Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Anglican Covenant: some other views

Savi Hensman writes today at Cif belief about The Anglican power play.

The proposed Covenant is the culmination of a conservative and homophobic drive for power in the Anglican Communion

The Church of England’s House of Bishops is urging it to accept an Anglican Communion Covenant. This would give top leaders of overseas churches more power over the C of E and (strictly in theory) vice versa. The Archbishop of Canterbury has been a champion of greater centralism among Anglicans worldwide, supposedly to strengthen unity. But recent events have exposed the tawdry reality behind talk of “interdependence” and “bonds of affection”.

The Communion has long been a family of churches in different parts of the world, with a common heritage of faith but able to make their own decisions. The 1878 Lambeth Conference resolved that “the duly certified action of every national or particular Church, and of each ecclesiastical province (or diocese not included in a province), in the exercise of its own discipline, should be respected by all the other Churches” and “no bishop or other clergyman of any other Church should exercise his functions within that diocese without the consent of the bishop thereof” .

This was repeatedly affirmed at international gatherings, as were the value of freedom and human rights. (While the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior C of E cleric, was expected to convene such events, he had no authority over other provinces.)

Adrian Worsfold wrote for the Daily Episcopalian a little while ago about The slow-motion car crash.

…Once again, and to be clear: if you don’t want the consequences, don’t vote for the document. To remove the Covenant is to finish Windsor too. This applies far wider than for The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Church of Canada, the latter of which is dragging its feet somewhat in its aching movement from its desire to be agreeable in the Communion and its realisation that this document is a disaster.

The Archbishop of Canterbury believes in the bishops as people of a body, as in traditional authority, so policies are in the end sacred and personal. He is attached to this road, the only road, and in detail. I see him as a person, let’s say, in the passenger seat of a rally car with all the maps, the details and the documents, handed to him by the bureaucrats on the back seat according to tasks he set them. And then he’s the one who gives the instructions to his Secretary General, whose foot is slammed on the accelerator and whose hands are held fast on the steering wheel. They are in a rally and they are deciding the route for all the following Anglican cars. The fact that everyone sees this in slow motion should not alter the reality that there is an almighty car crash about to take place, with the lead car, and every other car following behind, generating a pile up for which ambulances are to be needed in numbers. Some rally driver, somewhere behind, needs to apply the brakes and radio the others.

And yesterday, Marshall Scott wrote in the same venue about Cowboy poker and the Anglican Communion.

Several years ago I began describing our Anglican struggles as “cowboy poker.” For those who have never heard of it, cowboy poker is a unique game. It’s a competition held in some rodeos in the United States, and perhaps elsewhere (yes, there are rodeos elsewhere). A card table and chair are set in the middle of the arena. Contestants sit around it playing poker. There is money on the table, but it isn’t won by playing cards. In fact, the cards aren’t the game. Instead, a fighting bull is released into the arena, looking for something to attack. The expectation is that the bull will charge the table, and the pot will go, winner-take-all, to the last person seated at the table.

I’ve had that thought again and again through the past few years. There have been many ways of looking at our struggles – differences over the limits of welcome and inclusion, over the interpretation of Scripture, over theological anthropology. However, it has also been a family argument over patrimony. That has included arguments over who would be the “true heirs” of the Anglican tradition; but also who would be recognized as Anglican by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The difference would fall between those who measured it by official recognition by the Church of England and the Anglican Consultative Council; and those who measured it by invitations to the Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meetings, and “representative bodies.” Granted, there have been, as I said, disagreements about interpretation, but those have been in the context of remarkable agreement, included even in the draft Covenant, that Scripture and the Prayer Book tradition are fundamental to the Anglican tradition. So, I think there’s something to be said for the thought that this is about being recognized – being accepted, officially if grudgingly – by Canterbury (and if possible by the current incumbent)…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 30 June 2010 at 12:37pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Mexico adopts Anglican Covenant

Mexico has become the first Communion Province to adopt the Anglican Communion Covenant following its VI General Synod in Mexico City on 11 and 12 June.

Secretary General Kenneth Kearon said he was delighted at the decision and labelled The Anglican Church of Mexico’s decision as a “significant step” in the life of the Communion.

The Anglican Communion Covenant, a document that outlines the common life and values of the Communion, was described by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams as “Something that helps us know where we stand together and also helps us to intensify our fellowship and our trust.” It includes a section that proposes how to address significant disagreements within the Anglican Communion.

The idea of a Covenant was first raised in 2004 and member churches are currently reviewing the latest and final version. “We are delighted to hear that Mexico has agreed to adopt the Covenant,” said Canon Kearon. “Provinces were asked to take their time to seriously consider this document, and we are glad to hear from recent synods that they are doing just that.”

Read the press release here: Mexico adopts the Anglican Communion Covenant.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 30 June 2010 at 12:21pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Speaker's Chaplain - official announcement

Updated again Friday morning
Updated Thursday morning with Westminster Abbey press release

Here it is from the Parliament website: New Speaker’s Chaplain appointed.

The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow is delighted to announce the appointment of Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin as the new Speaker’s Chaplain.

Rev Hudson-Wilkin is currently Vicar of the United Benefice of Holy Trinity with St Philip, Dalston, and All Saints, Haggerston, in the London diocese.

She will combine this role with the position of Speaker’s Chaplain and as a Priest Vicar at Westminster Abbey. Her appointment will begin in September following the retirement of the Rev Robert Wright after 12 years in the role…

There is no press release yet on any new appointments at the Westminster Abbey website

Update Thursday morning

Westminster Abbey press release: The Reverend Andrew Tremlett appointed Canon of Westminster

Includes the following:

…The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: ‘We are delighted at the appointment of Andrew Tremlett as a Canon of Westminster and look forward to welcoming him and his family to the Abbey. The Dean & Chapter will appoint him Rector of St Margaret’s Church within the Abbey precincts. An announcement about the appointment of a new Sub Dean will be made in due course.’

Meanwhile The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, has appointed the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin as the new Speaker’s Chaplain.

Ms Hudson-Wilkin is currently Vicar of the United Benefice of Holy Trinity with St Philip, Dalston, and All Saints, Haggerston, in the London diocese. She will combine this role with the position of Speaker’s Chaplain. She is also an honorary Chaplain to HM The Queen. The post of Speaker’s Chaplain, which dates from 1660, has for most of its history been combined with another ministerial post away from Westminster. The Dean of Westminster will also appoint her as a Priest Vicar of the Abbey. Dr Hall said: ‘Rose Hudson-Wilkin will be very welcome as a member of the Abbey community and to worship in St Margaret’s Church and in the Abbey. Together the appointments of Andrew Tremlett and Rose Hudson-Wilkin will greatly enhance the Church’s ministry to the Palace of Westminster.’

The Chapel of St Mary Undercroft at the Palace of Westminster will remain under the jurisdiction of the Dean of Westminster as Ordinary.

Friday morning update

The Church Times reports, ‘No row’ over new Speaker’s Chaplain

…But, Dr Hall said, although the Abbey had advertised for someone to fill the combined position, his­torically this had not always been the case. “Technically, the appointment to the canonry of Westminster is by the Crown, while the appointment to Speaker’s Chaplain is the re­sponsibility of the Speaker, and that’s been the outcome on this occasion. There was no row between us, and relations between the Abbey and the Palace of Westminster and the Speaker continue to be constructive and productive.

“Mrs Hudson-Wilkin will be a Priest-Vicar at Westminster Abbey, and these two appointments will enhance the Church of England’s ministry in the Palace of West­minster.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 at 8:37pm BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Monday, 28 June 2010

another bishop resigns from a standing committee

For an earlier resignation see a bishop resigns from a committee.

Now comes the Bishop in Iran, Azad Marshall.

Read George Conger’s report in the Church of England Newspaper Battle over ACC Standing Committee looms.

The Bishop in Iran has quit the Anglican Communion’s ‘Standing Committee’.

Bishop Azad Marshall’s decision to stand down will come as a blow to the Archbishop of Canterbury who has sought to vest an unprecedented degree of authority in the new entity—formed by the merger of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 28 June 2010 at 6:01pm BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Welcoming women's ministry?

Savi Hensman has written an article for Ekklesia Welcoming women’s ministry, which discusses the archbishops’ recently proposed amendment to the women bishops legislation.

…Not surprisingly, some have felt hurt and undermined, and if the Archbishops get their way, some women who might make excellent priests and indeed bishops, may be put off from pursuing the ordained ministry. There is evidence that already the Church of England’s image (along with that of some other churches) is driving sizeable numbers of lay women away and putting off potential members. In 2008, the sociologist Dr Kristin Aune, estimated that 50,000 women a year were leaving congregations because they felt the church was not relevant to their lives: “Young women tend to express egalitarian values and dislike the traditionalism and hierarchies they imagine are integral to the church.” Men and boys unwilling to be in spaces where women are unequal may also be put off.

The damage however may be even more far-reaching. Quite apart from the unfairness of treating women as inferior, to some Christians the problem touches on the very nature of the church and Christian faith. To treat some people as second-class is to dishonour a Creator who made all humankind in the divine image, a Redeemer whose self-giving love offers fullness of life to all and a Spirit who, like the wind, cannot be tamed, generously bestowing sometimes unexpected gifts.

And such unequal treatment undermines the whole church’s calling to care for the needy and challenge the world by witnessing to the possibility of a new way of life in which none are exploited or marginalised. To behave as if a cleaner struggling to get by on low pay and care for her children or elderly relatives is as important as a millionaire banker, or that a destitute survivor of domestic violence or a boy trying to break free of macho gang culture matters as much as a top politician – or wealthy potential donor – is hard. A clear stance on women’s acceptability in all forms of ministry can empower lay women, men and youth in our own vital ministry and mission…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 28 June 2010 at 5:45pm BST | Comments (66) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

CofE proposes a new Faith and Order Commission

GS 1782 (PDF) contains the detailed proposals for this. A webpage version of the entire document is now available here. As the press release about the forthcoming meeting of General Synod explains:

Synod will be asked to agree the setting up of the new Faith and Order Commission, in succession to three bodies: the Doctrine Commission, the Faith and Order Advisory Group and the House of Bishops’ Theological Group. This represents a streamlining and concentration of the Church of England’s theological resources at national level.

Here are the web pages of the Faith and Order Advisory Group.

The paper explains the current situation and proposed changes this way:

1. This paper sets out a proposal that the current theological resources of the Church of England at the national level should be brought together to form a new Faith and Order Commission of the General Synod (‘the Commission’). As well as consolidating the present arrangements, the proposal offers scope for a more focused and streamlined handling of work in this area in the future.

2. The proposal has been prepared in discussion with the chairs of the Council for Christian Unity, the Faith and Order Advisory Group (‘FOAG’) and the House of Bishops’ Theological Group. The idea has also been considered by FOAG, the House of Bishops Theological Group, the Standing Committee of the House of Bishops and the House itself, and has been supported, with minor amendment, at each stage. The Archbishops’ Council has been kept informed and we endorse the proposal.

3. Theological resourcing for the Church of England at the national level is currently provided by the Doctrine Commission, the House of Bishops’ Theological Group, and FOAG.

4. The Doctrine Commission has provided extensive theological resources in the past, normally in the form of major set piece reports, published every five years or so, but has been in abeyance for several years.

5. The Theological Group advises the House of Bishops and its Standing Committee on theological issues that arise within the work of the House or the College, offering reflection on all theological aspects of the House’s agenda. This provision would continue under the new arrangements.

6. FOAG provides theological resources and reflection for the House or College of Bishops and the Council for Christian Unity and through them for the Synod. Over the years, FOAG has produced a number of reports and other documents which have been adopted by the House of Bishops and made available to the wider Church. FOAG’s main strength is in ecclesiology and ecumenical theology, though it currently also contains expertise in biblical studies, liturgy and ethics, and this sort of expertise will be needed in the new Commission. FOAG normally has several bishops among its membership. It scrutinises draft ecumenical agreements and other ecumenical and ecclesiological texts involving the Church of England. The members and the episcopal chair of FOAG are appointed by the Archbishops. It receives commissions of work from either the House of Bishops or the CCU.

7. The current proposal is for the establishment of the Commission, which will incorporate FOAG, the House of Bishops’ Theological Group and the Doctrine Commission. The Commission will therefore have a special relationship to the House of Bishops and to the Council for Christian Unity (as FOAG has now)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 28 June 2010 at 5:11pm BST | Comments (17) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Sunday, 27 June 2010

trouble at Westminster?

Both the Sunday Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday carry stories about a row between the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Dean of Westminster.

Simon Walters and Jonathan Petre Mail on Sunday Speaker snubs Church to appoint first black Vicar of Westminster

The Queen was last night dragged into a bitter row over the appointment of a black woman as ­Chaplain to the House of Commons.

Commons Speaker John Bercow has refused to give the job to the candidate picked by the Dean of Westminster Abbey, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, who answers to the Queen.

He has chosen instead the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a Jamaican-born vicar in one of the ­poorest parts of East London. Sources say he objected to appointing ‘another predictable ­middle-aged white man’.

Mr Bercow was so determined to win the power struggle that he has cut the ties between Parliament and the Abbey, where state ­funerals, weddings and coronations take place – effectively splitting the Chaplain’s ­historic role in two.

The Abbey authorities have responded by refusing to give Mrs Hudson-Wilkin the palatial grace-and-favour apartment in the Abbey cloisters where the current Commons Chaplain lives.

The man snubbed by Mr Bercow, 46-year-old Andrew Tremlett, currently a Canon at Bristol Cathedral, is to be made a Canon at Westminster Abbey as a ‘consolation prize’ by the Queen.

But he will have to make do with half the salary of the Commons Chaplain…

Jonathan Wynne-Jones Sunday Telegraph Clash over historic promotion for female cleric

…A spokesman for the Speaker said: “We can’t make any comment until an announcement is made.”

A spokesman for the dean said: “It is absurd to suggest there’s any kind of rift between the Dean of Westminster and the Speaker of the House of Commons.

“Relations between them have been and will always remain cordial and constructive.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 7:58am BST | Comments (55) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Saturday, 26 June 2010

CofE bishops commend Anglican Covenant

The latest batch of General Synod papers includes HB(10)M1, the Summary of Decisions from the recent (17-18 May) meeting of the House of Bishops.

That document includes the following (paragraph 6):

On the Anglican Communion Covenant, the House agreed

(a) to commend it for adoption by the Church of England;

(b) to invite the Business Committee to schedule the beginning of the adoption process for the inaugural Synod in November 2010, with a view to final approval in February 2012;

(c) not to propose special majorities for its adoption; and

(d) to authorise the House’s Standing Committee to oversee the production of necessary material for the Synod.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 26 June 2010 at 2:57pm BST | Comments (34) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

late June opinion

Jenny Taylor in The Guardian Not a question of conversion. A new C of E report is described as a call not to be embarrassed about ‘conversion’. But ‘conversion’ can’t be any Christian’s aim.

Andrew Brown in his Guardian blog A kumquat hoisted from comments. The Christian churches have moved slowly and partially away from patriarchy in the last fifty years. But every step has been contested.

John Richardson in The Guardian These compromised bishops will not fly. A conservative evangelical condemns the Archbishops’ measures to make room for opponents of women priests.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Faith in the future is also irrational.

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times about The faith that has been handed on to us by the apostles. (registration required)

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 26 June 2010 at 10:25am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Friday, 25 June 2010

Jane Shaw named Dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral Names Jane Alison Shaw as its Eighth Dean

On June 25, Grace Cathedral’s Board of Trustees by unanimous roll call vote enthusiastically approved the nomination of the Rev. Canon Dr. Jane Alison Shaw as the eighth dean of Grace Cathedral. She was nominated by the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus after an extensive search process.

“Jane Shaw’s spiritual depth, commitment to the Gospel, theological vision and leadership skills make her uniquely qualified to help guide Grace Cathedral into its second century,” said the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California.

Dr. Shaw joins Grace Cathedral from the University of Oxford in England where she has served as the Dean of Divinity and a Fellow of New College, Oxford. In addition, she has taught history and theology at the university.

Serving with distinction as a priest, academic theologian and historian, Dr. Shaw brings powerful preaching and deep expertise in liturgy, management and administration, program development, teaching, community building and fundraising.

Dr. Shaw is known internationally for her exceptional talents in the communication of Christianity in the public sphere. In Great Britain, she has been successful in bridging differences in governance and policies pertaining to inclusion, and has served as Theological Consultant to the Church of England House of Bishops. Dr. Shaw is Canon Theologian at Salisbury Cathedral and an honorary canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford…

Some other information is available at the Episcopal Café under New Dean named for Grace, San Francisco.

What was the cathedral looking for? Well, this link leads to detailed information about that.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 June 2010 at 6:48pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | ECUSA

Church Times on the archbishops' amendment

Paul Handley reports on this in the Church Times today, see Archbishops propose last-ditch solution on women bishops. It contains this nugget of information:

The amendment has not yet been formally submitted; so it is not known precisely how the Arch­bishops propose to change the draft legislation. They are expected to table the amendment at the last possible moment, 5.30 p.m. next Wednesday (30 June), in order to prevent its being further amended.

And there is a leader, Archbishops’ plan: can it save the day?

LAWYER’S TRICK or work of theological insight? Probably the former. Cutting the Gordian knot, or teasing out enough of a thread for people to cling on to? Probably the latter. Whatever the verdict, it was a good sign that the Archbishops’ intervention in the women-bishops saga on Monday was met, in the main, by puzzled silence. The debate has been going on so long that all the players are adept at spotting hidden agendas, sometimes even when there isn’t one: yes, this sounds concessionary, but where’s the beef? Well, in this instance, the Archbishops claim to have served a generous portion to the traditionalists without taking anything off the plate of the women bishops. Is this true?

Two further articles remain behind the paywall for another week, one by David Houlding and one by Jane Shaw. Only subscribers can read them now. As the news story says:

Prebendary David Houlding, a prominent member of the Catholic group in Synod, writes in this week’s Church Times that the statement “seeks to achieve what is necessary to maintain our unity. . . All this seems to point us in the right direction,” he concludes.

In a contrasting article, the Revd Dr Jane Shaw argues that “enshrining opposition to women bishops — what many people would call miso­gyny — into legislation” oper­ates against the forging of mutually trust­ing relationships. Such relation­ships, she says, need to be “at the heart of any way forward”.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 June 2010 at 8:32am BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Church Times reports on Southwark episode

Updated Friday afternoon

The Church Times reports a New twist in saga of ‘Mitregate’.

Pictures taken both at Southwark and at Gloucester cathedrals are printed side by side in the paper edition.

Some information new to TA readers is included:

Concerning Dr Jefferts Schori, the Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Colin Slee, was told that “canon law does not recognise women bishops, and women bishops cannot officiate in this country in any episcopal act”. Many believe that presiding at the eucharist is a priestly, not an epis­copal act; but mindful of sensitivities over the forthcoming Synod debate, he chose to be “hugely diplomatic and careful”.

A Lambeth Palace spoke[s]woman said on Wednesday: “This is not a ban. It was simply a recommenda­tion that has been given in the past on legal advice in similar situations.”

A Church Times reader, the Revd Elizabeth Baxter, recalls a service in Ripon Cathedral in 1994 at which the then Bishop of Dunedin, the Rt Revd Penny Jamieson, was invited to preach. She was asked not to wear her mitre by the Bishop, the Rt Revd David Young. Ms Baxter writes: “In solidarity with Bishop Penny, the many bishops who took part in that service processed without their mitres.”

The Church Times went to press on Wednesday, before the publication at Episcopal Café of the letter from Canon Anthony Ball to a member of the public. That letter itself is however dated Monday.

Update
That letter is itself the subject of comment in today’s Guardian diary column with the strapline: Mitre-gate: it’s all very problematic. What’s worse, we’re to blame.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 June 2010 at 7:42am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | ECUSA

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Equality Law will affect church appointments

The following article appeared in the Church Times on 11 June 2010.

Equality Law will affect church appointments

by Simon Sarmiento

THE Equality Act 2010 will apply to all Crown appointments of clergy when it comes into effect later this year, probably in October.

Until now, anti-discrimination law has not covered clerical office-holders in the Church of England. But the definition of “public office” in the new Act will bring within its scope all posts to which appointment is made on the recommendation of a minister of the Crown.

Another category of posts defined in the Act is that of “personal office”-holders. But a Church House spokesman said last month that “That definition probably applies only to stipendiary curates. It does not apply to incumbents or priests-in-charge who are not ‘appointed to discharge a function personally under the direction of another person’.”

One consequence of this change is that legislation to allow women bishops in the C of E will need specific provisions to widen the existing exemptions. As the revision committee’s report explains: “essentially, the Equality Act provides . . . that a person can be excluded from consideration for appointment to a public office altogether on the grounds of sex,” but would not “allow a woman to be appointed a diocesan bishop but on the basis that . . . she would refrain from carrying out certain functions herself (because of her sex)”.

This is not the case under the current Sex Discrimination Act 1975, which contains an express exemption in wider terms for ministers of religion. Modifications made to this exemption in 2005 included the repeal of an earlier specific provision inserted in the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993.

Clause 7 of the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure contains an exemption from relevant clauses in the Equality Act that deal with the “terms on which an appointment is made”. The Government Equalities Office told Church House staff that “We have no doubt that Parliament will consider very carefully, and with good will, any measure that the Church of England as a whole ultimately feels is necessary to achieve this objective.”

The 1975 Act will be repealed at the same time as the new 2010 Act comes into effect, but the current exemptions in the former are carried forward in Schedule 9 of the new Act.

A Church House spokesman said on Friday, however: “In so far as anything in the 1993 Measure conflicts with Part 5 of the Equality Act it is rendered lawful by Schedule 9 paragraph 2 of the Act. But not all the arrangements contained in the 1993 Measure do conflict with Part 5 of the Act because Part 5 does not cover all the clergy.”

When asked whether it agreed that many clergy were not covered by the Equality Act, a government spokesman said on Monday: “The policy is to provide protection to those in employment and employment-related positions (meaning, roughly, where someone has sufficient direction and control over another such that discriminating against them could seriously impede their ability to obtain/engage in gainful work, thereby compromising their ability to provide for themselves), implementing our EU obligations and domestic policy. It is for the tribunals to decide whether any definition is satisfied on the facts of each case.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 24 June 2010 at 2:29pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

Catholic Group in synod responds to archbishops

PRESS STATEMENT

From the Catholic Group in General Synod

Responding to the statement of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York Re. forthcoming women bishops debates

The Catholic Group in General Synod is grateful to the Archbishops for their suggestion of a possible way forward for the Church of England, both to enable the consecration of women bishops and to provide for those who cannot in conscience accept the ministry of women bishops. We are particularly grateful for their recognition of the need for bishops with jurisdiction in their own right to minister to us, and to all those who share our convictions.

We look forward to studying the amendments in detail when they are published. We very much hope that they will provide ‘nominated bishops’ who will be real leaders in mission and ministry. It is also be vital that the amendments provide for us to continue to hold a principled theological position, looking to the faith and order of the undivided Church. We believe that the Church will be better served by the consistency of a national scheme of provision.

The Catholic Group is wholly committed to securing provision within the Church of England.

Canon Simon Killwick

(Chairman of the Catholic Group)

As reported by Anglican Mainstream.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 24 June 2010 at 8:20am BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Lambeth Palace explains the Southwark episode

Episcopal Café reports, in Lambeth Palace on “the issue of vesture” AKA #mitregate, on an email reply sent from Lambeth Palace to an American Episcopalian who wrote to complain about the treatment of the Presiding Bishop when she recently presided and preached at Southwark Cathedral.

Follow the link above to read the comments of the Café on this reply, but here is the text of it.

Sent: Monday, June 21, 2010 1:14 PM
Subject: RE: [ID: 81888] AB Comment from an American Episcopalian

Dear Mr _____,

Thank you for your e-mail to which I have been asked to respond as, I am sure you will understand, Archbishop Rowan is not able to reply personally to as much of the correspondence he receives as he would wish. It may help if I set out some of the background to the questions you raise.

The Dean of Southwark first issued an invitation to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori before the Lambeth Conference in 2008 – one in what I understand to be an ongoing programme of invitations to Primates of the Anglican Communion. She was not able to accept the invitation at that time and last Sunday’s date was subsequently agreed. Initially the invitation was to preach, however, earlier this month it became clear that the Presiding Bishop would be asked to preside at the Eucharist too. As the intention was for her to ‘officiate’ at a service the Archbishop’s permission was required under the provisions of the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967. This is a matter of English law. The Archbishop’s permission under the Measure is the means of confirming a person’s eligibility to exercise their ministry in the Church of England and applies to any clergy ordained overseas. The application form (an example of which is at www.cofe.anglican.org/about/churchlawlegis/faq/appform.rtf) asks the necessary questions - although in the Presiding Bishop’s case it was explicit that the ‘letters of orders’ were not required. The Archbishop’s permission was sought and granted, although the legal and canonical framework of the Church of England prevents the Archbishops granting permission for a woman priest to exercise a sacramental ministry other than as a priest. The agreed approach of the English bishops [not all*] is that women bishops celebrating under these provisions should do so without the insignia of episcopal office so as to avoid possible misunderstandings.

As you might imagine, I am not in a position to answer the questions about what permissions or evidence of orders the Episcopal Church require of clergy from other parts of the Anglican Communion.

Please be assured that the Archbishop, and those of us who support his ministry, had no intention to slight the Presiding Bishop. Indeed, by ensuring that the legal formalities were observed it was hoped that she, and the Dean of Southwark, might be spared the embarrassment that might have flowed from any challenge to her presiding and preaching at the cathedral. The media interest provoked over the issue of vesture has, of course, undermined that hope - as your letter makes clear.

Yours in Christ,

Anthony Ball
Sent by Jack Target on behalf of:
The Revd Canon Anthony Ball
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Chaplain
Lambeth Palace, London

* these words not in original email (see comments below)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 11:32pm BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | ECUSA

An open letter from a curate to the Archbishops

An open letter to the Archbishops regarding their proposed amendments

Dear Archbishop Williams and Archbishop Sentamu,

It is with great dismay and disappointment that I read your proposed amendments to the Women Bishops draft legislation issued on Monday 21st June. I doubt there are many who will feel this offers good news. Far from being attentive to the full diversity of voices within the Church of England, these amendments suggest that you, our Archbishops, are primarily concerned with a particularly vocal minority. Neither do you seem to trust that the Legislative Drafting Committee have, in fact, been extremely attentive to the diversity of voices for the past year and have worked hard to come up with the current proposals. There is nothing to suggest, for example, that you are listening to the voices of those who signed petitions in 2008 requesting a single clause measure. Or those, like WATCH, who have made it clear that the proposed legislation already demands many concessions and compromises from the simple single clause measure they requested and which has been favoured by all other Anglican provinces who have chosen to open the episcopate to women.

There will be many who will be unable to support the proposed transfer arrangements and continual public undermining of women’s spiritual authority implicit in these amendments (paragraph 6), even if it means proceeding sooner rather than later.

The smoke and mirror strategy of giving jurisdiction by virtue of the Measure, rather than transfer or delegation in effect implies that the Church of England as a whole is ambiguous about the identity and authority of both Bishops who are female and male priests who accept their ministry. This is a dangerous precedent to set and leaves women in ministry vulnerable as they, along with every Christian, continue the battle against the principalities and powers of darkness but without the full support of the Church that recognised and authorised their divine calling to ordained ministry. It is a poor consolation prize to offer consecrated women fuller legal rights with one hand (para 15.1) while continuing to set up structures that call into question their spiritual authority (paragraph 13). The interpretation of the Lambeth Conference resolution (1998) which undergirds this proposal (para 2) fails to recognise that both those who assent to and those who dissent to the ordination of women to the priesthood are loyal Anglicans because what we hold in common; our love for Christ, our common identity as brothers and sisters in Christ, takes precedence over our disagreement over differing understandings of the Episcopal authority. Status as loyal Anglicans is not a carte blanche to demand special provisions.

I refute completely that the Church of England has managed to operate a practical polity (para 13). The practical polity is in fact extremely dysfunctional, cripples the ministry of women, in some diocese more than others, and has done nothing to bring about greater communion, but instead fosters division and discrimination and continues to damage the Church.

Many people on both sides of the debate have struggled with the Act of Synod because they are committed to making it work and will continue to wrestle with whatever General Synod manages to agree upon, because of their love for the communities this Church serves, often despite the toxic legacy of the Act. This is illustrated by the fact that Prayer Vigils will take place around the country, in Ripon, Guildford, Newcastle and Lichfield Cathedrals, during the General Synod debates, genuinely drawing together the diversity of voices to which you refer, but to whom you clearly have not listened.

Wherever the solution may lie to the question of how to bring about Women Bishops, I think it is unlikely to manifest itself in the creation of Church of England ghettos that will further isolate those who are opposed and fatally undermine the ministry of those who assent and have the unenviable task of making such convoluted proposals work.
Where are the proposals that will in fact ensure that we simply have Bishops? Consecrated because we have discerned God’s calling and gifting within them, regardless of those things that are declared unimportant in relation to our identity in Christ; race, gender, social status? Where are the proposals that will enable them to fulfil that role with joy, confidence and the minimum of hindrance?

When will the Church of England accept that to set up structures that implicitly infer that some people are less a child of God than others is just poor theology and a stumbling block to our proclamation of the gospel?

I realise that the sound of our church in great pain as it labours to bring something into new birth is difficult for you both, as our Archbishops, and for many others to hear. But it would be good for you to recognise that the expression of pain is not necessarily an indication that something is fundamentally wrong. The Church of England, through Synod, declared many decades ago that there were, in fact, no theological objections to women’s ordained ministry. I would like to see it support its statements with clear and unambiguous actions.

Your sister in Christ,
Lindsay Southern
22nd June 2010

This letter is written by a national committee member of WATCH.

Ruth Gledhill has written about it at her blog (registration now required) under the heading Archbishops of Canterbury and York in hoc to ‘principalities and powers of darkness’ as they fail to understand ‘pain’ of giving birth Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the ‘principalities and powers of darkness’: the vehement disagreement of a woman curate..

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 7:05pm BST | Comments (39) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

more about women bishops

First, Alan Wilson has commented on the Southwark Cathedral episode, see If you want to get ahead get a hat:

…This bizarre story indicates, as has been told, that unlike previous visiting female bishops from the US, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church was banned from wearing a Mitre in Southwark Cathedral. Forrest Gump’s mum used to say, stoopid is as stoopid does, and the whole mentality of such a request, if it was ever made, is profoundly stoopid. The whole thing smacks of hypocrisy. It bears the fingerprints of blind officialdom rather than the Archbishop himself.

I’m an optimist, however, and can see positive learning from such loonery:

1. The C of E has a lot of getting real and growing up to do. Seeing the problem presented in a stark form presents a good opportunity to recognise it and resolve to do better in future.

2. All God’s promises are “yes” and “amen” in Jesus Christ, who taught his disciples to say yes or no. Anything else comes from the evil one. The Spirit has always called the church to a form of ministry that was real within the sociology of the world we serve. Therefore we respond to the Spirit’s call obediently, not half-heartedly. The Puritans used to talk about the “Devil’s Martyrs” — people who lost out all round, because they messed with Mr In-Between, depriving themselves of the advantages of being Puritans, or Libertines. Simply framing the Spirit’s call to ordain women in terms of the problems it raises is boring, weedy and faithless, as well as hypocritical…

Second, Maggi Dawn has commented on the archbishops’ intervention in the forthcoming General Synod debate on Women in the Episcopate. See The archbishops, evangelism and the status of women.

…Me? I’ve never been attracted to the bullying variety of evangelism, but neither have I ever been embarrassed to talk about the claims of Christianity, or to invite other people to check it out for themselves. I am not much of an evangelist by nature, if by that you mean someone who bangs on about Christianity in the belief that I have got all the answers. My sense of wonder, my intellectual curiosity and my genuine appreciation for the human race disallows me from wanting to think I already have all the answers: how appallingly boring that would be. But Christian theology, per se, is interesting and wide ranging if you take it seriously, and don’t allow yourself to be taken in by those who insist it has no intellectual credulity.

The more pressing problem for evangelism, it seems to me, is the ongoing debacle about women in the Church, this week of all weeks. Yesterday we learned that the Archbishops seem OK with proposing a compromise on women bishops that downgrades the status of all the women in the Church. It beats me how you can put that together with an upbeat view of evangelism. They might feel fine about evangelising people into a Church that continues to give women second class status. I do not. You don’t have to go back that many decades to find a church that disallowed people from becoming priests or bishops because of the colour of their skin, or because they had a disability. Those barriers have been broken down in the name of justice, and rightly so; no-one would dare uphold such an idea now, and even if they thought it privately they wouldn’t dare to say it out loud. It seems outrageous to me that we continue to believe that it’s OK to delay indefinitely the active acceptance of women at all levels in the Church. Its patently obvious that the world at large thinks so too, and this unacceptable injustice towards women is far more of a blight on evangelism than shyness.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 2:00pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

women bishops: Parliamentary questions

The new Second Church Estates Commissioner took questions in the House of Commons yesterday. The first was about women bishops.

Here is the verbatim Hansard report.

Church Commissioners

The hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked-

Women Bishops

2. Diana R. Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): What progress the Church of England has made on proposals to enable women to be consecrated as bishops. [3388]

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry): Before I answer that question, may I pay tribute to my predecessor, the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Sir Stuart Bell)? He has been the longest serving Second Church Estates Commissioner ever, and he did an excellent job. The legislation to enable women to become bishops reaches the General Synod’s equivalent of Report early next month in York. Depending on what is decided there, the legislation will then go to the 44 diocesan synods, and I understand that the earliest date that the General Synod can take a final decision, and when the matter can eventually come before the House, is 2012.

Diana R. Johnson: I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his new role. Does he not agree that the intervention of the two archbishops, with their proposal on the legislation to enable women to become bishops, will create a two-tier system of bishops? Women will no doubt be on the lower tier, and does that not send out completely the wrong message from the established Church of this country about the role of women bishops?

Tony Baldry: I thank the hon. Lady for her kind words at the beginning of her question. There are clear majorities in the General Synod in favour of women becoming bishops, but, as the proposals by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York yesterday demonstrated, there are still efforts to try to find ways to reconcile those who have deep-held opposition to the measure. Under legislation, it is important that the Church decides the way forward, and we should give it the space to do so. However, it is also very important that the Church hears the voices of this House about how we see those matters, because ultimately the issue will have to come back to this House.

Later there was a second question which referred to women bishops.

7. Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con): When the responsibilities of the Second Church Estates Commissioner in respect of this House were last reviewed. [3393]

Tony Baldry: I am beginning to get to grips with the responsibilities of this post, which was established by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act 1850. I would say at this stage that I will try to have the same broad approach to answering questions on behalf of the Church as did my predecessor. I hope that I can be a helpful conduit between the Church and this House, and this House and the Church.

Peter Bottomley: My hon. Friend is admirably suited to following the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Sir Stuart Bell) in this post. Will he pass back to the Synod the fact that we look forward in this House to having bishops chosen on merit, recognising that sex is not merit and that the Synod can throw out proposals that it does not like?

Tony Baldry: As I said in response to an earlier question, it is very important that the General Synod and the Church should hear the voices of this House, and I am sure that they will have heard, and will hear, the voice of my hon. Friend.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 10:15am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

More on Kearon's visit to the Executive Council

Some members of the TEC Executive Council have now written more about this event, which is first reported on here.

Mark Harris has written Canon Kearon on Faith and Order: It is about troublesome TEC.

In that meeting Kearon said that The Episcopal Church does not “share the faith and order of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion.” What precisely did he mean by that?

He argued that “The Commission on Unity Faith and Order is central to our way forward as a communion. and a lot of effort has gone into making it balanced.” He argued that “There is a logic which says if you do not share the faith and order of the wider communion then you shouldn’t represent that communion to the wider church.”

All of this makes matters of sexuality - particularly the matters addressed in the moratoria on same-sex blessings and episcopal ordination of partnered gay or lesbian persons - matters of “faith and order.” Now how does that happen? What precisely is this business of Faith and Order?

Katie Sherrod has written a detailed account of this event, see Canon Kearon speaks. One sample:

It began with Canon Kearon telling Bishop Katharine that he wanted the session to be private, with staff and press put out of the room. He talked about how the press was the enemy of us all and that bloggers would take anything that was said and distort it.

So Bishop Katharine said, “All those in favor of a closed session, please raise your hands.” Four or five hands went up.

“All opposed?” Hands went up all over the room. The session remained open to everyone.

There is a lot more on the substance of the discussion.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 7:29am BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Co-ordinate Jurisdiction: WATCH responds to the archbishops

WATCH (Women and the Church) Press Statement 22nd June 2010

All bishops are equal but some are more equal than others.

WATCH has studied the outline proposals of the Archbishops’ intervention in the progress of legislation for women bishops. Despite the assurances that all will be well we are not convinced that the issues raised regarding jurisdiction will be resolved equitably when the practical steps of implementation are worked out. Will an “unacceptable” Diocesan bishop be required to share jurisdiction and how? Or will it be at her or his discretion? If the former, we are in effect back to automatic transfer.

The timing of the Archbishops’ intervention is similarly to be questioned. The Revision Committee considered all proposals put to them in great and thoughtful detail. These new proposals could have been made in similar detail to the Revision Committee. This would have enabled their practical consequences to be thoroughly considered before they came to be debated by General Synod. It is important that the Church does not re-create the unforeseen consequences of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod in agreeing to proposals that have not been thoroughly explored and explained. We ask; In what way are ‘nominated bishops’ not actually flying bishops with extended jurisdiction? Are we not creating a two-tier episcopacy of ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ bishops with all that implies about how the Church continues to view women? Have the Archbishops sought the views of the senior women who must be counted amongst “the full diversity of voices in the Church of England”? Has their support been obtained for these proposals?

WATCH has received many messages that suggest that the Revision Committee has accurately judged the amount of compromise that people are prepared to make. While we would prefer the legislation to be simpler and more straightforward we are willing to support the Revision Committee proposals for the sake of the Church. Let us move forward on that basis.

Notes for Editors

WATCH (Women and the Church) is a voluntary organisation of women and men who are campaigning to see women take their place alongside men without discrimination and at every level in the Church of England. This requires the removal of current legal obstacles to the consecration of women as bishops. WATCH believes that the full equality of women and men in the Church is part of God’s will for all people, and reflects the inclusive heart of the Christian scripture and tradition.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 at 2:21pm BST | Comments (36) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Taking Co-ordinate Jurisdiction Seriously

In their announcement yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York made a serious proposal to amend the legislation before the General Synod to allow Women in the Episcopate.

Not everybody is finding it possible to take their proposal seriously.

As already linked below, Pluralist has written Two for Tea.

DRAFT LEGISLATION ON WOMEN IN THE EPISCOPATE

AMENDMENTS TO BE PROPOSED BY THE ARCHBISHOPS OF ANGLICANISM AND THE NORTH

1. Women are lovely aren’t they and the Revision Committee that has looked into them needs much gratitude. Thank you for your discoveries. However, as Archbishops we would like to overturn all that painstaking and already overturned work and impose our own point of view, and expect the Synod to understand that it is episcopally led. We do not want our ecumenical friend Benedict the 16th to get his way and attract out all the sanctimonious nutters from the Church in England in order to fulfil his ambitions when we need them to fulfil ours, such as passing the Anglican Covenant and introducing a stronger Catholic order of which they would approve. We want these people to think that there is good news for them in this Church…

And an American correspondent has sent this email:

Future News Stories:

June 21, 2011: Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, former officials of the Church of England which they destroyed through inept leadership, have been hired by Major League Baseball. The two have immediately unveiled a plan for a “co-ordinate Perfect Game Pitcher” - Teams that could not accept that their pitcher did not pitch a perfect game would get a photogenic male model dressed in a team jersey to stand in at a photography session holding a ball with a big red “0” boldly emblazoned on it. Barry Bonds commented “Hey, that’s cheating!”

June 21, 2012: Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, former officials of Major League Baseball, which they destroyed through inept leadership, have been hired by the US Republican National Committee. The two have immediately unveiled a plan for a “co-ordinate President” - States that could not accept Sarah Palin as the legitimate elected national leader would get a unemployed Hollywood actress to attend the opening of ball games and to give commencement speeches. Vermont immediately contracted Ellen DeGeneres leaving California to choose between Whoppi Goldberg and Lady Gaga.

June 21, 2013: Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, former officials of the US Republican National Committee, which they destroyed through inept leadership, have been hired by Apple Computer. They immediately unveiled a plan for a “co-ordinate iPhone” - people who cannot accept that the latest model does not have all the features they personally want would get a small white cardboard box on which they can draw anything they want. The two pre-ordered Binney and Smith’s entire annual production of Crayolas to ship with the new devices.

June 21, 2014: Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, former officials of Apple Computer, which they destroyed through inept leadership, have been hired to run the Winter Olympics. They immediately unveiled a plan for “co-ordinate Gold Medalists” - people who cannot accept that their country, no matter how tropical, cannot produce a champion curling team will be emailed a link to a You Tube video showing the medal presentation of the legit winners, out of focus and grainy as to prevent positive identification of players or uniforms (actually, a normal You Tube video), with their own national anthem dubbed in.

June 21 2015….

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 at 11:52am BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

mitres in Gloucester

The Diocese of El Camino Real reports on the visit of its bishop, Mary Grey-Reeves to the Diocese of Gloucester in England.

Read From Bp. Mary and Bp. Michael, June 21, 2010

Dear Friends,

Some of you may have heard that on a recent visit to England, +Katharine Jefferts Schori was asked to verify her orders of ordination and asked not to wear her miter. As you know, I am here on a partnership visit in the Diocese of Gloucester. Attached is a greeting and explanation from Bishop Michael regarding our own correspondence with Lambeth Palace, hopefully clarifying a policy that has been in place but not enforced. The incident with +Katharine was of course exacerbated by +Rowan’s Pentecost letter and +Katharine’s response. I must say that I have not met anyone here that is happy with +Rowan’s letter and the actions that it announced; but are rather many are embarrassed and upset.

As you will see from an update that Celeste Ventura and Channing Smith will send shortly, we are having a wonderful time in Gloucester being treated very well and shown great hospitality. There are no major issues regarding the wearing of my miter or being a woman bishop, although of course there are those who do not approve of women’s ordination. It is a very live issue here and there are lots of feelings and emotions as the Church of England approaches another vote, hopefully towards women in the episcopate, in just a few weeks.

In the meanwhile, I send greetings from everyone participating on this triangular partnership and ask your continued prayers. I will send another update at the end of the week after my return late on Wednesday night.

With love and blessings,
+Mary

A message from Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Diocese of El Camino Real

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, rejoicing as always in our partnership, drawing together your diocese, the Diocese of Western Tanganyika and my own.

It has been a great joy to have Bishop Mary with us these last few days, sharing in our partnership meeting, speaking to our Diocesan Synod, preaching in the Cathedral and visiting parishes. It will be a particular joy when, on the last day of the partnership gathering, she presides at the Eucharist in the Lady Chapel of our Cathedral.

People here in the Diocese of Gloucester share my respect and affection for Bishop Mary. Once again having her here has been a delight and an encouragement to us all. Her graciousness is a wonderful gift to our partnership and companion relationship and I believe the partnership is a gift to our troubled Anglican Communion.

I am attaching a note I have written to try to explain some of the difficulties we have run into in England these last few days in relation to the ministry of visiting bishops. The difficulties have felt to be a long way away from the happy acceptance of one another here.

+Michael

The note mentioned is copied here below the fold.

And for good measure, there is a picture at The Three-Legged Stool, see Comments from ECR and Gloucester on recent events.

Background explaining the need for permission to her diocese

Under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure of 1967, which in my view needs urgent revision, but which is still in force and which must therefore be respected, clergy from abroad (Anglican or otherwise) need the permission of the Archbishop to officiate here. My understanding is that over the years, this rule has not been tightly followed in the case of those visiting partner dioceses for short periods of time, but only for those seeking to take up a ministerial post here. However, with all the present tensions in the Communion and with some people prepared to use legal processes to challenge bishops and others who do not follow the letter of the law, the Archbishop’s office has thought it best to ensure that the rule is strictly adhered to. Thus I have sought and obtained permission for Bishop Mary for preside at the Eucharist in Gloucester Cathedral.

(Bishop Gerard is also presiding at the Eucharist while here, but in his case in a private chapel where no such permission is required.)

The Measure makes no reference to what the bishop wears. As it happens, the simple weekday Eucharist at which Bishop Mary will preside is not one when either she or I would expect her to wear a mitre. However in the Cathedral on Sunday, when she stood at my side when I presided at the Eucharist and again when she preached at a Partnership Service later in the day, she did, like me and Bishop Gerard, wear her mitre.

The triangular partnership that draws the dioceses of Western Tanganyika, El Camino Real and Gloucester into a companion relationship emerged from the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. There has never been any doubt within our dioceses that the three bishops are equally bishops of the Anglican Communion and not for a moment would we have treated one bishop differently from the others. We recognise and honour the ministry of all.

+Michael

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 at 11:14am BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | ECUSA

Bishop of Rochester named

From 10 Downing Street:

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend James Henry Langstaff, MA, Suffragan Bishop of Lynn, for election as Bishop of Rochester in succession to the Right Reverend Michael James Nazir-Ali, BA, MLitt, PhD on his resignation on the 31st August 2009.

Read the government press release.

From the Diocese of Rochester, there is only a PDF file, available here.

The new Church of England Bishop of Rochester will be the Right Reverend James Langstaff, currently the Suffragan Bishop of Lynn in the Diocese of Norwich. In addition, he is now the Bishop designate of Rochester.

Bishop James (53) will become the 107th Bishop of Rochester later this year. He succeeds the Right Reverend Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, who retired in September 2009.

Following a media facility, Bishop James will spend the day touring the diocese to visit some of his future colleagues and parishioners. His day will begin at Bishop Justus school in the London borough of Bromley, which is part of the Diocese of Rochester. Here, he will be introduced to staff and pupils before moving on the meet members of his clergy at Chevening. After lunch and a further media facility, Bishop James will meet his staff at Bishopscourt and the Diocesan Office in Rochester. His day will conclude at Rochester Cathedral where he will meet Cathedral staff prior to joining future colleagues and members of the public for Evensong at Rochester Cathedral…

From the Diocese of Norwich: Bishop of Lynn to be next Bishop of Rochester

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 at 9:13am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Monday, 21 June 2010

Women in the Episcopate - Archbishops' Amendment - press reports

Updated Monday night and Tuesday morning and afternoon

We reported earlier today on the proposal by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York for amendments to the women bishops’ legislation. Press reports and comment are now starting to appear.

Ruth Gledhill in The Times: Archbishops’ compromise deal on women bishops is rejected

Andrew Brown in his blog at The Guardian: Rowan Williams and the mitre maid. The Church of England definitely believes that women may be priests – and that they may not be. Hilarity ensues.

The BBC has Primates in last-ditch move to avert women bishops rift.

Update

Episcopal Life Online: Canterbury, York to propose amendments to women bishops legislation

Forward in Faith UK: FiF reacts to Archbishops’ Statement

Forward in Faith warmly welcomes today’s Statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and now looks forward with great interest to seeing the precise texts of the amendments to the Draft Measure which they will propose to the General Synod next month.

Pluralist Speaks: Two for Tea

Damian Thompson in the Telegraph: The last-ditch plan to keep Anglo-Catholics happy will separate the Anglicans from the Catholics

Paul Handley in the Church Times: Archbishops take a hand in women-bishops debate

Reuters Archbishops baffle with women bishops proposal

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 21 June 2010 at 7:51pm BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: General Synod

General Synod - July 2010 - full agenda published

The General Synod of the Church of England will meet in York from 9 to 13 July 2010. The following press release was issued a short time ago.

See our item below for links to online Synod papers.

Full agenda published for July General Synod sessions at York University
21 June 2010

Key debates centre on women bishops’ legislation, while other subjects include clergy pensions, clergy terms of service, relations with the Church of Scotland, the status of deaneries and resources for Fresh Expressions in sessions of the Church of England’s ‘parliament,’ the General Synod, to be held in York from July 9th to 13th.

This is the last Synod before the five-yearly elections to and inauguration of the new Synod in November. More than half of the time available at these Sessions has been allocated to the key Revision Stage of the women bishops’ legislation.

Women Bishops

In February 2009, Synod agreed that draft legislation to allow women to be consecrated as bishops should be referred for revision in committee. The Revision Committee completed its work in April, and its report has been published.

The draft legislation continues to make provision for those who in conscience cannot receive the ministry of women as bishops, by providing for certain functions to be undertaken by a male bishop under a diocesan scheme made in accordance with a national code of practice.

After a ‘take note’ debate on the Revision Committee’s report, the Synod is scheduled to embark on the Revision Stage. This provides Synod with its last chance to amend the substance of the legislation before it is referred formally to dioceses, and then returns to Synod for Final Approval, probably in February 2012. Synod members need to submit their amendments for this Synod by June 30.

Other legislative business includes two pieces of legislation as part of the preparations for the introduction of ‘common tenure’ for clergy in 2011, including provision for maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave and time off work to care for dependents for those holding office under the common tenure arrangements.

Clergy Pensions

Synod agreed in February to make certain changes to the clergy pensions scheme, including increasing the pension age for future service and increasing the accrual period for future service. This was subject to statutory consultation with scheme members.

Separately, the Synod carried a Private Member’s Motion from the Reverend Mark Bratton which asked for changes to the clergy pensions rules to remove the remaining differences between pension benefits for surviving civil partners and surviving spouses.

At this Synod, the Archbishops’ Council is reporting back on the consultation exercise and making recommendations about changes to the clergy pensions scheme. Synod will then be asked to formally approve the resulting amendments to the scheme rules.

Relations with the Church of Scotland

The report Our Fellowship in the Gospel is the fruit of informal conversations between the two churches. It sets out ways in which the Church of England and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland can consult and co-operate as established churches. The Church of Scotland welcomed the report and its recommendations at its recent General Assembly and it now comes before the General Synod for endorsement.

Diocesan Synod Motion - Deaneries

The motion from the Coventry Diocesan Synod asks that the case for conferring incorporated status on deanery synods should be considered by the Archbishops’ Council. The motion also asks that deanery synods should be specifically enabled to promote the deanery in the Church’s mission.

Private Member’s Motion - Fresh Expressions

Synod received a presentation on Fresh Expression from Bishop Graham Cray in February. Richard Moy’s Private Member’s Motion asks the Fresh Expressions team, in consultation with the Liturgical Commission, to produce an on-line library of visual and video resources for worship.

Synod’s other business

Synod will receive a Presidential Address from the Archbishop of York. There will also be a special address from one of the ecumenical guests – the Archbishop of Estonia, The Most Rev Andres Poder.

There will be the one item of liturgical business: the Further Revision Stage and Final Approval of the Additional Weekday Lectionary and Amendments to the Calendar, Lectionary and Collects.

Synod will be asked to agree the setting up of the new Faith and Order Commission, in succession to three bodies: the Doctrine Commission, the Faith and Order Advisory Group and the House of Bishops’ Theological Group. This represents a streamlining and concentration of the Church of England’s theological resources at national level.

Following the Synod’s rejection in July 2009 of the Archbishops’ Council’s proposals for overhauling its committee structure, Synod will debate the Council’s revised proposals, produced after consultation with the bodies concerned, which essentially entail a reduction in the size of the bodies.

Synod will receive presentations of the Annual Reports of the Archbishops’ Council, and the Church Commissioners.

There will also be a closing Eucharist, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury will preach, as well as the customary Sunday morning Eucharist in York Minster, at which the Archbishop of York will preach.

As this is the last Synod of the quinquennium, there will be a number of farewells.

Communicating Synod

Parishioners can keep in touch with the General Synod while it meets. Background papers and other information will be posted on the Church of England website ahead of the General Synod sessions. A live feed will be available courtesy of Premier Radio, and audio files of debates, along with updates on the days’ proceedings, will be posted during the sessions.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 21 June 2010 at 11:31am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Women in the Episcopate - Archbishops' Amendment

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have jointly issued the statement below, outlining amendments that they will propose to the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England.

General Synod Draft Legislation: Women in the Episcopate

Monday 21 June 2010

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have signalled their intention to propose jointly in due course an amendment to the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England due to be debated at General Synod in July. This note explains their reasoning.

DRAFT LEGISLATION ON WOMEN IN THE EPISCOPATE

AMENDMENTS TO BE PROPOSED BY THE ARCHBISHOPS OF CANTERBURY AND YORK

1. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Revision Committee for their dedicated and painstaking work. We wish, however – after much consideration, and after discussion in the House of Bishops – to offer legislative amendments to the Draft Measure which we believe might provide a way forward for the Church of England. We want as many people as possible to feel that there is good news for them in this process, and we hope that what we are suggesting may help secure the broadest degree of support for the legislation without further delaying the process of scrutiny and decision.

2. Successive General Synod debates have produced clear majorities in favour of admitting women to the episcopate in the Church of England. At the same time, a number of motions have also shown a widespread desire to proceed in a way that will maintain the highest possible degree of communion within the Church of England between those who differ on the substantive point, reflecting the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 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’.

3 The issue that has proved most difficult to resolve in securing these two objectives has been that of ‘jurisdiction’. Once women become bishops, it will be possible to maintain something like the present ‘mixed economy’ in the Church of England only if there is provision for someone other than the diocesan bishop to provide episcopal oversight for those who are unable to accept the new situation. The need for such provision is widely accepted. But what is still much debated is what should be the basis in law for the authority exercised by a bishop in this kind of ministry.

4. The various approaches so far explored have all taken for granted that there is a simple choice between either deriving this authority from the diocesan by way of delegation or removing some part of the diocesan’s jurisdiction so as to confer it on a bishop who then exercises authority (‘ordinary jurisdiction’) in his own right.

5. The amendments we intend to propose involve neither delegation nor depriving a diocesan of any part of his or her jurisdiction. Instead we seek to give effect to the idea of a ‘co-ordinate’ jurisdiction.

6. What this would mean is that:

the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop – whether male or female – remains intact; he or she would remain the bishop of the whole area of the diocese and would be legally entitled to exercise any episcopal function in any parish of the diocese;

  • where a parish had requested arrangements, by issuing a Letter of Request, the diocesan would in practice refrain from exercising certain of his or her functions in such a parishand would leave the nominated bishop to exercise those functions in the parish in question;
  • the legal authority of the nominated bishop to minister in this way would derive from the Measure itself – and would not, therefore, be conferred by way of delegation; but the identity of such a bishop and the scope of his functions would be defined by the scheme made by the diocesan for his or her diocese, in the light of the provisions contained in the national statutory Code of Practice drawn up by the House of Bishops and agreed by General Synod;
  • thus both the diocesan and the nominated bishop would possess ‘ordinary jurisdiction’; the diocesan would retain the complete jurisdiction of a diocesan in law, and the nominated bishop would have jurisdiction by virtue of the Measure to the extent provided for in the diocesan scheme – in effect holding jurisdiction by the decision of the Church as a whole, as expressed in the Measure;
  • in respect of the aspects of episcopal ministry for which the diocesan scheme made provision, the diocesan and the nominated bishop would be ‘co-ordinaries’, and to that extent, their jurisdiction could be described as co-ordinate – that is to say, each would have an ordinary jurisdiction in relation to those matters; and
  • the Code of Practice would contain guidelines for effective co-ordination of episcopal functions so as to avoid duplication or conflict in the exercise of episcopal ministry.

7. The amendments needed to achieve all this will be brief and will not involve a radical rewriting of the draft legislation. They are likely to be confined to Clauses 2 and 5 of the Draft Measure and are consistent with its overall structure. They would not require a further Revision Committee stage.

8. Thus if they were passed – and subject to decisions reached by General Synod on amendments tabled by other members – the way would still be clear to refer the legislation to diocesan synods if the Revision Stage is successfully completed in July. As the recent statement from the House of Bishops makes clear, the Archbishops and most of the House are persuaded that delay would not be wise or helpful.

9. Since the amendments would not divest the diocesan bishop of any jurisdiction, they would involve no change in the Church of England’s understanding of the episcopate. But for those seeking ministry under this provision from a nominated male bishop, there would no longer be the difficulty that this authority was derived in law from an act of delegation by an individual diocesan.

10. An arrangement whereby two people have jurisdiction in relation to the same subject matter would not be unique. For example, the High Court and the Charity Commission each has jurisdiction to make schemes for the reorganisation of charities. Many courts and other bodies have overlapping jurisdictions.

11. Such situations are often described as ‘concurrent’ jurisdiction – though this should not be understood in the sense of two different courts acting at the same time in relation to the same things, simply as meaning two authorities possessing jurisdictions that exist side by side. We prefer the term ‘co-ordinate’ as less likely to give rise to confusion.

12. Where there are cases of concurrent jurisdiction in the law, procedural rules and rules of practice have had to be developed to avoid two authorities acting at the same time on the same matters. Similarly, our amendments will require the Code of Practice to give guidance on arrangements for co-ordinating the exercise of ministry as between the diocesan bishop and the nominated bishop under the diocesan scheme. The diocesan retains the freedom to amend the diocesan scheme from time to time after consultation with the diocesan synod.

13. Since 1994, the Church of England has managed to operate a practical polity that reflects continuing differences over the question of the priestly ministry of women. This has been possible not only because of the framework created by General Synod through the 1993 Measure and the Act of Synod but also because a great many people on all sides have wanted to make it work.

14. We are convinced that the small but significant changes we are proposing will make it easier for the statutory framework and Code of Practice emerging from the legislative process to create a climate in which mutual trust and common flourishing across the Church of England can be nourished, in a situation where for the first time, all orders of ordained ministry are open to women and men alike.

15. We believe that the amendments secure two crucial things:

1. that women ordained to the episcopate will enjoy exactly the same legal rights as men within the structures of the Church of England and that there will be no derogation of the rights of any diocesan bishop, male or female; and
2. that those who request oversight from a nominated bishop under a diocesan scheme will be able to recognise in them an episcopal authority received from the whole Church rather than through delegation or transfer from an individual diocesan.

16. It will be for General Synod to reach a view on these proposals, as on each of the many amendments offered by Synod members. We commend our suggestions to you for prayer and reflection, in the hope that we may emerge from the July Group of Sessions with a sense that the full diversity of voices in the Church of England has been duly heard and attended to.

+Rowan Cantuar: +Sentamu Ebor:

20 June 2010

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 21 June 2010 at 11:22am BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

General Synod - July 2010 - online papers

Many papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod are now online. The list below will be updated as the remainder become available. Papers are also listed when they are known to exist but are not yet online.

Updated 21, 22, 28 June

Agenda

GS 1777 Full Agenda
Outline agenda

Papers for debate

GS 1708-09Y Revision Committee Report Women in the Episcopate
GS 1708A draft Women in the Episcopate Measure
GS 1709A Amending Canon No. 30
GS 1708 AX Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1724Z Additional Weekday Lectionary and Amendments to Calendar, Lectionary and Collects - further report of the Revision Committee
[which refers to GS 1724A Additional Weekday Lectionary and Amendments to Calendar, Lectionary and Collects (a paper from February 2010)]

GS 1778 Business Committee Report

GS 1779 Term of office of elected members of the Archbishops’ Council

GS 1780 Clergy Pensions: Report from the Archbishops’ Council

GS 1781 Archbishops’ Council 2011 Budget

GS 1782 Faith and Order Commission of the General Synod of the Church of England

GS 1783 Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) (Amendment) Regulations 2010
GS 1783X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1784 Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Directions 2010
GS 1784X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1785 The Church of England Funded Pensions Scheme (Cessation of Contracting Out etc) (Amendment) Rules 2010
GS 1786 The Church of England Funded Pensions Scheme (Retirement Age etc) (Amendment) Rules 2010
GS 1787 The Church of England Funded Pensions Scheme (Accrual Rate) (Amendment) Rules 2010
GS 1788 The Church of England Pensions (Health and Disability) (Amendment) Rules 2010
GS 1789 The Church of England Funded Pensions Scheme (Civil Partners’ Benefits) (Amendment) Rules 2010
GS 1790 The Church of England Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Rules 2010
GS 1791 The Church of England Pensions (Amendment) Regulations 2010
GS 1785-91X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1792 Our Fellowship in the Gospel

GS 1793 Review of Constitutions: Report from the Archbishops’ Council

GS 1794 Archbishops’ Council: Annual Report

GS 1796 Legal Officers (Annual Fees) Order 2010
GS 1797 Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees)
GS 1796-97X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1798 Parochial Fees
GS 1798X Explanatory Memorandum

Diocesan Synod Motions

GS 1773A and GS 1773B (Coventry) Deanery Synods
GS 1799A and GS 1799B (Bath and Wells) Clergy Job Sharing
GS 1800A and GS 1800B (Ripon and Leeds)

Private Member’s Motion

GS 1795A and GS 1795B Fresh Expressions

There are several miscellaneous papers issued to synod members, and these are listed here below the fold.

GS Misc 943 Annual Report of the Audit Committee for the Year to 31 May 2010

GS Misc 944 Liturgical Commission Report 2006-2010

GS Misc 945 Mission Development Funding: Analysis of use in 2009

GS Misc 946 Archbishops’ Task Group: Report on Spending Plans 2011-2013

GS Misc 950 The Dioceses Commission: Annual Report 2009

GS Misc 951 Realising the Missionary Potential of Church Buildings

GS Misc 952 Process note - Women in the Episcopate

GS Misc 953 Kairos Palestine

GS Misc 954 Church Tourism (progress report since July 2008)

GS Misc 955 Disclosure of Interests: Guidelines

GS Misc 956 Sharing the Gospel of Salvation

GS Misc 957 Clergy Discipline Commission: Annual Report for 2009

GS Misc 958 Synod Questionnaire Results

GS Misc 959 Correspondence: Religious Broadcasting

GS Misc 960 - Marriage after divorce and the ordained ministry - A statement from the House of Bishops

GS Misc 961 Anglican Methodist Covenant

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 21 June 2010 at 10:43am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Southwark episode rumbles on

Some more items in the “mitregate” saga.

Maggi Dawn (whose earlier post Mitregate: the latest church row was linked previously on TA has written two further articles: first, Mitregate (2): “should I go or should I stay, now?”

…My own mailbox this week has had a stream of comments from women who have just been, or are about to be, ordained as priests or deacons. They are disappointed and dismayed as everyone else who sees this whole charade as a massive PR blunder. But there is a personal element too. It swings straight back at them: with one hand the Church has welcomed their giving up of their time, their careers and their economic security in order to serve, while with the other hand, in the very month that they take their orders, it has smacked them down again. You can serve, the Church seems to say, but never dare to forget you are second class citizens.

At one level this whole affair has been a lot of nonsense – as the Presiding Bishop herself said, “It is bizarre; it is beyond bizarre“. But I don’t mind admitting that the onslaught of mockery from those outside the church and disappointment from inside has had me seriously considering hanging up my own cassock.

And also, Mitregate 3:

I feel sure that the Mitregate story will blow over sometime in the next 24 hours. It’s just a small incident, of course – it’s just a hat, it’s just one misunderstanding, it’s not what we are really all about, and it really deserves a good lampooning of the kind Spitting Image used to do so well. For the true picture, you could do no better than to hear or read the marvellous sermon KJS preached at Southwark last weekend. What I regret about this story, though, is that it’s one of a long series of events that make the Church appear out of touch and absorbed in petty details that don’t matter that much.

Many have asked, “What was Lambeth thinking?”. I may be wrong, but my guess is that it was the timing of her visit – so close to our imminent Synod debate on women bishops in England – that made those in Lambeth anxious not to be seen to be forcing the issue. Perhaps this isn’t surprising given that the history of England* has always inclined towards change by degree. We didn’t make the long journey from feudalism to democracy without a war or two, but once France had her revolution we followed with two centuries of political reform, one tiny step at a time. Whether the anxiety for less bloodshed left us with more frustration is hard to say, but it seems that culturally we carved a path we still follow: change comes slowly, with every miniscule step analysed and considered. The seventeenth century proverb (later adapted by Longfellow) could have been written for the Church of England: “God’s mill grinds slow, but sure.”

Kelvin Holdsworth has provided a Scottish perspective in his article Mitregate:

…The short version is that the Presiding Bishop of the US based Episcopal Church was inhibited from wearing a mitre or carrying a pastoral staff whilst visiting Southwark Cathedral last Sunday. I suspect this is because the Church of Englandshire does not recognise that women can become bishops yet and so inhibit women who have been made bishops from acting as bishop or appearing as bishops when in England. It is a kind of small-mindedness that we don’t indulge in up here. Either Bishop Katharine is a bishop or she isn’t. If she is, she gets treated with respect as a bishop or she isn’t and we don’t have to bother about her at all. (It was the same years ago for Bishop Penny from New Zealand who was able to act as a bishop in Scotland even before we had made any decision about women and the Episcopatate but she could not do so in England).

I remember that +Gene Robinson was banned from wearing Episcopal regalia when in England two years ago for similar reasons. However, I could not remember whether he had worn one a titfer liturgically when he came here. It made me look back at the video of that service and I found that he did indeed wear a mitre. Seems to me that making headgear the cause of controversy is displacement activity.

Presumably the no-mitre on +Katharine rule was instigated in order to appease a certain kind of Evangelical lobby group. (Which again, I don’t think we really have up here either, thank God). Oh how sweet the irony that they become the first bible-believing fundamentalists to insist that a woman not wear a hat in public worship…

And it appears that Kenneth Kearon made a comment about this last week in Maryland.

But this Canadian church website has a video which everyone should watch. (h/t SueM)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 5:34pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | ECUSA

women bishops: press leaks

Jonathan Petre in the Mail on Sunday reports that Archbishops risk ‘bloodbath’ over women priests by letting opponents of reform remain in the clergy.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are to make a dramatic intervention in the long-running row over women bishops this week by demanding that opponents of female clergy are not driven out of the Church.

Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu are so concerned thousands of traditionalist churchgoers will quit when women become bishops that they are to risk the wrath of liberals by calling for major reforms in Church legislation.

Sources said their statement will spell out a legal formula that will give traditionalist clergy and parishes the right to reject the authority of a woman bishop…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 5:07pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Pentecost letters - further analysis

The Advisory Committee of Communion Partners has issued A Response to the Pentecost Pastoral Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

(To discover who exactly the signatories are, scroll to the bottom.)

I failed to link earlier to the statement from the Chicago Consultation which doesn’t seem to have made it yet to the consultation’s own website. So I have copied it here below the fold.

Another statement comes from The Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission. That one is here: look for The Convent Station Statement on the changing ethos of the Anglican Communion Sunday, June 13, 2010

Andrew Goddard has written at Fulcrum: Reflections on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost Letter: A pathway for Anglican spiritual renewal?

CHICAGO CONSULTATION APPLAUDS PRESIDING BISHOP’S PENTECOST LETTER

CHICAGO, IL, June 4, 2010: The Chicago Consultation’s spokesperson and co-convener, the Rev. Lowell Grisham, released this statement today in response to the Presiding Bishop’s Pentecost letter:

“The Chicago Consultation applauds Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for her pastoral letter to the Episcopal Church in this season of Pentecost and thanks her for her leadership of our ‘broad and inclusive tent,’ said Grisham.

“In her letter, the Presiding Bishop has defended with grace and clarity our Church’s profound and evolving desire to accept gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Christians as full members of the Body of Christ. She has reminded Anglicans who seek to exert authority over other provinces within the Communion that true Anglicanism requires otherwise. And with gracious restraint she has explained why it is godly to honor the customs of indigenous Americans in our liturgy.

“Above all, the Presiding Bishop has soundly rejected the argument that the Anglican Communion can best be held together by breaking faith with its gay and lesbian members. In rejecting this false choice, the Presiding Bishop stands as a witness to all Episcopalians that we need not fear where God is leading us as we endeavor to do justice and seek true communion.”

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. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit www.chicagoconsultation.org.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 8:38am BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | ECUSA

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Marriage after divorce and the ordained ministry

We linked earlier to a report in the Sunday Telegraph: Divorced bishops to be permitted for first time by Church of England, and a report from the Press Association that the House of Bishops was preparing a a statement setting out its approach to these issues.

This report has now been issued: GS Misc 960 - Marriage after divorce and the ordained ministry - A statement from the House of Bishops. We have put a webpage version here.

The statement outlines current practice when considering the ordination as deacon or priest of someone who has divorced and married again and has a former spouse still living, or who is married to a someone who is divorced and who has a former spouse still living. It then says that the House of Bishops have agreed to adopt what is basically the same procedures for potential diocesan or suffragan bishops.

Also available are two background papers, prepared for the House of Bishops, on the legal and theological issues.

Divorce and Episcopal and Appointments: the Legal Position prepared by The Rt Worshipful Charles George QC (Dean of the Arches and Auditor), Sir Anthony Hammond KCB QC (Standing Counsel), Stephen Slack (Chief Legal Adviser) and The Reverend Alexander McGregor (Deputy Legal Adviser) (webpage version)
Note on Divorce as a Disqualification for the Episcopate by Professor Oliver O’Donovan (webpage version)

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 June 2010 at 11:05pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

opinion

Karen Burke writes in The Guardian about the Church and media conference 2010. Is religion sidelined by the media? Broadcasters, church folk and humanists gathered last week to thrash things out.

Patrick Strudwick writes in The Guardian about Selective gay rights from the coalition. Allowing civil partnerships in places of worship, and a few other measures, can’t make up for a dubious record on gay rights.

The Archbishop of Canterbury preached at a special evensong service at St Paul’s Cathedral in celebration of the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary. A video and transcript of the sermon are available on the Archbishop’s website.

Giles Fraser argues in the Church Times that Enlightened thinking still raises queries.

Mark Speeks writes in The Tablet about Perils of the deep: Pensions and the BP catastrophe.

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times about Searching the faces of those who bring light to others.

This week’s The Question at The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is Do prisons need religion? Can the moral and material structure that religion provides improve prison life?
Here are the responses.
Monday: Erwin James A civilising influence in prisons. If religion can provide a measure of peace in a troubled environment or a troubled heart then it has to be a good thing.
Wednesday: Francis Davis Religion can make life inside bearable. As a support system – and even, yes, as a way to make life more comfortable – religion is an essential part of prison life.
Thursday: Danny Afzal A Muslim prisoner’s story. When I first went to jail, I gave up God for sausages and bacon butties. But in the end, it was religion that helped me survive.
Friday: Naomi Phillips Faith is not the answer. Religion should be accommodated as far as is reasonable. But prison must remain a secular space.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 June 2010 at 5:54pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Friday, 18 June 2010

ACNA adjusts its numbers

From a press release by the Anglican Church in North America:

The Anglican Church in North America has 614 congregations in 20 dioceses. More than 200 other congregations are ministry partners with the Anglican Church, including the congregations of The Anglican Mission. The Anglican Church represents more than 100,000 Christians in North America.

Previous reports here, here, and here.

This short PDF file explains where these congregations came from.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 18 June 2010 at 10:33pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Kearon visits TEC Executive Council

ENS reports: Secretary general says Episcopal Church should have expected consequences for Glasspool consecration

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, told the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council June 18 that when Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Glasspool was ordained as the church’s second openly gay, partnered bishop, the church ought to have known that it would face sanctions.

However, he said that in the recent removal of Episcopal Church members from some Anglican Communion ecumenical dialogues “the aim has not been to get at the Episcopal Church, but to find room for others to remain as well as enabling as full a participation as possible for the Episcopal Church within the communion.”

Kearon claimed that the communion’s ecumenical dialogues “are at the point of collapse” and said that the last meeting of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, of which Jefferts Schori is an elected member, “was probably the worst meeting I have experienced.”

“The viability of our meetings are at stake,” he added…

For earlier reports of the meeting, see Executive Council quizzes Secretary General.

In a formal statement issued after the meeting, available from ENS here, the Council said this about the encounter with Kearon:

The 45-minute session on Friday with invited guest Canon Kenneth Kearon was carefully prepared for by the Standing Committee on World Mission, who wrote the thoughtful and substantive questions that made clear our commitment to being an inclusive church while also deeply committed to classic Anglicanism and deepening our relationship with our sisters and brothers across the Communion.

Canon Kearon began by describing the beginning of the current tensions as the increasing “problem of growth and diversity in the Anglican Communion.” This statement was significant to a body that has long seen diversity in the Body of Christ as an opportunity and has sought to base its actions on the baptismal promise that we will seek and serve Christ in all people and respect the dignity of every human being.

The questions sought clarification on the presenting issues, including the Archbishop of Canterbury’s removal of appointees from The Episcopal Church to ecumenical bodies and Canon Kearon’s statement that The Episcopal Church does not “share the faith and order of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion.” He also responded to concerns about incursions by other provinces of the Communion. He acknowledged that the Archbishop of Canterbury considers certain activities of the Province of the Southern Cone to constitute an incursion, but is awaiting clarification about the extent of these activities from the primate of that province. However, such ongoing breaches of the moratorium on incursions do not rise to the same level of departure from the faith and order of the Communion as does the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Christians.

The Council very much appreciated the chance to meet with Canon Kearon, who agreed to respond in writing to additional questions from members of the Council.

The Living Church also has a report, see Kenneth Kearon Defends Archbishop’s Decisions.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 18 June 2010 at 9:38pm BST | Comments (63) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

more sanctions from Lambeth?

Updated Friday evening

The Church Times reports on last Sunday’s service at Southwark Cathedral, in a sidebar to the story headlined Bishops criticise USPG cuts.

Doffed: the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, was asked by Lam­beth Palace not to wear her mitre when she visited Southwark Cath­edral last Sunday. As a consequence, she carried it under her arm. In her sermon, she spoke of the fear of strangers: “There’s something in our ancient genetic memory that ratchets up our state of arousal when we meet a stranger — it’s a survival mech­anism that has kept our species alive for millennia by being wary about strangers. But there’s also a piece of our make-up that we talk about in more theo­logical terms — the part that leaps to judgement about that person’s sins. It’s con­nected to knowing our own sinful­ness, and our tendency toward competition.” She urged the con­gregation to lose the “defensive veneer that wants to shut out other sinners”.

In a letter to The Times, a group of 15 clerics in the Southwark diocese, mostly con­servative Evangelicals, criticised the invitation: “We seriously question the judgement of those who have not withdrawn their invitation to her after her recent consecration of Mary Glasspool,” a partnered lesbian. She also spoke at the Scot­tish Synod, where she talked of her Church’s “radical hospitality”. At the USPG annual meeting, she was upbraided by the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba: the support for same-sex partnerships had com­municated “a measure of uncaring at the con­sequent difficulties for us”

In a related story, the Church of England Newspaper has this report by George Conger Bishop Jefferts Schori rebuffs Dr. Williams’ call for restraint. It includes this:

The June 2 public letter follows upon private communications between Bishop Jefferts Schori and Dr. Rowan Williams about her continuing role in the councils of the Anglican Communion.

The press officer to the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council has confirmed to The Church of England Newspaper that Canon Kenneth Kearon hand delivered a letter from Dr. Williams to Bishop Jefferts Schori at the April 17 consecration ceremony of Bishop Ian Douglas of Connecticut.

The chancellor to the Presiding Bishop, David Booth Beers, told bishops attending the May 24 to 28 Living Our Vows bishops’ training programme at the Lake Logan Episcopal Center in North Carolina that in this letter Dr. Williams had asked the Presiding Bishop to consider absenting herself from meetings of the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee and the Primates Meeting in light of the Episcopal Church’s violation of the moratoria on gay bishops and blessings, those present tell CEN.

Speaking to a group of bishops during an informal after dinner session, Mr. Beers stated the Presiding Bishop had rejected the Archbishop of Canterbury’s suggestion, observing that he had no authority to remove her from the Primates Standing Committee as she had been elected by the North and South American primates. She also objected to Dr. Williams’ claim to have the authority to ban her from the councils of the church.

One of the bishops at the evening encounter told CEN that speculation on the future structures of the Communion was also shared by Mr. Beers with the bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s press office did not respond to requests for clarification on Mr. Beers’ comments, while a spokesman for the Presiding Bishop declined to comment on “speculation and conjecture.”

Other reports:

Diana Butler Bass at Beliefnet Mitregate: The Anglican Crisis Over Women’s Hats

Maggi Dawn Mitregate: the latest church row

Friday evening update

According to the American Anglican Council in an article headlined Jefferts Schori: “We were not asked to withdraw” the following exchanges took place at the press conference following the Executive Council meeting in Maryland today:

Robert Lundy, American Anglican Council: Presiding Bishop, my question is in regards to the election of a new representative for The Episcopal Church to the Anglican Consultative Council. Was that new representative Bishop Ian Douglas and if so, will you and Bishop Ian Douglas be attending the next Standing Committee meeting of the ACC?

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori: We expect those elections to happen this afternoon and yes I expect the representatives of The Episcopal Church to be present at that meeting.

President Anderson: We’re looking forward to the election. We have two candidates in both positions that are open. . .

David Virtue, Virtue Online: My question is for the Presiding Bishop. In light of events recently concerning the Archbishop’s Pentecost letter and the TEC being asked to withdraw several ecumenical leaders from the ACC, will the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council consider cutting the 40% budget of the ACC? Has that been discussed?

Jefferts Schori: Your first observation is not accurate. Members of Ecumenical dialogues were removed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. We were not asked to withdraw. We were not asked to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council. There has been no discussion here of reducing our offering to the Anglican Communion Office.

Mary Francis Schjonberg, Episcopal Life: At the beginning of this presentation this morning, what was your general sense that the way he (Kenneth Kearon) sees things may not be the way The Episcopal Church sees things. At the end of the session, do you think there was any greater understanding on his part or on the Council’s part about the situation in the Communion?

Anderson: I’d like to say in response to that one of the comments that Secretary Kearon made in his opening remarks struck me particularly where he mentioned that some of the issues that they have identified in the Anglican Communion and one of them, a presenting issue, is diversity. In the first place, I don’t think that The Episcopal Church sees diversity as an issue in the same way in which Secretary Kearon presented it of being seen from his viewpoint. I did not see any change in that by the time we had finished talking. I didn’t see any concrete evidence that there was a particular newly developed line of understanding becoming perhaps both ways.

Jefferts Schori: I think we look forward to the possibility of…upon further reflection that all participants in the conversation this morning they have had their understanding increased.

And two more #mitregate articles

RNS Daniel Burke It’s hats-off to female bishop, and not in a good way

Ruth Gledhill Mitregate: The Sequel

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 18 June 2010 at 7:54am BST | Comments (34) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod

In addition to the Thursday, Friday and Saturday reports of last week’s synod the following videos are now online.

These videos were brought to my attention by Inspires Online, the Scottish Episcopal Church’s online newsletter; you can subscribe here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 11:47am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Scottish Episcopal Church

more from Southwark Cathedral

Updated yet further Thursday afternoon

An audio recording of the Presiding Bishop’s sermon is now available on the cathedral website, along with the text.
Go to this page
.

Also, in the afternoon, the Dean of Southwark made comments about the morning event in his sermon, text here.

This morning there is some comment about the event in the Diary column of the Guardian. Read that over here.

Updates

ENS reports from the TEC Executive Council meeting now proceeding in Maryland, that Lambeth Palace tells presiding bishop not to wear symbol of office.

In the week before her visit, the presiding bishop said, Lambeth pressured her office to provide evidence of her ordination to each order of ministry.

“This is apparently a requirement of one of their canons about the ministry of clergy from overseas,” she said.

The presiding bishop said both the ordination and mitre issues put the Very Rev. Colin Slee, Southwark’s dean, “in a very awkward position.”

She called the requirements “nonsense” and said, “It is bizarre; it is beyond bizarre.”

A commenter on another thread has linked to a picture showing the Presiding Bishop carrying her mitre.

The full text of the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 can be found here, and further context can be found at this TA article from February 2005 (scroll down to Question 56 and follow the links).

A comment from the thread below has been republished in this article at Episcopal Café:

jdd commenting on the story that the Archbishop of Canterbury gave the Presiding Bishop permission to preach and preside at Southwark Cathedral on the condition that she not cover her hair…

As to precedents:

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold wore a mitre at Southwark Cathedral in 2006, see Griswold wore mitre at Southwark.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wore a mitre when she preached at Salisbury Cathedral in 2008, see Salisbury diocese welcomes Presiding Bishop, Sudanese bishops for pre-Lambeth hospitality initiative. See this picture.

Ruth Gledhill has written about this on her blog, see Bishop crossed in mitre row. Another picture there too.

The story in The Times is headlined Female US bishop forced to carry mitre in ‘snub’ by Lambeth Palace, but that is behind a paywall.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 8:04am BST | Comments (94) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | ECUSA

Monday, 14 June 2010

cross-border interventions

Updated again Wednesday evening

I published a couple of cross-border intervention footnotes recently to other articles, see here, and also here. That was after the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Kenneth Kearon wrote a letter in which he indicated some doubts in this area.

Today, Episcopal Café joins the campaign for better information on this topic.

Has the Church of Nigeria formally engaged in boundary crossing? The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council do not know.

On their respective websites the Church of Nigeria and CANA openly confess that the Church of Nigeria is formally in violation of the boundary crossing moratorium…

See It’s formal: CANA is a diocese of the Church of Nigeria.

Referring to the recent Virginia court decision involving CANA/Anglican District of Virginia:

…The Virginia Supreme Court Decision said the ADV congregations lost the case because, as ADV claimed (and as you can see, still claim), they were a branch of the Church of Nigeria.

This information is offered to assist the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General in their inquiries into whether the Province of the Church of Nigeria has engaged in and continues to engage in crossing boundaries of another province of the Communion in violation of the moratorium against such intervention.

And there is this further document dated May 2010 from the ACNA website [PDF] that lists all the cross-border interventions and notes that:

During this period of transition, bishops within ACNA will retain membership in the House of Bishops of the province in which they were members prior to the formation of ACNA.

H/T to the Café and to Albany Via Media.

Update Wednesday evening

ENS reports that Communion secretary general due to attend Executive Council meeting

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, is to speak to the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council here on June 18.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the council at its opening plenary session that Kearon would engage with the council in a question-and-answer session at 9 a.m. on the last day of the council’s June 16-18 meeting at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute.

His presence at the meeting will come 11 days after he announced that he had sent letters to five Episcopal Church members of the inter-Anglican ecumenical dialogues with the Lutheran, Methodist, Old Catholic and Orthodox churches “informing them that their membership on these dialogues has been discontinued.” Kearon also said on June 7 that he had written to the Episcopal Church member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO), withdrawing her membership and inviting her to serve as a consultant to that body…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 14 June 2010 at 4:14pm BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Moving forward on women bishops

WATCH has issued the following statement.

MOVING FORWARD ON WOMEN BISHOPS - CALL TO ACTION!

WATCH supports the draft legislation proposed by the Revision Committee as a framework for moving forward without further delay. But this represents a significant compromise.

The ideal
WATCH has always campaigned for the simplest possible legislation for women bishops, that is, a Single Clause Measure. This is the only way of having women bishops without discrimination. A Single Clause Measure would have brought women in the Church of England under the protection of the Equality Act. It would also have put us in step with all other Anglican Provinces that have consecrated women as bishops. Most importantly it would have signaled that the Church now values women as much as men. What is being proposed falls short of this ideal.

The current proposals
The draft legislation provides for the consecration of women as bishops with special arrangements for those with conscientious difficulties by way of delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory Code of Practice. This is the approach that Synod approved after lengthy debate in July 2008.

Under the proposals, each diocesan bishop would be required to draw up a Scheme in her or his diocese that takes account of a national Code of Practice and provides local arrangements for the performance of certain Episcopal functions in relation to parishes with conscientious difficulties.

In addition such parishes would be able to request, when there is a vacancy, that only a male incumbent or priest-in-charge be appointed.

A compromise for WATCH
It is a significant compromise for WATCH to consider supporting anything short of a Single Clause Measure. However, the Revision Committee has listened to all viewpoints and investigated the practical possibilities with great care. Their lengthy report is a testament to the enormous patience and generosity of their process.

The Revision Committee’s proposals

  • Allow for the consecration of women as bishops
  • Maintain the integrity of the church and the episcopate
  • Make provision for those who are opposed to women becoming bishops

There seems to be a consensus emerging across the moderate mainstream that this is a good basis for moving forward.

All these factors lead us to believe that WATCH should support the proposals at Synod. However, this is a compromise so that we can move ahead with women bishops NOW and be as inclusive as we can without compromising the integrity of the episcopate or of women.

Our Concerns
Although we support the legislative framework proposed, WATCH has concerns over certain details of the draft legislation. Our principle concerns are as follows:

1. The Code of Practice.
The Code of Practice has not yet been drafted and yet will be key to the content of Schemes that are drawn up at local level. Para 448 of the Revision Committee’s report accepts that ‘much … turns on what the Code of Practice says and the extent to which the bishops … are prepared to commit themselves to a broadly consistent approach across the country’.

We have an incomplete picture at present and we are concerned that there is room for many discriminatory practices to return at a later stage in the process. WATCH is prepared to support the draft Measure but we reserve our position on the details of the Code of Practice.

The Revision Committee has recommended that a draft Code of Practice be ready before Final Approval of the legislation. We would urge the preparation and publication of the draft Code at the earliest possible opportunity and endorse the Committee’s proposal that both men and women should be involved in the drafting process.

2. Diocesan Schemes
The Measure does not provide for a ‘national standard’ for Diocesan Schemes and there is no obligation to consult with a local or national advisory group in drawing up a Scheme. This leaves open the possibility that practice will polarise across dioceses with some dioceses continuing to provide a very difficult environment for women in ordained ministry. There is no simple mechanism for challenge or redress if a Scheme is unsatisfactory.

Where the Diocesan Bishop will not ordain women, the Scheme makes no provision for the care of parishes who support the ministry of women or for women discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

3. Letters of Request
Provision for those opposed is triggered by the PCC sending a Letter of Request to the Diocesan Bishop. WATCH would like to see the grounds and process for such Letters to be tightened.

We are concerned that the PCC need only pass a resolution ‘on grounds of theological conviction’ and that these grounds need not be further specified in the Letter of Request. We are also concerned that the Diocesan Bishop is given no opportunity to challenge the reasonableness of any such ‘theological’ grounds.

These theological grounds need not be of the PCC themselves – the theological convictions of others (also unspecified) is enough. Given the seriousness of the request – alternative Episcopal oversight or the appointment of a male priest – there is need for more rigorous scrutiny of the grounds of a Letter of Request.

WATCH would also like a requirement for wider consultation in the parish before the PCC considers whether to send a Letter of Request.

4. Exemptions from the Equality Act.
WATCH deeply regrets the need to seek exemptions from the Equality Act and will seek to minimise the effect of such exemptions wherever possible.

What next ?

The draft legislation returns to Synod in July for its Revision Stage. But, as the House of Bishops recently made clear, this is likely to be a very difficult Session.

Opponents, though a small minority, remain very vocal and, despite the careful listening of the Revision Committee, still claim they have not been heard. There will be attempts at Synod to bring back structural separation, declarations by bishops and other discriminatory measures.

WATCH will oppose any attempts to institutionalise division within the church that creates new barriers to mission. The Revision Committee has already explored the options thoroughly and has found that none of the approaches suggested to them by those opposed would work in practice.

There must be no further concessions to accommodate theologies that demean and diminish women.

WATCH needs you to ACT NOW!

Get involved!

This is a crucial time for the future of our Church. We need your help to ensure that the best possible legislation is passed by Synod and that there are no further delays in the process. Synod has been debating this for more than thirty years. Now is the time for action! Please help us campaign in the weeks leading up to Synod.

Get writing!

  • to your Diocesan Bishop,
  • to your General Synod representatives
  • to the Church and national press

key points to remember

  • this legislation is a compromise
  • new structural solutions will not work
  • the integrity of the church is at stake
  • we need to move forward NOW!

Get blogging!

Engage positively with online discussions

Get together!

Meet locally to co-ordinate action and share ideas. Contact WATCH to find friends in your area.

As well as preparing for this Synod we need to make sure that good people stand for the forthcoming General Synod elections. Have you considered standing yourself? We can help you through the process.

Keep praying!

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 10:57pm BST | Comments (33) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

WATCH responds to Tom Wright

Statement from WATCH (Women and the Church) in response to the Bishop of Durham’s recent comments appealing for further delay in consecrating women as bishops

The Bishop of Durham has suggested to his Diocesan Synod (21 May 2010 at http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Diocesan_Address_May_2010.htm) that the Church of England should delay moving forward with the proposed legislation to allow women to be bishops and engage in further theological debate.

WATCH welcomes the Bishop of Durham’s clear support for the ordination of women, but takes issue with his call for delay. As Bishop Tom himself said in his address, the move to the ordination of women ‘has been debated and decided by the whole church meeting in solemn conclave’. Bishop Tom has himself long argued that ordaining women is right according to the Bible.

‘There can be no excuse for delay now. Calling for more theological debate is simply a delaying tactic, and betrays those women and men who have been working and praying for women’s full inclusion in the Church for so long.’ said Rev Dr Miranda Threlfall Holmes - Chaplain and Solway fellow of University College, Durham and member of General Synod.

The Church of England has been discussing this issue for nigh on a century, and Florence Li-Tim Oi, the first Anglican woman priest, was ordained in Hong Kong in 1944 when there were no male priests available to serve the people behind enemy lines in China.

The General Synod of the Church of England has been formally debating this issue for over thirty years. In the 1970s General Synod voted that there was no fundamental objection to the ordination of women. Also in the 70s General Synod debated a motion calling for women’s ordination as deacons, priests and bishops. It received a simple majority, but narrowly failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required in each house. The theology of women in the Episcopate has continued to be explored and debated since then. General Synod has now voted three times, in 2005,2006 and 2008, that it is right for women to be made bishops. Let no-one say that this decision is a hasty one.

“Most people in the Church of England just don’t understand what all the fuss is about. They want to see a church focusing its energies outwards rather than constantly wrangling over internal arrangements to suit the minority opposed to women priests and bishops”, said Rev Rachel Weir Chair of WATCH.

The legislation that General Synod will be voting on in July makes substantial provision for those who still wish to reject the ministry of women. A parish will still be able to vote to have only a male priest. If a female bishop is appointed to a diocese, any parish in that diocese will be able to vote to reject her ministry and instead insist on having a male bishop to do things like confirmations in that parish. Anyone who wishes to avoid the ministry of women will still be able to do so.

WATCH would much prefer to have had simple legislation which just made women bishops on the same terms as men. However, we are prepared to accept this compromise position in order to see the leadership of our Church fully open to women as well as men.

WATCH looks forward, with the vast majority of the Church of England, to seeing women as bishops alongside their male colleagues as soon as possible: even if the General Synod votes to proceed in July, this will not be until 2014. Let it be no longer.

Contact:
Sally Barnes, WATCH Media Officer 07759343335 or 0208 731 9860
Hilary Cotton, WATCH Campaign Co-ordinator: 07793817058
Miranda Threlfall – Holmes WATCH and General Synod Member: 0191 334 4116

Notes for Editors

WATCH (Women and the Church) is a voluntary organisation of women and men who are campaigning to see women take their place alongside men without discrimination and at every level in the Church of England. This requires the removal of current legal obstacles to the consecration of women as bishops. WATCH believes that the full equality of women and men in the Church is part of God’s will for all people, and reflects the inclusive heart of the Christian scripture and tradition.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 10:52pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Men lead, women obey?

From Australia comes this report that:

There is a growing backlash against women being treated as equals in churches around Australia, with some women being pressured not to become priests. Barney Zwartz reports on the battle looming.

Read Men lead, women obey? from the Melbourne Age.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 10:48pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Presiding Bishop at Southwark Cathedral

ENS has published the full text of the sermon preached at Southwark Cathedral this morning. See Presiding bishop preaches at Southwark Cathedral in London. The text is copied here, below the fold.

I come from a notorious place. Gambling and prostitution are legal in Nevada. Ministry there means that many congregations host 12-step programs not just for alcoholics and drug addicts, but for those addicted to gambling. There are a few groups for sex addicts, too. A story quietly circulated when I was there, about a priest who encouraged the local madams and their employees to visit the churches he served. One congregation made a warm enough welcome that the women of the night returned frequently. Other congregations acted more like Jesus’ fellow dinner guests – “who let her in here?” The women didn’t return to those dinner tables.

I don’t know what it’s like in the Church of England, but in some circles the Episcopal Church has the reputation for being a place where you have to dress correctly, and know how to act – i.e., you really should know all the responses by heart, and how to find your way around the several books we use in worship – or you shouldn’t even bother walking in the front door. Yes, I’ll admit that there are a few places like that, where the local pew-sitters are more afraid than their potential guests, but there are lots more communities where all comers are not just invited, but welcomed with open arms.

I have an old friend, a quirky priest who’s been a college chaplain for decades, who tells about the summer he traveled across the United States visiting different churches. He was camping, and didn’t get a bath every day, but he talked about what a different reception he’d get when he wore his collar, even when he was grubby. The Bishop of Rhode Island spent part of her last sabbatical learning what it’s like to live on the street. She tells about sleeping in homeless shelters in some of her own churches, and then going upstairs to church on Sunday morning. She was never recognized, but she learned a great deal about the welcome and unwelcome of different congregations.

It’s hard work to get to the point where you’re able and willing to see the Lord of love in the odorous street person next to you in the pew. It can be just as hard to find him in the unwelcoming host.

What makes us so afraid of the other? There’s something in our ancient genetic memory that ratchets up our state of arousal when we meet a stranger – it’s a survival mechanism that has kept our species alive for millennia by being wary about strangers. But there’s also a piece of our makeup that we talk about in more theological terms – the part that leaps to judgment about that person’s sins. It’s connected to knowing our own sinfulness, and our tendency toward competition – well, she must be a worse sinner than I am – thank God!

That woman who wanders into Simon’s house comes with her hair uncovered – “oh, scandal! She’s clearly a woman of the street!” And she starts to act in profoundly embarrassing ways, crying all over Jesus’ feet and cleaning up the tears with her hair. And, “oh Lord, now she’s covering him with perfume! We can’t have this in a proper house – what will people think? And I guess now we know just what sort of person this fellow is!”

The scorn that some are willing to heap on others because we think they’ve loved excessively or inappropriately is still pretty well known. Yet it is this woman’s loving response to Jesus that brings her pardon, and Jesus’ celebration of her right relationship with God. She doesn’t even have to ask. Jesus seems to say that evidence of her pardon has already been given – full measure, pressed down, and overflowing – just like her tears and hair and cask of nard.

It’s the same message Jesus offers over and over: “perfect love casts out fear” (1Jn 4:18). It’s actually our fear of the wretchedness within our own souls that pushes us away from our sisters and brothers. Fear is the only thing that keeps us from knowing God’s love – and we most often discover it in the people around us. Jesus wasn’t afraid to eat with sinners, either Simon or the other dinner guests, and he wasn’t afraid of what the woman of the city was going to do to his reputation.

The forgiven woman of the city is sister to the prodigal son. They are both our siblings. We can join that family if we’re willing to let go of that fearful veneer of righteousness. It covers our yearning to be fully known, because we don’t quite think we’re lovable. That veneer is the only thing between us and a whole-hearted “welcome home.” It’s risky to let that veneer be peeled away, but all we risk is love.

That’s what Paul is talking about in his letter to the Galatians. He knows that all his work at observing the fine points of the law is like piling up the layers in a piece of plywood. Those layers of veneer may make plywood strong, but in human beings they have to be peeled away, or maybe traded for transparent ones. The layers won’t right our relationship with God. Love will. Paul says, “if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a sinner.” The veneered self simply can’t be vulnerable enough to receive the love that’s being offered. Can we see the human heart yearning for love in that person over there? Can we recall our own yearning, and find the connection? That’s what compassion is – opening ourselves to love.

Practicing compassion rather than judgment is one way the layers start to fly off. Think about all those dinner guests. The party’s going to be far more interesting if we can find something to love about the curmudgeonly host and his buddies. Rejecting them is going to shut down any real possibility of compassion. It’s risky, yes, but the only thing we risk is our own hearts, and the possibility they’ll overflow as readily as that woman’s tears. It’s a big risk to let the layers go, but the only thing we risk is discovering a brother or sister under the skin.

Jesus invites us all to his moveable feast. He leaves that dinner party with Simon and goes off to visit other places in need of prodigal love and prodigious forgiveness. His companions, literally his fellow tablemates, are the 12 and “some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities.” Hmmm. Strong, healthy women, and three of them are actually named here: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna. Together with many others they supported and fed the community – they became hosts of the banquet.

Those who know the deep acceptance and love that come with healing and forgiveness can lose the defensive veneer that wants to shut out other sinners. They discover that covering their hair or hiding their tears or hoarding their rich perfume isn’t the way that the beloved act, even if it makes others nervous. Eventually it may even cure the anxious of their own fear by drawing them toward a seat at that heavenly banquet. There’s room for us all at this table, there are tears of welcome and a kiss for the wanderer, and the sweet smell of home.

Want to join the feast? You are welcome here. Love has saved you – go in peace. Lean over and say the same to three strangers: you are welcome here. Love has saved you – be at peace.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 5:34pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | ECUSA

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Inclusive Church open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Inclusive Church has issued this open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

St John’s Vicarage
Secker St
London SE1 8UF

www.inclusivechurch2.net

10th June 2010

Dear Archbishop

We are writing to express our grave concern about the contents of your Pentecost letter and its consequences applied with such speed by the Anglican Communion Office.

Your letter opens with a reminder of the joy of Pentecost, when “we celebrate the gift God gives us of being able to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ in the various languages of the whole human world”. But the result of your proposals - to summarily remove from those Communion bodies to which you directly appoint, those provinces which are in your view in breach of the moratoria - is a diminishing of the diversity of the Anglican Communion and a silencing of the different languages in which we are called to speak.

Our concerns are three-fold.

First, it is clear from the actions of the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion that the application of the sanctions is one-sided and disproportionate. The Anglican Church of North America may now provide cover for the Bishops previously ordained by Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya but these provinces remain committed to them and the actions which made the emergence of ACNA possible, actions carried out in direct violation of the moratorium that you asked for. It would be farcical to suggest they are no longer breaking the moratoria just because they have been successful in generating a breakaway body to provide local cover for the result of their acts. The Secretary-General is “seeking clarification” regarding the Southern Cone and Canada. However, without consultation, he has proceeded in removing members of The Episcopal Church from Communion bodies. This kind of punitive exclusion will do nothing to promote the “path of mutual respect and thankfulness that will hold us in union and help us grow in that truth.”

Second, by proposing these actions you are not strengthening but diminishing the distinctiveness and the contribution of the Anglican voice to our ecumenical dialogue. It is clear that all the major churches are engaged in the struggle to acknowledge and include LGBT Christians. The Anglican Communion has been more open than most about its struggle, and has earned the respect of many of our partners in this. By excluding those provinces which have been able, despite deep controversy and through profound study and prayer, to include both those who welcome LGBT Christians and those who do not, you are empowering the Anglican Communion to speak with a voice which does not reflect its truth; it is, in short, inauthentic. Further, it fails to acknowledge the terrible persecution which is experienced by LGBT Christians, and those who uphold human rights as reflecting crucial Gospel values, in many of those provinces which are at the forefront of opposition to TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. Your previous statements opposing homophobia and seeking generosity from (among others) the Church of Uganda are undermined by these actions.

Third, the actions proposed and taken appear to pre-empt the consequences of the draft Covenant. You reiterate that “the Covenant is not envisaged as an instrument of control”. And yet, by these sanctions you are prefiguring the life of the Covenant by already excluding from Anglican dialogue those who do not have majority support - creating, by default, track 2 churches. It is increasingly clear, as discussions about the Covenant continue, that whatever its original intentions it is already becoming an instrument of control, an additional “instrument of unity” which will achieve precisely the opposite.

By excluding TEC and possibly the ACoC in this way, the voices are also silenced of the thousands of members of the Church of England for whom the life of TEC and the ACoC is a source of joy and thanksgiving - for whom the full inclusion of LGBT Christians within our parishes is already a reality, even though the structures and senior hierarchy of the Church of England are unable to acknowledge this reality.

You stress the urgency of mission. The result of these actions is further to undermine the mission of the Church of England, and to cause despair amongst those who are trying to enable all to understand the love of God. Supporters of Inclusive Church have spoken with you on a number of occasions about the vital urgency of speaking generously about the breadth of Christian experience. Unless we do, we will be unable to re-engage with the communities we seek to serve in this country and who are bemused by the Church of England’s continuing rejection of LGBT Christians.

The period of engagement for which you call will not be served by putting in place further exclusionary structures. It is only the conservative extreme of the Anglican Communion which appears to support – indeed, to encourage - further division. We are profoundly supportive of the sort of frank and open conversations for which you too hope. Therefore, a question - how do you anticipate these conversations being fruitful when decisions have already been taken which further reduce the status of LGBT Christians and those who welcome them?

Yours sincerely

Canon Giles Goddard
Chair, IC

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 June 2010 at 1:21pm BST | Comments (64) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | InclusiveChurch

Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod Saturday

The Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod completed its business at lunchtime today. Here is the report of the morning’s business from the Church’s website.

General Synod 2010 - Saturday 12 June

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 12 June 2010 at 1:21pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Scottish Episcopal Church

Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod Friday

We have already linked to the audio of the US Presiding Bishop’s address to Synod on Friday.

Here are the other reports of Friday’s business from the Church’s website.

General Synod 2010 - Friday 11 June

Friday Lunchtime Audio Update

Friday Evening Audio Update

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 12 June 2010 at 1:14pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Scottish Episcopal Church

mid-May opinion

The Archbishop of Canterbury preached at a Service for the New UK Parliament at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey: Sermon for the New Parliament.

George Pitcher in the Telegraph has this comment on the archbishop’s sermon: Rowan Williams challenges George Osborne to be more than a little Caesar – I hope he’s up to it.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times: Redeemed from the dark corner.

Also in the Church Times Penelope Fleming-Fido argues that Paganism is not a distant or very different religion.

Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian about How religious liberty works. Complaints of persecution by the semi-fascist secular state must be rejected as historically ignorant (or dishonest) alarmism.

Peter Singer writes in The Guardian about Religion’s regressive hold on animal rights issues. How are we to promote the need for improved animal welfare when battling religious views formed centuries ago?

Mary Midgley writes in The Guradian about The abuses of science. Is the evolutionary argument against God’s existence any stronger than Isaac Newton’s in favour?

Roderick Strange has a Credo column in the Times: The call may not be welcome but it cannot be resisted. If our instinct is to shun failure, who would want to be associated with Catholic priesthood?

This week’s The Question at The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is Who’s your favourite heretic? Of those cast out by the mainstream religions, whose thinking are you most intrigued by?
And here are the responses.
Monday: Tina Beattie Porete: a forgotten female voice. Marguerite Porete was a pious French mystic burned to death for her book, The Mirror of Simple Souls.
Tuesday: DD Guttenplan Einstein, heretical thinker. Unlike those we usually think of as heretics, Einstein set himself against the workings of the physical universe.
Thursday: Harriet Baber Origen, radical biblical scholar. Genesis is obviously metaphorical, according to Origen, for whom modern-day Christianity would be unrecognisable.
Friday: Stephen Tomkins Ebion, the fictional heretic. The Ebionites, said to follow a non-existent Ebion, remained closer to Jesus’s Jewishness than other Christians.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 12 June 2010 at 10:54am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Canadian General Synod - final day

Updated Saturday afternoon to add second ACoC report

Friday was the last day of the Canadian General Synod. Here are the final Anglican Journal reports.

Feeling the truth Commissioner describes work ahead for all Canadians
Embracing our differences Acceptance of sexual discernment report ‘a watershed moment’ says primate
Spirit of God presided In closing General Synod, primate declares church has undergone a rebirth

The ACoC wesbite has these reports.

General Synod unanimously calls for greater participation in the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

General Synod 2010 full of historic and holy moments

In addition it has these summaries of the Synod’s business.

full list of Resolutions
Daily Report
Orders of the Day

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 12 June 2010 at 10:28am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

Friday, 11 June 2010

Presiding Bishop at Scottish General Synod

Updated Saturday lunchtime

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schiori, the Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church, addressed the Scottish General Synod this afternoon.

Raspberry Rabbit has audio of the address online.

Update

The audio is now also available on the SEC wesbite.

Audio of Bishop Katharine’s Address to General Synod

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 11 June 2010 at 7:58pm BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA | Scottish Episcopal Church

Canadian General Synod - Thursday week 2

See separate articles for reports of the debates on sexuality and the Anglican Covenant.

Anglican Journal reports

‘A new vision of what church can be’ Canon 22 establishes self-determining national indigenous ministry
Straight talk Archbishop Fred Hiltz visits with the Anglican Communion Alliance
In other news, General Synod…
Money matters Keep listening to each other, says $30K General Synod sponsor
‘Deep concern’ expressed General Synod asks for a full international inquiry into actions by Israeli Defence Forces
OPINION: General Synod 2010 has been successful for most, but great challenges remain
Why is there still hunger? Anglicans need to get to the causes of poverty, says Anglican Observer to U.N.
Meeting with the Lutherans General Synod 2013 and ELCIC Convention to be ‘fully integrated’

press report

Marites N. Sison at Episcopal Life General Synod action establishes self-determining national indigenous ministry

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 11 June 2010 at 9:28am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

Canadian General Synod - Anglican Covenant Debate

Updated Friday afternoon to add final text of resolution as carried by Synod and two further reports

The Synod debated the Anglican Covenant on Thursday afternoon. Here is the report in the Anglican Journal: A step in the right direction. Third and final draft of Covenant called ‘a very significant improvement’

The ACoC wesbite has this report: Consideration of the Covenant.

Marites N. Sison has this report at Episcopal Life: Third and final draft of Anglican Covenant called ‘a very significant improvement’.

This is the resolution as originally proposed:

A137: Anglican Communion Covenant (original text)
Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

But this was amended. However the ACoC website has not yet published the amended text. We will bring you the final text as soon as we can.
This was amended by the addition of two extra paragraphs. The resolution was then carried by Synod.

A137: Anglican Communion Covenant (carried as amended)
Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. request that conversations, both within the Anglican Church of Canada and across the Communion, reflect the values of openness, transparency, generosity of spirit, and integrity, which have been requested repeatedly in the context of the discussion of controversial matters within the Communion;
4. request that the proposed Covenant be referred to the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee and to the Governance Working Group in order to support these conversations by providing advice on the theological, ecclesiological, legal, and constitutional implications of a decision to adopt or not to adopt the Covenant;
5. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

A second motion was ruled out of order by the chair.
C004: Decision to adopt Anglican Covenant (ruled out of order)
Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. Affirm the commitment of the Anglican Church of Canada to full participation in the life and mission of the Anglican Communion; and
2. Will consider a formal decision to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant after the Church of England has formally adopted it.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 11 June 2010 at 9:20am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada

Pentecost letters: more news and analysis

Rebecca Paveley reports in the Church Times Primates of Canada and US ‘distressed’ at plans for Anglican sanctions.

An extract from Bishop Katharine’s pastoral letter appears on the Comment pages of the paper.

Bishop David Hamid notes that the sanctions being imposed by the Anglican Communion Office extend to Europe, see Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost Letter: A European Consequence.

Andrew McGowan has written an excellent analysis in The Anglican Babel: A view from Australia. Read it all, but here is an excerpt:

… ++Katharine is still right here, however, and ++Rowan wrong. He is wrong in a tragic way—seeking, doubtless at great personal cost, a unity in the terms that existing Anglican Communion structures assume or require, but which in fact has now escaped us.

++Rowan is wrong in identifying the TEC ‘Communion Partners’ or others ‘who disagree strongly with recent decisions’ as those who want to be aligned with the Communion’s general commitments. I believe the vast majority of the members of TEC, including its leaders, do want to be aligned with the Communion’s general commitments and are, with specific and well-known exceptions. I have no more desire than the Archbishop of Canterbury to brush past the difficulties those exceptions present; but when did attitudes to homosexuality, rather than to the Creeds or the Sacraments, come to define the ‘Communion’s general commitments’?

This is an ecclesiological as well as a theological mistake, in that it characterizes the Communion not by its vast common depth of faith and hope, framed in specific and diverse history, but by the conversations of the thin layer that constitutes the ‘instruments of unity’, whose success has of late been desultory, and future significance increasingly uncertain.

++Rowan is also wrong in equating the positions in Inter-Anglican bodies such as IASCUFO with representation of the Communion as a whole. This is precisely the sort of context where Anglicans need to have the breadth of visions and voices that might take us forward in faith and charity, even if it is to a place of mutual disagreement and realignment. The removal of a TEC member of IASCUFO makes it a weaker body in all respects.

The position is slightly different regarding exclusion of TEC from the ecumenical dialogue groups, but the result no more inspiring; our dialogue partners may indeed now have a better chance of knowing ‘who it is they are talking to’—they will know precisely that they are talking only to some of us.

And while numerous commentators have suggested there are power grabs or constitutional problems with the dis-invitations, few have noted that membership of such bodies has never before been seen as a question of delegation, or of representing national Churches; rather their members have been chosen for expertise, and with a necessary diversity that reflects our own (than you Bruce Kaye for this point).

Not all blame, even for these specific missteps, should be laid at the feet of the Archbishop of Canterbury or of the Anglican Communion Office. It is patronising to conservatives in the ‘Global South’ and elsewhere to absolve them of responsibility. But here is where the singling out of TEC, at least as it appears in Canon Kenneth Kearon’s subsequent letter, becomes inexplicable (nb., after a week or two of no clarification, maybe change ‘inexplicable’ to ‘outrageous’). Most groups who have disregarded the other moratorium, of cross-border interventions, have not been mentioned in the prescriptions for dis-inviting participation in international bodies…

Fr Jake also has an analysis, see The Dark Side of Canterbury…Perhaps

…What if, in a desperate move to hold the Anglican Communion together, Dr. Williams is playing a very dangerous political game?

In order to play such a game, the role of Archbishop of Canterbury would have to be seen as a postition from which one can wield power. Ecclesiastical power, in this case. But a manifestation of power just the same, even in its weakened form in today’s reality.

One way to have others recognize your power, your authority, your ability to dominate another, is to proclaim that certain people must be punished for their actions. Check.

But by what criteria would the person attempting to solidfy their power choose the victim that would set the example? Of course they would choose the one who is the most desperate to hold on to the bonds signified by the relationship with the one doling out the punishments.

So, in this case, who would be the most desperate? I would suggest that would be TEC…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 June 2010 at 7:34am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

California property dispute continues

In California, another property dispute continues:

The California Supreme Court agreed June 9 to hear an appeal in the six-year property dispute between a Newport Beach church that broke away from the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Church. The dispute began in 2004 when a majority of members of the Newport Beach congregation, citing theological differences, voted to disaffiliate from the diocese and the Episcopal Church. The group renamed itself St. James Anglican Church, realigned with the Anglican Church of Uganda and attempted to retain property and assets. The group is now part of the Diocese of Western Anglicans in the Province of the Anglican Church in North America.

Read ENS LOS ANGELES: California Supreme Court to hear Newport Beach breakaway group’s appeal.

The statement from St James Anglican Church is here.

Cross-border interventions note:
The ACNA Diocese of Western Anglicans explains itself here. Another page gives details of the involvement of the Provinces of Uganda and the Southern Cone which preceded its formation. That is copied in full below the fold.

Copy of Provinces and Dioceses:

This page is retained as of historical interest only. It shows how our member congregations had aligned themselves jurisdictionally during the period prior to our becoming a Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America.

The worldwide Anglican Communion is comprised of thirty-eight independent Anglican churches with historic ties to the Church of England (“Anglican” is the medieval and Late Latin word for England). When missionary bishops established churches throughout the British Empire, and beyond, they raised up indigenous clergy so that the local people could build their own churches. These independent Anglican Churches have continued in communion with the Church of England, and with each other, not because of hierarchical ties but through bonds of affection and the shared tradition of Anglican worship, based on the Book of Common Prayer.

The member churches of the Anglican Communion are called Provinces. Each is headed by an archbishop, called a Primate. Each Province consists of a number of (usually) geographic subdivisions, called Dioceses.

The member congregations of The Association of Western Anglican Congregations have provisional canonical connections to two of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion: the Province of Uganda, and the Province of the Southern Cone of South America.

The Anglican Church of Uganda

The Anglican Church of Uganda is a member church of the Anglican Communion. It was founded in 1877 by the Church Missionary Society and has grown through Africans evangelizing Africans. The church claims about 7 million members, although in the 2002 census some 8.7 million Ugandans (of a population of 24 million) considered themselves to be Anglicans. It is a church founded on the blood of martyrs. In 1876 the king had twenty-three of his page boys (mostly Anglican and Roman Catholic) roasted over a fire because of their loyalty to King Jesus. The event is commemorated annually. Today the church is active in the leadership of southern hemisphere churches that have provided provisional oversight to orthodox Anglican churches in America. In September, 2007 the church consecrated an American priest, John Guernsey of Virginia, a bishop for pastoral oversight of the more than 30 American churches that have affiliated with the Church of Uganda.

There are currently 31 dioceses of the Church of Uganda, each headed by a bishop. The dioceses in turn are divided into smaller units called parishes and sub-parishes and headed by Priests and Lay Readers, respectively.

Primate: The Most Revd. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop

Bishop: The Rt. Revd. John Guernsey

Bishop of Luweero Diocese: The Rt. Revd. Evans Kisekka

Bishop of North Mbale Diocese: The Rt. Revd. Daniel Gimadu

Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of South America

British immigrants brought Anglicanism to South America in the nineteenth century. The Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America (Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of America) was founded in 1974 as a new province of the Anglican Communion. Included are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The province is one of the largest in territory but one of the smallest in congregants, with approximately 30,000 church members. The Primate has been vocal in behalf of Christian orthodoxy within the Anglican Communion.

Primate: The Most Revd Gregory James Venables, Archbishop

Bishops: Rt. Revd Frank Lyons, Bishop of Bolivia. The Rt. Revd William Atwood is providing pastoral oversight for the churches of the Diocese of Argentina.

At present eight of the Western Anglican congregations are aligned with Uganda, two with Bolivia and three with Argentina.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 June 2010 at 6:50am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod Thursday

Updated Friday afternoon to add Evening Audio Update

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church opened its 2010 sessions in Edinburgh this morning. Here are the reports of the day’s business from the Church’s website.

Primus’ Charge to General Synod 2010
text of Primus’ Charge to Synod 2010 [pdf file]

General Synod - Thursday 10 June - morning session
Thursday Lunchtime Audio Update [6 minutes]

General Synod Thursday 10 June - afternoon session
text of Primus speech on Anglican Covenant [pdf file]

Thursday Evening Audio Update [3 minutes]

During the afternoon session, synod passed this motion

That this Synod, recognising the publication of the Anglican Covenant and the need to address the Covenant in a manner which is careful and prayerful, request the Faith and Order Board to advise General Synod 2011 on what process or processes might be appropriate to be followed by this Synod to enable due consideration of the final version of the Covenant by the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 10 June 2010 at 8:22pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Scottish Episcopal Church

Canadian General Synod - Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment

Updated Friday morning

The Canadian General Synod discussed sexuality this morning. Here is the official report of the debate.

Resolution A115: Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment Carried

Resolution A115: Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment Carried
June 10, 2010

On Thursday, June 10, members of General Synod 2010 passed resolution A115 — Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment. The resolution affirms a statement on the discussions that took place at General Synod on human sexuality and, “requests the General Secretary to forward it to the Diocesan Bishops with the request that it will be distributed within each diocese.”

The statement was first distributed for review and consideration on Wednesday evening, June 9, after members had been provided with time on the agenda in the morning to meet in the discernment groups for further discussion on this topic. The feedback recorded during the morning provided the context for the statement.

While there was no resolution on the topic of human sexuality on the agenda prior to the start of General Synod 2010, throughout the course of the proceedings members were advised that resolutions on the topic of human sexuality had until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9 to be submitted to the chair of the resolutions committee.

Resolution A115 was passed by a wide margin. Thanks and appreciation was extended for all who were involved in the development of the statement.

This is the full text of the adopted resolution.

A115: Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment
Be it resolved that this General Synod:

Affirms the attached statement of its discussions on human sexuality and requests the General Secretary to forward it to the Diocesan Bishops with the request that it will be distributed within each diocese.

The “attached statement” is copied below the fold.

Update

There is now a second article on the ACoC website: Human sexuality statement produces historic moment in the life of the church.

Here is the Anglican Journal report: Hope within diversity. No legislative decision on same-sex blessings but an open spirit enters discussions.

And Tobi Cohen writes in the Vancouver Sun: Anglicans fail to resolve gay-marriage debate.

Sexuality Discernment report, June 9, 2010

Discernment on Sexuality
General Synod 2010

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June of 2010. Together we entered into intentional conversations in order to hear where our Church is at this time in its life in relation to the matter of blessing of same gender unions. Our conversations were marked by grace, honesty and generosity of spirit towards one another. There was robust participation in the conversations. In dialogue we shared our passion for the mission of God in the world and our thoughts, feelings and convictions. We were attentive to each others’ perspectives, experiences and stories and we shared a commitment to continued theological reflection and scriptural study as a foundation to our ongoing dialogue and discernment.

We engaged these conversations within the particularity of our Canadian context – a country that is diverse and many cultured. Canadians have been learning how to dialogue across their diversities over the course of our national life. We do so with deeply held commitments to transparency and openness, an approach that is not without risk and that we affirm as a great gift. Often, in processes of discernment, the task is to see our way through a paradox.

Our conversations affirmed the full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in our churches, aboriginal voices in our midst, and the wide range of perspectives on the issue of same gender blessings across all dioceses. Our dialogue has been a positive and helpful step in our discernment. At this time, however, we are not prepared to make a legislative decision. Above, in and through all of this, and despite all our differences we are passionately committed to walking together, protecting our common life.

We acknowledge diverse pastoral practices as dioceses respond to their own missional contexts. We accept the continuing commitment to develop generous pastoral responses. We recognize that these different approaches raise difficulties and challenges. When one acts there are implications for all. There can be no imposition of a decision or action, but rather we are challenged to live together sharing in the mission of Christ entrusted to us, accepting that different local contexts call at times for different local discernment, decision and action.

We are in a time of ongoing discernment which requires mutual accountability through continuing dialogue, diocese to diocese and across the wider church. It also requires continued theological and scriptural study and dialogue on the wide range of matters relating to human sexuality.

For many members of General Synod there is deep sadness that, at this time, there is no common mind. We acknowledge the pain that our diversity in this matter causes. We are deeply aware of the cost to people whose lives are implicated in the consequences of an ongoing discernment process. This is not just an ‘issue’ but is about people’s daily lives and deeply held faith commitments. For some, even this statement represents a risk. For some the statement does not go nearly far enough.

In the transparency and openness we have experienced with one another, we have risked vulnerability but it is in such places that we grow closer in the body of Christ and behold each other as gift. Abiding with each other, and with God we are sustained through struggle, patient listening, and speaking from the mind and heart together. We have experienced these conversations as a gift for us here at Synod and hope that they will be a further gift to the Anglican Church of Canada and to the wider Church.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 10 June 2010 at 8:00pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

Virginia Supreme Court rules in favour of Episcopal Church

ENS reports: Virginia diocese, Episcopal Church prevail with state Supreme Court

Statement from the Diocese of Virginia:
Court Rules in Favor of Diocese; Division Statute Does Not Apply

The Diocese of Virginia is gratified by the Supreme Court of Virginia’s ruling that the 57-9 “Division Statute” was incorrectly applied by the Fairfax County Circuit Court. The statute has forced faithful Episcopalians to worship elsewhere for over three years. The Supreme Court has sent the matter back to the lower court for further proceedings. The Diocese will demonstrate that the property is held in trust for all 80,000 Episcopalians who worship in Virginia.

“This decision brings us one important step closer to returning loyal Episcopalians, who have been extraordinarily faithful in disheartening and difficult circumstances, to their church homes,” said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia. “We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to correct a grievous harm. The Episcopal Church has and will continue to stand by its people, its traditions and its legacy - past and future. We look forward to resolving this matter as quickly as possible and bringing our faithful brothers and sisters back to their home churches.”

Added Henry D.W. Burt, secretary of the Diocese, “In light of this decision and its clear implications, I hope the leadership of CANA will now provide access for the continuing Episcopal congregations to worship as Episcopalians at their home churches during this interim period.”

Read the full opinion (PDF).

Statement from the Anglican District of Virginia:
Anglican Congregations Disappointed in Virginia Supreme Court Decision
Also over here on the CANA website.

FAIRFAX, Va. (June 10, 2010) – The nine Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) congregations that are parties to the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia are reviewing today’s Virginia Supreme Court ruling overturning the Fairfax County Circuit Court’s ruling in the case and remanding it back to the Circuit Court for further proceedings. The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia had appealed a ruling in favor of the congregations to the Virginia Supreme Court.

“We are disappointed with today’s ruling and will review it as we consider our options. This is not the final chapter in this matter. The court’s ruling simply involved one of our statutory defenses, and these properties are titled in the name of the congregations’ trustees, not in the name of the Diocese or The Episcopal Church. So we continue to be confident in our legal position as we move forward and will remain steadfast in our effort to defend the historic Christian faith,” said Jim Oakes, chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, which is the umbrella organization for the nine Anglican congregations.

“As the Virginia Supreme Court’s opinion recognizes, there is clearly a division within The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia. Those divisions are a result of the actions of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia to fall out of step with much of Christendom by choosing to redefine and reinterpret Scripture. They chose to sue our congregations when our churches in good conscience could not continue down their path. We are sorry The Episcopal Church has chosen to go its own way. Their choice to be a prodigal church does not give them the right to take our houses of worship with them. The legal proceedings have been an unfortunate distraction from all the good work our churches are doing to advance the mission of Christ. Ultimately, we know that the Lord is in control and our congregations will continue to put our trust in Him, not in secular courts or buildings. Our doors remain open wide to all who wish to worship with us,” Oakes concluded.

Cross-border interventions note: ADA explains:

The Anglican District of Virginia (www.anglicandistrictofvirginia.org) is an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia. Its members are in full communion with constituent members of the Anglican Communion through its affiliation with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary branch of the Church of Nigeria and other Anglican Archbishops.

And from here:

The Anglican District of Virginia is made up of 34 Member Congregations (and counting!) in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC and North Carolina…

Footnote 7 of the judgment lists:

The nine congregations are: The Church at the Falls – The Falls Church, in Arlington County; Truro Church, Church of the Apostles, and Church of the Epiphany, Herndon, in Fairfax County; St. Margaret’s Church, Woodbridge, St. Paul’s Church, Haymarket, and Church of the Word, Gainesville, in Prince William County; Church of Our Saviour at Oatlands, in Loudoun County; and St. Stephen’s Church, Heathsville, in Northumberland County.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 10 June 2010 at 5:00pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA

USPG conference reports

Updated again Friday afternoon

Two items from the Swanwick conference:

Bishop Katharine calls on Anglicans to ‘speak truth to power’

The presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church in the US has called on Anglicans to help defeat injustice and human suffering.

Speaking at the USPG Annual Conference yesterday, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said ‘missional partnerships, whether Anglican, Christian or inter faith’ were essential for building a worldwide ‘community of peace and justice’.

Thabo Makgoba Addressing Anglican Differences - Spirit and Culture at the Foot of the Cross

‘Jesus Christ is the standard for discerning the path between authentic cultural expression and flawed syncretism, between ensuring we do not quench the Spirit and yet properly testing what we believe may be the Spirit’s leading’ said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. He was addressing the USPG Annual Conference in Swanwick, England, on ‘Mission Realities for Southern African Anglicans – and their Wider Implications’.

Follow the link above and scroll down for the full text of his address. Here is one extract:

I am convinced that in our current situation within the Communion neither have we done, nor are we continuing to do, enough of this sort of listening to one another. We do not understand one another and one another’s contexts well enough, and we are not sufficiently sensitive to one another in the way we act. Autonomy has gone too far. I do not mean that we should seek a greater uniformity – I hope it is clear I am saying nothing of the sort. But we risk acting in ways that are so independent of one another that it becomes hard for us, and for outsiders, to recognise either a committed interdependent mutuality or a common Christian, Anglican, DNA running through our appropriately contextualised and differentiated ways of being.

Bishop Katharine, what I am going to say next is painful to me, and I fear it may also be to you – but I would rather say it to your face, than behind your back. And I shall be ready to hear from you also, for I cannot preach listening without doing listening. It sometimes seems to me that, though many have failed to listen adequately to the Spirit at work within The Episcopal Church, at the same time within your Province there has not been enough listening to the rest of the Anglican Communion. I had hoped that those of your Bishops who were at the Lambeth Conference would have grasped how sore and tender our common life is. I had hoped that even those who, after long reflection, are convinced that there is a case for the consecration of individuals in same sex partnerships, might nonetheless have seen how unhelpful it would be to the rest of us, for you to proceed as you have done.

There are times when it seems that your Province, or some within it, despite voicing concern for the rest of us, can nonetheless act in ways that communicate a measure of uncaring at the consequent difficulties for us. And such apparent lack of care for us increases the distress we feel. Much as we understand that you are in all sincerity attempting to discern the best way forward within your own mission context, we ask you to be sensitive to the rest of us.

Let me immediately add that, if there were certain others here, I would speak to them equally frankly. Cross border visitations and other moratoria violations have undermined not only your polity, but wider attempts to handle disagreements in a godly way before the face of the watching world. I will also add that, outside the scope of the moratoria, there are too many other shameful and painful ways that ‘gracious restraint’ has not been exercised by various different individuals and groups from all manner of perspectives. These too destructively exacerbate our attempts to live truly as a Communion, and contribute to the way that disagreements over human sexuality and its handling have come to dominate the life of the Anglican Communion to a disproportionate and debilitating extent. When I am interviewed, when I participate in radio phone-ins, no matter what the ostensible topic, again and again I find myself derailed by questions on this. I have to say this undermines our witness; dissipates energies that ought to be spent on the true priorities of mission; and distorts the focus and agenda of the Communion’s common life to an increasingly detrimental degree.

Updates

ENS has a report, ‘Witnessing to Christ Today’: Presiding bishop, Southern Africa primate address USPG conference.

This has links to videos as well:

Video: Presiding bishop addresses USPG on ‘Witnessing to Christ Today’
[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori delivers a keynote address June 9 on the theme “Witnessing to Christ Today,” during the annual meeting of USPG-Anglicans in World Mission in Swanwick, England.

Video: Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba addresses USPG conference
[Episcopal News Service] Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba delivers a keynote address June 10 as part of the USPG-Anglicans in World Mission annual conference. Makgoba speaks on the theme “Mission Realities for Southern African Anglicans — and their wider implications.

Video: USPG panel tackles issues concerning mission, Anglican identity, human sexuality, environment
[Episcopal News Service] Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba and Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori join the Rev. Mark Oxbrow, international director of the Faith2Share network, for a panel discussion June 9 that focuses on issues of local and global mission, Anglican identity, human sexuality and environmental concerns. The discussion was held during the USPG-Anglicans in World Mission annual conference in Swanwick, England.

Colin Coward reports, Thabo Makgoba and Katharine Jefferts Schori model the possibility of creative dialogue at the USPG Conference.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 10 June 2010 at 4:54pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | ECUSA

Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod previews

The SEC has issued this press release previewing the meeting of their General Synod which starts later today. It is also available here on the ANCS website.

Representatives from Episcopal Churches across Scotland will gather in Edinburgh from 10-12 June for the annual meeting of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Throughout the three day gathering, matters ranging from social issues to church policy will be debated.

Topics this year will include:

  • an update on the processes of the Anglican Communion Covenant
  • a gender Audit report on the Church
  • a report from the Church’s Rural Commission on issues affecting people living in rural areas of Scotland and the role of the Church in responding to these issues
  • a call for theological and practical responses to the sustainability of the environment
  • a major review of the Church’s mission and ministry policy

As part of a visit to the UK, The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (USA), the Most Rev Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori will address General Synod on Friday afternoon.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev David Chillingworth will deliver his Charge during a Eucharist Service on Thursday morning, marking the official opening of General Synod 2010 and says “The business before us over the next few days will give us plenty of opportunity to talk about the life of our church, our society and our place in God’s creation. We shall visit questions about what it means to be fully human – for example in the Gender Audit. The Anglican Covenant arises from the stresses and strains in our life around the issues of human sexuality – the continuing questions about what it means to be human and about the nature of God himself. But it also leads us to ask how we can continue to express a common faith in Christ – to recognize one another as disciples – within the rich diversity of the life of our church and of the Anglican Communion.”

“It will be a great pleasure to receive the Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori. We greet her as the Primate of one of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion - one with which the Scottish Episcopal Church has close historical links.”

There is also this press preview.

Barnaby Miln in the Edinburgh Guide Presiding Bishop In Edinburgh For Church’s General Synod

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 10 June 2010 at 9:43am BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Scottish Episcopal Church

Canadian General Synod - Wednesday

Anglican Journal reports

Huskins hangs in Deputy prolocutor elected by four-vote margin
Vision 2019 adopted Strategic plan to guide $1.1 million cut from national budget
Members only Cuts to GoGS mean almost 30% of dioceses not represented for next three years
The ties that bind Ecumenical dialogue has contributed to growth of faith, confirms Archbishop of Halifax
Just you and me, Olive Intrepid staffer hits the road to raise $130K for PWRDF
Reality check Landmark resolution renounces Doctrine of Discovery

As well as the above reports on Wednesday’s business, Anglican Journal has added these reports on addresses mad earlier in the week.
Mission possible …when the Anglican Communion works together, says Kearon
Deeper partnership possibilities Both churches ‘have the ability to speak truth to power,’ says U.S. Presiding Bishop

The ACoC website has these reports.
Feedback Received as Part of Sexuality Discernment Process
Common History Creates Shared Mission Possibilities
Sexuality Discernment report, June 9, 2010

Coralie Jensen in the Episcopal Examiner General Synod 2010 begins with confusion about what the Anglican Communion expects

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 10 June 2010 at 9:30am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

still more on Williams, Kearon etc.

Updated Thursday morning

Earlier roundups here, and here.

Ruth Gledhill at The Times has Warring Anglicans removed from ecumenical faith group.

Also Commentary: Pentecost and the Anglican schism.

Anglican Journal has reports from Canada:

Mission possible…when the Anglican Communion works together, says Kearon

Deeper partnership possibilities: Both churches ‘have the ability to speak truth to power,’ says U.S. Presiding Bishop

A much more user-friendly copy of this same article is now here.

Video report includes highlights from an address by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (the Episcopal Church)

Update

Anglican Essentials has transcripts of the press conference held by Kenneth Kearon:

See here, and more recently also here.

Here’s a sample:

Neal[e] Adams, Anglican Journal: What about Nigeria and Rwanda?

I simply do not know whether Nigeria or Rwanda have formally through their Synod or through a resolution in their House of Bishops have decided [to break the moratorium regarding cross-border interventions.]

There are three sets of letters going out, one to The Episcopal Church members [Americans] who are on ecumenical dialogues or who are on the Faith and Order Commission. The second letter is to the Primate of Canada [Fred Hiltz], to clarify whether the Province has made a decision on the question of same-sex blessings. He may have addressed that in his primatial address. And thirdly, there’s a letter to the Primate of the Southern Cone Greg Venables asking him about the status of the intervention he has been involved with. His is the only intervention referred to in the Windsor Continuation Report. As a start we’re addressing those three areas and we await the responses – not where an individual bishop has broken one of the moratoria.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 10:34pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada | ECUSA

Presiding Bishop visits the UK

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori is currently visiting the UK. Three items in her itinerary are:

  • Visiting the Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod in Edinburgh on Friday
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 2:49pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | ECUSA | Scottish Episcopal Church

Inclusive Church Open letter to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

Inclusive Church has today issued this Open letter to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

Inclusive Church
St John’s Vicarage
Secker St
London SE1 8UF
www.inclusivechurch2.net

An open letter to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States
815 Second Avenue
New York
NY 10017

09 June 2010

Dear Bishop Katharine,

We rejoice that in your Pentecost Letter the Episcopal Church has reaffirmed its strong affirmation of gay and lesbian people as part of God’s good creation and your continued commitment to recognising, led by the Spirit, that God is calling and fitting gay and lesbian people to be ordained leaders of the Church.

We regret that the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested in his letter to the Anglican Communion that The Episcopal Church should not be a participant in Ecumenical Dialogue on behalf of the Communion and should serve only as consultants on IASCUFO. The Archbishop may experience ecumenical partners saying they “need to know who it is they are talking to” but our experience is of ecumenical partners saying we are carrying forward this difficult discernment process for the whole church, that they have similar or more contentious issues to deal with themselves, and that they are appreciative of the open way we are facing this issue.

We do not support the Archbishop’s position that only those in agreement with the majority view can be participants as Anglicans in ecumenical dialogue or for that matter any other representative body of the Anglican Communion. Indeed, the Episcopal Church’s diligence in undertaking “deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality, which would take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and medical research” with gay and lesbian people, as resolved at the 1978 Lambeth Conference, and in upholding their human rights, as emphasised at the 1988 Lambeth Conference, has been in marked contrast to the position of other provinces whose status as representative participants is unchallenged. We ask you to have the courage, commitment and humility to “remain at the table” not just until you are asked to leave but indeed until the table is removed from you. We recognise this is asking you to be in an uncomfortable place but the self-denial being asked of you is not for a gracious withdrawal but a silencing of voices that need to be heard.

The 1979 Anglican Consultative Council Resolution on Human Rights specifically called on member churches “to rigorously assess their own structures, attitudes and modes of working to ensure the promotion of human rights within them, and to seek to make the church truly an image of God’s just Kingdom and witness in today’s world”. In 1990 the ACC resolution on Christian Spirituality urged “every Diocese in our Communion to consider how through its structures it may encourage its members to see that a true Christian spirituality involves a concern for God’s justice in the world, particularly in its own community”. We recognise that developments in the life of the Episcopal Church have been in line with and, in part, a response to this call.

In 2005 The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada were asked to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council. Inclusive Church appealed to you not to accede to this request. We argued that The Anglican Consultative Council, consisting of Bishops, Clergy and Laity is currently the most representative body in the Anglican Communion; were you to withdraw your participation it would no longer be a fully representative body. It is our belief that your actions, taken in response to the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian people and the justice of their claim to full participation in the life of the church, do not justify the breaking of “the bonds of communion” or any moves to exclude you from the conciliar life of the Communion. On the contrary it means you bring to the Anglican Consultative Council experience and counsel that would otherwise be absent and without which the Anglican Communion can not progress to a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding sexuality or ever achieve reconciliation.

We hold to that view still today and ask that you resist this process of excluding those Provinces of the Communion most committed to the visible inclusion of all Anglicans in the life of the Church. This process and the proposed Anglican Covenant are not building unity, they are turning disagreement into institutionalised disunity - even inventing mechanisms of exclusion to facilitate the process.

To agree to a voluntary self exclusion would not be to agree to a self- denying ordinance for the good of the whole. Gay Anglicans are part of the Anglican Communion in every province. Some are facing persecution by their own churches because of their courageous witness. By remaining at the table, the Episcopal Church has the opportunity to remind those who serve on representative bodies of their existence and to raise their voice. We ask that you resist this misguided process that is formally excluding those who speak for people the Communion should urgently be seeking to include.

Yours sincerely,
Canon Giles Goddard
Chair, Inclusive Church
www.inclusivechurch2.net

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 2:37pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA | InclusiveChurch

Williams and Kearon: more stories

Continued from here.

Simple Massing Priest has The end of authentic Anglicanism.

Colin Coward has What the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General should really be doing.

An earlier news report published by ENS by Neale Adams CANADA: Hiltz supports Episcopal Church, echoes objections to proposed sanctions

Associated Press Anglicans cut Episcopalians from ecumenical bodies

Religion News Service Episcopalians Booted from Anglican Bodies Over Gay Bishops

Anglican Journal Facing the consequences: Anglican Communion takes action against The Episcopal Church (previously linked in our Canadian synod coverage)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 9:36am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada | Church of England | ECUSA

Canadian General Synod - Tuesday

Anglican Journal reports

Revised resolution stands Formula for determining diocesan membership in General Synod approved
The Green Team General Synod to set up database of eco-friendly parishes
Does the church need to ‘regroup?’ Discussions about church structure will continue until 2013
Talk to the hand ‘I don’t think it helps dialogue to remove some people from the conversation’ says U.S. Presiding Bishop
Hope springs Deeper dialogue guides discussions about same-sex blessings
Talking about sex Reports from discernment circles on sexuality get good reviews
Roots among the rocks Compelling play touches hearts of GS delegates
Good cop, bad cop Early results from a 2010 readership survey show that love it or hate it, readers of the Anglican Journal are paying attention
Giving peace a chance It’s ‘my duty,’ to empower the women of Jerusalem, says Shafeeqa Dawani

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 9:28am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

PB: "sanctions are 'unfortunate'"

ENS has a report on what the Presiding Bishop said to the Canadian General Synod.

See Marites N. Sison Presiding bishop describes Canterbury’s sanctions as ‘unfortunate’

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has described the decision by Lambeth Palace to remove Episcopalians serving on international ecumenical dialogues as “unfortunate … It misrepresents who the Anglican Communion is…”

Update

A partial transcript of the press conference is available at the Anglican Essentials website, see Press conference with TEC Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori. Some excerpts:

Q: On the sanction imposed by the ABC on TEC for the ecumenism committee, the argument was that because of what has happened TEC doesn’t represent the faith and order of the communion. Is that fair? Secondly, how is it going to effect the work of TEC since you have a very strong interest in ecumenism?

KJS: Certainly our bilateral conversations will continue. I think it’s very unfortunate because it misrepresents who the Anglican communion is: we have a variety of opinions on these issues of human sexuality. People act as though one resolution from the 1998 Lambeth conference decided this for all time. If you look at the history of the Lambeth conference, they have gone back and forth: one in the 20s said that contraception was inappropriate and the next one said, yes it was appropriate and by the time you got 2 or 3 further down the road, it was the duty of families to plan. So our understanding about ethical issues evolves as it needs to, because our context evolves. For the Anglican communion to say to the Methodists or the Lutherans that we only have one position is inaccurate. We have a variety of understandings and, no we don’t have consensus on the hot-button issues of the moment.

and

Q: Has the ABC responded adequately to cross border interventions?

KJS: I don’t think he understands how difficult, painful and destructive it’s been, both in the ACoC and TEC. When bishops come from overseas and say, well, we’ll take care of you, you don’t have to pay attention to your bishop, it destroys pastoral relationships. It’s like an affair in a marriage: it destroys trust and I believe it does spiritual violence to vowed relationships. It is a very ancient teaching of the church that a bishop is supposed to stay home and tend to the flock to which he was originally assigned.

Q: you mentioned in your Pentecost letter – from the duelling Pentecost letters – “we note the troubling push towards centralised authority “ in response to Rowan Williams. Is not the resistance to cross-border interventions a similar push towards central authority on a smaller scale?

KJS: The resistance to cross-border interventions is for the reasons I’ve pointed out: it destroys pastoral relationships. It prevents any possibility of reconciliation; it prevents growth in understanding among people who disagree. The idea that one person in one location in the world can adequately understand contexts across the globe and decide policy across the globe, I think contravenes traditional Anglican understanding of local worship in a language understood by the people. This is what we were arguing about 500 years ago.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 11:34pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada | ECUSA

more responses to Williams and Kearon

Doug LeBlanc has reported at the Living Church that the Letter Affects Five Episcopal Leaders.

Earlier he had written Archbishop’s Letter Could Affect 30 Leaders.

The Living Church also published an editorial, An Invitation to Grow Up.

At Episcopal Café John Chilton wrote Disinvitations raise constitutional questions.

Also Jim Naughton wrote The incredible shrinking Archbishop of Canterbury.

Mark Harris wrote What makes The Episcopal Church so “Special” in the Archbishop’s eyes?

Adrian Worsfold at Pluralist Speaks has written Someone Should Remove Williams.

And he also published Rounding Up: The Opposition Grows.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 10:19pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Canadian General Synod - Anglican Covenant Resolutions

We noted earlier this “official” resolution on the Anglican Covenant from the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, to be debated later this week at the Canadian General Synod.

A137: Anglican Communion Covenant
Moved by: The Right Reverend George Bruce, Diocese of Ontario
Seconded by: The Right Reverend Greg Kerr-Wilson, Diocese of Qu’Appelle

Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

Two individual members of synod have now put forward their own resolution.

C004: Decision to adopt Anglican Covenant
Moved by: The Rev. Canon Alan T. Perry, diocese of Montreal
Seconded by: The Ven. Ronald Harrison, diocese of New Westminster

Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. Affirm the commitment of the Anglican Church of Canada to full participation in the life and mission of the Anglican Communion; and
2. Will consider a formal decision to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant after the Church of England has formally adopted it.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 10:13am BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

Canadian General Synod - Monday

Update Tuesday afternoon

Anglican Journal reports

Facing the consequences Anglican Communion takes action against The Episcopal Church
Welcome home Parishes step up to sponsor 50 new refugee families
Springtime Silent Night Sequel to Amazing Grace video project to raise funds for military chaplaincy
A breath of fresh air Fresh Expressions not an either/or proposition, says Canadian team leader
Historic St. Paul’s is full of life Service on June 6 will feature an exciting mix of old and new
Resolutions, resolutions and more resolutions Indigenous people become full voting members of CoGS
Primacy ‘through the lens of mission’ Changes to Canon III expand role of the Primate
Bridge over troubled water Bishop of Jerusalem urges friendship with both Palestine and Israel

The ACoC wesbite has its own Silent Night report: Out of Amazing Grace, a Silent Night.
It also has a report of Sunday afternoon’s service A Journey Just Begun and the full text of the sermon preached by Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

Update
The ACoC wesbite now has its own article on Canon Kearon’s address: Canadian Anglicans commended for contribution to Anglican Communion

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 9:57am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

Monday, 7 June 2010

Episcopal Church reports on ACO action

ENS reports: Episcopalians removed from Anglican Communion’s ecumenical dialogues

Jan Butter, communications director for the Anglican Communion, confirmed that the membership change applies to all ecumenical dialogues.

Butter told ENS that the Anglican Communion’s secretary general, in consultation with the archbishop of Canterbury, appoints members to the ecumenical commissions and to IASCUFO. “He therefore can ask people to stand down,” he said.

Episcopal Church members who were serving on the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue are the Rev. Thomas Ferguson, the Episcopal Church’s interim deputy for ecumenical and interreligious relations, and Assistant Bishop William Gregg of North Carolina.

Bishop C. Franklin Brookhart of Montana had been a member of the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission and the Very Rev. William H. Petersen, professor of ecclesiastical and ecumenical history of Bexley Hall, Columbus, was serving on the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.

The Rev. Katherine Grieb, an Episcopal priest and professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, was the IASCUFO member who has been invited to serve as a consultant.

Kearon said he has also written to Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada “to ask whether its General Synod or House of Bishops has formally adopted policies that breach the second moratorium in the Windsor Report, authorizing public rites of same-sex blessing,” and to Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, “asking him for clarification as to the current state of his interventions into other provinces.”

Some dioceses in the Canadian church have made provisions for blessing same-gender unions and Venables has offered oversight to conservative members of parishes and dioceses breaking away from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

No mention was made in Kearon’s letter of ecumenical commission members from other provinces — such as Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda – that are currently involved in cross-border interventions in the United States.

Another document which surfaced today is a set of talking points from the Office of Public Affairs of the Episcopal Church. There is a copy of this, with some additional notes, at Episcopal Café.
There is now an official website copy over here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 7 June 2010 at 11:31pm BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA

Pentecost letters: more analyses

Three more articles analysing the letters from Rowan Williams and Katharine Jefferts Schori:

Jim Stockton wrote The power hungry Rowan Williams.

Christopher Seitz wrote God the Holy Spirit and “being led into all truth”.

The Anglican Scotist wrote a short item, titled Williams/ Schori (H/T to Episcopal Café).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 7 June 2010 at 5:39pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

ACO announces next steps

The ACO has published this: Secretary General lays out next steps following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter.

…So the Archbishop of Canterbury has made the following proposals in his Pentecost Letter which spell out the consequences of this action:

“I am therefore proposing that, while these tensions remain unresolved, members of such provinces – provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged. I am further proposing that members of such provinces serving on IASCUFO should for the time being have the status only of consultants rather than full members”.

Last Thursday I sent letters to members of the Inter Anglican ecumenical dialogues who are from the Episcopal Church informing them that their membership of these dialogues has been discontinued. In doing so I want to emphasise again as I did in those letters the exceptional service of each and every person to that important work and to acknowledge without exception the enormous contribution each person has made.

I have also written to the person from the Episcopal Church who is a member of the Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO), withdrawing that person’s membership and inviting her to serve as a Consultant to that body.

I have written to the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada to ask whether its General Synod or House of Bishops has formally adopted policies that breach the second moratorium in the Windsor Report, authorising public rites of same-sex blessing.

At the same time I have written to the Primate of the Southern Cone, whose interventions in other provinces are referred to in the Windsor Continuation Group Report asking him for clarification as to the current state of his interventions into other provinces.

These are the actions which flow immediately from the Archbishop’s Pentecost Letter.

Looking forward, there are two questions in this area which I would like to see addressed: One is the relationship between the actions of a bishop or of a diocese and the responsibilities of a province for those actions – this issue is referred to in the Windsor Continuation Group Report para 48.

Secondly, to ask the question of whether maintaining within the fellowship of one’s Provincial House of Bishops, a bishop who is exercising episcopal ministry in another province without the expressed permission of that province or the local bishop, constitutes an intervention and is therefore a breach of the third moratorium.

The Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 7 June 2010 at 4:56pm BST | Comments (48) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Canadian Primate on SS blessings and Covenant

Although the Presidential Address of the Canadian primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, has already been linked on TA in the course of covering the Canadian General Synod meeting, I think it is worth noting separately the section of his remarks on same-sex blessings and on the Anglican Covenant. It is copied out below the fold. This includes his comments on the Pentecost letter of Archbishop Williams. The full text is over here.

…A considerable amount of time in Synod is devoted to the issue of the blessing of same-sex unions. My observation is that wherever the majority of us are with respect to a theological position on this matter, there is less passion for resolving it through resolution and heated debate, and much deeper commitment to respectful dialogue and continuing discernment together. I have witnessed this shift in the House of Bishops, in the Council of General Synod, and in the context of many discussions during diocesan visits. I believe the Spirit has called us into this space for a time. We shall begin our work on this issue in the Synod with A Faithful Reporting on behalf of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee, the Primate’s Theological Commission, and the House of Bishops, and International Conversations. Rapporteurs will record our conversations then meet and report back to the Synod the common themes. Each time we meet in prayerful conversation, we will build upon the themes emerging. I ask all members of Synod to enter into these conversations in a Spirit of humility and a genuine commitment to listen and to learn from one another. I know that our deliberations on these matters will be watched by many within Canada and around the world. I hope they see no evidence of rejection, condemnation, or demonization but every evidence of respect, charity, and patience. I hope they see a Church sensitive to the variety of contexts in which we are called to meet the pastoral and sacramental needs of those we serve. I hope they see a capacity for pastoral generosity. I hope they see us striving to live together with difference and to do it gracefully. I hope they see us “bearing one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3)

I come to this Synod mindful of the comments made by the Pastoral Visitors, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to visit the House of Bishops last fall. In their report to the Archbishop, they said, “General Synod will, indeed, be a watershed, both for the Anglican Church of Canada and for its wider relations within the Anglican Communion. At its worst it could lead to internal anarchy. At its best it could help us all to appreciate and practice a properly Christian style of inclusiveness.” I pray, of course, for the latter.

My earnest hope is that we will emerge from this Synod with a Pastoral Statement reflecting the mind and heart of the Canadian Church on this matter at this moment in time. I hope it can reflect our determination to never walk apart, but always to walk together, in that love Christ wills and prays for us and for the whole Church.

Another major topic before the Synod is the Anglican Communion Covenant. We are one of the first provinces to consider the final text. We are blessed to have had an Anglican Communion Working Group guiding our study of the drafts of the Covenant and inviting our input by way of critique and revision. And I know that those comments from our Church have been viewed by many within the Communion as constructive and helpful.

Section IV, Our Covenanted Life Together, continues to be challenging for many in the Communion. On the one hand it speaks of respect for the autonomy and integrity of each province in making decisions according to the polity reflected in its Constitution and Canons. On the other, it speaks of relational consequences for a Church should it make decisions deemed incompatible with the Covenant. These consequences could range from limited participation to suspension from dialogues, commissions and councils within the Communion. In my opinion, they reflect principles of exclusion with which many in the Communion are very uneasy. For if one is excluded from a table, how can one be part of a conversation? How can our voice be heard, how can we hear the voices of others, how can we struggle together to hear the voice of the Spirit? How can we hope to restore communion in our relationships if any one of us cannot or will not be heard?

In his 2010 Pentecost letter, the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks of “particular provinces being contacted about the outworking of these relational consequences.” To date we cannot be identified as “a Province that has formally through their Synod or House of Bishops adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently affirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith, and Order”. However the Archbishop’s letter also refers to “some provinces that have within them dioceses that are committed to policies that neither the province as a whole nor The Communion has sanctioned”. One is left wondering if provinces whose Primates continue to interfere in the internal life of other provinces and extend their pastoral jurisdiction through cross-border interventions will be contacted. To date I have seen no real measure to address that concern within The Communion. I maintain and have publicly declared my belief that those interventions have created more havoc in the Church, resulting in schism, than any honest and transparent theological dialogue on issues of sexuality through due synodical process in dioceses and in the General Synod. I also wonder when I see the word “formally” italicized in the Archbishop’s letter. It leaves me wondering about places where the moratoria on the blessing of same sex unions is in fact ignored. The blessings happen but not “formally”. As you will have detected I have some significant concerns about imposing discipline consistent with provisions in the Covenant before it is even adopted; and about consistency in the exercise of discipline throughout one Communion. There are also lingering concerns in Section IV on monitoring discipline and procedures for restoring membership in our covenanted life together.

All that being said, I have every hope that our Church will embrace the request to consider the Covenant. Our Anglican Communion Working Group is committed to providing educational resources to aid our study. Bishop George Bruce will give us a brief overview of those materials in the course of Synod. I have every confidence we will use them faithfully and that we will offer valuable comments in response to the request for a Communion-wide Progress Report on the Covenant at the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2012.

All of our work in this regard is in keeping with our commitment as a member church with The Communion.

“This commitment”, as our Pastoral Visitors commented, “is much more than an exercise of duty. It is accompanied by and springs from a genuine sense of affection which we found deeply moving … Canadians really do want to play their full part and play it well.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 7 June 2010 at 8:31am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Canadian General Synod - Sunday

updated Monday morning

Sunday was a short day as the Synod only met in the morning. Members attended this in the afternoon and then had the evening off.

Anglican Journal reports of the morning sessions.

Budget blowout Big cuts to national programs, Church House staff planned for 2011
[scroll down to read the text below the video]
Lose the attitude Sporadic commitment to youth ministry damaging, says Steers

Update

More reports on Sunday’s proceedings from Anglican Journal
Constant comment Vision 2019 getting lots of feedback from GS delegates
Birds and Bees Faith, worship and ministry committee conducts a new kind of sex education
No more winners and losers New style of respectful listening and dialogue presented in same-sex blessings debate

And a report of the afternoon celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island: ‘A beautiful, beautiful sight’ Celebration of diocese’s 300th anniversary draws thousands to Exhibition Park

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 6 June 2010 at 10:30pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

Scottish Episcopal Church pre-synod interviews

Updated Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon to update the links (which the SEC website has changed more than once)

Looking ahead to this week’s General Synod, the Scottish Episcopal Church has published two interviews.

The first is with the Primus, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, who speaks about the Anglican Covenant, the Whole Church Mission and Ministry Policy and the Gender Audit.
Interview with the Primus (15 minutes)

The second interview is with the Standing Committee Convener, Professor Patricia Peattie, She highlights the ways the Church is dealing with the financial challenges it faces and reflects on the work of the Standing Committee over the past five years.
Interview with Professor Peattie (13 Minutes)

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 6 June 2010 at 6:05pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Scottish Episcopal Church

Observer responds to complaint

Updated Monday afternoon

Recently the Observer Sunday newspaper published some editorial comment.

The Stand Firm website took exception to it.

Today, Stephen Pritchard, the Reader’s Editor of the Observer responds at length. See The Readers’ Editor on… what did the Nigerian bishop really say about gay men?

A journalist’s retraction of quotes he attributed to the Rt Rev Isaac Orama has done nothing to clarify a confused situation…

Update

This does not satisfy the author of the original complaint (who also does not understand that The Observer is a separate newspaper title from The Guardian).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 6 June 2010 at 5:13pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Canadian General Synod - Saturday

Anglican Journal reports

Chillin’ with Fred ‘Claim your place on the floor of synod,’ primate tells youth
Falby gets another kick at the can as Prolocutor Election of Deputy Prolocutor to take place later this week
PWRDF gives thanks for 50 years of support ‘Money isn’t half the story,’ says interim director [Note: PWRDF = Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund]
Peace and reconciliation Bishop Suheil Dawani reveals the roots of his ministry in the diocese of Jerusalem
‘We are a people of hope’ Bishop from diocese of Jerusalem tells Synod delegation to keep up the good work

The ACoC website is carrying a daily report: “This unofficial summary of the previous day’s General Synod proceedings is posted daily for members and the general public (in PDF format).”
Daily Report

There are photos on the General Synod Flickr pages.

Some press reports

Alison Auld in Metro News Anglicans hope to avoid rancour in latest discussion of sensitive same-sex issue
Charmaine Noronha of Associated Press Anglican Canadians discuss same-sex blessings

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 6 June 2010 at 12:16pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

bishops and divorce

Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports for the Sunday Telegraph Divorced bishops to be permitted for first time by Church of England.

Divorced clergy are to be allowed to become Church of England bishops for the first time in a move which has been condemned by traditionalists.

Critics described the change in Church rules as “utterly unacceptable” and warned it would undermine the biblical teaching that marriage is for life.

Conservative and liberal bishops have been deeply divided over the issue, which they have been secretly discussing for months.

While Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, supported relaxing the rules, John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, is understood to have fiercely argued against a change.

But The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the change was agreed at a meeting of the House of Bishops in May.

The Church is set to issue a statement announcing the new policy next month after legal advice made clear that there is no obstacle to a divorcee, or a priest married to a divorcee, being consecrated.

It means that a number of clergy who have been rejected in the past by the Crown Nominations Commission, the body responsible for appointing bishops, will now be put forward for consideration.

The first beneficiary of the change could be the Rev Nick Holtam, vicar of St Martin in the Fields in London, whose supporters want to propose as the next Bishop of Southwark.

Despite having gained a reputation as an accomplished preacher and a formidable fund-raiser, having masterminded his church’s £36 million renovation appeal, conservatives had warned that his name would be blocked because his wife of 29 years had a brief marriage as a teenager.

Senior figures in the diocese of Southwark were angered by the prospect of not being able to appoint a man they saw as an outstanding candidate for the post. They have welcomed the change in the Church’s position…

…Under current rules, trainee clergy who are divorced, or are married to a divorcee, are required to obtain permission – known as a faculty – before they can be ordained, but priests with such a personal history are currently blocked from becoming bishops.

Now the moratorium is to be dropped in favour of clergy being considered for promotion on a case-by-case basis, a Church spokesman said…

The Press Association has what appears to be the full quote from the CofE spokesman:

“The House had asked previously for clarification of the relevant legal background and, in the light of that, has now agreed that a statement setting out its approach to these issues should be prepared.

“It is expected that the statement, addressing the relevant legal and theological issues, will be available in July when the General Synod meets.

“There is no legal obstacle to persons who have remarried after divorce, or are married to spouses remarried after divorce, becoming bishops. The agreed policy is to pursue a discretionary approach on a case-by-case basis. It is a clarification in an area where there has previously been some uncertainty both about the legal background and the policy.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 6 June 2010 at 7:26am BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

Saturday, 5 June 2010

early June opinion

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that This is a Matthew 25 moment.

Ephraim Radner writes for Fulcrum on Ten Years and a new Anglican Congregationalism.

Guy Dammann asks in The Guardian Celibacy: whose bright idea was that? Christianity’s greatest tragedy is turning a religion founded on a genuine philosophy of love into an excuse for repression.

Sara Maitland writes in The Guardian about A very un-Anglican affair. The Walsingham pilgrimage refreshes the parts that other Anglican practices do not reach.

Peter Townley writes a Credo column in the Times: The Exile is an inspiration that can renew the Church. Will the Church of England survive? We do not know and in a way it is not important.

Christopher Howse writes a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph: Under the spire of Grantham. It’s a joy to learn the language of medieval tracery.

This week’s The Question in The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is What’s wrong with missionaries? Is there a distinction between religious missionaries and people who work to spread human rights on secular grounds?
Here are the responses.
Monday: David Griffiths The free exchange of ideas. If it is done respectfully, the spreading of ideas, values and faith is good and creative
Wednesday: Ophelia Benson The limits of free preach. There is a difference between spreading beliefs and values, and forcing them on people.
Friday: Joel Edwards Missionaries are a force for good. Far from being latter-day colonialists, many missionaries today come from the global south and aren’t obsessed with conversion.
Saturday: Barbara O’Brien A self-defeating zeal. In the words of Ashoka, whoever praises his own religion and condemns others only harms his cause.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 5 June 2010 at 8:55am BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Canadian General Synod - Friday

Friday’s reports from Anglican Journal

Primate delivers Presidential Address to General Synod delegates
full text of the Presidential Address
Live together with difference, urges Hiltz
Canadian Church allies with Episcopal Church Archbishop Hiltz echoes objections to proposed sanctions

How do we determine CoGS representation? Resolution ‘not perfect but a lot better than what we have now,’ says Archbishop

General Synod sets goal of zero budget deficit by 2012 No more than 10% of funds should come from bequests

Why adopt Vision 2019? Task Force presents top 10 reasons
‘Train is on the track’ for Vision 2019, says Dean Elliot

The laws of attraction Freshly-baked bannock lures many

Anglican Church of Canada website report

Vision 2019 – Living out the Marks of Mission

Press reports

Alison Auld in the Toronto Star Anglicans try again to find same-sex blessings consensus

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 5 June 2010 at 8:47am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

Friday, 4 June 2010

Canadian General Synod - Thursday

The Canadian General Synod held its opening service on Thursday evening. The Anglican Journal reports on the service: Colour and joy mark opening service
There is also a report on the Anglican Church of Canada’s website: Opening Worship Sets Tone for General Synod; Delegates Called to Feel the Winds of God and Chart a New Course, and the text of the sermon preached by Bishop Miguel Tamayo of Cuba and Uruguay.

Some papers have previewed the synod in recent days.
Tobi Cohen in the Montreal Gazette Anglicans aim to defuse gay-marriage issue
Mirko Petricevic in the Record Anglican Synod could be a cool affair
Marites N Sison
 in the Anglican Journal Archbishop calls for more courageous engagement
Ian Fairclough in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald Anglicans to debate same-sex marriage

On the Sunday afternoon (6 June) of Synod, members will be attending a diocesan service celebrating 300 years of continuous Anglican worship in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Monica Graham previews this in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald: Celebrating 300 years of worship

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 4 June 2010 at 5:40pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Canada

responses to the Presiding Bishop's letter

Updated Friday evening

Here are three:

Another version of this article is at Huffington Post The Real Reason for the Anglican-Episcopal Divide

Other news reports:

Religion News Service Daniel Burke Episcopal Head Lashes Out at Anglican ‘Colonial’ Uniformity

Reuters Tom Heneghan Church rejects Anglican pressure over gay rights and earlier Avril Ormsby Latest Anglican peace bid meets with skepticism

Friday evening update

Here’s a fourth analysis:

Living Church and Covenant Ephraim Radner Actions Now Have Consequences

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 4 June 2010 at 8:53am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Religion and the Judiciary

The UKSC blog, which is focused on the new UK Supreme Court, has published an article by Aidan O’Neill QC titled Religion and the Judiciary.

He discusses several recent situations where the personal religious convictions or cultural background of judges have given rise to comment, and in particular the recent intervention by Lord Carey in McFarlane v Relate Avon Ltd.

He concludes:

The paradox is that the obvious tension between the views expressed by Lord Carey and their unequivocal rejection by Lord Justice Laws arises precisely because of the expansion of anti-discrimination law explicitly to outlaw discrimination on grounds of religion or belief. What the religiously motivated find difficult to understand or accept is that the freedom from discrimination on grounds of religion or belief which has been afforded them by the law does not extend to giving the religious a general right to discriminate (on otherwise unlawful grounds such as sex, age, race, disability, or sexual orientation) on the basis of religion or belief. There will undoubtedly be more litigation – if not further legislation – on this whole vexed issue. The UK tradition of being blind to our Justices’ religion will come to be further strained as a result.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 June 2010 at 10:00pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: equality legislation

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Presiding Bishop issues pastoral letter

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued a pastoral letter to the Episcopal Church, in which she refers to the Pentecost letter from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and urges continued dialogue with those who disagree with recent actions “for we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.”

The full text of the letter is below the fold. It also deals with the proposed Anglican Covenant. The covering press release continues:

In his May 28 letter, Williams acknowledged the tensions caused in some parts of the Anglican Communion by the consecration of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Douglas Glasspool and the ongoing unauthorized incursions by Anglican leaders into other provinces. Glasspool is the Episcopal Church’s second openly gay, partnered bishop.

Jefferts Schori acknowledged in her letter that “the Spirit does seem to be saying to many within the Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones. The Spirit also seems to be saying the same thing in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and among some of our Christian partners, including Lutheran churches in North America and Europe, the Old Catholic churches of Europe, and a number of others.

“That growing awareness does not deny the reality that many Anglicans and not a few Episcopalians still fervently hold traditional views about human sexuality. This Episcopal Church is a broad and inclusive enough tent to hold that variety.”

Note: the error discussed in the comments below has now been corrected in the original ENS published copy, and therefore this copy has been conformed accordingly.

A pastoral letter to The Episcopal Church

Pentecost continues!

Pentecost is most fundamentally a continuing gift of the Spirit, rather than a limitation or quenching of that Spirit.

The recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the struggles within the Anglican Communion seems to equate Pentecost with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news. The crowd reported, “in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power” (Acts 2:11).

The Spirit does seem to be saying to many within The Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones. The Spirit also seems to be saying the same thing in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and among some of our Christian partners, including Lutheran churches in North America and Europe, the Old Catholic churches of Europe, and a number of others.

That growing awareness does not deny the reality that many Anglicans and not a few Episcopalians still fervently hold traditional views about human sexuality. This Episcopal Church is a broad and inclusive enough tent to hold that variety. The willingness to live in tension is a hallmark of Anglicanism, beginning from its roots in Celtic Christianity pushing up against Roman Christianity in the centuries of the first millennium. That diversity in community was solidified in the Elizabethan Settlement, which really marks the beginning of Anglican Christianity as a distinct movement. Above all, it recognizes that the Spirit may be speaking to all of us, in ways that do not at present seem to cohere or agree. It also recognizes what Jesus says about the Spirit to his followers, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:12-13).

The Episcopal Church has spent nearly 50 years listening to and for the Spirit in these matters. While it is clear that not all within this Church have heard the same message, the current developments do represent a widening understanding. Our canons reflected this shift as long ago as 1985, when sexual orientation was first protected from discrimination in access to the ordination process. At the request of other bodies in the Anglican Communion, this Church held an effective moratorium on the election and consecration of a partnered gay or lesbian priest as bishop from 2003 to 2010. When a diocese elected such a person in late 2009, the ensuing consent process indicated that a majority of the laity, clergy, and bishops responsible for validating that election agreed that there was no substantive bar to the consecration.

The Episcopal Church recognizes that these decisions are problematic to a number of other Anglicans. We have not made these decisions lightly. We recognize that the Spirit has not been widely heard in the same way in other parts of the Communion. In all humility, we recognize that we may be wrong, yet we have proceeded in the belief that the Spirit permeates our decisions.

We also recognize that the attempts to impose a singular understanding in such matters represent the same kind of cultural excesses practiced by many of our colonial forebears in their missionizing activity. Native Hawaiians were forced to abandon their traditional dress in favor of missionaries’ standards of modesty. Native Americans were forced to abandon many of their cultural practices, even though they were fully congruent with orthodox Christianity, because the missionaries did not understand or consider those practices exemplary of the Spirit. The uniformity imposed at the Synod of Whitby did similar violence to a developing, contextual Christianity in the British Isles. In their search for uniformity, our forebears in the faith have repeatedly done much spiritual violence in the name of Christianity.

We do not seek to impose our understanding on others. We do earnestly hope for continued dialogue with those who disagree, for we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.

We live in great concern that colonial attitudes continue, particularly in attempts to impose a single understanding across widely varying contexts and cultures. We note that the cultural contexts in which The Episcopal Church’s decisions have generated the greatest objection and reaction are also often the same contexts where women are barred from full ordained leadership, including the Church of England.

As Episcopalians, we note the troubling push toward centralized authority exemplified in many of the statements of the recent Pentecost letter. Anglicanism as a body began in the repudiation of the control of the Bishop of Rome within an otherwise sovereign nation. Similar concerns over self-determination in the face of colonial control led the Church of Scotland Scottish Episcopal Church to consecrate Samuel Seabury for The Episcopal Church in the nascent United States – and so began the Anglican Communion.

We have been repeatedly assured that the Anglican Covenant is not an instrument of control, yet we note that the fourth section seems to be just that to Anglicans in many parts of the Communion. So much so, that there are voices calling for stronger sanctions in that fourth section, as well as voices repudiating it as un-Anglican in nature. Unitary control does not characterize Anglicanism; rather, diversity in fellowship and communion does.

We are distressed at the apparent imposition of sanctions on some parts of the Communion. We note that these seem to be limited to those which “have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion.” We are further distressed that such sanctions do not, apparently, apply to those parts of the Communion that continue to hold one view in public and exhibit other behaviors in private. Why is there no sanction on those who continue with a double standard? In our context bowing to anxiety by ignoring that sort of double-mindedness is usually termed a “failure of nerve.” Through many decades of wrestling with our own discomfort about recognizing the full humanity of persons who seem to differ from us, we continue to work at open and transparent communication as well as congruence between word and behavior. We openly admit our failure to achieve perfection!

The baptismal covenant prayed in this Church for more than 30 years calls us to respect the dignity of all other persons and charges us with ongoing labor toward a holy society of justice and peace. That fundamental understanding of Christian vocation underlies our hearing of the Spirit in this context and around these issues of human sexuality. That same understanding of Christian vocation encourages us to hold our convictions with sufficient humility that we can affirm the image of God in the person who disagrees with us. We believe that the Body of Christ is only found when such diversity is welcomed with abundant and radical hospitality.

As a Church of many nations, languages, and peoples, we will continue to seek every opportunity to increase our partnership in God’s mission for a healed creation and holy community. We look forward to the ongoing growth in partnership possible in the Listening Process, Continuing Indaba, Bible in the Life of the Church, Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, and the myriad of less formal and more local partnerships across the Communion – efforts in mission and ministry that inform and transform individuals and communities toward the vision of the Gospel – a healed world, loving God and neighbor, in the love and friendship shown us in God Incarnate.

May God’s peace dwell in your hearts,

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 2 June 2010 at 10:53pm BST | Comments (145) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Bishop of California responds to ABC

Bishop Marc Andrus of California has written A response to Archbishop Rowan’s Pentecost letter.

Here is an extract:

…When an Empire and its exponents can no longer exercise control by might, an option is to feint, double-talk, and manipulate. Such tactics have been in the fore with Archbishop Rowan since the confirmation of Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. The deployment of the Windsor Report and the manipulation of the Lambeth Conference, as cited above, are prime examples. The archbishop’s Pentecost letter is the most recent example.

In the Pentecost letter, it looks like he is disciplining errant provinces of the Communion, while only a little concentration shows that the underlying goal is to assert his power to be the disciplinarian. Archbishop Rowan is intent on a covenant with punitive measures built in. The bishops of the Communion expressed their distaste for a punitive covenant, and so the archbishop has stepped up to be himself the judging authority he has been unable to build into a covenant.

Other examples in the Pentecost letter:

  • All three moratoria are supposedly to be attended to, but the packaging of the letter on the Anglican Communion website makes it clear that it is Mary Glasspool’s consecration that has galvanized the archbishop into action.
  • The archbishop says that primates of disciplined provinces are free to meet together. Surely these primates do not need the archbishop’s permission to meet together. This is another example of promoting the illusion of the archbishop’s power.
  • By taking offending provinces out of the conversation with ecumenical partners, the archbishop subtly implies that such conversation is dangerous and contaminating, exactly as was done with Bishop Robinson and LGBT voices in general at the Lambeth Conference…
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 2 June 2010 at 8:12am BST | Comments (40) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Canadian General Synod

The triennial meeting of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will take place from 3 to 11 June. Links to all the official information can be found here.

The agenda includes discussion of the Anglican Covenant on Thursday 10 June, and there is this resolution to be debated.

Resolution Number A137
Be it resolved that this General Synod:
1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

This is accompanied by an explanatory note/background information, copied below the fold.

EXPLANATORY NOTE/BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Since the decision of General Synod 2007 to commit to participate in the process of drafting of “A Covenant for the Anglican Communion”, the Anglican Communion Working Group, established by the Primate and the Anglican ecclesiology Working Group of the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, has offered considered comment and critique of the various drafts. These comments have been reviewed by the Council and after amendment/revision have been forwarded to the Anglican Communion Office. On each occasion, the comments of the Anglican Church of Canada have been clearly heard and have for the most part found their way into subsequent revisions of the text. By April 2009, consensus had been achieved with respect to sections 1‐3 of the Covenant.

Following ACC 14 in Jamaica, a decision was taken to reexamine section 4 of the Ridley‐Cambridge Draft, comments were prepared and forwarded to the Communion Office. A revised text of Section 4 was approved by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion at its meeting in December 2009 and a final Covenant text has now been circulated to national provinces under cover of a letter from the General Secretary, Canon Kenneth Kearon.

Three key areas were clarified:

First, was clarification about the meaning of the word, church. This clarification was necessary because of expressed concerns that anyone could claim to be an Anglican church and then sign up to the Covenant, in effect opting themselves into the Communion.

The second key area addressed was the completion of the change in tone from the juridical to pastoral and relational.

The third key clarification dealt with who was to manage and administer the Covenant. In successive drafts this has changed from the Primates meeting (Nassau) to the ACC (St Andrews), the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC (Ridley Cambridge) to The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion (Ridley Cambridge revised). This is significant in that the Primatial members(4) are nominated by the Primates Meeting and the remainder are elected by the ACC. The overall operation of the Standing Committee functions under the Constitution of the ACC. This change resolves one of the key concerns raised by Canada and a number of other provinces at ACC 14.

Additionally, the final Covenant text makes it clear that “Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 1 June 2010 at 10:44pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada

Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod 2010

The Scottish Episcopal Church will be holding its annual General Synod in Edinburgh at the end of next week (10 to 12 June). There are several items on the Church’s website about the meeting.

Agenda and Papers
General Information

One item on the agenda is this motion, to be debated on the afternoon of Thursday 10 June.

Motion 3: That this Synod, recognising the publication of the Anglican Covenant and the need to address the Covenant in a manner which is careful and prayerful, request the Faith and Order Board to advise General Synod 2011 on what process or processes might be appropriate to be followed by this Synod to enable due consideration of the final version of the Covenant by the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Synod members have been supplied with the text of the covenant, but no other papers for this debate.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 1 June 2010 at 9:10pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Scottish Episcopal Church