Monday, 31 October 2011

News reports on the Dean's resignation

Updated Tuesday 8 am

Church Times
Ed Thornton Monday: Dean of St Paul’s resigns

Evening Standard
Tom Harper, Miranda Bryant and Peter Dominiczak Dean who shut St Paul’s resigns: second cleric quits over ‘tent city’ protest

Guardian
Peter Walker Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral resigns over Occupy London protest row and later version for tomorrow’s paper St Paul’s Cathedral dean resigns over Occupy London protest row

Riazat Butt Graeme Knowles resignation ‘very sad news’, says archbishop of Canterbury

And later, for tomorrow’s paper St Pauls brought to its knees by confusion and indecision

Telegraph
Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral resigns with ‘great sadness’ over Occupy London protest (video)

Victoria Ward Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral resigns over Occupy London protest

And Rowan Williams warns of ‘urgent issues’ raised by protests as third St Paul’s clergyman resigns

Martin Beckford, Victoria Ward and Richard Alleyne St Paul’s Cathedral protesters: cloistered clerics who can only pray for an end to the crisis and also Timeline of the St Paul’s protest

Independent
Jerome Taylor St Paul’s dean quits over protest

BBC
St Paul’s Dean Graeme Knowles resigns over protests

St Paul’s protesters urged to remove tents

Channel 4 News St Paul’s dean resigns over Occupy London protest

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St Paul's must change direction

Andrew Brown has written at Cif belief St Paul’s must change direction.
After the resignation of its dean, St Paul’s must negotiate a peaceful settlement with the protesters, as quickly as possible.

The resignation of the dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Graeme Knowles, has landed responsibility for the crisis with the bishop of London, Richard Chartres. If the dean’s sacrifice is not to be in vain, the bishop must reverse his policy within the next 24 hours, and preferably by tomorrow morning. The alternatives are very much worse.

The bishop has a simple choice. Either he plans to throw all the protesters out, or he acquiesces in the presence of some sort of camp right outside his front door for the indefinite future. The lawyers, and perhaps the health-and-safety people, believe he must expel the protesters. The rest of the church sees clearly that this would be wrong in principle, and hugely damaging to the reputation of Christianity.

There’s no tidy way out of this, but there is a wrong one, which is to continue digging the grave Knowles had with such effort prepared for the Church of England’s reputation. The bishop will have to defy his own lawyers and negotiate a peaceful settlement with the protesters. Since he must do this, he had best do it at once. To wait for a week and then change his mind would be nearly as disastrous as settling for expulsion….

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Dean of St Paul's to resign

Updated 8 pm

press release from St Paul’s Cathedral: Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral announces intention to resign (31 October 2011)

St Paul’s, 31 October 2011 The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, announced his intention to resign from his post this afternoon. He made his decision known to the Chapter and to the Bishop of London last night and has removed himself from Cathedral operations with immediate effect. He intended to submit his resignation as Dean of St Paul’s to HM the Queen today.

In the light of the Dean’s resignation, the Chapter has unanimously voted to request the Bishop of London to assist them in providing an independent voice on the ongoing situation at St Paul’s. The Bishop has had no part to date in the discussions and decisions made by Chapter and it is felt his input is now required…

Archbishop of Canterbury issues statement: Archbishop’s statement on resignation of the Dean of St Paul’s

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following statement on the resignation of the Dean of St Paul’s:

“The announcement today of the resignation of the Dean of St Paul’s, coming as it does in the wake of the resignation of Canon Giles Fraser last week, is very sad news. The events of the last couple of weeks have shown very clearly how decisions made in good faith by good people under unusual pressure can have utterly unforeseen and unwelcome consequences, and the clergy of St Paul’s deserve our understanding in these circumstances.

Graeme Knowles has been a very distinguished Dean of St Paul’s, who has done a great deal to strengthen the pastoral and intellectual life of the Cathedral and its involvement in the life of London. He will be much missed, and I wish him and Susan well in whatever lies ahead.”

The Archbishop also said:

“The urgent larger issues raised by the protesters at St Paul’s remain very much on the table and we need – as a Church and as society as a whole – to work to make sure that they are properly addressed.”

Update
Video of the entire press conference, including Q and A, is now available here.

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St Paul's Cathedral: Monday morning media reports

See preceding article for Guardian reports. But the front page picture of the Dean of St Paul’s is here.

Telegraph
Victoria Ward Bishop of London branded hypocrite as he backs St Paul’s protest… and eviction

And by way of historical background, Boris Johnson writes about Mellitus, the saint who retook London from barbarians.

Independent
Paul Calahan Bishop comes face to face with protesters – but won’t back down

…A spokesman said the Dean and the cathedral are considering “all options”.

As well as a scaled-down tented protest, it is understood St Paul’s is open to the idea of having a tent inside the cathedral “for as long as necessary”.

All sides agree any eviction would only follow months of legal wrangling. Meanwhile, protesters remain adamant they will not be moving.

Yesterday, one protester, Tammy Semede, told the Bishop, Dean and assembled crowd the Church’s stance had caused her doubts about her faith.

“I went for Communion [in the cathedral] and didn’t feel I was able. The Church’s behaviour has affected my faith,” she said.

One piece of good news for St Paul’s was the decision by a cathedral canon to stay. Canon Mark Oakley was said to be considering resigning but yesterday used Twitter to confirm he will not…

From Twitter: @CanonOakley: For clarity - I’m not resigning. I’d like to play my part for the future of St P’s work and witness.

Mail An olive branch for St Paul’s protesters: Using force to clear site is not inevitable, says Bishop

New York Times John F Burns ‘Occupy’ Protest at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London Divides Church

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sunday afternoon updates on St Paul's Cathedral

Updated 11 pm

The Dean and Bishop met some protesters today.

Guardian Lizzy Davies and Haroon Siddique Bishop defends ‘prudent’ legal steps for possible eviction of St Paul’s camp and some pictures here.

BBC St Paul’s protest camp: Bishop calls for no violence (with video)

And earlier, Is the Church inside or outside the establishment?

Channel 4 News this evening’s video report: Evictions ‘prudent’ for protesters

Coming in Monday’s Guardian
Occupy London: silence of once-critical clerics is infuriating but understandable by Riazat Butt
The St Paul’s situation puts Rowan Williams and other bishops who have decried banking practices in an impossible quandary.

She concludes:

…The archbishops’ silence – and that of the wider church – on the crisis at the cathedral is extraordinary, then, given their past remarks. But the truth is they gain nothing from commenting on it.

Siding with protesters would undermine the bishop of London and the dean of St Paul’s, who are already under fire for their actions, and represent an extrajudicial intervention not often seen in the Church of England. To ally themselves with their beleaguered colleagues would make them hypocrites. Those who have aired their views are retired – like Lord Carey – or relatively unknown outside Anglican circles.

However infuriating their reticence, the clerics who bashed the bankers during the global financial meltdown are unlikely to put themselves forward to debate the merits or otherwise of Occupy London, a subject made toxic by the prospect of eviction, but it is inconceivable that they do not have opinions on the events at St Paul’s.

Madeleine Bunting Occupy London is a nursery for the mind

…The critics complain that there are no clearly identified objectives, no manifesto. But this is not some proto-political party. Critics insist there must be leaders or representatives. But the protesters stubbornly refuse to conform to any of the conventions of our political and media culture. That is why the invitation from the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, for representatives to join a panel discussion with business leaders was so inept. The protesters are challenging how the illusion of public debate is created through a stage-managed process that excludes all but a self-regarding elite who are largely in agreement, quibbling only over technocratic detail…

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Sunday newspapers on St Paul's Cathedral

Updated again Sunday noon

The Independent on Sunday has a front page splash which leads to two articles:

Brian Brady, Jane Merrick Exclusive: Cover-up at St Paul’s
Clerics suppress report on bankers’ greed to save church embarrassment

Leading article: St Paul’s is a national problem

…Ever since the collapse of many of the world’s leading banks in 2008, the world has been suffused with unease about the ethical basis of a part of capitalism that seemed to reward failure as much as, if not more than, success. When those banks were put back upright with public credit, and seemed to continue to pay their executives excessively, that unease grew. Over the past three years, the feeling has strengthened around the world that, for the financial and corporate elite, the credit crunch, the government bailouts and the recession were a minor blip, and now it is business as usual, with rewards at the very top more extravagant than ever.

The response of political and spiritual leaders has been uncertain. Barack Obama said he was going to cap the bonuses of bankers, and then didn’t. David Cameron was going to limit the earnings of public-sector bosses to 20 times the lowest-paid in their organisation, and then didn’t. Last week, the Prime Minister sounded concerned about the rise in pay of FTSE-100 executives, but his only suggestion for restraining it was that more women should be appointed to corporate boards – which sounded as if he were suggesting that women should continue to be lower paid than men.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Church of England have responded with all the courage and clarity for which they are renowned. As we report today, the St Paul’s Institute, associated with the cathedral, decided not to publish a report on the City that called for banks to show more responsibility, for fear that it might seem to side with the tent people. Rowan Williams, the leader of the Anglican communion, has been audible in his silence, although, as we also report today, he is believed to be sympathetic to the protesters. Before long, he too will have to admit that this is more than a local issue…

In the Observer

Mark Townsend Occupy London could be protected by Christian ring of prayer
Coalition of Christian groups plan to prevent forcible attempts to remove tents outside St Paul’s Cathedral

Peter Stanford How the church lost a fine chance to redeem itself
By taking the wrong side at St Paul’s, Anglican leaders abandoned the moral high ground.

Editorial: The church’s reaction to the protesters has lacked humanity

…The difficulty is that in its affluence at least, the real world of some of those at the top of the ecclesiastical hierarchy has more in common with those whom the anti-capitalist protesters correctly argue are “rewarded” grossly out of proportion to their efforts. Nay, are rewarded even when criminally at fault and abject failures. While Matthew insisted that you cannot serve both God and Mammon, some still try to give it a good go.

So what are we to make of the events of the past fortnight? Undoubtedly, there has been an awakening. As Andrew Rawnsley reports, while many in the media have been hostile to the protesters, there is perhaps now a change of mood abroad. Ironically, not for a long time has the Bible been so forensically mined, nor the disciples so closely examined.

It reminds us that in the New Testament, at least, the quest for a fairer society, requiring deeds as well as words, was a recurring motif. To be fair, in the Church of England many a fine priest works, unheralded, in impoverished communities, of which, as the protesters may point out, there are sadly still too many.

However, what has been missing from the reaction of many of the senior figures at St Paul’s is an inclination to listen to what the protesters have to say, however inchoate.

How much more productive might it have been to invite several to pitch their tents inside the cathedral, to request that they speak from the pulpit and to stand side by side with the protesters in acknowledging that social capital and the bonds we have with each other are infinitely more valuable than those are that are traded daily.

In 1985, at another seismic moment, the Church of England published a ground-breaking report, “Faith in the City”, that then as now encapsulated a general unease.

It wrote: “Poverty is not only about shortage of money. It is about rights and relationships; about how people are treated and how they regard themselves; about powerlessness, exclusion and loss of dignity.”

Those words still have a resonance. That’s why the handling by St Paul’s of this situation has been far more than a public-relations disaster for the church. It has also given us a glimpse of a frost in a corner of its soul.

Andrew Rawnsley The protesters seem more adult than politicians and plutocrats

…A big mistake is to think that because the protesters tend to be youthful it follows that they should be treated like children. Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, has made that error by suggesting to the campers that they ought to leave in return for a debate under the dome of St Paul’s – gosh, thanks my Lord Bishop. He further asks them to go on the grounds that: “I am involved in ongoing discussion with City leaders about improving shareholder influence on excessive remuneration.”

I am sure that the bishop is well-meaning, but that is not going to cut it. There has been “ongoing discussion” for years. The result, according to the latest report by Incomes Data Services: Britain’s top executives gave themselves a 49% increase in their salaries, benefits and bonuses in the past year. It does not even occur to the business and financial elite that it might be good old cynical public relations to moderate their greed while so many of their fellow citizens are suffering the consequences of corporate follies…

Sunday Telegraph
Jonathan Wynne-Jones The struggle for St Paul’s
The anti-capitalist protest outside the gates of St Paul’s has sparked a moral battle inside the cathedral.

More from the Observer

Heather Stewart They may be saying it in a kooky way, but the St Paul’s protesters are right
What the Occupy London crew has correctly identified is that the relationship between finance and the rest of the economy is seriously awry.

Victoria Coren I pooh-pooh the pooping pooch

Among the Christmas toys that she proposes is this:

Mini St Paul’s Cathedral

Fully domed and mechanised dolls’ house: at the touch of a button, your children can lock the doors and hose unwanted people off the steps, flooding the carpet. It comes with a Canon Giles Fraser doll that endlessly repeats: “A church should never force people away”; if his head is snapped off, wealthy bishops cackle in the rafters. (Warning: they may not cackle if water comes into contact with the batteries.)

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St Paul's Cathedral and the protestors: Bishop of Buckingham interviewed

The Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, was interviewed on Channel 4 News this evening by Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

Watch it here.

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protesters at St Paul's Cathedral: comment from the blogs

This is a selection of those that I read during the past week. Some of them are several days old now, and don’t reflect the latest developments.

Bishop Alan Wilson has written Showing off? shutting shop? showing up?

Catherine Mayer of Time has written London Protestors 1 God 0: Anti-Capitalism Camp Scores PR Victory Against St Paul’s.

Nick Baines wrote Giles Frazzled.

David Allen Green of the New Statesman has written The protesters and the corporation.

Rachel Mann wrote Not Resigned: Giles Fraser and Establishment and earlier The curious case of St Paul’s and the blocked drains.

Sam Norton wrote Occupy London, St Paul’s and the Rebel.

Charlie Peer wrote Occupy London protest at St Paul’s divides Church of England.

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Women Bishops - diocesan debate - 29 October

Updated to correct number of abstentions in house of laity
Updated to add texts of the following motions

Bath and Wells diocesan synod debated the women bishops legislation today.

The main motion, in favour of the legislation, was passed in all three houses. Here are the voting figures.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 0 0
Clergy52 9 0
Laity55 10 3

Twitter reports “Following [motion] on Archbishops’ amendment failed Following [motion] encouraging early Code passed”.

Here are the texts of the two following motions.

That this synod [ie the diocesan synod] request the General Synod to debate a motion in the following form:
That this synod [ie the General Synod] call upon the House of Bishops, in exercise of its powers under standing order 60(b), to amend the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure in the manner proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at the Revision Stage for the draft Measure.
[defeated 21 votes to 100]

This Synod, supportive of women in the episcopate, urges General Synod to expedite the production of the Code of Practice by the House of Bishops and to take seriously its role in debating and approving the contents with due regard to those who find the consecration of women to the episcopate unacceptable.
[passed]

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St Paul's Cathedral: Saturday news and comment

Evening Standard last night
A loose Canon, his Bishop, the Dean and unholy war at St Paul’s
Nick Curtis on how the creators of BBC2 sitcom rev might have written up the theological storm of the past days…

AN Wilson C of E has lost the plot over the St Paul’s camp
The camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral has been a public relations disaster for the Church of England.

Independent this morning
Jerome Taylor Mystery of Archbishop who didn’t speak for his Church

With the prospect of anti-corporate protesters being forcibly removed from the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral by riot police now almost inevitable, the silence from across the river at Lambeth Palace has been deafening.
So far the Archbishop of Canterbury has kept his head far below the ramparts, choosing not to utter a single word on a deepening public relations disaster for the Established Church…

Paul Cahalan and Jerome Taylor God vs Mammon: Britain takes sides
As St Paul’s reopens its doors, the City of London and the cathedral launch legal actions to evict demonstrators, another clergyman resigns in dismay, David Cameron threatens legislation to ban protest camps – and the Archbishop of Canterbury…says nothing.

Telegraph
Tim Walker Canon Mark Oakley considers his position at St Paul’s cathedral

The Rev Dr Giles Fraser’s resignation as Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s over the cathedral’s muddled response to the demonstrators on its doorstep looks unlikely to be the last.
Mandrake is reliably informed that another senior figure in the hierarchy of St Paul’s, Canon Mark Oakley, its affable Canon Treasurer as well as a well-known author and broadcaster, is this weekend wrestling with his conscience.
“I voted the same way as Giles at Chapter as I couldn’t vote for any course of action that might lead at some point to violent behaviour,” Oakley, 43, tells me.

Guardian
Lucy Mangan St Paul’s – embrace your new flock
‘When you’re dealing with protesters who bring their own portable loos, what’s the worst that can happen?’

Stephen Bates St Paul’s Cathedral resumes normal service after week of rancour (longer version of yesterday’s report)

Marina Hyde Jesus may be with Occupy London, but St Paul would have sided with health and safety
The cathedral’s namesake was a sucker for authority – as the church is and ever was.

Riazat Butt, Shiv Malik and Sandra Laville St Paul’s showdown: lawyers act to clear Occupy London camp

Lawyers will serve notice on activists camped out around St Paul’s Cathedral as early as Monday, as police also finalise plans to forcibly remove them if senior officers are convinced they are causing disruption…

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opinion

Tim Stevens, the Bishop of Leicester, writes for the Church Times about bishops in the House of Lords: Bishops are lining up to keep Coalition in check.

Sayeeda Warsi writes for The Telegraph that Britain must be a country where people can be proud of their religion.

Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio asks in The Guardian Would you accept a robot as your priest or vicar?

Also in The Guardian Steven Hepburn asks Why pray for the souls in purgatory?

Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about The reason why Leo was Great.

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Friday, 28 October 2011

St Paul's Cathedral: legal action against protesters commences

Updated 4.30 pm

First, the City of London has issued this announcement: City of London Corporation approves court action to remove St Paul’s campsite

Second, there is this announcement from the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s: Statement from the Dean and Chapter (28 October 2011)

28 October 2011
The Chapter has previously asked the encampment to leave the cathedral precinct in peace. This has not yet happened and so, following the advice of our lawyers, legal action has regrettably become necessary.

The Chapter only takes this step with the greatest reluctance and remains committed to a peaceful solution. At each step of the legal process the Chapter will continue to entreat the protesters to agree to a peaceful solution and, if an injunction is granted, will then be able to discuss with the protesters how to reach this solution.

Theirs is a message that the Chapter has both heard and shares and looks forward to engaging with the protesters to identify how the message may continue to be debated at St Paul’s and acted upon.

According to the latest report from Riazat Butt in Guardian the tents are the key issue:

“If this [Occupy London] were not a camped protest it would constitute a reasonable user of the highway. The City of London Corporation is not seeking to prevent protest but to limit the exact nature and form of protest it has chosen. A 24-hour non-camped protest would be permissible in this location.”

Stephen Bates has a report of the first service in the re-opened building: St Paul’s congregation swells to hundreds for first lunchtime service and you can read the full text of the Homily given by The Dean of St Paul’s at Eucharist, 28 October 2011

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Diocese in Europe agrees Women Bishops legislation

Although Europe’s diocesan synod voted on the legislation to allow women to become bishops in June, it is the Bishop’s Council which makes the official decision for the diocese.

The Bishop’s Council has now held its debate, and here are the votes on the main motion in favour of the legislation.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops0 2 0
Clergy10 4 0
Laity6 3 1

As in all these debates it is the votes in the houses of clergy and laity that count, so Europe has voted in favour of the legislation.

There is a report of the debate on the diocesan website: Diocese in Europe agrees Women Bishops legislation.

This also gives details of a following motion asking for more provision for opponents; voting was 13 in favour, 10 against with 3 abstentions.

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St Paul's Cathedral: more Friday media reports

Updated 10.30 am

Telegraph
Victoria Ward, Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Richard Alleyne Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral resigns in protest at legal action to evict protesters

Victoria Ward George Carey: St Paul’s Cathedral protest damaging Christianity

…It can also be disclosed that a damning report Canon Fraser had been due to publish on Thursday about bankers’ lack of ethics, had been shelved by the cathedral amid concerns that it would only escalate the row…

George Carey The Occupy protest at St Paul’s Cathedral - a parable of our times

Independent
Paul Cahalan, Jerome Taylor, Kevin Rawlinson Church shaken to its foundations as row over anti-capitalism protest escalates

Peter Owen-Jones: The Church is now well and truly in the dock

Liam O’Brien: ‘At night, the cold and the bells make sleep impossible’

More material from the Guardian

Sam Jones St Paul’s and Occupy London at odds over reason for cathedral closure

Marina Warner What St Paul’s could learn from Mary, the patron of the Occupy protesters

Steve Bell on Church of England and protest camp at St Paul’s – cartoon

Alexander Chancellor Think the canon who quit St Paul’s is radical? You should have met his predecessor …

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St Paul's Cathedral: first Friday media reports

Church Times
Ed Thornton St Paul’s row: Giles Fraser resigns

Giles Fraser Clarity at the heart of the St Paul’s storm

THE reader will, I hope, excuse me if I do not address the complicated issues that currently beset St Paul’s Cathedral. Suffice to say, when you sit in the middle of a storm, and a great deal of misinformation is flying about, you are thrown back on the fundamentals of your faith.

No one ever said that following Jesus would be easy. In fact, as Christians, we are given fair warn­ing that the opposite is likely to be the case. And so it turns out.
But one of the most interesting things about these challenging times is how scripture comes alive. Indeed, I do not remember the Bible ever speaking to me as vividly as it does today. As the saying goes, I don’t read scripture: scripture reads me…

Leader: Wealth and safety: the St Paul’s dilemma

TO GIVE them their due, the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s knew the reaction they would get when they cited health and safety as the reason for the closure of the cathedral. Their mistake last Friday was to treat this as a normal crisis: make the statement, get the official spokesman lined up, and plan to follow up on the Monday, when senior staff were next available for consultation. From this viewpoint, it did not seem to be a problem that the completed health-and-safety report would not be ready until late on Monday. Unfortunately, and pre­dictably, the story continued to develop throughout the week­end, and, without a robust and detailed defence of the closure, suspicion was allowed to grow that the Chapter had turned against the protesters, concerned more for its lost tourist revenue than for a courageous witness against the evils of capitalism. As a result, when some (not all) of the report was released on Tuesday, it was largely derided…

Guardian
Riazat Butt, Sandra Laville and Shiv Malik Giles Fraser resignation: ‘I couldn’t face Dale Farm on the steps of St Paul’s

…Forcible eviction looks inevitable, however, with the Metropolitan police taking a keen interest in the escalating crisis.

The land around the cathedral is within the City of London police area but the force is working with the Met to decide how to deal with the encampment.

Amid growing tensions, protesters using Twitter said armed police had entered the camp, as a tent belonging to Kurdish activists was searched. The City of London police said its officers had gone to the camp in response to reports of a firearm.

Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Met, said police were in the last stages of assessing whether to clear the demonstrators under section 14 of the Public Order Act. Under section 14 police can forcefully remove the protesters outside St Paul’s and those gathered in Finsbury Square if they believe the disruption to the public and the people working in the area is “serious”.

The commissioner indicated a judgment on that would come within 48 hours. “Deciding what is serious is what we are in the process of doing,” he told the Metropolitan Police Authority. “We need to have some kind of consensus so we are in the process of asking that question.”

He said discussions were continuing and information was being gathered from shopkeepers, the landowners and other members of the public to assess the level of disruption. Once this work had been done a decision on taking clearance action would be made. The MPA was told by some members that shopkeepers in the area had seen their takings down by 80% since the tented encampment began.

Hogan-Howe said the situation facing the police was complex. “If there is criminality being committed we need to do something about it. And there is some evidence that some of the protesters are leaving at night and coming back during the day. Taken together they have got a legitimate right to protest, they have no legitimate right to commit crimes. That is the complexity of what we are trying to deal with.”

The land was owned by different people, which compounded the issue, Hogan-Howe said. “Either we ignore it and the property owners take some kind of injunctions out, or we use the criminal law, or we use injunctions and the criminal law … that will require careful judgments over the coming days.”

The Home Office refused to say whether the home secretary, Theresa May, or Home Office representatives had been in direct contact with church authorities after suggestions that the government department had put pressure on the church to get protesters evicted…

Stephen Bates Church of England split over St Paul’s handling of Occupy London protest

“It is very hard to take the temperature of the Church of England,” said Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times. “In a poll last week we found 65% of church members believing it was right to welcome the protesters, but there are equally bound to be lots of churchgoers out in the country who think it is right to take a firm hand to them. I suspect whatever people think of the demonstrators though, most will think the church has taken an utterly wrong approach to dealing with the situation. It is such a shame: we have just had our best publicity for ages over Rowan Williams challenging Robert Mugabe to his face and now this comes up and clearly damages the church’s reputation once again.”

Lizzy Davies Occupy London anger after resignation of St Paul’s Cathedral canon

Editorial: In praise of … Giles Fraser

…Now we’re told the cathedral will reopen and the bishop of London, who lives over the occupation, will descend and speak to the protesters on Sunday. That should be fun. By now the whole situation is approaching farce, in which all the players are adding to the spectacle. That is not a dignified position for the cathedral, but one it richly deserves. In the meantime, at least the chapter has proved to a doubting nation that the Church of England can make a fool of itself about a subject which has nothing to do with sex.

More in the morning…

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

St Paul's Cathedral: Giles Fraser interview

The Guardian has published a lengthy interview with Giles Fraser.

See Alan Rusbridger Canon of St Paul’s ‘unable to reconcile conscience with evicting protest camp’.

And there is a podcast: Guardian Focus podcast: Rev Giles Fraser and the Occupy London camp.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 11:23pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Bishops’ office and working costs published

The 2010 office and working costs of bishops in the Church of England were published today (27 October).

Bishops’ Office and Working Costs for the year ended 31 December 2010

Reports for previous years (back to 2005) are available here.

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St Paul's Cathedral: Thursday reports

Updated again 7.00 pm

BBC
St Paul’s chancellor Canon Dr Giles Fraser ‘to resign’ headlined now changed after write-through: St Paul’s protest: Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser quits

St Paul’s Cathedral ‘may reopen’ despite protest camp

Independent
Paul Cahalan, Jerome Taylor St Paul’s tries to heal rifts and offers to open its doors

Mark Donne A chauffeur-driven bishop, and a Church that refuses sanctuary

Leading article: More right than wrong in the precincts of St Paul’s

Tweet from @giles_fraser: It is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Statement from St Paul’s Cathedral: Canon Giles Fraser to step down.

27 October 2011

The Reverend Canon Dr Giles Fraser, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, has resigned from his post.

Canon Fraser, a former Vicar of Putney who took up his post in June 2009, informed the Dean and Chapter colleagues of his decision today.

The Dean of St Paul’s, The Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, said today: “Giles has brought a unique contribution to the life and ministry of St Paul’s and we will be very sorry to see him go. He has developed the work of the St Paul’s Institute and has raised the profile of our work in the City. We are obviously disappointed that he is not able to continue to his work with Chapter during these challenging days. We will miss his humour and humanity and wish Giles and his family every good wish into the future.”
The post of Canon Chancellor is a Crown appointment. The process to appoint Canon Fraser’s successor will begin shortly.

Guardian St Paul’s Cathedral canon resigns by Shiv Malik and Riazat Butt

…In a short statement to the Guardian, Fraser, who was appointed canon in May 2009, confirmed his resignation, saying: “I resigned because I believe that the chapter has set on a course of action that could mean there will be violence in the name of the church.”

Statement by the Bishop of London: Giles Fraser: a statement from the Bishop of London

27/10/11

A statement by the Bishop of London on the resignation of Giles Fraser.

“I heard, with regret, the news of Giles Fraser’s resignation from the Chapter of St Paul’s this morning and I have now contacted him. His is an important voice in the Church and I have offered to meet him immediately to discuss how we can ensure it continues to be heard.”

Statement by Occupy London: Statement regarding resignation of Reverend Canon Dr Giles Fraser

Guardian Stephen Bates Giles Fraser: St Paul’s jeans and T-shirt wearing cleric

Telegraph
Victoria Ward, and Sarah Rainey St Paul’s Cathedral to reopen as City moves to evict protest camp

Sarah Rainey Dr Giles Fraser resigns from St Paul’s

Sarah Rainey and Victoria Ward Dr Giles Fraser resigns from St Paul’s over ‘violence in the name of the Church’

Evening Standard Tom Harper and Peter Dominiczak St Paul’s Canon blasts church over ‘violent treatment’ of tent protesters

…The Bishop of London said he will meet the protesters on Sunday to invite them to a debate inside the cathedral if they agree to leave the camp…

…It is understood Dr Fraser is not alone in his view among senior colleagues at St Paul’s that enforced removal of demonstrators would be a disaster for the Church.

Dr Fraser quit as the Dean of St Paul’s admitted the crisis engulfing the cathedral was “its most difficult times since the Second World War”.

Church Times Ed Thornton St Paul’s row: Giles Fraser resigns

Guardian Comment is Free Andrew Brown Giles Fraser is never taken in by establishment self-delusion

So much of the church’s energies are taken up in make-believe about its position in society that Fraser is really shocking to anyone used to professional Anglicans.

There was an example of this just this week in the Bishop of London’s statement about the protesters explaining that they could go away now because the grown-ups had taken over: “The St Paul’s Institute has itself focused on the issue of executive pay and I am involved in ongoing discussions with City leaders about improving shareholder influence on excessive remuneration.”

Never mind that the St Paul’s Institute was run by Giles Fraser, who the bishop must have known was about to resign. There is one huge shrieking question about a press release like that: who is it meant to fool? Does anyone really think that the City takes more notice of a bishop than of a genuine popular demonstration? Does anyone in the wider world think that the bishop’s words count for as much as the protesters’ acts, or that they mean anything at all?

Evening Standard Common sense wins with reopening of St Paul’s Dr Richard Chartres, The Bishop of London

It is easy to be cynical about health and safety but it would be naive of the Dean and Chapter, in charge of a tourist attraction visited by thousands each week, to ignore the attached public liability responsibilities.

It is much easier for those looking on to cry, “Ignore the lawyers”, let alone the insurers and the myriad appointed experts who invariably have a “worst case scenario” outlook.

The fact remains that it was unavoidable for the Cathedral to close last week but the Dean, Chapter and staff should be commended for working tirelessly since then to find a way of reopening - and indeed the protesters for readily complying.

Yet it is symptomatic of what the scene outside has become that so much attention remains focused upon what represents a “trip and slip” hazard, a flammable substance or a safe tent configuration.

The debate has also been about whether it is capitalist to own an iPad or buy a Starbucks coffee, or whether a protester should take a break at night.

The Church’s own role in this has now inevitably come under scrutiny. Calls for the camp to disband peacefully have been deliberately interpreted as taking the side of Mammon, which is simply not the case.

The original purpose of the protests, to shine a light on issues such as corporate greed and executive pay, has been all but extinguished - yet these are issues that the St Paul’s Institute has taken to heart and has been engaged in examining.

The time has come to change the setting. Now that St Paul’s can function again, albeit on a limited basis, the cathedral wants to help recapture the serious issues.

If the protesters will disband peacefully, I will join the Dean and Chapter in organising a St Paul’s Institute debate on the real issues here under the Dome.

We will convene a panel from across the political and business spectrum and will invite the protesters to be represented.

The Dean and I will be available on Sunday morning, outside St Paul’s, to listen and engage. Our message will be simple: pack up your tents voluntarily and let us make you heard.

Guardian Riazat Butt Bishop of London offers debate with Occupy protesters if they disband

And another tweet from @giles_fraser: It is completely unfair for people to have a go at my colleagues. They have acted out of principle just as much as I.

Alan Rusbridger Canon of St Paul’s: church cannot answer peaceful protest with violence

BBC
Dr Giles Fraser explains why he resigned from St Paul’s video interview with Robert Pigott

St Paul’s Cathedral Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser in profile

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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

St Paul's Cathedral: Wednesday evening reports

Guardian
Riazat Butt, Sam Jones and James Ball Occupy London protest at St Paul’s faces action from City officials

Riazat Butt, Sam Jones and James Ball St Paul’s Cathedral set to reopen after Occupy London shuffles tents

Patrick Kingsley Occupy London empty tent claims based on ‘rubbish science’

Telegraph
Victoria Ward St Paul’s Cathedral to reopen on Friday despite Occupy London protest camp

Musical flashmob at St Paul’s protest (video)

Press Association
St Paul’s ‘could reopen on Friday’

Legal action mooted over protesters

Press release from St Paul’s Cathedral
Statement from the Dean of St Paul’s (26 October)

26 October 2011

The Dean of St Paul’s, The Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, said tonight that he was optimistic that St Paul’s Cathedral would be able to reopen to the public on Friday afternoon (28 October) following significant changes to the layout of those dwelling in tents outside of the Cathedral which was achieved this afternoon.

“The staff team here have been working flat out with the police, fire brigade and health and safety officers to try to ensure that we have confidence in the safety of our worshippers, visitors and staff which will allow us to reopen.” said Dean Knowles this evening.

“We have wide statutory obligations to ensure the safety of our staff, congregation, visitors and pilgrims and final checks will be made tomorrow. A passageway allowing evacuation procedures to be improved has been created; the kitchen providing food for those in the camp has been moved from close proximity to the building; bicycles chained to the railings have been shifted and a clear pathway restored”, said the Dean tonight.

He added: “We have alternative arrangements in place to safeguard the evacuation of the crypt and floor areas but, for the time being, the galleries and dome will remained closed. Our continued dialogue with the fire brigade, police, and our own fire safety advisors has been encouraging.”

Dean Knowles said that the Chapter would reach a final decision tomorrow on the re-opening: “We will revisit the risk assessment in the light of any overnight developments and subject to us getting the green light we hope to reopen in time for the 1230 Eucharist on Friday to which everyone is welcome.”

On the question of the future of the campsite, the Dean explained: “We reiterate our basic belief in the right to protest as well as requesting that those people living in the tents now leave the site peacefully.”

He added: “We want the site to be fully open to members of the public to have open access over the area as well as for those wanting to visit St. Paul’s. The mission of the cathedral is committed to the Christian Gospel message of justice, dignity and peace. The debate about social justice and economic policy will remain at the heart of the work of the St Paul’s Institute.”

As regards any other action the Dean said “We have been and continue to take legal advice on a range of options including court action. Chapter very much hopes that we will achieve a peaceful solution.”

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St Paul's Cathedral: analysis of Health and Safety issues

David Allen Green has published a detailed and lucid analysis of the situation at the New Statesman.

Read it in full at Closing the doors at St Paul’s Cathedral.

How seriously is the Cathedral taking health and safety concerns?

…The worrying refusal by the Cathedral to share the details of its supposed health and safety concerns with the protesters after Wednesday would seem to undermine the sincerity of its reliance on those concerns to close the Cathedral. Whatever one’s views as to the merits of the protesters, there can be no good reason for these details not to be shared, especially as it is claimed that the health and safety concerns are so serious as to mean that the Cathedral should be closed down completely.

This is a particularly depressing notion, given the Dean said expressly that the decision was taken “because of the legal requirements placed upon us by fire, health and safety issues”. So I asked the Cathedral for a full description of these health and safety issues, and this list was provided in response:

  • Presence of unknown quantities of flammable liquids.
  • Smoking/drinking within the tented areas.
  • Potential gas safety within the catering facility.
  • Compromised free fire exits, usually open now closed but manned.
  • Slips, trips and falls exacerbated at night with cover of darkness.
  • Due to the darkness issues on North side, use of naked flame lighting.
  • Sleeping risk within the tented area, if fire should break out.
  • Public heath issues
    a Sanitation
    b Food hygiene
    c Rodent/pest issue
  • The issues of rope/guy-lines attached to trees, bollards, lamp standards possibly causing injury to face/neck/upper limbs and trips on low level guy-lines.
  • VIP security due to camp protest.
  • All of the above are representative of the possible injury to life and limb.

This prompts an obvious question, and so I asked the Cathedral what it was actually doing now to manage these risks, other than closing the Cathedral. What had it done since the closure, if it thought these risks were serious? But the Cathedral was not able to say.

I asked who compiled this list of issues. The vague response was “health and safety advisers”. Who were these advisers? The Cathedral would not say. What are their qualifications and expertise? The Cathedral would not say. Are they external or internal? The Cathedral would not say…

And there is a great deal more, including a very full response by the protesters. Read it all.

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St Pauls' Cathedral: Wednesday morning reports

Updated 1 pm Wednesday

According to Episcopal Cafe Ruth Gledhill and Fay Schlesinger in The Times are reporting [subscription only] that Canon Dr. Giles Fraser will resign if the Cathedral moves to evict Occupy London protesters:

…Dr Giles Fraser, who is responsible for the cathedral’s relations with the financial institutions of the City of London, is understood to be prepared to quit should it take legal action against the 200 tents forming an increasingly permanent-looking settlement on its land.

…. A resignation from Dr Fraser would make him a martyr for the anti-capitalist cause and prove hugely embarrassing to the cathedral and the Church. If the cathedral does not try to oust the protesters, however, it will be forced into the humiliating position of reopening with the tents still in place, or remaining closed for months — putting events such as the Remembrance Day services at risk and losing the cathedral about £16,000 a day in tourist revenue.

Update The BBC reports that Giles Fraser’s resignation threat relates to “use of force” rather than the taking of legal action to remove the protestors.

Telegraph St Paul’s Cathedral protest: Blitz landmark closed because you might trip over guy rope by Victoria Ward, Richard Alleyne and Tim Ross

At the height of the Blitz, the relentless pounding of London by Luftwaffe bombers forced St Paul’s Cathedral to close its doors for a total of four days.

But today (Weds) health and safety fears about people tripping over tent guy ropes and blocked emergency exits have achieved what Hitler did not, and shut it for a fifth day.

The cathedral has been criticised after it released a full list of the health and safety concerns that has been used as justification for closing it for the longest time in living memory.

Mark Field, Tory MP for Cities of London and Westminster – in which the cathedral sits - said they were “spurious health and safety excuses” and called for them to be ignored.

“There never seemed to be any substance to the health and safety reasons for the closure. It was a nuclear option and it has been a monumental own goal,” he said…

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Guardian editorial condemns St Paul's Cathedral

The Guardian newspaper has tonight published an editorial which severely criticises the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s (and by implication the Bishop of London - see previous article).

City and cathedral: The whited sepulchre

The dean and chapter of St Paul’s risk playing the villains in a national pantomime

The last time St Paul’s Cathedral was so much in the news was the wedding of Charles and Diana: a vast if moth-eaten musical parade which ended very badly when the fairytale wedding turned into a marriage of unfaithful human beings. That helped turn the cathedral into a major tourist attraction, though it did nothing for the Christian message. Now another piece of theatre has swept it up, and with it won a turn on the national stage.

Protesters hoping to “Occupy the London Stock Exchange” were prevented from entering Paternoster Square, a shopping development which had been their original target, and instead have camped, in orderly rows, around the north side of the cathedral and across its main west entrance. This rather messy and absurd situation has handed the dean and chapter of St Paul’s a truly historic opportunity to discredit Christianity in this country. They seem determined to take it. They should think, and stop.

The dean and chapter appear to have decided that health and safety considerations mean they must be rid of the makeshift camp. These grounds are frankly risible. Pretending otherwise compounds the first mistake, which was to shut the cathedral altogether, rather than expose visitors to the sight and smells of a couple of hundred protesters. A cathedral isn’t really there for the tourists, even if it can charge visitors £14.50, as St Paul’s does. It is a place for prayer and worship. The congregations who come for these, the real purposes of the building, should remember that Jesus talked to publicans and tax collectors. He might even have talked to merchant bankers. He would certainly have talked to the protesters camped outside.

Aspects of the protest camp are silly and rather squalid. But it still represents a profound and important moral revulsion which the Church of England needs to take seriously. These aren’t the usual Spartist suspects. The sense that there is something outrageous, unjust and absurd about the world of modern finance has spread across the whole political and religious spectrum. Even Pope Benedict XVI has reinforced his predecessor’s teaching with a demand that the markets of the world be brought under human control. The Church of England needs to be part of this discussion, for its own sake and for the sake of the country. And that is done far more effectively by theatre and by conversation than by lecturing or even preaching. It is no use having clever bishops saying clever things that no one listens to. Here at St Paul’s right now, there is a chance to catch the attention of millions of people who would never listen to a bishop or recognise a Dean without a Torvill.

The protesters aren’t right about everything. A lot of the time they aren’t even coherent enough to be wrong. But the role of the church is to talk with them and to find out how their sense of injustice at the present slump can be refined and educated and brought out into the wider conversation. The cathedral has a chance to take Marx’s taunt about religion being “the heart of a heartless world” and try to make it true, and valuable. It must not fumble this.

If the dean and chapter continue their steps towards evicting they will be playing the villains in a national pantomime. There will be legal battles and, eventually, physical force. At every step, the cathedral authorities will be acting in the service of absurdity and injustice. Yet this is where the logic of their position is leading them. They must see this, and stop. Jesus denounced his Pharisaic enemies as whited sepulchres, or shining tombs; and that is what the steam-cleaned marble frontage of St Paul’s will become if the protesters are evicted to make room for empty pomp: a whited sepulchre, where morality and truth count for nothing against the convenience of the heritage industry.

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Bishop of London issues statement about St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral: a statement from the Bishop of London

25/10/11

A statement by the Bishop of London on the protest outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

“This demonstration has undoubtedly raised a number of very important questions. The St Paul’s Institute has itself focused on the issue of executive pay and I am involved in ongoing discussions with City leaders about improving shareholder influence on excessive remuneration.

“Nevertheless, the time has come for the protestors to leave, before the camp’s presence threatens to eclipse entirely the issues that it was set up to address. The Dean and the Chapter, who are responsible for St Paul’s, have already made it clear that the protest should come to an end and I fully support that view.”

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More on the St Paul's Cathedral mess

Guardian letters to the editor in Tuesday’s paper: St Paul’s: pulpit, pavement and piety and in Monday’s paper: Conflict and crisis at the cathedral

Telegraph editorial in Tuesday’s paper: A sullied cathedral and news article Richard Alleyne Just 10% of St Paul’s protesters stay overnight

BBC St Paul’s camp: Occupy London is ‘tourist attraction’

ITN St Pauls still closed (video report)

Mail Online St Paul’s may have to cancel Remembrance Sunday service because of ‘Occupy London’ protests

Independent St Paul’s protesters call in their own safety expert and vow to stay put and earlier Peter Popham: A cathedral turns its back on the people

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Update on St Paul's Cathedral and the protesters

Sunday afternoon/Monday morning news reports:

Guardian
Peter Walker Occupy protesters seek explanation over cathedral’s call to move on

Peter Walker and Riazat Butt St Paul’s may seek injunction to move Occupy London activists

…With the deadlock seemingly set to continue, St Paul’s and other nearby institutions have consulted lawyers about possible efforts to forcibly evict the protesters. Cathedral staff were due to hold an emergency meeting with fire officers, police and officials from the Corporation of London, which administers the City district, on Monday. A St Paul’s spokesman, the Reverand Rob Marshall, said the impact of the closure would be felt more intensively next week as tourist numbers swell during half-term.

“The penny is dropping,” he said. “Half-term has started and we’ve got hundreds and thousands of visitors from around the world in London. It will soon begin to dawn that the cathedral will not be open for the foreseeable future. It’s such a chunk of a visitor’s itinerary and there will be a momentum that this is a reality. If there is no sign of movement in the early part of the week there will be further negotiations.”

The Corporation of London has not commented publicly since Friday, when it also called on the camp to disband. But the organisation is known to have consulted lawyers about how an eviction might take place, and whether the legal options could even include an emergency injunction to clear the space immediately.

But this is seen as a last resort. Aside from the potential public relations disaster of police officers dragging peaceful protesters from their tents in the shadow of a cathedral, eviction proceedings would most likely take some weeks.

Part of the land housing the camp is owned by St Paul’s, who would need to take action for trespass, while other parts belong to the Corporation, requiring a case under laws relating to obstruction of the highways. The Occupy movement has said it, too, has been taking legal advice, and cannot be expected to leave voluntarily without more information from St Paul’s…

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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Women Bishops - diocesan debate - 22 October

Updated to include following motion
Updated 1 November to correct voting figures for the following motion

Ely diocesan synod debated the women bishops legislation today.

The main motion, in favour of the legislation, was passed in all three houses. Here are the voting figures.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 0 0
Clergy39 6 1
Laity30 10 2

A following motion, seeking more provision for opponents was defeated with 12 votes in favour, 74 72 against and 6 abstentions. The abstentions included both bishops.

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opinion

In an article for the Church Times, now available to non-subscribers, George Pitcher offers Ten media tips for the Church.

Derek Olsen writes for the Episcopal Café about Communicating your parish ethos.

Christian Piatt asks in The Huffington Post Did Jesus Really Die for Our Sins?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 22 October 2011 at 11:00am BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Friday, 21 October 2011

St Paul's Cathedral and the protestors

Updated again Friday evening

Ed Thornton reports in the Church Times this morning: Crisis brings crowd to steps of St Paul’s
Update There has been a major update of this story, now headlined Protest means we must shut, says Dean of St Paul’s.

THE Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral appealed this week for cathedral life to “be allowed to operate as normally as possible”, after hundreds of activists, protesting against corporate greed and eco­nomic inequality, set up camp in St Paul’s Churchyard…

The Church Times also has editorial comment on the subject: Leader: Cold comfort for protesters.

The statements by the Dean and Chapter can be found here, and earlier here.

Friday afternoon update

Two further statements from the Dean of St Paul’s:

Statement from the Dean of St Paul’s (21 October)

Update Video of this statement here.

…Last night, I met with members of the Chapter to discuss some of these key issues. As the week has gone on, and in a statement we issued earlier this week, we intimated how difficult the situation was becoming.

As a result of that meeting, and reports received today from our independent Health, Safety and Fire officers, I have written an open letter to the protestors this afternoon advising them that we have no lawful alternative but to close St Paul’s Cathedral until further notice. I have here copies of the letter clearly outlining the reasons we have had to take this dramatic course of action which I will ask my colleagues to distribute.

The Health, Safety and Fire officers have pointed out that access to and from the Cathedral is seriously limited. With so many stoves and fires and lots of different types of fuel around, there is a clear fire hazard. Then there is the public health aspect which speaks for itself. The dangers relate not just to Cathedral staff and visitors but are a potential hazard to those encamped themselves.

The decision to close St Paul’s Cathedral is unprecedented in modern times and I have asked the Registrar to implement emergency procedures whereby the building remains closed but fit for purpose until such a time that we can open safely. Our 200 staff and 100 volunteers are also being informed of this decision this afternoon.
I want to say two simple things at this point.

1)We have done this with a very heavy heart, but it is simply not possible to fulfil our day to day obligations to worshippers, visitors and pilgrims in current circumstances.

2)That all of the Chapter are at one on this and recognise the complexities of the issues facing us at this time…

Open Letter from the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral

…With a heavy heart I have to tell you that St Paul’s Cathedral has to be closed today until further notice, because of the legal requirements placed upon us by fire, health and safety issues. I know you will appreciate that in taking on the burden of responsibility for the care and well being of people entering our building, we must also be able to ensure everyone’s safety and, according to those who are expert in this regard, we cannot do so at the moment. I wanted to inform you of this necessary decision before I announced it to the Press.

I am therefore appealing to you directly to recognise that a great deal had been achieved by your presence here outside St Paul’s but that, in order that we might re-open the Cathedral as speedily as possible, we ask you to withdraw peacefully. We are concerned about public safety in terms of evacuation and fire hazards and the consequent knock-on effects which this has with regards to visitors…

Guardian Peter Walker and Riazat Butt

Occupy London Stock Exchange protesters asked to leave by cathedral officials

Occupy London Stock Exchange camp refuses to leave despite cathedral plea

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

More on the South Carolina disciplinary case

Updated Thursday evening

Last week’s report is here.

Since the last update, several more developments have occurred.

On 14 October, The Living Church reported Church Attorney Recuses Herself

On 17 October, The Living Church reported Attorney J.B. Burtch Returns to Lawrence Case.

And the ACI published South Carolina: Upholding The Church’s Discipline By Upholding The Constitution.

And Anglican Curmudgeon published The Kangaroo Court Should Resign in Toto.

The next day, Preludium asked Why is the old TItle IV better than the new?

And today, the Bishop of Upper South Carolina, Andrew Waldo wrote an opinion column for The State newspaper titled Unity, diversity both necessary and possible in Episcopal Church.

Episcopalians in the Columbia-based Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina are watching with heavy hearts as our brothers and sisters in the Charleston-based Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina contend with allegations that their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, has “abandoned the communion” of the Episcopal Church.

We appreciate Bishop Dorsey Henderson’s clarification that the church’s disciplinary board, which he chairs, is merely looking to see if the charges have merit, not prosecuting Bishop Lawrence on the basis of them (“Calm urged over Lawrence inquiry,” Friday).

I consider Bishop Lawrence a friend and respected fellow-laborer in the vineyards of the Lord. I know him to be a loyal and faithful minister who seeks to raise valid and serious questions as to the theology, polity and structure of the Episcopal Church. Our church has a long history of theological diversity and respect for those with whom we disagree, and we can all benefit from the challenge of addressing these questions openly and in a spirit of mutual charity. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is too often hostile to disagreement and unwilling to engage in honest dialogue with those who have different views. Our churches are not immune from this, and all who follow a loving God have each to ask God to forgive us for any roles we may have played in that hostility over the years.

I do not intend to prejudge the matters being considered by the review board; however, it is hard for me to see how the actions complained of against Bishop Lawrence rise to the level of an intentional abandonment of the communion of this church, as is charged. I have difficulty understanding why matters that are arguably legislative and constitutional in nature should be dealt with in a disciplinary context. I await the report and yet hope the review board shares my difficulty…

Thursday evening update
ACI has published South Carolina: The Church Needs Transparency

We have considered carefully the available information related to the allegations against Bishop Mark Lawrence that are currently under review by the Disciplinary Board for Bishops. That information discloses an extended and troubling sequence of events that raises serious questions about transparency in the church…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 at 10:41pm BST | Comments (45) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

PA Supreme Court rejects Archbishop Duncan's appeal

Updated Wednesday evening

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has rejected the last appeal made by the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh (ACNA).

From the court document (PDF):


ORDER

PER CURIAM
         And now, this 17th day of October, 2011 the Petition for Allowance of Appeal is hereby DENIED.

From the diocesan website:

On October 17, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the request of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh to appeal the ruling of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

18th October, A.D. 2011
Feast of St. Luke

TO ALL CLERGY AND LAY LEADERS OF THE ANGLICAN DIOCESE:

Dearest Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

I write to you today to inform you that our appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has been rejected. We accept that the courts have not found in our favor and will, of course, comply with all court orders.

We remain committed to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Episcopal Church diocese. In light of this judgment by the courts, we will redouble that commitment to reaching a final resolution of all issues between the Episcopal Church diocese and the Anglican diocese through negotiation.

We intend to persevere in our mission, which is to be Anglican Christians transforming our world with Jesus Christ. We do this chiefly by planting congregations. As at every annual Convention since realignment, congregations are being added to our diocese both locally and across the country, for which we give thanks to God. We pray God’s continued favor on our mission, his grace towards those who remain within the Episcopal Church, and his help for our beloved Communion as we move into the challenges and opportunities of this new millennium. May the Gospel of our Lord Christ find a fresh hearing all across his Church and his world!

Faithfully your Bishop and Archbishop,

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh
Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America

Update

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued this statement: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal of Property Rulings.

n an order issued October 17, 2011, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania rejected an appeal seeking to challenge lower court rulings holding that, under the terms of the 2005 settlement of the Calvary suit, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church was the rightful trustee of diocesan-held property.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision. The issues presented to the court had been adequately reviewed and ruled on, first by the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County, then on appeal by Commonwealth Court. Each ruling consistently supported the position of the Episcopal Diocese. We hope that all litigation over these issues will now cease.

The Court’s ruling also affirms that the Episcopal Diocese holds the title to the property of a number of parishes where congregations had ceased to actively participate in the Diocese. We will continue to encourage them to return to active participation in the Diocese, and in the meantime to be good stewards of the property. This Diocese remains committed to working through these issues with each of the affected congregations.

A previous diocesan statement, which includes a link to the Commonwealth Court decision, is available here.

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Monday, 17 October 2011

Women Bishops - diocesan debate - 17 October

Update 16 November

Truro diocesan synod debated the women bishops legislation today.

The main motion, in favour of the legislation, was passed in all three houses. Here are the voting figures.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops1 0 0
Clergy27 3 1
Laity33 6 1

The following motion asking for more provision for those opposed was “decisively defeated”.

Update The following motion was the standard CEEC motion.

That this Synod
“Desires that all faithful Anglicans remain and thrive together in the Church of England; and therefore
Calls upon the House of Bishops to bring forward amendments to the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to ensure that those unable on theological grounds to accept the ministry of women bishops are able to receive episcopal oversight from a bishop with authority (i.e. ordinary jurisdiction) conferred by the Measure rather than by delegation from a Diocesan Bishop.”

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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Archbishop's Central Africa visit concluded

Additional press releases from Lambeth Palace:

Archbishop travels to Manicaland, Zimbabwe

Visit to St Augustine’s Mission in Manicaland, Zimbabwe

And about the final leg of the visit, to Zambia:

Archbishop of Canterbury arrives in Zambia

Archbishop meets President Michael Sata of Zambia

ACNS reports Good news for Zimbabwe Anglicans tempered by reports of orphan abuse.

Press reports:

ENI via Anglican Journal Zimbabwe judges rule in favour of Anglican church

Mail and Guardian Zim’s church horror: ‘Homosexuals must die’

Telegraph Aislinn Laing and Peta Thorneycroft Zimbabwe’s Anglicans in rare victory following Archbishop of Canterbury visit

And also Zambia’s president, Michael Sata, urges Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘send more missionaries’.

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Saturday, 15 October 2011

Women Bishops - diocesan debates - 15 October

Updated Saturday afternoon and evening
Updated Saturday night (including corrections to Blackburn and Norwich figures)
Updated Monday night to add Wakefield following motion
Updated Tuesday to add links to reports on Blackburn and Rochester diocesan websites. In addition the voting figures for clergy and laity in the first following motion at Rochester have been corrected to match the diocesan report.

Seven diocesan synods debated the women bishops legislation today. We will update this article as results become available.

A majority of diocesan synods have now voted in favour of the main motion, and the draft legislation can now return to General Synod.

The main motion, which all synods have to vote on by houses and without amendment, is:

That this Synod approves the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and ordination of women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon Number 30.

The usual following motion (the “CEEC motion”) seeks further provision for opponents.

That this Synod

1. Desires that all faithful Anglicans remain and thrive together in the Church of England; and therefore

2. Calls upon the House of Bishops to bring forward amendments to the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to ensure that those unable, on theological grounds, to accept the ministry of Women Bishops are able to receive episcopal oversight from a Bishop with authority (i.e. ordinary jurisdiction) conferred by the Measure rather than by delegation from a Diocesan Bishop.

1) Blackburn passed the main motion in the houses of clergy and laity (which is what matters)..

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops1 3 0
Clergy36 34 0
Laity33 30 4

The CEEC following motion was carried: 79 votes for and 55 against.

The diocese has published this report: Diocese Backs Women Bishops Proposals.

2) Carlisle passed the main motion in all three houses.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops1 0 0
Clergy30 8 0
Laity45 10 0

The CEEC following motion was defeated.

3) Norwich passed the main motion in all three houses.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops3 0 0
Clergy33 12 2
Laity31 11 0

The CEEC following motion was defeated.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops0 1 2
Clergy21 22 3
Laity17 24 1

These figures are now correct; the diocesan website originally had an error which has now been corrected.

4) Rochester passed the main motion in all three houses.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 0 0
Clergy36 12 0
Laity34 11 2

The CEEC following motion was defeated.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops0 0 2
Clergy10 31 8
Laity13 32 3

There was a second following motion

This Synod expresses the hope that the House of Bishops will bring forward proposals which will meet the legitimate needs of those opposed in conscience to the ordination of women to the episcopate, so that they may remain fully part of the Church of England

which was defeated.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops1 0 1
Clergy18 26 5
Laity20 17 10

The diocese has published a pdf file giving the voting figures both at the diocesan synod (as above) and at deanery synods.

5) St Albans passed the main motion in all three houses.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops3 0 0
Clergy43 10 0
Laity52 7 1

The CEEC following motion was defeated.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops0 3 0
Clergy6 39 3
Laity5 52 4

6) Wakefield passed the main motion in the houses of clergy and laity (which is what matters).

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops1 1 0
Clergy24 14 0
Laity23 10 2

The synod debated this following motion:

That this synod requests the general synod to debate a motion in the following form:

That this synod [i.e. the general synod] calls upon the House of Bishops, in exercise of its powers under standing order 60(b), to amend the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and ordination of women) measure in the manner proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at the revision stage for the draft measure.

This was carried in all three houses. These are the voting figures for that motion.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 0 0
Clergy20 19 0
Laity20 12 1

The diocese has published this report: Wakefield debates women Bishops.

7) Winchester passed the main motion in all three houses.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 0 0
Clergy23 21 2
Laity37 23 2

The CEEC following motion also passed with 61 votes for, 36 against and 6 abstentions.

A second following motion

The Synod requests the General Synod to amend the draft legislation to provide for the review on a periodic basis, by or on behalf of the General Synod, of its operation having specific regard to its efficacy in removing, as far as possible , within the context of the existing safeguards, the legal distinctions between the Episcopal ministry of women and the Episcopal ministry of men, as soon as possible and for a mechanism to be established for the implementation of the recommendations of each and any such review.

was defeated: 29 votes for, 51 against, and 13 abstentions.

From the diocesan website: Winchester Diocese says ‘yes’ …just!

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 15 October 2011 at 12:52pm BST | Comments (70) | TrackBack
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opinion

Jonathan Jones writes in The Guardian that Our churches are filled with hidden beauty.
“Despite the ravages of the Reformation, Britain’s churches are still full of glorious medieval art. What are the best examples in your area?”

David Lose asks in The Huffington Post What Does the Bible Really Say About Homosexuality?

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that, Unlike iPads, we are not disposable.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 15 October 2011 at 11:00am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Friday, 14 October 2011

Irish evangelicals oppose civil partnerships

The Evangelical Fellowship of Irish Clergy has released some information about the meeting earlier this week which was attended by the Bishop of Lewes.

See Fellowship declares its opposition to civil unions from the Portadown Times.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Irish Clergy (EFIC) said the civil partnership of Portadown-born Tom Gordon and New Zealander Mark Duley has made it “very difficult” for the CoI to stay united.

The Rev Trevor Johnston chaired a meeting in Belfast on Monday addressed by the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, who last year caused a furore in the Church of England when he made a highly controversial comment about women bishops.

Mr Johnston told the Portadown Times, “There are usually around 40 clergy at our EFIC meetings, but Monday’s was attended by 80 from all over Ireland, with 80 per cent of them rectors and all strongly opposed to same sex partnerships. The main purpose of the meeting was Bible study, but this issue was discussed widely and clergy from all over Ireland are opposed.

“The Bible is unequivocal throughout, and the meeting took place in a very serious mood. There was a groundswell of distress by people who do not want to see their church divided over this issue, but it will be very difficult to hold the Church of Ireland together.”

He added that the bishops’ conference in the spring and then the General Synod could be a watershed for the church, “and this crisis will be very hard to resolve”.

There are letters on this subject in this week’s Church of Ireland Gazette (scroll down).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 14 October 2011 at 4:01pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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further developments in the South Carolina case

Updated Friday evening

Following on from here, the stream of material continues. Making sense of it all is not easy.

The Diocese of South Carolina has issued this: Diocese Releases Correspondence Relating to Josephine Hicks, Church Attorney

The Living Church has published Bishop: Attorney Never on Disciplinary Board.

TitusOneNine has published a helpful index of documents published so far.

Episcopal Café has published an analysis of events, titled The game is afoot in South Carolina.

Preludium has published On this business of accession to the General Convention and What to do if you (Diocese of South Carolina) don’t like Title IV (or TEC’s “direction.”)

Anglican Curmudgeon has published Why Would Any Disciplinary Board Choose Ms. Hicks?

Friday evening update
Living Church Church Attorney Recuses Herself

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 14 October 2011 at 3:03pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Women Bishops - London diocesan debate

Updated to include partial information on the following motions

The London diocesan synod held its debate on the women bishops legislation this evening, and voted against the legislation.

The motion, which all synods have to vote on by houses and without amendment was:

That this Synod approves the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and ordination of women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon Number 30.

The voting figures were:

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 1 0
Clergy39 41 0
Laity45 37 0

For this purpose the motion is only carried if both the houses of clergy and laity vote in favour.

The diocese has published this Report from Diocesan Synod.

Two following motions were also considered, and both were rejected. When we receive the exact wording of them we will add that information.

1. Understood to be the CEEC motion voted on in other dioceses

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 1 0
Clergy37 38 0
Laity36 39 2

2. Understood to be a request to reconsider the “Archbishops’ amendment”

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 1 0
Clergy34 38 1
Laity33 41 2
Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 13 October 2011 at 9:55pm BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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more on same sex marriage in Scotland

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has now written on this subject.

See his article in the Scotsman The Most Rev David Chillingworth: A secular state should be prepared to defend religious freedom and his article on Thinking Aloud Church, state and the secular society.

…The suggestion has been made that the Scottish Government does not have a mandate to introduce legislation which is of such fundamental significance for our society. The implication is that these are “non-negotiable” areas. If the Scottish Government was proposing to legislate to enshrine in law discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, colour or race, I would publicly oppose their moral right to do so. But that is not the nature of these consultation proposals.

So what does this say about the relationship of church and state in modern society? I have often said that I am a supporter of the secular state because it sustains a proper separation between legislature, judiciary and church.

In my Irish background, I have experienced both the confessional state which was the Irish Republic in my childhood and the Northern Irish mirror image – the sabbatarian “lock up the playgrounds on Sunday” society. Neither was healthy. A secular state should defend religious freedom – but it will not make any assumptions about religious faith nor defer to it.

If, following the consultation period, the Scottish Government and parliament feel that they should legislate in this way, I believe that it is their right to do so. It is clear that there would be an “opt-out” protection for those who cannot accept this. Churches and faith groups would have to decide whether they wished to use or to stand outside the provisions of such legislation…

This has been reported also in the news columns of the Scotsman as Gay marriages backed by Episcopal Church* which is a most perverse interpretation of what the Primus has said. Which was this:

IN THE Scottish Episcopal Church, we’re thinking about our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage and other related issues. The definition of marriage set out in our Canons is that, “marriage is a physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman”. That is the position of our church. It’s a difficult issue for us – as it is for all churches and faith groups. We have among our membership people who feel passionately that change is needed – and those who feel equally strongly that we should resist any attempt to broaden society’s understanding of marriage. The consultation period is very short. Among the things we shall say will be that if – and it’s a big “if” – we were to consider changing our canonical definition of marriage, that would require a two-year process in our General Synod, the outcome of which could not be predicted with any certainty.

We haven’t got involved in public debate about this. We’ve been asked for our view and we shall give it in a considered manner – believing that the time for public debate comes later…

* The Scotsman later changed its online headline to read Episcopal Church considers changing stance on gay marriages. Which is less of a stretch.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 13 October 2011 at 11:35am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Same sex marriage in Scotland and the UK

Both the UK government and the devolved Scottish government are considering legislative changes to allow civil same-sex marriages.

This post by Adam Wagner at UK Human Rights Blog summarises the current legislative situation in both jurisdictions: Gay marriage on the way… but not quite yet.

…The Prime Minister said in his speech that “we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage.” In fact, to the annoyance of some campaigners, the consultation was announced by the Equalities Minister last month but will not begin until March of next year. According to gay news website Pink News, the Prime Minster personally intervened to ensure the law is changed “within the lifetime of this parliament“, but Liberal Conspiracy doubts whether this is now practically possible. By contrast, a Scottish consultation on gay marriage launched in September…

The Scottish Government’s consultation - which also covers the issue of civil partnership registrations taking place on religious premises in Scotland - is already in progress, see The Registration of Civil Partnerships Same Sex Marriage - A Consultation.

This consultation paper seeks views on the possibility of allowing religious ceremonies for civil partnerships and the possible introduction of same sex marriage…

…The Scottish Government is choosing to make its initial views clear at the outset of this consultation. We tend towards the view that religious ceremonies for civil partnerships should no longer be prohibited and that same sex marriage should be introduced so that same sex couples have the option of getting married if that is how they wish to demonstrate their commitment to each other. We also believe that no religious body or its celebrants should be required to carry out same sex marriages or civil partnership ceremonies…

Objections to this proposal have been voiced strongly. In particular:

Archbishop Mario Conti issues Statement on marriage

Bishop Philip Tartaglia; “same sex ‘marriage’ is neither warranted nor needed”

FC Urges Against Gay Marriage - Statement Issued by the Free Church of Scotland Commission of Assembly

And most recently, Former SNP leader calls for gay marriage referendum.

There have been objections to the objections too. Most notably from the Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, who preached this sermon last Sunday.

…It vexes me greatly to say so in public, but at such a time as this, there seems no alternative but to speak up. The behaviour of our brothers, the Roman Catholic Bishops in recent days, has been so unpleasant and so ill judged that it risks harming the good influence of the whole Christian community.

To behave as though bishops carry some kind of block vote to Holyrood, to threaten politicians and to decry those who want access to the dignity of marriage as unnatural…. to say these things seems to me to go too far.

Such comments from the leaders of the Roman Catholic church have left me feeling embarrassed as a Christian. There is a risk that all of the churches will appear to be out of touch, arrogant, conceited and rude. We don’t all have to agree but we are all called to behave charitably and there has been an absence of love in this relentlessly bitter campaign and it diminishes us all…

This led to news coverage in several places, including The Times (not available online without subscription) which ran a story with extensive quotes from the sermon under the headline Catholic views on gay marriage ‘unpleasant’.

And Channel 4 News hosted a discussion on the general topic (not specifically related to Scotland) which you can see here: Is Britain divided over the issue of gay marriage?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 3:14pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Church of Ireland sexuality row rumbles on

The Belfast Newsletter reports: CoE bishop at gay clergy row meeting.

A CONSERVATIVE Church of England bishop has attended a meeting of Church of Ireland clergy increasingly unhappy at their church’s response to a minister’s same-sex partnership.

There are few details about where Monday night’s meeting, which was first revealed by this newspaper last Thursday, was held, or how many were present.

However, the News Letter understands that the meeting included an address by Bishop Wallace Benn, a leading figure on the right of the Church of England…

The Newsletter also quotes an editorial in the forthcoming edition of the Church of Ireland Gazette. Full text of editorial below the fold.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that, as a result of this whole scenario, the Church of Ireland’s very unity is imperilled,” the editorial says.

“For that reason, it is somewhat concerning that the bishops refer to a need for yet further study and research on related biblical, theological and legal issues, because such could be a charter for years-long argumentation. We need to study such matters, but we also need to do so expeditiously.”

The editorial adds that in other Anglican churches the gay debate had seemed “interminable”. It says that the Windsor Report, which in an attempt to ease tensions led to the Anglican Covenant, had bought more time “but more time turns out to have been precisely not what was needed”.

“Now, the communion has reached breaking point and we have two primates’ meetings and a whole new Anglican church in north America. The dragging on has been because, of course, the Anglican Communion cannot legislate for the communion as a whole.

“However, the Church of Ireland can legislate for the Church of Ireland, and so a clear regulation of the issue before us is needed urgently if we are not to find ourselves in a situation resembling that of the Anglican Communion in all its woes.

“The Church of Ireland probably can contain itself for the process which the bishops have outlined, but it will be difficult.”

The Archbishop of Armagh, Alan Harper has commented further on the recent pastoral letter from the Irish bishops in his diocesan synod presidential address. See detailed report here. Text also available here.

Church of Ireland Gazette EDITORIAL 14 October 2011
now online here (scroll down)

A WAY FORWARD

The statement which the Bishops issued following their residential meeting last week and their subsequent Pastoral Letter together point a way forward in the quite alarming circumstances in which the Church of Ireland finds itself at this time (full texts, page 9; letters, page 8; report, page 16).

There has indeed been considerable disquiet in the Church, to use the Bishops’ term, following Dean Tom Gordon’s entering into a civil partnership, a decision which he has said was with his Bishop’s knowledge even before he was appointed last year to the position of Dean of Leighlin. It is not an exaggeration to say that, as a result of this whole scenario, the Church of Ireland’s very unity is imperilled. For that reason, it is somewhat concerning that the Bishops refer to a need for yet further study and research on related biblical, theological and legal issues, because such could be a charter for years-long argumentation. We need to study such matters, but we also need to do so expeditiously.

We can learn from the experience at Anglican Communion level - but will we? There, the issue has been debated, seemingly interminably, for well over a decade. The Windsor Report’s big idea, the Anglican Covenant, seems to be drifting into the mists of obscurity and irrelevance. The ‘Windsor process’ bought more time, but more time turns out to have been precisely not what was needed. Now, the Communion has reached breaking point and we have two Primates’ Meetings and a whole new Anglican Church in North America. The dragging on has been because, of course, the Anglican Communion cannot legislate for the Communion as a whole. However, the Church of Ireland can legislate for the Church of Ireland, and so a clear regulation of the issue before us is needed urgently if we are not to find ourselves in a situation resembling that of the Anglican Communion in all its woes.

The Church of Ireland probably can contain itself for the process which the Bishops have outlined, but it will be difficult. The conference which has been proposed will not be held until the spring, but this does allow time for proper preparation for the gathering which, assuming the matter proceeds to the General Synod, will in turn inform the mind of the Synod with its power to legislate on Church matters, including matters of doctrine. Given the circumstances, the best path for all concerned is to enter into this process with grace and with the clear aim of discerning, as we stressed in our 16th September editorial, the right way forward to guard the Church of Ireland in unity, truth and holiness. [ENDS]

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South Carolina bishop: more on the disciplinary process

Updated yet again Thursday afternoon

See earlier report South Carolina bishop accused of “abandonment”.

In the comments to that article, I provided links to some criticisms of what was, at the time, assumed to be the process being followed. It now appears that those assumptions were wrong. The Living Church reports:

In response to questions from The Living Church and others, the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, president of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, provided this explanation regarding accusations brought to the board against the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina.

See Bp. Henderson Explains Disciplinary Board’s Duty.

A question has arisen about the process for administration of the so-called “abandonment” canon (Title IV.16) especially as it applies to bishops. Although it has come in a couple of forms, the question might be expressed in this way: “Who initiates action when information arises which indicates that abandonment of The Episcopal Church may have occurred?”

In accordance with the canon, such proceedings are begun at the initiative of the Disciplinary Board itself (although this has not happened within memory, if ever), or when information is received by the Disciplinary Board from any credible source with standing to raise the issue. Perhaps the following is helpful.

Title IV.16 is entitled “Of Abandonment of The Episcopal Church,” and sub-section (A) is the portion thereof which relates to bishops. It designates that conduct which constitutes abandonment and specifies the process for administration of the canon when such conduct happens, or is alleged to have happened.

Title IV.17 is entitled “Of Proceedings for Bishops.” It addresses terminology applicable to Title IV.16, but the canons make clear that the process to be followed for abandonment is markedly different from that to be followed with other kinds of infractions…

This has provoked further critical comments:

ACI Title IV: Abandonment Without Offense? and Anglican Curmudgeon Bishop Henderson: It’s “Business as Usual” in the Church.

The full text of the Title IV canons can be found here (PDF).

Some more background can be found in this ENS news report from June: Disciplinary Board for Bishops formed for new Title IV canons.

Wednesday evening update

The Diocese of South Carolina has published this account of a meeting held yesterday, Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese Meet to Discuss “Serious Charges” Made Against Bishop Lawrence.

In an atmosphere of prayerful solemnity, the Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina gathered at Saint James Church, James Island, S.C. for more than two hours on Tuesday, October 12. In focus were the “serious charges” that have been made against Bishop Mark Lawrence and the diocese under the new Title IV canons.

Bishop Lawrence began by restating the diocesan vision of “Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age” and then traced the history of the current controversy in The Episcopal Church and the many obstacles they presented to pursuing our diocesan vision. He ended with the two recent diocesan conventions in which the diocese refused to be coerced into the Episcopal Church’s embrace of the new title IV canons which violate both due process and the Episcopal Church’s own constitution. Of further concern with the current allegations is that evidently this process doesn’t allow the accused to know who his accusers are…

Thursday lunchtime update

The State a newspaper in South Carolina reports Bishop urges calm over Lawrence inquiry

Retired Episcopal Bishop Dorsey F. Henderson Jr. sought Wednesday to quell tensions among S.C. Lowcountry clergy, saying the national church is not attacking its bishop, the Right Rev. Mark Lawrence.

Henderson, who heads the national Episcopal Church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops, told Lawrence Sept. 29 that the board is investigating allegations, made by churchgoers within Lawrence’s diocese, that he abandoned the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church.

But Wednesday Henderson made clear that the inquiry is in its earliest stages and in no way implies that Lawrence may have committed any wrong. Henderson said he notified Lawrence and shared all the information the board had received.

“I thought he needed to know,” said Henderson, who led the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina until his retirement in 2009. “I thought it was only fair for him to know that we had this information and that we were studying it.”

…But Henderson said, “The idea that the Episcopal Church is after Bishop Lawrence and after the diocese is incorrect. I’m going to keep the board focused and, as much as humanly possible, to stay narrowly focused on the canon and to see if that information fits the definition of abandonment.”

Thursday afternoon update

Bishop Henderson has issued a further statement which is copied in full below the fold.

Statement from Bishop Henderson:

The Role of the Disciplinary Board Regarding the Bishop of South Carolina.

Public media has recently reported that the “The Episcopal Church is alleging that Bishop Mark Lawrence has abandoned the church….” That is incorrect.

This action originated with communicants of the Bishop Lawrence’s own diocese, who submitted information to the Disciplinary Board for the House of Bishops. Those communicants requested that the information be studied in order to determine if abandonment had occurred.

The Disciplinary Board, made up of bishops, other clergy, and lay people from many dioceses across the country (none of whom are in the employ of, or under the direction of, the Episcopal Church Center), does not have the discretion to decline to study the matter.

The role of the Disciplinary Board in circumstances which may constitute abandonment is to:

1. Determine whether the actions and/or conduct included in the information submitted to it is factual; and, then,

2. Determine whether the information submitted, even if true, constitutes abandonment as defined by the Church’s canons (laws).

The Disciplinary Board is only in the earliest stages of its work and has not reached any decision regarding the credibility of the information received or whether the actions and conduct reported actually constitute abandonment. It has made no “charges” of any kind; neither has any other part or structure of The Episcopal Church.

The Disciplinary Board will, by the grace of God and with diligence, proceed methodically, carefully, prayerfully—and confidentially—to meet its canonical responsibility, including a request for, and consideration of, any and all input that Bishop Lawrence wishes to be considered. The President of the Disciplinary Board has provided Bishop Lawrence with all of the information it has received and is under consideration, and will continue to do so.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 8:44am BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Monday, 10 October 2011

Archbishop's visit to Zimbabwe - day two

Updated again

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury set to meet Robert Mugabe

Independent Williams’s ‘healing’ Zimbabwe trip starts with anti-gay protests

ZimGuardian Archbishop of Canterbury cheered in Zimbabwe

Voice of America Anglican Leader Visits Zimbabwe Amid Dispute Over Renegade Cleric

Zimbabwe Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury arrives in Zimbabwe

BBC Archbishop delivers message of hope to Zimbabwe

Reuters Archbishop of Canterbury to confront Zimbabwe’s Mugabe

Telegraph via Sydney Morning Herald Aislinn Laing Forthright archbishop takes good fight to Zimbabwe

AFP Anglican leader voices ‘concerns’ in Mugabe talks

Lambeth Palace has now issued this press release: Archbishops meet Zimbabwean President

Following their meeting with President Robert Mugabe, the Archbishops of Canterbury, Central Africa, Southern Africa and Tanzania issued the following statement at their press conference…

Full text below the fold. The accompanying Dossier of abuses committed against the Anglican Dioceses of Zimbabwe is a PDF file here. And is now also available as a normal web page here.

Subsequent press reports:

Guardian
David Smith Robert Mugabe offers Rowan Williams tea but little sympathy

Simon Tisdall If only UK politicians were as brave as Rowan Williams about Zimbabwe

Telegraph
Aislinn Laing Archbishop of Canterbury tells Robert Mugabe to act over church abuses
and
Archbishop of Canterbury confronts Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe over controversial Anglican split

New Zimbabwe Mugabe ‘on top of things’: Williams

Voice of America
Archbishop Hands Mugabe Dossier of Grievances
and
Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Meets With Anglican Leader Over Harare Church Dispute

AFP via Sydney Morning Herald Williams urges Mugabe to end attacks

Reuters Head of Anglican church confronts Zimbabwe’s Mugabe

BBC Rowan Williams hands Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe abuse file

Statement by the Archbishops of Canterbury, Central Africa, and Southern Africa and the President of the All Africa Conference of Churches the Archbishop of Tanzania

In our capacities as leaders of the Anglican Church in Africa and worldwide, we have just met President Robert Mugabe.

We come here to be in solidarity with our Anglican sisters and brothers at the invitation of the local church – the Anglican Province of Central Africa, which includes the five dioceses of Zimbabwe.

As you know this has been a time of immense trial.

Since 2007 Anglican congregations in Zimbabwe have suffered serious persecution at the hands of the police. They have been intimidated. Their churches have been closed. Properties, including schools and clinics, have been seized.

As representatives of the Anglican Communion, and with the support of ecumenical friends worldwide, we strongly and unequivocally support the efforts of ordinary Anglicans to worship in peace and to minister to the spiritual and material needs of their communities.

Today we were able to present President Mugabe with a dossier compiled by the bishops in Zimbabwe which gives a full account of the abuses to which our people and our church has been subject. We have asked, in the clearest possible terms, that the President use his powers as Head of State to put an end to all unacceptable and illegal behaviour.

We are proud of our church and our people who have suffered so much, but who continue to serve with love and with hope.

For our part we pray, and invite you to join us in praying, that the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe be allowed to carry out its mission in peace, and serve its communities with love.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 10 October 2011 at 8:28am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury in Zimbabwe

Updated frequently on Sunday as additional reports are published

The Telegraph reports Archbishop of Canterbury cheered in Zimbabwe.

Lambeth Palace has published the full text of the Archbishop’s sermon to the Anglicans in Zimbabwe.

Riazat Butt, and David Smith in Harare, write for the Guardian that Rowan Williams takes Mugabe to task in Zimbabwe sermon.

Associated Press via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a report, with numerous photos of demonstrators opposing the visit, headlined Archbishop says Christianity not about politics.

Zim Guardian has Mugabe, Archbishop of Canterbury Set for Fiery Meeting

AFP Anglican leader cheered in Zimbabwe amid Church split

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury on ‘healing’ Zimbabwe trip

Reuters Archbishop of Canterbury denounces attacks on Zimbabwe church

Telegraph Aislinn Laing Archbishop of Canterbury attacks ‘mindless and Godless’ assaults on Anglicans

Mail Online Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to Zimbabwe hit by anti-homosexual protests as Bishop brands it a ‘crusade for gays’

Press Association Williams backs Zimbabwe’s Anglicans

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 9 October 2011 at 4:27pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 8 October 2011

more on Archbishop's visit to Central Africa

Updated Sunday morning

The Sunday Telegraph has two reports:

Aislinn Laing in Harare and Jonathan Wynne-Jones Archbishop Rowan Williams warned over meeting with Mugabe

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been warned by senior church leaders that he risks handing a propaganda coup to President Robert Mugabe by seeking to meet the Zimbabwean dictator on Sunday.

Aislinn Laing Zimbabwe Church row as Archbishop of Canterbury visits: meet the child orphans who are its victims

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, arrives in Zimbabwe on Sunday in a bid to heal a growing rift in the country’s church. Aislinn Laing visited an orphanage where 80 unhappy children are among its victims.

Two other earlier reports:

Voice of America has Archbishop of Canterbury Due in Zimbabwe; No Word on Mugabe Meeting

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, was expected in Harare, Zimbabwe, this weekend for a major service Sunday at the City Sports Centre with Anglicans from the Church of the Province of Central Africa under Bishop Chad Gandiya.

Williams is expected to meet with President Robert Mugabe on Monday in what most see as a bid to end an acrimonious and at times violent rift among Zimbabwean Anglicans that started in 2007 when Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga resigned from the church saying homosexual priests and congregants had gained influence…

RadioVOP Anglican Does Not Support Homosexuality - Archbishop Of Canterbury

The Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) on Thursday said it does not condone homosexuality.
“It is reaffirmed that the CPCA position regarding homosexuality is crystal clear. In terms of Canon 22, marriage is between one man and one woman and in consequence, homosexuality is not acceptable in the CPCA which comprises Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” Reverend Clifford Dzavo, the secretary for the diocese of Harare said in a statement.

“We therefore reiterate that the CPCA does not condone homosexuality. Whatever happens in other Provinces worldwide does not affect us as we do not necessarily share the same views with them.”

Press releases from Lambeth Palace:

Archbishop Rowan arrives in Malawi

Archbishop meets President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi

Archbishop’s Malawi sermon – God’s healing and mercy are there for all

Sunday morning updates

ENI via ACO Williams, Malawi president discuss church agriculture projects

New Zimbabwe Mugabe to challenge Williams over sanctions

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will engage the visiting Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams over homosexuality and the “illegal sanctions” imposed by the West, a spokesman of the Zimbabwean leader has said.

Zim Eye Mugabe may refuse to meet Rowan Williams

President Robert Mugabe may refuse to meet Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as it emerged after more thanthree weeks waiting, Mugabe is still to respond to the former’s request for audience, amid fierce fighting between ousted Bishop Kunonga and the current head of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe, Chad Gandiya.

Without providing more details, a source in the President’s office on Friday indicated that it was still not clear President Robert would accept Williams’ meeting request.

His statement was weighed in by presidential spokesman George Charamba who said that “if ever the two are going to meet”, Mugabe and the State in Zimbabwe “have nothing to do with the goings-on in the local chapter of the Anglican Church.”

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury on ‘healing’ Zimbabwe trip

CNN Archbishop wants to meet with Mugabe over Anglican persecution allegations

AFP Mugabe wants to quiz Anglican leader on gays, sanctions

…Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba did not say if the two men would meet, but told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper that if they did speak, the 87-year-old president would challenge Williams about gays and sanctions.

“Fundamentally, he would want to know why the church of the British state, the Anglican Church, has remained so loudly silent while the people of Zimbabwe, and these people include Anglicans, are suffering from the illegal sanctions,” Charamba said.

“The second issue that the president wants this man of God to clarify is why his Anglican Church thinks homosexuality is good for us and why it should be prescribed for us.

“He thinks the Archbishop will be polite enough to point to him that portion of the Great Book (that) sanctions homosexuality and sanctions sanctions.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 October 2011 at 10:42pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Women Bishops - diocesan debates - 8 October

Updated Saturday afternoon to add the Chichester results.
Updated Saturday evening to add the Exeter results.
Updated Sunday to add more details of the Chichester debates (below the fold).

Three more diocesan synods held their debates on the women bishops legislation today.

1) At Lichfield the main motion

That this Synod approves the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and ordination of women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon Number 30.

was carried in all three houses. Here are the detailed voting figures.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops3 0 0
Clergy45 13 0
Laity46 18 2

The usual following motion (text below) was defeated.

That this Synod

1. Desires that all faithful Anglicans remain and thrive together in the Church of England; and therefore

2. Calls upon the House of Bishops to bring forward amendments to the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to ensure that those unable, on theological grounds, to accept the ministry of Women Bishops are able to receive episcopal oversight from a Bishop with authority (i.e. ordinary jurisdiction) conferred by the Measure rather than by delegation from a Diocesan Bishop.

The diocese has published this: Lichfield Diocese approves draft women bishops’ legislation.

2) At Chichester the main motion (as above) was defeated.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops0 2 0
Clergy30 35 0
Laity37 41 0

There were two following motions seeking greater provision for opponents. The first (as above) was carried by 80 votes to 52. There was also a motion as at Manchester which was carried by 87 votes to 50.

The diocese has published this: Chichester votes NO.

Alastair Cutting has sent us more details of the Chichester debates as published on the Chalice wesbite; these are copied below the fold.

3) At Exeter the main motion was carried in the houses of clergy and laity (which is what matters for this purpose), although it was defeated in the house of bishops.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops1 2
Clergy30 18
Laity45 16

The synod also passed the following motion:

That this synod request the General Synod to debate a motion in the following form:

That this synod:

1. Desires that all faithful Anglicans remain and thrive together in the Church of England and therefore

2. Requests the House of Bishops, in exercise of its powers under Standing Order 60 (b) to amend the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure so as to incorporate the amendments proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at the General Synod group of sessions in July 2010 as follows:

In clause 2 (1) leave out the words ‘way of delegation to’ and after clause 2(1) insert -

(2) The episcopal ministry referred to in subsections (1), (3) and (5) shall be exercisable by virtue of this section and shall not divest the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her functions.

Here are the voting figures.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops3 0
Clergy33 13
Laity26 23

The diocese has published this: Women in the Episcopate legislation.

The Chichester Diocesan Synod - Women in the Episcopate Debate
8 October 2011

There was a well attended meeting of the synod with over 30 speeches in the debate on the General Synod Article 8 business, the Women Bishops debate.

The Bishop of Chichester had previously asked parishes and deaneries to vote on three additional questions; and these questions were also put to the Diocesan Synod.

The ‘Chichester Questions’

1. Are you in favour of ordaining women to the episcopate in the Church of England?

2. Do you think that provision should be made for those who cannot on theological grounds accept this development?

3. Do you think that the provisions in the draft Measure are appropriate for this purpose?

Results were as follows:

Q Laity
Y
Laity
N
Laity
Abs
Clergy
Y
Clergy
N
Clergy
Abs
Bishop
Y
Bishop
N
Bishop
Abs
1 46 30 2 40 29 0 0 3 0
2 73 5 0 64 5 0 3 0 0
3 26 50 2 32 36 1 0 3 0

The main Article 8 Motion debate

After further debate, the main motion was put:

That this Synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No 30.

Results were as follows:

Q Laity
Y
Laity
N
Laity
Abs
Clergy
Y
Clergy
N
Clergy
Abs
Bishop
Y
Bishop
N
Bishop
Abs
Synod
Motion
37 41 0 30 35 0 0 2 0

The main motion was lost in all three houses. (One bishop had to leave before the ballot.)

Following motions

The Synod then first debated the CEEC motion, as proposed by the deaneries of Battle & Bexhill, Cuckfield, Dallington, Eastbourne & Hastings:

a.This Synod desires that all faithful Anglicans remain and thrive together in the Church of England and therefore:

b.Calls upon the House of Bishops to bring forward amendments to the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to ensure that those unable on theological grounds to accept the ministry of women bishops are able to receive Episcopal oversight from a bishop with authority (i.e. ordinary jurisdiction) conferred by the Measure rather than by delegation from a Diocesan Bishop.

This was passed:

For Against Abstentions
80 52 0

Then Synod debated a motion from the Dallington Deanery:

This Synod proposes that in the event of the failure of the draft measure to be accepted regarding provisions for those not accepting the ordination of women to the episcopate, then the amendment 514 made by the Archbishops to the General Synod of Saturday 10th July 2010 be reconsidered as a motion to be voted upon by General Synod

There was an amendment, based on the Manchester Diocesan Following Motion:

That this Synod [ie the Diocesan Synod] request the General Synod to debate a motion in the following form:

That this Synod [ie the General Synod] call upon the House of Bishops, in exercise of its powers under standing order 60(b), to amend the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and ordination of women) measure in the manner proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at the revision stage for the draft measure.

This amendment was passed:

For Against Abstentions
66 63 0

And then the amended Dallington Deanery Following Motion was passed:

For Against Abstentions
87 50 0
Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 8 October 2011 at 4:22pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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opinion

Laura Brosnan asks in The Guardian How can it be fair to say I can’t be saved by God if I’m gay?
“Christian friends rejected me when I came out to them, citing Leviticus. But my faith comes from the love of God, not the Bible.”

Riazat Butt writes in The Guardian about UK chaplains in Afghanistan: ordinary priests with an extraordinary flock.
“With their camouflage Bibles and combat crosses, the forces’ 278 chaplains are outsiders in the church and the military.”

Martin L Smith writes for the Daily Episcopalian about Money, might and the name of God.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 8 October 2011 at 11:00am BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Friday, 7 October 2011

Church of Ireland press reports on sexuality conference plan

The Irish Times in Dublin reports: C of I planning conference on sexuality for early 2012

A MAJOR conference on sexuality is being planned by the Church of Ireland for next spring and a pastoral letter will be issued by its archbishops and bishops in the next few days. The move follows a three-day meeting of the church’s House of Bishops this week.

It was precipitated by disclosure early last month that the Dean of Leighlin (Carlow) Rev Tom Gordon and his same-sex partner of 20 years had been married in a civil ceremony at a registry office last July. Formerly a lecturer at the Church of Ireland theological institute in Dublin and a co-ordinator of religious programmes at RTÉ, he was installed as Dean of Leighlin last year…

The Belfast News Letter reports: Archbishop had notice of cleric’s gay union plan

…Asked whether when he was first told of the same-sex union he realised that it would be a very difficult issue for the Church, the archbishop says: “Of course, of course.”

He adds: “There was nothing more that I could do. The civil partnership legislation is a freedom that he has and, technically, it’s not just not my diocese, it’s also not my province, it’s in the province of Dublin.

“But obviously then the urgent matter was to try and get an opportunity to begin to grapple with the issues as they have now presented themselves and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

So has he been surprised by the vocal opposition from evangelical and traditional Anglicans, many of them in Northern Ireland?

“I’m not surprised that it’s vocal,” he says. “I think probably the extent to which it has been sustained is interesting but this is a free country; this is a church which believes in people having the right to express themselves freely and I’ll defend that right if it is necessary to defend it.”

Asked whether the Church has a position on whether same-sex activity is sinful or normal, the archbishop says: “Sinful and normal are not alternatives. And so obviously, as you perfectly well know, there are different views within the Church as to whether or not a committed same-sex relationship is sinful.

“There has been a traditional view which has in effect not accepted the appropriateness of sexual relations between same-gender people. That is the traditional view.

“That view had come under question and that is where we find ourselves now and that’s why there’s a debate across the communion and that’s why we’ve got the present situation as it affects the Church of Ireland.

“The Church itself hasn’t thoroughly debated these new developments and the implications of these new developments. “That’s why it is necessary, it seems to me and to my fellow bishops, to put in train a way for the Church to address those matters.”

And earlier Church summit to address gay tensions

…last night the News Letter learned that disillusioned conservative and evangelical members of the Church of Ireland are planning their own meeting next week.

The meeting, to be held in Northern Ireland on Monday, is to be addressed by a visiting bishop from outside Ireland, as some parishes become increasingly unhappy at the Irish bishops’ leadership…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 7 October 2011 at 10:51am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Central Africa

Updated Friday afternoon
additional items below the fold

Official press release issued Wednesday:

Lambeth Palace Archbishop to pay a pastoral visit to the Church of the Province of Central Africa with map:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams is today embarking on a week-long pastoral visit to the Church in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia at the invitation of the Archbishop of the Province of Central Africa, the Rt Revd Albert Chama. During the course of the week Dr Williams will meet with bishops, clergy and parishioners to celebrate the life and ministry of the Anglican Church in the region…

British press reports:

Riazat Butt Guardian Rowan Williams seeks meeting with Robert Mugabe

…The Foreign Office, attempting to quash speculation that Williams is engaging in a form of freelance diplomacy, said that the archbishop’s visit was purely as head of the Anglican church.

A spokesman told the Guardian: “He is not a representative of the government and his proposed meeting with Mugabe in no way reflects a change of government policy.

“The archbishops of Zambia, Southern Africa and Tanzania are also part of the delegation of senior Anglican leaders visiting Zimbabwe.

“It is not for us to comment on the appropriateness of the archbishop’s visit, which is in a pastoral and not a political capacity.”

The Foreign Office said the situation of Anglicans in Zimbabwe had worsened in recent months and as head of the church, Williams’s “desire to support them is understandable”.

The UK ambassador to Harare discussed the visit with the archbishop when they met in London in July, the FCO said, adding that the two will meet again during the visit and that British officials will “continue to offer logistical support”…

Aislinn Laing Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury to meet Mugabe amid Anglican rift

…Chad Gandiya, the Anglican-appointed Bishop of Harare, said Dr Rowan Williams was “very likely” to meet Mr Mugabe on Monday, with a time and place yet to be confirmed.
“With these things it is impossible to say for sure, but it seems that the Archbishop has been granted an audience with the president,” he said…

African press reports:

ZimOnline Williams visit for solidarity: church

…When Kunonga and former Manicaland bishop Elson Jakazi revolted against the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), the supreme authority of the Anglican church in the region, they claimed they were doing so because the mother church supported ordination of gay priests.

However this is not true as the Anglican Church in Africa is largely conservative and has strongly opposed ordination of gay priests.

Kunonga and Gandiya were excommunicated in 2008. A staunch supporter of Mugabe, who tried to use the pulpit to defend the Zimbabwean leader’s controversial policies, Kunonga was excommunicated together with several priests and other church leaders who backed his revolt against the CPCA…

The Zimbabwean Archbishop to pay a pastoral visit to Central Africa

And also Coltart intervenes in Anglican saga with a great cartoon:

Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart has ordered Mash East Provincial Education Director to produce a detailed report of school children and teachers who were evicted by ex-communicated Anglican church leader Nolbert Kunonga in Mrewa.

I have instructed the Mashonaland East Provincial Education Director to prepare a report detailing what happened to the teachers, headmasters and children. I got a very disturbing report that teachers were physically beaten up. This is very disturbing as it affects lives of school children,” said Coltart in an interview this week.

Kunonga evicted headmasters, teachers and priests for allegedly aligning themselves with the diocese of his arch-rival, Chad Gandiya.

“I have said time and again that politics should stay out of schools. What is happening in the Anglican Church is not religious – it is politics,” Coltart said.

Church of England Newspaper George Conger Dr. Kunonga attacks Canterbury on eve of Zimbabwe visit

Church Times Williams to confront Kunonga

New York Times Anglican Leader to Seek Meeting With Mugabe

Reuters Archbishop of Canterbury to press Mugabe on persecution

ENI via ENS Archbishop of Canterbury to discuss key issues in Africa

Christian Today Archbishop hopes to meet Mugabe in Zimbabwe

…Dr Rowan Williams arrived in Malawi on Thursday afternoon, where he was greeted by Archbishop Albert Chama and Bishop James Tengatenga.

His visit coincides with a service of celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the Anglican Church in Malawi. His first stop in the country was the shrine of Bishop Charles Mackenzie in St Paul’s Cathedral, Blantyre. The Scot was the first missionary bishop in Nyasaland – today’s Malawi.

Speaking to the media shortly after his arrival, Dr Williams said: “The Church today in this country still plays a deeply significant part in community development, in education, in grassroots agricultural development, in the empowerment of women and young people – I am here to give thanks to God, with you, for all that work.

“I am here to pray with you for a Church that will continue responding to God’s call in that way in the future, and to learn from what you do as I go around and visit various projects in different parts of the country.”

Maravi Post Archbishop Williams to raise persecution issues with Mugabe

The worldwide spiritual leader of the Anglican church Dr. Rowan Williams said on Thursday he will raise the issue of his church’s harassment and persecution in Zimbabwe with Pres Robert Mugabe.

“My purpose of the visit is not directly political but pastoral, but of course I should be raising with President Mugabe issues on harassment and persecution of our churches in Zimbabwe,” the Archbishop of Canterbury told a news conference when he arrived in Malawi at the start of a three-nation pastoral visit.

“What difference that will make, I don’t know, but I want to raise those issues on the table,” he added…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 10:31pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Suffragan Bishop of Doncaster

The Venerable Peter Burrows, Archdeacon of Leeds, is to be the next Suffragan Bishop of Doncaster in the Diocese of Sheffield.

No 10 announcement

Diocesan announcement

He will be consecrated as a Bishop in York Minster on 2 February, and take up his post shortly afterwards.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 10:32am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

South Carolina bishop accused of "abandonment"

A complaint has been made, by some members of his diocese, that the Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence has “abandoned” The Episcopal Church.

See these news reports:

Episcopal News Service Mary Frances Schjonberg South Carolina bishop investigated on charges he has abandoned the Episcopal Church

…The allegations are being investigated by the church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops. Communicants in the Diocese of South Carolina filed the information with the board, according to the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, board president. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the House of Bishops were not involved in making the claims, Henderson said in a fact sheet released by the church’s Office of Public Affairs.

“Therefore, the matter is not being handled by the Presiding Bishop’s office or anyone in the employ of the Episcopal Church Center,” Henderson said in the fact sheet.

Henderson said he has been in contact with Lawrence, whose ministry has not been restricted during this phase of the process.

Under Title IV, Canon 16, a bishop is deemed to have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church by an open renunciation of the doctrine, discipline or worship of the church; by formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the church; or by exercising episcopal acts in and for a religious body other than the church or another church in communion with the church…

Living Church Doug LeBlanc Board Hears Case against Bp. Lawrence

The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, is being investigated on accusations of abandoning the Episcopal Church, and his diocese has released a 63-page document of the evidence brought against him.

Lawrence and the Very Rev. Paul C. Fuener, president of the diocese’s standing committee wrote in a letter to members of the diocese that on Sept. 29 the bishop “received communication from the President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops that ‘serious charges’ have been made under Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church. … Since several of these allegations also include actions taken by the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, after sustained prayer and discernment, it has seemed appropriate to both the Bishop and the Standing Committee to make these allegations available to the members of the Diocese.”

See these documents:

  • Text of memo released by Dorsey Henderson, retired Bishop of Upper South Carolina, president of the 18-member Title IV Disciplinary Board copied below the fold.

From Bishop Dorsey Henderson President of the Title IV Disciplinary Board of the Episcopal Church
Concerning the Diocese of South Carolina:

• In the matter concerning the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, information is being reviewed by the Title IV Disciplinary Board. Bishop Dorsey Henderson is President of the Title IV Disciplinary Board.

• Information was presented from communicants within the Diocese of South Carolina.

• The information was not brought forward by the Presiding Bishop’s office, or by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. Therefore, the matter is not being handled by the Presiding Bishop’s office or anyone in the employ of the Episcopal Church Center.

• All information has been presented to the Disciplinary Board under the Episcopal Church Title IV disciplinary canons (laws of the church).

• In situations as this, the “church attorney” is an attorney who is retained by the Disciplinary Board to investigate cases brought to the Disciplinary Board. The “church attorney” is not the chancellor to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

• As a matter of law and a matter of respect to those involved, the Disciplinary Board operates confidentially and will continue to do so. As such, it would not be appropriate to discuss the details of the case in public.

• Bishop Henderson has been in conversation with Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina.

• The Disciplinary Board is comprised of Episcopal Church bishops, clergy and laity.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 10:57pm BST | Comments (50) | TrackBack
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Church of Ireland statement on human sexuality

A Statement From The Archbishops And Bishops Of The Church Of Ireland.

We met over three days in an atmosphere of prayer and worship to reflect on current disquiet in the Church caused by disagreements on the matter of human sexuality. We acknowledge that this tension is a cause of distress to many.

Our discussions were frank and careful and, at times, painful. We committed ourselves to listen carefully to one another and speak openly about our differences within the context of a variety of reactions within the Church. Strengthened by our honest interchange of views, we corporately agreed a way forward.

A pastoral letter to the Church will be issued through the Clergy in the next few days. It will highlight key themes and outline a process by which the Church may move forward. This will involve a major conference in Spring 2012 to which members of the General Synod and others will be invited. The conference will provide an important opportunity to learn from and listen to one another as the Church strives to discern the mind of Christ.

As Bishops we commit ourselves to work together on these issues. In addition, we envisage that further study and research on biblical, theological and legal issues will be required.

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland

  • The Most Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh
  • The Most Revd Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin & Glendalough
  • The Most Revd Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath & Kildare
  • The Rt Revd Harold Miller, Bishop of Down & Dromore
  • The Rt Revd Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross
  • The Rt Revd Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh
  • The Rt Revd Ken Good, Bishop of Derry & Raphoe
  • The Rt Revd Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel & Ossory
  • The Rt Revd Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor
  • The Rt Revd Trevor Williams, Bishop of Limerick & Killaloe
  • The Rt Revd Patrick Rooke, Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry
  • The Rt Revd John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 6:18pm BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Sydney Anglicans: more reactions to Muriel Porter's book

We first reported on Sydney Anglicans and the threat to world Anglicanism at the end of August. Now here’s an update.

The coverage at ABC in Australia in response to the original excerpt from the book continued: in addition to the article Serious flaws in Muriel Porter’s misguided polemic by Mark Thompson previously linked, there was also another one by Michael Jensen, Are Sydney Anglicans actually Anglicans? and another by Peter Kurti It’s Anglicanism, Jim, but not as we know it.

Later, Bruce Kaye wrote about all this in Terms of engagement in Anglican war of words.

Now, Anglican Media Melbourne has published two articles: a news report on the book launch by Roland Ashby Sydney’s ‘harsh sectarianism’ a threat to church and a review of the book by Alan Nichols Exposing the agenda of the Sydney Diocese.

And, in England, John Richardson has written a review for New Directions which can be read here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 8:55am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 1 October 2011

Women Bishops - diocesan debates

Updated Saturday night to add the Peterborough results.

Two more diocesan synods held their debates on the women bishops legislation today.

1) At Ripon and Leeds the motion

That this Synod approve the proposal embodied in the draft Bishops and Prietsts (Consecreation and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No 30.

was carried overwhelmingly in all three houses. Here are the detailed voting figures.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 0 0
Clergy42 3 0
Laity30 4 2

A ‘following’ motion calling for stronger legal provision for alternative male bishops to be set up by statute rather than a code of practice was debated but was defeated by 70 votes to 12.

The diocese has issued this press release: Overwhelming vote for women bishops.

2) At Peterborough the main motion (in favour of the legislation) was carried in all three houses with these voting figures.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops1 0 2
Clergy37 10 2
Laity30 14 5

The following motion, seeking more provision for opponents, was defeated in all three houses:

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops0 1 2
Clergy9 35 3
Laity20 27 2
Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 1 October 2011 at 5:20pm BST | Comments (45) | TrackBack
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opinion for Michaelmas

At Michaelmas Scott Gunn writes about Angels: setting the record straight.

Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian: Creationism explained.
“You can believe in a Creator without being a ‘scientific creationist’. The distinction is important and needs preserving.”

Alom Shaha writes for The Guardian that Faster than light story highlights the difference between science and religion.
“‘Belief’ means something different to scientists and the faithful … we’re open to the idea Einstein may have been wrong.”

Giles Fraser writes in The Church Times that we should Examine the inequalities of a feral society.

Jaweed Kaleem reports in The Huffington Post on a survey: [American] Readers Prefer Literal Bible Translations Over Common English, New Survey Shows.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 1 October 2011 at 11:00am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion