There have been a number of articles commenting on the murder of David Kato, and what the primates said about it.
ENS has published Albert Ogle David Kato’s Anglican funeral: A tale of two churches
Chicago Consultation Chicago Consultation Thanks Primates for Decrying Anti-Gay Violence
Changing Attitude England Primates’ statement on David Kato’s murder brings them closer to the moment of truth
Walking with Integrity Mixed Messages from ABofC Dangerous for LGBT in Uganda
Benny’s Blog Today I am ashamed to be an Anglican.
ACNS reported yesterday on this. See The Church in the Province of the West Indies adopts the Anglican Communion Covenant.
The Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies has announced that his Province has adopted the Anglican Communion Covenant. It is the third to do so officially, the others being the Anglican Church of Mexico and The Church of the Province of Myanmar…
Was there some previous announcement about Myanmar?
The results for the election of two members of the General Synod’s House of Clergy to serve on the Archbishops’ Council were announced today; the successful candidates were the Revd Canon Robert Cotton and the Revd Mark Ireland. This completes the current round of elections to the Council.
Also announced today was the election of the Revd Canon Timothy Dakin to fill the vacancy on the Crown Nominations Commission caused by the death of Colin Slee.
The detailed voting figures for both elections can be downloaded from here.
The full membership of the Council and the CNC can be found on my website here.
Updated Tuesday morning
RTE has two video reports which are linked from this report: Anglican leader in warning over homophobia.
Associated/Canadian Press has Anglican leader says reuniting communion will be a lengthy task, but work will continue.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, reacted strongly to media questions in Dublin yesterday which queried the role of the Anglican primate of Uganda, Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi, in fomenting a climate in which gay activist David Kato was murdered there last Wednesday.
Bishop Orombi was one of seven Anglican Church leaders who boycotted the Anglican Primates Meeting in Dublin which concluded yesterday, because Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the US Episcopal Church, was attending it.
The absent primates do not approve of the US church’s ordination of actively gay bishops or its same-sex blessings.
Defending Bishop Orombi, Archbishop Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, emphasised that, as with other relevant Anglican primates, Bishop Orombi’s position concerned “exclusion from ministry on grounds of behaviour, not orientation”.
Belfast Telegraph Top cleric warns against demonising gay people
Guardian Riazat Butt Anglican leaders condemn victimisation of gays and lesbians
At a press conference, held at the Emmaus Centre, Dublin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, reminded journalists that Orombi had signed an earlier pledge “deploring and condemning all violence and language about homosexual persons” while also warning that homophobic language had consequences - as illustrated by Kato’s murder.
Williams acknowledged there was “a critical situation” in the communion.
“The division is very real. The question is how we cope with it. Whether we are able to stay in the same room and argue the case.”
Church Times Ed Beavan has further reports, at Primates’ Meeting, Dublin: updated reports (new material is at the top of the page).
Dr Williams said that there were a “significant number of absentees for a number of reasons”, but in particular the absence of the Global South Primates “was felt and noted every day”, with their names placed on empty chairs in the meeting room and candles lit for them.
“There is a critical situation in the Communion, no one would deny that,” he said. But they would not be “closing the doors on those who are not with us”. He planned to engage in bridge-building visits to some of the absent provinces, such as South-East Asia, and had recently met the Archbishop of Kenya, who did not attend the meeting, engaging in ”a very long and detailed conversation on a variety of matters”.
Such diplomatic endeavours would be a “long task”, he admitted, and trying to keep the diverse Communion together was “difficult”; but “the task we’ve been given and part of the cross we carry.” He said he hoped the standing committee of the Primates’ Meeting, whose role was discussed in Dublin, could also be part of the process to help “re-establish local and regional relationships”.
Asked if he and the Primates would take any disciplinary action against the US Episcopal Church if it continued to ordain gay bishops, he said did not know: “he did not have a crystal ball about the future,” and that he had “no idea” if the boycotting Primates would attend the next Primates’ Meeting.
ENI via Christian Century Anglican archbishops end meeting on a quiet note
Christian Post Anglican Head: Nobody Denies Division
ENS has now published a video recording of the press conference. See here.
ACNS has published Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #5.
This links to a series of other statements, available currently only as PDFs:
The release concludes with:
…Private letters that the Primates all agreed to send included one to Pakistan’s leaders on the blasphemy laws, a letter of support for Archbishop of Sudan the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul, a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the Bishop of Jerusalem the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, a letter to the heads of the six-nation talks on the situation in Korea, and a letter of support to both Archbishop Mouneer Anis and Pope Shenouda III.
In the afternoon session, the Primates nominated and elected their five members and five alternate members for the Primates’ Standing Committee. When all the Primates of the Anglican Communion have been informed who the new members are, the names will be posted on the Anglican Communion website. Documents on the scope and purpose of the Primates’ Meeting and of the Primates’ Standing Committee were also agreed.
Immediately following the press conference, the Primates attended a final Eucharist, presided over by the Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Alan Harper. The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams gave the homily. This service marked the end of the meeting.
There was also a press conference, see Podcast of the Press Conference from the Primates Meeting 2011.
At todays press conference the panel comprised of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of the Province of Burundi & Bishop of Matana, The Most Revd Dr John Walder Dunlop Holder, Archbishop, Church in the Province of the West Indies & Bishop of Barbados and The Most Revd David Robert Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church & Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane. They were welcomed by The Most Revd Alan Edwin Thomas Harper, Primate of All Ireland & Archbishop of Armagh.
Dr Rowan Williams said the outcomes of the Primates Meeting had met his “Chief hopes” for the week. He explained that among other letters and statements agreed by the Primates there were two outlining the scope and purpose of the Primates Meeting and its Standing Committee. His address was followed by a question and answer session with members of the media.
And a further press release is titled Renewed clarity on Primates’ Meeting meets Archbishop of Canterbury’s “chief hope”. It includes:
Acknowledging the “significant number of absentees” at the meeting he [the Archbishop of Canterbury] said that the fact remained that two thirds of the body of Primates was present and three quarters expressed their willingness to attend but were unable to do so. “That means that two thirds of the Communion at least wish to meet and wish to continue the conversations they have begun.”
He said, however, that the absences of fellow Primates were felt and noticed every day, and that the documents agreed by the Primates emphasised building relationships across the whole body of Primates. He added he had had, and would be having meetings with those Primates who had not attended.
Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Burundi the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi stressed that those from Africa who had decided not to attend had “not withdrawn from the life of the Anglican Communion.”
“Not attending physically does not mean you are not participating in the life of the Communion,” he said. “I personally believe whether they are here they or not in Dublin, their hearts and aspirations are to see that the Anglican Communion develops positively and works together for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.”
There are reports today that Frank Field MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons.
Telegraph Church must make women bishops, say MPs
Press Association Government urged over women bishops
The full text of the motion is published here:
WOMEN BISHOPS 27.01.2011
That this House welcomes the current moves by the General Synod of the Church of England to pass legislation permitting women to be bishops; notes that the Synod is currently engaged in consulting the Dioceses on the Women in the Episcopate: draft bishops and priests (consecration and ordination of women) Measure; further notes that General Synod expects to debate the final approval stage of the Measure in July 2012; encourages the House of Bishops to commend the Measure as currently drafted; and calls on Her Majesty’s Government to remove any exemptions pertaining to gender under existing equality legislation, in the event that the Measure has overwhelming support in the dioceses but fails through a technicality to receive final approval in General Synod.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church preached this morning at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
“We’re challenged in this very body to ‘show up,’ to present ourselves ready, willing, and able to help heal this broken world,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on Jan. 30 during her sermon at the 9 a.m. Sung Eucharist service at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland.
Highlighting sobering statistics of child mortality rates in some parts of the world – like Angola, where nearly 20 percent of children die before their first birthday – Jefferts Schori said the healing of the world “needs the participation and leadership of all parts of the body of Christ. It starts with urgent voices, and changed hearts, our own conversion, and our challenge to systems that perpetuate all kinds of sickness and death around the world.”
Jefferts Schori noted the brutal murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato, who was bludgeoned to death in his home community on Jan. 26.
Kato “has been a strong voice for the basic human rights of gay and lesbian people,” Jefferts Schori said. “His voice has been silenced. We can pray that others will continue that work, or be challenged by the brutality of his death into some conversion of heart. Will we challenge the world to respect the dignity of every single human being?”
The full text of the sermon is available here.
Link to video recording of sermon.
Changing Attitude Ireland press release
Anglican priest, Canon Giles Goddard - chair of Inclusive Church England - said in a sermon today (Sunday 30 January) in Trinity College Dublin:
“You may have heard that a Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death in his home in Uganda. His funeral was on Friday. At his funeral, the officiant – who was an Anglican lay reader - ranted against homosexuality. And at the end of the service the villagers refused to bury his coffin. I think it’s important to be clear about this; homophobia kills and any church that preaches intolerance is contributing to the very real and deadly consequences of homophobia.”
He went on to say that:
“Two things need to happen to ensure the continued health of the Anglican Communion. First, that we need to be clear about the implications of the refusal by some conservative provinces to engage with Communion processes; this Primates Meeting and the Anglican Covenant. The implication is that the processes set in place in an attempt to placate them – the moratoria– are to all intents and purposes defunct, and should be quietly forgotten. Which is not surprising, because they were legalistic responses to a legalistic approach to the Gospel.
Secondly, having done that we need to find a way out of the absurd stalemate we are in over human sexuality. We need as a Communion to find a way to recognise that there are a great many Anglican and Episcopalian Christians whose faith and life, and the faith and life of those around them, is deeply enriched by their same-sex relationships. That these relationships are undoubtedly blessed and hallowed in the sight of God. A way which recognises differences of opinion; which does not force those who disagree to abandon their beliefs; but which recognises and celebrates the ways in which the love of Jesus is expressed in the world. Here we are in Ireland, close to a living example of what’s possible in extremely complicated issues with flexibility and care. I do not believe that something similar isn’t possible within the Anglican Communion. It’s time to find that way.”
The full text of this sermon can be found at this page.
Here’s the official bulletin: Primates’ Meeting - Briefing #4.
Today’s meeting moved from the work of reflecting on the exercise of primacy and the purpose and nature of the Primates’ Meeting, to considering the role, purpose and composition of the Standing Committee of the Primates. In addition to attending the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the Standing Committee, other roles suggested for the committee by Primates included “holding” the life, vision and spirit of the meeting between the Primates’ Meetings; helping to shape their future meetings; and acting as a consultative group for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Several groups also suggested that the Primates’ Standing Committee might have an ongoing bridging role between the Primate’s Meeting and the regions from where the Primates come…
There are some pictures posted, which you can reach via here (and then top left).
Titus Presler asks some Questions about Anglican primates’ day on theology/ecumenism/covenant.
And there is more from Ed Beavan here.
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 7: The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “Genesis raises some thorny questions about God’s morality, but to view them entirely through our own lens is disrespectful.”
Giles Fraser’s column in this week’s Church Times is Woods: it’s all about the scale.
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian that American Anglicans made me change my mind on church. “Disillusioned with the C of E’s ambivalent attitude to liberalism, the US Episcopal church was like a breath of fresh air.”
Christopher Howse asks in The Telegraph: What’s that thing round your neck? He “was surprised by religious medals being called ‘charms’.”
In last week’s opinion article I linked to a lecture about Islamophobia by Baroness Warsi, and some responses to it. This week The Question at Comment is free belief follows this up with Is hatred of Islam now respectable? with replies from Nesrine Malik, Tehmina Kazi and Jenny Taylor.
CHICAGO CONSULTATION HOPES ARCHBISHOP’S STATEMENT SIGNALS NEW COURSE ON LGBT ISSUES
Asks other Anglican primates to condemn violence
CHICAGO, IL, January 28, 2011—The Chicago Consultation issued this statement today from its co-convener, the Rev. Lowell Grisham:
“The Chicago Consultation applauds the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams for his statements condemning the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato. We hope the archbishop’s statement signals a willingness to speak out against the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people more directly and forcefully than he has in the past.
“It is essential that the other primates of the Anglican Communion join Dr. Williams and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, in condemning the cultivation of hatred and violence against LGBT people. The primates who boycotted the current meeting in Dublin over theological differences with gay-friendly churches have a particular responsibility to affirm the dignity of every human being, and the right of LGBT people to live without fear of violence, degradation or criminal prosecution. We would welcome similar clarity from the Anglican Church in North America, which maintains close relationships with these primates.
“Heartened as we were by the archbishop’s statement, we believe that he is speaking aspirationally when he claims that the worldwide Anglican Communion has condemned violence against LGBT people. Occasional references to the dignity of gays and lesbians in voluminous communiqués cannot mask the fact that a number of Anglican provinces have been active or complicit in encouraging state-sponsored persecution of gays and lesbians, including the notorious anti-gay legislation still under consideration by the Ugandan parliament.
“Dr. Williams’ advocacy would be more credible were his handling of LGBT issues within the Anglican Communion more evenhanded. He has made it clear that the Episcopal Church may face consequences for consecrating gay and lesbian bishops. Yet primates such as Archbishop Henry Orombi in Kato’s own country of Uganda support laws that would imprison same-sex couples for simple acts of physical affection, but risk no such reprisals. The tortured ecclesiological rationale offered for this double standard makes little sense outside the cocoon of Communion bureaucracy, and it compromises the archbishop’s ability to be the forceful and effective advocate for human rights that this statement indicates he wants to be.”
The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit www.chicagoconsultation.org.
Ed Beavan has filed further reports (and photos) for the Church Times from Dublin: Primates’ Meeting, Dublin: updated reports. (Scroll down for his earlier report.)
The Guardian’s Riazat Butt has reported the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement: Archbishop urges government to protect gay asylum seekers.
The Presiding Bishop of TEC has issued a statement, see PB statement on David Kato’s murder.
The official briefing from ACNS is Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #3
For reference, here is the Church of Uganda’s official statement of its position on the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill of 2009.
ENS also had a report: Episcopalians condemn murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato.
Friday 28 January 2011
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who is currently in Dublin for the Primates’ meeting, has made the following statement regarding the murder of the gay human rights activist David Kato Kisulle in Uganda:
“The brutal murder of David Kato Kisule, a gay human rights activist, is profoundly shocking. Our prayers and deep sympathy go out for his family and friends - and for all who live in fear for their lives. Whatever the precise circumstances of his death, which have yet to be determined, we know that David Kato Kisule lived under the threat of violence and death. No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities.”
The official bulletin for Thursday: Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #2.
The Church Times has Ed Beavan on the scene, and his first report is Primates depleted as Dublin summit kicks off.
The Church of England Newspaper has a report by George Conger 15 Archbishops skip Dublin primates meeting.
Patsy McGarry reports in the Irish Times: Church of Ireland group urges that Ugandan ‘homophobia’ be confronted.
THE CHURCH of Ireland Changing Attitude group has called on the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, and international Anglican primates meeting in Dublin “to confront the problem of homophobia in Uganda”.
It follows the murder there last Wednesday of gay rights campaigner David Kato.
The group said that in recent years “anti-gay feeling in Uganda has been stirred up by religious leaders, a group of USA evangelicals and politicians”.
Senior bishops from Anglican churches worldwide are in Dublin and “needed to assume their responsibilities in tackling homophobia and the churches collusion in it”.
The Anglican primate of the Church of the Province of Uganda, Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi, is among seven primates of the Anglican Communion who have boycotted the Primates Meeting now under way at the Emmaus Centre near Swords, Co Dublin…
Some background to this:
The Kampala-based Daily Monitor carries this editorial comment today: Can we talk honestly about homosexuality? . It concludes:
People like David Kato and others who might be gay are Ugandans and enjoy the same rights and protections of the law as heterosexuals. We cannot send them into exile neither, lock them away, or hang them.
We need to have an honest discussion about how to ensure that their rights are upheld without violating the rights of other Ugandans.
Peaceful and stable societies only emerge when we understand and try to accommodate those who are different from us, or who disagree with us – not by ostracising or killing them.
Box Turtle Bulletin comments on this editorial here, and says:
What makes this editorial remarkable is that it is being printed in Uganda’s largest and most influential independent newspaper, and it expresses the need to ensure the rights of LGBT people are upheld in a nation whose leadership refuses to recognize gay people as humans beings deserving of human rights. That’s remarkable, and a most welcome addition to the debate.
ACNS has the official report of yesterday: Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #1.
Changing Attitude Ireland has issued a call for the primates to consider the issue of Christian-backed persecution of gay persons. See Call to confront Homophobia at Anglican Primates’ Meeting. (See also this BBC news article.)
The Institute for Religion and Democracy has issued its opinion: Global Conservative Anglican Leaders Duck Worldwide Meeting
“This strife within the third largest family of Christian churches worldwide will not conclude in decisive schism. Instead, liberal and conservative Anglicans will continue to realize a de-facto separation over time. The Dublin primate’s [sic] meeting exemplifies this evolving separation.”
As Episcopal Café points out, this amounts to a change of position: IRD revises forecast for the Communion.
If you came late to this party, you can read about what IRD did to bankroll the Anglican schism in Following the Money. Or you can read This Schism Is Brought to You by the IRD and Power, Money, Control . . . It’s the Church!
TitusOneNine has published a complete transcript of the recent address made by the Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Mouneer Anis. See Recovering the Word of God for the Anglican Communion. Bishop Anis is not attending the meeting in Dublin.
Fulcrum, which argued previously that the Presiding Bishop of TEC should not be invited to attend the Dublin meeting of the Anglican Primates has published an article by Andrew Goddard titled Actions and consequences: Reflections on the state of the Anglican Communion.
Summary: Reflecting on Fulcrum’s call not to invite the Presiding Bishop to the Primates’ Meeting in Ireland, the consequences of inviting her are highlighted: the widespread principled absence of many Global South primates. As it is still unclear why the Presiding Bishop was invited after the breach of the moratorium and the Pentecost Letter, three possible scenarios are outlined in the hope that the rationale for this decision may be made clear. Then, drawing on past Primates’ statements and statements from TEC, three justifications for non-invitation and grounds for non-attendance are outlined: developments in TEC are now indisputably a breach of the moratoria, TEC has displayed a lack of integrity in its dealings with the Communion and its own stance reveals a lack of coherence in teaching and practice while increasingly signalling a determination to re-define the Christian doctrine of marriage. After exploring some of the challenges of holding a meeting to address key issues in the Communion but with the leaders of most of the world’s Anglicans not present, possible future paths for the Communion are outlined in relation to both the need for serious theological discussion about sexuality and the need to reform the Instruments, all of which have seen their authority eroded through this crisis. The conclusion notes that various actions and inactions in recent years have had serious damaging consequences and highlights the need to pray that, while nothing said or done this week can be painless, the actions of this gathering of Primates may have positive consequences for the Communion’s future unity…
The Anglican Communion News Service has issued a press release listing exactly who is not coming, and why not.
24 are currently expected. Only 22 of them are real live Primates of their Provinces. The other two are the Archbishop of York (representing the CofE), and the Dean of the Province of Central Africa (primatial office is vacant).
Absentees include 7 who cite the presence of The Episcopal Church as the reason, and a total of 8 who cite other reasons. Total absentees 15.
The attendance list from the press release is copied below the fold.
The Primates’ Meeting January 25-31, 2011
Those who are present, on their way or are expected:
The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia The Most Revd Winston Halapua
The Anglican Church of Australia The Most Revd Phillip John Aspinall
The Church of Bangladesh The Rt Revd Paul Sishir Sarkar
Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil The Most Revd Maurício José Araújo de Andrade
The Episcopal Church of Burundi The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi
The Anglican Church of Canada The Most Revd Frederick J Hiltz
The Church of the Province of Central Africa Represented by The Dean of the Province The Rt Rev Albert Chama**
Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America The Most Revd Armando Roman Guerra Soria
The Church of England The Most Revd Rowan Douglas Williams
Also represented by The Most Revd John Sentamu
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui The Most Revd Paul Kwong
The Church of Ireland The Most Revd Alan Edwin Thomas Harper
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan) The Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu
The Anglican Church of Korea The Rt Revd Paul Keun-Sang Kim
The Church of the Province of Melanesia The Most Revd David Vunagi
The Church of Pakistan (United) The Rt Revd Samuel Azariah
The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea The Most Revd Joseph Kifau Kopapa
The Episcopal Church in the Philippines The Rt Revd Edward Pacyaya Malecdan
The Scottish Episcopal Church The Most Revd David Robert Chillingworth
The Church of South India (United) The Most Revd Suputhrappa Vasantha Kumar
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa The Most Revd Thabo Cecil Makgoba
The Episcopal Church The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
The Church in Wales The Most Revd Barry Cennydd Morgan
The Church in the Province of the West Indies The Most Revd John Walder Dunlop Holder
Those who are unable to attend:
For reasons of visa difficulties:
Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo The Most Revd Henry Kahwa Isingoma
For reasons of health:
La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico The Most Revd Carlos Touche-Porter
The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma) The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo
For reasons of diary commitments:
The Anglican Church of Kenya The Most Revd Eliud Wabukala
The Church of North India (United) The Most Revd Purely Lyngdoh
For personal reasons:
The Anglican Church of Tanzania The Most Revd Valentino Mokiwa
For reasons of Provincial matters:
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak (the referendum)
L’Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda The Most Revd Onesphore Rwaje (two days after his installation)
Those who have chosen to stay away over recent developments in The Episcopal Church:
The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean The Most Revd Gerald James (Ian) Ernest
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East The Most Revd Mouneer Hanna Anis
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) The Most Rt Revd Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh
The Church of the Province of Uganda The Most Revd Henry Luke Orombi
Church of the Province of South East Asia The Most Revd John Chew
Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America The Most Revd Hector Zavala
The Church of the Province of West Africa The Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi
** There is currently a vacancy in the Primacy of the Church of the Province of Central Africa. The Primatial role and representation is exercised by the Dean of the Province.
Here are media reports this morning:
At least seven archbishops who oppose the ordination of gay and lesbian bishops will boycott a meeting of the world’s Anglican leadership, which begins in Dublin today…
A meeting of Anglican leaders in Dublin is expected to be boycotted by up to a third of those invited.
At least seven of the leaders representing 38 Anglican provinces worldwide will not attend a key meeting in Dublin from 25-30 January. Their absence comes at a time when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is under mounting pressure from two wings of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion on the subject of human sexuality.
…But according to the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, at least seven primates have indicated they will not be attending the meeting at the Emmaus Retreat & Conference Centre because of Jefferts Schori’s presence and recent developments concerning human sexuality issues in the Episcopal Church.
Christian Today Anglican Primates meeting in Dublin despite absences
…The Primates of the Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, the Southern Cone of Latin America, and South East Asia are all boycotting the meeting in protest against the attendance of Katharine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the US.
Christian Post Anglican Primates Meeting to Take Place Despite Boycott
…As many as ten of the leaders of the Communion’s 38 provinces will not attend the meeting because of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori, who represents the Episcopal Church and a supporter of gay bishops and same-sex marriage.
Episcopal Café has a statement from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
GS MISC 979 is now available as a PDF from the Church of England website. The cover page says:
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ORDINARIATE OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM
SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON THE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
I attach for the information of Synod members some Questions and Answers on legal issues relating to the implications for the Church of England of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham which has been established within the Roman Catholic Church by the Pope.
They have been prepared by the Legal Office and Provincial Registrars and circulated to diocesan bishops, chancellors and registrars.
THE SOCIETY OF ST HILDA & ST WILFRID (sic)
FOR IMMEDIATE USE
Monday 24 January 2011
Provision to Remain
Anglican Bishops issue Pastoral Letter
Twelve Church of England bishops who seek to both maintain and promote its Catholic heritage have written a Pastoral Letter to clergy and laity suggesting that despite recent decisions by the General Synod concerning provision for those opposed to the ordination of women bishops and priests “even at this late hour we are seeking a way forward that would enable us with integrity to retain membership of the Church of England”.
Referring to those who have already left the Church of England the bishops write: “We genuinely wish them Godspeed as, heeding the call of conscience, they embark on a new episode in their Christian discipleship. We, too, in similar obedience to conscience, seek, if at all possible, to remain faithful members of the Church of England and undertake to support all who seek to do likewise.”
The bishops state: “We are passionate in our commitment to the mission of the Church of England and urgently seek a settlement through which we would be free to play our part to the fullest measure.”
One of the ways of achieving this, they believe, is through the setting up of a new Society under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and St Hilda.
The bishops write: “We believe this could be done by the formation of a society within the Church of England, overseen by bishops committed to our viewpoint. Such bishops would need, of course, the necessary ordinary jurisdiction that would enable them to be the true pastors of their people and to be guarantors of the sacramental assurance on which we all depend for our authentic sharing within the Body of Christ. Given that our parishes are also constituent parts of local dioceses we also understand that some way would have to be identified for sharing jurisdiction with the diocesan bishop.
They add: “We understand it to be something of this nature that our archbishops were trying to achieve in their ill-fated amendment at the July meeting of the General Synod. That amendment, though narrowly defeated in the House of Clergy, was widely supported elsewhere in the Synod and, indeed, a majority of members supported it. It might well be that a revisiting of the archbishops’ proposals, with some further development of them, could still help our Church to find a way forward that enabled us all to remain faithful members of it.”
The bishops are continuing to meet regularly and to listen to the views of many different people as they add substance to a draft constitution for The Society.
Many have already enrolled as prospective members of The Society and the bishops have encouraged others to do so.
In an appeal to the wider church to listen to their concerns the bishops write:
“We do not want to build up false hopes. Every attempt we have made so far to persuade the Church of England to make the kind of provision that would enable us in good conscience to remain within its fellowship has been thwarted. We feel, nevertheless, duty bound, once again to seek a way out of the impasse that otherwise would make it impossible for many of us to remain faithful members of our Church. We recognise the huge change of heart that would need to happen for us to succeed.”
+ Nicholas Blackburn
+ John Cicestr
+ Geoffrey Gibraltar
The full text of the Pastoral Letter appears below the fold.
We write as bishops within the Church of England, who seek both to maintain and promote its Catholic heritage, believing that this demands maintaining the ministry of bishops, priests and deacons in a manner consistent with the tradition of the Church, East and West. We address all those, ordained and lay, who look to us at this time for pastoral guidance.
In July 2010 the General Synod of the Church of England took yet another decisive step in the direction of enacting legislation that would make it possible for women to be admitted to the episcopate. At the same time General Synod declined to make any appropriate provision that would satisfy the consciences of those of us who cannot accept that such ordinations would be a legitimate development in the life of the Church. Some have already decided that they can no longer remain within the Church of England. We genuinely wish them Godspeed as, heeding the call of conscience, they embark on a new episode in their Christian discipleship. We, too, in similar obedience to conscience, seek, if at all possible, to remain faithful members of the Church of England and undertake to support all who seek to do likewise.
Even at this late hour we are seeking a way forward that would enable us with integrity to retain such membership. We are passionate in our commitment to the mission of the Church of England and urgently seek a settlement through which we would be free to play our part to the fullest measure. We believe this could be done by the formation of a society within the Church of England, overseen by bishops committed to our viewpoint. Such bishops would need, of course, the necessary ordinary jurisdiction that would enable them to be the true pastors of their people and to be guarantors of the sacramental assurance on which we all depend for our authentic sharing within the Body of Christ. Given that our parishes are also constituent parts of local dioceses we also understand that some way would have to be identified for sharing jurisdiction with the diocesan bishop. We understand it to be something of this nature that our archbishops were trying to achieve in their ill-fated amendment at the July meeting of the General Synod. That amendment, though narrowly defeated in the House of Clergy, was widely supported elsewhere in the Synod and, indeed, a majority of members supported it. It might well be that a revisiting of the archbishops’ proposals, with some further development of them, could still help our Church to find a way forward that enabled us all to remain faithful members of it.
To this end we have set about forming ‘The Society’. It is under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda. Two of our number, the Bishops of Blackburn and of Gibraltar in Europe, have agreed to serve as episcopal protectors of The Society. The Bishop of Beverley will be the co-ordinating bishop. We are still in the process of giving more substance to its constitution. It may well be that the latter cannot be finally resolved until we know whether or not the House of Bishops and then the General Synod will be prepared to build further on our initiative. You can find more details as to our thinking by visiting The Society’s website. Many have already enrolled as prospective members of The Society and we now encourage all who support us to do so. We need to discover whether such a way forward commands the support of those who look to us for guidance. If that were to be so then it would be good to demonstrate to the wider Church just how many of its members need such provision in order to remain faithful members of it.
We do not want to build up false hopes. Every attempt we have made so far to persuade the Church of England to make the kind of provision that would enable us in good conscience to remain within its fellowship has been thwarted. We feel, nevertheless, duty bound, once again to seek a way out of the impasse that otherwise would make it impossible for many of us to remain faithful members of our Church. We recognise the huge change of heart that would need to happen for us to succeed. We ask you to pray fervently that such a change of heart might take place and encourage you to support us by enrolling in The Society.
+ Nicholas Blackburn
+ John Cicestr
+ Geoffrey Gibraltar
Updated again Tuesday morning
This week’s Church Times reports that There could be sandwiches to spare in Dublin.
At the end of last year, it was announced that ten Primates from the Global South intended to boycott the meeting, in protest at the inclusion of the US Primate after rows over gay bishops and same-sex blessings (News, 26 November).
The Church Times understands that this number might have risen to 14 out of the possible 37 Primates eligible to attend. (There is one vacancy.) The general secretary of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO), Canon Kenneth Kearon, believes, however, that those who stay away, “in protest after developments in the Episcopal Church” in the United States, will number “less than ten”. There might be other absentees because of health or visa issues, he said.
He admitted, however, that numbers would be unknown until the meeting began on Tuesday. “Given that most Primates make their own travel arrangements, and that plans can change at the last minute, it is impossible for anyone to say for certain how many Primates will travel to Dublin for the meeting.”
The ten Primates in the original boycott are understood to be those of Jerusalem & the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, South-East Asia, the Southern Cone, Rwanda, West Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya. A Global South spokesman suggested that another four were likely to stay away. One of these, the Primate of Sudan, has other matters demanding his attention in the wake of his country’s referendum…
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that Primates not attending Dublin meeting “have reiterated their commitment to the Communion”.
…The Primates who have turned down the invitation to this week’s Primates’ Meeting because of developments in The Episcopal Church are still committed to the Anglican Communion.
In an interview today with BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme, Anglican Communion Secretary General Canon Kenneth Kearon told presenter William Crawley that at Communion meetings there are always a number of participants who cannot come for a variety of reasons including health or diary commitments.
Canon Kearon gave as an example of those who would likely leave their decision to attend until the last minute the Primates of Sudan and Australia whose countries are dealing with major issues including a referendum and flooding respectively.
He added that on this occasion some Primates had written to say they would not be attending the Dublin meeting because of the presence of the Primate of The Episcopal Church and recent developments in The Episcopal Church.
“About seven or possibly eight have written to me directly to say that’s the reason why they cannot come,” he said. “About two can’t come because of health reasons and there are a few we are not yet sure whether they are coming or not.
“Those Primates who said they’re not coming as part of an objection to the Episcopal Church and other developments have reiterated their commitment to the Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury in their writing to me…”
There was a Mere Anglicanism conference this weekend in South Carolina, at which the Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East has been speaking. He made some comments about the forthcoming meeting reported as follows:
…With the regard of the upcoming Primate’s meeting, (Dublin, Ireland Jan 25-30, 2011) we are not boycotting. Many have said that we are boycotting this meeting. We however are not attending.
Why? Because we did ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to follow up on the recommendations of the previous meeting (Dar es Salaam, 2006; no meeting was held in 2008 because of the Lambeth Conference). At that meeting we discussed, decided and recommended actions. This was never done. It is time for decisions after comprehensive discussion.
For this meeting, we received an invitation to sit in 2 separate rooms: the revisionists in one and the Global South in another. This is a joke. We were not given a chance to affect the process and have some ownership of the meeting. When we are given that opportunity, we will attend.
Update there is a full transcript of these remarks now available here.
The text of the article in Evangelicals Now by Chris Sugden is now available over here.
…The clear implication of Bishop Fearon’s case ( which is also Archbishop Rowan Williams’ case) is that even though Anglicans have been persecuted and driven from their homes, buildings and jobs in the USA and Canada, other Anglican leaders should meet yet again with those responsible for these outrages and thus legitimate the presence of those who completely contradict the teaching and practice of the Christian churches. Once decisions were made at the Early Church Councils Bishop Fearon has referred to, Arius and others were declared to be and treated as heretics. Similar clear decisions taken by the succession of meetings since 1998 have not been followed through…
The Sunday Telegraph carries a story by Jonathan Wynne-Jones headlined Pope’s offer was an ‘insensitive takeover bid’, say senior Anglicans. Reference is made to remarks by the Bishop of Guildford, the Bishop of Lincoln, and Canon Giles Fraser.
Here is the full text of the sermon that Canon Giles Fraser preached at Westminster Cathedral on 18 January 2011.
The task of preaching for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity presents a very particular sort of challenge - especially for an Anglican priest and especially in this building where, last Saturday, a number of former Anglican Bishops were ordained into what is now to be called the Personal Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham.
For some, this venture describes a unique form of unity, a way of folding aspects of the Anglican tradition into the broader Roman Catholic family. For those who have always dreamed of coming together with Rome, the Ordinariate is a generous answer by the Holy Father to generations of prayer and longing from Catholic Anglicans desperate to be recognised as a part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church as Roman Catholicism has traditionally understood it. During his sermon on Saturday, Archbishop Vincent Nichols referred to the Ordinariate as a contribution “to the wider goal of visible unity between our two churches.”
Now I don’t suppose it will be a surprise to anyone to hear that there are some – and indeed in both churches – who do not see it like this at all. For from the Anglican perspective, this new invitation to swim the Tiber can sometimes have a slightly predatory feel; in corporate terms, a little like a take over bid in some broader power play of church politics. And if Anglicans do feel a little like this, I wonder if things really are all that rosy in the ecumenical garden.
But sometimes it’s when things look at their most bleak that the real opportunity presents itself. Why, for instance, does so much of the Christian tradition seem to be nurtured by trips into the desert? Why the continual reference – here in both our readings tonight - to forty days in the wilderness? Because, I suggest, it is in the desert that one can begin to get one’s priorities sorted out. In the desert, we discover what is most important. And that may be just as true of the ecumenical desert that some people now fear is upon us.
I happened to be chatting to the editor of The Tablet yesterday. And she told me something I found terribly interesting. When in the desert, she said, one needs to watch where the birds are flying to, for eventually they will fly towards water, that is, towards the very source of life itself. This got me thinking. For perhaps it is only in the desert that we, as Christians, can rediscover what really holds us together: our common commitment to the source of life itself and our need to share this life with others. And indeed, it is not so much the birds that we need to follow, but that divine dove, the Holy Spirit, that is God’s call to each one of us to seek out the waters of life – both for ourselves and for our world.
During the Pope’s visit last September he spoke at Lambeth Palace of our country’s “deep and widespread hunger for spiritual nourishment.” This, he rightly emphasized, is where we find common cause. Here is our deeper source of unity. For those of us who can’t really understand the Ordinariate or are anxious about its purpose, this is something very much worth holding on to.
It would, of course, be wrong for us simply to ignore many of the big issues that divide us. Like the majority of people in the Church of England, I believe strongly that the ordination of women as bishops, priests and deacons is a part of God’s will for his whole church. And yes, although we cannot set this and other differences aside, what we still need to remember is that, as a church, we are called to respond to the needs of the world – a world that, as the Pope properly reminded us, continually cries out for spiritual nourishment. This is where we stand together, as one. What binds us is that common life that is brought to fruition in the waters of baptism and presided over by the Holy Spirit. And if we can remind ourselves of this, then the desert can become a place of hope and indeed a place of transformation. Amen.
Here is the press release: Anglican & Roman Catholic Bishops to Sign Historic Covenant.
Roman Catholics and Anglicans in southern Saskatchewan will mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by establishing and celebrating a closer relationship between their two dioceses. Roman Catholic Archbishop Daniel Bohan and Anglican Bishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson will sign A Covenant between the Archdiocese of Regina and the Diocese of Qu’Appelle at a joint service of worship at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral this Sunday, January 23.
The formal agreement commits the two dioceses to specific initiatives, including annual shared services with the two bishops, each church keeping and upholding the other church and its leaders in prayer, working together on various issues and jointly working with First Nations elders to promote reconciliation and healing. Each bishop commits to maintaining communication when new developments in one church present challenges for the other. Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes are encouraged to undertake joint activities in worship, mission, education and social justice.
For more than forty years, the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion have engaged in serious theological dialogue at an international level, resulting in agreed statements on key issues such as authority in the Church, ministry and ordination. In Canada, the two Churches enjoy substantial areas of practical cooperation. Here in Saskatchewan, friendship and understanding have steadily grown between the two dioceses over the past four decades…
And here is the full text of the Covenant agreement.
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 6: Patriarchs and others. “What is to be made, theologically, of the unabashedly male-dominated, hierarchical world of Genesis?”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Seeking out unity in the wilderness
Baroness Warsi delivered a lecture about Islamophobia on Thursday this week: University of Leicester Sir Sigmund Sternberg lecture. The Guardian has published these three responses to the lecture.
Giles Fraser: Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of modern Britain
Andrew Brown: Lady Warsi and the concept of extremism
Ghaffar Hussain: Lady Warsi is right to confront anti-Muslim prejudice
At the beginning of her lecture Lady Warsi refers to an earlier speech to the College of Bishops; we linked to that here.
Ralph McMichael writes for The Living Church about God’s Mission is the Eucharist.
Updated Monday morning
Here are two articles from religious sources that express criticism of the judgment previously reported here.
The Tablet has an editorial headlined Not equal before the law.
…Compelling people to act against their conscience, or forcing them out of business unless they are prepared to do so, can never be regarded as an unqualified victory for human rights. When rights clash, the appropriate way to resolve the issue is before an objective tribunal, which will weigh up the pros and cons on either side. That means there ought to be occasions where the right to religious freedom prevails, and the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation has to give way. But the latest case confirms, and as County Court Judge Andrew Rutherford said in his judgment, the balancing of one right against another is not what the law requires. In effect, gay rights trump religious convictions every time. There is something wrong with such a law. Judges should have discretion to probe further. Did the gay couple in this case, for instance, have a convenient alternative? Were the religious convictions merely a mask for homophobic prejudice? Above all, the court should be obliged to give due weight to the undesirability of overriding deeply held religious convictions, which is at least as wrong as offending the feelings of gay people. Religious believers have human rights too.
…But quite apart from the merits of the case, judges should be warned off any future reliance on the ill-considered opinions about law and religion ventured last year by Lord Justice Laws. Laws rightly asserted that no law can justify itself purely on the basis of the authority of any religion or belief system: “The precepts of any one religion – any belief system – cannot, by force of their religious origins, sound any louder in the general law than the precepts of any other.”
A sound basis for this view is Locke’s terse principle, in his Letter on Toleration, that “neither the right nor the art of ruling does necessarily carry with it the certain knowledge of other things; and least of all the true religion”.
But Laws seemed to ground the principle instead on two problematic and potentially discriminatory claims…
Update Monday morning
Here are two further articles, from a legal perspective, about the case:
In yesterday’s Observer Afua Hirsch the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Guardian wrote Gay couple’s hotel battle is latest case of religion clashing with human rights
She mentions the trend of “Religitigation” and she concludes with this:
the Bulls’ case confirms that, in the meantime, Christians will have to accept that civil partnerships are intended to be its equivalent as far as the law is concerned. But the interesting issue in this case lurks in the judge’s commentary. “It is no longer the case that our laws must, or should, automatically reflect the Judaeo-Christian position,” said Rutherford, that is in regarding marriage as the only form of legally recognised binding relationship.
It is this issue that concerns religious groups – the ability of the law to move on from its religious roots to a more equitable formula of guaranteeing fundamental rights, including the right against discrimination. Of course where those rights come into conflict, a more nuanced exercise of balancing takes place – one that the judiciary has so far approached with the utmost seriousness. Rutherford confessed he found the Bulls’ case “very difficult”, and Lord Phillips – president of the supreme court and the UK’s most senior judge – said earlier this year that the Jewish school decision had been the hardest of his judicial life.
That has been of little consolation to religitigants, however. What they seem to want is a trump card that puts them above the subtle considerations of fairness. And that, the courts have repeatedly said, is not going to happen.
At the UK Human Rights Blog Catriona Murdoch wrote A Cornish hotel and the conflict between discrimination law and religious freedom.
The judgment itself is now available as a web page here.
And, as Catriona reminds us, the Northern Ireland version of these regulations was the subject of a high court challenge, see An Application for Judicial Review by the Christian Institute and others  NIQB 66). We reported the outcome at the time: Northern Ireland: judicial review of SoRs. Among other things the judge said at that time:
“The applicants contend that the regulations treat evangelical Christians less favourably than other persons to the extent that they are subject to civil liability for manifesting the orthodox religious belief in relation to homosexuality. I am satisfied that the Regulations do not treat evangelical Christians less favourably than others.”
Updated Saturday evening
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Judge rules for national Episcopalians, against Iker’s group
A state district judge on Friday ordered the group of Episcopalians headed by Bishop Jack Iker to “surrender all Diocesan property as well as control of the Diocese Corporation” to Episcopalians loyal to the national church.
Judge John Chupp’s ruling in 141st District Court came after months of legal arguments over who owns church buildings and other property in the 24-county Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.
Chupp heard arguments for both sides Jan. 14 and granted a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs — Episcopalians who have remained a part of the U.S. Episcopal Church.
Chupp wrote that they have legal claim to diocesan property. He ordered the defendants to “provide an accounting of all Diocesan assets within 60 days…”
The Diocese of Fort Worth has this press release: Judge Grants Episcopal Parties’ Motions for Summary Judgment and Orders Surrender of Diocesan Property.
On Friday, January 21, 2011, the Hon. John P. Chupp of the 141st District Court, Tarrant County, Texas, granted the Local Episcopal Parties’ and The Episcopal Church’s Motions for Summary Judgments. He denied the Southern Cone parties Motion for a Partial Summary Judgment The orders can be seen here.
The Court orders provide in part that the defendants, including Bishop Jack L. Iker, “surrender all Diocesan property, as well as control of the Diocesan Corporation, to the Diocesan plaintiffs and to provide an accounting of all Diocesan assets within 60 days of this order.” Additionally, “the Court hereby orders the Defendants not to hold themselves out as leaders of the Diocese.”
The parties are ordered “to submit a more detailed declaratory order within ten days of the date of this order” or by January 31…
The judge’s order is available as a PDF file.
There is as yet no press release from Bishop Iker.
Update Saturday evening
There is now a press release from Bishop Iker, Diocese and Corporation announce intention to appeal trial court ruling.
On Friday afternoon, Jan. 21, attorneys for the Diocese and Corporation received two orders from the Hon. John Chupp in the matter of the main suit against us, in which a minority of former members has been joined by The Episcopal Church in an effort to claim diocesan property. Judge Chupp signed an order drafted by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, from which he struck several points with which he did not apparently agree. The order does find that TEC is a hierarchical church, and on that basis the judge has ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. The judge’s order can be read here.
Friday’s ruling from the trial court is a disappointment but not a disaster. The plaintiffs have offered no evidence, either in the courtroom or in their voluminous filings, supporting their claim that the Diocese was not entitled to withdraw from The Episcopal Church, as it did in November 2008. Nor have they demonstrated a legal right to our property, which is protected by Texas statutes regulating trusts and non-profit corporations.
On the contrary, it is our position that the judge’s order does not conform to Texas law, and we are therefore announcing our plans to appeal the decision without delay. We believe that the final decision, whenever it is signed by Judge Chupp based on these orders, will not be sustained on appeal. According to our lead attorney, Shelby Sharpe, “These orders appear to be contrary to the earlier opinion from the Second District Court of Appeals in Fort Worth and current decisions from both that court and the Supreme Court of Texas.”
In response to the ruling, Bishop Iker has said, “We are obviously disappointed by Judge Chupp’s ruling and see it as fundamentally flawed. We are confident that the Court of Appeals will carefully consider our appeal and will rule in accordance to neutral principles of law as practiced in the State of Texas. In the meantime, we will continue to focus on mission and outreach in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, while praying for the judges who will take up our appeal.”
We give thanks to God in all circumstances, and we trust in His plans. While we disagree with the judge’s ruling, we offer our sincere appreciation for the time and study he has given to the case.
The Bishop of Rochester has issued a pastoral letter on The Ordinariate and related issues.
Update, now available as a PDF from the Rochester site.
The Bishop of Chelmsford and the RC Bishop of Brentwood have jointly issued a letter. See press release, Roman Catholic and Anglican Bishops pledge to continue to work together, and the letter itself is in a PDF file.
The Church Times has a leader: In God’s deep counsels, some better thing. There is a news report at Ordinary time begins for ex-Anglicans at Westminster Cathedral.
The transcript of the press conference given last Monday by Fr Keith Newton can be read here.
Cardinal Walter Kasper gave a speech last Friday. The full text of it is available at His Eminence Walter Cardinal Kasper’s address to the Archbishop.
So I know well, that the day of tomorrow is not an easy one for you. It is not a day of victory for one side, it should be for both a day of penance, that though all good will on both sides till today we were not able to fulfill the will of our Lord as we should. But I want to assure you, the Holy Father, my successor in the Pontifical Council and the Roman Catholic Church as a whole are willing and decided to continue the way of sincere dialogue we started after the Second Vatican Council now more than almost fifty years ago.
Margaret Duggan has a detailed preview of next month’s General Synod agenda in the Church Times: Synod to debate Mary, and divorced bishops.
In my earlier article on pre-synod press reports I linked to two articles about a motion on Common Worship baptism texts. The one in the Mail Online in particular has come in for much criticism, as the following examples show.
Doug Chaplin in his Clayboy blog: Today’s English Baptism and the nasty net
The Church Mouse: Baptism lite - the low God version?
Ann Fontaine at the Episcopal Café: New language for baptismal rites requested
Global South Anglican has published this: On the Dublin Meeting: GSA Editorial.
The full text is copied below the fold.
21st January 2011
There have been various interests and concerns expressed about the absence of some Global South Primates at the forthcoming Dublin Primates’ Meeting.
Where these Primates are concerned, arriving at such decision was not a sudden or knee-jerk reaction. Both before, and more so after, The Episcopal Church has once again proceeded, against widespread appeals and warnings across the Anglican Communion, not least from the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, to consecrate an openly lesbian Mary Glasspool as bishop. The concerned group of Global South Primates had communicated very clearly with the Archbishop of Canterbury, especially those who were present at the All African Bishops’ Conference (Entebbe, Uganda Aug 2010), in a private conversation with him. They have indicated that it would be extremely difficult - and in fact, quite pointless - for them to be present at the planned Primates’ Meeting 2011.
Unless and until there is unequivocal commitment to honour the agreed basis of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and implement the decisions of previous Primates’ Meetings (2005, 2007, 2009) expressed in the respective Communiqués, especially that of Dar es Salem 2007, it will only lead to further erosion of the credibility of the Primates’ Meeting and accentuate our failure to honour the work already done by them.
What is most disturbing and difficult is that given the intractable miry situation the Communion is already in and being further driven into, there was hardly any timely and intentional prior consultation and collegial engagement of all concerned (or at least as many as reasonably possible) in preparing for the Meeting to ensure certain degree of significant and principally legitimate outcome to hold and move the Communion together. In light of the critical importance of the Meeting, the preparations are gravely inadequate. As it stands, the Meeting is almost pre-determined to end up as just another gathering that again cannot bring about effective ecclesial actions, despite the precious time, energy and monetary resources that Primates and Provinces have invested in attending the Meeting. This, most Provinces could scarcely afford. With the disappointingly lack of serious transparent planning and leadership beforehand to prepare the Primates for a genuine meeting of minds and hearts to face the very real and obvious issues before us, it will be strenuous to expect any significant, meaningful, credible and constructive outcome of the Dublin Meeting.
In the light of these concerns, these Primates have actively urged a postponement of the Meeting until adequate ground work has been done, which they would be most ready to contribute, hopefully, with input by others as well.
Therefore, it is with great sadness that some Primates have arrived at the decision that it is not right for proper for them to be present at the Dublin Meeting.
This stance is in fact an expression of Global South Primates’ commitment to continue to be constructively and responsibly engaged in the apostolic life and witness of the global Anglican Communion.
Ronald Stevenson, QC, the former Chancellor of the Anglican Church of Canada, and a retired Court of Queen’s Bench judge, has written another article (see here for his earlier one): Some History of Resistance to Centralizing Authority in the Anglican Communion.
Paul Bagshaw has recently written Creeds, orthodoxy and the Covenant.
Caroline Hall has published three articles so far about the Anglican Covenant:
Lesley Fellows wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, has given an interview to the Anglican Journal and has issued a letter to the church, asking for prayers.
The letter is available as a PDF from here.
Excerpt from the interview:
The 38 primates, representing Anglicans in 164 countries, will be asked to share their thoughts on two questions: What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing the Anglican Communion at this time? What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing your own province?
Rather than seeing this process as an attempt to sidestep the issue of sexuality, which has deeply divided Anglicans, Archbishop Hiltz sees it was a way forward. “If there’s any hope of some sense of renewed relationships with one another, it’s through conversations like these,” he said.
Reports that some primates with more conservative theological views are planning to boycott the meeting “does nothing to model for the church what it means to try and live with difference,” he added. “To simply say, ‘I refuse to come’ is anything but exemplary of the office and ministry to which we are called.”
Excerpt from the letter:
On the subject of primacy, each of us received a number of documents, ancient and modern, Anglican and ecumenical addressing the role, function and authority of this ministry within the Province and within the Communion as a whole. There is a real need for clarity with respect to the place and influence of the Primates’ Meetings and the nature of their service as one of the Instruments of Communion.
As challenging as this meeting will be, it does have real potential for respectful conversation and a renewed commitment to partnerships one with another in the service of the Gospel. I hope we will not be so consumed with tensions in the Communion that we fail to address the real global issues that demand our attention as leaders of the Church.
I ask your prayers for all who attend and serve this meeting and most especially for Archbishop Rowan Williams who said of this gathering, “As with every such meeting we must approach it asking what gifts God will give us through our experience together, seeking honesty and clarity and better ways of serving God’s will.”
The results for the election of two members of the General Synod’s House of Laity to serve on the Archbishops’ Council have been announced; the successful candidates were Christina Rees and Paul Boyd-Lee. The detailed voting figures can be downloaded from here.
The full membership of the Council is listed here. This shows that the House of Bishops have elected the Rt Revd Steven Croft (Bishop of Sheffield) and the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott (Bishop of Dover) to serve on the Council, although I have not seen the detailed voting figures.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry MP) answered questions in the House of Commons yesterday.
7. Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): What assessment the Church of England has made of the likely requirement for provincial episcopal visitors following the entry into force of any legislation enabling the consecration of women bishops. 
Tony Baldry: Provincial episcopal visitors operate under the terms of the Act of Synod, which will be rescinded if the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops is approved and brought into force. It will on any basis be at least two more years before that stage is reached and there remain important questions about how suitable episcopal oversight will be provided under the new legislation and associated code of practice for those with theological difficulties over the ordination of women.
Diana Johnson: Given the general climate of cutting costs and removing superfluous posts, if the welcome reform of women bishops is going to happen soon, which I hope it will, should not the new flying bishops be grounded now?
Tony Baldry: The provincial episcopal visitors are there under the Act of Synod. Under the Act of Synod, the archbishop is expected to take steps to secure the appointment of up to two additional suffragans in his diocese to act as provincial episcopal visitors. As I have explained, even if the Synod gives final approval to the draft legislation, the Act of Synod will remain in place for some time to come. We must keep faith with all sorts of different groups in the Church of England until there is a final decision on women bishops within the Church.
There were also questions for written answer, including one on Youth Groups and this one.
Ministers of Religion: Pensions
Miss McIntosh: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what contingency arrangements the Church Commissioners have made to cover the pension liabilities of former Roman Catholic priests who moved to the Church of England in the last five years. 
Tony Baldry: Figures held centrally by the Ministry Division of the Archbishop’s Council show that in the period 2005-10 the division’s candidate’s panel dealt with 14 former Roman Catholic priests seeking ordination in the Church of England, of whom 11 were accepted for ministry. As there is discretion at diocesan level over the requirements for acceptance into ministry, not all cases are centrally recorded, meaning the national figure is likely to be higher. There are, however, no pensions implications for the Church Commissioners who are responsible only for clergy pensions earned for service in the Church of England before 1998.
Judgment was issued yesterday in the discrimination case brought under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 against a Cornwall hotel in Bristol County Court. As the local paper reports: Bristol gay couple win legal case against Cornwall hotel.
The full text of the judgment can be found in a PDF here.
Press coverage is considerable. Here is a sample:
The Christian Institute itself reported the judgment this way: Judge rules against Christians in B&B case, but allows appeal
The Equality and Human Rights Commission issued Court finds hotel owners discriminated against gay couple.
updated Tuesday lunchtime to include statement from William Fittall, and link to podcast.
There were rather fewer journalists than usual at yesterday’s press briefing for next month’s General Synod; a rival attraction featuring Father Keith Newton had been called at short notice.
The only articles in today’s press that I have seen are these two, about a request for additional texts in the baptism service:
Steve Doughty in the Mail Online: The christening without much Christianity: Anglican church offers ‘baptism lite’ to attract non-worshippers
A “Staff Reporter” in the Liverpool Echo: Church of England plea to make church services less baffling for non-churchgoers
Another item on the synod’s agenda is a debate on parochial fees which attracted some advance attention in the press over the weekend.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones in The Telegraph: Couples face higher fee to marry in church
Jonathan Petre in the Mail Online: Clergy anger over plan to raise church wedding fees by 50%
Sean Nash at Wedding News: Plans to raise cost of church weddings opposed by some vicars
Church House Westminster has given me the following statement in relation to the above.
William Fittall, Secretary-General of the Archbishops’ Council said:
“The General Synod agreed last summer a new and clearer framework for the future setting of fees for weddings and funerals. The present situation is unclear and unsatisfactory, and can lead to discrepancies between fees charged by churches across the country.
“Fee income represents a small part of the Church’s income - the vast majority comes from parishioners’ donations. The legislation was not prepared with a view to producing any fundamental change in overall fee income.
“Next month, General Synod will discuss some principles and proposals relating to how fees are set, but will not be taking any decisions on specific fee levels. These are due to be decided by the Archbishops’ Council in a few months’ time and brought to Synod for agreement.
“The Church of England remains committed to providing ministry to all those in the nation who want it, irrespective of their ability to pay.”
I have linked to the online synod papers here, although the fees paper is not yet available.
Also now available is this podcast: Clerk to Synod David Williams takes us through the agenda for February Synod.
Updated 19, 21, 22 and 24 February
Online copies of the papers for the February 2011 meeting of General Synod are starting to appear online. I have listed them below, with links, together with other papers listed in the agenda but not yet online. I will update the list as more links become available.
The Report of the Business Committee (GS 1817) includes a forecast of future business, and I have copied this below the fold.
GS 1808 Amending Code of Practice under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003
GS 1808X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1812 Full Synod Agenda
GS 1813 Parochial Fees Policy: Report from the Archbishops’ Council
GS 1814 Draft Clergy Discipline (Amendment) Measure
GS 1814X Explanatory Memorandum
GS 1815 Challenges for the New Quinquennium
GS 1816A Common Worship Baptism Provision (Liverpool DSM)
GS 1816B Common Worship Baptism Provision (Note from the Secretary General)
GS 1817 Report by the Business Committee
GS 1818 Briefing paper by FOAG on ARCIC II - Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ
GS Misc 872 FOAG Essays on ARCIC II - Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ
GS Misc 960 The House of Bishops’ Statement on Marriage after Divorce and the Ordained Ministry
GS Misc 970 Dioceses Commission: Guide to the Review Report No 2
GS Misc 971 Anglican Communion Covenant: Reference to Diocesan Synods
GS Misc 972 Affirming Our Common Humanity
GS Misc 974 Faith, Work and Economic Life
GS Misc 974B Faith, Work and Economic Life (Resources)
GS Misc 977 Central Stipends Authority report (38th)
GS Misc 979 Ordinariate: Questions and Answers
Forecast of future Synod business
One or more Private Members’ Motions and Diocesan Synod Motions are customarily included in each group of sessions.
The forecast of business provides a forward look to the groups of sessions in 2011. There are always considerable uncertainties when looking ahead in this way, so this should not be read as more than a broad indication of business that may come to the Synod in the future.
In February, the Synod will be debating a report from the Archbishops’ Council on the main areas of work for the Council over the next five years. These will include issues to do with ministry and the Church’s needs; the common good; and growing the Church, both in terms of numbers and confidence. Connected with that is the debate the Synod held in November 2010 on the Big Society. There are some major issues raised in both reports and the Business Committee is of the view that the Synod would benefit from a range of possibilities for engaging with them and deepening its understanding of them. While nothing concrete is included in this forward look in relation to that, the Committee will be considering how best this might be achieved over future groups of sessions.
In July, there will be the following regular business:
Financial business (including the Archbishops’ Council’s budget for 2012)
Archbishops’ Council’s annual report
Church Commissioners’ annual report
I have already linked to the outline agenda for next month’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod. If normal practice is followed the full agenda and papers will soon be available online, and I will publish links as soon as possible.
Meanwhile the following press release was been issued by the Church of England this morning.
17 January 2011
Secretary of State for International Development to address the Synod.
Key debates on national Church plans for the quinquennium, Anglican-Roman Catholic relations, clergy discipline, parochial fees, baptism services, and marriage after divorce and the ordained ministry.
The Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell, will address the Synod on the scope for greater collaboration between Government and the Church on the Millennium Development Goal of partnerships for development. This will also link in with the Big Society debate at the November Synod.
The Synod has been addressed from time to time by Cabinet ministers, including the Rt. Hon Hilary Benn in 2004 and the Rt Hon Clare Short in 1998, on different aspects of international development.
The General Synod will meet at Church House from 3.00 pm on Monday 7 February until mid-afternoon Wednesday 9 February.
Plans for the quinquennium
Synod will debate a strategic report from the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops looking at the opportunities and challenges facing the Church of England over the next five years and how work done at national level can support dioceses and parishes in meeting them.
Anglican-Roman Catholic relations
The report from the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC): Mary - Grace and Hope in Christ, published in 2005, is the last of the second series of ARCIC reports to come to the General Synod for debate (the decision to initiate a third series of ARCIC studies was announced last year).
The motion from the Council for Christian Unity welcomes the dialogue between the two churches; notes the strengths and weaknesses of the ARCIC report and the areas for further work identified in the briefing paper from the Faith and Order Advisory Group; and encourages study of the report.
The debate will be preceded by a presentation by the Bishop of Guildford, Rt Rev Christopher Hill, (Chair of the CCU) and Bishop George Stack, on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
The focus of the legislative business at this Synod is clergy discipline. In July 2009, the Synod passed a motion on this subject from the London Diocesan Synod and, in the following year, the Clergy Discipline Commission assessed what changes might be needed to the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 in the light of experience over the last seven years. The Commission’s recommendations, which do not involve fundamental changes to the existing legislation, now come before the Synod by way of draft amending legislation for first consideration. The Clergy Discipline Commission is also bringing to the Synod some changes to the Code of Practice under the 2003 Measure.
One additional proposed change to the legislation results from a motion passed by the Synod in February 2009 and would allow disciplinary proceedings to be brought against clergy who support organisations which have aims that are inconsistent with the Church’s teaching on race equality.
Parochial Fees Policy
Last year, Synod gave final approval to new legislation (which is now completing its parliamentary stages). The legal framework for setting fees will in future be significantly different and before the Archbishops’ Council draws up the first Fees Order under the new legislation the Council has decided that the new Synod should have a general debate about principles and their practical outworking.
The motion from the Liverpool Diocesan Synod asks for additional texts to be prepared as alternatives for passages in the Common Worship Baptism Services, which would be expressed in more culturally appropriate and accessible language than is perceived to be the case with the present services.
Marriage after Divorce and the Ordained Ministry
This provides the opportunity for a take note debate on the House of Bishops’ statement on Marriage after Divorce and the Ordained Ministry which was issued in June. The statement clarified the position on a number of matters including the possible appointment of bishops who may have married again after divorce or have married someone who has been divorced.
There will be a Presidential Address by the Archbishop of York; and a celebration of Holy Communion at which the Archbishop of Canterbury will preside and preach.
The Business Committee has also scheduled for debate the following motion from Mr John Ward that was not debated at the November Synod during the discussions on the Anglican Communion Covenant, for lack of time. The motion seeks to specify two-thirds majorities (rather than simple majorities) in the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity at the Final Approval Stage for the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant. The Covenant was referred to dioceses in December and is expected to return to the General Synod in 2012.
There will be two presentations: on ethical investment policy, from the Ethical Investment Advisory Group; and on the Weddings Project.
The Synod will also be asked to approve the appointment of the new Chair of the Synod’s Business Committee (following the Synod elections), and the new Clerk to the Synod (upon the retirement in March of David Williams).
From the Number 10 website
Monday 17 January 2011
Suffragan See of Reading
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Andrew John Proud, BD, MA, AKC, Area Bishop of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa (in the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa), to the Suffragan See of Reading, in the Diocese of Oxford, in succession to the Right Reverend Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell, BA, on his translation to the See of Chelmsford on 6 October 2010.
Notes for editors
The Right Reverend Andrew Proud (aged 56), studied for the ordained ministry at King’s College London and Lincoln Theological College. He served his first curacy at Stansted Mountfitchet, Chelmsford Diocese from 1980 to 1983. From 1983 to 1990 he was Team Vicar in Borehamwood in St Albans Diocese. From 1990 to 1992 he was an assistant priest in the Hatfield Team Ministry. From 1992 to 2001 he was Rector of East Barnet. He took a Masters at the London School of Oriental and African Studies in 2001. From 2002 to 2007 he was Chaplain at St Matthew’s in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 2005 he was made Canon of All Saints Cathedral, Cairo. Since 2007 he has been Area Bishop of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa in the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Andrew Proud is married to Janice, a plant physiologist. They have two grown up children and one grandchild.
His interests include Africa and African affairs, walking in vast open spaces, writing narrative poetry, contemporary and classic music, cooking and eating with family friends. He is a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Weavers of London.
The Oxford diocesan website has this report: New Bishop of Reading Announced.
The Observer newspaper has a leader column, The faithful lose in this victory for misogyny.
There is also a news report by Peter Stanford under the headline
History overturned as Anglican bishops are ordained as Catholic priests.
See also Photographs.
The Ordinariate was discussed on the BBC radio programme Sunday available from here. The coverage starts about 31 minutes in.
The following announcements have been made:
Other materials can be found via this page.
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 5: Genesis and the imagination. “In Genesis’s surface narrative of reality, it is important to remember that God is a player in this drama, too.”
Also at Comment is free belief in The Guardian this week are:
Theo Hobson: Putting the fun in US fundamentalism. “The rise of Christian theme parks in America should be seen in a positive light – it encourages a lighter-hearted view of religion.”
Holly Welker: Why people abandon religion. “Tension between religious dictates and personal wants is forcing people to follow their desires – and reject religion’s decrees.”
Richard Phelps: The new vocal, visible religiosity. “Olivier Roy’s book presents globalisation and secularisation as contributing to the divorce of religion from culture.”
Mark Vernon: Death and loss belong to us all. “A vicar who removed silk flowers from a child’s grave was right to do so – graveyards and mourning are part of the public sphere.”
Savitri Hensman: The best path to peace. “Are there fatal flaws in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s approach to reconciliation?”
Mark Meynell writes on his quaerentia blog about The King James and the possibility of upward desecration.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Why life can begin at 46.
wannabepriest has an article, Much better, but let me give you something to aim at…. which reports that the CofE website has a newer, better introductory video than it did before.
But he also links to a video from another source, which is even better. Here is what he says:
It is much better. The music isn’t turgid and hundreds of years old and the whole thing moves at a better pace. The quality of the typography is better and it looks edited.
However, I still question whether this is the kind of information and content that the Church of England should be aiming to communicate to the wider public. Indeed, the amount of information that this video still includes is voluminous. The whole thing feels pretty relentless now.
Anyway, let me give the CofE Communication gadgees a target to aim at. The following video was produced the Muslim MAS Media Foundation. This isn’t perfect either but it’s streets ahead, in my humble opinion. When can we do something like this, Archbishops’ Council?
Updated again Monday morning
The meeting is scheduled to occur from 25 to 31 January, at the Emmaus Retreat Centre in Swords, near Dublin.
Peter Carrell who is a New Zealander has written an article for the American magazine, the Living Church entitled The Dubliners.
There are interesting comments, which include very useful links to statements from earlier primates meetings, at his own blog, over here.
The latest report in the Church of England Newspaper is reproduced here: Primates’ meeting to go ahead, despite threat of boycott.
Last Sunday, the Sunday Business Post reported Anglican meeting to go ahead despite boycott.
ACNS has published Archbishops’ prayers for the upcoming Primates’ Meeting in Dublin.
ACI has published an article, It’s Broken. Fix it!.
There is yet another interesting set of comments on that article at Anglican Down Under see here.
And Peter Carrell has given his own advice to Rowan Williams this Monday morning at What Should ++Rowan Do?
Anna Arco at the Catholic Herald has interviewed Andrew Burnham formerly Bishop of Ebbsfleet.
There is a feature article based on the interview: ‘What we asked for is what we got’
You can read a complete transcript of the interview here.
Here is a sample passage:
You said before you were basically setting up the See of Ebbsfleet. What does that mean?
My predecessor, Michael Houghton, who died after a year (which is of course why they were nervous about me), had taken to calling it the See of Ebbsfleet as if it were a proper diocese. And I took the view that what we were aiming to be was a diocese, an orthodox diocese: bishop, priests, deacons, and laypeople. And therefore that, even though we weren’t an actual diocese, we should organise ourselves as if we were. So I wrote a pastoral letter to the people every month, more or less every month for 10 years. I had a council of priests. This was before anyone else was doing this sort of thing. I had a lay council and a lay congress. I had deaneries, with clergy organised in deaneries for pastoral care.
We did all this as if we were setting out to be a diocese, which irritated people no end. It was done in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury because it was all about how best to care for people. And the apologia I gave was that of the Apostolic District, which was the term in canon law to describe a group that is not yet a diocese but might become so and has an apostolic administrator. Of course an administration, a jurisdiction, was the one thing we weren’t. We didn’t have the legal authority to do any of it. But that was what we were in search of becoming. And it fitted in with the Forward in Faith Free Province rhetoric and fitted what we needed to survive in the Church of England. It was a good way to organise people and get them to move forward together.
Of course my dream would have been that when I said: “We’re going to submit to the Holy See.” Everyone would have followed me and done so that the priests, the churches and congregations would do so en bloc, which they haven’t.
It irritated people, but it did give us a real coherence and cohesion, and it meant that such things as evangelism and mission were always at the forefront of the agenda. And we had a children’s and young people’s eucharistic festival at Brean Sands, Somerset every year with 700 kids coming together for the day. We had parish evangelism weekends to train up younger leaders to replace the older men and women who were struggling to keep their churches going.
I’m very proud of all that and it was all very good. Except that at the end we couldn’t all move forward together, which is the sadness. Partly it was because some priests are too afraid of doing it. Partly it was because of the issue of buildings. Partly it was because for congregations, provided they’ve got that nice Bishop so-and-so and that nice Father so-and-so the ecclesiology is neither here nor there.
And partly it was because the really vigorous parishes, of which there were some, don’t grow because people debate women’s ordination, gay marriage or any other issues of the day. They grow because they simply get people coming together as community. Who knows why they get together? One wouldn’t dream of asking them because you might get the wrong answer. For all sorts of reasons, therefore, going forward together hasn’t quite worked, neither on my side of the country, the West and South West, nor elsewhere.
The Diocese of Portsmouth website reports the sad news that Kenneth Stevenson, the former Bishop of Portsmouth, yesterday lost his battle with leukaemia, dying peacefully in hospital aged 61.
Bishop Kenneth died in hospital early this morning (January 12) after a short illness. His successful earlier treatment for leukaemia had led to a deterioration in his overall health and physical resilience to infection.
May he rest in peace!
The Standing Liturgical Commission of The Episcopal Church is developing resources for blessing same-sex relationships.
As explained here:
The 2009 General Convention of The Episcopal Church acknowledged the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church. In light of these circumstances, the General Convention directed the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to collect and develop theological and liturgical resources for blessing same-gender relationships. At the same time, we were asked to invite theological reflection from throughout the Anglican communion…
The Commission has recently published two documents as PDF files:
These materials are discussed in an article at the Living Church SCLM Lists Principles for Same-sex Blessings.
The Church of England Communications Unit drew attention today to the following parliamentary exchange yesterday in the House of Lords:
* Oral Questions
The Bishop of Manchester the Rt Revd Nigel McCullogh asked a supplementary question during Lord Dubs’s oral question about the Act of Succession. Bishop Nigel highlighted that this was not a matter of simple right to equality and that there were wider implications to the suggestions made by Lord Dubs in particular there is an issue for the Church of England should full equality be granted. The full text can be found below or in context at:
The Lord Bishop of Manchester: My Lords, does the Minister accept that the central provision for the establishment of the Church of England is that the Sovereign, as Supreme Governor, should join in communion with that church? Does the Minister agree that, unless the Roman Catholic Church is prepared to soften its rules on its members’ involvement with the Church of England, whose orders it regards as null and void, it is hard to see how the Act of Settlement can be changed without paving the way for disestablishment, which, though it might be welcome to some, would be of great concern to many and not just to Anglicans or, indeed, to other Christians?
Lord McNally: My Lords, that intervention shows the wisdom of proceeding with extreme caution on these matters.
Another copy of the full set of exchanges can be found here.
The Revd Dr Tudor F L Griffiths, outgoing Chancellor of the Diocese of St Asaph, preached a sermon last Sunday in St Asaph Cathedral, which is reproduced in full here. Dr Griffiths is also Rector of Hawarden Parish Church. (h/t Ruth Gledhill, for finding this.)
He discusses the Anglican Communion at considerable length, and concludes with this:
So does this mean the end of the road for the Anglican Communion? I hope not but fear so. I think Archbishop Rowan Williams a wonderful grace-filled man with an impossible job. You may have heard of the Anglican Covenant, a kind of agreement between the different Anglican Provinces. Our own Bishop Gregory has been very much involved with the Covenant; it has been a long drawn-out process of drafting and re-drafting and debates. But my own assessment is that it will go down in history as a valiant failure. The shape of Anglicanism is changing; but my prayer and hope in all this is that I hope we can remember what is really important and that is not the growth or even survival of the Anglican Church. At best we are no more than unworthy servants, a signpost to the Kingdom of God and we look forward to the great day when labels and denominations will fall away in one chorus of praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Deirdre Good (from the USA) reports on Christmas in the UK for the Daily Episcopalian.
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 4: The problem and the answer. “Genesis is powerful polemic that allows readers to be realistic about the world’s tragic state, and yet live in hope and courage.”
Guy Consolmagno SJ writes for Thinking Faith about Looking for the Star, or Coming to Adore?
AN Wilson writes for Comment is free belief about Tennyson’s In Memoriam: a farewell to religious certainty. “The lyrics teach that the false certainties of evangelical Christianity are as arid as shrill, negative materialism.”
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about When fun becomes cruelty.
Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about Peculiar people in Southwell.
The Church of England has today launched a redesign of its website.
The new website can be found here.
However, all old links from Thinking Anglicans articles to Church of England documents are now broken. This affects in particular our pages relating to the General Synod. The new General Synod section of the CofE website now starts here.
UPDATE Sunday evening
Peter Owen has revised three of our most recent articles containing links to the Church of England website, namely
Yorkshire - Dioceses Commission reports
Women in the episcopate draft legislation referred to dioceses
Reference to Dioceses: Anglican Covenant
Where a referenced document could not be found on the new CofE website, a copy has been uploaded to TA.
The Church Times carried a news report about this new website design in its issue dated 24/31 December, which was published before Christmas. See ‘Anglican’ vanishes in web revamp by Ed Thornton.
In this article, the Church of England Director of Communications, Peter Crumpler, was quoted as follows:
Users of the current web address will be “automatically redirected to the new site” when it goes live in January, he said. “All the existing links should transfer across automatically.”
Gerald Butt reports in the Church Times that Christians fear more violence after fatal bomb attack in Alexandria.
Bishop David Hamid reports on his blog the invitation from the Coptic community in the UK to join them on Sunday: Pray for Christians in Egypt this Sunday.
The Church Times has a leading article: Signs of hope after Christmas attacks.
So also does the Tablet: Martyrdom in the proper sense.
Read the full article by Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Bishop of Kaduna If you disagree, at least be there.
DEAR brothers in Christ, — the Primates’ Meeting is one of the four instruments of unity within our Communion. Recommendations from the meetings carry weight and have an impact on the Communion. So we always look forward to your collective wisdom as the spokespersons of your provinces, and we uphold you in our prayers, that you may be led by the Holy Spirit.
Clearly our Communion has been going along a very difficult road since the Lambeth Conference of 1998. To put it bluntly, we are a traumatised family, though I would hasten to say that the Church has had worse crises, and survived every one of them. My conviction is that the Communion will also survive this present crisis, and emerge even stronger, and better positioned to make Christ known in a world that is becoming increasingly relativistic and pluralistic.
There have been reports that some of you are thinking seriously about not attending the Primates’ Meeting in January (News, 26 November). This is a very worrying situation, and, after waiting on the Lord, I have decided to make this open appeal to you all, to urge you to seek the face of the Lord before boycotting this next meeting…
The Economist carries an article on church property disputes, mainly with reference to the Diocese of New Westminster.
See Faith in courts.
As the season of goodwill fades, an old problem returns: religious disputes that draw in secular courts
PULSES rarely race in Shaughnessy, a genteel, old-money district of Vancouver where mature cedars shield mansions with giant drawing-rooms. But the splendid Anglican church there, which draws worshippers from across the city, is the centre of a dispute that arises in many countries: how should judges rule in religious rows? Usually such quarrels involve worldly goods and rival claims to be the true believers. They quickly raise theological issues normally settled in church councils, not the courtroom…
Updated 9 & 11 January 2011: All the four documents linked below are now available on the new Church of England website, and I have updated the links accordingly.
As a result of the debate at the November 2010 General Synod on the Anglican Communion Covenant, the matter was referred to Diocesan Synods. The papers sent to dioceses and are available online. They include this paper outlining the process
and these background papers.
Dioceses are required to respond by 5pm on Monday 30 April 2012, so the earliest that this matter can return to General Synod for a final decision on whether to adopt the covenant is July 2012.
Updated 10 January 2011: links updated to refer to the new Church of England website.
I have recently published election results for General Synod officers and some committee members.
The Church of England website has now published these, and other election results, including all the detailed voting figures.
The Secretary General, Canon Kenneth Kearon, writes:
The thoughts and prayers of many in the Anglican Communion are focused on Sudan at this time, as the people of Southern Sudan prepare for a referendum to decide their future. The referendum will take place on 9 January next, and all are invited to pray and to focus their concerns on that war-torn country at this time.
And the ACO has provided a page of background material.
Other useful pages:
Trinity Wall Street Sudan: Background on the Conflict by Rebecca Linder
Cif belief A momentous day for Sudan on 9 January by Graham Kings
Diocese of Salisbury Deadline for Sudan
Episcopal Church A Season of Prayer for Sudan
New York Times Peaceful Vote on Sudan Appears More Likely
Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports in the Sunday Telegraph that First Anglicans are received into the Roman Catholic Church in historic service.
Priests and worshippers from around 20 Church of England parishes converted to Catholicism on Saturday at a ceremony in Westminster Cathedral.
Three former bishops were among those confirmed at the service, which saw the first wave of Anglicans defecting to Rome to join the Ordinariate…
Adam Forrest has interviewed the Archbishop of Canterbury for The Big Issue in Scotland: This turbulent priest.
Some archbishops have published their Christmas sermons.
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Wales
Archbishop of Dublin
Simon Barrow of Ekklesia has this response to the Canterbury sermon: Rowan and the rollicking rich.
Simon Barrow also writes about Christmas and the rebirth of ‘peasant Christianity’.
Jane Williams continues her series for Comment is free belief with The Book of Genesis, part 3: Creation – and afterwards “A dissonant note crept into God’s creation once man and woman arrived to put their mark on the world.”
This is what the Church Times had to say 100 years ago about the King James Version: The Bible tercentenary.
Adam S McHugh asks in The Washington Post: Are happy churchgoers good news?
Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about Trollope and the three policemen. “Anthony Trollope got into hot water when he crossed a real, live dean.”
Jessica Martin writes a Face to faith article for the Guardian: It speaks of the majesty of God that he dwells on earth with humanity in intimacy.
Simple Massing Priest has an article with this title, reporting what Michael Peers a former Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada said, back in 2000, well before the proposed Anglican Covenant was invented:
[W]orldwide Anglicanism is a communion, not a church. The Anglican Church of Canada is a church. The Church in the Province of the West Indies is a church. The Episcopal Church of Sudan is a church. The Anglican Communion is a ‘koinonia’ of churches.
We have become that for many reasons, among which are the struggles of the sixteenth century and an intuition about the value of inculturation, rooted in the Incarnation, which has led us to locate final authority within local churches.
We are not a papal church and we are not a confessional church. We are autonomous churches held together in a fellowship of common faith dating from the creeds and councils, recognizing the presidency of a primus inter pares (the Archbishop of Canterbury), often struggling with inter-church and intra-church tension, but accepting that as the price of the liberty and autonomy that we cherish.
As I said to the members of the Council of General Synod last month, the price of this includes a certain measure of messiness.’ [Power in the Church: Prelates, Confessions, Anglicans The Arnold Lecture, December 6, 2000, Halifax, Nova Scotia]