Sunday, 28 November 2010

Covenant/GAFCON update

Updated again Friday

The BBC Radio programme, Sunday had two items about this.

The programme can be found here including a downloadable podcast.

First, Stephen Bates of the Guardian gave a brief outline of the significance of the GAFCON announcement. This is 6 minutes into the programme, and lasts for about 4 minutes.

Then, starting at about 33.5 minutes in, and running to the end of the programme, i.e. for about 10 minutes, there is a longer discussion about this. It features in turn the retired archbishop Lord Carey, then Bishop Martyn Minns of ACNA and GAFCON, and then Bishop Graham Kings of the Church of England.

This should be listened to in full.

Bear in mind that ACNA is not a member of the Anglican Communion although it is a member of GAFCON.

Graham Kings noted that GAFCON is not the same as the Global South Anglican movement, and at least three GSA primates (Chew of SE Asia, Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East, and Ernest of the Indian Ocean) are themselves moderates in favour of the Covenant. He also argued that the GAFCON primates cannot speak for their provinces until their provinces have actually considered the Covenant themselves.

It also appeared from what he said that the Sudan province, whose primate was a member of the GAFCON council (is he still?), has already voted at least once, if not yet definitively, in favour of the Covenant.

Confused yet? You should be.

Updates

See the Comments below for links to some partial transcripts.

Anglican Mainstream has very helpfully transcribed more of the programme, see BBC interview with Bishop Minns on Gafcon Primates’ Statement.

And Fulcrum has transcribed the whole of Bishop Kings’ remarks at Interview with Graham Kings.

There is now an even fuller set of transcripts in the Comments on an article at Titusonenine, starting here (and in the following comments).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 28 November 2010 at 2:39pm GMT | Comments (45) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 27 November 2010

Primates meeting update

This week’s Church Times carries a report of the recent GAFCON primates statement, which was linked here on Wednesday, while the General Synod debate on the Anglican Covenant was still in progress, but which was not known to synod members prior to the voting. (The GAFCON/FCA Primates’ Council met in Oxford from October 4th through October 7th, 2010.)

The story, Empty seats in Dublin as Primates opt out, by Ed Beavan lists a total of ten primates who will not be attending.

AT LEAST ten Primates from the Global South are now expected to boycott the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in January.

In a statement released on Wednesday, five African Primates, members of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, confirmed that they would not attend the two-yearly meeting. In addition, it is understood that the Primate of South-East Asia, Dr John Chew; the Primate in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Dr Mouneer Anis; and the Primate of the Indian Ocean, the Most Revd Ian Ernest, will not go to Dublin.

Furthermore it is expected that two new Primates, Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala, Primate of the Southern Cone, and the Most Revd Onesphore Rwage, Primate of Rwanda, will also boycott the meeting…

The names appearing on the GAFCON statement are (my annotations added)

The Most Rev’d Gregory Venables, GAFCON/FCA Chair former primate of the Southern Cone
The Most Rev’d Justice Akrofi, Archbishop, Anglican Province of West Africa
The Most Rev’d Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America not a primate of the Anglican Communion
The Most Rev ‘d Emmanuel Kolini, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Rwanda former primate of Rwanda
The Most Rev’d Valentino Mokiwa, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Tanzania
The Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Most Rev’d Henry Orombi Archbishop, Church of Uganda
The Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya

The Most Rev’d Peter Jensen, Archbishop, Diocese of Sydney, Secretary not a primate

The Church of England Newspaper carries this report by George Conger Canterbury rejects African call to postpone Dublin primates meeting.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has rejected Africa’s call to suspend the Dublin primates meeting, a spokesman for Dr. Rowan Williams’ tells The Church of England Newspaper, and the meeting will go on as scheduled.

On Nov 17 Lambeth Palace confirmed that Dr. Williams had received a letter from CAPA chairman Archbishop Ian Earnest. This letter raised a “concern about the planning process for the Primates’ Meeting and request[ed] that it be postponed.”

“However, given the closeness of the time, and the fact that the majority of Primates have already indicated that they will attend, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not minded to postpone the meeting whose date was set two years ago,” the Lambeth Palace statement said.

Dr. Williams’ decision not to postpone the Dublin meeting, will likely cause a quarter to a third of the primates to stay away, replicating the divisions surrounding the 2008 Lambeth Conference where a majority of African bishops boycotted the meeting…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 27 November 2010 at 3:23pm GMT | Comments (41) | TrackBack
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opinion for Advent

The Archbishop of Canterbury recently participated in a public discussion with Terry Eagleton on the topic Responses to the new Atheism at Great St Mary’s, Cambridge’s university church. You can download an audio file of the conversation from the Archbishop’s website.
Andrew Brown responded to the discussion at Comment is free with Rowan and Eagleton on atheism and Rowan, selfish genes, and atheism.

There are a number of articles about the Kings James (Authorised) Version of the Bible.
Christopher Howse at The Telegraph “gets Bible fever as we mark 400 years of the Authorised Version”: The global phenomenon that will never be lost in translation.
Michael White of The Guardian writes about Church and sex: what King James and his famous Bible have to teach us.
The Guardian has an editorial: In praise of … the Authorised Version.

Rosie Harper writes for The Guardian about Hogwarts for Anglicans and asks “As a new synod member, will I be able to reconcile the dark arts of church politics and the transparency of the gospel?”

Giles Fraser’s column in this week’s Church Times is Being proud of church buildings.

Cole Moreton argues in The Guardian that The Church of England must relinquish its association with power and pomp. “Anglicans must accept they no longer deserve royal privileges but are just another group of believers.”

Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph: In the eye of the Venetian storm. “Going to church in a tourist trap exposes the heart of prayer.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 27 November 2010 at 10:52am GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 25 November 2010

General Synod - press reports of Wednesday's business

Updated Friday

Whilst Synod was debating the Anglican Communion Covenant, news broke that the GAFCON primates had rejected it, although this was too late to affect the Synod debate. But the press is naturally reporting both stories together.

Riazat Butt writes in The Guardian that Unity document exposes Anglican divisions and that African clergy reject ‘fatally flawed’ effort to unify Anglicans.

Ekklesia has Anglican Covenant confusion reins after firm GAFCON rejection.

Matthew Davies at Episcopal Life Online writes that General Synod supports Anglican Covenant process.

Reuters reports that Conservative bishops deliver blow to Anglican pact.

At Christian Today Maria Mackay writes that Church of England affirms support for Anglican Covenant, while Jenna Lyle writes that Anglican Covenant in question after conservatives withdraw support.

The BBC has General synod step closer to Anglican Covenant.

AFP reports that Church of England backs covenant but traditionalists rebel.

Update

John Martin has written for the Living Church about the Covenant debate: Victory for Covenant, ‘Catholic Spirit’ at English Synod.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 25 November 2010 at 10:55am GMT | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Colin Slee

Southwark Cathedral reports this morning

The Very Revd Colin Slee, The Dean of Southwark, died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family at 1am on Thursday 25 November.

Dean Colin had been diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks ago and the spread of his illness was very rapid.

May he rest in peace!

Updated Thursday afternoon (twice)

In The Guardian (CiF), Stephen Bates writes: Liberal Anglicans will mourn the death of Colin Slee

Damian Thompson blogs in the Daily Telegraph: The Church of England won’t be as much fun without Colin Slee

The news is also covered by local community site London-SE1 where it is noted that he had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

There are now obituaries in The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Thursday, 25 November 2010 at 10:04am GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

General Synod - Wednesday afternoon

Here is the official summary for Wednesday afternoon: General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Wednesday 24th November 2010 PM.

More reports later.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 at 3:58pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Gafcon primates say no to the Covenant

The GAFCON/FCA Primates Council recently met in Oxford. Today they have issued this press release: Oxford Statement of the Primates’ Council November 2010 AD.

The statement includes this paragraph [emphasis added].

5. For the sake of Christ and of His Gospel we can no longer maintain the illusion of normalcy and so we join with other Primates from the Global South in declaring that we will not be present at the next Primates’ meeting to be held in Ireland. And while we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 at 11:46am GMT | Comments (43) | TrackBack
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General Synod: Anglican Covenant debate

updated Wednesday afternoon

General Synod is debating debated the Anglican Communion Synod this (Wednesday) morning. We will update updated this article as the debate proceeds proceeded.

There is a briefing paper (GS Misc 966) available, which includes the text of the Anglican Covenant. The text of the draft Act (GS 1809) is reproduced below the fold.

The Bishop of Bristol (The Rt Revd Michael Hill) moved

504 ‘That the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant be considered.’

After much debate Mrs Mary Johnston (London) proposed that the debate be adjourned to July 2011. The proposal was defeated on a show of hands. Synod then immediately agreed to close the debate and move to a vote. The voting was by houses and motion 504 was carried in all three houses with the voting figures below.

Bishops 39 for 0 against 1 abstention
Clergy 145 for 32 against 11 abstentions
Laity 147 for 25 against 8 abstentions

Mr Justin Brett (Chichester) moved as an amendment [to the draft Act of Synod]:

505 In recital (1) after “the Anglican Covenant” insert
“, subject to the exception referred to below,”; and
After “GS Misc 966” in paragraph 1, insert
“, with the exception of section 4.2,”; and
Before “solemnly covenants” insert
“subject to that exception”.

Item 505 was defeated on a show of hands.

Dr Brian Walker (Winchester) moved as an amendment [to the draft Act of Synod]:

506 Insert as new recital (3) —
“The Church of England understands the Anglican Communion Covenant as a means for maintaining continuous inclusive relationships between all covenanting Churches.”; and
At the beginning of paragraph 1, insert
“Subject to paragraph 2.”; and
After paragraph 1. insert
“2. The Church of England will not participate in or support any limitations or suspensions of the kind provided for in Section 4.2.5 or sanctions effected under Section 4.2.7.”.

This amendment lapsed, since fewer than 40 members stood to ask for debate to continue.

The Revd Canon Robert Cotton (Guildford) moved a following motion.

507 That this Synod, recognising and affirming the difficult issues addressed by the Anglican Communion Covenant:
(a) request that the date determined by the Presidents for the reference of the draft Act of Synod to the dioceses under Article 8 should be no earlier than November 2011;
(b) direct the Business Committee to ensure that the documents circulated to diocesan synods for the purposes of the Article 8 reference include a range of briefing material, properly reflecting the diversity of views on the Covenant within the Church of England; and
(c) invite the House of Bishops to encourage in the dioceses a process of widespread education about, and engagement with, the substance and text of the Covenant.

The motion 507 was defeated on a show of hands.

Here is the official summary of the morning’s business: General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Wednesday 24th November 2010 AM.

GS 1809

GENERAL SYNOD

DRAFT ACT OF SYNOD
ADOPTING THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION COVENANT

Affirmed and proclaimed an Act of Synod - ***
Ratified and confirmed by the Presidents of the General Synod - ***

WHEREAS:

(1) It is intended that the Church of England should enter into and adopt the Anglican Communion Covenant and that effect should be given to that intention by resolution of the General Synod of the Church of England; and

(2) It is desired to give formal publication to the same as the embodiment of the will of the Church of England as expressed by the whole body of the Synod by its affirmation and proclamation as an Act of Synod

IT IS RESOLVED by the Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy and Laity of the General Synod of the Church of England, assembled in their Synod at [Westminster], as follows—

1. The Church of England hereby enters into and adopts the Anglican Communion Covenant as set out in Annex 1 to GS Misc 966 and solemnly covenants with the other Churches which enter into and adopt it in making the affirmations and commitments that it contains.

2. This resolution shall come into force upon being affirmed and proclaimed an Act of Synod and ratified and confirmed for their respective provinces by each of the Presidents of the General Synod.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 at 10:47am GMT | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Bishop of Willesden is asked to withdraw...

There are numerous reports in the media of the action taken by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres today in disciplining the Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent.

Here is the actual text of the statement from the Bishop of London (emphasis added):

The Bishop of London has issued a statement regarding the Bishop of Willesden.

“Dear Colleague,

“I was appalled by the Bishop of Willesden’s comments about the forthcoming royal marriage. In common with most of the country I share the joy which the news of the engagement has brought.

“I have now had an opportunity to discuss with Bishop Peter how his comments came to be made and I have noted his unreserved apology. Nevertheless, I have asked him to withdraw from public ministry until further notice. I have also been in touch with St James’s Palace to express my own dismay on behalf of the Church.

“Arrangements will need to be made in Bishop Peter’s absence and further details will be given in due course.

“With thanks for your partnership in the Gospel.”

The term “suspension” is not used, although many media reports have used that word. For a suspension to occur, the Clergy Discipline Measure would have to be invoked, and this has not happened.

Earlier, Bishop Broadbent had issued a public apology for his remarks about the forthcoming Royal wedding, which he had made on Facebook.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 10:53pm GMT | Comments (41) | TrackBack
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Covenant - Tuesday roundup

Jim Naughton wrote about it at Episcopal Café in The Anglican Covenant: a tool for the strong to oppress the weak.

So many points have been made against the proposed Anglican Covenant, which will be voted on this week by the Church of England’s General Synod, that one risks redundancy in expressing one’s own reservations. Mine have to do primarily with how the covenant would operate if approved. It is a dangerous document which takes John Adams’ famous formulation—“a government of laws and not of men”—and stands it on its head. The covenant is a document that sets forth a system for adjudicating disputes based on criteria that are almost entirely subjective and ad hoc.

In this peculiar system, one can do nothing that offends another province in the Communion, and anything that does not. Offense is judged not by analyzing the act, but in analyzing the response to the act. This is governance by hurt feelings, a system in which power flows to those who complain the loudest and the most frequently. The covenant lacks any of the safeguards, contained in most civil codes, to protect the accused from frivolous accusations. Hence there is no cost and much potential benefit in lodging complaints simply to keep one’s theological adversaries on the defensive. There is great incentive for them to behave in similar fashion.

One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to notice that the covenant contains no standards of evidence, and provides for nothing resembling due process, The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion can investigate complaints in whatever manner it sees fit. Perhaps this is unsurprising. If the only fact at issue is whether a party has given offense, the only evidence necessary is the offended party’s assertion that they are, indeed offended. Having conducted an investigation under standards of its own devising, the Standing Committee can then respond in whatever manner it chooses including the imposition of “relational consequences…”

Andrew Goddard has written yet again, this latest is titled The Anglican Covenant: Why a ‘Yes’ Vote is Significant.

As General Synod approaches its crucial vote on the Anglican covenant, recent discussions have revealed that there are at least three significant perspectives at work in the debate on the covenant and that there are some important differences between them which have not been explicitly articulated. Broadly speaking there are (1) those who, though unhappy with elements of the final text, are supportive of the covenant, (2) those who are against it and whose views are represented on the left by Inclusive Church and Modern Church and (3) those who are against it (though appear to be proposing to abstain in the Synod vote) on the right from a more conservative/GAFCON perspective. What are the reasons for the differences?

There is also an article by Benjamin Guyer at Fulcrum titled In Praise of Rhetoric? Anti-Covenantal Myths of Puritanism and Anglicanism (Part Two Richard Hooker)

Meanwhile, today the No Anglican Covenant Coalition issued a further press release, the full text of which appears below the fold.

NEWS RELEASE
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NO ANGLICAN COVENANT COALITION GATHERS MOMENTUM

LONDON – As the Church of England General Synod prepares to debate the proposed Anglican Covenant, a group of unlikely campaigners are working hard to ensure that there is a serious debate about the potential risks involved.

Started just three weeks ago after online conversations among a small number of international Anglican bloggers, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition has built on the work of two English groups, Inclusive Church and Modern Church, to set the shape of the debate.

“A month ago, General Synod and the entire Communion were sleepwalking into approving the Covenant without a proper discussion of the issue,” according to Coalition Moderator, the Revd. Dr. Lesley Fellows. “In some places, the Covenant was being presented as a means to punish North American Anglicans. In Britain, the United States and Canada, it was being spun as nothing more than a dispute resolution mechanism. I’ve spoken to many Synod members who were only dimly aware of the Anglican Covenant. An astonishing number of people thought I was referring to the Covenant with the Methodists.”

The week preceding the General Synod debate has seen a flood of articles criticizing the Covenant, including:

  • an article by Canadian canon law expert the Revd. Canon Alan Perry, challenging the assertion that the Covenant would have no impact on the constitution and canons of member churches of the Communion;
  • an article by the former Chancellor of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Hon. Ronald Stevenson QC, a former judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench, critical of the lack of clarity regarding the disciplinary procedures in the Covenant; and
  • an article by the Bishop of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, the Rt. Revd. Pierre Whalon, challenging the idea of enhancing communion by excluding those who disagree with the majority.

“We are all strongly committed to the Anglican Communion, but we are not convinced that this proposed Covenant will do anything to keep the Communion together,” according to the Revd. Malcolm French, the Coalition’s Canadian Convenor. “Covenant supporters have hurt their case by being dismissive of critics while failing to make a compelling case for this proposed Anglican Covenant. And no one has been prepared to explain the initial and ongoing costs to implement the Covenant.”

Within the last three weeks momentum has gathered to encourage the Church of England to wake up. The first test will come tomorrow, when General Synod debates the Covenant and votes on a motion for initial approval, the first step towards final approval at a later session. Although significant decisions such as women in the episcopate normally require a two-thirds majority, questions should be asked about why the English House of Bishops has proposed only a simple majority for the Covenant.

noanglicancovenant.org
The articles referred to, and several others, can be found at: noanglicancovenant.org/resources.html

Revd. Dr. Lesley Fellows (England) +44 1844 239268
Dr. Lionel Deimel (USA) +1-412-512-9087
Revd. Malcolm French (Canada) +1-306-550-2277
Revd. Lawrence Kimberley (New Zealand) +64 3 981 7384
Revd. Hugh Magee +44 1334 470446

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 10:27pm GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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General Synod - Tuesday press reports

Updated Wednesday morning

Dave Walker Rough notebook scribbles from the opening of General Synod at Westminster Abbey

Three articles in The Guardian:
Riazat Butt Religious do not have monopoly on virtue, Queen tells synod
Stephen Bates Reassuring presence at General Synod of the Church of England
Stephen Bates and Riazat Butt Anglican church faces ‘piece by piece dissolution’, warns archbishop

Press Association Queen warns of ‘painful’ times ahead for Church

Matthew Davies at Episcopal Life Online: The Queen inaugurates new General Synod, underscores need to communicate the gospel

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 8:15pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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General Synod - Tuesday business

We will update this page during the day.
Updated Tuesday evening

Morning

Official summary of the morning’s inauguration: General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Tuesday 23rd November 2010 - Inauguration

Afternoon

Official summary of the afternoon’s business: General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PM

Both official summaries include links to audio recordings of the sessions.

Archbishop’s Presidential Address - General Synod November 2010. This includes the full text.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 3:38pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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General Synod - Tuesday press previews

The newly elected General Synod of the Church of England meets for the first time today and tomorrow. Here are a few press reviews.

Riazat Butt in The Guardian The Queen set to open General Synod

Robert Pigott at the BBC Queen opens Church General Synod amid signs of change
The BBC also has Queen to open Church of England general synod

Christian Today Church of England General Synod to be formally opened by Queen

Press Association Queen to open Church of England general synod

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 10:50am GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Monday, 22 November 2010

Covenant - Monday roundup

Bishop Alan Wilson has written My fluttering Pelagiometer.

The Anglican Covenant may well not end up accomplishing as much bad or good as it is cracked up for, but the discussion around it has been worthwhile and fascinating, and at last something of a broader debate seems to be starting up, for example Andrew Goddard and Jonathan Clatworthy, here and here. People are still, however, often picking over the bones rather than addressing the big questions around having such a thing in the first place, and it seems to me those are where the action is. Many thanks to all who have offered comment on this blog for their clarity, honesty, and will to try and understand the whole picture.

If Christians are alienated from each other, culturally, sociologically and psychologically, how high a formal fence should they erect between themselves? Enough, surely to give reflective space to both and a chance to relate their partial interests in the whole gospel picture whilst they live in tension and await, in joyful hope, a new heaven and a new earth. But temporary fencing, as low and light as possible, has to offer the best way forward if it’s relationships that count…

Episcopal Café had a useful roundup of some of yesterday’s media coverage.

In case anybody still thinks this Covenant is acceptable to conservatives, this FCA blog entry makes the position clear.

The recently retired Chancellor of the Anglican Church of Canada has written about the Covenant. See Canadian judge questions lack of clarity in Covenant language.

And for some light relief, see UFO Mission to Rescue the Archbishop.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 22 November 2010 at 12:38pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Covenant - something to covet?

Bishop Pierre Whalon, who is Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, has written an article which is published at Anglicans Online.

You can read it at Covet a covenant?

…The Covenant Design Group tried their best to satisfy the demands of those who wanted to restrain local provinces from actions that would disturb, as well as those who insisted on maintaining complete independence. In that sense, the document is interesting, and I maintain that the process of discussing its proposals throughout the Communion is healthy for us all.

However one frames it, the Covenant does provide a mechanism for eventually determining who is “in” and who is “out.” Do I want, say, the Diocese of Sydney “in” or “out”? Based on what? Their peculiar ecclesiology, which lies well outside the usual range of Anglican options? Their desire to have lay people presiding at the Eucharist under certain conditions? That it often seems to be too much of a family affair? What benefit would there be to them and the rest of us in ostracizing them? Or any Anglican church you think has placed itself outside the pale?

Also, the weekly front page essay at Anglicans Online is about the Covenant. You can also read that over here (permalink).

We decided it was a two-letter night. Like to read about the Covenant, to be voted on this week by the Church of England? See the left side.

If you’ve had quite enough of the Covenant, have a look at the right side.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 22 November 2010 at 8:37am GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Big Society

The Church of England General Synod will be debating the “Big Society” on Tuesday afternoon this week. As background material to this debate the Mission and Public Affairs Division has produced a report: GS1804 “The Big Society” and the Church of England. There is also a summary of this report: GS1804A. The debate will undoubtedly extend to the government’s cuts in public expenditure.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones writes in today’s Telegraph: Bishops warn David Cameron’s Big Society will be undermined by welfare cuts

Today’s Diary of a civil servant column in The Observer is Welcome to the ever-diminishing world of the ‘big society’.

The Common Wealth (Christians for Economic and Social Justice) network has been launched with Christians say cuts-based Big Society is ‘a Big Lie’. The network has issued a statement with this abstract.

In the face of sweeping public spending cuts and a UK government economic strategy which targets the poor to pay for a crisis produced by the wealthy, a group of Christians in public life (activists, ministers and theologians) have issued this statement calling for Christian unity with others in the movement to resist the cuts in public and welfare provision. It urges the churches to be wary about being co-opted into the Big Society initiative - which it calls ‘a big lie’ in economic terms. The document articulates a radical theological critique of government policies and the social and economic order they seek to maintain. It is rooted in an alternative vision based on strong Christian roots and wide solidarities, arguing for a Common Wealth that expresses the central dynamics of the Gospel message. The statement is also a call to form a network of discernment, resistance and creativity in the generation of fresh approaches to the shared life of people and planet.

Savi Hensman has written for Ekklesia about Cuts that divide and devalue

The Church in Wales has issued this press release: Count the human cost of the cuts - Bishop responds to Draft Budget.

And there is this from The Church of Scotland: Kirk challenges Chancellor to meet the poor.

Church Action On Poverty has published Churches challenge Government over poverty and welfare.

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 21 November 2010 at 5:00pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Gene Robinson interview

Ruth Gledhill has interviewed Gene Robinson, the bishop of New Hampshire. The full interview is behind the Times paywall but there are two extracts on YouTube.

Gene Robinson Part One: the Anglican crisis
This week I [Ruth Gledhill] went to New York to interview Gene Robinson. “I have clergy friends in England who literally studied at Archbishop Williams’s feet when he was teaching and who have said to me it is almost as if aliens have come and taken Rowan away from us and they have left something here that looks like him but we don’t recognise him any more,” Bishop Robinson said. Giving his first interview since announcing that he will retire in two years, Bishop Robinson said that Dr Williams was a wonderful human being and a faithful Christian.
But he added: “I’m not at all sure that his attempts to hold us together as a communion at all costs is the kind of leadership that this time calls for. I pray for him every day.

Gene Robinson Part Two: A Boy Named Vicki Gene
Gene Robinson talks to Ruth Gledhill in New York: His parents, poor tenant farmers, were told he would certainly die. Before his birth, they had come up with a girl’s name, Vicky Jean, after his father, Victor and his mother, Imogene. “In his distress he just changed the spelling and thought it wouldn’t matter on a tombstone. So that’s the name on my birth certificate.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 21 November 2010 at 1:42pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Covenant - reply to Andrew Goddard

Jonathan Clatworthy has written a response to this recent article by Andrew Goddard.

Read it in full at Reply to Andrew Goddard.

Andrew Goddard has now provided a lengthy defence of the Anglican Covenant against the arguments in PDF our advertisement of 29 October. At over 15,000 words it bears witness to Dr Goddard’s commitment. It is not light bedtime reading, and a point by point reply would not be either. In any case our views are already available. Although he does not refer to it, at the bottom of the advertisement we printed a website address (www.modernchurch.org.uk/anglicancovenant) for further details, where we had already provided much of the further information he asks for. Since then a huge amount of additional material has been placed on websites. There is a list in the resources section at www.noanglicancovenant.org, of which notthesamestream.blogspot.com is particularly worthy of note.

Nevertheless it may be helpful to respond to the substance of his points…

Note: the reply is only 3,700 words long.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 21 November 2010 at 12:02pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Covenant - Conservatives’ concerns critiqued

Updated

Andrew Goddard has now turned his attention to this article.

Read his Conservatives’ covenant concerns: A critique.

On reading Truth or Conviction: questions over the Anglican Communion Covenant by Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden I did not know whether to laugh or to cry. Part of me wanted to laugh, having just spent some time responding to IC & MCU. In part, that response sought to show that the covenant was not the punitive brainchild of neo-Puritans which ruled out dialogue and which if accepted automatically entailed the expulsion of North American church from the Communion. Here were two leading spokesmen often portrayed as those supporting the covenant because it is punitive and exclusionary making clear that they were far from happy with it because it did not do what IC & MCU claimed it did. But most of me wanted to cry. Here are two distinguished fellow evangelicals and friends not just taking a view with which I disagree but doing so in a manner which had so many of the hallmarks of those they are fighting – no reference to the text of the covenant, making unsubstantiated claims and even some clear falsehoods to raise doubts and fears in their constituency, and approaching the covenant seemingly driven by a wider agenda in pursuit of which the covenant could be distorted and dismissed but with no serious alternative on offer…

Update

Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel have responded to Andrew Goddard.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 21 November 2010 at 11:34am GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 20 November 2010

opinion for Christ the King

Lord Blair of Boughton, the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and a practising Anglican, delivered the 2010 Theos Annual Lecture this week: The image of religion must change. Andrew Brown had this comment at The Guardian: Faith and policing.

A writer in the Irish Times says that the Simple message of Jesus has been complicated and twisted.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Misery is not a spectacle.

The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the Annual Isaiah Berlin Lecture this week, with the title Faith and Enlightenment: Friends or Foes?

Bishop Paul Butler writes about Sanitising the Bible for Children; he’s not in favour.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about The tomb of Jesus in central London.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 20 November 2010 at 11:15am GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Friday, 19 November 2010

Covenant - Friday roundup

The Church of Ireland Gazette gave this topic some space, see:

Former Anglican Deputy Secretary-General’s comments add to Covenant controversy

and this editorial comment.

Alan Perry wrote Does the Anglican Covenant really mean what it says?

And Paul Bagshaw has a separate reason for voting against the Covenant for each day of the week:
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
and Friday.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 19 November 2010 at 6:47pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Covenant - what Archbishop Gomez said in 2008

There has been a flurry of interest around the references to what Archbishop Drexel Gomez (now retired) said in 2008. Here is the original report of those remarks.

Christian Challenge ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ: Need For Covenant Grows More Urgent by Robert England.

Leader Sees Good Chance That Final Covenant Will Go To Provinces Next Year; Expresses Openness To Possibility Of New North American Province

The process of finalizing an Anglican covenant needs to move forward more quickly if the Anglican Communion is to be preserved.

That was the message delivered Saturday (September 13) by West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the chairman of the group charged with formulating the pact intended to help ensure unity in basic beliefs, settle disputes, and administer discipline among historically autonomous Anglican provinces…

Another copy is over here.

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Covenant - Truth or Conviction

Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel have written an article for this week’s Church of England Newspaper entitled Truth or Conviction: questions over the Anglican Communion Covenant. Here’s how it starts:

Many primates have indicated that they cannot support the Covenant in its present form. The African Primates said in Entebbe in August : “We realise the need for further improvement of the Covenant in order to be an effective tool for unity and mutual accountability.”

In April the Global South meeting said: “We are currently reviewing the proposed Covenant to find ways to strengthen it in order for it to fulfill its purpose. For example, we believe that all those who adopt the Covenant must be in compliance with Lambeth 1.10. Meanwhile we recognize that the Primates Meeting, being responsible for Faith and Order, should be the body to oversee the Covenant in its implementation, not the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.”

Why the reticence?

And the article concludes:

The current Covenant process interminably delays judgement and leaves little hope of discipline and thus of consistency. We are left in a permanent state of dialogue and conversation. This has practical implications at parish level when churches have to decide how to relate to same-sex couples requesting blessing and bringing surrogate children for baptism. If the covenant process in the Communion becomes the state of affairs in the Church of England, its practices could be so contradictory that chaos would result. Endless appeal could be made to conviction, openness, listening and time while practices and actions continue which go against the teaching of the church whether in a parish or whole diocese.

The above argument could therefore suggest abstention in the vote in General Synod next week for the following reasons:

The Communion needs recognition of orthodox teaching and for proper and appropriate boundaries. The Covenant does not achieve that purpose but substitutes conviction for truth. Some wish to travel further in the direction in which the Covenant is supposed to point, but do not wish to support the very weak approach of the current Covenant. Where the current Anglican Communion process is going today could be used to allow for English Dioceses to move in TEC’s direction tomorrow on the grounds that this is accepted Anglican practice.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 19 November 2010 at 1:57pm GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Ordinariate - English RC bishops issue press statement

This press statement has been issued following a meeting of the RC Bishops of England and Wales.

Implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus
The Establishment of a Personal Ordinariate in England and Wales

Full text appears below the fold.

Update
The Church Times has a report from today’s press conference on its website, see Ed Thornton We have no designs on your churches, says Archbishop Nichols

Much has been achieved over many years as a result of the dialogue and the fruitful ecumenical relations which have developed between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Obedient to the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Heavenly Father, the unity of the Church remains a constant desire in the vision and life of Anglicans and Catholics. The prayer for Christian Unity is the prayer for the gift of full communion with each other. We must never tire of praying and working for this goal.

During his visit to the United Kingdom in September, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was therefore keen to stress that the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus: “…should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.”i

It is now just over one year since the Apostolic Constitution was published. The Pope’s initiative provided for the establishment of personal Ordinariates as one of the ways in which members of the Anglican tradition may seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. As the Holy Father stated at that time, he was responding to petitions received “repeatedly and insistently”ii by him from groups of Anglicans wishing “to be received into full communion individually as well as corporately.”iii Since then, it has become clear that a number of Anglican clergy and their faithful do indeed wish to bring their desire for full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church to realisation within an Ordinariate structure.

In collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome, the Bishops of England and Wales have been preparing for the establishment of an Ordinariate early in January 2011. Although there may be practical difficulties in the months ahead, the Bishops are working to address these at a national and local level.

Five Anglican Bishops who currently intend to enter the Ordinariate have already announced their decision to resign from pastoral ministry in the Church of England with effect from 31 December 2010. They will enter into full communion with the Catholic Church early in January 2011. During the same month, it is expected that the Decree establishing the Ordinariate will be issued and the name of the Ordinary to be appointed announced. Soon afterwards, those non-retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood for service in the Ordinariate.

It is expected that the retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood prior to Lent. This will enable them, together with the Ordinary and the other former Anglican Bishops, to assist with the preparation and reception of former Anglican clergy and their faithful into full communion with the Catholic Church during Holy Week.

Before the beginning of Lent, those Anglican clergy with groups of faithful who have decided to enter the Ordinariate will then begin a period of intense formation for ordination as Catholic priests.

At the beginning of Lent, the groups of faithful together with their pastors will be enrolled as candidates for the Ordinariate. Then, at a date to be agreed between the Ordinary and the local diocesan Bishop, they will be received into the Catholic Church and confirmed. This will probably take place either during Holy Week, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday or during the Easter Vigil. The period of formation for the faithful and their pastors will continue to Pentecost. Until then, these communities will be cared for sacramentally by local clergy as arranged by the diocesan Bishop and the Ordinary.

Around Pentecost, those former Anglican priests whose petitions for ordination have been accepted by the CDF will be ordained to the Catholic Priesthood. Ordination to the Diaconate will precede this at some point during Eastertide. Formation in Catholic theology and pastoral practice will continue for an appropriate amount of time after ordination.

In responding generously and offering a warm welcome to those seeking full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church within the Ordinariate, the Bishops know that the clergy and faithful who are on that journey of faith will bring their own spiritual treasures which will further enrich the spiritual life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Bishops will do all they can to ensure that there is effective and close collaboration with the Ordinariate both at diocesan and parish levels.

Finally, with the blessings and encouragement they have received from Pope Benedict’s recent Visit, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are resolved to continue their dialogue with other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities on that journey towards the communion in faith and the fullness of unity for which Christ prayed.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 19 November 2010 at 1:40pm GMT | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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update on Primates Meeting

Last week, I linked to a news article by George Conger that appeared in the Church of England Newspaper.

This week, both the Church of England Newspaper and the Church Times have further reports on the matter.

In the former, George Conger’s story is headlined No plans to cancel Dublin Primates’ Meeting, ACC says.

There are no plans to cancel the Dublin primates meeting, ACC secretary general Canon Kenneth Kearon has declared.

In a statement released via Twitter on Nov 11 in response to a story last week in the Church of England Newspaper about the Jan 25-31 meeting, ACC spokesman Jan Butter wrote: “Am afraid this story is not accurate. Communion Sec. Gen. Canon Kearon adamant: never any plans to cancel Primates’ Mtg.”

…The report in the CEN, however, did not claim the archbishop’s Oct 7 letter called for the cancellation of the primates meeting.

In response to a request for clarification, the spokesman for the ACC stated there had been a “slip of the pen”’ in the Twitter message in saying there were never any plans to “cancel” the meeting. “The point I was trying to get across was that there have never been any plans to suspend the upcoming Primates’ Meeting in Dublin next January,” Mr. Butter wrote.

However, behind the scenes conversations between Dr. Williams and the primates remain on-going, CEN has been told. While reservations and supplies have been laid on by the ACC staff for the 38 primates and the Archbishop of York to meet at the Emmaus Conference Centre outside of Dublin, it is not clear how many primates will attend the gathering…

The Church Times news report on this is only available to paid subscribers until next week, but the story does quote Canon Kearon as saying there is:

“a suggestion that this be a different kind of Primates’ Meeting, driven by the need for discernment and di­alogue around issues affecting the life of the Communion”.

“The proposal is that it begins with a number of different conversations taking place simultan­eously at first. This is to provide a safe space where dialogue can begin and progress together in a spirit of discernment.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 19 November 2010 at 9:34am GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Covenant - a waste of time and money

Cif belief has published an article, written by me, on the Covenant.

The covenant is a waste of time and money

Everyone agrees the Anglican Communion is in a mess, but increasing the power of a central committee won’t fix it.

Gregory Cameron, Andrew Goddard, and Graham Kings have all criticised attacks on the covenant as misinformation and scaremongering. But strikingly none of them has explained what benefit to the Church of England comes from endorsing the covenant. There’s a very simple reason for this: none exists…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 18 November 2010 at 11:34pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome

The Archbishop of Canterbury is on a pre-arranged visit to the Vatican to address a public conference to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the (then) Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. During his visit, the Archbishop granted an interview to Vatican Radio, the transcript of which can be read on his website.

Vatican Radio reports on the interview: Archbishop of Canterbury on ecumenism, the ordinariate and Pope’s UK visit. This report has links to audio of the interview in Real and mp3 formats.

Tim Ross at the Telegraph reports on part of the interview: Churches lose their vicars as Anglicans “jump ship” for Rome, warns Rowan Williams.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 18 November 2010 at 10:40pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Covenant - Andrew Goddard writes again

Andrew Goddard has written more about the Anglican Covenant at Fulcrum.

How and Why IC & MCU Mislead Us on the Anglican Covenant

In the church press on Friday 29th October, two Church of England groups, Inclusive Church (IC) and Modern Church (formerly, Modern Churchpeople’s Union, MCU), published a whole page advert headed ‘Who runs the Church?’. This explains why they believe the Anglican Covenant would be a change for the worse. Having offered an initial short critique of it, this offers a more detailed analysis of its claims. In the week leading to the Synod debate on the covenant and subsequent diocesan discussion, their seriously flawed case risks being given greater circulation and credibility through the wider international (though predominantly Western liberal) No Anglican Covenant Coalition and other publicity such as the recent similar leaflet sent to General Synod members.

The key questions that need to be answered in relation to the covenant are as follows and each section is hyperlinked here so it can be read on its own

(1) Where does the Anglican Covenant come from, who wants it and why?
(2) What does the Anglican Covenant actually do?
(3) What will happen if the Church of England signs the Anglican Covenant?
(4) But isn’t the covenant disciplinary?
(5) What if…?: Hypothetical futures and pasts
(6) Conclusion: What vision and future for Anglicanism should we embrace?

Read the original to get the links.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 18 November 2010 at 9:12am GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Covenant - the only way forward

Bishop Graham Kings has written at Cif belief The Anglican covenant is the only way forward. (Another copy here.)

Its detractors say it will stifle diversity, but unless the church votes for the covenant, deeper divisions will be unavoidable.

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” is a celebrated line in WB Yeats’s 1920 poem The Second Coming. How that relates to the Church of England and the tensions in the wider Anglican communion, 90 years later, we shall witness next week. On Wednesday 24 November, General Synod will be debating the Anglican covenant.

This covenant of unity seeks to hold the Anglican communion together organically in the face of increasing fragmentation. The choice in this debate is to opt into intensifying our world-wide relationships in affection and commitment or to allow splits to develop further and irrevocably. Do we consider each other and decide we belong together, or do we do our own thing and hang apart?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 at 4:55pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

UFO Director at ACO on Covenant

Updated again Wednesday morning

Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director for Unity Faith and Order, The Anglican Communion Office has written a press release:

“For a fair and accurate debate on the Covenant, read it first,” says Unity, Faith and Order director

Many things have already been said in the public arena about the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant. As Provinces around the world continue to discuss this important document I think it worth clarifying some points about it. I am not arguing here for or against the Covenant, merely pointing out that it should be debated fairly, with an accurate reading of the text…

Updates

This article has been swiftly rebutted point by point, on the blog of the No Covenant group. See Pleading Guilty over the Covenant at Comprehensive Unity.

Bishop Alan WIlson has also commented at Only us, redeemed.

From her rather improbably titled office, Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, “UFO Director at the Anglican Communion Office,” reminds us that the Anglican Covenant hovering over us poses no threat to Churches whose antics may be referred to the First Fifteen, but they must accept that if processes of mediation have broken down their actions have (Euphemism alert) “relational consequences.”

Frankly, this phrase needs very careful handing before can possibly be applied to Christians…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 3:08pm GMT | Comments (45) | TrackBack
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What is the Anglican Covenant For?

Paul Bagshaw has written What is the Covenant supposed to solve?

…But what problems is the Covenant supposed to solve (now, as opposed to when it was first conceived)?

First, the unity of the Communion. Sadly, I think it’s too late - and perhaps was always too late. In fact it increasingly seems that pushing people to sign will be the last step in the de facto schism. By going for a Covenant that was acceptable to a sufficient majority of the players in Global Anglicanism the Covenant Design Group has failed to bring enough of the Communion on board.

Second, to provide the framework for future disputes. Sadly the Covenant procedures will almost certainly only work for little disputes or issues exclusively between two parties. And they could probably be resolved in any framework.

Or they will work to exclude TEC and Canada - and then everyone will take fright because they could be next. They will move quickly to dismantle the Covenant - it will prove to have been a disastrous one-shell cannon.

The Covenant framework will not be adequate to any significant dispute. It’s back-to-front: what happens is that administrative structures & agreements work because people agree to make them work. In normal times conflicts flow through, and are contained by, the channels of the pre-existing system: people and systems are in continual dialogue. In abnormal (though not uncommon) times disputes overflow the system and leave it in pieces. Then people coming together, pick up the pieces and rebuild. The cycle starts over again: systems cannot be imposed without assent.

Third: as one more step in a long-term programme to reform the Communion by centralising and reducing the differences between provinces. This goal might well be met, in part at least, by the process to arrive at a Covenant as much as by the document itself. In the course of debate, it seems to me, the previously normative idea that the Communion was a federal structure with central consultative bodies seems to have been replaced by the normative idea that the Communion is a single entity whose centre needs to be strengthened because its component parts are too fissiparous.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 10:00am GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Monday, 15 November 2010

Covenant - Sugar and spice, or strychnine …

Bishop Alan Wilson has written at Cif belief about the Anglican Covenant. The article is titled

Sugar and spice, or strychnine …

Niceness may carry the measure, but it won’t make the covenant the turbine of a more mutually engaged global denomination.

In the Hebrew scriptures, people cut covenants by chopping a bird in half and walking between the halves to indicate sincere meeting of hearts and minds.

The Anglican Communion is proposing a fractionally less messy covenant between member churches – part of the fallout from the Windsor report, which attempted to resolve its gay bishops row in 2003. Perceptions have progressed faster these last seven years in the world, perhaps, than in the higher echelons of the Anglican Communion…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 November 2010 at 10:50pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Covenant - Monday roundup

George Pitcher wrote in the Telegraph Are Church of England liberals really Nazis?

…Leave aside whether there’s something slightly contradictory about Little Englanders being Nazis and consequently whether you can both be a Nazi at the same time as feeling like you’re facing them in 1939. The real point here is whether there is some sort of concerted effort to paint theological liberals as totalitarian extremists.

If there is, then the language of next week’s General Synod is not likely to be conducive to making any constructive advances on vital issues concerning women bishops or the covenant. And that would be a shame for both sides of the Church’s political spectrum, neither of which are remotely fascist.

Cif belief has as its Question of the Week: Will the covenant kill or cure?

Next week the Church of England’s General Synod will be asked to take an apparently momentous decision. Should it sign up to a formal, international, disciplinary process which would allow other churches a voice on whether it is truly Anglican or not? The proposed Anglican covenant is presented as a means to deepen unity within the Anglican Communion, but it will do so by strengthening discipline.

It has grown out of the schism of the last decade, and the desire of the conservatives to exclude, and have declared un-Anglican, and in fact un-Christian, the inclusion of of gay people on equal or comparable terms to straight ones. The question really does divide the church. Globally, there is a clear majority against it. In this country, there is probably a vague majority of Christians in favour, and certainly no strong sentiment for a purge of gay clergy. So why should the Church of England sign up to a document which can only be either another piece of toothless waffle, or something that one day will turn round and bite it, painfully?

We will link to each of the contributions in separate articles.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 November 2010 at 3:50pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Uruguay to leave Southern Cone

Updated Tuesday

ACNS reports that Uruguay votes to transfer to another Province.

One week after a proposal to allow dioceses to individually permit women’s ordination to the priesthood was turned down by the Tenth Synod of the Province of the Southern Cone, the Diocese of Uruguay has voted to seek another jurisdiction with which to share its ministry.

The vote in the Province had been by a specific request of the Diocese of Uruguay and sought to allow a diocesan option in the matter, rather than Provincial wide adoption, so that the diocese could proceed to minister within a very difficult agnostic milieu. Uruguay felt that after a nine year hiatus since the last vote for approval, a patient wait would be rewarded. That was not the result and so the Uruguayan Synod took this measure to move away from the Province…

There is a further report from ENS URUGUAY: Diocese votes to leave Southern Cone

…Clergy members of the Southern Cone’s 10th triennial synod Nov. 4 refused to approve the canonical changes required to allow for the ordination of women to the priesthood. The changes, which required a two-thirds majority in all three houses, were approved by the bishops and laity. Uruguay ordains women to the diaconate.

The Diocese of Uruguay synod met Nov. 12 in the capital city of Montevideo and decided by a simple majority vote in orders to quit the province, according to Lyons.

The diocese wants to transfer from the Southern Cone within the year, he said, adding that if permission is not given, an appeal would be made to the Anglican Consultative Council to arrange for oversight, following provincial canons…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 November 2010 at 12:01pm GMT | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Flying to the Ordinariate

© Diarmaid MacCulloch 2010. A shorter version of this article appeared earlier in The Times.

In 1994 a set of new bishops appeared ready-minted to cater for those unhappy with the way that most of the Church of England wanted to shape its future. They were given a newly-contrived title, ‘Provincial Episcopal Visitor’, but friend and foe alike christened them ‘Flying Bishops’, since they fluttered athletically over existing diocesan boundaries to minister to certain Anglican parish churches mostly characterised by incense, statuary and a multitude of candles. What to call these novelties? The need was to make up some titles which would sound impressively historic, and some antiquarian-minded ecclesiastical bureaucrats in Lambeth Palace must have had a high old time doing this. Their finest satirical production was ‘the Bishop of Ebbsfleet’. Historically, it commemorated a place where Augustine of Canterbury might possibly have landed, bringing a Roman form of Christianity to the as-yet-unnamed England, but today, it was a windswept Kentish hamlet in the middle of nowhere, soon to become a windswept railway platform on the High Speed Rail Link to mainland Europe. You couldn’t make it up. But they did.

And now three past and present Flying Bishops (Ebbsfleet included), a quasi-Flying Bishop (Fulham) and a bishop retired from a stridently ‘High’ Australian diocese, are clutching tickets for the Rome Express. Already some journalists are trumpeting this as heralding a mighty flood from the C of E – it’s a good headline, ‘Five Anglican bishops quit for Rome’. Hmmm….. These evanescent bishops were created to service a new and absurd idea: a special jurisdiction for self-selected Anglicans intent on throwing their toys out of the pram. Now the bishops themselves seem to have realised what an absurd idea it was. It is unlikely that many will follow, beyond a coterie of clergy trained in the same High-Church Anglican theological colleges that fostered their viewpoint. This is no great Anglican crisis. It does not even represent the departure of Anglo-Catholics from the Church of England; Anglo-Catholicism prospers regardless of the Flying Bishops. They represent one faction, which those of us who enjoy grubbing in historical byways term ‘Papalist Catholics’. For about 150 years this group among High Church Anglicans have performed athletic intellectual gymnastics about what the Church of England actually is. They ignored the fact that it had a Reformation in the sixteenth century, and turned their churches into meticulous replicas of whatever ecclesiastical fashions the Roman Church decided to adopt, while equally ignoring the fact that successive popes considered their clerical status ‘absolutely null and utterly void’. Now they are thrilled to find that the Pope was wrong all along, so they can after all be received on special terms into the ample bosom of the Western Church of the Latin Rite (which is in the habit of arrogating to itself the more general title of the Catholic Church).

This papal cake both to be eaten and to be had is called an ‘Ordinariate’, a title almost as novel as that 1994 coinage of ‘Provincial Episcopal Visitor’. It certainly came as a shock to the Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales when Pope Benedict XVI announced it out of the blue last autumn, but naturally the Catholic episcopate has put a brave face on the surprise. The Flying Bishops are going to be allowed to exercise their pastoral gifts within a special Anglican paddock, to which apparently they will bring all the riches of Anglicanism’s heritage. It’s not exactly clear what these riches will be: when asked, Roman Catholic bishops usually vaguely refer to Anglican scholarship on the Early Church. Well, call me old-fashioned, but I thought that Roman Catholics already knew quite a bit about the Early Church. Perhaps it’s Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer? Not a book for which the Flying Bishops and their clerical mates have shown much enthusiasm in the past. Maybe married clergy? Well, Rome only likes that if the clergy concerned are ex-Anglicans – very annoying for mainstream Roman Catholic clergy to whom such marital bliss is forbidden.

Notable among those waving goodbye to the Flyers at Ebbsfleet International will be the equal and opposite coterie of extreme Evangelicals, who were in temporary alliance with them over matters conservative, but want nothing to do with Rome, even an ultra-traditionalist Vatican like Benedict’s. And I predict that members of the Ordinariate will not find Rome what they expected. In their Anglican careers, they have flourished in the status of perpetual malcontents: Rome is not disposed to indulge stroppiness, as Anglicans habitually do. When there was a fuss about the priesting of women, some priests and laity went over to Rome, then some came back to Canterbury. Unlike some Churches, the C of E never makes a song and dance about those (including ex-Roman Catholics) who find a happy home in its many mansions. Maybe just worth buying a return ticket, Flyers?

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church in the University of Oxford.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 November 2010 at 11:41am GMT | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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General Synod - Covenant debate

As a follow-up to the recent advertisements in the Church Times and Church of England Newspaper Inclusive Church and Modern Church have mailed a leaflet to all General Synod members.

A copy of the leaflet is available as a PDF here, and as a web page.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 November 2010 at 11:28am GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 14 November 2010

50 clergy to join ordinariate

Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports in the Telegraph: Catholic Church to welcome 50 Anglican clergy. “The Catholic Church will announce this week that 50 Anglican clergy are defecting to Rome following the Church of England’s moves to introduce women bishops.”

The Church Mouse has this comment: 50 clergy to join ordinariate - has the CofE been preparing?

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 14 November 2010 at 11:50am GMT | Comments (44) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 13 November 2010

opinion

Nick Baines writes about The real news.

Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Despite the conservatives, churchgoers are inspired by Gene Robinson. “Though the gay bishop is retiring early, some day the Anglican church hierarchy will see homophobia as an evil.”

Alan Wilson writes about the Anglican Covenant in Right solution, wrong problem? and about Equalities and discrimination 101.

Jeremy Fletcher asks Is the Church of England a Coffee Chain?

William Oddie writes in the Catholic Herald that The Ordinariate will help reconnect the English Church to its medieval roots. “The Catholic Church in England has lost a precious tradition: of ministering to everyone living within the parish boundary.”

Philip Ritchie responds to the article on Fresh Expressions by Giles Fraser that we linked to last week: All FX’d Up.

This week’s Church Times article by Giles Fraser is A perfect harmony may jar.

And finally, in The Guardian: From the archive, 9 November 1960: An armchair lesson in sermonship.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 13 November 2010 at 10:26am GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Friday, 12 November 2010

About Comments

The editors of Thinking Anglicans (Simon S, Peter and Simon K) have recently discussed the question of comments on TA, and we are agreed that we should encourage ‘good commenting’. WIth that in mind, I am republishing a post I made in June 2007

We have noticed an increasing tendency by some commenters to make ad hominem or derogatory comments about other people — sometimes about other commenters and perhaps more often about people in the news.

We want discussions here to be conducted in a spirit of Christian charity and we are going to take a strong line on this. We will not approve comments that include ad hominem remarks. Comments on someone else should concentrate on their words or deeds. People should be accorded their proper names and/or titles, not a pretend or derogatory name or sarcastic title preferred by the commenter. Please note that this applies to people on all sides of discussions.

Secondly, we reiterate a plea we made a year ago: ‘please consider seriously using your own name, rather than a pseudonym. While we do not, at this time, intend to make this a requirement, we do wish to strongly encourage the use of real names.’

We hope that if commenters were to respond in this spirit then discussions would be better, the level of debate would be higher, and we would be doing a little more to bring about the kingdom of God.

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Episcopal Resignations - Friday roundup

Updated Saturday morning to correct link to Ruth Gledhill video, and Saturday afternoon to add an alternative link.

Nick Assinder in Time: U.K. Bishops Defect to Catholic Church: A Sign of Crisis?

In The Economist: Flying bishops take off

Ruth Gledhill has interviewed David Houlding, chair of the Catholic Group on General Synod and posted the eight-minute interview on YouTube: Schism in Catholic wing of Church of England. She has added this introduction to the video.

Father David Houlding, chair of the Catholic Group on General Synod, tells Ruth Gledhill of The Times why he is staying in the Church of England but opposes women bishops. He also says that the Bishop of Fulham Father John Broadhurst must resign as chair of Forward in Faith.

The video is also available here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 12 November 2010 at 9:45pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Church Times on episcopal resignations

In today’s Church Times Ed Beavan writes that Flying bishops move as eleventh hour approaches. The article includes this paragraph about the flying bishop who has not resigned:

The third flying bishop, the Bishop of Beverley, the Rt Revd Martyn Jarrett, has said that he will not be going over to Rome. Speaking on Wednes­day, he said that he saw his task as being “to convince the Church of England to make proper provision for people who hold my views”. He said that he desperately wanted to stay, “as do the over­whelming majority of people I care for”.

There is also this leading article: The first departures to the Ordinariate.

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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Dublin primates meeting in doubt

Updated Friday morning

According to a report by George Conger due to appear in the Church of England Newspaper tomorrow:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has proposed suspending the Primates Meeting—the fourth ‘instrument of unity’ in the Anglican Communion—in favour of holding multiple small group gatherings of like minded archbishops.

In a letter to the primates dated Oct 7, Dr. Rowan Williams suggested that given the “number of difficult conversations” and the threat of a boycott of its meetings, a regime of separate but equal facilitated small groups sessions might better serve the primates’ “diverse” perspectives and forestall the substantial “damage” to the communion a full-fledged boycott would entail.

Dr. Williams also called for a reform of the structure of the meetings, suggesting that an elected standing committee be created and the powers and responsibility of the meeting of the communion’s 38 archbishops, presiding bishops and moderators be delineated…

Read the whole article here.

Episcopal Café has drawn attention here to some corroborative reports:

ACNS reported that at the CAPA Primates meeting on 8 November, Indian Ocean Primate Archbishop Ian Ernest said:

As regards the Primates Meeting hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury due to take place early next year, we shall be able to express ourselves but the decision to attend rests solely on the individual Archbishop.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited me in my capacity of CAPA Chairman to be part of a preparatory committee. He is also anxious that a small group of primates meet with him. I would like to have your opinion and thoughts about it….

And back on 26 October, the Canadian Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz was reported by the Anglican Journal as saying:

“There is a lot of tension within the group,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz said last Sunday in his address to the Oct. 22-25 joint meeting of the Anglican House of Bishops and the Lutheran Conference of Bishops in Montreal. Some primates seem “unwilling to come to the table with everyone present,” he said. This suggests that some primates strongly opposed to same-sex marriages would not be willing to attend with primates of more favourable or nuanced views.

Archbishop Hiltz said the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams may try to deal with this problem by arranging prior meetings of smaller groups of like-minded primates.

Update

The Anglican Communion Office has issued this statement via Twitter commenting directly on the original story from the CEN:

@churchnewspaper Am afraid this story is not accurate. Communion Sec. Gen. Canon Kearon adamant: never any plans to cancel Primates’ Mtg.

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Episcopal Resignations - Thursday roundup

The Council of Forward in Faith North America has issued this statement.

A Statement from the Council of Forward in Faith North America
November 10, 2010

Regarding the resignations of Bishops Andrew Burnham, Keith Newton, John Broadhurst, Edwin Barnes, and David Silk - it is with thanksgiving that we recognize their faithful witness and service to Forward in Faith and the Anglican Communion in upholding the historic Catholic faith. We assure them of our gratitude and our prayers that God will bless and guide them in their future ministries. We pray that the Holy Spirit will provide discernment and guidance to our Forward in Faith brothers and sisters during this time of transition.

As our beloved brothers in Christ embark on their new chapter of ministry, Forward in Faith North America will remain an Anglican ministry, committed to upholding the historic, catholic faith of the church among its members and its affiliated parishes and jurisdictions.

The Living Church has this piece from John Kingsley Martin: Five Bishops Form Caravan to Rome.

Riazat Butt in her Divine dispatches in The Guardian writes about Quitting Bishops and other things.

David Watkinson writes in the Lancashire Telegraph East Lancs bishops undecided on Catholic church move.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 11:35am GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Ebbsfleet

To complete a trilogy of pastoral letters, here is one from the Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet’s Pastoral Letter – November 2010

Bishop Andrew’s Final Pastoral Letter

FIRST, I must apologise for this letter appearing late: I have delayed writing it until 9th November, the day after I announced my resignation from the See of Ebbsfleet, and the first anniversary of Anglicanorum cœtibus. Today is also the anniversary of Bishop John Richards’ death. When he became Bishop in 1994 many thought that he would be the one and only Bishop of Ebbsfleet. Who would have thought that he would have several successors – two so far? Bishop John was a fine man and I pray that he will rest in peace and share in the glory of the Resurrection.

My resignation takes effect on 31st December but, for bishops who become a Roman Catholic, custom requires that we cease public ministry forthwith. I foresaw how difficult this would be and it was for that reason that I arranged Study Leave, which began a month ago and lasts until the end of the year. I am extremely grateful for the countless messages of goodwill I have received. My farewell service is at 12 noon on 27th November at St John’s, New Hinksey, Oxford. I hope that some of you can be there.

Until the resignation was announced, I was careful not to recommend to anyone, or to any parish, how they should react to Anglicanorum cœtibus, the Holy See’s response to our appeal to Rome for help. Writing recently to laity in Oxford Forward in Faith who had expressed an interest in remaining in the Church of England whatever happens, my office duly sent them details of the Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda. Writing to those interested in the Ordinariate of England and Wales, I promised to hand on their details, with their permission, to the lay organisers. I hope something similarly even-handed happens in every diocese of the Church of England. As I have explained in the last three Pastoral Letters, this is a time for prayerful discernment. The Holy Spirit is at work in the Church, not at our beck and call, but changing and transforming us and our communities. The pioneering Ordinariate groups, when they come into being, will be ‘fresh expressions of church’, mostly new, missionary congregations, seeking to bring people to the fullness of the Catholic Faith and to advance the work of the Kingdom.

It has been hard – and it will continue to be hard – to leave many of you behind. The relationship of a bishop with his people is that of a father and, of all the titles, ‘father’ is the one to cherish. To no longer be the father of the clergy, the people, and the parishes is a real bereavement. I love you and I miss you. Had the Ebbsfleet project succeeded, we would all have become a local church, not unlike an Ordinariate, but within the Church of England, and seeking unity corporately with the Holy See, a fulfilment of the ARCIC discussions these last forty years. That was our vision, and it was not to be. Those who see a future for Ebbsfleet need another bishop with a different vision.

Yet amidst the bereavement is also intense joy. The Ordinariate is not something that can be joined corporately. Like the Walsingham coach, we have to climb on board one by one. In the queue for the coach, and on the coach, the pilgrimage group are all together, with their pastor. A couple of dozen of these coaches will be on the road very soon in Southern England, and I shall be on one of them. Other coaches will join the pilgrimage later: some people are already making bookings. Those joining the pilgrimage – a ramshackle caravan of pilgrims stretching across the wastelands into the distance – are full of joy and hope. Their enthusiasm and faith are contagious. Though I have had chance to visit only four of the groups, lay leaders of other groups have been in touch. So too have the clergy who have been acting as chaplains of the groups, amidst their other responsibilities.

Never far from the back of my mind are the Farewell Discourses of Jesus in St John’s Gospel. After all, to follow Christ, even at our lowly level, means being prepared to walk on ahead, face the dangers and difficulties, and trust that those left behind will be cared for. There is no vainglory here. I am quite sure, faced with the Passion, I would have run away, like the other disciples. I too would have denied even knowing Jesus, and left it to the holy women to be constant and strong. But, looking through the Farewell Discourses, there is not only Jesus going ahead to prepare a place but also the promise of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit (John 14). Jesus is the True Vine and, cut off from him, we can do nothing but wither and be thrown into the fire and burned (John 15). His new commandment is to love one another. There are two musical settings of these words by sixteenth century composers, Sheppard and Tallis, working in the heat of the reformation battle. They were Catholics but bravely setting texts for the new Reformation Church. ‘By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another’. The work of the Spirit is to guide us into all the truth (John 16:13) and to glorify the Father and the Son. Thus our sorrow will be turned into joy. We learn of the gift of Peace, which, amidst the tribulation of the world is found only in Christ. Finally Jesus prays for the gift of Unity (John 17). It is that gift of Unity, I believe, which is offered to us, and through us eventually to all separated Christians, in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. It is because it is a gift of the Holy Spirit, abiding in his Church, that I believe I must accept it and invite others to come with me on the journey. The Church gathers round, and maintains its unity in communion with, the successor of Peter.

I disown and renounce nothing that I have done in Jesus’ name: God is faithful. But I am now laying aside my bishopric. Self-emptying (kenosis) is hard – harder than any of us can manage in our own strength – but it is basic to being a disciple, as the gospels constantly remind us. Everyone on the journey has to do some laying aside. But we pray, in Cowper’s words, echoing St John of the Cross: ‘The dearest idol I have known, Whate’er that idol be, Help me to tear it from Thy throne, And worship only Thee’.

It is a Parting of Friends. I was mindful of that on the feast of Blessed John Henry Newman, 9th October, when I went off to Littlemore to join in the Newman Mass there. This time we must do everything – better than we managed 150 years ago and 15 years ago – to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). Let us leave aside our squabbles and let God work in our midst.

May God bless and keep you as you faithfully seek to serve him.

+ Andrew

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 10:34pm GMT | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Richborough

The Bishop of Richborough has published this pastoral letter on his website, following the announcement of his resignation.

Pastoral Letter - 9th November 2010

To priests and people in the Richborough Area

PASTORAL LETTER NOVEMBER 2010

RESIGNATION

I imagine most of you will already know that I have resigned as Bishop of Richborough as from 31st December and will not be conducting any public episcopal services between now and then. I will, in due course, be received into full communion with the Catholic Church and join the Ordinariate when one is erected in England, which I hope will happen early next year. This has been a very difficult decision and has not been taken without much thought and prayer over the last year. For more than 8 years I have enjoyed being Bishop of Richborough; I have particularly valued the many visits to parishes for confirmations and other occasions. I am more grateful than I can say for the warmth, friendship and support I have experienced from so many priests and faithful lay people. I did not deserve it but I thank God for all I have received from you.

I am sure it will be said that I am leaving because of the issue of the ordination of women to the episcopate. While it is true that this has been an important factor in my thinking it is not the most significant factor. The publication of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, just one year ago, came as a surprise and has completely changed the landscape for Anglo Catholics. Since the inception of the ARCIC process, set up by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey in the 1960s, most of us have longed and prayed for corporate union with the Catholic Church; union which in our own time has seemed less likely because of the new difficulties concerning the ordination of women and other doctrinal and moral issues affecting the Anglican Communion.

Although we must still pray for sacramental and ecclesial unity between our Churches that now seems a much more distant hope. The creation of Personal Ordinariates within the Catholic Church provides an opportunity for visible unity between Anglicans and the Catholic Church now, while still being able to retain what is best in our own tradition which will enrich the Universal Church. This is a hope which has been expressed many times by Forward in Faith and many others within the catholic tradition of the Church of England So I hope you will understand that I am not taking this step in faith for negative reasons about problems in the Church of England but for positive reasons in response to our Lord’s prayer the night before he died the ‘they may all be one.’

Some of you, of course, will be thinking that I am leaving just at the time when episcopal leadership for our parishes is vital. I have great sympathy with this view but there are a number of ways of understanding leadership. Some may think the leader should stay to the bitter end like the captain of a sinking ship, but the example in scripture is that of the shepherd and every instructed Christian knows the eastern shepherd leads from the front rather than following the flock from behind. This is what I hope I am doing. I am leading the way and I hope and pray that many of you will follow me in the months and the years ahead.

However, I know many of you will wish to remain in the Church of England if that is at all possible and for some they will do so whatever provision General Synod eventually adopts. For those I could not continue to be your bishop with any integrity. My pilgrimage is now leading me in a different direction and I can no longer provide the episcopal leadership you need and deserve. You need a new Bishop of Richborough who has the same vision as you have and one for whom a solution in the Church of England is a priority. My priority is union with the Universal Church.

For those whom I have let down and disappointed, I ask your forgiveness. I am only to well ware of my own failings and inadequacies but I have tried, though often failed, to be a loving and faithful bishop for you. I hope you will continue to pray for Gill and me as we take this significant step in our own Christian pilgrimage, as we will continue to pray for all of you.

May God bless you now and always,

Yours in our Blessed Lord,

+ Keith
Bishop of Richborough

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even more on Episcopal Resignations

Stephen Bates in The Guardian writes about An uneasy welcome for the flying bishops. “Arrivals from the Anglican church may import their factionalism into a Catholic culture they don’t entirely understand.”

The Catholic Group in General Synod has issued this statement today.

Statement from Catholic Group in General Synod
Nov 9, 2010

The Catholic Group in General Synod is sorry to hear of the five bishops’ intention to join the Anglican Ordinariate; we would like to thank them all for their ministry in the Church of England, and to assure them of our prayers and good wishes for their future. Bishops John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and David Silk have all been prominent members of the Catholic Group, and we thank them for their leadership of the Group in the past.

The Catholic Group remains determined to do all it can to ensure that the promises made by the Church of England to traditionalists at the time of the passing of legislation to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood are honoured by the General Synod as it now considers draft legislation to permit the consecration of women as bishops; significant amendment of the current draft will be required to enable this to happen.

We are heartened by the news that new appointments will be made for the Bishops of Ebbsfleet, Fulham and Richborough, and assure the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London of our prayers and good wishes at this time.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 10:35pm GMT | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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more on Episcopal Resignations

GRAS (Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod) has issued this press release.

PRESS RELEASE

Press briefing for immediate release 9 November 2010

Departure of “flying bishops”

The announcement that the PEVs (Provincial Episcopal Visitors - known as flying bishops, since they have no dioceses and minister only to parishes which oppose ordination of women) are leaving to join the Ordinariate has not been a surprise.

Only 2.8% of parishes in the Church of England have opposed the ordination of women and requested the ministry of a flying bishop. These bishops are considered acceptable because they will not ordain women. This has been described as a “theology of Taint” which undermines the dignity of every woman and should hold no place within the Church.

The question arises as to whether there is any need to replace these bishops by new appointments. The General Synod of the Church of England, after lengthy consideration and debate has prepared legislation for the admission of women to the episcopate. The legislation does not envisage the use of PEVs. As their future is uncertain GRAS questions the wisdom of replacing these bishops for what could be a short duration.

Provision has been made within the legislation that will enable those opposed to have the ministry of a male priest or bishop. It is those in favour who have made concessions out of a spirit of generosity. As an interim measure the small number of parishes opposed to women’s ordination and episcopacy could be covered by existing bishops.

It is hoped, therefore that any future Episcopal appointment will be in keeping with the spirit of the legislation.

The Church Mouse writes Bishop of London to set up Society for those who oppose women bishops.

The Parish of St John the Baptist in Sevenoaks has this impressive list of relevant links on its website: From today’s news…

The Guardian has Steve Bell on the Anglican bishops who are converting to Roman Catholicism. [The banner reads “Ban the babes”.]

Channel 4 News has this video report, with both Bishop John Broadhurst and Canon Giles Fraser interviewed. See Anglican bishops defect to Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 10:50am GMT | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Earlier, another bishop had resigned...

The Bishop of New Hampshire announced last Saturday that he intended to retire in January 2013. The New York Times has a detailed report by Laurie Goodstein at First Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop to Retire. This includes the information that:

The church in New Hampshire suffered less fallout under Bishop Robinson than the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion. Only one New Hampshire congregation departed during his tenure, a congregation long unhappy with the direction of the Episcopal Church, according to diocesan leaders.

The number of active members in New Hampshire fell 3 percent, from 15,259 in 2003 to 14,787 in 2009. In that period, the Episcopal Church, like most mainline Protestant denominations, lost about 10 percent of its members. (It had about two million in 2008, the last year for which statistics are available.)

And the same report summarises the international consequences of his election thus:

The election of Bishop Robinson in a church in Concord, N. H., in 2003 was the shot heard round the Christian world. It cracked open a longstanding divide between theological liberals and conservatives in both the Episcopal Church and its parent body, the Anglican Communion — those churches affiliated with the Church of England in more than 160 countries.

Since 2003, the Communion’s leaders have labored to save it from outright schism, not just over homosexuality, but also over female bishops and priests.

The current strategy, pushed by the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, is for each regional province to sign a “covenant” of common beliefs.

The covenant has been slowly making its way through laborious writing and approval processes, which could take years.

Late last month, an international coalition of liberal Anglicans started a campaign to reject the covenant, saying, “The covenant seeks to narrow the range of acceptable belief within Anglicanism.”

The group, Anglicans for Comprehensive Unity, said, “Rather than bringing peace to the Communion, we predict that the covenant text itself could become the cause of future bickering and that its centralized dispute-resolution mechanisms could beget interminable quarrels and resentments.”

This news got extensive coverage in the Guardian:

The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen issued a statement in his capacity as General Secretary of GAFCON/FCA, see Statement on retirement of Gene Robinson.

The agonising dispute in the Anglican Communion is not about Bishop Robinson personally. It is true that his consecration as a Bishop seven years ago was one of the flashpoints for a serious re-alignment of the whole Communion. But many things have happened since then. GAFCON is about the future. It is dedicated to the future of a renewed Anglican Communion centred on the orthodox teaching of the Jerusalem Declaration.

No mention of the Anglican Covenant there.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 8:29am GMT | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Monday, 8 November 2010

Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Fulham

The Bishop of Fulham has published this pastoral letter on his website, following the announcement of his resignation.

Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Fulham

My resignation has been formally announced. I know that for many of you this will be not unexpected but for others it will be a shock. I have thoroughly enjoyed being your Bishop and have thought it a great privilege. I remain utterly committed to our Catholic and Anglican heritage.

The Bishop of London intends to replace me and I hope that you will get a Bishop who is able to minister to you faithfully in the deteriorating situation in the Church of England.

It has been my great joy to work in three different Dioceses and in each of them I have felt welcomed and affirmed. I will miss many colleagues and the priests and parishioners of the parishes it has been my privilege to serve for more than 14 years.

My personal future is that I intend to enter the new Catholic Ordinariate being set up by the Pope. For 40 years I have been committed to the ARCIC process in which the Church of England seeks to unite with Rome. Recent decisions in our own church have made a positive outcome to these talks less and less likely. The Holy Father has made what seems to me a positive and generous offer to Orthodox Anglicans and I do not feel any choice but to accept. The consequence of this will be that our Catholic and Anglican heritage exists in two different places. It is important that we all remain friends and do not do anything to undermine or criticise each other. I am very grateful for the affection and love which Judi and I have both found in all the parishes. Many thanks for everything that you have done over the years and for all that we have achieved.

My final act as a Bishop will be to celebrate the Mass at Gordon Square on the eve of Christ the King, Saturday 20th November at 12 noon. I hope to see many of you there.

Every Blessing,
Yours as ever,
+John

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 3:34pm GMT | Comments (42) | TrackBack
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Episcopal Resignations - press reports

In the Telegraph
Damian Thompson:
Five Anglican bishops resign to convert to Rome: statement

and A one-way pilgrimage to Rome
Tim Ross: Five Anglican bishops quit Church of England for Rome
Church of England in crisis as five bishops defect to Rome
and Church of England is ‘like a coffee chain going out of business’, defecting bishops warn

In The Guardian
Riazat Butt: Archbishop of Canterbury accepts resignation of Anglican bishops
Alan Wilson comments: The flying bishops crash to earth.

In the Catholic Herald : Anna Arco: Five Anglo-Catholic bishops resign

At the BBC: Five Anglican bishops join Catholic Church

At the Press Association: Anglican bishops join Catholics

WATCH (Women and the Church) has issued a press briefing.

Women and the Church (WATCH)
Press Briefing for immediate release 8th November 2010
Two Flying Bishops depart


The decision of the flying Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton to join the Ordinariate has been widely anticipated. WATCH welcomes the clarification that this announcement brings.

Since the days of Cardinal Newman there have been members of the Church of England who have discovered that they would be more at home within the Roman Catholic Church. It is right that those who hear God calling them to a different church should follow that call.

continued below the fold

Flying Bishops – the background

Flying Bishops, or Provincial Episcopal Visitors, are the creation of the Act of Synod of 1993. This legislation was passed in great haste and without proper consultation with the wider church.

The Act of Synod increased provision for those opposed to the ordination of women beyond that already included in the Measure (which already gave parishes the option of choosing to avoid the ministry of women priests).

The Act of Synod allowed parishes to ask for oversight from a special (‘Flying’) bishop responsible only for parishes opposed to women priests, rather than accepting the ministry of the bishop of their diocese. Their own Diocesan bishop, however, keeps his authority and jurisdiction over the entire Diocese, and PEVs work only at their invitation.

The Act of Synod has been disastrous for the Church of England. It has fostered division within the church, encouraging a small minority to see its identity as a sub-church opposed to that of the church as a whole.

Flying Bishops - the figures

Recently published statistics show that only 2.8% of parishes in the Church of England (363 parishes of 12,894) have requested the ministry of a Flying Bishop.

Of these, the flying Bishop of Ebbsfleet works with only 79 parishes whereas the flying Bishop of Richborough has 81.

These figures are tiny compared with most Church of England dioceses which average nearly 300 (293 to be exact)

Flying Bishops – what next?

If, as is widely anticipated, the current draft legislation is approved by Synod in 2012, the Act of Synod will fall and the post of ‘Flying Bishop’ will cease to exist.

In the meantime, WATCH notes that the Act of Synod requires the Archbishops to consult widely within the House of Bishops in deciding whether or not to re-appoint when a Flying Bishop retires.

Bearing in mind the small number of parishes involved and the temporary nature of any appointment, WATCH respectfully suggests that interim arrangements should suffice to oversee the 160 parishes concerned pending the final vote in Synod in 2012.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 3:20pm GMT | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Bishop of London writes about Fulham

Diocese of London press release

New appointments in the Diocese of London

The Bishop of London has today confirmed the arrangements following the resignation of the Bishop of Fulham and has also announced the Revd Luke Miller as the next Archdeacon of Hampstead.

In his letter to the Diocese, Bishop Richard said:

“The Bishop of Fulham has signed his resignation deed and is set to retire on December 31st after well over 40 years service in various roles within the Diocese of London.

“After consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, I intend with the assistance of representative figures in the Diocese, to appoint a successor to the Suffragan See of Fulham. I envisage that any new Bishop of Fulham will be more closely related to me as the Bishop of London in serving the Two Cities Area.

“Earlier today I met with the College of Bishops to discuss the way ahead. With immediate effect the Bishop of Edmonton has agreed to assume responsibility for the pastoral care of those clergy and parishes who before today related to the Bishop Fulham.

“In addition Bishop Peter will work on the constitution and other issues involved in establishing a Society both for those already identified as ‘Fulham Clergy and Parishes’ and for others, whatever their position on the churchmanship spectrum, who are loyal to the Church of England and share similar concerns about its theological direction alongside a commitment to growth in co-operation with the majority in the Church who support the consecration of women to the episcopate.

“Bishop Peter will also continue his oecumenical work as Chairman of the London Church Leaders Executive with a special emphasis on co-ordinating the work of the Diocese of London in the field of social justice and responsibility and making a constructive response to the Big Society agenda.

“With this very significant shift of emphasis in his ministry it is obvious that the ministry of oversight in the Edmonton Area needs reinforcement. In these exceptional circumstances I have asked the Reverend Luke Miller, Vicar of St Mary’s Lansdowne Road to succeed the Venerable Michael Lawson as Archdeacon of Hampstead. Not only is the need pressing but most unusually Luke has already served a successful probationary term as an acting Archdeacon during Michael Lawson’s Sabbatical.

“During the past ten years the Church in London has responded strongly to the London Challenge, to grow in order to serve the great city of which we are a part. In education, in prayer and in outreach of all kinds we have sought to stay close to the agenda of our fellow Londoners while not neglecting the needs of our friends in Mozambique, Angola and the wider world. I would ask for your prayers and support as we navigate the next few months confident that the Spirit of Jesus Christ will guide us while we maintain our partnership in His gospel.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 2:39pm GMT | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Five bishops and FinF issue statements

Forward in Faith has published the following two statements:

Statement from five bishops
Nov 8, 2010

LIKE MANY in the catholic tradition of Anglicanism, we have followed the dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics, the ARCIC process, with prayer and longing. We have been dismayed, over the last thirty years, to see Anglicans and Catholics move further apart on some of the issues of the day, and particularly we have been distressed by developments in Faith and Order in Anglicanism which we believe to be incompatible with the historic vocation of Anglicanism and the tradition of the Church for nearly two thousand years.

The Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum cœtibus, given in Rome on 4th November 2009, was a response to Anglicans seeking unity with the Holy See. With the Ordinariates, canonical structures are being established through which we will bring our own experience of Christian discipleship into full communion with the Catholic Church throughout the world and throughout the ages. This is both a generous response to various approaches to the Holy See for help and a bold, new ecumenical instrument in the search for the unity of Christians, the unity for which Christ himself prayed before his Passion and Death. It is a unity, we believe, which is possible only in eucharistic communion with the successor of St Peter.

As bishops, we have even-handedly cared for those who have shared our understanding and those who have taken a different view. We have now reached the point, however, where we must formally declare our position and invite others who share it to join us on our journey. We shall be ceasing, therefore, from public episcopal ministry forthwith, resigning from our pastoral responsibilities in the Church of England with effect from 31st December 2010, and seeking to join an Ordinariate once one is created.

We remain very grateful for all that the Church of England has meant for us and given to us all these years and we hope to maintain close and warm relationships, praying and working together for the coming of God’s Kingdom.

We are deeply appreciative of the support we have received at this difficult time from a whole variety of people: archbishops and bishops, clergy and laity, Anglican and Catholics, those who agree with our views and those who passionately disagree, those who have encouraged us in this step and those who have urged us not to take this step.

The Right Revd Andrew Burnham
The Right Revd Keith Newton
The Right Revd John Broadhurst
The Right Revd Edwin Barnes
The Right Revd David Silk

A Statement from Forward in Faith
Nov 8, 2010

Forward in Faith assures the five bishops who have announced their desire to enter the Ordinariate when it is created of the love, prayers and support of all its members and of our grateful thanks to them all for their ministries to us..

We likewise assure the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London of our prayers, as they seek to discern how the sees of Ebbsfleet, Richborough and Fulham are to be filled.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 11:39am GMT | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Two Provincial Episcopal Visitors resign

Press release from Lambeth Palace

Monday 8th November 2010

For immediate use

Archbishop accepts resignations of suffragan bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, today gave the following statement in response to the resignations of the suffragan bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough:

“I have today with regret accepted the resignations of Bishops Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton who have decided that their future in Christian ministry lies in the new structures proposed by the Vatican. We wish them well in this next stage of their service to the Church and I am grateful to them for their faithful and devoted pastoral labours in the Church of England over many years.”

The Archbishop will now set in train the process for filling the vacant sees. In the interim, arrangements have been made for pastoral care to be provided by Bishops John Ford, Mark Sowerby and Lindsay Urwin for those who formerly looked to Bishops Burnham and Newton for their episcopal support and have decided to continue ministry in the Church of England.

ENDS

Update

There is also a press release on the website of the Diocese of Chichester: Announcement from Bishop John concerning the Archbishop’s request for pastoral support for Provincial Episcopal Visitors.

And, there is a Roman Catholic press release: Statement on the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus from Bishop Alan Hopes (Episcopal Delegate) on behalf of the Episcopal Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.

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Sunday, 7 November 2010

consents sought for Springfield election

A new bishop for the Diocese of Springfield was elected recently. See the official announcement: The Rev. Daniel Hayden Martins elected the 11th Bishop of Springfield.

There have been objections to his election, and rather unusually a diocese in which he had previously served has been one of those raising them. See Bishop Jerry Lamb and Standing Committee send letter regarding consent of Bishop-elect Dan Martins.

This was all reported by ENS in SAN JOAQUIN: Bishop, Standing Committee raise ‘grave concerns’ about Springfield election.

Others however have spoken up in his support, starting with his current diocesan, Bishop Edward Little: see Bishop Little on Dan Martins.

And also the group known as Concerned Laity of the Springfield Diocese.

And there is another letter of support from a group of people who are deputies to General Convention and /or on Executive Council.

Fr Dan Martins has himself been a blogger for some years, see Confessions of a Carioca.

It’s all a very far cry from the hidden machinations of the Crown Nominations Commission.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 9:55pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Bishop of Wakefield writes about homophobia

The Bishop of Wakefield, Stephen Platten, wrote an article in last week’s Church Times in which he argued that the C of E should take a lead in engaging with gay people. Its prejudices need challenging, he said.

Read his article in full at Listen, and build a less homophobic society.

OTHER people’s problems and op­por­tunities can often remain theo­retical, until they hit us clearly in the face. I learnt this sharply when I accepted an invitation recently to visit a group in Halifax.

We arrived at the secret destina­tion (it is still seen as too dangerous to publicise the venue), both my colleague and I wearing clerical collars. We were warmly welcomed by one ebullient young man, al­though others were suspicious. In some sections of the room, conver­sation died, as glances were stolen. In a couple of cases, there was almost a hysterical nervousness, and indi­viduals bounded over to talk at us.

The event was a regular evening meeting of Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale. Half a dozen people made a presentation, aimed par­ticularly (but not uniquely) at the Christian Churches…

Colin Coward has written an article which comments on this piece. You can read that at Two cheers for Bishop Stephen Platten.

…Having re-read the article, I want to be more critical, especially since bishop Stephen wants the Church universal to take a lead in ‘real’ listening. My first message back to Bishop Stephen is that it’s a bit rich to ask the Church to take a lead in ‘real’ listening. The Church is so far behind secular society which having undertaken a process of ‘real listening’ has mostly dealt with the ethical, moral, emotional and legal dimensions of homophobia and has already transformed the landscape for LGBT people. It is primarily in the church, and in particular pockets of society, in football, in schools that homophobia continues.

Bishop Stephen says the Church is not unlike our culture in which there are a variety of views with both calls for equality and rampant homophobia. I do not meet rampant homophobia in society, but in the church I meet an all-persuasive prejudice which has a rampantly homophobic effect. Try getting appointed to a new post in the church if you are in a civil partnership or recommending to a lesbian, gay or transgender seeker a church in which you can confidently guarantee they are going to receive a prejudice–free welcome. Changing Attitude has just 30 churches out of 10,000 listed in our Welcoming and Open scheme…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 9:07pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Sunday programme discussion of Covenant

The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, and Dr Lesley Fellows discussed the Covenant on the BBC radio programme Sunday this morning.

The programme is available on iPlayer for those who can receive it, or as a podcast, over here.

The BBC’s description of the item from this page:

The Church of England Synod will meet this month to discuss the proposed Anglican Covenant. But the covenant itself is now under attack from both Liberals and Conservatives. Ed speaks to Rev Dr Lesley Fellows who heads the newly formed No Anglican Covenant Coalition, and the Bishop of Asaph Dr Gregory Cameron.

The item starts about 24 minutes in.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 10:29am GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 6 November 2010

bishops to resign on Monday

There are reports that both Provincial Episcopal Visitors in the Province of Canterbury are to resign, and that the Archbishop of Canterbury is to make an announcement about this on Monday.

This substantiates a story first published by Rocco Palmo on Twitter on 26 October.

There is a report in today’s Times newspaper which is only available online by subscription. But the following other items are available:

Telegraph Damian Thompson Report: Archbishop of Canterbury ‘to announce conversion of two bishops to Rome on Monday’

news.com.au Anglican bishops set to resign over the ordination of women

And Ed Tomlinson has written about it over here, and Bishop Andrew Burnham has added a comment there too.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 6 November 2010 at 6:09pm GMT | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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opinion

Updated Saturday afternoon

Richard E Helmer writes at the Episcopal Café about The vow of poverty: Reflecting on the witness of Francis.

Benjamin Guyer writes at The Living Church about Law, Liturgy, Wisdom.

Margaret Hebblethwaite writes in The Guardian about Christianity for a television age. “Can you have a christianity that has no symbols of sanctity, and no knowledge of history? That is how evangelical churches seem.”

Pierre Whalon writes about All Souls … especially your own …

Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian about Britain’s illiberal attitude to the church has driven me away. “The Anglican church’s version of Christianity is full of charming but deadly imperial ghosts. It needs an almighty exorcism.”

Bishop Alan Wilson writes about Change, Decay and Renewal and says he is “rather glad the Church isn’t the same as the one into which I was ordained 31 years ago”.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Fresh Expressions: Mugged by Expressions of choice.
Update: Jeremy Fletcher responds to Giles Fraser: Fresh Expression, Stale Journalism.

And finally here is a report on the 2010 International Anglican Bloggers Summit Meeting.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 6 November 2010 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Friday, 5 November 2010

Is the Anglican Covenant Catholic?

Fr Matthew Duckett has written an article entitled Is the Anglican Covenant Catholic?

In November General Synod will be asked to approve a draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant. This is being presented primarily as a way of dealing with disputes and living together as a family of churches. But it is also an ecclesiological statement; it expresses a particular understanding of what it is to be the church, of what “church” and “communion” mean. As the Covenant text makes clear, accepting the Covenant entails accepting this understanding of the church. But is it an understanding that Anglican Catholics can recognise and accept?

As John Riches has pointed out, the Covenant, like the Windsor Report before it, draws on different and sometimes conflicting ecclesiologies. So its vision of what the Church is, and consequently what communion is, is incoherent. Above all, it is the lack of a clear Eucharistic ecclesiology, and the prevalence of other views which owe much to the Reformation, which is a serious obstacle for anyone approaching the Covenant from a Catholic perspective…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 5 November 2010 at 6:37pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Gregory Cameron writes to the Church Times

The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, has written a long letter to the Church Times about the recent advertisement opposing the Anglican Covenant.

His letter is available to read in full here.

Sir, — There was a very curious document in last week’s Church Times (full-page advertisement, page 7). In it, two organisations, Inclusive Church and Modern Church, for which I have formerly had the highest regard, turned themselves into the nearest to an ecclesiastical BNP that I have encountered.

They resort to the old tactics of misinformation and scaremongering about foreigners and outside influences to whip up a campaign against the Anglican Covenant, and replace reasoned argument with a “Man the barricades!” mentality that is little short of breathtaking…

There is also a news article about this, see Ed Beavan ‘Little Englander’ jibe at Covenant advert.

A BISHOP has compared two groups opposing the Anglican Covenant to “an ecclesiastical BNP”. They are “latter-day Little Englanders”, he says…

…The Revd Jonathan Clatworthy, general secretary of Modern Church, said this week that the Covenant had come out of the debate in the Communion over gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions, but this had been “played down by the Covenant’s proponents”.

He denied the charge of scare­mongering. Conservative bishops “have made it quite clear the whole point of the Covenant is to exclude the United States”, he said.

“It’s really a case of allowing differ­ences of opinions to be heard and explored, and that would be pre­vented by the Covenant as the text says when there is a big controversy you can appeal to the Standing Com­mittee of the Anglican Com­munion, and they will lay down a decision that will be binding for all Anglicans.”

He said that it would lead to a “centralisation of power” and make the Church of England a “more con­fessional Church”, making “Anglican­ism more like Roman Catholicism with a mighty Magisterium”…

And the Question of the Week in the Church Times is Should the Church of England reject the Anglican Covenant?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 5 November 2010 at 7:28am GMT | Comments (32) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 4 November 2010

articles about the Covenant

ENS reported yesterday on the latest development in International campaign launched against Anglican Covenant.

This evening the Telegraph has reported on developments in the English campaign in Bishop brands his liberal critics ‘little Englanders’ as new gay row hits Church by Tim Ross.

…The covenant was deemed necessary after international criticism from conservative Anglicans followed the ordination of the Rt Rev Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2004.

Two liberal groups, Inclusive Church and Modern Church, have launched a campaign against the covenant plan, which they say is overwhelmingly backed by traditionalists.

The critics ran an advertisement in the Church Times claiming that the plan represented a move to install an “authoritarian leadership” and “the biggest change to the Church since the Reformation”.

However, the Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Rev Gregory Cameron, who was on the committee that drew up the covenant, described the opponents as “latter-day little Englanders”.

In a letter to the Church Times, he said the two groups had “turned themselves into the nearest to an ecclesiastical BNP that I have encountered”.

He continued: “They resort to the old tactics of misinformation and scaremongering about foreigners and outside influences to whip up a campaign against the Anglican Covenant and replace reasoned argument with a ‘Man the barricades!’ mentality that is little short of breathtaking”…

Meanwhile Ekklesia has published these two articles relating to the Covenant:

And Bishop Alan Wilson has written Encouraging what engagement? How?

Note: There is a particularly good comments thread on this article.

Looking at the Covenant documentation for General Synod, it seems one laudable aim is to promote closer engagement between Churches.

Institutional structures can assist as well as impede strong and fruitful relationships, of course. Having a formal marriage certificate doesn’t stop marriage partners loving each other — indeed it ought to help, all other things being equal. What it cannot do is make people love one another.

Direct meeting is a gospel value. And if this is the aim, one way to judge the Covenant proposal will be to ask “How might it deliver what kind of closer engagement between Churches?” A new refereeing institution could bring churches together when they make decisions others abhor. That‘s the theory, rather like requiring divorcing couples to seek counselling…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 November 2010 at 11:20pm GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Bishop Tom Wright gives interview

The Church of Ireland Gazette has an exclusive story. See Church of England should drop plans for women Bishops if major split would result, Bishop Tom Wright tells Gazette.

Speaking to [Ian Ellis] the Gazette editor in an interview while visiting Ireland, Bishop Tom Wright, former Bishop of Durham and now a Research Professor at the University of St Andrews, has said that the Church of England should not proceed to the consecration of women as Bishops if the move were to create a large division.

He said: “my own position is quite clear on this, that I have supported women Bishops in print and in person. I’ve spoken in Synod in favour of going that route, but I don’t think it’s something that ought to be done at the cost of a major division in the Church.”

Bishop Wright warned that if the Church of England were not able to resolve the matter “a ‘quick fix’ resolution” would be “a recipe for long-term disaster”…

And asked about the Anglican Covenant, he said this:

Asked if he thought the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant, aimed at keeping the global Communion together, would become a reality, Bishop Wright said: “I think so, because I don’t think really there’s any alternative.” He said the Communion could not afford to have “the kind of unstructured mess that we’ve had”.

Bishop Wright said that the Covenant “doesn’t foreclose on particular issues”. Rather, he explained, it “provides a framework within which you can have the discussion in a way which tries to keep all parties at the table. Obviously if parties decide to walk away from the table that’s their business, but without some sort of a structured framework what happens is, as always, that the loudest voices tend to win, or at least drown out the other ones, and I have seen that happen and it’s not a pretty sight.”

Asked to comment on what would happen if the Church of England rejected the Covenant proposal, Bishop Wright said: “That is always a possibility, and if that happens, then I suppose the thing would be dead in the water. But that’s a notional possibility which I don’t actually see as realistic.” Bishop Wright was visiting Ireland to give a series of talks to the 18th-21st October Down and Dromore clergy conference, held in Donegal Town.

The entire interview was recorded, and you can listen to the audio file here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 3 November 2010 at 11:17pm GMT | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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International Campaign Seeks to Stop Anglican Covenant

No Anglican Covenant Coalition

Anglicans for Comprehensive Unity

noanglicancovenant.org

NEWS RELEASE WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO STOP ANGLICAN COVENANT

LONDON – An international coalition of Anglicans has been created to campaign against the proposed Anglican Covenant. Campaigners believe the proposed Covenant constitutes unwarranted interference in the internal life of the member churches of the Anglican Communion, would narrow the acceptable range of belief and practice within Anglicanism, and would prevent further development of Anglican thought. The Coalition’s website (noanglicancovenant.org) will provide resources for Anglicans around the world to learn about the potential risks of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

“We believe that the majority of the clergy and laity in the Anglican Communion would not wish to endorse this document,” according to the Coalition’s Moderator, the Revd. Dr. Lesley Fellows, who is also the Coalition’s Convenor for the Church of England. “Apart from church insiders, very few people are aware of the Covenant. We want to encourage a wider discussion and to highlight the problems the Covenant will cause.”

The idea of an Anglican Covenant was first proposed in 2004 as a means to address divisions among the member churches of the Anglican Communion on matters ranging from human sexuality to the role of women. The current draft of the Covenant, which has been unilaterally designated as the “final” draft, has been referred to the member churches of the Communion. The proposed Covenant establishes mechanisms which would have the effect of forcing member churches to conform to the demands and expectations of other churches or risk exclusion from the Communion.

Critics of the proposed Anglican Covenant, including members of the new Coalition, believe that it will fundamentally alter the nature of historic Anglicanism in several ways, including the narrowing of theological views deemed acceptable, the erosion of the freedom of the member churches to govern themselves, and the concentration of authority in the hands of a small number of bishops. Two English groups, Inclusive Church and Modern Church, ran anti-Covenant advertisements in last week’s Church Times and the Church of England Newspaper aiming to make more members of the Church of England aware of the dangers of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

“If the Anglican Communion has a problem, this is not the solution,” according to former Bishop of Worcester Peter Selby. “Whether those who originated the Covenant intended it or not, it is already, and will become even more, a basis for a litigious Communion from which some will seek to exclude others.”

The launch of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition website coincides with the commemoration of the sixteenth-century theologian Richard Hooker. “Hooker taught us that God’s gifts of scripture, tradition, and reason will guide us to new insights in every age,” according to the Canadian priest and canon law expert, the Revd. Canon Alan Perry. “The proposed Anglican Covenant would freeze Anglican theology and Anglican polity at a particular moment. Anglican polity rejected control by foreign bishops nearly 500 years ago. The proposed Anglican Covenant reinstates it.”

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition began in late October with a series of informal email conversations among several international Anglican bloggers concerned that the Covenant was being rushed through the approval process before most Anglicans had any opportunity to learn how the proposed new structures would affect them.

noanglicancovenant.org

Revd. Dr Lesley Fellows (England) +44 1844 239268
Dr. Lionel Deimel (USA) +1-412-512-9087
Revd. Malcolm French (Canada) +1-306-550-2277
Revd. Lawrence Kimberley (New Zealand) +64 3 981 7384

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 3 November 2010 at 11:20am GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Monday, 1 November 2010

pre-General Synod press briefing

Here are some press reports following today’s release of papers for this month’s General Synod and a press briefing this morning.

Riazat Butt in The Guardian: Church of England eyes £5m of state funds to combat extremism

Tim Ross in the Telegraph: Anglicans who defect to Rome ‘could share CofE churches’
and Religiously ‘illiterate’ politicians treat all faiths with suspicion, says CofE

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 6:16pm GMT | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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General Synod - November 2010 - full agenda published

The General Synod of the Church of England will meet in London on 23 and 24 November 2010. The following press release was issued a short time ago.

See our item below for links to online Synod papers.

Synod to debate the Big Society and the Anglican Communion Covenant
1 November 2010

Her Majesty The Queen will inaugurate the Ninth General Synod of the Church of England in Church House, Westminster on Tuesday 23 November. The Inauguration ceremony will follow the Eucharist in Westminster Abbey, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will preside and Dame Mary Tanner (a President of the World Council of Churches) will preach.

This Synod will reflect some significant changes amongst its membership: 35% of the elected members of the General Synod are starting their first ever five-year term; the proportion of elected clergy who are female has increased from 21% to 28%; and women now make up 46% of the elected laity membership (up from 40%).

The November group of sessions will continue with regular business for the afternoon of Tuesday, 22 November, until late afternoon on Wednesday, 23 November. There will be a Presidential Address from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Other key features are indicated below.

Newly elected and continuing Synod members will also be attending an induction seminar in Church House on the Monday.

The Big Society

The Big Society is a major theme of the new Government and is of considerable relevance to the role of religious bodies, including the Church of England. In June, the Bishop of Leicester sponsored a debate in the House of Lords on the concept of the Big Society. The Mission and Public Affairs Division has been in discussion with Government ministers to consider ways the Church might work in partnership with the Government to promote greater social cohesion.

The debate in Synod should enable the Church to understand the issues concerned more deeply and prepare dioceses and parishes to feel better equipped to respond at local level.

Anglican Communion Covenant

The idea of an Anglican Communion Covenant was first proposed in the Windsor report of 2004, following developments in relation to same-sex partnerships in North America. It was envisaged that the Anglican Covenant would “make explicit and forceful the loyalty and bonds of affection” which govern the relationships between the Churches of the Anglican Communion. A text of the Covenant was sent last December to all the Churches of the Anglican Communion for their approval.

The House of Bishops agreed in May to commend the Covenant to the Synod for adoption; and the Synod is now being asked to approve the draft Act of Synod which will be required to express the Church of England’s agreement. At the November group of sessions, Synod will be asked to formally consider the Covenant, before it is referred to dioceses, and (if any of them so request) to the Convocations of Canterbury and York and the House of Laity. Subject to these procedures, the draft Act of Synod would return to the Synod in due course for Final Approval, possibly in 2012.

Other Legislative Business

The Church of England Marriage (Amendment) Measure will be introduced at the November Synod to give effect to the resolution passed by the Synod in July, calling for the introduction of legislation to enable a diocesan bishop to give directions allowing those who have a ‘qualifying connection’ with a particular parish to marry in any church within the benefice of which that parish forms a part.

Two other pieces of legislation come to the Synod for approval as the remaining steps in the process of preparing for the introduction of ‘Common Tenure’ early in 2011. These comprise some amending Regulations and an amending Order.

The Clergy Discipline Commission will be bringing to the Synod an amending Code of Practice under the Clergy Discipline Measure of 2003, including amendments on which the Commission conducted a consultation in 2008.

Communicating Synod

Anyone 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. Audio files of debates along with updates on the day’s proceedings will be posted during the sessions, which will also be live streamed by Premier Radio.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 1:49pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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General Synod - November 2010 - online papers

Updated Monday evening

Most papers for this 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.

Outline agenda

GS 1802 Agenda

GS 1803 Business Committee Report

GS 1804 Big Society (Full Report)
GS 1804A Big Society (Short Report)

GS 1805 Draft Church of England Marriage (Amendment) Measure

GS 1806 Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2010
GS 1806X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1807 Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Order 2010
GS 1807X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1808 Amending Code of Practice (Clergy Discipline Measure)
GS 1808X Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1809 Draft Act of Synod - Anglican Communion

GS 1810 Draft Scheme Amending the Diocese in Europe Constitution 1995
GS 1810X Explanatory Memorandum

GS Misc 965 Constitutions of Bodies answerable to Synod through the Archbishops’ Council

GS Misc 966 The Anglican Covenant: a briefing paper

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 1 November 2010 at 12:48pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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