, Baroness Scotland “has pledged to help the Church gain amendments to parts of the proposed Equality Bill.”

The essence of this report is however contained in the article published by the National Secular Society and titled Catholic Attorney General seeks to water down protections under Equality Bill.

There is some confused reporting here. It’s not clear whether the confusion is due to the reporter, or to what Mr Kornicki said.

The clause that deals with exemptions on the basis of Religion as the “protected characteristic” is Schedule 9, Clause 3.

This is entirely separate from Clause 2, which deals with exemptions on various other bases not including Religion, and which incorporates the new explicit definition of “the purposes of an organised religion”. The government contends that this definition is not a narrowing of the existing law, but the churches appear not to accept that view.

But in any case, that definition has no bearing on Clause 3, which reads as follows:

Other requirements relating to religion or belief

3 A person (A) with an ethos based on religion or belief does not contravene a provision mentioned in paragraph 1(2) by applying in relation to work a requirement to be of a particular religion or belief if A shows that, having regard to that ethos and to the nature or context of the work—

(a) it is an occupational requirement,

(b) the application of the requirement is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, and

(c) the person to whom A applies the requirement does not meet it (or A has reasonable grounds for not being satisfied that the person meets it).

Note that this exemption is available to any organisation “with an ethos based on religion or belief” and is not limited to “organised religion” at all.

So it is unlikely, I think, that what Baroness Scotland, Richard Kornicki, and Stephen Pound are concerned about is in fact to do with discrimination “against those who don’t share their faith”. It’s much more likely that they are concerned with discrimination on one or more of the grounds listed in Clause 2.

Tuesday update
I have now heard back from the offices of both the Attorney-General and the Catholic Bishops Conference, and can confirm that:

- it is only Clause 2 which is the subject of concern
- Baroness Scotland does not intend to submit any amendment to the bill.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 3 July 2009 at 11:14pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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CofE bishops in support of FCA

Updated Saturday evening

According to Anglican Mainstream:

We are encouraged by the number of Church of England Bishops who have indicated their attendance.

These include:

Bishop Michael Langrish, Exeter
Bishop David Urquhart, Birmingham
Bishop Michael Nazir Ali, Rochester
Bishop John Hind, Chichester
Bishop Wallace Benn, Lewes
Bishop Colin Fletcher, Dorchester
Bishop Keith Sinclair, Birkenhead
Bishop John Broadhurst, Fulham
Bishop Andrew Burnham, Ebbsfleet
Bishop Keith Newton, Richborough
Bishop John Ball (Retd – Assistant in Chelmsford)
Bishop Colin Bazley (Retd – Assistant in Chester)
Bishop John Ellison (Retd – Assistant in Winchester)
Bishop Maurice Sinclair (Retd – Assistant in Birmingham)

Bishop Peter Forster of Chester, the Bishop-elect [sic] of Southwell and Nottingham, Paul Butler, and Bishop Michael Scott-Joynt of Winchester have sent public messages of support.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 3 July 2009 at 9:25pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Fellowship under fire

Updated Friday evening

Pat Ashworth in the Church Times has a comprehensive report of events leading up to Monday’s UK launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), including new shenanigans in the Diocese of Southwark.

Read Fellowship leaders take flak in run-up to London launch.

Some related items:

Friday evening update

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 3 July 2009 at 8:54am BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 2 July 2009

"quite intelligent for a bishop"

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop David Chillingworth has been interviewed by Mad Priest, who describes him as “quite intelligent for a bishop”.

Judge for yourself by reading the interview in full here.

Bishop David’s own blog is here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 2 July 2009 at 6:41pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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some silly things

Dave Walker has collected some weird items in a posting at the Church Times blog titled The Church Society on ‘strange vestments and ceremonies’.

And something even weirder crops up in an article for the Washington Times by Julia Duin titled New Anglicans split on women.

I queried retired Eau Claire, Wis., Bishop William Wantland, an old friend and an ardent opponent of ordaining women. He reminded me that 22 of the ACNA’s 28 dioceses do not allow female priests. It’s a system known as “dual integrity,” dioceses that differ on a question where Scripture can be read both ways agree to respect and live with each other’s views.

I asked him if he wanted the ACNA to eventually outlaw ordaining women entirely.

“Of course. That’s our mission,” he said. “Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the bride. The priest at the altar is an icon of Christ. What image is that if the person at the altar is a woman? It’s a lesbian relationship.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 2 July 2009 at 3:28pm BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Williams to meet gay Episcopalians

ENS has this report:
Private meeting with Williams at convention will address sexuality, ministry

Eight members of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies are scheduled meet privately with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at General Convention in a session that is intended in part to address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in the church.

General Convention meets July 8-17 in Anaheim, California, and Williams will be present July 7-9.

The session is not an official convention meeting and thus there has been no announcement of the plans. However, when contacted by Episcopal News Service, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe of the Diocese of California confirmed the details.

Barlowe said that he and the other deputies understood the meeting was to be brief and private, but that it was not a secret…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 1 July 2009 at 11:53pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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secret theology committee unmasked

Lisa Fox has published all but two of the names of the group studying same-sex relationships. For background here is the early June report.

See The Formerly Secret Panel (go to original source for live links)

So here are eight of the ten theologians serving on the panel to study same-sex relationships.

Co-facilitators:

* The Rt. Rev. Joe G. Burnett, Bishop of Nebraska (webpage here)
* Ellen Charry, Princeton Theological Seminary (webpage here)

Members:

* Deirdre J. Good, General Theological Seminary (webpage here)
* Willis Jenkins, Yale Divinity School (webpage here)
* The Rev. Grant LeMarquand, Trinity School for Ministry (webpage here)
* Eugene Rogers, University of North Carolina, Greensboro (webpage here)
* The Rev. George Sumner, Wycliffe College, Toronto (webpage here)
* The Rev. Daniel A. Westberg of Nashotah House (webpage here; see page 3 of the newsletter)

The Chicago Consultation has issued this press release:

CHICAGO, July 1, 2009—Ruth Meyers, Hodges Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, General Convention deputy from the Diocese of Chicago, and co-convener of the Chicago Consultation, responded to the news that the names of most members of the House of Bishops Theology Committee panel on same-sex blessings have been made public:

“Continued scholarly work, done with particular attention to the work of the Holy Spirit in committed, life-long, monogamous unions of faithful gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Episcopalians, can liberate the church to discern more fully the work of the Spirit in all life-long unions of fidelity and mutual love. We wish this panel well, and we call upon General Convention to enrich its theological work by establishing a common rite for the blessing of unions across the Episcopal Church.”

“We commit to praying for each of these theologians and their co-chairs by name, and we hope that the remaining two members of the panel will choose to come forward publicly so that we may begin General Convention next week with the spirit of openness and transparency that characterizes our polity and our common life…”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 1 July 2009 at 11:11pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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clergy pension scheme update

The Church of England has published a press release Update published on Clergy Pensions Scheme.

The Church of England has today published a second and more detailed report on the impact of the credit crunch and recession on the financial position of the Funded Clergy Pension Scheme. The report puts forward various options relating to the future of the scheme.

The last actuarial valuation of the scheme, carried out as at 31 December 2006, revealed a deficit of £141m. This is currently being eliminated by way of extra contributions paid by the ‘employers’ participating in the scheme, in addition to the contributions required to pay for future benefits. Some modifications were also made to the scheme in 2007 to help contain costs…

…The conclusion reached is that further changes to the scheme will be necessary to return it to affordability, and the report sets out a number of proposals for achieving this which include limiting the annual increase in the pensionable stipend, moving for future service the accrual period for a full pension from 40 to 43 years, changing the pension age from 65 to 68 and contracting back into the Second State Pension. The report also sets out options for the future structure of the scheme including retaining the existing defined benefit arrangement, moving onto a defined contribution basis and introducing a hybrid arrangement…

The 23-page detailed report is published as a .doc file.

There will be a presentation about this report at the July General Synod, but not a formal debate. The press release explains:

The report has been issued to all the organisations participating in the scheme, including the 44 diocesan boards of finance, and responses are due by the end of October. The Task Group will then make its final recommendations to the Archbishops’ Council which will decide what proposals should be put to the General Synod which must ultimately approve any changes to the scheme rules.

The 2 page Summary section of the report is reproduced below the fold.

CLERGY PENSIONS CONSULTATION PAPER FROM THE ARCHBISHOPSTASK GROUP

Summary

1. The Church of England now faces difficult choices over the future of its clergy pension scheme. The Pensions Board has already had to increase from the beginning of 2010 the contributions that dioceses and others have to make to fund the scheme. Unless action is taken, far larger increases look unavoidable from 2011 even if the financial markets recover somewhat before the next formal valuation of the pension fund at the end of 2009.

2. All the indications from the dioceses are that the sorts of increases that will be required are unaffordable. The Task Group is clear, therefore, that some significant changes to the present pension scheme will be needed. The objective must be to continue to make adequate provision for our clergy in retirement in a manner that is sustainable in the long term.

3. There is no simple solution. It has already been suggested by some that the Church Commissioners should be called on to clear the deficit in the pension fund. This would, in the view of the Task Group be a mistake.

4. The historic assets of the Commissioners are already being used to pay for pension benefits earned before the funded scheme was introduced in 1998. To disperse even more of these assets would be to meet today’s liabilities at the expense of future generations. It would also reduce immediately the Commissioners’ ability to make money available for distribution, especially to the less well resourced dioceses.

5. The Task Group’s judgement, therefore, is that a solution needs to be found that is consistent with the proportion of their budgets that dioceses are already devoting to pension costs. Currently dioceses have to pay the Pensions Board a contribution of £7,797 for every clergy member of the scheme for whom they are responsible. That represents 39.7% of the national minimum stipend (‘the contribution rate’). From January 2010, that will increase to 45% (an annual rate of £8,838) and on present estimates could rise to around 57% (£ 11,195 on current stipend rates) from 2011.

6. On the basis of what it has already heard from dioceses the Task Group has concluded that the target contribution rate for any solution should be around 42%, which is itself nearly double what the rate was when the funded scheme was introduced in 1998.

7. Much less than this would have an unacceptable impact on the income prospects for clergy in retirement. Much more is unlikely to be affordable without disproportionate damage to other aspects of the Church’s mission and ministry.

8. At this stage the Task Group has not identified a recommended option. Instead it has worked up three possible models. All other things being equal, all would produce, in total, the same level of retirement income but they differ in terms of where the risk lies that things will turn out differently.

9. One option would preserve a modified version of the present defined benefit scheme and would leave most of the future funding risk with those who fund the contributions. One would move all clergy to a defined contribution arrangement for future service where the pension earned largely depends on the size of the pension pot accumulated and they would bear the risk that this will turn out to be less than expected. The third would move them to a hybrid scheme for future service - that is where part of the pension received would be on a defined benefit basis and part would be based on a defined contribution arrangement. Under this option the risk is shared between the clergy and those paying the pension contributions.

10. Since each of the three possible approaches needs to cost around 42% they have certain common features. Each would involve :-

  • contracting the clergy scheme into the State Second Pension,
  • limiting the annual increase in pensionable stipend to price inflation,
  • changing the pension age for future service from 65 to 68, and
  • moving, for future service, the accrual period for a full pension from 40 to 43 years.

These common factors are explained in paragraphs 69 to 91.

11. None of the possible changes would affect pensions already in payment, nor would they affect pension rights already earned by those still in service. They could, however, potentially affect the amount of pension that existing clergy would receive at the moment of retirement depending on when the person concerned takes retirement and the other market factors explained later in this report.

12. The Task Group is seeking comments (sent to the address below) on these possible approaches by the end of October. It will then decide what recommendation to make in November to the Archbishops’ Council, which in turn will have to bring a proposal to the General Synod for approval in February 2010.

13. After that there will need to be a statutory consultation with all members of the pension scheme with a view to Synod approving any necessary rule changes if possible in July 2010 before the Pensions Board has to set the contribution rate from 2011.

Please submit your response to : ‘pensionstaskgroup@c-of-e.org.uk’ .

Clergy Pensions Task Group
June 2009

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 1 July 2009 at 7:13am BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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