Wednesday, 31 October 2012

GAFCON supports South Carolina

Following on from here,

GAFCON Primates Write in Support of Bishop Lawrence

…During our meeting last week in Dar es Salaam we took time to pray for you and the clergy and people of the Diocese of South Carolina. We are encouraged by your faithfulness to the Bible and rejoice in your clear stand for the Gospel.

We are grieved, however, by the attitude and actions of the leadership of The Episcopal Church and their efforts to demand canonical obedience through unjust means to their ungodly agenda. As we have made clear in the Jerusalem Declaration we reject their authority and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.

Please know that we continue to recognize you as a faithful Anglican bishop and the Diocese of South Carolina as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church….

and in this October Pastoral Letter there was an express mention of South Carolina:

…As a result of the increased aggressiveness of the revisionists there are now those in every province and beyond who wish to stand with us and who need our help to stand for Christ: in Recife (Brazil), in South Carolina, in the Church of Scotland, in Ireland, in England, in Australia and many more. We received reports from various FCA affiliates and rejoice in their faithful witness in the face of tremendous pressure and were delighted to receive an application for the establishment of an FCA affiliate in Australia.

We were also reminded of the need for prayer for those who will gather in Auckland, New Zealand, for the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. In particular we prayed that they will avoid compromise and have the courage to declare boldly the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is good news for all people at all times and in all cultures…

And there was this letter from the UK.

A group called South Carolina Episcopalians has a different take on events. See for example, this Frequently Asked Questions page.

The Living Church has just published this article by Mark McCall titled Dumbing Abandonment Down. This needs to be read in full, but here’s an excerpt:

…To step back from the canonical fine print, the larger question is whether South Carolina intended to leave the Episcopal Church by these acts. The answer quite obviously is no. It is obvious for three reasons. First, even the disciplinary board never claims that the diocese either withdrew or attempted to withdraw from the Episcopal Church by these actions. It claims only that the modification of the accession clause violated the Episcopal Church’s Constitution. But South Carolina’s legal counsel correctly advised the convention before it voted on these resolutions that seven dioceses have no accession clause at all and another 15, like South Carolina after the 2010 vote, accede only to the Constitution.

Second, the advocates of the resolutions, including Bishop Lawrence, said explicitly on the floor of the convention that “we are not deciding to leave the national church by passing these; in no way are we deciding that” (the Very Rev. John B. Burwell) and “we are called to resist what many of us believe is a self-destructive trajectory within the Episcopal Church; and to resist until it is no longer possible” (Bishop Lawrence).

Third, South Carolina has continued to participate in the life of the Episcopal Church since these resolutions were passed two years ago, including participating in the House of Bishops and General Convention. It is puzzling how bishops who sat next to Bishop Lawrence at General Convention in July could then vote in September that he had abandoned the church back in 2010…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 at 4:08pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Bishop of Ebbsfleet moves to Fulham

The Right Reverend Jonathan Baker the current Bishop of Ebbsfleet (one of the two provincial episcopal visitors in the Canterbury province) is to become the Bishop of Fulham, a suffragan see in the Diocese of London, and which has customarily had a similar role to that of a PEV.

10 Downing Street: Suffragan See of Fulham

Diocese of London: New Bishop of Fulham announced

Lambeth Palace has published: Archbishop welcomes appointment of new Bishop of Fulham

…A process of consultation to identify Bishop Baker’s successor as Bishop of Ebbsfleet will begin within the next few weeks, which will be completed by the next Archbishop.

Update
Forward in Faith has this announcement.

Earlier this month it was announced that the new Bishop of Whitby (a suffragan see in the Diocese of York, which also in recent years has been held by someone opposed to the ordination of women) will be The Reverend Philip North.

10 Downing Street: Suffragan See of Whitby

Diocese of York: New Bishop of Whitby

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Monday, 29 October 2012

Towards a new diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales

We reported last month that the Dioceses Commission was to proceed with its plans to amalgamate the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield.

The Dioceses Commission has today released details of its draft scheme and these are summarised in the press release which is copied below. The full dream scheme and supporting documents are available here.

Towards a new diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales
29 October 2012

Dioceses Commission announces details of draft scheme

The Dioceses Commission has today released details of its draft scheme to reorganise Church of England structures in West Yorkshire and the Dales. The overall proposal, approved last month, is to replace the existing three dioceses and create a new single one. Today’s report explains in more detail how, if approved, that would work.

The draft scheme was drawn up after consultation across the three dioceses; Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield. The Commission concluded from this that a new single diocese would be the best way to meet the challenges and opportunities of the region.

The scheme, to be voted on by each diocesan synod in March, provides a legal framework which would enable the following to happen:

Creating one new diocese of Leeds, also to be known as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.

Appointing the Bishop of Leeds in overall charge of the new diocese (the bishop will also be area bishop for Leeds)

Having bishops in each of the five areas (Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield), dedicated to the parishes in their area and therefore more closely in touch.
Retaining the cathedrals on a co-equal basis. Any possible future changes in staffing at the discretion of the diocesan bishop.

Ensuring that the new Bishop of Leeds has permission if needed, to designate Leeds Parish Church (now known as Leeds Minster) as a pro-cathedral

Providing a framework for the new diocese to decide its own organisational structure and ways of working. The Commission anticipates that this will allow the new diocese to make savings that it can reinvest in mission

If approved the Commission recognises the importance of having a Bishop of Leeds in place as soon as possible (which is a matter for the Crown Nominations Commission chaired by the Archbishop of York), to provide the necessary leadership for the new diocese. Once overall timings are approved by Archbishop of York, detailed matters will be for the new diocese itself to resolve

A few parishes will come under neighbouring dioceses and therefore be outside the new diocese: but the day to day life and worship of those churches will not be affected (see Annex C of report).

Professor Michael Clarke chair of the Commission, said “The main concern of the Commission has always been about how to best resource mission in the area and our consultation has shown that a single scheme is the best way forward. We hope that the Diocesan Synods will approve the scheme and take up the challenge of developing their vision for the new diocese. This is a once in a generation opportunity which we believe must not be lost.”

Read the pastoral letter for parishes

The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, said: “I welcome this scheme for a new diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales. A single, larger diocese would help the Church of England thrive and meet the challenges of the 21st century in this part of Yorkshire. The smaller episcopal areas would bring a greater sense of belonging and local identity, and the day-to-day life of the parishes would be strengthened by increased strategic resourcing; for example, we’d all have access to a greater range of expertise and experience. I am convinced we would be more than the sum of our parts.
“This is an unprecedented and imaginative move on the part of the Church of England and we have the opportunity locally to create and shape the detail in order that the church can serve the region in the best way possible.”

The Bishop of Ripon & Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, said: “”I very much welcome the way the Commission has emphasised the mission opportunities which the new diocese will present. I am particularly pleased that the parishes of the city of Leeds will come together in a single episcopal area as this will enhance our ministry to the whole city. I also believe that the new northern archdeaconry will have a great opportunity to concentrate on the opportunities and challenges with which the rural church now engages. I look forward to the discussions leading up to the Synod vote in March and to a wide debate on the mission opportunities with which we are presented.”

The Bishop of Wakefield the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, said: “The publication of this report ends the uncertainty about the precise recommendations of the Commission and we are very grateful for that. We now look forward to a lively and informed debate within all three dioceses as we prepare for the final vote on these proposals.”

There are notes to the press release below the fold.

Notes

1. Read all the documents

2. The Dioceses Commission published a draft scheme to dissolve the West Yorkshire dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield on 1 November 2010. This followed extensive consultation within the dioceses involved prior to that stage. The statutory six month consultation period on the draft scheme ended on 30 April 2012. Full details of the proposals can be found at http://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/dioceses-commission/yorkshire.aspx

3. In June 2012 the Commission decided to proceed with a scheme on the basis that the details would be worked out over the summer. Having decided that there would be a scheme, the Commission formally decided at the end of September 2012 that it would embrace all three dioceses. The documentation now issued fleshes out that decision.

4. The Commission’s scheme and its report on it will be submitted to members of the Diocesan Synods of the dioceses affected, so that the Synods can then decide whether or not to support the Commission’s proposals. That decision needs to be made by the end of March next year, with the intention that the General Synod would be invited to debate the scheme in July. The earliest any of the proposals could be implemented would be in the autumn of 2013.

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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Conciliation sought for bishops involved in property disputes

There is an article for Episcopal News Service which reports a development for which there is as yet no official statement at all from The Episcopal Church: Reference panel recommends conciliation with 9 bishops.

An Episcopal Church reference panel has apparently recommended seeking “conciliation” with nine bishops (five active and four retired) after two complaints were filed earlier this year about their involvement in property litigation in two dioceses.

According to information circulating on some blogs, the reference panel unanimously decided that the complaints would proceed with conciliation pursuant to Canon IV.10 of the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons.

Conciliation, according to the canon, calls for seeking a resolution “which promotes healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among the complainant, respondent, affected community, other persons and the church.”

An earlier ENS report in July by Mary Frances Schjonberg was headlined Disciplinary process set to begin on complaints against nine bishops.

The more recent article summarises the complaints thus:

In one instance, the complaint concerns the fact that seven bishops endorsed an amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief prepared by the Anglican Communion Institute, Inc. in the pending appeal of a court ruling involving the Diocese of Fort Worth and the bishop, clergy and laity who broke away from that diocese in November 2008.

The brief objects to the trial court’s ruling that told the dissidents to return “all property, as well as control of the diocesan corporation” to the Episcopal leaders of the diocese.

Those named in the Fort Worth complaint are retired Diocese of Texas Bishop Maurice M. Benitez, retired Diocese of Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe, Diocese of Dallas Bishop Suffragan Paul E. Lambert, Diocese of Albany Bishop William H. Love, Diocese of Western Louisiana Bishop D. Bruce MacPherson, Diocese of Springfield Bishop Daniel H. Martins, and Diocese of Dallas Bishop James M. Stanton.

MacPherson is also named in the other complaint, along with retired Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Edward L. Salmon, Jr. and retired Diocese of Springfield Bishop Peter H. Beckwith. Matthews e-mailed them to say that a complaint has been received against them because they signed affidavits opposing to a motion for summary judgment made by representatives of the Diocese of Quincy and the Episcopal Church in the fall of 2011 to secure diocesan financial assets from a group that broke from the diocese in November 2008.

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Good news for Zimbabwe Anglicans

USPG reports Zimbabwe court has good news for Anglicans.

Anglicans in Zimbabwe are celebrating a favourable court ruling that will give back the legal ownership of church properties.

Ex-communicated bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga and his colleagues have taken control of Anglican properties in the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland, forcing Anglican congregations to worship in the open air or in borrowed or rented buildings.

But, today, Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court ruled that properties in Manicaland should be returned to the Anglican Church. And a decision on Harare will be made in three months…

And Bishop Chad Gandiya sent the following message:

Warm greetings from very hot Harare! I want to thank you all very much for your prayers.
Our Supreme Court hearing took place this morning (from 9.30am to close to 13pm), and finished all the matters.
Most of the Kunonga appeals including that of Manicaland [claims on Anglican property in the Diocese of Manicaland], were thrown out. So, for Manicaland, we go back to Justice Bhunu’s judgement, which was in our favour (congratulations to Bishop Julius Makoni of Manicaland!).
The Harare matter was heard and the judges reserved judgement. They will notify us in due course (within three months I am told).
I am very pleased that it’s over so quickly. It went very well and we are happy the way it went.
This does not mean for you stop praying. Please continue to pray as the judges write down their judgement.
The end is in sight now. Praise God!’

Other news reports:

ZimEye History as Bishop Kunonga loses multiple High Court cases

SW Radio Africa via AllAfrica Zimbabwe: Court Rejects Kunonga Appeals in Anglican Property Row

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More about the Diocese of South Carolina

See our recent reports, here, here, and here.

In the past week, there have been these developments:

The diocese has published this FAQs About the Assault on the Diocese of South Carolina, also available as a PDF.

GlobalSouthAnglican published a Letter from the Global South Primates Steering Committeee to Bishop Mark Lawrence.

This is also reported by ENS as Two primates write letter in support of South Carolina bishop.

ACNA published An Open Word of Encouragement to the Bishops, Clergy and People of the Diocese of South Carolina.

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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Anglican Consultative Council opens in Auckland

Updated 30 October

The Anglican Consultative Council is currently meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. That link leads to all the official press releases, podcasts, videos, and photographs from the Anglican Communion News Service.

ACC welcome: Once in a lifetime event

More material is available here.

Episcopal News Service also has extensive coverage: for example Consultative Council gets challenging welcome from New Zealanders.

Earlier the Standing Committee met, and issued this bulletin.

Updates
The agenda for the meeting can be found as a PDF here.

Audio of the press conference held on 29 October is here.

Opening speech by the Secretary General is reported here. There is some discussion in that of who is attending and the full list of members (and alternates where attending) is over here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 27 October 2012 at 11:19pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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opinion

Graham Kings writes for Fulcrum about Jewel’s Gem: Reflections on the 450th Anniversary of Bishop John Jewel’s Apologia.

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes asks What is Christian Feminism?

Nelson Jones in the New Statesman about What the church owes to secular feminism.

Giles Fraser writes in The guardian that Confusion may cause us anxiety, but it is a rational reaction to life’s mysteries.

Savi Hensman has written a paper on the Journey towards acceptance: theologians and same-sex love for Ekklesia.

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Friday, 26 October 2012

the meaning of "respect"

One of the General Synod papers issued today is GS 1708-09ZZZ which describes how the House of Bishops reconsidered clause 5(1)(c) in the women bishops legislation. It also includes the following legal advice on the meaning of the amendment to clause 5(1)(c) (which was the fourth one they considered) actually adopted by the House.

Legal advice given to the House of Bishops on the fourth of the proposed amendments to clause 5(1)(c)

1. The amendment would substitute the following for the present clause 5(1)(c):

(c) the selection of male bishops and male priests in a manner which respects the grounds on which parochial church councils issue Letters of Request under section 3,”.

2. The effect of the amendment would not merely be to require that guidance be given on the issue of the selection of male bishops and male priests: like some of the other possible amendments, it would impose a requirement as to the end to which that guidance is directed – in this case, that the selection of male bishops and male priests be such as to respect the grounds on which PCCs issue Letters of Request under the Measure.

3. The effect of the use of the word ‘respect’ in that context is to require the Code of Practice to give guidance to the effect that, in selecting a male bishop or male priest, the person(s) making the selection would need to seek to address, or accommodate, the grounds on which a PCC has issued its Letter of Request. They could not simply fail to give effect to those grounds at all, even if they considered that there were cogent grounds for doing so.

4. The effect of the use of the word ‘respect’ in that regard can be helpfully contrasted with the effect of other expressions which have been canvassed in discussion of possible amendments:

  • Guidance under which those making the selection were to ‘respect’ the relevant grounds of theological conviction would have a less prescriptive effect than guidance under which they were to select a male bishop or priest in a manner ‘consistent with’ such grounds: in the latter case, they would need to select a bishop the selection of whom would be compatible with those grounds.
  • Guidance under which those making the selection were to ‘respect’ the relevant grounds of theological conviction would have a more prescriptive effect than guidance under which those making the selection were to ‘take account of’ or ‘have regard to’ such grounds: in either of the latter cases, whilst those making the selection would have to take the grounds of conviction into account, they could nonetheless lawfully select a male bishop or priest the selection of whom would be incompatible with those grounds provided they had ‘cogent reasons’ for making that selection.

5. The analysis set out above is reflected in the illustrative draft wording that has been produced to show what the Code of Practice might say about the selection of male bishops were this amendment to be made to the Measure: it states that “In making the selection of the bishop who is to exercise episcopal ministry by delegation the diocesan bishop should seek to accommodate [my emphasis] the parish’s concerns relating to holy orders and the exercise of ordained ministry of women so far as those matters are relevant to the grounds of theological conviction as to the consecration and ordination of women on which the PCC issued its Letter of Request.

6. It would be open to the House, if it wished to do so, to include more detailed guidance in the Code as to what would be involved in order to ‘respect’ the grounds on which a PCC had issued its Letter of Request.

7. As to the use in the amendment of the word ‘grounds’, the grounds in question are those on which PCCs issue Letters of Request under clause 3 of the Measure – ie ‘grounds of theological conviction’. By necessary implication those grounds are limited to grounds as to the consecration or ordination of women. (It is implicit in clause 3 that, by allowing a parish to ask for a male bishop or priest, a PCC is allowed - and only allowed - to issue a Letter of Request on grounds of theological conviction as to the consecration or ordination of women.)

8. Thus the guidance required to be given by the amendment would have to be limited accordingly – that is, it would have to make it clear that the grounds which the selection of male bishops are to ‘respect’ were limited to grounds of theological conviction as to the consecration or ordination of women. The illustrative draft wording that has been produced to show what the Code of Practice might say about the selection of male bishops were this amendment to be made to the Measure reflects that position.

Stephen Slack
11th September 2012

Chief Legal Adviser
The Legal Office
Church House
Westminster

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Women Bishops - what happens after November

The papers sent to General Synod members today include GS Misc 1034: Consecration of Women to the Episcopate: Future Process. In it the Secretary General outlines what will happen after the debates next month on the legislation to allow women to be bishops; he considers both the cases of the Measure receiving final approval and being defeated. I have copied this below the fold.

The paper also includes a note, written by the Legal Office, of the stages required to bring the legislation into effect once it has received final approval from General Synod.

GS Misc 1034

GENERAL SYNOD
Consecration of Women to the Episcopate: Future Process
Note from the Secretary General

1. With the agreement of the Business Committee I issued in January 2012 (as GS Misc 1012) a description of the remaining stages of the legislative process and a possible timeline. This note provides an updated version.

2. On 20 November the draft Measure and draft Amending Canon are due to be considered at the Final Approval stage. For the draft Measure to pass, two-thirds majorities of those present and voting (abstentions not counting for this purpose) are required in each of the three houses. The Final Approval of the Amending Canon requires the same majority. The motion for its Final Approval will be moved only if the Measure itself has been approved, as the Measure contains the statutory authority for the principal provision made by the Canon.

3. If the Measure is rejected the effect of Standing Order 61(d) is that it cannot be considered again on the First Consideration Stage in the same form until a new Synod comes into being unless the Presidents, the Prolocutors and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the House of Laity give permission for such a motion to be moved and make a report in writing to the Synod setting out a summary of the case for reconsideration and their reasons for giving such permission.

4. If the Measure is rejected on 20 November it will, in the first instance, be for the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council to consider how best to test the mind of the General Synod on what should happen next. In addition there are Diocesan Synod Motions for the General Synod to consider on the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 and the Ordination of Women to the Episcopate. The Business Committee agreed to ‘park’ these until the conclusion of the current legislative process.

5. If Final Approval is secured, the Measure will stand committed to the Legislative Committee of the Synod, which will send it, with the necessary explanatory material, to the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament. It is possible that the Ecclesiastical Committee will be able to meet before Christmas, though it would be the New Year before the House of Commons and the House of Lords were able to debate whether to approve the Measure.

6. It is only once the approval of the House of Commons and House of Lords has been secured, the Royal Assent given and the necessary provisions of the Measure brought into force by the Archbishops that the House of Bishops will be able to make the Code of Practice and bring it to the General Synod for approval.

7. The first scheduled meeting at which the House of Bishops would be able make the Code of Practice would, therefore, be in May 2013. It would also need at the same time to consider the terms of a draft Act of Synod to rescind the 1993 Act of Synod.

8. This would enable the Code and the Act of Synod to be brought together to the Synod under the “Preliminary Motion Procedure” in July 2013. At the same group of sessions the Synod would be able to proceed to a debate on any amendments to either instrument, to which the forty member rule would apply. After the Synod had disposed of any amendments the Code and the Act of Synod would stand committed to the House of Bishops under Article 7.

9. It would then be open to the House of Bishops to make such further amendments as it saw fit to the Code and the Act of Synod before returning them to the General Synod for Final Approval.

10. The House of Laity and the Convocations would have the opportunity to claim Article 7 references on the Code and the Act of Synod.

11. Subject to the outcome of any Article 7 reference, the Final Approval debates would then follow, subject to the possibility of the Synod passing adjournment motions inviting reconsideration by the House of Bishops. Such a motion could invite reconsideration of the instrument in question, whether generally or in relation to a particular amendment made by the House.

12. More details on the processes at each stage are set out in the attached note from the Legal Office.

William Fittall
Secretary General
October 2012

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General synod - November 2012 - online papers

Online copies of the papers for the November 2012 meeting of General Synod are now available online; they are listed below, with links and a note of the day they are scheduled for debate.

In addition a zip file of all papers is available; this also includes the first six notice papers and a list of recent appointments.

The Report of the Business Committee (GS 1878) includes a forecast of future business, and I have copied this below the fold.

The Church of England’s own list of papers is presented in agenda order.

GS 1708D - Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure [Tuesday]
GS 1709C - Draft Amending Canon No.30 [Tuesday]
GS 1709E - Draft Petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence [Tuesday]
GS 1708-09ZZZ - Reconsideration of Clause 5(1)(c) by the House of Bishops

GS 1878 - Report by the Business Committee on the Article 8 Reference [Monday]

GS 1879 Agenda

GS 1880 - Report by the Business Committee [Monday]

GS 1881A - Diocesan Synod Motion: Amendment to Canon B12 and Regulations Note (from the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham) [Wednesday]
GS 1881B - Diocesan Synod Motion: Amendment to Canon B12 and Regulations Note (from the Secretary General [Wednesday]

GS 1882A - Private Member’s Motion: Living Wage (from Mr John Freeman) [Wednesday]
GS 1882B - Private Member’s Motion: Living Wage (from the Chair of the Mission and Public Affairs Council [Wednesday]

GS 1883 - Youth Unemployment plus I Am One in a Million leaflet [Wednesday]

GS 1884 - 47th Report of the Standing Orders Committee [Contingency Business]

Other papers

GS Misc 1034 - Consecration of Women to the Episcopate: Future Process

GS Misc 1036 - Archbishops’ Council Report since July 2012 Group of Sessions

Forecast of future General Synod business

This forecast should not be read as more than a broad indication of business that may come to the Synod in 2013.

Legislative business

  • Amending Code of Practice under the Clergy Discipline Measure (to reflect changes made by the Amending Measure)
  • Amending Rules under the Clergy Discipline Measure (to reflect changes made by the Amending Measure)
  • Vacancy in See Committees: Amending Regulation (re Bradford DSM)
  • Amending scheme in relation to the Diocese in Europe Constitution (deemed business)
  • Amending Canon and Amending Rules (to implement recommendations of the Elections Review Group) (July)
  • Amendments to the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules (July)
  • Miscellaneous Provisions Measure – Revision Stage (July) [and Final Approval (November)]
  • Fees Orders (July)
  • ? Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure: Code of Practice (July [and November])
  • ? Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield Reorganisation Scheme, with related Vacancy in See Committees Regulation and provision for synodical representation (July)

Liturgical business

  • Additional Texts for Holy Baptism (July)

Reports

  • Report of the Standing Orders Committee (contingency business in November 2012)
  • Developing a Strategy for the Growth of the Church of England (Mission and Public Affairs Council)
  • Report on the work of the Elections Review Group (July)
  • Report of the Simplification Group (July)
  • Fresh Directions in Local Unity in Mission (Council for Christian Unity) (July)
  • The Church School of the Future: implementation (Education Division) (July)
  • ? Re-imagining Ministry (Ministry Division)
  • ? Debate on the Economy (Mission and Public Affairs Council)

One or more Diocesan Synod Motions and one or more Private Members’ Motions are customarily included in the Agenda for each group of sessions (see Special Agendas III and IV).

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Agenda for November 2012 General Synod

The usual pre-synod press release has been issued by the Church of England today, and is copied below. It provides a summary of the business to be transacted.

I will list in a separate article the available online papers.

Agenda for November 2012 General Synod

The General Synod of the Church of England meets in November for a three day meeting to discuss final stages of women bishops’ legislation, with an agenda that also includes the Anglican Communion, the Living Wage and youth unemployment.

The Synod will meet at Church House from 2.15 p.m. on Monday 19 November until 5.30 pm on Wednesday 21 November.

The Agenda provides for the Synod to deal with the final stages of the major legislative process designed to make it possible for women to be bishops in the Church of England while also making some provision for those who, for theological reasons, will not be able to receive their ministry. The Final Approval debates will take place on Tuesday 20 November, after a celebration of Holy Communion at which the Archbishop of Canterbury will preside and preach. The debates are expected to fill the rest of the morning and most, if not all, of the afternoon.

On Monday 19 November there will be a presentation about the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, which is meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, from 27 October until 7 November, and developments in the life of the Anglican Communion generally. It will also include reflections on the process in other churches of the Communion with regard to the Anglican Communion Covenant. That presentation will be followed by a debate on the reference to the dioceses of the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant. As a majority of diocese voted against adopting the draft legislation it cannot be presented for final approval.

On Wednesday 21 November the Synod will debate a motion from Southwell and Nottingham Diocese which calls for changes in the law to allow children who have been admitted to communion but are not yet confirmed to distribute the consecrated bread and wine at celebrations of Holy Communion.

A Private Member’s Motion from Mr John Freeman (Chester) will be proposed to affirm the Christian values inherent in the concept of the ‘Living Wage’ and strongly encourage all Church of England institutions to pay it.

The Synod will also be invited to decide to meet in November 2013 but not in February.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 21 November the Synod will consider recent research by the Church Urban Fund and the Frontier Youth Trust on youth unemployment and its long-term effects on those concerned. The Synod will be invited to commend church and community initiatives that provide training and other support.

This will be final occasion at which the Archbishop of Canterbury will preside, with the Archbishop of York, at a meeting of the General Synod. The final business for the group of sessions will be a motion, to be moved by the Archbishop of York, expressing the Synod’s gratitude to Dr Williams and offering him and Mrs Williams its best wishes for the future.

Communicating Synod

Parishioners can keep in touch with the General Synod while it meets. Background papers and other information will be posted on the Church of England website (www.churchofengland.org) ahead of the sessions.
A live feed will be available (accessible from front page www.churchofengland.org), and audio files of debates, along with updates on each day’s proceedings, will be posted during the sessions.

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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Women Bishops: Church Commissioners' questions in the House of Commons

The following exchange took place at Questions today in the House of Commons.

Women Bishops

Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (LD): What assessment the Church Commissioners have made of the likelihood of the Church of England making a decision on women bishops in 2012.
Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): What recent discussions the Church Commissioners have had with Church of England bishops on the Women Bishops Measure.

Sir Tony Baldry: The General Synod will resume on 20 November the final approval debate on the legislation to enable women to become bishops. I will be voting for the Measure, and I hope and pray that at least two thirds of the members of every house of the General Synod will vote to ensure that, at last, we can have women bishops in the Church of England.

Simon Hughes: The message I hope this House will send via my hon Friend to the Synod is that not only do we want the Synod to make a final decision this month that clearly says women can be bishops in the Church of England, as a legacy of the outgoing archbishop and as a tribute to his work, but we need the Church of England to catch up into the 21st century if it is to do a good job for everybody. I hope that there is no more shilly-shallying, that the Synod gets on with it and that we get a clear decision so that we can move to having women bishops.

Sir Tony Baldry: I entirely agree with my right hon Friend. May I commend to his attention, and to that of other right hon and hon Members, an article written by the Archbishop of Canterbury in last week’s Church Times, which is available in the Library? He stated that
“a Church that ordains women as priests, but not as bishops, is stuck with a real anomaly, one that introduces an unclarity into what we are saying about baptism and about the absorption of the Church in the priestly self-giving of Jesus Christ.”

We have been waiting far too long to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England-now is the time to take action and resolve this issue, once and for all.

Mr Bradshaw: In his conversations with the bishops, will the hon Gentleman tell them that just because House of Lords reform has been abandoned they should not feel any less pressure to do this and that a failure to agree a Measure that gives women bishops equal status with male bishops would still lead to a severe constitutional crisis between Church and state?

Sir Tony Baldry: In fairness, I think that the House of Bishops recognises that, and when it met last it amended the Measure in a way that should commend support. Indeed, the bishops took a lead on that from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, in the same article, made it clear that he thought the ordination or consecration of women as bishops was good for the whole world. He said:
“It is good news for the world we live in, which needs the unequivocal affirmation of a dignity given equally to all by God in creation and redemption-and can now, we hope, see more clearly that the Church is not speaking a language completely remote from its own most generous and just instincts.”

There is clear leadership from the House of Bishops and from the archbishops that we now need to consecrate women bishops.

Miss Anne McIntosh (Thirsk and Malton) (Con): I hope that a strong message will go out from this House that we support women bishops and that the next Archbishop of Canterbury will be drawn from the widest possible church in this regard.

Sir Tony Baldry: I am sure that that message will be heard by the General Synod.

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab): The Church has spent many years avoiding this issue, so if the Synod fails to do the right thing, what does the hon Gentleman think the consequences will be for the future of the Church of England?

Sir Tony Baldry: I think that the consequences for the Church of England will be very grim indeed. I hope that the General Synod, and those who might be tempted to vote against this Measure in it, will reflect on that point.

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

women bishops: a new website

A new website has been launched. It describes itself thus:

Fair Measure 2012

Welcome to the Fair Measure 2012 blog.

On this website we will be posting a number of papers, links and comments about the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure which is due to be debated by the General Synod of the Church of England on 20 November 2012.

We will show that the Measure as it stands is not fit for purpose, because of its unjust treatment of significant minorities within the Church of England. It must be stopped before it damages the Church irreparably, and replaced with a new, fairer Measure which enables us all to go forward together.

The website can be found here: Replace the Measure where the following paragraph has been added:

Contributors to this site include members of General Synod, and Anglicans from around the Church of England, who are united in their desire to hold together both those in favour and those opposed to the ordination and consecration of women.

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Women bishops: Fulcrum issues a statement

Fulcrum has issued this: Fulcrum Statement on Women Bishops (ahead of the vote at the November, 2012 General Synod)

Fulcrum fully supports women bishops and hopes that the Measure passes through the General Synod in November. We believe that this is the view of most evangelicals in the Church of England. We agree with CEEC that all members of General Synod must prayerfully consider the good of the whole church and vote with a clear conscience. We hope that all those who want women bishops will vote for the Measure. We further hope that those who are against will be able in good conscience to abstain, recognising that it is clearly the will of the Church to proceed, and then work with the provision, which is unlikely to be strengthened should the legislation fall this time.

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Women Bishops: Enough Waiting - Videos

Updated several times: latest 19 November

As part of his campaign to persuade General Synod members to back the new women bishops legislation when it returns to General Synod next month, the Archbishop of Canterbury has released video messages by Rebecca Swinson (the youngest member of the Archbishops’ Council) and Bishop of Chelmsford. The links include transcripts of the videos.

Update Another video - this time from the Bishop of Willesden

two more videos: Mark Russell and the Bishop of Worcester

another video: Bishop of Sheffield

and an audio recording from Janet Appleby

and another video: Jan McFarlane

and yet another video: Sam Follett

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women bishops: press release from GS Catholic Group

PRESS RELEASE from The Catholic Group in General Synod

Women Bishops’ Legislation Not Fit for Purpose

The legislation is unfair, unstable and incoherent; it does not command consensus; there is a better way forward.

UNFAIR

1. There is no legally-binding provision for minorities; instead a Code of Practice is proposed, to which bishops would “have regard”. The only form of appeal against a bishop’s decision would be judicial review, which few parishes could afford.

2. Bishops provided for traditionalists would not have proper oversight as bishops; they would just be allowed to conduct services. There would be no guaranteed future supply of bishops for traditionalists.

3. There is no legal prohibition on discrimination against traditionalist candidates for ordination.

4. Traditionalists would become 2nd. class Anglicans served by 2nd. class bishops.

UNSTABLE

5. The Code of Practice cannot be decided until the legislation has become law. Supporters of the legislation have already stated that they will oppose any further provision being made for traditionalists in the Code of Practice. There would be more years of in-fighting before the Code was agreed.

6. The Code could be changed at any time, meaning that any provision it made for traditionalists could be campaigned against and whittled away over time.

7. The application of the Code would vary from one diocese to another – a postcode lottery.

INCOHERENT

8. The draft legislation would oblige male bishops to delegate certain functions to male bishops - a pointless exercise! It needs to be more specific and to provide for religious conviction.

9. The House of Bishops amendment stating that the Code of Practice shall give guidance as to the selection of delegated male bishops is not enough: (a) the details should be in the legislation itself; (b) the word ‘respects’ has no legal definition – meaning that the amendment is not prescriptive of the contents of the Code; the Code is therefore an unstable instrument.

LACK OF CONSENSUS

10. Major changes in Church order require a clear consensus; this is why legislation like this needs a two-thirds majority in each of the three Houses of the General Synod, in order to pass. At no stage in the process so far has this draft legislation achieved the required majorities in the Synod, meaning that there is no clear consensus. No real attempt has been made to reach consensus outside the formal synodical process.

11. Supporters of the legislation realise that there is not enough consensus, and are resorting to unprincipled attempts to pressurise those opposed to the legislation to abstain, rather than to vote against, as their consciences would dictate.

A BETTER WAY

12. A better way would be to follow the example of the Church in Wales, whose Governing Body rejected unsatisfactory legislation for women bishops, and is now looking at a new process with two linked pieces of legislation, one to provide for women to be made bishops, and the other to provide for traditionalists; the legislation for women bishops cannot come into force until the legislation providing for traditionalists has been passed. Such an approach would lead to the prayerful and reconciling dialogue the Church of England now needs in order to move forward.

ENDS

29th September 2012

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CofE Evangelical Council issues statement on women bishops

The Church of England Evangelical Council has issued a statement
following the meeting of the Council on 16th/17th October 2012:

The CEEC is composed of men and women, clergy, bishops and laity, those for and against the inclusion of women in the episcopate. These convictions are sincerely held, and include those who are satisfied with the present proposals for provision. However, a majority of the Council believes that the current measure does not make adequate provision for the substantial number of the Church of England who cannot support this development, and is concerned that there is a serious possibility the measure may result in their exclusion from the Church. It believes that all members of General Synod must prayerfully consider the good of the whole church and vote with a clear conscience which, for opponents, may mean voting against the Measure, rather than, as they are being asked, to abstain.

Notes to Editors

CEEC is constituted to represent and co-ordinate Anglican evangelicals across the country within the Church of England and its structures and has members both for and against the consecration of women bishops.

There is a substantial number in the dioceses against the present proposals:
a) The votes in the Dioceses on this legislation showed that:
23% clergy opposed the legislation and 2% abstained
22% laity opposed to the legislation and 3% abstained
http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1379450/gs%201847%20(women%20bishops%20-%20business%20committee%20report).pdf See page 4

b) A ComRes Poll in Oct 2012 showed 18% of Anglicans were against the idea of women bishops and 9% were unsure about the initiative.
http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/ComRes_Women_Bishops_Oct2012.pdf See page 8

CEEC Chairman: The Venerable Michael Lawson
Executive Officer: The Revd Canon Michael Walters
Communications Officer: The Revd Peter Breckwoldt

CEEC Chairman, the Venerable Michael Lawson has added a comment on the background to the Statement:-

‘Many evangelicals, both supporters and non-supporters of the ordination of women to the episcopate, are deeply concerned about provision for those who in good conscience cannot accept women bishops. We believe it is a matter not just of justice but of godliness to treat well this minority of those with whom God has joined us together in fellowship and mission. In all this we have to remember we are God’s people, and behave as such, and not slip into the ungodliness of warring political factions’.

Membership of the CEEC Council is listed here. The Election process is described here. The Basis of Belief to which Council members must subscribe can be found here.

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Another B&B owner loses discrimination case

In a case very similar to an earlier one, another Bed and Breakfast owner has lost a case in the county court for refusing to provide a room to a gay couple, and is claiming this constitutes discrimination against her Christian beliefs. This case has been widely reported in the media, partly because of the intervention of a fringe party politician.

The judgment can be read in full here.

The case is discussed in detail in two recent legal articles:

This case is supported by The Christian Institute whose position is expressed here: Christian B&B loses court case brought by gay couple and see also Christian B&B owners respond to Nick Griffin’s protest tweets.

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Saturday, 20 October 2012

South Carolina: the diocese responds again to TEC

The Diocese of South Carolina has published several further statements on its website:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 20 October 2012 at 10:47pm BST | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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opinion

James Wood writes in The New Yorker about God Talk: The Book of Common Prayer at three hundred and fifty.

Bosco Peters has written this Open Letter to ACC15 (the Anglican Consultative Council which is meeting in New Zealand from 27 October to 7 November. The letter is “a passionate request that you revise the Anglican five-fold mission statement and explicitly include worship/liturgy.”

David Conn of The Guardian has interviewed the Bishop of Liverpool: Hillsborough panel chairman: ‘This is what the church should be doing’.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 20 October 2012 at 11:00am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Friday, 19 October 2012

Present and Future of English Cathedrals

The consultancy the Grubb Institute and the theology think tank Theos published a report on cathedrals in contemporary England: Spiritual Capital: the Present and Future of English Cathedrals earlier this week.

Church of England cathedrals have a unique and widely admired position within English society. Praised for their architectural magnificence, aesthetic appeal and historical significance, this report shows that their impact on and significance for English life extends far beyond their role as tourist destinations.

Based on an extensive and detailed research programme carried out by The Grubb Institute and Theos over 2011-12, Spiritual Capital looks at Cathedrals in contemporary England, assessing the breadth, depth and nature of their activity and appeal, with the objective of helping those who run and work in them to understand and respond better to the challenges of the 21st century.

You can download the report and the polling data.

Today’s Church Times has published this editorial What cathedrals are good at and this news article by Ed Thornton Cathedrals ‘appeal to non-religious’.

Other press reports include:

Nick Spencer in The Guardian about The cathedral as a broad church.

Ruth Gledhill in The Times Cathedrals are finding spirit of the age [republished by Theos]

John Bingham in the Telegraph ‘Pilgrimage’ makes 21st Century come-back as 11 million visit cathedrals

Philip Maughan in the New Statesman What are cathedrals for?

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 19 October 2012 at 1:15pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Women Bishops: Enough Waiting

Updated Saturday night

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has “begun a campaign to persuade General Synod members to back the new women bishops legislation when it returns to debate it next month” with this article in today’s Church Times

What is at stake in the Synod vote

that is also available on his website: Women Bishops: Enough Waiting. He concludes:

My hope for next month’s debate is that it will tackle what is really before us, not what it is assumed or even suspected to mean; that it will give us grounds for trusting one another more rather than less; that it will be rooted in a serious theological engagement with what makes for the good of the Church and its mission, a serious attempt to be obedient to God’s leading – and, perhaps most soberingly, that it will not ignore the sense of urgency about resolving this that is felt inside and outside the Church, often with real pain and bewilderment. As a Synod, we are asked to act not only as a legislature but as a body that serves the Kingdom of God and takes a spiritual and pastoral responsibility for its actions. And I know that Synod members, myself among them, will be praying hard about what this entails.

The Church Times also reports on the contents of the article: Williams urges waverers to back women-bishops Measure.

Update

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Rowan Williams issues warning over women bishops vote

Jerome Taylor in The Independent Vote for women bishops or face further turmoil within the Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams warns

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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Wallace Benn to retire

The Diocese of Chichester has announced today that Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes, will retire on 31 October 2012. The announcement takes the form of this exchange of letters between the Bishops of Chichester and Lewes.

In response to the announcement the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this Archbishop’s Chichester Visitation - update.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 18 October 2012 at 12:57pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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The Diocese of South Carolina responds

The Diocese of South Carolina has published in addition to the announcement reported previously, the following documents:

The Board of Directors and Standing Committee unanimously vote to call a Special Convention the first Saturday that is 30 days after any “Action” by The Episcopal Church (“TEC”) against Bishop Lawrence.

September 20, 2012: Standing Committee asks Bishop Lawrence to interpret provisions of the Constitution & Canons of the Diocese. October 2, 2012: Bishop Lawrence issues his interpretation of the Constitution & Canons.

Standing Committee and Board of Directors vote unanimously to disaffiliate with, and withdraw membership from, TEC effective upon the taking of any “action” as specified in the motion

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Presiding Bishop restricts ministry of Bishop of South Carolina

Updated again twice on Thursday evening

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church has issued this notice:

Office of the Presiding Bishop

On October 10, 2012, I received from the Disciplinary Board for Bishops a certification pursuant to Canon IV.16(A)(1) that The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, had abandoned the Episcopal Church within the meaning of that canon.
Accordingly, I have this 15th day of October, 2012, at noon EDT, placed a restriction on the exercise of ministry of Bishop Lawrence “until such time as the House of Bishops shall investigate the matter and act thereon.” During the period of such restriction, “the Bishop shall not perform any Episcopal, ministerial or canonical acts.”

Dated: October 15, 2012
(The Most Rev.) Katharine Jefferts Schori XXVI Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

The certification mentioned above can be found here. Three “events” are referred to:

  • Resolutions passed by the Diocesan Convention of October 2010, which the bishop approved
  • Documents filed with the State of South Carolina in November 2011 which the bishop had signed
  • Quitclaim deeds issued by the diocesan chancellor to numerous parishes around November 2011, which the bishop had instructed him to do.

The Diocese of South Carolina has issued the following statement:

On Monday, October 15, 2012, Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina was notified by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, that on September 18, 2012 the Disciplinary Board for Bishops had certified his abandonment of The Episcopal Church. This action by The Episcopal Church triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions of the Diocese, which simultaneously disaffiliated the Diocese from The Episcopal Church and called a Special Convention. That Convention will be held at St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

Bishop Lawrence was notified of these actions taken by the Episcopal Church between two meetings, one held on October 3 and one to be held on October 22, which Bishop Andrew Waldo of the Upper Diocese of South Carolina and Bishop Lawrence had set up with the Presiding Bishop to find a peaceful alternative to the growing issues between The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina. The meetings were to explore “creative solutions” for resolving these issues to avoid further turmoil in the Diocese and in The Episcopal Church. A timeline of these events and their associated documents may be found below.

Two of the three charges had previously been determined by a majority vote of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops in November 2011 not to constitute abandonment. The Diocese has not received a signed copy of the certification and also remains uninformed of the identity of those making these charges.

We feel a deep sense of sadness but a renewed sense of God’s providence that The Episcopal Church has chosen to act against this Diocese and its Bishop during a good faith attempt peacefully to resolve our differences. These actions make it clear The Episcopal Church no longer desires to be affiliated with the Diocese of South Carolina.

Updates

Episcopal News Service has published Disciplinary Board for Bishops certifies that South Carolina bishop has abandoned the church.

The Disciplinary Board for Bishops has advised Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that the majority of the 18-member panel has determined that Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina has abandoned the Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the Discipline of the Church.”

Following complaints of 12 adult members and two priests of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, the determination was made under Canon IV.16(A).
The 18 member board – composed of 10 bishops, four clergy, four laity – issued a letter dated September 18. Following the assembly of numerous documents, the Presiding Bishop received the letter in her Church Center office on October 10; the letter was received via U.S. Mail.

On Monday October 15, the Presiding Bishop called Lawrence and, speaking directly with him, informed him of the action of the Disciplinary Board. She also informed him that, effective noon of that day, the exercise of his ministry was restricted. Therefore, under the canon, he is not permitted to perform any acts as an ordained person.

From here, Lawrence has 60 days to respond to the allegations in the certification…

And ENS has a lot of historical background to this in a further report: Disciplinary Board says South Carolina bishop has abandoned church.

Episcopal News Service has a further report: South Carolina Episcopalians explain complaint against bishop.

A South Carolina attorney involved in the complaints filed with the Episcopal Church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops that resulted in the board certifying that Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence had abandoned the Episcopal Church issued the following release Oct. 18.

With much deliberation, Melinda A. Lucka, an attorney in the Charleston, S.C. area and an active communicant in the Diocese of South Carolina, requested that the Disciplinary Board for Bishops review various actions of Bishop Lawrence that have taken place over the past two years. Ms. Lucka asked the Board if it could make a determination as to whether or not the actions were consistent with the mission and polity of The Episcopal Church…

And there is yet another ENS report: South Carolinians say diocesan actions were ‘too far out of bounds’.

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

women bishops: Church Society writes to General Synod members

This letter has been published by Reform:

15th October 2012
Dear Synod member,

Re : Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure

I am writing in my capacity as the Chairman of the Council of Church Society to urge you to vote against the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure at the General Synod meeting on Tuesday 20th November.

Church Society represents a substantial body of clergy and has a longstanding patronage interest in 113 parishes across the country.

The Society’s members are loyal Anglicans, committed to ministry within the Church of England and faithful to historic Anglican doctrine, most importantly, the supreme and final authority of the Bible as God’s written Word. We adhere in good conscience to the Bible’s teaching on male headship in the family and in the church and accordingly cannot accept women as bishops.

The proposed legislation does not provide adequate protection for all those in the Church of England who endorse Church Society’s position and for whom legislation in favour of the consecration of women bishops, without such protection, would give rise to fundamental issues of conscience.

In particular, our Council and membership contain a substantial body of ordinands, younger clergy, lay leaders and laity all of whom subscribe fully to the Society’s position, such that their ministry within the Church of England will be threatened by the proposed Measure, if it is enacted. It would be immensely damaging to the Church of England and to our country if the ministries of such men and women were seemingly rejected by our beloved national church. It would also put us significantly at odds with most of the provinces, and the vast majority of Anglicans, in the global Anglican Communion, who do not have female bishops.

Clause 5 of the draft Measure fails to set out safeguards which protect the position of those holding the biblical convictions summarised above. All it contemplates is the drawing up of a Code of Practice, when legislation alone would firmly establish and enshrine all necessary safeguards.

In addition, Clause 5(1)c offers no adequate protection. This clause, as amended last month, would, on one reading, remove the need for onerous and difficult enquiries into whether or not, as a matter of theological conviction, the ministry of a prospective male minister is consistent with the position of the relevant parochial church on the issue of the consecration or ordination of women. However, the new wording of Clause 5(1)c is unclear in meaning. It is therefore unclear how it should, or could, be applied in practice. This is unsatisfactory.

For the reasons outlined above, I strongly encourage you to vote against the draft Measure. There is no other just or reasonable alternative and not to do so would amount to a failure, for no good reason, to respect the consciences of many loyal Anglicans.

A vote against the draft Measure would not, of course, amount to a vote against women’s ministry per se. There remain many areas of church life where women’s ministry is immensely beneficial and can be exercised in ways which are consistent with the Bible’s teaching on headship and the roles of men and women.

Yours sincerely,
James Crabtree,
Chairman of Church Society Council

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Monday, 15 October 2012

women bishops: press release from GRAS

Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod
PRESS RELEASE
Press briefing for immediate release 8th October 2012

The final draft Bishops and Priests [Consecration and Ordination of Women] Measure

If this legislation is passed we hope and pray that this will be a step on the way towards the full realisation that women and men are equally made in the image of God.

Vigilant scrutiny and care will be needed to ensure that the word “Respect” will be interpreted in such a way that the Code of Practice will ensure the excesses that resulted from the Act of Synod will be prevented through provision of a clearly defined code of conduct.

GRAS objectives:

  • The l993 Act of Synod should be rescinded as a precondition of new legislation.
  • A single enabling Measure to give clarity and affirmation to women’s full and equal status in all three orders of ministry. The legislation must be unconditional, with no discriminatory provisions.
  • A Code of Practice designed to recognise that there are essential elements of trust which need to be restored. The integrity and authority of the episcopate must be restored through the assignment of trust in each diocesan bishop, who should be responsible for provisions judged to be right for any in his or her care.
  • A commitment that, since the Church has accepted the principle of the orders of women as priests and bishops, in future all those being ordained should openly accept those orders as valid in accordance with the existing ecclesiastical rule (Canon A4).
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 October 2012 at 4:35pm BST | Comments (33) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Protestors occupy St Paul's Cathedral

Updated again 8 am Tuesday

Four demonstrators have chained themselves to the pulpit inside St Paul’s Cathedral.

Associated Press Occupy London activists stage St Paul’s protest

Telegraph Occupy London protesters chain themselves to St Paul’s Cathedral pulpit

BBC Occupy London protesters gather at St Paul’s Cathedral and Occupy activists stage St Paul’s pulpit protest

Evening Standard St Paul’s Cathedral Occupy protest latest

Guardian Occupy protesters chain themselves to St Paul’s pulpit

The service of evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral on 14 October was planned to incorporate prayers by Occupy Faith and a sermon which spoke clearly of the need for partnership between Occupy, St Paul’s and others in addressing the need for financial and political change which Occupy highlighted.

During the service a group of four women chained themselves to the pulpit and shouted out a list of grievances against St Paul’s as well as reading part of the bible. The Dean of St Paul’s, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, who was about to preach, allowed them to speak, following which the rest of the service continued without interruption.

Afterwards the Dean said: “After working constructively together with Occupy Faith on this act of worship, we regret the abuse of the Cathedral’s hospitality and its daily worship. We also disagree with the way in which some protesters are continuing to pursue the agenda of conflict with St Paul’s, rather than consulting with us about how together we might better achieve the reforms which many people including Occupy are looking for.”

Updated press statement

This further paragraph has now been added

The four protesters remained chained to the pulpit during the organ recital and communion service which followed Evensong. At the close of the Cathedral after worship at 7pm, everyone remaining in the Cathedral was asked to leave (as is usual) so that the building could be locked for the night. The protesters and their supporters refused to leave, and the Dean engaged in dialogue with them, the outcome being that they agreed to meet with him and others from the Cathedral as soon as could be arranged. Although invited to do so, the protesters refused to give permission for their chains to be removed. The normal procedure for when people refuse to leave places of worship was then followed: the police were called to assist in moving those people on, and after half an hour of further discussion the protesters cut themselves free and left peacefully of their own accord.

Sunday’s sermon by the Dean.

And he had published this article on the cathedral website two days ago: Dean Ison reflects on Occupy - one year on.

Giles Fraser has written for the Guardian Occupy was right – all the church could say was ‘go home’.

And there is a Guardian editorial in Monday’s newspaper: St Paul’s protests: post-occupied.

Christianity Uncut has published

ITN Protesters leave St Paul’s

Occupy: Protesters have left St Paul’s

The protesters cut themselves free around 10pm after City of London Police entered the cathedral, an occupy spokesman said.

He said they decided to cut themselves free after being warned by officers that they faced arrest…

Telegraph Occupy London protesters free themselves from St Paul’s Cathedral pulpit

Evening Standard St Paul’s Occupy activist is actress who starred alongside Emma Thompson

Christianity Uncut has published Christian anti-capitalists rebut untrue claims about protest at St Paul’s.

Tuesday morning update

David Ison has written a letter to the Guardian St Paul’s is moving on – and we hope that Occupy will too.

Symon Hill has written Knocking at the door of St Paul’s.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 14 October 2012 at 8:02pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 13 October 2012

News stories about British religious statistics

British Religion in Numbers (BRIN) has a round up of some recent news stories about British religious statistics with summaries and links to the full data: Respect for Clergy and Other News. Stories included are:

Evangelicals and Money
“Evangelical Christians are not immune from the economic downturn…”

Respect for Clergy
“Ministers and priests enjoy a lower standing in Britain than in Canada or the United States…”

Current Issues in the Church of England
“…Anglican churchgoers rate the performance of Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury more highly than practising Christians as a whole…”

Pastoral Research Centre
“…an independent trust for applied socio-religious research, and focused primarily on the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales…”

Joking Apart
“…significant numbers [of UK Christians] apparently hold ambivalent or contradictory positions…”

Heritage at Risk
“A higher proportion of England’s religious heritage assets appear to be at risk than is the case with any other type…”

These round-ups are a regular feature of BRIN.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 13 October 2012 at 5:51pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Clerk to the General Synod to become Director of Forward in Faith

Forward in Faith has issued this press release Changes at FiF announced.

It was announced today at the Forward in Faith National Assembly that Stephen Parkinson will be retiring at the end of December, after over 19 years as the Director of FiF. He will be succeeded by Dr Colin Podmore, who is currently the Clerk to the General Synod of the Church of England…

Church House Westminster has issued this press release: Statement from Secretary General on new Director of Forward in Faith.

The Secretary General of the Church of England, Mr. William Fittall, has today issued a statement in response to the announcement that Dr. Colin Podmore has been appointed as the new Director of Forward in Faith:

“Forward in Faith has today announced the appointment of the Dr. Colin Podmore, who currently serves as the Clerk to the General Synod, as its next Director, upon the retirement of the present incumbent.

Colin has accordingly given notice that he will be leaving the Church House staff at the end of March to take up the new role. He will continue to fulfill the full range of his current responsibilities until the end of that six-month notice period, except that, at his request, I have agreed that he will not play a role in relation to the Women Bishops legislation…”

The Forward in Faith press release also contains this biographical note:

Colin Podmore, a Cornishman, read history at Keble College, Oxford, and trained as a teacher at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He taught German at S. Michael’s Church of England High School in Chorley, Lancashire, before returning to Keble to research for his Oxford DPhil in church history. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His publications include Aspects of Anglican Identity (2005) and articles on Anglican ecclesiology. On the staff of the General Synod from 1988, he was successively Deputy Secretary of the Council for Christian Unity, Secretary of the House of Clergy, Secretary of the Liturgical Commission, and Secretary of the Dioceses Commission. He was also secretary of groups that reviewed the processes for choosing diocesan bishops and making senior church appointments and oversaw the publication of the Common Worship liturgy. As well as being Clerk to the Synod, Colin is also the Director of the Central Secretariat of the Archbishops’ Council and Director of Ecumenical Relations.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 13 October 2012 at 4:17pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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opinion

Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian about Christianity considered as true.

Amy-Jill Levine writes for the Religion and Ethics column on ABC: Not good to be alone: Rethinking the Bible and homosexuality.

Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Anglicans, archbishops and presidential confusions.

Bishop Pierre Whalon writes for Anglicans Online about Polity Politics.

David Ison, the Dean of St Paul’s, reflects on Occupy - one year on. And on the same subject, Ed Thornton writes in the Church Times: Still preoccupied by Occupy.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 13 October 2012 at 11:00am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury speaks to Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops

Updated Sunday

The Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the “Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”.

The full text of his remarks can be found here.

For some helpful information on the event, see this blog by the Bishop of Sheffield, Steven Croft, who is also attending the synod. His first entry is Preparing for the Synod of Bishops.

Further background material can be found here.

Update
There is also this transcript of a Vatican Radio interview.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 at 7:03pm BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
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Anglican Covenant - reference to dioceses

updated Thursday

The Business Committee of the General Synod is required to report on the reference of the Anglican Communion Covenant to the dioceses. Their report GS 1878 is now available for download and will be debated at Synod on 19 November 2012.

The report includes the detailed voting figures from each diocese, and some analysis of these figures such as the following two paragraphs.

9. It will be seen … that the majorities within individual dioceses varied greatly. In some, the draft Act of Synod adopting the Covenant was either approved or rejected by substantial majorities. In others the voting in the House of Laity or House of Clergy or both of the houses was very close. Thus, in eleven dioceses which did not approve the Act of Synod, it would have been approved if between two and eight individuals had voted in favour rather than against. Conversely, in fifteen dioceses which did approve the Act of Synod, it would not have been approved if between one and eight individuals had voted against rather than in favour.

10. The point can be illustrated in another way by noting that, if a total of just seventeen individuals spread across five particular dioceses had voted to support the Covenant rather than oppose it, a bare majority of dioceses would have approved the Covenant, whereas, if a total of just ten across five other dioceses had voted against instead of in favour, the diocesan voting against the Covenant would have been much greater at 31-13.

The report also includes the recorded opinions of the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of Chester and Sodor & Man, and a list of the following motions that were debated in several dioceses.

Update This report was originally published in June along with the papers for the July meeting of Synod. It received little attention at the time as the focus for July was wholly on the topic of women bishops. At the time we made reference to it here, here and here. The current link to the report is on this page, which will eventually list all the papers for the November Synod.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 at 6:32pm BST | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Monday, 8 October 2012

Church of England bishops asked to be honest and truthful

Changing Attitude has written to all members of the College of Bishops (i.e. including all Suffragans) in the Church of England. See this press release: CA writes to every bishop asking for honesty and courage.

Changing Attitude England has written to every Church of England bishop asking them to speak honestly about the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) Anglicans in the Church and acknowledge truthfully how they treat LGB&T people in their dioceses.

Changing Attitude knows from the evidence of conversations with bishops and from our supporters that over 50% of bishops dissent from the current teaching and practice of the Church of England on homosexuality. They support, ordain and licence their LGB&T clergy, ordinands and lay ministers, including those in civil partnerships. They know that God does not discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation and their expression of love in permanent, faithful, stable sexual relationships.

The House of Bishops meets in December and are expected to conclude a review of their 2005 civil partnership statement. This meeting marks the start of a critical period in the development of Church of England attitudes and policy towards LGB&T people. It will be followed in 2013 by the more wide-ranging report from the group chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling.

We hope those who are members of the House of Bishops will find the courage and confidence to talk honestly and with integrity when they meet in December. We hope and pray that they publish recommendations which will begin to transform the place of LGB&T people in the Church of England…

The full text of the letter can be found in the notes to the press release (scroll down).

Some background to this action can be found in this Guardian report by Lizzy Davies Church of England bishops urged to have honest discussion about gay clergy.

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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Equal marriage row at Conservative Party conference

Updated again Tuesday afternoon

The Conservative Party annual conference is taking place in Birmingham.

Anglican Mainstream has issued this press release: Policy Exchange pulls out of Gay Marriage debate at Tory Conference Fringe

“Tory hierarchy reluctant for grassroots to discuss the issue?” says Anglican Mainstream

“Empty Chair debate goes ahead without them”

Top Westminster think-tank Policy Exchange has pulled out at short notice of a Tory conference fringe debate on gay marriage with Anglican Mainstream, the socially conservative ‘information network’ in the Church of England.

“We are very disappointed,” said Canon Chris Sugden, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream (AM). “We’ve invested a huge amount in this heavyweight event to debate Real Marriage against PE’s Gay or ‘Equal’ Marriage amongst the ordinary conservative public – and at almost the last moment they pull out. It looks as if the Tory hierarchy don’t want the grassroots discussing the issue”…

Policy Exchange issued a paper on equal civil marriage which we reported on previously, see What’s in A Name? A report on Equal Marriage. Earlier they issued this press release: Policy Exchange response to Church claims on same sex marriage.

And there was this in the Mail on Sunday by Jonathan Petre Lord Carey: Gay marriage could have ‘drastic’ consequences including risk of polygamy.

Update
This does not refer to the above item but to a rally being held on Monday, see this report by Jerome Taylor in the Independent Welcome to the Nasty Party conference.

…About 900 people, the majority of them active members of the Conservative Party, will crowd into Birmingham Town Hall at lunchtime today to hear the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, the former Home Office minister Ann Widdecombe and others give speeches on why there should be no change in the legal definition of marriage to recognise same-sex couples.

The meeting will be ringed by a heavy police presence to prevent anyone getting in apart from party representatives and others with valid passes to the Tory conference. Several organisations, including the public sector union, the PCS, are holding what they call a “Picket the Bigots” protest outside the town hall. They accuse the rally’s organisers of wanting to turn back the clock on the rights won by gays and lesbians…

Noon update

A spokesperson for Policy Exchange (PX) has told Thinking Anglicans that:

  • The debate was originally proposed by Anglican Mainstream (AM) and was agreed to in principle by PX provided that at least two MPs could be found to participate, and that a strong independent chair could be found. These are the conditions under which all PX-sponsored fringe debates are held.
  • A willing independent chair was found (who also insisted on the participation of MPs) but, despite considerable efforts, no MPs could be found to participate, therefore the event could not proceed at the conference.
  • AM told PX on 6 October that AM was willing to accept PX’s offer of a similarly structured debate in London later in the Autumn, when MPs would be easier to find.
  • AM did not notify PX of their latest intentions prior to issuing yesterday’s press release.

Tuesday update

Anglican Mainstream reports STOP PRESS: Policy Exchange agree to debate and

“Equal” or Real Marriage debate at Tory Party Conference

Forty people attended a lunch time debate rearranged at half and hour’s notice at the Tory Party Conference on Tuesday lunchtime,

Policy Exchange reversed their earlier decision to pull out of the debate and agreed that David Skelton, author of their paper What’s in a Name? – is there a case for equal marriage? could debate with Dermot O’Callaghan, member of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 7 October 2012 at 10:20pm BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 6 October 2012

opinion

Sean Doherty writes for Fulcrum about Gay Partnerships and Christian Discipleship.

Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that The church’s wars over sexuality are coming to an end.

Mark Meynell writes in The Guardian that I’m a Christian who won’t label sexuality.

Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Before we decide to write off the Occupy movement, let’s consider the legacy of the Chartists.

Stephen Bates writes for the Financial Times about An archbishop to calm a warring flock.

Marilyn McCord Adams writes for the Episcopal Café about Strange exorcists.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 6 October 2012 at 11:00am BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
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Church Times comment on Crown Nominations Commission

This week’s Church Times has a leader on the CNC situation, headlined ‘At the limit of what is realistic’. Its final paragraph reads as follows:

…If there exists a systemic reason for the lack of an appointment so far, a better place to look would be the office that the CNC is trying to fill. There have been two recent reviews of the post: To Lead and to Serve: A review of the see of Canterbury, also 2001 (the Hurd report), and Resourcing Archbishops, 2002 (the second Mellows report). The latter begins: “The demands upon and the expectations of the Archbishops are at the very limit of what is realistic. The jobs are approaching the point at which they will become impossible.” Despite these reviews, too little has changed. The abilities of Dr Williams have disguised, to a degree, some of these impossibilities. The cost is incalculable, being paid in decisions made too hastily, consultations unsought, mission opportunities declined, and, of course, personal wear and tear. It is not enough to invoke the aid of the Holy Spirit in the choice of Dr Williams’s successor, nor even to sustain whoever is chosen. The Spirit of grace and freedom has something to say, too, about the demands made upon individuals. Several recommendations from those earlier reports remain on the table. This might be time to look at them afresh, so that he who is eventually appointed may approach the office with not so heavy a heart.

For a lot more on the Hurd report, see here.

For more about the second Mellows report, see Resourcing Archbishops and also Resourcing Archbishops in the 21st century. There is also my own article about it: Resourcing Archbishops: Anglican Communion angles.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 6 October 2012 at 7:44am BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 4 October 2012

new CofE Church Growth Research website

A new Church of England Church Growth Research Programme website has been launched with this press release.

Church Growth Research website launched to help explore the drivers of church growth within the Church of England
02 October 2012

All are invited to visit and interact with a new website www.churchgrowthresearch.org.uk built to support the work of the Church Growth Research Programme - the national 18-month academic research project exploring the factors related to spiritual and in particular numerical church growth of the Church of England. The research is being funded through funding set aside by the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council for research and development. This project is being undertaken in partnership with the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex; Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham and the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology, Ripon College, Cuddesdon.

continued below the fold.

The website includes a number of discussion forums that visitors can join and contribute to.

The research teams for this project were announced in June.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, explains the reasons behind the project in a video on the website; the Bishop says: “There are many communities and parishes that are growing and we want to identify the levers and drives of this growth. We want to do that not just out of a spirit of pure research, but to help those involved in leadership in parishes and communities to see how resources can be used most effectively.”

By visiting www.churchgrowthresearch.org.uk, users can engage with the Programme in a number of ways. A section of the site summarises existing literature on church growth and invites readers to suggest additions to this growing collection of research. There is a page that details case studies of growing churches in a number of different contexts across the Church of England, which will continue to be expanded during the course of the project.

Visitors to the website are invited to get involved with the debate on church growth by signing up to the discussions forum. Through the forum, contributions can be made to the project by sharing views and experiences of church growth. Discussions include: What is church growth and how do you measure it?; Fresh Expressions & church planting; Theology of church growth and personal experiences of church growth or decline.

In addition, the programme aims to engage further and converse with those on Twitter via @ChurchGrowthRD.

As this information accumulates online, the Programme will survey 4,000 Church of England churches, inviting them to feedback on their experiences of church growth and decline, and describe their current parish and its ministry in more detail.

The project will be completed by the autumn of 2013, with the findings being disseminated widely, although it will be possible to follow the progress of the project through the website.

Notes

A jpeg of the website’s homepage is available to download here.

Organisations have been appointed through a competitive tendering process which attracted a good number of high quality proposals.

A team from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, led by Professor David Voas, has been appointed to undertake the data analysis and church profiling strands of the research. A third strand of work involves a study of factors relating to growth at cathedrals, fresh expressions and the impact of unions of parishes and the use of different patterns of deployment of ministers, and will be undertaken by a team at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham. A forth strand, to be undertaken by the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology (OxCEPT) at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, will investigate church planting through undertaking a number of in-depth case studies of a wide range of church plants. For more details, click here.

To watch the Bishop of London’s video, click here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 4 October 2012 at 10:32am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Two Anglican provinces elect new primates

The Province of West Africa made this announcement a few days ago: New Primate elected for the Church of the Province of West Africa.

CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF WEST AFRICA (Anglican Communion)

ELECTION OF THE NINTH PRIMATE OF CPWA

Upon the approval of the amendments to the constitution to create two internal provinces in the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA) namely, the province of Ghana to comprise all the dioceses in Ghana and the province of West Africa to comprise the dioceses in Bo, Cameroon, Freetown, Gambia, Guinea and Liberia; each to be headed by an Archbishop:

The province of Ghana elected Rt. Revd. Dr. Daniel Yinka Sarfo, Bishop of Kumasi as the Archbishop-elect and the province of West Africa, Rt. Revd. Dr. S. Tilewa Johnson, Bishop of Gambia as the Archbishop-elect.

Archbishop-elect S. Tilewa Johnson was then elected as the Ninth Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa for a term of five (5) years.

Dated this 29th day of September, 2012 at Cuttington University, Suacoco, Liberia
(signed) +AlbertDG Gomez
RT. REVD. ALBERT D. G. GOMEZ
DEAN OF THE CHURCH OF PROVINCE OF WEST AFRICA (CPWA)

Today, the Church of Ireland made this announcement: The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke Elected As Archbishop Of Armagh And Primate Of All Ireland

The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath and Kildare, has been elected Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland by the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland, following the retirement of Archbishop Alan Harper on 30 September…

…The House of Bishops also decided that his election would take effect from 15 December 2012 which will be the date of the bishop’s translation and enthronement in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. In the meantime, The Venerable Raymond Hoey, Archdeacon of Armagh, will carry the diocesan responsibilities for the Diocese of Armagh. The Provincial responsibilities are carried by the Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Reverend Dr Michael Jackson until this date.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 at 4:12pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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women bishops: REFORM and WATCH respond

REFORM has issued a press statement: Reform members resolve to vote against women bishops Measure:

General Synod members at the Reform conference this week joined over 160 other Reform members in resolving to vote against the current draft measure on women bishops at the Synod’s watershed meeting in November.

Speaking at the conference Reform chairman, Rev’d Rod Thomas, a member of the General Synod House of Clergy, said: “After all the tweaking and tinkering with amendments we have sadly been left with a draft Measure which in the long term is likely to have very detrimental effects on our ministries, however benign it may appear in its first few years.

“We are therefore going to oppose this measure and urge those who want to see a strong evangelical presence continuing in the Church of England to join us in doing so.”

The resolution passed was this:

2. Women Bishops
This conference believes the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure represents a step in an unbiblical and therefore wrong direction for the Church of England. Its provision is entirely inadequate for those who believe the Bible’s teaching of male headship in the family and the church. Recent amendments by the House of Bishops will make no material difference. It therefore urges the Reform Council to continue to campaign vigorously against the Draft Measure and calls on General Synod members to vote against it in November 2012.

WATCH has issued a briefing note and consultation paper which can be found as a PDF here. The covering note reads as follows:

Dear WATCH friends,

Since the announcement by the House of Bishops that wording suggested by Revd Janet Appleby (“the Appleby amendment”) has been selected to replace the previous Clause 5(1)c of the draft Women Bishops Measure, WATCH has been consulting widely to help us determine how best to respond. We would like to give all members the chance to contribute and you will find a very short briefing attached which we hope you may find helpful.

It is already clear that WATCH supporters are divided on whether or not they are happy to support the amended Measure and that people hold their opinions with passion and integrity. As we approach the crucial debate in November we want to be clear that WATCH is not intending to campaign either for or against the Measure. We see our role as being to highlight the arguments and issues at stake for those who support the full flourishing of women in the Church and to allow voices to enter the national debate that often go unheard.

Please be in touch to let us know your views before 15th October by emailing: consultation@womenandthechurch.org

Thank you
The National WATCH committee
29th September 2012

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 at 10:19am BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

more articles about the Crown Nominations Commission

Richard Harries writes in the Evening Standard Roll dice if you have to, but name an Archbishop.

…What is causing the hold-up? It is said that Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, who has been galloping up on the outside, is now the front-runner. Some might say that Welby, a former executive in the oil industry who has only just been appointed as a bishop, lacks experience. But when a vacancy occurred in Milan in the fourth century, the cry went up “Ambrose for Bishop”. Ambrose was Governor of Northern Italy at the time and then a layman. He was baptised, confirmed, ordained priest and consecrated Bishop in a matter of days. So there is good precedent.

There remain, of course, all the familiar fierce divisions over the issues of woman bishops and same-sex relationships, which complicate any simple assessment of the abilities of candidates. However, the overriding criterion for selection must surely be not one of these issues, important though they are, but which candidate is most likely to speak with credibility to a population so many of whom find the Christian faith a foreign tongue. He will need to find both the language and right tone to win a hearing. After the rampant hedonism and greed of the last decades there could now be a new seriousness in our national life, one in which people might be receptive to the very different view of life offered by the Christian faith. The overriding priority is for a candidate who can take this opportunity…

John Martin writes in The Living Church Clearing the Two-thirds Hurdle.

…It’s not entirely clear what would happen in the event of an insoluble deadlock. The most extreme scenario would be dissolution of the CNC and an appointment of new members. It may call upon the mediation skills of Cameron to sort something out. In 1987 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher provided the only known example of overturning a church nomination when she preferred Mark Santer to James Thompson as Bishop of Birmingham. This kind of intervention is unlikely. There are rumblings, however, that leaving such an important decision to a small group meeting in secret is arcane and an open election would be preferable. But that is an unlikely future prospect, not a present reality.

Meanwhile, being an acknowledged candidate for Canterbury has thrust the Bishop of Durham into the media spotlight. He is related to a former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Richard Austen “Rab” Butler, and as a Cambridge undergraduate signed up as a Christian Union member, which positions him among evangelicals. He left a £100,000 annual salary with Enterprise Oil to enter the ministry and his previous church posts include being co-director for the International Ministry Centre at Coventry Cathedral, succeeding the colourful “Vicar of Baghdad,” Andrew White.

In 1991 the Church of England skipped a generation which included options such as Richard Harries (Oxford) and the former test cricketer David Sheppard (Liverpool) and instead plucked a little-known bishop from the west of England to succeed Robert Runcie. George Carey had less than three years experience as a diocesan. Should Welby emerge as Archbishop of Canterbury he will have spent less than half that time as Bishop of Durham.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 2 October 2012 at 11:11pm BST | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Archbishop of Canterbury delivers fifth annual Theos Lecture

Updated Friday

The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the fifth annual Theos Lecture with the title ‘The person and the individual: human dignity, human relationships and human limits’ last night. Afterwards he answered questions, many about his time as archbishop.

His website has links to audio of the speech and the question and answer session that followed. A transcript of the speech is promised now (Friday) available.

There is also this summary.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, delivered the fifth annual lecture hosted by think tank Theos with the title ‘The person and the individual: human dignity, human relationships and human limits’.

The lecture explored ways of understanding the human person as shaped and conditioned by relations with God and others – and the risks of reducing personal dignity to individual well-being alone.

In a question and answer session following the lecture, he said: “I just don’t think that it will do to be too cautious in a job like this, you are here, as is true for any archbishop, you are here to try and say what you believe you have been given to say - by which I don’t mean by divine inspiration.

“To try and share a particular picture of what the world is like, what God is like, which of course leads you into sometimes risky and anything but infallible judgments about particular issues of the day.”

Dr Williams added that he did not believe that there had been a “golden age” in the history of the Church when it had been free of difficulties.

“There is no golden age in the Church’s history, we may think ‘oh, it was relatively problem-free then’ - one of the advantages in this job of being a Church historian is that you know that is not true,” he said. “When I think I have got problems, I think well at least it is not the fourth century, at least it is not the 17th century.” …

The lecture has attracted much press attention.

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Rowan Williams defends outspoken approach as archbishop

Madeleine Davies in the Church Times Williams the anti-individual speaks his individual mind

John Bingham in The Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury defends record in office

BBC Archbishop defends ‘anything but infallible’ judgements

The Huffington Post Archbishop Of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams Defends ‘Outspoken’ Stance On Sharia Law, Iraq War

London Evening Standard Outspoken Archbishop of Canterbury defends his ‘risky’ views on Iraq war and sharia law

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 2 October 2012 at 5:42pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Monday, 1 October 2012

Canterbury speculation continues

Although it appears that the Church of England now officially admits that the Crown Nominations Commission did fail to complete its work last Friday, speculation continues as to what exactly the position now is.

Ruth Gledhill in The Times says:

David Cameron may have to break the deadlock over the choice of the next Archbishop of Canterbury, according to a former member of the committee charged with nominating Rowan Williams’s successor.

The call came as sources said that the Crown Nominations Commission had agreed on the first name but was divided over the “runner-up” to submit to Downing Street. Justin Welby… has secured the necessary two-thirds majority to be recommended as first choice..

Paul Sims in the Mail has Deadlock over Archbishop job ‘to last months’ as panel is split between Sentamu and two other candidates.

Andrew Johnson in the Independent has John Sentamu snubbed – and Church may take months to name new Archbishop.

Jerome Taylor has comment: Secrecy only reflects poorly on the Church.

The BBC has a video in which Robert Pigott reviews the candidates.

John Bingham Telegraph Church in deadlock over new Archbishop

There are other articles and letters, some behind paywalls, but a comprehensive list of links is provided by the CofE Communications Office here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 1 October 2012 at 9:08am BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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