Saturday, 30 January 2016

Primates gathering - another roundup

The Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, offers his Perspectives on the Primates’ Meeting.

Colbert I King The Washington Post The Anglican Communion’s un-Christian stance on marriage

The Most Reverend Dr Mouneer Anis A Personal Reflection on the 2016 Primates’ Meeting

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Apology to LGBT community must be followed by action, senior Anglicans warn Archbishop of Canterbury — referring to this press release

Jacob Luther Hymn to the Anglican Communion

Christopher Wells The Living Church Catholicity, apostolicity: Come on down

Jesse Zink Church Times If it doesn’t work, do something new

Ben Irwin The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and the real reason we’re having this debate

Charles Hefling Christian Century Has the Episcopal Church been plutoed?

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Opinion - 30 January 2016

Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, What is religious education for?

The Churchwarden Church Buildings Review: A Churchwarden’s Rant

Andrew Lightbown Why the church needs its revisionists

Linda Woodhead Why ‘no religion’ is the new religion - a lecture at the British Academy [45 minute video]

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Friday, 29 January 2016

General Synod agenda - press reports

Tim Wyatt Church Times Reform, sex talks, and Kirk on Synod’s agenda

John Bingham The Telegraph Dress-down Sundays: Church considers making clerical dress optional
[with reference to GS Misc 1133 - House of Bishops Consultation on Vestments]

Antony Bushfield Premier General Synod to focus on need for evangelism
Anglican talks on sexuality sometimes “painful”

BBC News Churches of England and Scotland publish report on proposed pact

Update

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Anglican clergy could drop traditional dress in favour of casual clothing

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More and more Church of England members support same-sex marriage

Updated again Sunday morning

Harriet Sherwood has published in the Guardian a report headlined Church of England members back same-sex marriage.

Attitudes to same-sex marriage within the pews of the Church of England are sharply at odds with the stance of its leadership, as for the first time more Anglicans are in favour of gay and lesbian couples marrying than oppose it, according to a poll.

Support for same-sex marriage among church members has significantly increased over the past three years despite the leadership’s insistence that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and its refusal to conduct church weddings for gay couples or allow gay priests to marry…

…A poll conducted in the aftermath of the Canterbury meeting found 45% of people who define themselves as Church of England approve of same-sex marriage, compared with 37% who believe it is wrong. A similar survey three years ago found almost the reverse: 38% of Anglicans in favour and 47% opposed.

The lowest levels of support for same-sex marriage – 24% – were found among Anglican men over the age of 55, a group that dominates the church leadership. Jayne Ozanne, a leading gay activist within the C of E, who commissioned the poll from YouGov, said this finding was “deeply worrying”. “Unfortunately, this is exactly the profile of those in the senior positions of power and influence within the church,” she said.

The poll’s findings, released to the Guardian, are likely to amplify calls within the church for a change in its stance. Gay and lesbian activists say the church’s insistence on a traditional interpretation of scriptures alienates and excludes LGBT Christians, and further marginalises the church in wider society.

The survey found a clear generational difference among Church of England members, with almost three-quarters (72%) of under-35s in favour. There was a majority supporting same-sex marriage in all age groups under 55, but the figure dropped to fewer than one in three older Anglicans. More women than men believe same-sex marriage is right.

Support was largely consistent across different regions of England, contradicting assumptions that people living in London and other major cities are more liberal than others. There was also minimal variation across social class.

Church members in England are still lagging behind the general public, among whom a clear majority – 56% – support same-sex marriage, while 27% say they oppose it…

For more detail about this survey see press release here.

In particular, scroll down to pages 4 and 5 of the PDF for some graphics showing very clearly the shift in opinion over the past three years.

For more numbers:

For full results of 2016 poll amongst all Anglicans living in England go here.

For full results of 2016 poll amongst all respondents living within Great Britain go here.

The 2013 detailed results are on pages 13 and 14 of this rather large file.

Updates

There is extensive criticism of this poll at Psephizo The YouGov poll on same-sex marriage

But then again there is discussion of who is a member of the Church of England by Archdruid Eileen Are You Really Church of England?

Further media coverage:

BBC More Anglicans now back gay marriage than oppose it, poll suggests

Telegraph Anglicans ‘more likely to back gay marriage than oppose it’

Christian Today Support for same-sex marriage grows among CofE laity

Independent More Anglicans support gay marriage than oppose it, poll claims

Huffington Post Gay Marriage Support From Christians In The Church Of England Is Now Outstripping Opposition, New Poll Reveals

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 29 January 2016 at 5:15pm GMT | Comments (45) | TrackBack
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The Columba Declaration and the Scottish Episcopal Church

The Scottish Episcopal Church issued this Statement re Columba Declaration and Growth in Communion – Partnership in Mission Report today.

Statement re Columba Declaration and Growth in Communion – Partnership in Mission Report
January 29, 2016

There was some publicity around Christmastime regarding the publication of the joint Columba Declaration by the Church of Scotland and Church of England. The provincial Faith and Order Board met recently and agreed that a short background note should be issued.

After the publication in 2010 of Our Fellowship in the Gospel by the Joint Study Group of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, a product of five year’s work, an invitation to join the Joint Study Group was issued to the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The Scottish Episcopal Church was then involved in those new talks up until 2013. At that point, the other two churches expressed a desire to enter into a deeper ecumenical arrangement. The Faith and Order Board considered the matter carefully but did not believe it was appropriate to enter a tripartite “ecumenical” agreement where one of the parties was the Church of England because the Scottish Episcopal Church is already in full communion with the Church of England. The Board suggested instead that the three-way talks might continue, aimed not at forming an ecumenical agreement but rather at enriching common life and mission across the three churches. Therefore, it suggested alternative ways of proceeding on a tripartite basis.

However, the other two churches were keen to move towards some form of ecumenical agreement. It was at this point that the Scottish Episcopal Church ceased to be a full participant in the talks, albeit we were invited to appoint an observer, and duly did so. The then Convener of Inter-Church Relations Committee took on that role with his last involvement being at the final bilateral meeting in late 2014 where a draft of the report was under discussion.

A joint statement by the Church of Scotland and Church of England setting out the Columba Declaration (which forms only the final part of the report) was unexpectedly issued just before Christmas 2015, in response to a press query, and we became aware of this on Christmas Eve. The final form of the full report, however, was embargoed until the 29th January 2016.

Since the issue of that statement, we have been in direct contact with both the Church of Scotland and Church of England and have obtained a copy of the final report Growth in Communion-Partnership in Mission. We have been able to ask a number of initial questions which have been helpfully answered jointly by the Church of Scotland and the Church of England.

In the report it is stated that a response from the Scottish Episcopal Church would be welcomed. The Faith and Order Board at its meeting on 21st January agreed to remit the Scottish Episcopal Church’s detailed examination of the report to the Inter-Church Relations Committee and to ask that Committee to formulate a response for consideration by the Faith and Order Board in September 2016 (which will be the first meeting of the Board after this year’s Church of England Synod and the Church of Scotland General Assembly). This will include consideration of the concerns which the publication of the Columba Declaration, without the benefit of the full report, had prompted before Christmas. The Board believes that publication of Growth in Communion-Partnership in Mission now provides an opportunity to build on the warm relations which the Scottish Episcopal Church already enjoys with the Church of Scotland and very much looks forward to continuing discussions. The Board similarly looks forward to strengthening our relationship and mutual regard with the Church of England.

The report of the Church of Scotland and Church of England Joint Study Group can be read here.

A press release issued today by the Church of Scotland can be read here.

Our earlier coverage of the Columba Declaration is here, here and here.

The Church of England released the Report on the Church of England-Church of Scotland Joint Study Group (GS 2016) today; the Columba Declaration comprises Chapter IV of the report.

The report will be debated at the Church of England’s General Synod on Tuesday 16 February; here is the relevant section of the agenda.

REPORT OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND–CHURCH OF SCOTLAND JOINT STUDY GROUP (GS 2016)

10 Presentation under SO 107 by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Revd Dr Angus Morrison.

The Bishop of Chester (Co-Chair of the Joint Study Group) to move:

11 ‘That this Synod,
(a) welcome the report of the Joint Study Group of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland (annexed to GS 2016) as a significant development in the relationship between the two churches;
(b) approve the Columba Declaration, consisting of mutual Acknowledgements and Commitments, as set out in paragraph 38 of the report; and
(c) request the Council for Christian Unity to oversee the implementation of the Commitments contained in the Columba Declaration and set up the Contact Group proposed by it.’

The Report of the Synod’s Business Committee provides this comment.

Presentation from the Moderator of the Church of Scotland followed by a Debate on the Report of the Church of England – Church of Scotland Joint Study Group

24. The Church of England – Church of Scotland Joint Study Group was set up following the Synod debate on a previous report, Our Fellowship in the Gospel (GS 1792), in July 2010. The document it has produced has four parts, the first setting out important background, the second agreement in faith between the two churches, the third areas where they can grow in partnership for mission and the fourth the ‘Columba Declaration’ of shared Acknowledgements and Commitments. The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd Dr Angus Morrison, will give a presentation outlining the significance of the proposed agreement between the churches before the Bishop of Chester, as Co-Chair of the Joint Study Group, introduces the debate.

The Church of Scotland has also issued a press release today: Landmark report on historic Ecumenical partnership plans published.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 29 January 2016 at 2:11pm GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Agenda for February 2016 General Synod

The Church of England’s usual pre-synod press release has been issued today, and is copied below.

The remainder of the papers have also been published online, and I have updated my list here.

Agenda for February 2016 General Synod
29 January 2016

The General Synod of the Church of England meets in London in February for a three day meeting from 2.30 pm on Monday 15 February until 5.00 pm on Wednesday 17 February. This will be the first full-length meeting of the newly-elected General Synod since its inauguration in November 2015.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here. The majority of the papers have been released today. A major theme of this group of sessions will be taking forward the next stages of the Archbishops’ Renewal and Reform initiative. On Wednesday 17 February the various Task Group leads will be giving an overview to Synod on their plans for the coming year. Specific items related to Renewal and Reform feature on the February agenda.

One key aspect of Renewal and Reform is the introduction of legislative changes to make it easier for parishes and dioceses to organise themselves to facilitate mission and growth. This is known as the Simplification work stream. On Monday 15 February legislation will come before Synod to simplify the Church’s rulebook to reduce regulatory burdens in the form of the Draft Mission and Pastoral etc. (Amendment) Measure (GS2014). On Tuesday 16 February, Synod will be asked to endorse plans to introduce an ‘Enabling Measure’ to make it easier to update Church legislation in the future as required on an on-going basis (GS 2018).

On Wednesday 17 February there will be a debate on a motion on the Resourcing Ministerial Education work stream, another element of Renewal and reform. The motion and the accompanying paper sets out plans for new funding arrangements to boost the number of candidates for ministry and a strategy for the continuing enhancement of their quality and deployability (GS 2020). Immediately after this item, there will be a Take Note debate on a report from the Task Group on Resourcing the Future which sets out plans to reorganise the way that the Church distributes money centrally to focus it on driving growth and helping mission in the poorest communities (GS 2021). Linked to these initiatives, there will be a report from the Evangelism Task Group with examples of best practice with regards to Church growth and evangelism (GS 2015).

On Monday 15 February the Archbishop of Canterbury will be giving a Presidential Address which will include a Statement on the outcome of the recent Primates meeting in Canterbury. There will also be an update by the Archbishop’s Director for Reconciliation on the progress in the dioceses of the Shared Conversations on Spirituality, Scripture and Mission. Synod members will have an opportunity to ask questions on the presentation.

On Tuesday 16 February, the Rt Revd Dr Angus Morrison, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will give a presentation on the Report of the Church of England - Church of Scotland Joint Study Group (GS 2016). This will be followed by a debate on the Report introduced by the Bishop of Chester.

Synod will be debating three Diocesan Synod Motions, two of which are closely related. The first two DSMs from Worcester Diocesan Synod relate to Parochial fees and related costs for weddings and funerals (GS 2017A and 2017B). This will be taken together on Tuesday 16 February. On Wednesday 17 February there will be a Diocesan Synod Motion arising from Leeds Diocesan Synod on the ‘Impact of Sanctions on Benefit Claimants’ (GS 2019A and GS2019B). A further Diocesan Synod Motion from Leeds Diocesan Synod on ‘Blood and Organ Donation’ (GS 2022A and GS2022B) is listed as contingency business.

ENDS

The full agenda can be viewed online here.

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Monday, 25 January 2016

A Statement on Archbishop Beach’s Participation at Primates 2016

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) released this statement today: A Statement on Archbishop Beach’s Participation at Primates 2016. Here it is, with my emphasis added in paragraph 4.

The Anglican Church in North America has received numerous questions regarding whether or not Archbishop Beach was “a full voting member of the Primates Meeting.” Archbishop Beach did not consider himself a full voting member of the Primates Meeting, but with the exception of voting on the consequences for the Episcopal Church, Archbishop Beach participated fully in those parts of the meeting that he chose to attend.

Prior to Primates 2016 he was informed that there may be certain times when the Primates would move into a formal meeting, and, as the Anglican Church in North America is not an official member of the Communion’s instruments, he would be asked to step out of the room. However, he was never asked to leave the meeting.

While at the meeting, he addressed the gathering and participated in various balloting measures that set the agenda, ordered the agenda, and sought to discern the way those in the room wanted to proceed. He did not vote on the consequences for The Episcopal Church.

Some have asked whether Archbishop Beach voted to approve the final Communique or the new members of the Standing Committee. Neither he nor a majority of the GAFCON Primates were​ present for these discussions on Friday. Although early in the week he joined the other Primates in affirming his desire to walk together, this desire was necessarily contingent upon The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada giving evidence of returning to Biblical and historical Anglican theology and morality (Amos 3:3). On Thursday ​evening, ​with the absence of repentance, restored order, and true unity, Archbishop Beach felt it necessary to withdraw from the meeting.

Archbishop Beach appreciated the gracious invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend the meeting, and was thankful to be warmly received as the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America by most of the other primates who were present. While the Anglican Church in North America is recognized and in full communion with provinces who represent the majority of Anglicans in the world, the future place of the Anglican Church in North America in relation to the formal instruments remains an open question. Archbishop Beach was encouraged to see the growing recognition of the Anglican Church in North America as a part of the Communion by many of the Primates and Provinces around the table.

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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Opinion - 23 January 2016

Ian Paul The Primates and Public Relations

Bosco Peters 11 Ways To Stop Church Growth

Simon Hunter Law & Religion UK What is a “church” in English law?

Jonathan Chaplin Law & Religion UK ‘Living with Difference’: Time for a constructive Christian engagement

Martin Saunders Christian Today ‘When a knight won his spurs’: the lost genius of the 1980s school hymn

Andrew Brown The Guardian No religion is the new religion

Mark Woods Christian Today Church decline: Is evangelicalism to blame?

Stephen Altrogge The Blazing Center Early Warning Signs of Adult Onset Calvinism

Richard Chartres Church Times And Esau was an hairy man

Gabrielle Higgins, Chichester Diocesan Secretary, Bishop George Bell - points on a complex case

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Friday, 22 January 2016

Church Times reports on the Primates meeting

Today’s issue of Church Times carries these three news items by Madeleine Davies.
Reactions pour in to the Primates’ pronouncements
Curry looks to the ACC to respond to the Primates’ ruling
Welby: Fixed Easter ‘in five-ten years’

There is also this piece by unnamed staff reporters: The Canterbury tale.

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February General Synod - online papers

The second circulation papers have now been added below.

Papers in the first circulation for next month’s meeting of General Synod on 15-17 February are now online here in agenda order. Here is a list in numerical order, with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration.

More papers are scheduled for release on 29 January. There appear to be rather more of these than usual. I have included below all those mentioned in the agenda, and I will add links to them in due course.

zip file of all first circulation papers
zip file of all second circulation papers
zip file of all papers

GS 1953D - Amending Canon No.34 [Monday]

GS 2011 - Agenda

GS 2012 - Appointment of the Chair of the Dioceses Commission [Monday]

GS 2013 - Report by the Business Committee [Monday]

GS 2014 - Draft Mission and Pastoral (Amendment) Measure [Monday]
GS 2014x - Explanatory Memorandum

GS 2015 - Report from the Evangelism Task Group [Tuesday]

GS 2016 - Report of the Church of England-Church of Scotland Joint Study Group [Tuesday]

GS 2017A and graph and GS 2017B - Diocesan Synod Motion: Parochial Fees [Tuesday]

GS 2018 - Proposed Enabling Measure [Tuesday]

GS 2019A and GS 2019B - Diocesan Synod Motion: Impact of Sanctions on Benefit Claimants [Wednesday]

GS 2020 - Renewal and Reform: Resourcing Ministerial Education [Wednesday]

GS 2021 - Renewal and Reform: Resourcing the Future [Wednesday]

GS 2022A and GS 2022B - Diocesan Synod Motion: Blood and Organ [contingency business]

Notice papers

Notice Paper 1
Notice Paper 2
Notice Paper 3

Other papers

GS Misc 1129 - Instructions regarding counted votes conducted by electronic means
GS Misc 1130 - The Dioceses Commission Annual Report 2015
GS Misc 1131 - House of Bishops Summary of Decisions
GS Misc 1132 - Report on the Churches Together in England 2015 Forum
GS Misc 1133 - House of Bishops Consultation on Vestments
GS Misc 1134 - Update on Archbishop’s Council activities
GS Misc 1135 - Council for Christian Unity Annual Report
GS Misc 1136 - Central Stipends Authority Annual Report
Group work membership
Group work questions [Tuesday morning]

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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Archbishop Justin reflects on the Primates' meeting Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written a reflection on the meeting of Anglican Primates in Canterbury last week. Read it here.

Some other recent comments and reflections on the Primates meeting

Bishop Pierre Whalon writes for Huffington Post: Ain’t it awful ‘bout dem Anglicans?

Inclusive Church has published a Reflection from the Chair of Inclusive Church and a Joint statement from Inclusive Church, Modern Church and Progressive Christianity Network: Responses to the Anglican Primates’ Meeting.

Andrew Lightbown has written An Open Letter to the Primates.

Kelvin Holdworth has written that Outrage is not a mission strategy.

Integrity USA has published An Open Letter by its President, Bruce Garner.

Angus Ritchie ABC Religion and Ethics Scripture, Sin and Same-Sex Relationships after the Gathering of Anglican Primates

Bill Countryman The Archbishops in Secret

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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Primates gathering - Tuesday roundup

Madeleine Davies writes for Church Times that Primates’ ruling is not binding, says canon lawyer.

THE communiqué issued by the Primates in Canterbury last week does not bind anyone, because the Primates’ meeting has no jurisdiction, a canon lawyer said this week. It represented “completely unacceptable interference” with the autonomy of the bodies to whom it had issued requirements.

“I find it utterly extraordinary,” the director of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University, Professor Norman Doe, said on Tuesday. “No instrument exists conferring upon the Primates’ meeting the jurisdiction to ‘require’ these things… Whatever they require is unenforceable.”…

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has written A Reflection on the Meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Canterbury, England, January 11-15, 2016
The Anglican Journal [of Canada] reports on this reflection: Hiltz addresses ‘sharp criticism’ over stance on TEC .

Archbishop Philip Freier, the Primate of Australia, has reported that he was elected to the Primates’ Standing Committee at last week’s meeting: Dr Freier in key role. He gives the full list of the five primates elected to the standing committee as:
Archbishop Philip Freier from Australia for the Asia Pacific
Archbishop John Holder from the Caribbean for the Americas
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba from South Africa for Africa
Archbishop Richard Clarke from Ireland for Europe
Archbishop Mouneer Anis from Egypt and the Middle East for Asia.

Andrew Goddard of Fulcrum has drawn up this list of Responses to Primates 2016 from The Episcopal Church (USA).

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has issued this statement by its Moderator, the Ven Malcolm French, “regarding the primates meeting 2016 and the purported sanctions against The Episcopal Church”.

Marie Alford-Harkey Huffington Post The Real Consequences of the Anglican Primates’ Censure of the Episcopal Church

Jonathan Merritt The Atlantic The Selective Outrage of the Anglican Church

Mark Strange, the Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness, writes that All are one in Christ.

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Monday, 18 January 2016

Primates gathering: Monday news and comment

Archbishop Philip Richardson ‘Walk or stay? We chose to stay’

BBC News Dr Richard Clarke: Church of Ireland primate defends decision on US Episcopal Church

Scottish Episcopal Church Primates Meeting 2016 – radio interviews with Primus

Hudson Kuteesa AllAfrica Rwanda: Canterbury Has Taken Best Decision On Gay - Bishop Rucyahana

Some blog posts from a range of perspectives

Andrew Lightbown A tale of two Primates

Richard Haggis Winsome, Lose some

Giles Goddard The Primates’ Meeting - good or bad?

Bosco Peters Primates Do Not Suspend TEC

Ephraim Radner First Things Reaffirming Communion: an Act of Hope

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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Primates gathering: Sunday news and comment

The following statement was published on the Primates 2016 website this morning.

Statement on votes given to Primates at the meeting in Canterbury

17 Jan 2016

On those occasions when the discussion required Primates to privately record a preference or a decision, slips were informally distributed around the tables and then collected. Apart from when the meeting agreed the agenda at the start, it was made clear to Archbishop Foley Beach that it would not be appropriate for him to take part and he was not invited to do so. Given the spirit of the meeting at all times, it is unfortunate that this is misrepresented in recent reports.

Mark Harris We stand corrected: Its CONSEQUENCES not SANCTIONS. Got it? Its part Four of the Anglican Covenant.

Sam Wells To All who Read the Primates’ Statement with Grief and Dismay

Alan Wilson Washington Post [transcript of an interview with Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of Washington DC]

Bishop Budde published this letter on Friday: Walk in Love: A Letter from Bishop Mariann on the Primates Meeting.

BBC News Dr Richard Clarke: Church of Ireland primate defends decision on US Episcopal Church

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 12:44pm GMT | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 16 January 2016

Easter date to be fixed?

At yesterday’s press conference following the meeting of Anglican primates the Archbishop of Canterbury said that the primates had voted to join discussions with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches to set a common, fixed date for Easter.

John Bingham The Telegraph Easter date to be fixed ‘within next five to 10 years’

Ben Quinn The Guardian Christian leaders attempt to fix global date for Easter

BBC News Archbishop Justin Welby hopes for fixed Easter date

Andrew Griffin Independent Easter to be fixed to one date all the time, Archbishop Justin Welby says

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Anglican Primates agree to set fixed, common date for Easter

Wikipedia has a number of articles on the date of Easter.

Reform of the date of Easter
Computus
Easter controversy

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 11:23am GMT | Comments (57) | TrackBack
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Primates gathering: Saturday news and comment

Updated at 5.00 pm

A video of yesterday’s Primates Meeting press conference is available on YouTube.

Anglican Mainstream offers these Notes from Primates Press Conference.

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today The sacrificial grace of Bishop Michael Curry of The Episcopal Church

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Anglican church ban ‘will bring great pain’

Kimberly Winston Huffington Post Episcopal Church Won’t Back Down On Gay Rights Despite Censure

Laurie Goodstein and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura New York Times For Now, Anglicans Avert Schism Over Gay Marriage

Responses from two primates

Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

[I will be posting a separate article on a fixed Easter later today.]

Update

Anglican Journal (Canada) Censure of US church will weigh on Canada, says Hiltz

Archdruid Eileen Primates 2016 - Your Questions Answered

The President of the US House of Deputies has written to members of the House: On the Primates Meeting: A Letter from President Jennings
Ruth Gledhill writes about the letter for Christian Today: Leading member of US Church pledges to continue Anglican Communion work.

David Allen Episcopal Café Who are TEC’s representatives to Anglican Communion bodies?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 11:03am GMT | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Opinion - 16 January 2016

Andy Walton Christian Today A warm welcome to church can change people’s lives, and even the whole country

Jonathan Clatworthy Modern Church Testing religious beliefs

Peter Ormerod The Guardian Twenty things the Church of England has done for us

Giles Fraser The Guardian Equal marriage is the next stage in the church’s continual reformation

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Friday, 15 January 2016

Primates gathering: Friday - more news and comment

Updated several times during the day

Paul Handley Church Times ACNA Primate was given ballot paper to vote on Episcopal Church

Tim Wyatt Church Times Primates issue full communiqué which includes condemnation of homophobia

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry A statement on the Primates Meeting [3 minute video]
[also here with text of the video]

Dean E Wolfe Episcopal News Service Bishop of Kansas responds to primates’ action

Andrew McGowan No, the Episcopal Church has not been suspended from the Anglican Communion

Press Association [in The Guardian] Justin Welby says sorry to LGBTI community for hurt caused by church

Update

BBC News Welby sorry for Anglican ‘hurt’ to LGBT community

Madeleine Davies Church Times Reactions to the Primates: Americans express their sadness, conservatives their doubts
Ugandan Archbishop: why I walked out of the Primates gathering in Canterbury

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Archbishop of Canterbury apologises for ‘hurt and pain’ caused to gay community

Photographs from this afternoon’s press conference

Madeleine Davies Church Times US Episcopalians facing ‘not a sanction, but a consequence’ says Welby

Bruce Garner (President, Integrity USA) Integrity Response to the 2016 Anglican Primate Meeting

Editorial in The Guardian The Guardian view on the Anglican communion: Archbishop Welby’s holy smoke and mirrors

Giles Fraser The Guardian Anglican leaders further marginalise gay people – and Church of England

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Justin Welby says sorry to LGBTI community for hurt and pain caused by Anglican church

Patrick Struckwick BuzzFeed News LGBT Christians React With Fury Over The Anglican Communion Suspending Pro-Gay Church

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Communiqué from the Primates

The Communiqué from the Primates meeting has been released and is copied below.

Walking Together in the Service of God in the World

The meeting of Anglican Primates, the senior bishops of the 38 Anglican Provinces, joined by the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of North America, took place in Canterbury between Monday 11 January and Friday 15 January at the invitation of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The first morning was spent in prayer and fasting.

We came knowing that the 2016 Primates’ meeting would be concerned with the differences among us in regard to our teaching on matters of human sexuality. We were also eager to address wider areas of concern.

The meeting started by agreeing the agenda. The first agreed item was to discuss an important point of contention among Anglicans worldwide: the recent change to the doctrine of marriage by The Episcopal Church in the USA.

Over the past week the unanimous decision of the Primates was to walk together, however painful this is, and despite our differences, as a deep expression of our unity in the body of Christ. We looked at what that meant in practical terms.

We received the recommendation of a working group of our members which took up the task of how our Anglican Communion of Churches might walk together and our unity be strengthened. Their work, consistent with previous statements of the Primates’ meetings, addressed what consequences follow for The Episcopal Church in relation to the Anglican Communion following its recent change of marriage doctrine. The recommendations in paragraphs 7 and 8 of the Addendum A below are:

“It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

“We have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.”

These recommendations were adopted by the majority of the Primates present.

We will develop this process so that it can also be applied when any unilateral decisions on matters of doctrine and polity are taken that threaten our unity.

The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.

The Primates recognise that the Christian church and within it the Anglican Communion have often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt. Where this has happened they express their profound sorrow and affirm again that God’s love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression.

We affirmed the consultation that had taken place in preparation for the meeting by Archbishop Welby and commended his approach for future events within the Communion.

The consideration of the required application for admission to membership of the Communion of the Anglican Church of North America was recognised as properly belonging to the Anglican Consultative Council. The Primates recognise that such an application, were it to come forward, would raise significant questions of polity and jurisdiction.

In the wake of the climate change conference in Paris last month, the meeting heard about a petition of almost two million signatures co-coordinated by the Anglican Environment Network. Reports were made about moves to divest from fossil fuels, the expansion of the African Deserts and the struggle for survival of the peoples of the Pacific as island life is threatened in many places by the rise of sea levels.

The meeting discussed the reality of religiously motivated violence and its impact on people and communities throughout the world. Primates living in places where such violence is a daily reality spoke movingly and passionately about their circumstances and the effect on their members. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself has taken important initiatives in bringing people together from a range of faith communities globally for discussion and mutual accountability. The Anglican Primates repudiated any religiously motivated violence and expressed solidarity with all who suffer from this evil in the world today.

The Primates look forward to the proposal being brought to the Anglican Consultative Council for comprehensive child protection measures to be available throughout all the churches of the Communion.

In a presentation on evangelism, the Primates rejoiced that the Church of Jesus Christ lives to bear witness to the transforming power of the love of God in Jesus Christ. The Primates were energised by the opportunity to share experiences of evangelism and motivated to evangelise with their people.

“The Primates joyfully commit themselves and the Anglican Church, to proclaim throughout the world the person and work of Jesus Christ, unceasingly and authentically, inviting all to embrace the beauty and joy of the Gospel.”

(See Addendum B.)

The Primates supported the Archbishop of Canterbury in his proposal to call a Lambeth Conference in 2020.

Primates discussed tribalism, ethnicity, nationalism and patronage networks, and the deep evil of corruption. They reflected that these issues become inextricably connected to war and violence, and derive from poverty. They agreed to ask the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion to commission a study for the next Primates’ meeting. The Primates agreed to meet again in 2017 and 2019.

The Primates owe a debt of gratitude to the staff of the Anglican Communion Office, and especially the Secretary General, to the staff at Lambeth Palace and at Church House Westminster. The Primates were especially grateful for the warm welcome, generous hospitality and kindness offered by the Dean of Canterbury and all at the Cathedral. Their contribution was very important in setting the mood of the meeting in prayer and mutual listening. Thanks to the Community of St Anselm for their prayer, help and support, Jean Vanier for his inspiring addresses, and the Community of St Gregory for the loan of the crosier head to sit alongside the St Augustine gospels.

The Primates received their time together as a gift from God and experienced many signs of God’s presence amongst us. They appreciated the personal care and humility shown by the Archbishop of Canterbury especially in his chairing of the meeting. We leave our week together enriched by the communion we share and strengthened by the faithful witness of Anglicans across the world. The Primates deeply appreciate the prayers of many throughout the world over our time together.

[The two Addenda are below the fold.]

Addendum A

1.We gathered as Anglican Primates to pray and consider how we may preserve our unity in Christ given the ongoing deep differences that exist among us concerning our understanding of marriage.

2.Recent developments in the Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.

3.All of us acknowledge that these developments have caused further deep pain throughout our Communion.

4.The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.

5.In keeping with the consistent position of previous Primates’ meetings such unilateral actions on a matter of doctrine without Catholic unity is considered by many of us as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion.

6.Such actions further impair our communion and create a deeper mistrust between us. This results in significant distance between us and places huge strains on the functioning of the Instruments of Communion and the ways in which we express our historic and ongoing relationships.

7.It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years TEC no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

8.We have asked the ABC to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.

Addendum B

We, as Anglican Primates, affirm together that the Church of Jesus Christ lives to bear witness to the transforming love of God in the power of the Spirit throughout the world.

It is clear God’s world has never been in greater need of this resurrection love and we long to make it known.

We commit ourselves through evangelism to proclaim the person and work of Jesus Christ, unceasingly and authentically, inviting all to embrace the beauty and joy of the Gospel.

We rely entirely on the power of the Holy Spirit who gives us speech, brings new birth, leads us into the truth revealed in Christ Jesus thus building the church.

All disciples of Jesus Christ, by virtue of our baptism, are witnesses to and of Jesus in faith, hope and love.

We pledge ourselves together to pray, listen, love, suffer and sacrifice that the world may know that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Come Holy Spirit.

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Primates gathering: Friday news reports and comment

Updated at 2.00 pm

Paul Handley Church Times Primates distance themselves from the US Episcopal Church in official statement

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Anglican church avoids split over gay rights – but liberals pay price

John Bingham The Telegraph Anglicans step back from brink of schism over homosexuality

Sarah Pulliam Bailey Washington Post Anglican Communion suspends the Episcopal Church after years of gay rights debates

Kimberly Winston Religion News Episcopal Church suspended from full participation in Anglican Communion

Ian Johnston Independent Church of England leaders defy liberals and condemn same-sex marriage

John Martin The Living Church Primates suspend TEC over same sex decisions

Comment

Susan Russell Huffington Post On Becoming Second Class Anglicans for Treating LGBT People as First Class Christians

Anglican Church in North America Primates Meeting 2016 Update from Archbishop Beach

Jake Cunliffe Ekklesia Marriage should be inclusive - a response to the Primates’ rebuke of the Episcopal Church

Ian Paul What does the Primates’ Statement mean?

Update

Jon White Episcopal Café Editorial: Response to the #Primates2016 Statement

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Episcopal Church Primate pledges to stay in the Anglican Communion

BBC News Anglican communion to restrict US Church over gay marriage

Harriet Sherwood and Rowena Mason The Guardian Chris Bryant quits Church of England over its views on homosexuality

Kathryn Snowdon The Huffington Post UK US Episcopal Church Suspended From Anglican Communion Over Gay Marriage

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Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Episcopal Church view of the primates statement

ENS reports Majority of primates call for temporary Episcopal Church sanctions.

There is a good deal of additional information in this lengthy article. Worth reading carefully right through. Here is what Michael Curry said:

…Before the Jan. 14 vote, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry told the primates gathering Jan. 11-15 in Canterbury, England, that the statement calling for the sanctions would be painful for many in the Episcopal Church to receive.
“Many of us have committed ourselves and our church to being ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, when all are truly welcome,” Curry said in remarks he later made available to Episcopal News Service.

“Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.

“For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain,” he said. “For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.”

Curry told the primates that he was in no sense comparing his own pain to theirs, but “I stand before you as your brother. I stand before you as a descendant of African slaves, stolen from their native land, enslaved in a bitter bondage, and then even after emancipation, segregated and excluded in church and society. And this conjures that up again, and brings pain.

“The pain for many will be real. But God is greater than anything. I love Jesus and I love the church. I am a Christian in the Anglican way. And like you, as we have said in this meeting, I am committed to ‘walking together’ with you as fellow primates in the Anglican family…”

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GAFCON statement on the 2016 primates Gathering

GAFCON statement on the 2016 primates Gathering

currently available only here
Now also available here.

The Anglican Communion is our spiritual home and the GAFCON Primates traveled to England in the hope that godly faith and order could be restored through renewed obedience to the Bible.

We are pleased that Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America has played a full part in the Canterbury meeting of Primates and that sanctions have been applied to the Episcopal Church of the United States, (TEC) recognising the need for mutual accountability on matters of doctrine within the family of the Communion.
However, this action must not be seen as an end, but as a beginning. There is much that causes us concern, especially the failure to recognise the fact that the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) has also rejected the collegial mind of the Communion by unilaterally permitting the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of those in active homosexual relationships. We fear that other provinces will do the same.

Since the beginning of the crisis in the Communion brought about by the actions of both TEC and the ACoC, the Anglican instruments of unity have been unable to guard biblical truth and restore godly order. There must therefore be doubt about the effectiveness of the sanctions that have been agreed.

In particular, it must be recognised that the continuing brokenness of the Communion is not the result simply of failed relationships, but is caused by the persistent rejection of biblical and apostolic faith as set out in Lambeth Resolution 1.10. We are therefore disappointed that the Primates’ statement makes no reference to the need for repentance.

The need for the GAFCON movement is being recognised by an ever increasing number of people and we are encouraged in our conviction that God has called us to work for an Anglican Communion which is a truly global family of Churches. We long to see a united, confident and courageous witness to God who by the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ has given us an unshakeable hope and assures us of his unfailing love.

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Official Statement from Primates 2016

Statement from Primates 2016
14 Jan 2016

Today the Primates agreed how they would walk together in the grace and love of Christ. This agreement acknowledges the significant distance that remains but confirms their unanimous commitment to walk together.

The Primates regret that it appears that this document has been leaked in advance of their communiqué tomorrow. In order to avoid speculation the document is being released in full. This agreement demonstrates the commitment of all the Primates to continue the life of the Communion with neither victor nor vanquished.

Questions and further comments will be responded to at a press conference tomorrow at 1500. Full details are available here.

The full text is as follows:

1. We gathered as Anglican Primates to pray and consider how we may preserve our unity in Christ given the ongoing deep differences that exist among us concerning our understanding of marriage.

2. Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.

3. All of us acknowledge that these developments have caused further deep pain throughout our Communion.

4. The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.

5. In keeping with the consistent position of previous Primates’ meetings such unilateral actions on a matter of doctrine without Catholic unity is considered by many of us as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion.

6. Such actions further impair our communion and create a deeper mistrust between us. This results in significant distance between us and places huge strains on the functioning of the Instruments of Communion and the ways in which we express our historic and ongoing relationships.

7. It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

8. We have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.

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Church of England safeguarding audits

Press release today from the Church of England

Publication of pilot audits on safeguarding arrangements
14 January 2016

The outcomes of four pilot independent audits into safeguarding arrangements in the Church of England have been published today.

The dioceses of Blackburn, Durham, Portsmouth and Salisbury all volunteered to be part of the House of Bishops commissioned project to take a look at current safeguarding practice. The audits will now be rolled out across all other Church of England dioceses during 2016/17.

The independent audits were carried out by The Social Care Institute for Excellence, SCIE, a charity and leading improvement support agency specialising in safeguarding. SCIE has pioneered a particular collaborative approach to conducting case reviews and audits in child and adult safeguarding called Learning Together focusing on the reasons why things go well, the cause of any problems and solutions.

The audit process in each diocese involved examination of safeguarding leadership arrangements, local policies and practice guidance, the quality of case work, recruitment and training. The auditors also looked at the progress being made in reaching nationally agreed standards informed by central House of Bishops approved policies.

The National Safeguarding Team has welcomed the pilot overview report and considerations for its future work.

The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding said: “These audits are part of our commitment to making the Church a safer place for all, ensuring that all dioceses have the best possible practice in place. I commend the four dioceses, including my own, which came forward to be pilots as it is not easy to be the first under the spotlight. We all have lessons to learn. The audits show how each diocese can improve while also commending good practice that is already in place.

“Our policies and practice must start from the place of seeking the very best for all. This includes them being survivor-informed. SCIE’s experience in safeguarding will help us to do that. We have published these pilot audits as we are committed to being open about where we have got it wrong and where we need to improve. The pilot process will also inform further improvements in the auditing process itself for the next round. The audits, both individually, and as a whole, will form an important part of our work as the National Inquiry gets underway.

We must always remember that safeguarding exists to enable the Church to ensure that the vast range of work with children, young people, the elderly, disabled and all people are the very best that they can be for everyone who wants to be involved.”

Tony Hunter, SCIE chief executive said: “SCIE commends the Church of England for taking such a proactive approach to auditing their safeguarding policies and practice. It’s so important that influential organisations - such as the Church - recognise their role in safeguarding children and adults. SCIE auditors were impressed by the openness of staff in the four pilot areas, and their willingness to share and learn. We look forward to continuing to work with the Church of England as we support rollout of their audit process across all dioceses.”

Anyone who is affected by a safeguarding issue, particularly in light of today’s reports, should feel free to come forward in confidence and they will be listened to. Details of how to report concerns and find support can be found here.

Links and contact details are below the fold.

Notes

More information on SCIE

Report on Blackburn Diocese audit

Report on Durham Diocese audit

Report on Portsmouth Diocese audit

Report on Salisbury Diocese audit

Pilot overview report

Contacts

Church of England national office - 020 7898 1326 / out of hours 07774 800212

Blackburn Diocese - Ronnie Semley email 01254 503416

Durham Diocese - Keith Blundy email 07900 583131

Portsmouth Diocese - Neil Pugmire email 02392 899673

Salisbury Diocese - Gerry Lynch email 01722 438652 / mobileb 07799 900610.

SCIE - Iris Steen email

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 14 January 2016 at 1:35pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Primates gathering: Thursday news reports

Updated again 4.30 pm

Some news has finally emerged…

George Conger Partial sanctions for TEC [revision of earlier article]

Update from Kevin 1:30 Canterbury Time. Several sources have told me and/or confirmed the following. Please know this is the fog of war and that first reports are usually not precise and subject to change.

My Primate sources tell me their cell phones were confiscated before each session.
TEC will be sanctioned for three years. I don’t have any information about what those sanctions are.
Canada is not going to be sanctioned.
The sanctions expire after period of three years and TEC does not need to do anything to be unsanctioned.
The sanctions are not discipline. What?
Based on statements going into this meeting this would be a huge loss for GAFCON.
Based on reaction from TEC loyalist this is a huge loss for them.
In reality this is a huge loss for the un-repaired communion.

I will task George with another full report tonight.

Ruth Gledhill US Episcopal Church could face sanctions for appointing gay bishops

However the use of the word “sanctions” has been questioned by Arun Arora who tweeted:

“Acting within the love&grace of Jesus Not about sanctions but consequences in context of unanimous commitment to walk together”

and ” In context of Primates agreeing to walk together, it’s about consequences not discipline; all governed by love & grace of Jesus.”

The Church of Uganda has issued this: Archbishop Stanley Ntagali’s Update on the Primates Gathering in Canterbury

…On the second day of the gathering, I moved a resolution that asked the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to voluntarily withdraw from the meeting and other Anglican Communion activities until they repented of their decisions that have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level. They would not agree to this request nor did it appear that the Archbishop of Canterbury and his facilitators would ensure that this matter be substantively addressed in a timely manner.

Sadly, after two long days of discussions, I was concerned that the process set up for this meeting would not permit us to address the unfinished business from the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam.

In accordance with the resolution of our Provincial Assembly, it was, therefore, necessary for me to withdraw from the meeting, which I did at the end of the second day. It seemed that I was being manipulated into participating in a long meeting with the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada without the necessary discipline being upheld. My conscience is at peace.

I have left the meeting in Canterbury, but I want to make it clear that we are not leaving the Anglican Communion. Together with our fellow GAFCON Provinces and others in the Global South, we are the Anglican Communion; the future is bright. The door is open for all those who seek communion on the basis of a common confession of our historic, Biblical faith for which the Ugandan Martyrs, Archbishop James Hannington, Archbishop Janani Luwum and many others around the world have died. We are part of a global movement of Anglicans who follow the God who “so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)…

George Conger again: Primates suspend Episcopal Church from full participation in the Anglican Communion

…The primates of the Anglican Communion have suspended the Episcopal Church from full participation in the life and work of the Anglican Communion. On 14 January 2016 a motion was presented to the gathering of archbishops and moderators gathered in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral that called for the Episcopal Church to be suspended for a period of three years.

A copy of the resolution seen by Anglican Ink calls for the Episcopal Church to lose its “vote” in meetings of pan-Anglican institutions and assemblies, but preserves its “voice”, demoting the church to observer status..

The motion asks that representatives of the Episcopal Church not be permitted to represent the Communion in interfaith and ecumenical bodies or dialogue commissions, nor serve on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, nor vote at meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council — whose next meeting is this summer in Lusaka. Unlike the recommendations of the Windsor Report, which called for the “voluntary withdrawal” of the Episcopal Church from the life of the Communion, today’s vote directs the archbishop to discipline the American church.

The Episcopal Church may not take part in the decision making process “on issues of doctrine or polity”, either, agreed the primates.

The motion further asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to “appoint a task group to maintain conversations among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of commonality, and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held in the love and grace of Christ.”

The archbishop’s task group will be tasked with implementing the dialogue and codifying what “this looks like” a source familiar with the deliberations told AI…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 14 January 2016 at 12:53pm GMT | Comments (36) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Primates gathering: Wednesday reports

Updated again at 11 pm

So far this morning, there are no new news reports since those that appeared yesterday in mainstream UK media.

There is however a report from George Conger: Second day report — deadlock in Canterbury.

I will update this article, as I did with yesterday’s, during the day if new information emerges.

Meanwhile, in the absence of news, here are some more articles reflecting on the prospects for the meeting, from a variety of perspectives:

Jesse Zink On beyond Primates

Neil Dhingra has responded to the previous article in The Primates and the “reality” of the Anglican Communion

Independent Lucy Gorman Queer Christians like me deserve to pray without prejudice – so maybe it’s time for the Anglican Communion to split

Alan Wilson Take Your Protein Packs & Put your Helmets On

Andrew Symes Crisis in the Anglican Communion: recent history and potential outcomes.

And there are more pictures of that Monday Evensong available here.

Evening Update

Ruth Gledhill has written that Anglican Primates should ‘kick back and have fun’ because they’ll never agree on homosexuality, expert says.

John Bingham has written for the Telegraph Archbishops ‘treated like children’ in church gay crisis talks.

Some news comes in this report by Peter Ould of who came to Evensong today.

And there is further speculation on the outcome by George Conger: Handicapping the Primates sweepstake

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 January 2016 at 8:59am GMT | Comments (34) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Church of England publishes 2014 attendance statistics

Updated Tuesday evening

The Church of England has published its Statistics for Mission 2014 today with an accompanying press release, copied below. The statistics mainly cover numbers attending, but there are also figures on, for example, numbers joining and leaving (with reasons), electoral numbers, baptisms, marriages, and funerals.

The statistics can be downloaded from here as a 58 page pdf file.

Church Publishes 2014 Attendance Statistics
12 January 2016

New Church of England statistics for 2014 published today show that just under one million people attend services each week. The survey, carried out over four weeks in October 2014, found 980,000 people attending church each week, with 830,000 adults and 150,000 children.

The statistics also show that 2.4 million attended a Church of England Church at Christmas in 2014 and 1.3 million people attended a service at Easter. Additionally, 2.2 million people attended special Advent services for the congregation and local community whilst 2.6 million attended special Advent services for civic organisations and schools.

The statistics also highlight the other services carried out by the Church of England on a regular basis. In 2014 the Church carried out just under 1,000 weddings, 2,000 baptisms, and almost 3,000 funerals every week of the year. Some 12% of births during 2014 were marked by a Church of England infant baptism or thanksgiving service whilst 31% of deaths were marked by a Church of England funeral.

As a whole the figures represent a continuing trend which has shown a 12% decrease in attendance over the past decade with an average decline of just over 1% a year.

Speaking on the publication of the statistics, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt. Revd. Graham James, said:

“The 2014 figures are not in any way a surprise. Whilst the recent trend of the past decade continues, it has been anticipated and is being acted on radically.

“As part of a prayerful and considered response to these trends the Church is embarking upon the biggest renewal and reform process in over 150 years focusing our resources on prayer, evangelism, discipleship, vocations, leadership & training.

“We do not expect that trend to change imminently or immediately over the next few years due to demographics. We lose approximately 1% of our churchgoers to death each year. Given the age profile of the CofE, the next few years will continue to have downward pressure as people die or become housebound and unable to attend church.

“As a Church we are unashamedly committed to following the teachings of Jesus Christ in our worship of God, discipleship and service to the poor and the marginalised. Our confidence, resilience and service is rooted in Jesus.

“The story is not one of inevitable decline. During 2013-14 some dioceses continued to increase their attendance. In the past 12 months alone there are examples of growth and new churches across the country. In my own diocese the church of St. Thomas Norwich has grown from 50 to 450 people in the past two years. In Bournemouth, St Swithin’s - a church which started in 2014 - now sees 500 people attending every week whilst in Birmingham St Luke’s Gas Street in is already attracting hundreds of young people since its beginning in 2015. There are many others like these and each is a sign of hope.

“Attendance statistics do not tell the whole story. There are many things that churches do that are not included in these data from running homelessness services and hosting foodbanks, to educating a million children a day in our schools to providing welcome and accompaniment to the least, the last and the lost in our society.”

Update

Mark Hart looks at the figures for the diocese of London: Capital Growth or Northern Powerhouse?.

Press reports

John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England attendance plunges to record low

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England weekly attendance falls below 1m for first time

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Church of England weekly attendance falls below one million for first time

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Primates gathering: Tuesday reports

Updated again 11.00 pm

Telegraph Sally Hitchiner The schism in the Anglican Church might be a good thing

Daily Mail Steve Doughty Church split over gays not a disaster, says Welby: Archbishop makes comments ahead of meeting of senior bishops to attempt to secure a compromise

Primates 2016 Photos: Primates gather for Evensong

Vanguard (this is a Nigerian website) Primates 2016: Archbishop of Canterbury’s address

The Living Church John Martin What’s at Stake for Primates?

Christian Today Ruth Gledhill Sin, corruption and Islam: Justin Welby on the threats facing the Anglican Communion

Two letters on the GAFCON website which were published last week:
A Pastoral Message and Call to Prayer from Archbishop Stanley Ntagali
A Letter from Archbishop Beach on the Upcoming Primates Gathering

George Conger reports: First Day report on the 2016 primates gathering in Canterbury and the text of Archbishop Welby’s address linked above, and discussed by Ruth Gledhill, is reproduced here.

Telegraph Ruth Hunt Stonewall CEO: A split in the Anglican Church could be dangerous for LGBT people - religious or not

Church Times Madeleine Davies Our divisions are an obscenity, Welby tells Primates

Guardian Harriet Sherwood Anglican church risks global schism over homosexuality

Telegraph John Bingham Anglican summit: Traditionalists’ anger over Justin Welby’s federal plan

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Monday, 11 January 2016

Primates gathering: various perspectives

Some articles that attempt to analyse what is happening.

Bowman Walton High Stakes, Three Facts

Andrew Goddard The Anglican Communion: Consensus, Conundrum, Consequences, Conversation and Confession

Colin Coward The Primates’ meeting - a busted flush?

Economist Why the Anglicans’ meeting matters

BBC Caroline Wyatt Anglican communion’s ‘bitter divide’ over gay rights

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Sunday, 10 January 2016

Media coverage of the open letter to the archbishops

Updated Monday morning

There is a comprehensive set of links to media coverage of the letter over here.

Earlier items in previous article [scroll down]

BBC Sunday radio programme available here.
‘Last roll of the dice’ for the Anglican communion – item on Good Disagreement book from 18:25, item on Letter from 29:16

Also a short video report by Caroline Wyatt is here: Church ‘should repent’ over treatment of gay Anglicans

And a BBC World Service extended news report [starts about 5 minutes in] including comments from Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines, retired Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, and Jayne Ozanne

Guardian Harriet Sherwood Senior Anglicans call for repentance over sexual discrimination

Telegraph Patrick Foster Church must repent for ‘treating gays like second-class citizens’

Michael Sadgrove Gay Anglicans and the Primates’ Meeting: the open letter

Brother Ivo Why I signed the Letter to the Archbishops

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Open letter to the archbishops of Canterbury and York

An open letter has been sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, signed by 105 Church of England members including many senior figures.

More information, and the full list of signatories, is at this website including a press release which is also copied below the fold.

The website also provides an opportunity for anybody who wishes to do so to add their signature to the letter.

The full text of the letter is as follows.

The Rt Hon and Most Revd Justin Welby
The Rt Hon and Most Revd Dr John Sentamu

January 7th 2016

Your Graces

We the undersigned ask you, our Archbishops, to take an unequivocal message to your meeting of fellow Primates next week that the time has now come for:

  • Acknowledgement that we, the Church, have failed in our duty of care to LGBTI members of the Body of Christ around the world. We have not loved them as we should, and have treated them as a problem to be solved rather than as brothers and sisters in Christ to be embraced and celebrated. We have made them feel second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God, often abandoned and alone.
  • Repentance for accepting and promoting discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, and for the pain and rejection that this has caused. We, the Church, need to apologise for our part in perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs about LGBTI people, such as the slanderous view that homosexuals have a predisposition to prey on the young.

We understand that the Primates come from a variety of contexts with differing ways of interpreting the Scriptures, but we urge you to be prophetic in your action and Christ-like in your love towards our LGBTI sisters and brothers who have been ignored and even vilified for too long.

Please be assured of our prayers for you at this time, and that the world will know by our words and actions that everyone who is baptised into the faith is of equal value in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yours sincerely

PRESS RELEASE – January 10th 2016
SENIOR CHURCH FIGURES URGE CHURCH REPENTANCE FOR ‘SECOND CLASS CITIZENSTREATMENT ON SEXUALITY

Over 100 Senior Anglicans, including the Dean of St Paul’s, have signed an open letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York calling on the Church of England to repent of its ‘second class citizen’ treatment of Christians over issues of sexuality.

The letter, signed by a range of senior church figures including Cathedral Deans, retired bishops and well-known lay figures (including leading parliamentary figures and university academics), has been sent to the Archbishops ahead of a pivotal meeting of worldwide Anglican Leaders which begins in Canterbury on Monday.

In the letter, the 105 signatories call on the Church to acknowledge its failure to care for LGBTI members of the Body of Christ around the world, and to repent of its acceptance and promotion of discrimination - especially its failure to challenge harmful beliefs about sexuality. It goes on to ask the Primates to act in Christ-like love ‘towards those who have been ignored and vilified for too long’.

The signatories include eight retired bishops and a serving bishop, the Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham. Another prominent signatory is the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd David Ison, who says that, in all the debate, the personal cost has often been forgotten:

‘I believe that it’s imperative for us to remember that whilst we seek to engage honestly, lovingly and respectfully with our differences of context and scriptural interpretation, our discussions are actually about the lives of sisters and brothers who have often been rejected and victimised on the grounds of their sexuality. The Church should be the first place that they feel they can come to, to find love and acceptance rather than judgement.’

The signatories include both clergy and lay people. Prominent gay Christian, Vicky Beeching, who came out in 2014 and faced significant discrimination from Christians across the world, urges the Church to think of its younger members:

‘Social and religious attitudes are shifting among young people. Many cannot morally align themselves with a Church that perpetuates LGBT discrimination. If we want to ensure the future life of our Church this issue needs urgent attention and great pastoral sensitivity. To see the Church repent of damaging attitudes would help many young people feel a reconnection with it.’

The letter, which goes on to assure the Archbishops of prayers for the Canterbury meeting, has been coordinated by Jayne Ozanne, a member of General Synod, who is keen to stress that support has come from a broad range of individuals across the church.

‘The signatories come from across the full breadth of the Anglican traditions, and from right across the country. From the Dean of Truro to the Dean of Carlisle, and from the MP for Exeter to the Master of Trinity Hall at Cambridge University and the Dean of Christ Church at Oxford University. It is so encouraging to see so many senior Anglicans now standing alongside their LGBTI brothers and sisters, recognising their woeful treatment by the Church to date.’

She added that the church had no excuse for its failure to care:

‘In 1998 the worldwide Anglican Church committed itself to minister pastorally and sensitively to all, irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals. Despite this commitment the plight of many LGBTI Christians around the world has got worse. The consequence is that we are now increasingly perceived as irredeemably “anti-gay” by an increasing number of people who simply don’t understand why the church continues to discriminate, nor why it is allowed to do so. Until we repent of our treatment of our LGBTI brothers and sisters, attempts by those within the worldwide Church to conduct meaningful “conversations” will risk appearing hollow and insincere’.

ENDS

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 10 January 2016 at 12:01am GMT | Comments (48) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 9 January 2016

More coverage of the primates gathering

Updated Saturday evening

See previous articles:
Martyn Percy calls on Archbishop Welby to issue an apology and follow up.
GAFCON prepares for the gathering of Primates
Two more articles about the primates gathering (updated earlier today)

The official website of the meeting is here.

Here is some more coverage that has recently appeared. No doubt there is a lot more to follow…

The Church Times has:

From Canada the Anglican Journal has Hiltz calls for spirit of openness at Primates’ Meeting.

UK national media coverage:

Telegraph
John Bingham
Justin Welby summit to tackle Anglican break up
‘Dire’ split looms as Anglican rivals use separate rooms at summit

Guardian
Harriet Sherwood Church of England fears gay rights talks could end global Anglican communion
and also How issue of gay rights has racked Anglican churches for decades
Andrew Brown The Anglican schism over sexuality marks the end of a global church

Economist
Resurrection?
Rowing, not rowing

Update

Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre Senior Church liberals pile pressure on Archbishop to stop the ‘vilification’ of gay Christians

Ruth Gledhill Church must repent of “second class” treatment of gays, Anglican leaders warn Primates

For further details of this letter see next article.

And there is this article at Christianity Today written by David Ison Dean of St Paul’s: Anglicans need each other despite deep split over homosexuality.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 January 2016 at 2:52pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Columba Declaration

We reported on the proposed agreement between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England set out in the Columba Declaration here and on the response of the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church here.

This week’s Church Times carries an article by Tim Wyatt on the agreement and the controversy it has provoked: Scottish Episcopalians query Columba Declaration. To this is attached an article by the Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, who was the Church of England co-chair of the study group that produced the declaration. In it he sets out the background to the study group’s report and the declaration.

Dr Forster’s article is also available on the Church of England’s blog: Growth in communion, partnership in mission.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 9 January 2016 at 1:12pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Opinion - 9 January 2016

John Bingham has interviewed William Nye for The Telegraph: The ‘silencing of Christians’ in the public sector.

Bob Morris The Constitution Unit ‘Living with Difference’: The Butler-Sloss Commission’s report reflects the interests of its members rather than the public interest
[also online at Law & Religion UK]

Giles Fraser The Guardian Doesn’t Bishop George Bell deserve the presumption of innocence?

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Pope Gregory and #Primates2016 - diversity, sex, and church order

Jayne Ozanne Church of England Newspaper Resolutely passionate

Hannah Cleugh Church Times No need to patronise men with toughness

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 9 January 2016 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 7 January 2016

General Synod elections - chairs of house and others

Members of the new General Synod of the Church of England have been electing chairs of houses and members of various committees. There is a list of the results so far here, including these.

Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury
The Revd Canon Simon Butler (Southwark)

Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York
The Ven Cherry Vann, Archdeacon of Rochdale (Manchester)

Chair of the House of Laity
Canon Dr Jamie Harrison (Durham)

Vice-Chair of the House of Laity
Canon Elizabeth Paver (Sheffield)

There are more results to come.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 7 January 2016 at 10:41am GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Monday, 4 January 2016

Two more articles about the primates gathering

Updated Saturday

First an article at ABC Religion and Ethics by Christopher Craig Brittain:
The Primates’s Dilemma: Game Theory and the Anglican Communion

…For a “Game of Mitres” is unfolding within and among the churches of the Communion. It is a contest over power and influence and over the future course of the international family of churches. It will determine who has the legitimacy to define the very nature of the Anglican tradition.

In essence, this is not a dispute over homosexuality, the authority of Scripture, or the uniqueness of Christ: it has become a power struggle over how the Communion is to be governed….

Second, another article by Martyn Percy:
Sexuality and the citizenship of Heaven

…But the problem we now face, as an Anglican Communion, is the eliding of ‘lazy’ labels that no longer do justice to the complexity of the issues and debates. ‘Inclusive’ has come to mean ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’; ‘exclusive’ has come to mean ‘conservative’ and ‘traditionalist’; and ‘orthodoxy’ now claimed by all. So there is no escaping the need for some serious theological work in moving the Communion forward.

It simply won’t do to try and re-organise the Communion on an ‘Orthodox’ model, in the hope that this will somehow give Anglican Provinces more space to continue to be un-resolved and un-reconciled. Such a proposal may be politically expedient in the short term. But the longer term consequences – planting churches in one another’s Provinces to promote ‘traditionalist’ or ‘progressive’ causes, for example – would spell the end for worldwide Anglicanism in all but name. Episcopal oversight – to be authentically catholic – needs to be local and provincial for the care and cure of souls. We cannot have Archbishops presiding over congregations several continents away, planting at will. It would result in an ecclesial and legal catastrophe.

In some respects, the current proposals being touted – namely loosening our ‘bonds of Communion’ – are a collapse of confidence in the internationalism of Anglicanism. The so-called ‘Orthodox’ model of polity being propositioned for the Communion represents a failure of theological vision, ecclesial comprehension and moral leadership. Adopting the proposed ‘Orthodox’ model would be a disaster of epic proportions for the church.

As such, it is has some equivalence to the Munich Agreement of 1938, where Neville Chamberlain secured an armistice, with his famous piece of paper. But this was a ‘peace at any price’ – and the fee, ultimately, too costly. Chamberlain’s championing of his ‘concord’ transpired to be a weak political fix, born out of fear. It did nothing to challenge the cruelty and coercion that stalked Europe. Chamberlain’s ‘fix’ just gave the oppressors and aggressors further licence to act with impunity…

Updates

There have been several criticisms of Martyn Percy’s writings from conservatives, including

Andrew Symes Martyn Percy on sex and the Anglican Communion: 20 holes in his argument.

Ian Paul Martyn Percy’s non-sense poetry on sexuality

Martin Davie I wouldn’t start from here – a response to Martyn Percy

Martyn has written a response to Martin Davie’s criticisms and you can read that here, below the fold.

I found this an interesting response, Martin. You appear to concede that human sexuality is part of our identity, so a ‘given’ in a person, and not something that is their deliberate conscious choice. That said, I fully agree that the occurrence of ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ phenomena and behaviour in the mammalian genus does not necessarily mean it is ‘good’. Warring species of apes rape and kill each other. As humans, we have a language of sin and criminality for such behaviour. We don’t aspire to copy that. Other species of mammals can conduct internecine violence between themselves, and as you say, this can mean eating your prey (i.e., cannibalism). We don’t accept that either. And to pick up on your footnote 11, above, yes of course we have ages of (sexual) consent [though these vary from culture to culture, as they have across histories], and we have sensible prohibitions on incest.

But the vast majority of developed countries have ceased to criminalize lesbian and gay relationships between consenting adults. They have done so for two simple reasons. First, these relationships are consensual, between adults, and do no harm to the persons involved; they are not regarded as problematic, disordered, damaged or socially damaging. And second, these relationships are regarded as normal and healthy expressions of love and fidelity in society; albeit that such relationships are clearly a small minority across cultures.

Left-handers are a minority too – 10% of the population, anywhere in the world. Both my parents were left-handed. Both were beaten at school – literally, knuckles rapped – for writing left-handed. Now there are over 60 Bible verses that affirm God’s preference for his right handedness, and for ours (see Exodus 15:6; Psalm 118:16). Alas, left-handers don’t do so well in the Bible: see Genesis 48:13-18 and Galatians 2:9. How do we account for left-handers? What can they do to change their orientation or behaviour? Are they equal in God’s eyes, or part of our fallen creation – or just deliberately sinful?

The question on human sexuality is this: why is a negative value (i.e., ‘sinfulness’) still being allotted to what we now know to be normal, natural human behaviours/orientations that occur across the mammalian genus, and do no harm to anyone? The principle of ‘harm’ here is crucial. Incest and rape are harmful. A same-sex relationship of fidelity that has been going for decades harms no-one.

I guess your answer here is that whilst these relationships don’t cause anyone any harm (and they don’t), God has told us he really doesn’t like them. As you know, I don’t find the (Conservative Evangelical) exegesis of biblical distaste for same-sex relationships at all convincing. But even if I did, I have to ask how we are to manage with the reality that God’s not fond of left-handers either, it would seem. And of course, as I have argued elsewhere, this is all going to get very Pelagian if we start telling Lesbian and Gay Christians in faithful loving relationships that they are either not really Christian, must be treated as second class, or are perhaps not even fully human…when the law of this land fully affirms their full and equal rights and citizenship.

Martyn Percy

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Sunday, 3 January 2016

GAFCON prepares for the gathering of Primates

Jonathan Petre reports in the Mail on Sunday: Repent or we quit say bishops in gays feud: Anglican church could split in challenge to Welby’s authority

Church leaders from Africa and Asia are threatening to walk out of a crucial meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury unless American bishops drop their support for gay marriage.
Archbishop Justin Welby last year invited the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Church to the summit in Canterbury next week in a ‘make or break’ effort to avert a permanent split over homosexuality.
The row has torn the Church apart for a decade – with conservatives accusing liberals of abandoning the word of God by backing openly gay bishops and marriages for gay couples – and the Archbishop wants to broker a deal to allow both sides to co-exist peacefully.
But insiders said a hardcore of eight to 12 conservative archbishops from Africa and Asia are preparing to quit the meeting on the first morning unless the liberal Americans ‘repent’ or the Archbishop throws them out…

The GAFCON website has been very active in the past few weeks, see the following links:

And Anglican Mainstream has links to further items at Canterbury Primates’ Meeting – news and commentary

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 January 2016 at 6:10pm GMT | Comments (74) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 2 January 2016

Opinion - 2 January 2016

Peter Wehner New York Times The Christmas Revolution

Howard Jacobson BBC News Magazine A Point of View: Why the world needs more sermons

Archdruid Eileen Feast of Holy Innocents - Power Under Pressure

Sarah Coakley ABC Religion and Ethics Angels and Dreams: Second Naivete and the Christian Imagination

Andrew Brown The Guardian If Nicky Morgan wants Christianity to flourish, humanism should be taught in schools

Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message

Giles Fraser The Guardian Karl Barth taught us not to use religion to mask the stench of war

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 2 January 2016 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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