Saturday, 28 November 2009

Uganda continued

Andrew Brown wrote last Thursday at Cif belief about A gay witch hunt in Uganda.

The Bishop of Bristol, Mike Hill had quite a lot to say about the Ugandan situation in his recent address to the Bristol Diocesan Synod. Read the PDF file here. The relevant portion is copied below the fold here.

I linked previously to the following item, but because it was buried in the updates at the bottom of another article, some may have missed it.

Bishop Joseph Abura of Karamoja Diocese, Province of the Anglican Church of Uganda, has written an article for Spero News. Read For some Anglicans, Vices are now Virtues. That diocese has links with Winchester rather than Bristol. Winchester diocese has made no public statement, as far as I know.

British and other politicians are now speaking up about this, at the Commonwealth conference now in progress in Trinidad:

Also, Newsweek has an article by Katie Paul Eric Goosby: No Hold on PEPFAR Funds for Uganda

Extract from Bishop Mike Hill’s address to the Bristol Diocesan Synod on 24 November 2009.

What I just want to inform Synod of is a development in Uganda which is not a church development as such. A Private Members Motion for an Anti-Homosexuality Bill has arisen that will come before the Ugandan Parliament sponsored by a Member of Parliament in Uganda called David Bahati.

Whatever view we take of the issues on the Human Sexuality debate, this piece of legislation is so pernicious and so unpleasant, that I hope that Christians on both sides of the debate would stand as one and say that this is unacceptable. I think, for example, the application of capital punishment to gay and lesbian people is wholly, totally and bizarrely unacceptable.

Now there is some debate as to whether this Bill, as it is at the moment, will get into the Ugandan Parliament in the immediate future. We have been working in the background, Chris Dobson, has been doing some sterling work trying to find out exactly what is going on here and we think that the Ugandan Church would oppose the legislation partly on the basis that in former times they have disassociated themselves from capital punishment. You don’t need me to sketch in that if the law allows that kind of thing then it will just legitimise violence against gay and lesbian people. Whichever side of the debate, we must stand together in the face of that and resist that.

Now, our assumption is that the Ugandan Church will not go down this route and support the legislation, though there are aspects of the legislation which previous statements of the Ugandan House of Bishops would appear to support. My view is that I hope they will oppose it lock, stock and barrel rather then purely the capital punishment clause in it. So we have been trying to contact the Archbishop, who has been in the Karamajong of late and not contactable. They put out an interim statement which is partly good that it ratified their view that capital punishment was unacceptable to Christians. But it did contain a quotation that I would think would be inflammatory, because there was no evidence supplied with it, attributed to the Archbishop that says something like, ‘I am horrified to learn that homosexuals are trying to convert people to homosexuality in our schools’. I hope that, in our own diocese, those of us who take a more conservative line on this will be extremely careful in the kind of language which we use. Because the language we use can be used by some people to legitimise violence against lesbian and gay people. As Christians if we can’t stand up against violence then we need to think again.

So there is a rather complicated situation. That is where we are and what we are working with and we regard your prayers as really important in all of this. I was at the Uganda Link Committee meeting recently. It was a great, encouraging meeting with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm and at this stage I think it is fair to say that the hope and prayer and effort of everybody in the Uganda Link Committee would be placed in the area of making sure that, if we can, our link is maintained and is in good shape.

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Advent opinions

Gary Anderson writes in The Times that If sin creates a debt, almsgiving creates a heavenly credit.

Stephen Wang writes there also. He argues that Religious education is not brainwashing.

Mark Vernon writes in the Guardian about Galileo’s dependence on John Philoponus. Read Face to Faith.

Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief Who are the creationists?

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that [Parkour is] No way to overcome urban ennui.

Last week, Chris Chivers wrote in the Church Times about multiculturalism. See No model and no checks.

And Richard Parrish wrote about church schools. See Call us what we are: of the Church.

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Friday, 27 November 2009

revised advice on swine flu

26 November 2009

Dear Bishop,

In July, during the first wave of the Swine Flu pandemic we issued national advice with regard to the administration of Holy Communion.
This advice was based on information and guidance received from the Department of Health which was geared to the situation at that time and the projected levels of risk suggested by the potential course of the pandemic. Since then the scientific understanding of the Swine Flu virus has advanced, further experience of the course of the epidemic has been gained, and the first stage of a vaccination programme, targeted at those most at risk from the virus, is nearing completion.

Throughout this period, our advice has been driven by the interests of public health, particularly for the protection of the vulnerable.
In the light of continuing consultation with the Department of Health, and with updated information on the course of the Swine Flu pandemic, we believe that we can now advise that the normal administration of Holy Communion ought to resume. This recommendation is subject to the guidelines issued in June (http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/swineflu/communion.doc) which sets out good hygiene practice for public worship and which allows for local discretion in the event of outbreaks of pandemic flu in particular centres of population. We shall also continue to monitor the situation.

We wish to thank you for your patience and cooperation during this challenging period for both Church and Community and we are thankful that the pandemic has so far proved less severe than was feared.

Please pass this on to your colleagues in the diocese.

With every blessing,

+Rowan Cantuar +Sentamu Ebor

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Thursday, 26 November 2009

New Westminster court decision

Updated Friday

The Vancouver Sun reports Anglican diocese retains ownership of four disputed church properties.

The Anglican diocese of the Lower Mainland will be able to retain ownership of four disputed parish properties worth more than $20 million, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled today.

Justice Stephen Kelleher decided against conservative Anglican dissidents who went to court claiming they deserve to have legal control of St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver — one of the largest Anglican congregations in Canada — as well as three other Lower Mainland church properties…

The Diocese of New Westminster issued a press release, and also published the full text of the judgment as a PDF file.

See A Statement from the Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.

Reasons for Judgment is a PDF of Justice Kelleher’s decision.

The Anglican Network in Canada also isssued a press release, titled BC Supreme Court issues mixed decision in church property dispute.

Update

Bishop Michael Ingham has issued a pastoral letter. It includes this paragraph:

…I intend to invite these congregations to remain in the buildings where they worship and to move forward together with us in the Diocese as one people under God. I intend to appoint new clergy who will respect and continue the worshipping style of the congregations, who will also work cooperatively with me and the Diocese…

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

another Ugandan update

Updated again Thursday morning

First, this article by Savi Hensman is more general, but nevertheless relevant to the Uganda issue.

Second, these articles by Colin Coward are specific:

The Guardian interview by Stephen Moss is at Archbishop John Sentamu: ‘Mammon has been given a pasting’.

Meanwhile…

The United Reformed Church (URC) has become the first major Christian denomination in the UK to issue a statement condemning Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

See URC breaks silence of UK churches over Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill.

And, from the USA, news via Episcopal Café of The Family’s role in the Ugandan anti-gay bill.

Warren Throckmorton also reports on this, see Author links sponsors of Anti-Homosexuality Bill to The Family.

The transcript of the radio programme to which these articles refer can be found here.

Updates

Bishop Joseph Abura of Karamoja Diocese, Province of the Anglican Church of Uganda, has written an article for Spero News. Read For some Anglicans, Vices are now Virtues.

Colin Coward notes here that this diocese is linked with the Deanery of Alton, in the Diocese of Winchester. As Colin says, the bishop’s views deserve to be read in full.

And as Episcopal Café notes here, ACNA Bishop John Guernsey serves under Abura.

See also More on American ties to Uganda.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

letter to Uppsala and Canterbury

An Open letter from the LGBT Anglican Coalition* to the Archbishops of Uppsala and Canterbury has been published.

As Anglican clergy and lay people, we were dismayed to see that there was no official representation from the Church of England or any other Anglican Church from the British Isles at the service of consecration of Bishop Eva Brunne of Stockholm and Bishop Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund of Härnösand.

We do understand that, as the Church of England has not yet finalised plans for the ordination of women as bishops – though we hope and pray that will happen soon – it might not have been possible for an Anglican bishop to have laid hands on the ordinands as part of the consecration. But that should not have prevented a bishop from attending and representing the Archbishop of Canterbury at the consecration on November 8th in Uppsala…

Read the whole letter here.

*The LGBT Anglican Coalition is a new network of groups working for the full and equal inclusion of LGBT Christians within and beyond the Church of England.

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Monday, 23 November 2009

Church Leaders in Liverpool condemn homophobia

Updated Friday 27 November

Church Leaders in Liverpool have issued a joint statement condemning homophobia. The statement has come from the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, United Reformed and Baptist Churches and the Society of Friends (Quakers).

So far the statement has only been reported by Pink News, having apparently been overlooked or ignored by the local and national press.

Church leaders in Liverpool release ‘groundbreaking’ condemnation of homophobia

Here is the statement as quoted by Pink News.

The church leaders condemn this latest homophobic attack and extend their sympathy to James Parkes’ family.

We are concerned by the number of homophobic incidents on Merseyside.

The leaders of the churches in Liverpool believe it is wrong for anyone in the community of which we are all part to be victimised, or threatened with victimisation, on account of their race, creed, colour or sexual orientation.

We affirm our commitment to work with others to build a community where all can have their place of belonging, feel welcome and live in safety.

As church leaders, we represent a rich variety of Christian traditions, with different perspectives on some issues, but we stand together in condemning the use of violence and other forms of intimidation against minority groups who are especially vulnerable.

The city of Liverpool has a long tradition of welcoming people of difference. In the past we have discovered, sometimes painfully, the importance of learning to live peacefully together. This lesson we must never forget.

The Liverpool church leaders include the Rt Revd James Jones (Bishop of Liverpool, Anglican), the Most Revd Patrick Kelly (Archbishop of Liverpool, Roman Catholic), the Revd Jim Booth (Methodist), the Revd Howard Sharp (URC) and the Revd Phil Jump (Baptist).

Update The statement is now online at the Diocese of Liverpool’s website: Statement from the Church Leaders in Liverpool. This makes it clear that the statement came from the Presidents of Churches Together in the Merseyside Region, ie the five church leaders listed above plus the local Salvation Commander, Major Michael Highton.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 12:23pm GMT | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Ugandan update

Updated

Episcopal Life Online has published a report, Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill causes concern and caution.

The Chicago Consultation published a press release, Chicago Consultation Asks Anglican Leaders to Oppose Ugandan Anti-Gay Legislation.

The New Statesman published an article, Uganda is sanctioning gay genocide by Sigrid Rausing

And it got a mention on the Guardian website, Activists denounce Uganda’s homosexuality bill.

Warren Throckmorton has published further articles:

Ugandan university hosts dialogue; Exodus letter plays a role

College of Prayer, the Ugandan Parliament and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

The full text of Professor Sylvia Tamale’s address can be found here.

Update

There’s a further ELO news release, Executive Council members call for special meeting on Uganda legislation.

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Sunday, 22 November 2009

Equality Bill: Opt In vs Opt Out

Updated

An announcement from the Cutting Edge Consortium:

Cutting Edge Consortium marks its launch by inviting you to continue the debates of the Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia & Human Rights Conferences 2007 & 2009

“EQUALITY BILL: OPT IN vs OPT OUT

An open meeting to discuss religious exemptions to the legislation on sexuality and gender identity in the Equality Bill

Hosted by Clare Short MP, speakers will include:

  • Sarah Bourke (Tooks Chambers)
  • Andrew Copson (British Humanist Association)
  • Maleiha Malik (Muslim Women’s Network)
  • Michael Rubenstein (Equal Opportunities Review)

Date/Time: 1900-2100, Tuesday 24th November

Venue: Committee Room 5, House of Commons

The Cutting Edge Consortium includes the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement, Interfaith Alliance UK, British Humanist Association, Muslim Education Centre Oxford, Liberal Judaism, Trades Union Congress, and A:Gender, Centre for the Study of Christianity & Sexuality, Ekklesia, Inclusive Church, LGBT Consortium of Voluntary & Community Organisations.

Contact email: cuttingedgeconsortium1@googlemail.com

Ekklesia has a report of the meeting, see Religious and secular groups unite to launch anti-discrimination coalition.

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EU objections to UK equality legislation

Jamie Doward reports in today’s Observer:

The government is being forced by the European commission to rip up controversial exemptions that allow church bodies to refuse to employ homosexual staff.

It has emerged that the commission wrote to the government last week raising concerns that the UK had incorrectly implemented an EU directive prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of a person’s sexual orientation.

The ruling follows a complaint from the National Secular Society, which argued that the opt-outs went further than was permitted under the directive and had created “illegal discrimination against homosexuals”.

The commission agreed. A “reasoned opinion” by its lawyers informs the government that its “exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for religious employers are broader than that permitted by the directive”.

The highly unusual move means that the government now has no choice but to redraft anti-discrimination laws, which is likely to prompt a furore among church groups.

Read Brussels says churches must lift ban on employing homosexuals.

According to an EU press release, found via eumonitor.net:

Employment equality rules: reasoned opinion to the UK; case closed for Slovakia

The European Commission has today sent a reasoned opinion to the United Kingdom for incorrectly implementing EU rules prohibiting discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in employment and occupation (Directive 2000/78/EC, see also MEMO/08/69 ). It has also decided to close infringement proceedings concerning the same Directive against Slovakia as their national legislation has been brought into line with EU requirements.

“Tackling all forms of discrimination – especially at work – has been a priority for this Commission and for me personally. Our legal action has led to better protection against discrimination in workplaces across the EU,” said Equal Opportunities Commissioner Vladimír Špidla. “We call on the UK Government to make the necessary changes to its anti-discrimination legislation as soon as possible so as to fully comply with the EU rules. In this context, we welcome the proposed Equality Bill and hope that it will come into force quickly,” he added.

In the reasoned opinion sent to the United Kingdom, the Commission pointed out that:

  • there is no clear ban on ‘instruction to discriminate’ in national law and no clear appeals procedure in the case of disabled people;
  • exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for religious employers are broader than that permitted by the directive.

There’s a response to this news item at Cranmer EU forces Government to put gay equality over Christian conscience.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 8:58am GMT | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 21 November 2009

Rowan's Roman visit (2)

Updated Sunday lunchtime

Media reports following the meeting:

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope to ‘seek closer ties’ and

Robert Pigott Anglicans and Catholics attempt to bridge divide

New York Times Rachel Donadio Anglican Leader and Pope Hold ‘Cordial’ Talks

Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones Archbishop of Canterbury tells Pope that Catholic row left him feeling ‘awkward’

Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre Rowan Williams confronts the Pope over ‘poaching’ of clergy

A very useful commentary by Austen Ivereigh in America +Rowan and Pope Benedict ‘mend fences’

Updates

Observer John Hooper Williams faces pope over Vatican call for converts and also

Leader comment: A subtle champion of the faith

Ruth Gledhill has Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome: In giving we receive

The BBC radio programme Sunday has a segment starting about 32 minutes in. It includes a brief audio interview with Rowan Williams.

Bishop David Hamid has a useful blog entry, see Anglican-Roman Catholic Relations.

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Rowan's Roman visit

Today The Times has a leader, Ecumenism rebuffed.

It includes this:

…In the interests of his own authority and the integrity of the Anglican tradition, he should give the pontiff two clear messages.

First, the Anglican Communion is not an arrangement of convenience among disparate parties. In creating the new structure, known as an apostolic constitution, the Vatican acted precipitately. Second, there is an impeccable case for the Church to welcome women priests and homosexual clergy. On these issues that have sharply divided Anglicans, Dr Williams is clearly liberal by temperament. Stating that position openly, regardless of its effect on Anglican-Catholic relations, is overdue…

The Independent also has a leader, Heavy hand of Rome. It says:

…Last month saw one of the most divisive acts by the Catholic Church in decades. The Pope unveiled an “apostolic constitution” which would allow practising Anglicans to join the Catholic Church. Under the new arrangement, Rome would even admit married Church of England clergy and allow entire congregations to continue using their traditional liturgy and prayer book. The Archbishop has been quietly criticising the Catholic move in recent days. But behind closed doors he ought to be more direct…

In the same paper:

It is the best and worst of times for Anglo-Catholic relations by Paul Woolley

A warm welcome from the Pope sows Anglican unease by Simon Caldwell

The Church Times website has an update to the printed version, Archbishop takes the argument to Rome by Paul Handley.

Andrew Brown wrote Graphic confusion in Rome at Cif belief yesterday. He links to this helpful flow chart from The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley.

A detailed critical analysis of Anglicanorum coetibus comes from Australia, where Charles Sherlock has written Pope skips language of love in Anglicans manifesto.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 12:01pm GMT | Comments (45) | TrackBack
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opinions for this weekend

Judith Maltby writes in the Guardian about the Creation Museum.

Madeleine Bunting writes at Cif belief about The rabbi’s moral muddle.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Checks and balances in the City.

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that The lesson of Noah’s Ark is that wolves can lie down with lambs.

Rowan Williams spoke to a TUC conference this week, on the topic Economics is ‘housekeeping’ for humanity. Short version here.

At Ekklesia Walter Altmann writes that Liberation theology is still alive and well.

And the Church Times has a take on the film Twilight. Read Stories with bite.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 10:27am GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Friday, 20 November 2009

Equality Bill and the CofE

Today’s Church Times carries a report, written by me, about the CofE and the Equality Bill.

See Committee rejects C of E proposal on Equality Bill.

THE parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) disagreed strongly with the Archbishops’ Council over a proposal to modify the Equality Bill, it emerged this week. The Bill awaits the Report stage before its Third Reading in the House of Commons…

Links to the various documents mentioned can all be found at this earlier TA article JCHR report on Equality Bill.

Those coming late to the Equality Bill can catch up by reading the House of Commons Library Research Paper, Equality Bill Committee Stage Report, just published, and available here as a PDF file. This summarises all the activity of recent months, and explains what amendments have, and have not, been made to the bill as originally published.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 20 November 2009 at 9:23am GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Statement on Congo violence

Updated Friday morning

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Congo and the Bishop of Winchester today voiced their concerns over the continuing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read the Statement on DRC violence from Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of Congo and Bishop of Winchester.

Update

The Bishop of Winchester spoke in the House of Lords on this subject. You can read what he said here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 10:14pm GMT | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Rowan Williams in Rome

Updated Friday morning

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave an address today, in Rome. He was the guest of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The address was part of a symposium being held at the Gregorian University, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Cardinal Willebrands, the first president of the Council.

You can read the full text of the address here.

Reporting of this event by the media:

Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury claims differences between Anglicans and Roman Catholics are not that great by Martin Beckford and Nick Squires

Guardian Rowan Williams urges Rome to rethink position on female bishops by Riazat Butt and John Hooper

The Times Archbishop of Canterbury tells Pope: no turning back on women priests by Ruth Gledhill and Richard Owen

Associated Press Struggling Anglican leader in Rome for papal talks by Nicole Wingfield

Reuters Anglican head challenges Vatican over women clergy

Agence France Presse Anglican leader urges ‘convergence’ with Catholics

Reporting on the blogs:

Alan Wilson What kind of Unity? and of Church?

Ruth Gledhill Rowan in Rome: The Fightback Begins

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 8:54pm GMT | Comments (56) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

US Conservatives, African Churches and Homophobia

Political Research Associates has published a major report entitled Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia.

The report is written by The Revd Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia.

From the press release:

Groundbreaking PRA Investigation Exposes Influence of U.S. Religious Conservatives in Promoting Homophobia in Africa

U.S. Christian Right also mobilizes African clerics in U.S. “culture war” over ordination of LGBT clergy

Sexual minorities in Africa have become collateral damage to our domestic conflicts and culture wars as U.S. conservative evangelicals and those opposing gay pastors and bishops within mainline Protestant denominations woo Africans in their American fight, a groundbreaking investigation by Political Research Associates (PRA) discovered.

Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia, a new report by PRA Project Director Reverend Kapya Kaoma, exposes the U.S. Right’s promotion of an agenda in Africa that aims to criminalize homosexuality and otherwise infringe upon the human rights of LGBT people while also mobilizing African clerics in U.S. culture war battles. U.S. social conservatives who are in the minority in mainline churches depend on African religious leaders to legitimize their positions as their growing numbers makes African Christians more influential globally. These partnerships have succeeded in slowing the mainline Protestant churches’ recognition of the full equality of LGBT people. It’s working despite the real movement toward full equality within deonominations because of the sensitivity of liberals to the question of colonialism. Are we being insensitive to the realities of Africa? But, Kaoma argues, although U.S. conservatives have organized African religious leaders as a visible force opposing LGBT equality, it is not true that all of Africa takes this stand…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 6:47pm GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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more comments on the Revision Committee

David Phillips, General Secretary of Church Society has written Women Bishops - what sort of provision?

Fulcrum has published a statement ‘Making way for Women Bishops’.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 6:35pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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more on Anglicanorum Coetibus

From the USA, Bishop Christopher Epting comments on the Vatican’s Apostolic Constitution.

From Nigeria, the Sun has Pope Benedict’s revolutionary offer to Anglicans.

From England, Andrew Brown has written Backlash at Cif belief.

And from Rome via the USA, Cardinal Kasper on ‘Anglicanorum Coetibus’.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 6:19pm GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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petition about Uganda

Ekklesia is spearheading a petition, Christian leaders must condemn Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Read more about this:

Williams under pressure as Christians condemn Ugandan anti-gay bill

The Archbishop and the anti-gay bill

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 12:57pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Preparing for Women as Bishops (cont.)

The series of papers from WATCH was first reported here.

More papers are now available as PDF files from here:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 9:28am GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Canadian resolution on Uganda

The full text of the resolution passed by the Canadian Council of General Synod on Uganda last weekend is as follows:

Uganda

This Council of General Synod expresses its dismay and concern over the draft proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently before the Parliament of Uganda.

The proposed Bill would severely impede the human rights of Ugandan citizens both at home and abroad by infringing freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, freedom of organization, and legitimate advocacy of civil rights. It would impose excessive and cruel penalties on persons who experience same-sex attraction as well as those who counsel, support, and advise them, including family members and clergy.

We affirm that our baptismal covenant requires us to “respect the dignity of every human being” and to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbour as ourselves.” We further note that 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 called upon the Church to reject the irrational fear of homosexual persons and to create opportunities to listen to the voice and experience of homosexual Christians. We recall that the Primates Meeting in Dromantine, Ireland 2005 condemned all persecution and violence towards homosexual persons. Clearly, the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill fails to meet these standards.

We therefore call upon the Church of the Province of Uganda to oppose this Private Member’s Bill: and we call upon our own Government of Canada, through the Minister of External Affairs, to convey to the Government of Uganda a deep sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights and, through diplomatic channels, to press for its withdrawal; and we ask the Primate to send this message to the appropriate bodies.

Moved by: Bishop Michael Ingham

Seconded by: Mr. Robert Falby QC

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 6:11pm GMT | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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back to Uganda's legislative proposal

Updated

Very little progress appears to have been made in obtaining any public statement by Anglican leaders anywhere against the proposed legislation. But see update below.

Meanwhile the latest news report is Museveni warns against homosexuality.

The latest Church Times report is Ugandans clarify view on gay Bill by Pat Ashworth.

Warren Throckmorton now reports Exodus opposes Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009: Open letter to the President of Uganda.

Earlier, he had written How the Anti-Homosexuality Bill could impair AIDS progress in Uganda.

Dr Throckmorton and Andrew Marin have organised a Uganda World Prayer Day.

Update

The Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod has passed the following resolution (scroll to the very bottom of the page):

*Resolution

COGS passed a resolution that expressed its dismay and concern over the draft proposed anti-homosexuality bill currently before the parliament of Uganda. COGS resolved to call upon the church of the province of Uganda to oppose this private member’s bill, and called upon the Government of Canada, through the Minister of External Affairs, to convey to the government of Uganda a deep sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights and through diplomatic channels, to press for its withdrawal; and asked the Primate to send this message to the appropriate bodies.

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Monday, 16 November 2009

Reform on the Revision Committee

Reform has issued a press release:

The decision of the General Synod’s Revision Committee to back away from proposals to give opponents of women bishops a way of staying in the Church of England has “overturned the will of Synod, created the spectre of confrontation, and risks extending the controversy for another five years,” according to the chairman of Reform, the Rev’d Rod Thomas.

Responding to the announcement made on Saturday 14th November that the Revision Committee had failed to approve the transfer of jurisdiction from female to male bishops where parishes could not accept their oversight, Rod Thomas said:

“At last February’s General Synod there was a clear desire to provide legislative safeguards for those who could not, in conscience, accept the oversight of women bishops. This has now been overturned by the Revision Committee. Whereas there was a prospect of agreement, the Revision Committee has now set the General Synod on a course of confrontation. It has served the Church badly.

“There has been much speculation about Anglo-Catholics leaving the Church of England for Rome. What has been overlooked is the number of large evangelical churches which the Church of England now risks losing – not to Rome, but to independence or alternative Anglican affiliations.

“Within the General Synod there will be many who will be deeply unhappy at the bullying tactics being used to dismiss opponents of the proposed new legislation. Some evangelicals who do support the introduction of women bishops will nevertheless vote against proposals which have the effect of excluding other evangelicals. This means that by the time the proposals have finished their tortuous progress through the General Synod, they will be likely to fail, since they will be unable to garner the two thirds majority support needed.

“It may be that in the providence of God, the result of the Revision Committee’s decision may be the reverse of what they intend: that this unbiblical move to put women in positions of headship in the church will fail. Reform will now renew its commitment to work towards this outcome.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 16 November 2009 at 6:39pm GMT | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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MCU on the Revision Committee

The Modern Churchpeople’s Union has written about Women Bishops and the Revision Committee:

MCU has published a paper that welcomes the Revision Committee’s change of policy. However, it questions the emphasis on seeking to satisfy the opponents of women bishops while showing no comparable concern for the majority appalled by the continuing gender discrimination.

The paper argues

  • that the proposed proliferation of different classes of bishops (women, men consecrated or not consecrated by women, men who do or do not ordain women, etc) should be resisted;
  • that church leaders should resist the influence of magical views of the sacraments, treating priests and bishops as if the value of their ministry depended on whether their appointment followed precise rules;
  • that the ‘theology of taint’ - the idea that a bishop who has once ordained a woman priest is no longer an acceptable bishop - is not acceptable and no allowance should be made for it;
  • that resistance to change, while characteristic of many reactionary religious campaigns, is unrealistic since churches do, and need to, make changes;
  • that the increasing appeal to the individual conscience as though it were a basic unchanging fact, rather than an expression of what the individual currently believes to be true, should be resisted;
  • and that the current reactionary mood among church leaders is in danger of being made permanent by the proposed Anglican Covenant.

Read the whole paper, either on the web, or in a PDF file.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:46pm GMT | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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JCHR report on Equality Bill

Updated

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has published its report Legislative Scrutiny: Equality Bill.

The web version of this report starts here. A PDF version is also available from here.

The portions of the report relating to Religion are interesting.

Go here for the section headed EMPLOYMENT BY ORGANISATIONS BASED UPON RELIGION OR BELIEF. This starts at paragraph 164, and should be read in full. The evidence given to another committee by the CofE and Roman Catholic Church representatives is considered. Evidence given to this committee by the Church of England can be found starting at page Ev 114 of the PDF. That is page 250 of 344! A third memorandum from the Board of Education and the National Society is at page Ev 190 (322 of the PDF).

Update
There are direct links to each of the Church of England memoranda:

The JCHR conclusions include these paragraphs:

174. We welcome the clarification in Schedule 9(2) and 9(3) of the circumstances in which occupational requirements linked to a religious belief or ethos can be imposed by faith-based organisations and organised religious groups. We accept that some limitations on non-discrimination on grounds of religion or belief may be justified and appropriate in relation to religious organisations and that the exemption in Schedule 9(2) fulfils that role. We also consider that in general the provisions of Schedule 9(2) and 9(3) strike the correct balance between the right to equality and non-discrimination and the rights to freedom of religion or belief and association, especially if interpreted in line with the approach set out in Amicus v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, which emphasised the need for such exceptions to the general prohibition on direct discrimination to be “construed strictly” on the basis that they are “a derogation from the principle of equal treatment”.

175. We consider that substantial grounds exist for doubting whether the “religious ethos” exception provided for in Schedule 9(3) permits organisations with a religious ethos to impose wide-ranging requirements on employees to adhere to religious doctrine in their lifestyles and personal relationships, by for example requiring employees to manifest their religious beliefs by refraining from homosexual acts. We agree with the Government that it is “very difficult to see how in practice beliefs in lifestyles or personal relationships could constitute a religious belief which is a requirement for a job, other than ministers of religion” (which is covered by a different exception). This should put beyond doubt the position that the exemption in Schedule 9(3) cannot be used to discriminate on the basis of sexual conduct linked to sexual orientation. We support this view and recommend that this be made clear in the Bill.

176. We are concerned about the status of employees of organisations delivering public services who find themselves as employees of organisations with a religious ethos who have been contracted to provide the public service. They have a right not to be subjected to religious discrimination on the basis of the ethos of the contracting organisation if they are otherwise performing their job satisfactorily. We are concerned that the widespread use of the “religious ethos” exception set out in Schedule 9(3) by organisations based on a particular religion or belief who are contracted to deliver services on behalf of public authorities could result in public functions being discharged by organisations in receipt of public funds who are nevertheless perceived to discriminate on the basis of religion or belief.

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Saturday, 14 November 2009

opinions in mid-November

Roderick Strange writes in The Times ‘In Heaven we shall see each other as we really are’.

Earlier in the week, Libby Purves wrote The key to rubbing along in perfect harmony.

Last week in the Church Times Richard Harries wrote Gangmasters need tighter controls.

Michael Reiss wrote The case of Adam’s navel.

And The Revd Professor Alison Milbank was interviewed by Terence Handley MacMath. (Best line: Fresh Expressions is a brand of cat litter in America.)

Over at Cif belief Mark Dowd wrote All aboard the ARC.

And the speech by Rowan Williams on New Perspectives on Faith and Development, was reproduced at Cif belief under the title Relating intelligently to religion. Here’s the short version:

Presenting a broader agenda for development, which seeks to define human flourishing as more than just material well-being, Dr Williams suggests that all engaged in the process would benefit by rediscovering their own humanity in the humanity of the other. This would lead, he suggests, to a ‘proper distribution of dignity’. Dr Williams acknowledges the challenges to collaboration in the perceptions secular development agencies and faith communities have of each other, but emphasises the overwhelming benefits, indeed the imperative, of both to commit to mutual learning in order to collaborate for the well-being of humanity and the planet.

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Women Bishops - more from the revision committee

Updated again Saturday evening

The Church of England issued the press release below this morning.

The essential parts are the third and fourth paragraphs.

Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate
14 November 2009

The Revision Committee met for its third scheduled meeting yesterday (13 November) since 8 October (see earlier statement). It concluded a substantial exploration of ways in which the draft legislation could be amended to enable certain functions to be vested by statute in bishops who would provide oversight for those unable to receive the episcopal and/or priestly ministry of women.

After much discussion, the members of the Committee were unable to identify a basis for specifying particular functions for vesting which commanded sufficient support both from those in favour of the ordination of women as bishops and those unable to support that development. As a result all of the proposals for vesting particular functions by statute were defeated.

The effect of the Committee’s decision is therefore that such arrangements as are made for those unable to receive the episcopal ministry of women will need to be by way of delegation from the diocesan bishop rather than vesting.

There remain important issues for the Committee to determine at its forthcoming meetings over the shape of the proposed legislation in the light of this decision, in particular whether to retain a statutory code of practice or adopt the simplest possible legislation.

The work of a Revision Committee in scrutinising draft legislation, and in considering submissions to amend it, is only part of a longer legislative process. The Revision Committee on this draft legislation will report to the full General Synod at the conclusion of its work and the Synod will debate its proposals and have its own opportunity to support, amend or invite further reconsideration of the legislation by the Revision Committee. Further stages in the legislative process would require consideration of any legislation by the Diocesan Synods of the Church of England, final approval by the General Synod, Parliamentary approval and the Royal Assent.

Updates

Bishop David Thomson has published some very interesting additional material, see here. A copy of it is also here, below the fold.

WATCH has already published a press release.

WATCH PRESS STATEMENT
Saturday, 14th November 2009 – for immediate release

WOMEN BISHOPS LEGISLATION NOW ON RIGHT TRACK

WATCH is delighted to hear that the Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate has decided that legislation for women bishops will no longer include proposals for the mandatory transfer of authority - the vesting of particular functions by law – in bishops who would provide oversight for those unable to receive the Episcopal and/or priestly ministry of women.

WATCH commends the recent work of the Revision Committee, which met yesterday to explore how the previous proposed arrangements could be made to work. WATCH is aware of the huge outcry from members of General Synod and from other Church members to the earlier announcement of the Revision Committee to make changes in law that would have resulted in a two-tier episcopate.

WATCH Chair, Christina Rees said: “This is a real breakthrough. I am delighted that now we can look forward to having women as bishops on the same terms that men are bishops. Women will bring valuable different perspectives and ways of doing things and will also bring a sorely needed wholeness to the Episcopal leadership of our Church. The House of Bishops will cease to be the ‘men only’ club it has been and will be more representative of the people whom the Church exists to serve. Now the Church will be able to draw on the experience and wisdom of many gifted women. We know from 15 years of having women as priests that they are often able to reach people and approach situations in ways that are creative and empowering for many others.”

WATCH is pleased with the outcome on two counts: first, and most importantly, the new proposals express the theological understanding of the Church about the status of baptised Christians and about the relationship between men and women and God. Secondly, the Revision Committee has shown that it has heeded the will of General Synod to draft legislation that would not have arrangements in law that would differentiate between male and female bishops.

WATCH continues to urge to Revision Committee to bring proposals to General Synod in February 2010 which adopt the simplest possible legislation, so that the Church of England can proceed to opening the Episcopate to women in such a way that the nature of the Episcopate is retained and the Church can best communicate its belief that women and men are equal in the eyes of God.

Ed Tomlinson has blogged about this, see Church of England’s response is forming….

Bishop Alan Wilson has written, Revision Committee: Tough Salami.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones writes for the Sunday Telegraph about a Snub to traditionalists over women bishops.

Questions and Answers for Comms. Office use

What does this mean?

It means that the Committee could not identify which functions or powers they thought should be given by law to the bishops who would give oversight to traditionalist parishes, so the idea essentially falls. They now have to decide whether to return to the idea of a statutory code of practice or to adopt a solution that would set out no provision in the legislation itself for those who object to women bishops. But whatever this Committee decides, it remains for the full Synod to debate the matter fully.

What’s the difference between delegation and vesting?

Delegation means that functions would be exercised on the authority of the diocesan bishop, who in future may be female. Vesting would have meant certain functions being exercised as of right by those bishops providing oversight for traditionalist parishes.

What do you mean by ‘functions’?

Functions in this context mean episcopal activities such as conducting the ordination of priests, and providing pastoral oversight of parish clergy.

Is this the result of the Pope/the Westminster Hall debate/anger from women?

The 19 members of the Committee spent a lot of time exploring possibilities in some detail and were unable to find a basis for vesting which commanded sufficient support. What influenced individuals to vote as they did on particular proposals can only be a matter of speculation.

Why issue statements when the decisions keep changing?

Synod members coming to speak to amendments that they have submitted have the right to know when there has been a major change affecting their proposals. Since such decisions will quickly become widely known the Committee concluded that it was best to put the facts on the public record.

How did people vote?

The voting figures will be included in the Committee’s report to Synod.

Will the report be ready for the February Synod?

That has always been the Committee’s aim, but the timetable is now extremely tight. The Committee has three further meetings scheduled between now and early January.

Isn’t this decision simply going to push many Catholic Anglicans to go to Rome?

There are many further stages yet in the legislative process (see 8 October statement) and nothing is certain until the draft Measure has secured a two thirds majority in each House of Synod on final approval and then secured parliamentary approval and Royal Assent. It will be at least 2012 before the Synod has concluded its own consideration.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 14 November 2009 at 10:52am GMT | Comments (97) | TrackBack
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Friday, 13 November 2009

church press covers Anglicanorum Coetibus

The Church Times has Vatican publishes text of Anglicanorum Coetibus

and a Leader, Checkpoint Charlie for Anglicans.

The Tablet has Vatican issues constitution for Anglicans by Robert Mickens

and What were they thinking of? by Nicholas Lash (2 more articles are subscriber-only for another week)

and an Editorial, The other path to Rome.

In response to a request from a regular commenter, here also are two items from the Catholic Herald:

Rome opens arms to world’s Anglicans by Anna Arco

and an Editorial, Pope Benedict has called the Anglicans’ bluff.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 1:11pm GMT | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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more on Peterborough

Updated

We previously reported the appointment of a new Bishop of Peterborough.

This got noticed in the Diary column of the Guardian.

The Church Times has a news report today, but that is subscriber-only for another week. However, the appointment is also discussed by Giles Fraser in his column, Liberals on the front line.

…All of this is why I had my head in my hands when I read the words of the new Bishop of Peterborough, the Ven. Donald Allister, currently Archdeacon of Chester. “Liberalism is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against the Church,” he wrote a few years back.

To be fair, at the press conference to announce his episcopate he did what all new bishops do and said that he found labels “unhelpful”. But that cannot have been his view when he wrote: “I am very happy to work with Anglo-Catholics in fight­ing battles against liberalism, but the day must come when we need to fight against the ritualism and sacra­mentalism which they have intro­duced into the Church of England.”

Why do people so consistently fail to understand the idea of liberal­ism? Liberalism is not a wishy-washy style of biblical interpre­tation, or an indifference to biblical truth — although the Bishop’s advice here is pretty amazing: “If in doubt what a passage means or how it applies we will believe it literally and obey it absolutely.” What about Psalm 137 verse 9?

No, liberalism is a commitment to human freedom and a hatred of authoritarianism. That is why many of us celebrate the Reforma­tion as an emancipation from the abuses of Roman authority. To describe liberalism as satanic is to align oneself with flag-burning ayatollahs who chant against the United States as the “great Satan” and against Israel as the “little Satan”…

Source for the quotes is this PDF file at Church Society.

More writing by the new bishop can be found in this series on the Thirty-nine Articles.

And there is also a paper on Lay presidency at the Lord’s Table on the Reform website.

Update

Earlier there were two posts about this by John Richardson see
The new Bishop of Peterborough said what?
and also
The Bishop of Peterborough said what else?
(h/t Toby)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 8:51am GMT | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 12 November 2009

UK government accepts Waddington amendment

For the background to this, see previous posts:
Waddington amendment upheld in Lords July 2009
bishops oppose repeal of Waddington amendment May 2009
Anglican and Roman church bodies comment jointly November 2007
incitement extension proposed October 2007

Today, the UK government finally accepted, with reluctance, the amendment supported repeatedly, by the House of Lords and rejected, also repeatedly, by the House of Commons.

See today’s news reports:

The Bishop of Winchester spoke in one of the debates, and you can read what he said here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 November 2009 at 6:39pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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debate in Uganda

Updated again Friday evening

GayUganda reports Dialogue?

The Makerere University Human Rights and Peace Center

present a public dialogue on The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009

Date: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2009
Time: 1pm-5 pm
Venue: Faculty of Law Auditorium

SPEAKERS:

  • Hon. David Bahati, MP Ndorwa East and Sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
  • Assoc. Prof. Sylvia Tamale, Coordinator, Law, Gender & Sexuality Research Project, Faculty of Law.
  • Rev. Canon. Aaron Mwesigye, Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church of Uganda
  • Maj. Rubaramira Ruranga, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS Activist

Update

Warren Throckmorton has Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill discussed on Premier Christian Radio.

Friday evening update

Ekklesia reports Archbishop of York intends to say silent on Ugandan anti-gay bill.

The Archbishop of York, who grew up in rural Uganda, has said that he intends to stay silent about proposed legislation in the country which would introduce the death penalty for certain consensual homosexual acts.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) attempted to contact both Archbishop John Sentamu and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, hoping they would speak out unequivocally against the proposed laws.

The Archbishop of York’s office told LGCM that Archbishop Sentamu “will not be making a statement on this issue”. The Archbishop of Canterbury has not responded…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 November 2009 at 4:05pm GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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records of House of Commons debate

The Hansard record of the adjournment debate on “The Application of the Sex Discrimination Legislation to Religious Organisations” is now available, starting here.

TheyWorkForYou version is now also available here.

Video of the debate is available at BBC Democracy Live, over here.

Update

Riazat Butt has written a report, now on the Guardian website, The church of England: above the law?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 November 2009 at 8:24am GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

reports of the Swedish consecrations

There are now a number of English language reports available:

The Local Sweden’s first lesbian bishop consecrated in Uppsala

Episcopal News Service SWEDEN: Lesbian priest ordained as Lutheran bishop of Stockholm

Canadian Press Sweden’s Lutheran church ordains first openly lesbian bishop

Bishop David Hamid’s blog, Eurobishop New Bishop of Stockholm Consecrated (Church of Sweden)

Earlier reports here.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2009

more Ugandan reports

Updated again Wednesday morning

IPS has RIGHTS-UGANDA: “You Cannot Tell Me You Will Kill Me Because I’m Gay”. This includes quotes from Canon Aaron Mwesigye Kafundizeki, the Church of Uganda provincial secretary:

“It is an important law, but the provision related to the death penalty may prevent this law from being passed, because death should not be accepted as a punishment. Therefore propose another form of punishment instead of death.”

Kafundizeki said pushing for extra territorial jurisdiction would be counter-productive.

“The Church of Uganda is saying we need to limit ourselves to the Ugandan territory, instead of extra territorial jurisdiction, because the Ugandan constitution is very clear on protocols and ratifications. Going beyond the borders will be counter-productive,” he says.

Compare this with the CofU official statement here.

Warren Throckmorton has written at Crosswalk Adding D to ABC: How a Proposed Ban on Homosexuality in Uganda Will Undo AIDS Progress.

Box Turtle Bulletin has further reports:
Uganda’s “Kill Gays” bill is “Providing Leadership to the World”
More American Evangelical Ties To Uganda’s Anti-Gay Politicians
The “Biblical” Worldwide Anglican Communion

Changing Attitude has further reports from “Gug”, a gay Ugandan, here, and here, and also here.

LGCM has issued a press release, Lesbian and Gay Christians speak out against Uganda’s proposed “Anti-Homosexuality” Bill.

Cif belief has published Unite to condemn homophobic laws by Davis Mac-Iyalla.

An open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and primates of the Anglican Communion on Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill

To the Archbishop of Canterbury and primates of the Anglican Communion,

I am writing to you to call on the Church of England and the wider Anglican community to condemn Uganda’s proposed anti-homosexuality bill, which will make gay relations between disabled people and those under 18 a capital offence. “Carnal knowledge against the order of nature” – as homosexuality is termed in Ugandan law – is already punishable with life imprisonment. However, if passed, the new bill will widen the scope, including promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house “for purposes of homosexuality”. This means that the relatives and friends of gay couples could face execution if they allow them to stay in their homes…

Warren Throckmorton has a further posting, The future is now, part two – Ugandan want ad.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 10 November 2009 at 8:29am GMT | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Monday, 9 November 2009

media coverage of the apostolic constitution

Updated Wednesday

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter has published Vatican releases rules for ex-Anglicans, insists ‘no change’ on celibacy.

Graham Kings has published at Cif belief The pope’s Anglican division. Also published in a longer version as the November Fulcrum newsletter.

Another article actually written before the publication of the texts today, but definitely worth reading, is Ordinary Anglicans? by Bosco Peters.

Andrew Brown has written at Cif belief about The Vatican’s small print for Anglicans.

Episcopal Life Online has Vatican’s Apostolic Constitution explained by Bill Franklin.

Ruth Gledhill has written at The Times Vatican holds line on celibacy for Anglican rebels. Headline later changed to Vatican opens its doors to married Anglican clergy.

Telegraph Nick Pisa Pope ‘is not trying to lure Anglicans into the Catholic Church’

BBC Robert Pigott Anglicans welcome offer from Rome

Daily Mail Steve Doughty Pope allows married Anglicans to become Catholic priests in bid to tempt them to defect

Living Church Responses Varied as Vatican Offers Plan Details

Ruth Gledhill has a video interview with Archbishop Vincent Nichols here. And an earlier blog entry here.

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reactions to Anglicanorum coetibus

The initial official CofE response was already linked in the previous item.

After that, the first group reaction to reach TA was from Church Society. See Response from the Council of Church Society to the plans by the Church of Rome to receive disaffected Anglicans.

Note: strictly speaking this is not a response to the now published text, as it says: “The statement was agreed by the Council at its meeting on 4 November 2009.”

We will add responses from other groups as they arrive. Press responses will be in a separate article.

Forward in Faith has issued A first reaction to today’s publication of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

The Bishop of St Albans has issued this statement.

The Primate of Nigeria Archbishop Peter Akinola has issued a Statement from GAFCON/FCA Primates Council.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 9 November 2009 at 2:33pm GMT | Comments (41) | TrackBack
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Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus

Updated Monday lunchtime

The Apostolic Constitution providing for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans Entering into Full Communion with the Catholic Church has been published by the Vatican today.
Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus
Complementary Norms for the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus

The Vatican has also issued this press release which includes both the above texts and an article The Significance of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus by Fr Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Damian Thompson has published the texts in the Telegraph.
Apostolic Constitution: Vatican publishes the details
Apostolic Constitution: the full text

There is a Church of England response: Apostolic Constitution - Bishop of Guildford responds

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 November 2009 at 11:54am GMT | Comments (43) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 7 November 2009

no change to advice on Swine Flu

Back on 16 September, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued an update statement to the whole College of Bishops.

In this they said they would review the policy again at the end of October. They have now issued a further statement, which once again is tucked away on the CofE website (left hand column of this page). The text of the latest statement is reproduced in full below the fold.

It again makes no change to the original policy issued in July and says the policy will be reviewed again in one month’s time.

30TH October 2009

SWINE FLU : STATEMENT FROM THE ARCHBISHOPS TO THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS

Following our statement in September this year, we have reviewed the situation in light of the latest advice from the Department of Health.

Their latest update, issued last night, shows that the number of new cases has risen. There were 78,000 new cases in England this week with 751 people currently hospitalised. The additional information now available confirms earlier guidance that children under 16 are significantly more susceptible to the virus, and up to 30% may fall ill during this second wave. Deaths worldwide have increased by 12% this week. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) believes that about 520,000 people have been infected by swine flu in England since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The vaccination programme in this country has started this week. The plan is to offer it to all at risk groups by the end of November.

In the light of this, our recommendation, made on 22nd July 2009 to those presiding at Holy Communion in parishes and dioceses, remains unchanged.

It remains important

a) to encourage everyone to recognise that the Church has a responsibility to take public health considerations seriously and

b) to ensure communication around the Church is good so that we don’t appear at sixes and sevens, and

c) to remember that responsible practice in these areas is not primarily about protecting ourselves but about avoiding transmitting infection unwittingly to others.

In the light of this rapidly changing situation, we do not believe this is the time to issue fresh advice. We are keeping in regular contact with the Department of Health and will continue to consider all relevant information.

We will review our own advice in a month’s time. Until then, we would encourage you to continue to show patience and to pray for all those affected.

+ Rowan Cantuar + Sentamu Ebor

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opinions before Remembrance Sunday

Giles Fraser writes in this week’s Church Times about Onward faithful eco-warriors.

Last week, Jonathan Bartley had Thoughts on Thought for the Day in the Church Times.

And John Shelby Spong was interviewed in the Church Times by Terence Handley McMath.

Ruth Gledhill wrote in The Times about the lecture given by Jonathan Sacks. See Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks: Islam must separate religion from power. And also Chief Rabbi: fundamentalism heading our way ‘with force of hurricane’. The full text of his lecture is available from the foot of this page, as a .doc file.

The Guardian today has an article about the Religious Experience Research Centre by Roger Tagholm.

In The Times Peter Townley writes about Forty years in the wilderness in East Germany.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 7 November 2009 at 6:14pm GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Friday, 6 November 2009

House of Commons to debate Sex Discrimination

On Wednesday 11th November at 3.30pm in Westminster Hall, Robert Key, MP for Salisbury, has arranged for a debate to take place on:

“The Application of the Sex Discrimination Legislation to Religious Organisations”.

WATCH has more information here.

More information about Westminster Hall debates is available here. Debates are open to the public.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 6 November 2009 at 10:53pm GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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UK government statement on Ugandan bill

In a statement given to PinkNews.co.uk, a spokeswoman from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:

“We are concerned by the introduction of a private member’s bill on anti homosexuality in Uganda.

“Adoption of the bill could do serious damage to efforts to tackle HIV and its criminalisation of organisations that support homosexuality could, in theory, encompass most donor agencies and international NGOs.

“The UK, alongside our EU partners, has raised our concerns about the draft bill and LGBT rights more broadly with the government of Uganda, including with the prime minister and several other ministers, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, and senior officials from the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We will continue to track the passage of the bill and to lobby against its introduction.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 6 November 2009 at 9:41pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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The Church of Uganda and the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill”

For Immediate Release
6th November 2009
Contact: Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, Provincial Secretary
+256 772 455 129

The Church of Uganda and the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill”


The Church of Uganda is studying the proposed “Anti-homosexuality bill” and, therefore, does not yet have an official position on the bill. In the meantime, we can restate our position on a number of related issues.

1. Our deepest conviction as the Church of Uganda is that, in Christ, people and their sexual desires are redeemed, and restored to God’s original intent. Repentance and obedience to Scripture are the gateway to the redemption of marriage and family and the transformation of society. (Position Paper on Scripture, Authority, and Human Sexuality, May 2005)

2. The House of Bishops resolved in August 2008 that “The Church of Uganda is committed at all levels to offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.”

3. The Church of Uganda upholds the sanctity of life and cannot support the death penalty.

4. In April 2009, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said, “I am appalled to learn that the rumours we have heard for a long time about homosexual recruiting in our schools and amongst our youth are true. I am even more concerned that the practice is more widespread than we originally thought. It is the duty of the church and the government to be watchmen on the wall and to warn and protect our people from harmful and deceitful agendas.”

5. “Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture.” (Resolution of the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Bishops.) Homosexual behaviour is immoral and should not be promoted, supported, or condoned in any way as an “alternative lifestyle.” This position has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the House of Bishops and the Provincial Assembly of the Church of Uganda.

6. We cannot support the blessing of same-sex unions or the ordination of homosexuals (Resolution of the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Bishops), and we will oppose efforts to import such practices into Uganda. Again, this position has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the House of Bishops and the Provincial Assembly of the Church of Uganda.


Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye
Provincial Secretary
Church of Uganda
P.O. Box 14123
KAMPALA
+256 772 455 129

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 6 November 2009 at 6:59pm GMT | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Sweden: episcopal consecrations

Updated Monday

This coming Sunday, the Church of Sweden will consecrate two new bishops at Uppsala Cathedral.

The candidates are:

  • Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund, who will become Bishop of Härnösand in northern Sweden, and
  • Eva Brunne, who will become Bishop of Stockholm.

There has been speculation on various websites about the non-attendance of Anglican representatives at this service.

The English language Swedish site The Local published Anglicans snub Swedish lesbian bishop. But initially, as Episcopal Café reports, the story was written differently:

Five bishops from various levels within the Anglican Church, including Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, have decided not to attend the November 8th ceremony, the Dagen newspaper reports.

“The Anglican Church has a moratorium right now concerning the ordination of bishops who live together with someone of the same sex,” Alan Harper, a bishop from Armagh in Northern Ireland, told the newspaper.

Now the report says that:

Swedish Archbishop Anders Wejryd, who will conduct the ordination of Brunne and Koivunen Bylund, disputed the claim that the Church of England was somehow boycotting the ceremony.

“That’s not true at all,” he told the Kyrkans Tidning newspaper.

“We send invitations to those with the highest rank. That’s why the Archbishop of Canterbury received an invitation, but no one expected him to say yes.”

He added that the Church of England would be represented by the Reverend Karen Schmidt, who serves as the Bishop’s Chaplain for the Portsmouth Diocese, with which the Stockholm Diocese has a twinning relationship whereby church leaders from both diocese conduct reciprocal visits with one another.

The Church of Ireland Gazette has a report, which (with the editor’s permission) is reproduced in full below the fold.

Updates

The Living Church published Anglicans Respond Coolly to Swedish Consecration which contains further discussion of who did or did not attend, and why.

Pictures of the actual event can be found in Swedish reports, here, and also here.

Church of Ireland Gazette - issue dated 6 November
Porvoo Anglicans not due at Swedish consecrations

The Gazette understands that none of the Anglican Porvoo Communion Churches (the Church of Ireland, the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales) will be represented at the 8th November consecrations of two new Swedish bishops - Dean of Uppsala, the Very Revd Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund for the diocese of Härnösand, and the Revd Eva Brunne for the diocese of Stockholm.

Particular controversy surrounds the consecration of the Revd Eva Brunne as she lives in a civil partnership with a female partner and has a young child.

We understand that while the Church of Ireland and the Church in Wales received invitations, both of which were turned down, no invitation was received by the Scottish Episcopal Church or the Church of England.

On 22nd October, the Swedish General Synod decided to allow same-sex weddings in Church as from 1st November, six months after the state changed the law on marriage to encompass homosexual people.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 6 November 2009 at 6:38pm GMT | Comments (41) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 5 November 2009

another Uganda briefing

Updated Friday noon

Ekklesia has published Anti-gay bill tests core Christian witness by Savi Hensman.

Religion Dispatches has published Rick Warren Won’t Denounce Proposed Ugandan Anti-Gay Law by Sarah Posner.

Colin Coward has Excerpts from a hearing on the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 with religious leaders and also Some Ugandans categorically oppose Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The blog article mentioned in the above, by Okello Lucima, is at Buturo, Bahati more dangerous to Uganda than gays and lesbians.

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has condemned the proposed legislation, see IBAHRI Condemns Introduction of Death Penalty for ‘Aggravated Homosexuality’. via AllAfrica.com.

There is an editorial in the Uganda Observer Anti-gay Bill is not helpful.

Update

The Church Times has a report by Pat Ashworth World’s Anglicans urged to condemn Ugandan Bill.

See in the Comments for initial responses from Reform and Anglican Mainstream.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 5 November 2009 at 2:15pm GMT | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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new Bishop of Peterborough

Here is the announcement from Downing Street:

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Donald Spargo Allister MA, Archdeacon of Chester, for election as Bishop of Peterborough in succession to the late Right Reverend Ian Patrick Martyn Cundy, MA.

Notes for Editors

Donald Allister (aged 57) was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He trained for the ministry at Trinity College, Bristol. He served his curacy in the Diocese of Chester at Hyde St George, Chester from 1976 to 1979, and at Sevenoaks St Nicholas, in the diocese of Rochester from 1979 to 1983. From 1983 to 1989 he was Vicar at Birkenhead Christ Church, in the diocese of Chester. From 1989 to 2002 he was Rector at Cheadle in the Diocese of Chester, and from 1999 to 2002 he was Rural Dean of Cheadle. Since 2002 he has been Archdeacon of Chester.

He is married to Janice and they have three grown-up children and one grandchild. His interests include hill walking, science fiction and medical ethics.

The much longer press release from the diocese is here. Do read it all.

The Church of England website has this press release.

Here is the new bishop’s Press Conference Statement.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 5 November 2009 at 10:58am GMT | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

another Uganda update

Warren Throckmorton had an opinion column published in the Uganda Independent, see Guest Blog: Put down the stones.

AFP reports US slams Uganda’s new anti-gay bill.

And also, via an Australian newspaper, AFP has France slams Uganda’s anti-gay draft law.

And this report, via iAfrica.com expands on the response of Ugandan government politicians, see ‘We won’t sell our souls’.

See also MPs FORUM: Homosexuality is not a human right by David Bahati and Ndorwa West.

Box Turtle Bulletin reviews the latest developments at Uganda Parliament, Religious Leaders Weigh Death Penalty for LGBT People.

And the Uganda Monitor has an article Why anti-gay Bill should worry us by Sylvia Tamale who is is a Makerere University Law don.

Meanwhile, Colin Coward has written further about why Changing Attitude is pressing for action by Anglicans, see The Anglican Communion is committed to the inclusion and pastoral care of LGBT people.

The discussion at Fulcrum continues, and is worth following.

Andrew Goddard has published a paper which can be found at Fulcrum Briefing on ‘The Anti-Homosexuality Bill’ in Uganda.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 10:29pm GMT | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Monday, 2 November 2009

Affirming Catholicism to the Revision Committee

Affirming Catholicism issued the following letter on 30th October to individual members of the General Synod Revision Committee on Women Bishops:

To the Members of the Revision Committee

Dear

Affirming Catholicism has noted with dismay the Press Release from the Revision Committee indicating the Committee’s decision to review General Synod’s support for the adoption of the simplest form of legislation enabling the admission of women into the episcopate in the Church of England coupled with a statutory code of practice, as expressed in July 2008.

We believe that the suggestion that certain functions should be vested in bishops by statute rather than by delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory code of practice runs counter to the principle that the diocese is the fundamental unit of the Church. In practice, this means that the Diocesan Bishop is and must be recognised to be Ordinary in his / her Diocese. Consequently, as we have argued consistently in our submissions to the Bishops of Guildford and Gloucester and to the Legislative Drafting Group, any designated special Bishops who exercise a ministry in a Diocese where the Ordinary is a woman must share in the ministry of the Ordinary in order that the unity of the diocese – and with it the Church of England – be preserved.

The original motion as passed by the General Synod includes a reminder “that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans”, and asks that “additional legal provision consistent with Canon A4” be prepared in order “to establish arrangements that would seek to maintain the highest possible degree of communion with those conscientiously unable to receive the ministry of women bishops.” Despite the questions raised about the interpretation of Canon A4, this clause constitutes a requirement that provision for those who feel themselves in conscience unable to accept the ministry of a bishop who is a woman may not call her orders into question. We believe that the removal of certain functions by statute from women who are consecrated bishops can carry no other inference than that it is legitimate to deny that they are truly ordained. We are therefore of the opinion that the vesting of certain functions in another bishop by statute in the case where the diocesan bishop is a woman would be contrary to the motion passed by Synod in July 2006, as well as discounting the recommendation made by General Synod in July 2008.

We therefore ask that the Revision Committee reconsider its decision.

The Revd Jonathan Clark

For The Board of Affirming Catholicism

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 2 November 2009 at 8:09pm GMT | Comments (82) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Uganda: an update

Updated

Colin Coward has posted a progress report, Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill challenges all in the Communion and also Fulcrum and a gay Ugandan journalist comment.

The Anglican Communion and its leaders have reached a critical moment of judgement in its attitude to homosexuality. It is now 19 days since the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 was tabled by David Bahati, the MP for Ndorwa West in Uganda but the leaders of the Communion have remained silent. The only Anglican groups to have responded are those working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people…

And he has published the text of the letter which he has proposed sending as a joint statement, see the text of the proposed open letter sent by Changing Attitude and Inclusive Church to Anglican Mainstream, Fulcrum, the Church Society and Reform.

…Anglican bishops in this country have long-standing relationships with the Bishops of the Church of Uganda. They have participated in Lambeth Conferences where the bishops committed themselves to speak out against capital punishment (Lambeth 1988 33:3b), and to condemn the irrational fear of homosexuals (Lambeth 1998 1:10d).

While it is well known that, as organisations, we stand on opposing sides over the controversies about homosexuality and the Church, on this occasion we set aside our differences and call on the Church of Uganda to make her voice heard in protest at this draconian legislation and in defence of the civil liberties and dignity of an oppressed minority of the population of Uganda. We further call on our Primates and the English bishops of the three dioceses linked with the Church of Uganda to use their friendship with the Primate and bishops to urge them to publicly oppose the bill.

There is also the statement from the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law which you can read here.

Warren Throckmorton has a number of posts on his blog about this. He also has a Facebook group (h/t PO).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 1:37pm GMT | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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