Updated again Wednesday evening
John Bingham of the Telegraph reports: Church of England parishes consider first step to break away over sexuality.
A group of parishes is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England over issues such as homosexuality, with the creation of a new “shadow synod” vowing to uphold traditional teaching.
Representatives of almost a dozen congregations in the Home Counties are due to gather in a church hall in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, later this week for the first session of what they say could eventually develop into an alternative Anglican church in England.
Organisers, drawn from the conservative evangelical wing of Anglicanism, say they have no immediate plans to break away - but are setting up the “embryonic” structures that could be used to do so if the established church moves further in what they see as a liberal direction…
There is a further report with some additional usefui background information from Ruth Gledhill in Christian Today Anglicans consider new synod to oppose gay marriage
…In England, there is already a number of conservative groups such as the Church Society, and Reform. Dr Sanlon has written for the Church Society.
There are also the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, which is signed up to Gafcon’s Jerusalem Statement and Declaration, and the Anglican Mission in England, a mission society promoting gospel growth in England.
Anglican Mainstream is a fifth…
…A spokesman for Anglican Mainstream said: “This is not an initiative organised or directed by Gafcon.”
But he said there were many similarities between them and Gafcon.
“This is a local initiative designed to send a clear message: we hold to the unchanging truths of the Gospel and the formularies and teachings of the Church of England. We oppose the relentless slide towards revisionism in the Church of England structures. We will take action to protect our congregations and our mission.”
According to the Daily Mail:
…A Church of England spokeswoman said: “The Shared Conversations process over the last two years included the participation of over 1,300 members of the church in regional and national settings.
“Through those conversations, deep convictions have been shared and profound differences better understood. It is our hope that what has been learned through the relationships developed will inform the way the Church conducts whatever further formal discussions take place in the future.
“The Church of England is episcopally led and synodically governed. Within that structure, many like-minded parishes join together in a range of organisations, meetings and assemblies to share mutual support and debate.”
Readers who want to know more about the views of the organiser of this event may find this book review of interest.
Andy Lines, the Chairman of GAFCON UK Task Force has issued this statement.
Andy Lines is employed as Mission Director of Crosslinks, and has PtO in Southwark diocese, but according to Crockfords has served only in South America, and has never held any parochial office in the Church of England.
Read the GAFCON Chairman’s August letter in full for comment on the CofE.
And this from GAFCON UK.
There is a report by James Macintyre in Christian Today of an interview conducted at the Greenbelt Festival by Church of England priest and British television personality Kate Bottley. The headline under which it appears is: Justin Welby: ‘I am constantly consumed with horror’ at the way the Church has treated gay people.
The part of the interview to which the headline relates is this:
…Asked by an audience member who was due to enter a civil partnership when the Church would be in a position to bless the union, the Archbishop simply said that he did not know. “I don’t have a good answer to it,” he said. “If we were the only Church here and [there were] no other Churches, and if division didn’t matter it would be much easier to answer”.
Welby said that the inclusion of gay people and safeguarding against abuse were the two issues which he lies awake thinking about at night.
“Do I know when there will be a point when the blessing [of the civil partnership] will happen? No. I don’t and I can’t see the road ahead”. He added that the Church started from a traditionalist position, moved on to out of touch and then “vicious” and “now we just look odd”.
He said “we have to find a way to love and embrace everyone who loves Jesus Christ” but he added that this included people who feel – or come from societies which believe – that same-sex relationships are “deeply, deeply wrong”.
Welby talked of an “incredible clash that is so important to so many people and goes to the heart of the identity of so many people”. He added: “There isn’t a simple solution… I haven’t got a good answer.” To applause, he said “I am constantly consumed with horror” at the way in which the Church has treated the gay community…
The article reports what he said on a variety of other topics too. I do recommend reading the entire article. If further detail becomes available I will add links here.
Updated to include the correct Philip Jones article
Sam Hailes meets the young people who have spent the past year shunning materialistic culture by living a monastic life at Lambeth Palace Premier Christianity A Year in God’s Time: Why these young people have been living a monastic life
Christopher Howse The Telegraph Sacred Mysteries: The brightly burning hearse of Abbot Islip
Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law Cathedral Governance: A Constitutional Monstrosity
Doug Chaplin Of tongues and translations
Press release from the Church in Wales
Archbishop of Wales to retire in January
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, will retire next year after nearly 14 years at the helm of the Church in Wales and 24 years as a bishop.
Dr Morgan, who is the longest serving archbishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion and also one of the longest serving bishops, will retire on his 70th birthday at the end of January. He will also retire as Bishop of Llandaff after more than 17 years service, having previously been Bishop of Bangor for nearly seven years. He will continue his work and engagements in both roles as normal until then…
Press release from Number 10
Dean of Wells: John Harverd Davies
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 23 August 2016
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend John Harverd Davies to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of St Andrew in Wells.
The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend John Harverd Davies, MA, MPhil, PhD, Dean of Derby, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of St Andrew in Wells, on the resignation of the Very Reverend John Martin Clarke, BD, MA, on his resignation of 31 December 2015.
Notes for Editors
The Very Reverend Dr John Davies (aged 58) studied at Keble College, Oxford and then at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge for his MPhil, before doing his Doctorate at Lancaster University.
He studied for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge. His first curacy was at Liverpool Parish Church, from 1984 to 1987 and he then moved to Peterborough Parish Church, from 1987 to 1990 and was also Minor Canon at Peterborough Cathedral from 1988 to 1990.
From 1990 to 1994 he was Vicar at St Margaret, Anfield in Liverpool diocese, before taking up the post in 1994 as Chaplain, Fellow and Director of Studies in Theology at Keble College, Oxford where he was until 1999. From 1999 to 2010 he was Vicar of Melbourne, in Derby diocese whilst also serving as Diocesan Director of Ordinands. From 2007 to 2010 he was also Priest-in- Charge of Ticknall, Smisby and Stanton by Bridge in Derby diocese. Since 2010 he has been Dean of Derby.
His interests include foreign travel, hospitality and walking.
A profile of Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester, Asian Express ‘The only way forward is together’: Church of England’s first BME Dean reflects on a decade of work
Philip Christopher Baldwin Gay Times Shared Conversations – A different attitude to LGBT worshipers
The Anglican Church in Southern Africa is to consider blessing same-sex civil unions when its provincial synod meets next month. But the motion, proposed by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, would not permit clergy to solemnise same-sex marriages. The motion says that clergy should be “especially prepared for a ministry of pastoral care for those identifying as LGBTI” but that “any cleric unwilling to engage in such envisioned pastoral care shall not be obliged to do so”…
The provincial website carries the same information here.
The full text of the proposed motion is copied below the fold.
The Province of Southern Africa encompasses: South Africa, Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland, Angola and the British Overseas Territories of St Helena and Tristan da Cunha.
A MOTION on PASTORAL CARE in a CONTEXT OF DIVERSE HUMAN SEXUALITY
Presented to the PROVINCIAL SYNOD of ACSA in SEPTEMBER 2016
The Anglican Communion has wrestled for many years to produce a comprehensive and mutually acceptable pastoral response to the issue of diversity in humansexuality, to homosexuality and to same sex unions.
In 1998, Resolution 1.10 adopted by the Lambeth Conference called the Anglican Communion to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ, and called on the Communion to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation;
Anglicans have historically chosen to use Scripture, Tradition and Reason and Experience when discerning God’s unfolding call to mission, knowing that these pillars provide a helpful space in which many voices can be heard and many insights shared, so that a loving pastoral response to those identifying as LGBT can be offered
Provincial Synods of ACSA have asked the Bishops of our Province provide guidelines for ministry to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex (LBGTI), but have been unable to complete these guidelines
Lay and ordained Anglicans who identify as LGBTI, throughout the Communion and within our Province and Dioceses are in need of pastoral care and spiritual support and look to the church for help especially when wanting to enter into same-sex unions
Therefore, this Synod resolves
1. That a Bishop may:
1.1. provide for clergy to be especially prepared for a ministry of pastoral care for those identifying as LGBTI, accepting that any cleric unwilling to engage in such envisioned pastoral care shall not be obliged to do so;
1.2. provide for pastoral counselling of those identifying as LGBTI;
1.3. provide for the preparation for and the licensing of those in same sex unions to lay ministries on Parochial, Archidiaconal and Diocesan levels;
1.4. provide for prayers of blessing to be offered for those in same sex civil unions;
1.5. provide for the licensing for ministry of clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same sex civil unions;
1.6. provide for the use of Liturgical Rites in regard to the above ministries.
2. That a Bishop may not
2.1. provide For the solemnization of same sex unions by clergy, in terms of the ACSA Canon on Marriage (Canon 34).
3. That the Archbishop be respectfully requested to establish an Archbishop’s Commission to:
3.1. Review, reflect on, research and share such theological, pastoral and prophetic principles emerging from this Motion;
3.2 Recommend further actions, both through Interim Reports, tabled at meetings of the Synod of Bishops, and through a final Recommendations Report which is to be tabled at the 2018 meeting of PSC, so that Recommendations, Measures and Motions can be put forward to the 2019 session of the Provincial Synod.
ACNS has a report of the recent meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (Capa) which is headlined African Anglicans concerned by lack of “sustainable peace”.
The full text of the CAPA communiqué is available here.
At this event, Archbishop Josiah Idpwu-Fearon gave an address. The full text of that is over here.
There is a detailed discussion of this speech in an article by Mark Harris entitled Secretary General Josiah Idowu-Fearon speaks his mind.
Updated yet again Thursday evening
Today’s Observer newspaper has two pieces by Harriet Sherwood dealing with the Church of England.
As traditional believers turn away, is this a new crisis of faith?
Modern churches are driving up numbers among the young, but critics say their direct and emotional style of worship risks alienating mainstream Christians
…Ric Thorpe said: “What’s changed is that [the church] is now saying, we want this money to go towards growth – which, when it’s in decline, is a wise investment. In this new thinking, you’ve got to demonstrate that you’ve got a plan, that you’re putting [funding] to good use, that it’s not going to something that’s dying. There’s an urgency about this.”
He says small rural churches have a higher number of clergy per capita than dense, urban parishes. “Where the population is denser, there are fewer clergy around to reach those people. If we are an outward-facing church we need to position people where they’re most needed: 83% of people live in urban areas, but 83% of [church] finance doesn’t go there. But it should.”
The church, he said, needed to help some rural parishes “face reality”. Some of those parishes, historically the backbone of the Anglican church, are wincing in pain. Another key plank of the Renewal and Reform programme is the goal of recruiting 6,000 priests over the next 15 years, to be “the leadership of the church in the 2030s, 40s and 50s”, says the church’s secretary general, William Nye…
Top cleric says Church of England risks becoming a ‘suburban sect’.
The cleric in question is Martyn Percy and there are extensive quotes from the afterword to his forthcoming book, The Future Shapes of Anglicanism.
According to Percy, the strategy is fundamentally flawed. “It will take more to save the Church of England than a blend of the latest management theory, secular sorcery with statistics and evangelical up-speak,” he writes.
A cure for the ailing church “would require a much deeper ecclesial comprehension than the present leadership currently exhibit … There seems to be no sagacity, serious science or spiritual substance to the curatives being offered.”
Rather, he says, the church “is being slowly kettled into becoming a suburban sect, corralling its congregations, controlling its clergy and centralising its communication. Instead of being a local, dispersed, national institution, it is becoming a bureaucratic organisation, managing its ministry and mission – in a manner that is hierarchically scripted.”
Three (so far) blog articles have already appeared in response to these newspaper stories:
Gary Waddington Mission or Managerialism
Eddie Green Crisis in the Church?
Ian Paul Does growth need management
And now a fourth: Richard Peers Holiness and Management
Two more articles:
Wealands Bell Shiny Church or Soggy Church? Each has its place
And another two:
Andrew Lightbown Relaxed about R & R
Catholicity and covenant Renewal and reform, c.1099
Bosco Peters John Cleese – Church of JC Capitalist
Frank Cranmer Law & Religion UK The Church of England and legislative reform orders
Colin Coward My Faith
Peter Hitchens Mail Online Send Not to ask for Whom the Bell Tolls. It Tolls for Thee. Thoughts on a Injustice “Wait for it - a new disclosure on the Bell case”
Philip Jones Ecclesiastical Law Baptism: Sin, Sacrament, Sacrilege and Salvation
34 clergy and 38 lay members of the General Synod, coming from 33 dioceses, have written an open letter which has been published in the Church of England Newspaper.
The full text and list of signatories is copied below the fold.
The existence of the letter is also reported in the Church Times but this article is behind the paywall.
The Church of England Newspaper report includes additional comments from two of the signatories, and also from one other (anonymous) synod member who said:
“This letter shows the complete blindness there appears to be amongst some to see the absurdity of their position. The Church cannot hope to give a welcome that has any truth, love or integrity if it does not fully embrace LGBTI Christians as equal members of the Body of Christ.
“To threaten fracture and state that ‘no proposals be considered’ is highly manipulative and unChristian. Surely our faith commands us to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying and to remain open to revelation?
“To seek to close down a discussion before it even starts shows the rigidity of a fundamentalist approach to religion, which is based on fear rather than faith. God is big enough, his arms wide enough and His truth strong enough to withstand any debate”.
Open Letter to the College and House of Bishops
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Now that the process of Shared Conversations launched subsequent to the Pilling Report has been completed and the ‘baton’ passed to the College and House of Bishops, we are writing to assure you of our prayers as you meet this autumn to discern the way forward. As members of General Synod we wish to offer the following reflections which we hope and pray might help your deliberation and discernment.
We are grateful for the opportunity that was recently given to the General Synod to engage in a consideration of Scripture. However, we believe this was of an initial nature only, and that much more biblical study is needed before we will be able, as a Synod, to make theologically informed decisions about human anthropology and sexuality. In particular we believe it is essential to clarify what it means to ‘honour God with your bodies’ (1 Corinthians 6:20, NIV) so that we do not find ourselves praying for God’s blessing on that which is contrary to his will.
We are committed to building a church that is genuinely welcoming to all people, irrespective of the pattern of sexual attraction that they experience. We would welcome initiatives to help local churches do this in a way that is affirming of and consistent with Scripture, and would hope to support suggestions you might wish to bring to Synod to that effect.
As you prepare to meet in the College and House of Bishops, we urge you not to consider any proposals that fly in the face of the historic understanding of the church as expressed in ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’ (1991) and Lambeth Resolution 1.10. To do so – however loud the apparent voice for change – could set the Church of England adrift from her apostolic inheritance. It would also undermine our ability as members of General Synod to offer support and lead to a fracture within both the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.
We thank God for you and, remembering the apostle James’s injunction to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5), we commit ourselves to asking God to grant you his wisdom as you endeavour to offer episcopal leadership to the Church of England at this time.
Signed by the following General Synod members (Diocese):
The Rev Canon Jonathan Alderton-Ford (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)
The Rev Sam Allberry (Oxford)
The Rev Dr Andrew Atherstone (Oxford)
The Rev Andrew Attwood (Coventry)
Mrs Emily Bagg (Portsmouth)
The Rev Canon David Banting (Chelmsford)
Dr William Belcher (Gloucester)
Mrs Rachel Bell (Derby)
Dr Andrew Bell (Oxford)
Mrs Liz Bird (Hereford)
Mr Peter Boyd-Lee (Salisbury)
The Revd Peter Breckwoldt (Salisbury)
Mr James Cary (Bath & Wells)
Mr Graham Caskie (Oxford)
The Rev Preb Simon Cawdell (Hereford)
The Rev John Chitham (Chichester)
The Rev Canon Jonathan Clark (Leeds)
The Rev Canon Charlie Cleverley (Oxford)
Dr Simon Clift (Winchester)
Mrs Ann Colton (Chelmsford)
The Rev Canon Andrew Cornes (Chichester)
Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford)
The Rev Barney de Berry (Canterbury)
Mrs Gill de Berry (Salisbury)
Brigadier Ian Dobbie (Rochester)
The Rev Dr Sean Doherty (London)
The Rev James Dudley-Smith (Bath & Wells)
The Rev John Dunnett (Chelmsford)
Mrs Mary Durlacher (Chelmsford)
Mr Carl Fender (Lincoln)
Miss Emma Forward (Exeter)
Mrs Chris Fry (Winchester)
The Rev Canon Sally Gaze (Norwich)
Mr Chris Gill (Lichfield)
The Rev Graham Hamilton (Exeter)
Mr Jeremy Harris (Chester)
The Ven Simon Heathfield (Birmingham)
Mr Carl Hughes (Southwark)
The Rev Canon Gary Jenkins (Southwark)
Mrs Carolyn Johnson (Blackburn)
The Rev Peter Kay (St Albans)
Mrs Helen Lamb (Ely)
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)
Capt Nicholas Lebey (Southwark)
Mr James Lee (Guildford)
The Rev Mark Lucas (Peterborough)
Mrs Rosemary Lyon (Blackburn)
The Rev Angus MacLeay (Rochester)
Mr Sam Margrave (Coventry)
The Rev Alistair McHaffie (Blackburn)
The Rev Shaun Morris (Lichfield)
The Rev Dr Rob Munro (Chester)
Miss Margaret Parrett (Manchester)
Miss Jane Patterson (Sheffield)
The Rev Dr Ian Paul (Southwell & Nottingham)
Mrs Kathy Playle (Chelmsford)
The Rev Dr Philip Plyming (Guildford)
Mr Andrew Presland (Peterborough)
The Rev Dr Patrick Richmond (Norwich)
The Rev Dr Jason Roach (London)
The Rev Dr Ben Sargent (Winchester)
Mr Clive Scowen (London)
Mr Ed Shaw (Bristol)
The Rev Charlie Skrine (London)
Mr Colin Slater (Southwell & Nottingham)
Dr Chik Tan (Lichfield)
The Rev Martyn Taylor (Lincoln)
The Rev Chris Tebbutt (Salisbury)
Mr Jacob Vince (Chichester)
Dr Yvonne Warren (Coventry)
The Rev Canon Giles Williams (Europe)
Mr Brian Wilson (Southwark)
Last June the Anglican Church of Canada reported on a consultation held in May that included bishops from Canada, Ghana, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Burundi, Zambia, England, and the United States.
Introduced by the Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante as an ecumenical contribution from the Methodist Church of Ghana, the Akan concept of sankofa served as a guiding framework for the Seventh Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, which took place from May 25-29 in Accra, Ghana…
Sankofa—literally, ‘It is not a taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind’—refers broadly to the unity of past and present, where the narrative of the past is a dynamic reality that cannot be separated from consideration of the present and future.
Professor Asante’s paper is available in full as a PDF here.
The full text of the document that emerged from the May meeting is here: Testimony of Unity in Diversity
The signatories are:
Bishop Jane Alexander: Edmonton
Bishop Johannes Angela: Bondo
Bishop Victor Reginald Atta-Baffoe: Cape Coast
Bishop Paul Bayes: Liverpool
Bishop Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith: Asante Mampong
Bishop Michael Bird: Niagara
Archbishop Albert Chama: Primate of Central Africa
Bishop Garth Counsell: Cape Town
Bishop Michael Curry: Primate, The Episcopal Church
Bishop Given Gaula: Kondoa
Bishop Michael Hafidh: Zanzibar
Archbishop Fred Hiltz: Primate of Canada
Bishop Michael Ingham, New Westminster (retired)
Bishop Shannon Johnston: Virginia
Bishop Julius Kalu: Mombasa
Bishop Edward Konieczny: Oklahoma
Bishop Sixbert Macumi: Buye
Bishop Robert O’Neill: Colorado
Archbishop Daniel Sarfo: Primate of West Africa
Bishop Daniel Torto: Accra
Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya: Swaziland
Bishop Joseph Wasonga: Maseno West
Bishop Joel Waweru: Nairobi
And there is also a paper giving the historical background to these conversations. The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue emerged after the 2008 Lambeth Conference as a way for bishops from different backgrounds to continue an ongoing, respectful dialogue in the midst of significant disagreements, primarily over the issues of human sexuality and same-sex marriage.
I linked (in the Opinion columns on 23 and 30 July) to articles about the objections that have been voiced during recent consecrations of female bishops. These articles were in response to a press release from WATCH objecting to the facilitation of these objections. WATCH has today issued this press release:
Objectors at consecrations: response from Lambeth Palace
August 9th, 2016
The Archbishop of Canterbury has informed us that conversations are in progress with the relevant people so that, in future, objections such as that at Canterbury Cathedral in June will not be allowed.
Thank you to those who have written in support of our statement.
Mark Woods Christian Today Justin Welby: We’ll stop protests at consecration of women bishops
Andrew Lightbown In praise of Woodhead & Brown
Bishop David Gillett Positive about Scripture: Positive about Equal Marriage
Hattie Williams Church Times Spare Mrs May all these imaginary childhoods