Friday, 19 December 2014

IASCUFO gives advice to Canadians on marriage policy change

The Anglican Journal reports that an Anglican Communion body urges church not to change marriage policy.

The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) has urged the Anglican Church of Canada not to amend its marriage canon (church law) to allow the marriage of same-sex couples, saying such a move would “cause great distress for the Communion as a whole, and for its ecumenical relationships.”

The IASCUFO’s statement came in response to a request from the Canadian church’s Commission on the Marriage Canon for an opinion about proposed changes to Canon 21 that would allow for same-sex marriages. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, decided IASCUFO would be the “most appropriate” body within the Communion to deal with such a question.

The Anglican Church of Canada has the prerogative “to address issues appropriate to its context,” the IASCUFO said, but it noted the ramifications of “a change of this magnitude” for the Communion and its ecumenical partners. In a letter addressed to Canon Robert Falby, chair of the marriage canon commission, IASCUFO members said they were unanimous “in urging you not to move beyond your present policy of ‘local option,’ ” which allows dioceses to choose whether or not they will offer same-sex blessings. They noted that the absence of a General Synod decision about the blessing of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages “has given space for the rebuilding of fragile relationships across the Communion.”

If the 2016 General Synod decides to approve a motion to change the marriage canon, the Anglican Church of Canada will become the first province in the Anglican Communion to allow same-sex marriage. The Episcopal Church, which in 2012 authorized “for trial use” a liturgy for blessing same-sex relationships, has no provision for same-sex marriage…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 11:20pm GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

When will there be another Lambeth Conference?

The website Anglican Ink has published a story which is headlined: Lambeth Conference cancelled. This turns out to be based upon the following item from ENS:

House of Bishops leaving Taiwan with ‘hearts and minds expanded’

…In response to a question from Rochester Bishop Prince Singh about budgeting for the next Lambeth Conference and speculation about when and if the gathering will be held, Jefferts Schori told the bishops that the conference will probably not happen in 2018, which would have fit the conference’s traditional 10-year cycle. No planning or fundraising has taken place for a 2018 meeting, she said. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby “has been very clear that he is not going to call a Lambeth [Conference] until he is reasonably certain that the vast majority of bishops would attend. It needs to be preceded by a primates meeting at which a vast majority of primates are present,” she said. “As he continues his visits around the communion to those primates it’s unlikely that he will call such a meeting at all until at least a year from now or probably 18 months from now. Therefore I think we are looking at 2019, more likely 2020, before a Lambeth Conference.”Whenever the next Lambeth Conference occurs “it will have a rather different format,” she predicted. For intstance, it is likely that spouses will not attend “simply because of scale issues and regional contextual issues. Bishops’ spouses fill very different roles in different parts of the communion and the feedback from the last one was that it did not serve the spouses particularly well,” Jefferts Schori explained…

According to Anglican Ink:

The 2018 Lambeth Conference has been cancelled. The precarious state of the Anglican Communion has led the Archbishop of Canterbury to postpone indefinitely the every ten year meeting of the bishops of the Anglican Communion.
A spokesman for Archbishop Justin Welby told Anglican Ink that as the archbishop had not yet met with each of the primates of the communion, he would not be commenting on the news. Since his installation last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury has travelled extensively and plans on visiting the 37 other provinces of the Anglican Communion within the first 18 months of his term of office…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 at 4:26pm BST | Comments (52) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

30 African Theologians & Scholars Back Gay Equality

From Mamba Online:
30 African Theologians & Scholars Back Gay Equality

More than 30 African scholars, theologians, faith leaders, activists and students have issued a powerful declaration in support of LGBT equality on the continent.

The leaders from nine African countries gathered in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, between 28 to 31 August.

They met for an “historic consultation on human sexuality, religion and equality,” wrote Dr Michael Adee, Director of the Global Faith & Justice Project.

The event was organised by Adee, who is also an elder in the US Presbyterian Church, and Kapya Kaoma, a Zambian Anglican priest, from Political Research Associates.

The countries represented included Cameroon, Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe…

The full text of the KwaZulu Natal Statement is copied below the fold.

The KwaZulu Natal Declaration

We, African religious leaders, scholars, and members of civil society are highly concerned with the well-being of our beloved continent and with the demonization and criminalization of sexual minorities on the continent,

We, African religious leaders, scholars, and members of civil society met for a consultation in KwaZulu Natal on August 28-31, 2014, in response to the recent contentious debates regarding human sexuality on the continent. Recognizing that we are part of the global community, we met in South Africa, a country with a constitution that recognizes and protects the rights of sexual minorities,

Aware of the traditional leadership roles that academics, religious institutions, and churches in Africa have played in promoting social justice and human dignity,

Troubled by the misuse of religion to further marginalize and exclude sexual minorities from society and faith communities,

Noting the recommendations on human sexuality from the World Council of Churches 10thAssembly to the Central Committee, and the subsequent approval of the Terms of Reference for the Human Sexuality Reference Group to walk together in a pilgrimage of Justice and Peace from 2014-2021,

Observing the resolution on violence and other human rights violations based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity in Africa issued in April 2014 by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights,

Acknowledging the deaths and threats of death, the violence, discrimination, that sexual minorities, women, and children face on the continent,

We call on all religious institutions, especially Christian Churches

  • To care for the least amongst us as Christ has done,
  • To create safe spaces for encounter with the sexual diversity within the body of Christ,
  • To talk openly about sexual diversities and adversities in human sexuality,
  • To break out of the vicious cycle of shame, secrecy, violence, and silence that demeans, demonizes and kills,
  • To openly condemn violence against sexual minorities.

We call on all African scholars and academic institutions

  • To take full responsibility to reflect and produce credible scholarship on human sexuality,
  • To conduct research that gives momentum to African local institutions, the Church, and indigenous knowledge and practices to further the understanding of human sexuality,
  • To incorporate issues regarding human sexuality in the development of knowledge,
    *To guide the public in understanding sexual diversity.

We call on all our governments in Africa

  • To take seriously the mission of the state to protect all citizens, including those with disabilities, and all communities affected by, and living with HIV and AIDS,
  • To seek legislative and social reforms that further the protection of and improvement of the livelihoods of sexual minorities,
  • To dialogue with African local traditional, political and religious institutions to promote human dignity,
  • To eliminate colonial sodomy laws and to oppose attempts to further criminalized sexual minorities.

We call on all Africans on the continent and in the diaspora

  • To respect the human rights of all people including sexual minorities,
  • To oppose and desist from violence directed toward sexual minorities, and to support families and communities of sexual minorities.

We call on the international community and partners

  • To respect while supporting Africa’s journey and processes towards a better understanding of human sexuality and socio-economic, political and religious inclusion of sexual minorities,
  • To denounce all misleading information on issues of human sexuality.
  • To support our commitment to produce and disseminate scholarly and general publications throughout Africa and beyond.

We, African religious leaders, scholars, and members of Civil Society assembled in this KwaZulu Natal consultative gathering commit to uphold these recommendations. We also commit to share this vision with all partners and Africans across the continent and the diaspora and to be inclusive in our journey toward a better understanding and respect of the diversity of human sexuality through research, advocacy, publications and consultations.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 at 10:58pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Archbishop Herft talks about Multiculturalism

The Archbishop of Perth, the Most Reverend Roger Herft is preaching at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 13 September at the Anglican Catholic Future national festival Life Abundant.

Here is a talk he gave in July to the Diocese of Melbourne ministry conference, entitled Chutney and Chow mein – making disciples in a multicultural Australia. There is much food for thought here for Anglicans in other countries, including the Church of England.

(Other materials from that conference can be found here.)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 3 September 2014 at 12:09pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Church of Australia | Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 22 August 2014

South Carolina affiliates with the Global South

This announcement has been made jointly by the Global South Primatial Steering Committee and the Diocese of South Carolina led by Bishop Mark Lawrence.

Diocese of South Carolina: Global South Welcomes Diocese of South Carolina

…As you will recall the 223rd Diocesan Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina meeting at Christ Church in Mt. Pleasant on March 14-15, 2014 unanimously accepted the offer of the Global South Primates Steering Committee for Provisional Primatial Oversight.

Now this morning we receive with gratitude this letter from the Global South Primatial Steering Committee. It is their acceptance of our request for this gracious relationship. I trust you will be heartened as I have been by their welcome of us “… as an active and faithful member within the Global South of the Anglican Communion, until such time as a permanent primatial affiliation can be found.” It is my joy to share it with you…

Letter from Archbishops Anis and Ernest: Announcement regarding the Diocese of South Carolina.
Also available at Global South Anglican.

…The Global South of the Anglican Communion welcomes the unanimous request of The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, XIV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, and the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina to “accept the offer of the newly created Global South Primatial Oversight Council for pastoral oversight of our ministry as a diocese during the temporary period of our discernment of our final provincial affiliation.”

The decision of the Diocese of South Carolina was made in response to the meeting of the Global South Primates Steering Committee in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014.1 A recommendation from that meeting stated that, “we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.”

Recognizing the faithfulness of Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina, and in appreciation for their contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, the Global South welcomes them as an active and faithful member within the Global South of the Anglican Communion, until such time as a permanent primatial affiliation can be found…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 August 2014 at 3:23pm BST | Comments (36) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Archbishop of Uganda says anti-gay law still needed

Last Friday, the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 was declared invalid by a Ugandan constitutional court, because it had been passed by Parliament without a proper quorum.

See reports of this, such as Uganda Anti-Gay Law Struck Down by Court in the New York Times or Uganda anti-gay law declared ‘null and void’ by constitutional court in the Guardian.

There are now reports that Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, Primate of Uganda, has called for its prompt re-introduction:

Religion News Service Uganda’s Anglican leader doubles down on anti-gay law

Uganda’s top Anglican leader criticized the constitutional court for striking down the country’s controversial anti-gay law on a technicality, saying the law is still needed to protect children and families from Western-imported homosexuality…

Episcopal News Service Uganda’s Anglican leader says anti-gay law still needed

…Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali called the decision a disappointment for the Church of Uganda, religious leaders and many Ugandans.

“The ‘court of public opinion’ has clearly indicated its support for the Act, and we urge Parliament to consider voting again on the Bill with the proper quorum in place,” Ntagali said on Aug. 4.

Uganda’s religious leaders had widely supported the law, but opposed an earlier clause threatening the death penalty for some homosexual acts. Most Ugandan church leaders say homosexuality is against God’s order and African cultures. Such a law was needed to protect families, children and youth, the leaders stressed.

“I appeal to all God-fearing people and all Ugandans to remain committed to the support against homosexuality,” said Ntagali, whose church cut ties with the Episcopal Church, the United States-based branch of Anglicanism, after the election of an openly gay bishop in 2003…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 6 August 2014 at 9:00am BST | Comments (37) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Bishops call for Iraqi Christians to be given asylum in Britain

The Observer reports: Bishops urge David Cameron to grant asylum to Iraqi Christians

The Church of England has demanded that the British government offers sanctuary to thousands of Christians fleeing jihadists in northern Iraq, warning that ignoring their plight would constitute a “betrayal of Britain’s moral and historical obligations”.

A number of bishops have revealed their frustration over David Cameron’s intransigence on the issue, arguing the UK has a responsibility to grant immediate asylum to Iraqi Christian communities recently forced to flee the northern city of Mosul after militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) threatened them with execution, a religious tax or forced conversion.

On Monday, France responded to the so-called religious cleansing by publicly granting asylum to Christians driven from Mosul. The Anglican Church argues the UK has an even greater responsibility to intervene, citing its central role in the 2003 allied invasion, which experts say triggered the destabilisation and sectarian violence that shaped the context for Isis to seize control of much of northern Iraq.

The bishop of Manchester, the Right Rev David Walker, told the Observer: “We would be failing to fulfil our obligations were we not to offer sanctuary. Having intervened so recently and extensively in Iraq, we have, even more than other countries, a moral duty in the UK.

“Given the vast amounts of money that we spent on the war in Iraq, the tiny cost of bringing some people fleeing for their lives to this country and allowing them to settle – and who, in due course, would be an asset to our society – would seem to be minuscule.”…

The story goes on to quote the bishops of Worcester and West Yorkshire and the Dales as well.

On Wednesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury had requested that his homepage photo be changed to the Arabic letter for “N” in solidarity with persecuted Christians suffering in Iraq. See Stand with the Archbishop in solidarity with Iraq’s Christians.

A list of the Christian organisations in Mosul that have been affected by this persecution can be found here: All 45 Christian Institutions in Mosul Destroyed or Occupied By ISIS.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 August 2014 at 9:00am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury speaks about Gaza

Lambeth Palace has published this Statement from Archbishop Justin on Gaza.

Archbishop of Canterbury calls on leaders in Israel and Gaza to immediately end the violence, and urges Anglican churches both to pray and offer support to all victims of the conflict.

Following a recent update from staff at the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken publicly (after many private contacts) of his concern for the deteriorating situation in Gaza….

Follow the link above to read the full statement.

At the end, there is also a link to the Emergency appeal from the Diocese of Jerusalem for the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza. This page contains numerous further links including to pages which give details about how to donate.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 11:59am BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 16 June 2014

Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis meet in Rome

Press releases from Lambeth Palace:

Press release from Vatican: Pope’s address to Archbishop Justin

Reports in The Tablet:

We stand together as disciples sent to heal a wounded world, Pope tells Welby

Welby in Rome challenges Churches to take risks and cast off ‘institutional prestige’

The Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome writes:

Encouraging more sharing and collaboration

On Sunday 15th June the Archbishop of Canterbury will be launching the new IARCCUM (International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission) website, at the Anglican Centre in Rome, as part of his visit to the Pope on Monday 16th. This is a new opportunity for us to know and to encourage much more sharing and collaboration between Anglicans and Roman Catholics around the world: now we will have a portal to refer people to and to receive global updates and information to move us forward.

The IARCCUM website

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 16 June 2014 at 11:26am BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 30 May 2014

Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue

Updated Friday evening

The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue has just finished its fifth annual meeting. This was held at Coventry Cathedral. Participants came from nine countries in Africa (including four primates), Canada, and the USA.

The full six-page statement that they issued is here: A Testimony of Our Journey toward Reconciliation

Media reports:

ENS Anglican Bishops in Dialogue issue testimony and also African, North American bishops claim ‘foundational call as reconcilers’

ACNS Anglican Communion bishops in dialogue issue testimony

Anglican Journal Coventry meeting ‘providential’

The Anglican Church of Canada hosts this home page for the consultation: The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 30 May 2014 at 3:46pm BST | Comments (33) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Sunday, 27 April 2014

GAFCON criticises Church of England again on same-sex marriage

Updated again Wednesday morning

The GAFCON Primates Council, which met in London this week, has issued a Communiqué, which after dealing with a variety of other issues, contains this passage:

…Meeting shortly after the recognition in English law of same sex marriage, which we cannot recognise as compatible with the law of God, we look to the Church of England to give clear leadership as moral confusion about the status of marriage in this country deepens. The Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly noted that the decisions of the Church of England have a global impact and we urge that as a matter of simple integrity, its historic and biblical teaching should be articulated clearly.

7. We are particularly concerned about the state of lay and clerical discipline. The House of Bishops’ guidance that those in same sex marriages should be admitted to the full sacramental life of the church is an abandonment of pastoral discipline. While we welcome their clear statement that clergy must not enter same sex marriage, it is very concerning that this discipline is, apparently, being openly disregarded. We pray for the recovery of a sense of confidence in the whole of the truth Anglicans are called to proclaim, including that compassionate call for repentance to which we all need to respond in our different ways…

The following names appear at the foot of the statement:

Primates present in London were:
The Most Rev’d Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop, Episcopal Church of Sudan
The Most Rev’d Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
The Most Rev’d Stanley Ntagli, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Uganda
The Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Nigeria (Vice Chairman)
The Most Rev’d Onesphore Rwaje, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Rwanda
The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya (Chairman)
The Most Rev’d Tito Zavala, Presiding Bishop, Province of the Southern Cone

Also present:
The Most Rev’d Dr Peter Jensen, Diocese of Sydney, General Secretary
The Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Church of Nigeria, Trustee
Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Trustee
The Most Rev’d Dr Ikechi Nwosu, Anglican Church of Nigeria

The Mail on Sunday has picked this up and reported it as Church of England split fear as African bishops speak out over clergy flouting a ban on same-sex weddings.

Another quote from the communiqué (emphasis added):

…We are equally concerned for the affected communities in Chile from the recent earthquake, terrorist attacks in Kenya, and the backlash from the international community in Uganda from their new legislation

This appears to be confirmation that GAFCON in general, and ACNA in particular, endorses the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014.

Updates

Religion News Service reports Conservative Anglican leaders back Uganda anti-gay law.

WASHINGTON (RNS) Leaders of the conservative wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion equate the experiences of Ugandans who support a new anti-gay law with those of victims of an earthquake or a terror attack.

The Global Anglican Future Conference — made up chiefly of Anglican archbishops in Africa, Asia and Latin America — concluded a two-day meeting in London on Saturday (April 26) with a statement that expressed concern for violence in South Sudan and Northern Nigeria. It then said:

“We are equally concerned for the affected communities in Chile from the recent earthquake, terrorist attacks in Kenya, and the backlash from the international community in Uganda from their new legislation.”

That legislation, signed in February by Ugandan president President Yoweri Museveni, specifies life in prison for some homosexual acts. It also outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires citizens to report to the police anyone suspected of being gay.

President Obama has called the bill “odious,” and the U.S. Embassy staff has avoided meetings and events with any Ugandan government agencies since the signing.

But despite the GAFCON statement’s equation with catastrophes, the archbishops’ response seems more concerned with finances than outright support for the Ugandan law. The “backlash” line could be a reference to the loss of $140 million in financial aid and project support from the World Bank, the U.S. and other countries. According to IRIN, which covers humanitarian issues, this included $6.4 million intended for the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, which backed the legislation…

Episcopal Cafè has this: Why won’t ACNA say it is wrong to put gay people in prison?

…The Anglican Church in North America is led by a man who was so deeply offended by the ordination of a gay bishop that he decided to break away from the Episcopal Church and take tens of thousands of other people with him, but who is comfortable with church leaders who have successfully urged their governments to round up LGBT people and their supportive friends, and put them in jail.

For years, breakaway Anglicans have tried to downplay the role that simple anti-gay bigotry has played in their movement. They’d say that they didn’t hate gay people, they just didn’t think they should be able to be ordained or married. Or they’d say that homosexuality was just one symptom of the Episcopal Church’s drift from Biblical truth. Duncan’s unwillingness to say in a simple and straightforward way that he doesn’t think gay people and those who do not inform on them should be put in jail gives the lie to these arguments, as does the obsession with homosexuality evident in statements from the GAFCON primates council.

What we are seeing now is a comfortable white American religious leader who cannot bring himself to say that it is wrong to throw LGBT Africans in jail because he doesn’t want to offend the African archbishops who have been his allies.

Duncan is in a bind. On one hand, the bogus claim that the Anglican Church in North America is part of the Anglican Communion depends entirely on its relationships with Anglican provinces led by archbishops who support anti-gay legislation. On the other hand, ACNA’s leaders in this country know that their church won’t survive if its homophobic roots and willingness to countenance human rights violations that advance its institutional interests become widely known. His strategy at the moment seems to be to sign on to homophobic documents that circulate widely within the Anglican Communion while hoping that the U. S. media and the wider public doesn’t notice…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 27 April 2014 at 2:45pm BST | Comments (62) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 14 April 2014

Same-Sex Marriage: Anglican Mainstream takes a position

The Trustees of Anglican Mainstream, whose names are listed here, have issued this: The Ministry Continues: A Position Statement from the Trustees of Anglican Mainstream.

The following extract is only part of a much longer statement:

…6. We well understand that an appeal to the Bible will not in itself carry the day in our contemporary secular society. We will therefore continue to deploy four additional arguments which demonstrate why the 2013 Act is a serious mistake in public policy which needs to be reversed.

  • Marriage – between a man and a woman – is good for human flourishing, an aspect of God’s common grace for the whole of humanity irrespective of people’s faith position. Public policy should be directed towards supporting marriage, not undermining it.
  • Homes centred upon such marriages provide the best context for the bringing up of children, so that they can know the love and support of a mother and a father. Public policy should be directed towards supporting such homes for the benefit of children, whose needs should have priority.
  • There is well-founded evidence of the physical and emotional harm which can be a consequence of sexual relations between persons of the same sex. Footnote 1
  • Scientific enquiry into sexuality has shown that, rather than being a given, it is fluid, the product of a combination of factors including particularly nurture and experience Footnote 2 [and see also] J Michael Bailey. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 78 (3), March 2000, pages 524-536; M Frisch, A Hviid. ‘Childhood Correlates of Heterosexual and Homosexual Marriages: A National Cohort Study of Two Million Danes’, Archives of Sexual Behaviour 35 (5), October 2006, pages 533-547; The Social Organization of Sexuality, University of Chicago Press, 1994, pages 307, 309; Female Bisexuality From Adolescence to Adulthood: Results From a 10-Year Longitudinal Study Developmental Psychology 2008, Vol. 44, No. 1, 5–14
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 14 April 2014 at 6:19pm BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Further discussion of the LBC radio phone-in controversy

Updated Sunday morning (scroll down for new item)

Kelvin Holdsworth Understanding the Justin Welby Radio Phone-In Controversy. One extract:

…It looks as though the Archbishop is trying to set up a “reconciliation process” when he has already decided that the best outcome would be for the church to adopt a policy of blessing gay couples in Civil Partnerships but not affirming anything to do with same-sex couples and marriage. The trouble with this is that it won’t do for those who have come to the view that gay people and straight people should be dealt with equally because they are fundamentally equal in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of God.

The suspicion is that the Archbishop of Canterbury and many others with him, is trying to address this question on the presumption that gay people are in some way disabled (or worse, dysfunctional) straight people. Does he believe that gay people just can’t help themselves and so something must be done for them? It may be to misjudge him terribly, but it feels very much like it.

The reality is that those who have campaigned long and hard for marriage to be opened up to same-sex couples have drunk deeply at the Civil Rights well of justice. They (we!) believe gay people and straight people should be treated equally because of a fundamental existential equality between gay people and straight people.

Any hope that the church could have satisfied people by blessing civil partnerships but refusing to affirm marriages contracted by gay and lesbian couples is 10 years out of date. Had the churches affirmed Civil Partnerships in the first place then they might be in a better place to affirm them now. The argument can be endlessly made that Civil Partnerships and Marriage confer the same rights. The trouble is, most people now accept that Rosa Parks was right. Even if the bus does get you to the same destination, travelling at the front of the bus and travelling at the back of the bus are not the same thing…

Jim Naughton reports on the North American trip: Welby’s assertion on massacre follows him “far, far away in America” and then offers this analysis:

…The grave in Bor [South Sudan] does not seem to be the mass grave that the archbishop was referring to in the radio broadcast in the United Kingdom last week when he initially stated that the victims had been murdered due to events “far, far away in America.” Indeed, the ENS story carries a “correction” that reads: “a correction was made to this article to remove reference to the location of the mass grave where Welby said he had been told Christians were murdered out fear that they might become homosexual because of Western influence.”

Welby had previously said that he would not reveal the site of the mass grave he spoke of on the radio to protect the community. His refusal to give further details on the massacre also means that his claims cannot be independently evaluated, and that his analysis of why the massacre in question occurred cannot be challenged.

Meanwhile, The Church Times has published a story in which it says that Sudanese bishops “confirmed … that Christians in their country face a violent reaction if the Church of England permits same-sex marriage and blessings.”

However, one of the three Sudanese bishops interviewed disputes this assertion and the quotation used in the headline of the story is not spoken by any of the bishops whom the Church Times interviewed.

Additionally, one of the bishops is said to have “verified” Welby’s experience at a mass grave that Welby has not said was in Sudan, and which at least one British religion reporter has placed in Nigeria.

One can appreciate Welby’s concern for the safety of Christians in Africa, and some readers may even be persuaded that it is necessary to discriminate against LGBT people in the West to save lives in Africa, but Welby cannot be given a pass for introducing 12-15 year -old right wing talking point into the debate over LGBT equality as though it were a proven fact, and then refusing to provide the details that would allow for a critical examination of his claim. (Secular human rights groups have documented many massacres in Sudan and Nigeria, and attributed none to the actions of gay-friendly churches.)

In his radio interview last week, the archbishop said: “It’s about the fact that I’ve stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who’d been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America.”

Nothing he has said since then indicates that he doesn’t believe this to be the case. But everything he has said indicates he is unwilling to actually defend this assertion. That’s dirty pool.

Mark Oakley wrote a letter to the editor of the Guardian How the Church of England can tackle anti-gay violence

Archbishop Welby is right to understand that what is said by the Church of England transmits messages (Welby links killings in Africa to gay marriage, 5 April). The prejudice that kills Christians thought to be gay-friendly is the same as that which kills LGBT people themselves in increasing global homophobic crimes from Russia to Nigeria. Whether failing to support gay marriage here because of the risk it places African Christians under is shrewd or simply handing power to the oppressor can be debated. I am convinced that if such support isn’t forthcoming, those who commit acts of anti-Christian violence are likely to find other reasons to do so. However, one urgent move is now essential – to speak out in support of decriminalising homosexuality across the Commonwealth and wider world. To do this in a joint statement with Pope Francis would be a powerful communication of the church’s non-negotiable belief in God-given human dignity and underline the clear distinction between morality and criminality – just as Archbishop Ramsey recognised when he supported decriminalisation in this country. It would also help reduce the abuse and murder of LGBT folk that criminalisation is perceived to legitimate. As Alice Walker wrote, “no person is your friend who demands your silence”.

Canon Mark Oakley
London

Update

Bishop Gene Robinson writes What the Archbishop of Canterbury Should Have Said About Gay Rights

…So how might the Archbishop have responded differently? Perhaps something like this: “Look, the church must consider many things in discerning whether a change is warranted in our consideration of blessing the marriages of same-sex couples: what scriptures says, how the church’s historical understanding has developed, and our own experience of gay couples’ relationships. We are in the midst of that discernment right now. In addition, we must always be aware that our decisions here in England are being watched by the world’s 80 million Anglicans and their enemies; sometimes being used as an irrational and unwarranted excuse by those enemies for violence against Christians. I have seen the graves of those who have suffered because of these unjust and irrational connections between LGBT people and murder, and it breaks my heart.

Even so, we cannot give in to the violent acts of bullies and must discern and then pursue God’s will for all of God’s children. Violence and murder of Christians is deplorable, but so is violence against and murder of LGBT people. And as the spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans, permit me to point out, it is not helpful for some of our own Anglican archbishops, bishops and clergy to join in support of anti-gay legislation and rhetoric in their own countries, thereby fueling the hatred and violence against innocent LGBT people, who are being criminalized and murdered for who they are. These are complicated issues, and with God’s guidance, we will discern what is right to say and do.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 April 2014 at 4:00pm BST | Comments (118) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 11 April 2014

Church Times on the links with South Sudan

The Church Times has a news report by Madeleine Davies ‘We face attacks if C of E marriage policy changes’

BISHOPS in South Sudan have confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s warning that Christians in their country face a violent reaction if the Church of England permits same-sex marriage and blessings…

On Tuesday, the Bishop of Maridi, the Rt Revd Justin Badi Arama, verified this report. “Gay relationships in the Church of England would mean the people of South Sudan going back to their traditional religions which do not take them to same-sex practice,” said. “Secondly, there would be continued violence against Christians [in the fear] that they would bring bad and shameful behaviour or homosexual practice, and spread it in the communities.”

Any change would lead to a rift, the Bishop of Wau, the Rt Revd Moses Deng Bol, warned on Wednesday. “The Church of England blessing gay marriages will be dangerous for the Church in South Sudan, because people here, like many African countries, strongly oppose gay marriages. And so they would want the Church here to break relationship with the Church of England.

“As a Church, we need to remain united as a body of Christ. We must be mindful of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world when taking decisions, because what affects one part of the body affects the whole body as well.”

Bishop Arama concurred: “As South Sudanese, we very much value the partnership, and all the efforts of the Church of England to support the Church in Sudan during all the difficult moments in our history. Same-sex practice would distort this long history, because light and darkness cannot stay together.

“It is our prayer that the Church of England should not follow the world into darkness, but lead the world into light.”

But the online version of this story has been updated since the paper edition went to press, with this additional passage, expressing a slightly different view:

On Thursday, the Bishop of Cueibet, the Rt Revd Elijah Matueny Awet, said that, if the Church of England blessed gay relationships, Christians in South Sudan would “go back and worship their traditional beliefs and Gods [rather] than worshipping the true God. . . Islam will grow rapidly in South Sudan because of the pagan believing on same-sex marriage.”

He argued, however, that it would not lead to reprisals in South Sudan, which would take a different path to that pursued in the West.

“We have been described by English people and American that we are a rude community . . . The question now, is who is rude now? Is it the one who is claiming his or her right? The one who is forcing people to accept his behavior?”

The leader column, which is behind the paywall, includes the following comment:

…But gay people are victims, too, and Archbishop Welby’s comments on LBC (News) involved the Church of England in their plight. It is unfair to accuse him, as some have, of allowing the C of E’s policy on same-sex marriage to be dictated by evil men. The nearest parallel is with hostage-takers. You do nothing to upset them, all the while resisting the desire to appease them. It is an agonising situation, felt keenly by the Archbishop, despite his ambivalence, to put it no more strongly, on the subject of same-sex relationships.

For all that, it is unlikely that the Church of England’s restraint will be matched by the murderous militias in Sudan, the DRC, and elsewhere. It assumes an unlikely degree of patience and sophistication on the part of the gunmen to suppose that they might understand the nature of the Church’s relationship with the state, its tolerance of principled dissent among its clergy, and the lack of a juridical bond between the different provinces of the Communion. The assumption that Christianity and Western decadence are cut from the same cloth has long plagued the Church’s relationships with its neighbours in Africa, the Middle East, and countries such as China…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 April 2014 at 7:34am BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Canada and USA

Updated Thursday evening

The Archbishop of Canterbury is this week visiting Canada and the USA.

See Lambeth Palace press release: Archbishop of Canterbury visits Anglicans in Canada and the USA

From Canada, the Anglican Journal reports: Welby explains gays and violence in Africa remarks. An extract:

…Q: Were you in fact blaming the death of Christians in parts of Africa on the acceptance of gay marriage in America?

A: I was careful not to be too specific because that would pin down where that happened and that would put the community back at risk. I wouldn’t use the word “blame”— that’s a misuse of words in the context. One of the things that’s most depressing about the response to that interview is that almost nobody listened to what I said; they mostly imagined what they thought I said…It was not only imagination, it was a million miles away from what I said.

Q: So what exactly were you saying?

A: What I was saying is that when we take actions in one part of the church, particularly actions that are controversial, that they are heard and felt not only in that part of the church but around the world…And, this is not mere consequentialism; I’m not saying that because there will be consequences to taking action, that we shouldn’t take action. What I’m saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally. We never speak the essential point that, as a church, we never speak only in our local situation. Our voice carries around the world. Now that will be more true in some places than in others. It depends on your links. We need to learn to live as a global church in a local context and never to imagine that we’re just a local church. There is no such thing…

The Anglican Journal also reports Welby & Hiltz discuss issues of sexuality, reconciliation

When Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met with the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, he was “very interested” in the work of the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon because of the reality that the Church of England will have to wrestle with the issue of same-sex marriage following its legislation in the U.K.

“Notwithstanding the declared position of the Church of England at this moment, he [Welby] is very conscious, of course, that there’s going to be a fair amount of pressure from within the Church of England to at least have some discussion around that [same-sex marriage],” said Hiltz in an interview with the Anglican Journal. “He hoped that we would stay in touch over the work of the commission, [because] inside the Church of England, they will need to have the same conversation.”

Welby was also very interested in the issue of reconciliation as it relates to the history of the Canadian church’s relations with indigenous people and its involvement in the Indian Residential School System. “As he said now, in the Church of England, things are coming to light in terms of abuse in church schools…they’re kind of at that early stage,” and Welby wanted to know how the Canadian church responded. “They’re compelled [to respond] and they will not stand in anyone’s way,” said Hiltz, adding that Welby was interested in the church’s 1993 apology to former residential school students for the harm and pain inflicted through the schools.

On the issue of the marriage canon, Hiltz said Welby was “very appreciative” that the commission will conduct a broad consultation across the Anglican Communion and with its ecumenical partners on the matter of changing the Canadian Anglican church’s marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriage…

The archbishop then moved to Oklahoma, where he delivered this speech: Archbishop Justin’s speech at the Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace conference, Oklahoma, USA

ENS reports:

Archbishop says church must ‘join its enemies on their knees’

VIDEO: Archbishop explains comments made to LBC radio

…During the news conference, Welby noted that he had made similar comments in the past and that he was trying to say that “at its heart is the issue that we’re a global church.”

“The Anglican Communion is a global church. And that wherever we speak, whether it’s here or in Africa, or in Asia or in any of the 143 countries in which we are operating, in which there are Anglicans, we never speak exclusively to ourselves but we speak in a way that is heard widely around the world,” he said. “And so the point I was making, because the question was essentially about why don’t we just go ahead and do gay marriages, we have a profound disagreement within the Church of England about the right thing to do, whether to perform gay marriages or have blessing of same sex marriages where the marriage has taken place in the civil system.”

Same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales on March 29. Parliament by a comfortable majority passed The Marriage (Same-sex Couples Act) in July 2013.
The Church of England is “starting two years of facilitated conversation about this and we are not going simply to jump to a conclusion, to preempt that conversation in any direction at all but we need to spend time listening to each other, listening to the voices around the communion,” Welby said.

The example he gave during the call-in program of his experience at the site of the mass grave “was of a particular example some years back which had had a great impact on my own thinking,” he said during the news conference…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 9:12am BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada | ECUSA

Sunday, 6 April 2014

other reactions to the LBC radio phone-in

Updated Monday evening

Here are two articles which are supportive of the line taken by Archbishop Justin Welby on Friday:

Ian Paul has written What did Justin Welby say about gays and violence in Africa?

Andrew Goddard has written a long article The Archbishop, Gay Marriage and Violence: What are the issues?

The latter goes on to consider in some detail how the issues raised in the interview should be considered in the event that the Church of England, as a result of the “post-Pilling conversations” does eventually decide to make some change in its present official positions.

Update

Here are two more articles:

Cranmer Archbishop Justin gets handbagged by Ann Widdecombe

Phil Groom Epitaph for an Archbishop? For fear of sailing over the edge of the world, he never put out to sea

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 6 April 2014 at 11:00pm BST | Comments (62) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Saturday, 5 April 2014

bloggers react to the LBC radio phone-in

Updated again Sunday 6 pm

Andrew Brown has written at CiF belief Welby’s argument against gay marriage has strength. But we can’t yield to moral blackmail

…Archbishops are not supposed to be Peter Singer-style utilitarians. And it seems to me that there are two things wrong with the Welby position from the point of view of Christian ethics. The first is surely that, while we have the right to make our own decisions about whether or not to yield to moral blackmail, we have no right to make them for other adults.

You might object that an archbishop is there to make decisions for other people, so different rules apply. But he is also there to set an example. And this leads to the second Christian objection to this kind of blackmail. Christians are called on to do what is right, and to trust that God will bring good out of it even if evil immediately follows. Failing to do what you believe is right is, in some lights, a kind of blasphemy.

Welby does not, in fact, believe in gay marriage, so he’s off that particular hook. And he has already said enough in favour of gay people to disgust the Ugandan and Nigerian churches. I don’t think you can accuse him of cowardice on this issue, even if he’s wrong…

Rachel Mann Justin Welby, Homosexuality and Unintended Consequences

…I do not doubt Justin Welby’s experience. As noted in a previous blog post I have lived in a country which criminalizes homosexuality. Changing Attitude and other organizations have consistently flagged up how very dangerous it is to be gay in the majority world.

In this blog post I want to examine the underlying logic of the Archbishop’s claims and question and problematize them. I apologize if my reasoning seems blunt and crude. I am currently fasting as part of EndHungerFast and my mind is not working at full tilt. Equally, I am very open to comments which help sharpen up my thinking in this area…

Symon Hill Welby, homophobia and the lives that are at risk

Savi Hensman Archbishop of Canterbury, equal marriage and safety of Africans

Gillan Scott Justin Welby’s debut radio phone-in was a breath of fresh air

Caroline Hall Archbishop of Canterbury Links Attacks on African Christians to Pro-LGBT Churches

Susan Russell Archbishop of Canterbury chooses pathetic over prophetic

Updates

Claire George has an article which in addition to her comments includes a transcript of part of the broadcast: [Opinion] What did Justin Welby say about Africa and Gay people?

The Bishop of California, Marc Andrus wrote A word on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statements

Kelvin Holdsworth You condemn it, Archbishop

This article is by the person who asked the archbishop the question that generated so much coverage of the programme: Rebel Rev lives up to her name

…I managed to get out just in time and asked the Archbishop the last question of the show. In a nutshell I was asking why, as priests, we couldn’t bless same sex couples and use our own conscience like happened when the remarriage of divorcees came about in church. This could be the case while we waited for a synodical process to go through that could change the rules to allow equal marriage in church.

I was shocked and saddened by Justin’s response. Much has been publicised and blogged about Justin’s answer by theologians and people far and wide in the Anglican Communion. As the person who asked the question and a bog standard priest in the Church of England I feel extremely let down by my institution and the Archbishop. He said that we couldn’t move forward with a more liberal agenda in the UK without it having a devastating effect on people in Africa. He told a story about standing at a mass grave and had been told the people were killed because of the liberal changes in America. That’s like wondering why a woman in a violent relationship who is murdered didn’t leave, instead of asking the murderer why he killed her. Violence always needs to be condemned. The Archbishop didn’t do this. Murder and homophobia are the issues, not liberalism in the UK. Can you imagine what would have happened if Gandhi had given in to the violence and not challenged the marginalisation and oppression at the salt mines? How different would the world be if Wilberforce wasn’t listened to because the slaves might have been further abused? What would have happened if the civil rights movement hadn’t progressed because people were scared of the violence of the KKK? Women are killed and maimed today because they are being educated. Just ask Malala. Does that mean we shouldn’t educate girls? Apartheid was atrocious in its outpouring of violence. Should we not have campaigned because more black people would have been killed? What Justin said put the power in the hands of the oppressors and those who wield violence.

Let’s be clear, it’s not only Africa that kills people because of homophobia. I live in London, a very cosmopolitan city, yet my neighbour was killed in a homophobic attack. I had a friend who took his own life because he couldn’t cope with coming to terms with his sexuality in the face of homophobia from his family, friends and church. There are many people hurt and trapped by homophobia and a lack of acceptance in the UK…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 12:02pm BST | Comments (74) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 4 April 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury answers questions on radio phone-in

Updated Sunday morning

A full transcript of the broadcast is now available: ARCHBISHOP’S PHONE-IN ON LBC RADIO: TRANSCRIPT.

Lambeth Palace press release: Archbishop answers questions on LBC radio phone-in

Archbishop Justin spent an hour answering questions on LBC’s radio phone-in this morning, tackling topics ranging from same-sex marriage to the nature of God.

Listen again to the full programme here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGdBTMx1Vgo.

LBC Radio has this: Archbishop: Gay Marriage Could Mean Murder Of Christians. Embedded in that page is a six-minute clip of the part of the interview that is attracting the most media attention.

And also this: Archbishop Confronted by Angry Ann Widdecombe.

Media coverage:

Guardian Andrew Brown African Christians will be killed if C of E accepts gay marriage, says Justin Welby

Tablet Liz Dodd Christians in Africa would die if CofE accepted gay marriage, Welby warns

BBC Welby: backing gay marriage could be ‘catastrophic’ for Christians elsewhere

Church Times Madeleine Davies Welby links gay marriage with African killings

Anglican Communion News Service Abp Welby: Anglican Communion sexuality decisions can mean African Christians suffer

Pink News Archbishop of Canterbury: Africans could be killed if the Church of England backs same-sex marriage

And Archbishop of Canterbury defends Anglican position on gays from Ann Widdecombe attack

Mail Online Steve Doughty Gay marriage puts the world’s Christians at risk of violent revenge attacks: Archbishop’s warning over spread of liberal views in CofE

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 6:17pm BST | Comments (47) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

South Carolina: Anglican developments

The Diocese of South Carolina led by Bishop Mark Lawrence has issued this press release: Diocese Formalizes Worldwide Anglican Ties

The Diocese of South Carolina has been formally recognized as a member in good standing of the Global Anglican Communion.

On Saturday, March 15, the Diocese’s 223rd Annual Convention unanimously accepted an invitation to join the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) and temporarily enter into a formal ecclesiastical relationship known as provisional primatial oversight from bishops in the Global South.

The convention’s nearly 400 participants supported clergy and delegates as they voted to create a task force to explore more permanent affiliation options for the diocese. The task force will offer recommendations at the next Convention, which will be held next March.

Local critics of the Diocese’s 2012 separation from The Episcopal Church had said the disassociation would isolate the Diocese from the Global Anglican Communion. While the Diocese has maintained many informal relationships with organizations that are part of the communion, this formal primatial oversight arrangement makes clear that the Diocese is officially part of the greater Anglican Church.

“There’s an African proverb that wisely states ‘If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together,’ said the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th Bishop of the Diocese, in his address to the Convention. “This will give us gracious oversight from one of the largest Ecclesial entities within in the Communion; one which includes Anglicans from a diverse body of believers from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, the Indian Ocean and many, many others.”…

The Charleston Post-Courier reported this: Diocese of South Carolina accepts provisional oversight from Global South primates.

Another press release says: SC Court of Appeals Denies TEC Appeal

SOUTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS DENIES TEC APPEAL, BLOCKS DENOMINATION’S STALLING TACTICS

Justices prevent TEC from using legal maneuver to delay court proceedings

CHARLESTON, SC, March 18, 2014 – The South Carolina Court of Appeals today rejected an appeal that would have delayed a trial in the Diocese of South Carolina lawsuit to protect diocesan and parish property from seizure by The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local group, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC).

The Court decided that TEC and TECSC could not appeal a lower court ruling on the process to be used in discovery.

The Court of Appeals effectively said it will not tolerate legal shenanigans to delay a trial to decide whether the denomination may seize South Carolina property, including churches and the diocesan symbols. In asking the Court of Appeals to dismiss the action, the Diocese of South Carolina argued that TECSC is appealing a court order that is “unappealable”.

South Carolina’s Court of Appeals justices agreed…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 at 3:13pm GMT | Comments (37) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Monday, 3 March 2014

Anglican reactions to Nigerian and Ugandan legislation

Updated Monday lunchtime

Update According to the Daily Monitor Church ready to split from England on homosexuals

The Archbishop of Church of Uganda (CoU) has responded to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, saying Uganda is ready to break away from the Church of England if its views on homosexuality are not respected.

Addressing Christians at St Andrews Church, Bukoto yesterday, Archbishop Stanley Ntangali said the Ugandan-born Archbishop of York John Sentamu recently wrote to him, saying the Church of England was concerned about the CoU’s anti-homosexuality stand.

“I have written back to Archbishop Sentamu. I told him it does not matter even if we do not work with them because the Church of England is a product of repentance and USA is founded on Christian values but they seem to have become spiritually blind,” Bishop Ntangali said…

And AFP reports, via the Telegraph Uganda church warns of Anglican split over gay law

“The issue here is respect for our views on homosexuality, same sex marriage as a country and church. If they are not willing to listen to us. We shall consider being on our own,” Uganda’s top Anglican, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, told AFP.

“Homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture, and no one in the leadership of the church can say legitimise same sex unions or homosexuality,” he said, urging the “governing bodies of the Church of England to not take the path advocated by the West”.

“If they do we shall have no choice but to be on our own,” he said.

[Original article started here]

The most recently published statement by the Church of Uganda on the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality legislation appears to be in this statement dated 30 January:

The Church of Uganda is encouraged by the work of Uganda’s Parliament in amending the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to remove the death penalty, to reduce sentencing guidelines through a principle of proportionality, and to remove the clause on reporting homosexual behaviour, as we had recommended in our 2010 position statement on the Bill. This frees our clergy and church leaders to fulfill the 2008 resolution of our House of Bishops to “offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.”

The Church of Nigeria has recently published this letter sent to the Church of Uganda, commending it for its position on homosexuality.

And there is this news story from Nigeria itself in the Daily Post: Anglican Church in Nigeria subjects members to oath denouncing homosexuality

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has introduced a clause in its constitution subjecting members, who intend to hold positions in church, to take an oath of allegiance to God denouncing homosexuality.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the public denunciation took place in Abuja on Sunday at St. Matthews, Maitama, during the swearing-in of new members of the Parish Church Council (PCC).

The Vicar of the church, Ven. Ben Idume, who administered the oath to members of the PCC, said the church recognised that those with such sexual orientation needed help and counselling.

“But they would not be allowed to hold any position in church,’’ he said.

The legislation is significant because it applies to members of the laity, clergy and house of bishops of the church.

It also banned bisexuals from holding any church office.

The text of the vow reads: “I declare before God and his Church that I have never been a homosexual/bisexual or (have repented from being homosexual/bisexual) and I vow that I will not indulge in the practise of homosexuality/bisexuality.

“If after this oath I am involved, found to be, or profess to be a homosexual/bisexual against the teachings of the Holy Scriptures as contained in the Bible.

“I bring upon myself the full wrath of God and subject myself willingly to canonical discipline as enshrined in the constitution of the Church of Nigeria, so help me God.’’

The Archbishop of Kenya is reported by The Star via allAfrica.com to have said this: (original report here)

KENYA does not need a new law on gay relationships as the constitution clearly outlaws homosexuality, Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said yesterday.

Wabukala was responding to journalists’ questions on the sidelines of the Anglican Development Service meeting at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi.

He said whereas Uganda’s Parliament and President Yoweri Museveni accepted a law that penalised lesbian gay bisexual transgender relationships, “Kenya’s constitution clearly outlaws” them.

“As the Anglican church in Kenya we are very clear when it comes to matters of relationship which should be between two opposite sexes,” Wabukala said.

He said the church will not accept anything that is not allowed in scripture.

Wabukala faulted those who support the human right of LGBTs. He said human rights are not the same as rights.

“Human rights and rights are different. Human rights have no values while rights have values.”

“Just like Uganda has been guided by the constitution, Kenya has a more clear constitution on the relationship.”

On the other hand, the archbishops of New Zealand have published this: Archbishops: Pray for Uganda.

…Dear Friends and Colleagues in Christ,

Anglicans throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia continue to wrestle with divergent views on many aspects of human sexuality, and on a Christian response to the marriage or blessing of same gender couples in particular. However, we believe that all Anglicans are united in condemning homophobic attitudes or the persecution of people on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Many of us will have seen reports this week (eg: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26320102 ) that Uganda’s President has signed into law a bill that toughens penalties for gay people.

This new law includes the provision of life sentences for certain of these new ‘crimes’, and the legislation appears to have been passed with the encouragement of Uganda’s Joint Christian Council – which includes the country’s Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican bishops.

We recall Resolution 1:10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, which encouraged Anglicans throughout our Communion “to minister pastorally and sensitively to all, irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals…”

We note with dismay these developments in Uganda, and encourage you to remember that country, those placed further at risk by these laws, and those who lead the Church and the state in Uganda, in your prayers…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 3 March 2014 at 9:10am GMT | Comments (65) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 27 February 2014

GAFCON chairman criticises CofE bishops for support of same-sex marriages

The Primate of Kenya, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, writes in his capacity as Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council to the “Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends”. The letter includes the following passage:

…After the praise that greeted the news that Oxford University is to honour the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States with an honorary Doctorate in Divinity, it was helpful to be reminded of the sober facts in the Statement issued by the Global South Primates Steering Committee last week. It was recognized that ‘the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003’ and the Communion’s London based institutions were described as ‘dysfunctional’.

The breadth of the wide gate can be dangerously appealing as an easy choice, avoiding the need for theological discernment and church discipline. This is why I have already written a response (http://gafcon.org/news/a-response-to-the-statement-by-the-archbishops-of-canterbury-and-york) earlier this month to the Statement of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York about pastoral care for people who engage in same sex relationships.

Sadly, the lack of clarity in that statement about the biblical understanding of such relationships has been repeated in the pastoral guidance issued subsequently by the Church of England’s House of Bishops as same sex ‘marriage’ becomes legal in England and Wales next month. While the Church’s official teaching on marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman is affirmed, it is effectively contradicted by the permission given for prayers to be said for those entering same sex ’marriages’…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 27 February 2014 at 10:27am GMT | Comments (16) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Statement from some Global South Primates

Statement from the Global South Primates Steering Committee, Cairo, Egypt 14-15 February 2014

The Nigerian representative at the meeting abstained from signing, I have no idea why. The main body of the statement is copied in full below. Emphasis as in original.

Go to the original and scroll down to read an FAQ – The Global South of the Anglican Communion.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3).

1. The Global South Primates Steering Committee met at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014. We were delighted to have The Most Rev. & Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, the Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), and Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, as guests joining this important meeting in which we discussed the way ahead for the Anglican Communion and other matters. The Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya, and The Most Rev. Henri Isingoma, the Primate of Congo, apologized for not being able to attend.

2. We thank God for the times of fellowship, Bible study and prayer together. We also appreciated the frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

3. As we reviewed the current situation, we recognized that the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003. As a result, our Anglican Communion is currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional “instruments of unity.”

4. However, we trust in God’s promise that the “gates of hades will not overcome” the church. Holding unto this promise, we believe that we have to make every effort in order to restore our beloved Communion. Therefore we took the following decisions:

a) We request and will support the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for a Primates Meeting in 2015 in order to address the increasingly deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion. It is important that the agenda of this Primates Meeting be discussed and agreed upon by the Primates beforehand in order to ensure an effective meeting.

b) We decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dromantine in 2005 and Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.

c) We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report.

5. We appreciate the costly decision of the House of Bishops of the Church of England, as well as the pastoral letter and pastoral guidance of The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Archbishop of York, in regard to the decision of the Westminster Parliament for same-gender marriage. The faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.

6. We stand in solidarity with The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul and the people of South Sudan and Sudan, calling for the cessation of fighting, an end to violence, and for a process for peace and reconciliation. We call upon the international community to give every help and support to those displaced as a result of fighting. We commit ourselves to pray for the people of Sudan.

7. We were encouraged to learn about the new constitution of Egypt and how the interim government is achieving the roadmap that was decided by its people on the 3 July 2013. We support the people of Egypt in their efforts to combat violence and terrorism.

8. We decided to activate the Task Forces established at the 4th Encounter of the Global South, which are: Economic Empowerment (coordinated by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala), Theological Resourcing (coordinated by Archbishop Bolly Lapok), Emerging Servant Leaders (coordinated by Archbishop Ian Ernest), and Inter-faith Relations (coordinated by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh).

9. We decided to hold the 5th Encounter of the Global South in 2015 and also organize a seminar for Global South leaders on “How Africa shaped Anglicanism”.

This statement is approved by:

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt and Chairman of Global South
The Most Rev. Ian Ernest, Primate of the Indian Ocean and General Secretary of Global South The Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo, Primate of Myanmar
The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala, Primate of the Southern Cone
The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, Primate of Burundi and the Chairman of CAPA
The Rt. Rev. John Chew, representing the Primate of South East Asia
The Rt. Rev. Francis Loyo, representing the Primate of All Sudan

This statement was abstained by:
The Most Rev. Nkechi Nwosu, representing the Primate of All Nigeria

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 20 February 2014 at 3:44pm GMT | Comments (30) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Oxford University to award honorary degree to Presiding Bishop

Updated Friday

Press release from Oxford University:

Six leading figures from the worlds of science, the arts and religion are set to receive honorary degrees from the University of Oxford this year, subject to approval by Congregation.

The degrees will be awarded at Encaenia, the University’s annual honorary degree ceremony, on Wednesday 25 June 2014.

Degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa:

The Most Reverend Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, PhD, is Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and 16 other nations. Over the course of her nine-year term, Bishop Jefferts Schori is responsible for initiating and developing policy for the Episcopal Church and speaks on behalf of the church regarding the policies, strategies and programmes authorised by General Convention. Bishop Jefferts Schori’s studies for the priesthood, to which she was ordained in 1994, were preceded by her career as an oceanographer. She holds a BSc in biology from Stanford University, an MSc and PhD in oceanography from Oregon State University, an MDiv from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and several honorary doctoral degrees…

Update Lambeth Palace has issued this:
Archbishop congratulates Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on honorary Oxford degree

Friday 7th February 2014

Archbishop Justin has welcomed news that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, is to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Oxford

Archbishop Justin said: “I am delighted by the news that the Most Revd Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori is to receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the University of Oxford. This award, richly deserved, reaffirms Bishop Katharine’s remarkable gifts of intellect and compassion, which she has dedicated to the service of Christ.

“Prior to becoming ordained, Bishop Katharine pursued a career in oceanography, and her enduring deep commitment to the environment has evolved into a profound dedication to stewardship of our planet and humankind, especially in relieving poverty and extending the love and hospitality of Christ to those on the edges of society. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said of Bishop Katharine, ‘In her version of reality, everything is sacred except sin.’

“It must be noted, too, that Bishop Katharine’s achievements serve – and will continue to serve – as a powerful model for women seeking to pursue their vocations in the church.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 6 February 2014 at 3:00pm GMT | Comments (31) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Friday, 31 January 2014

Archbishops' letter to primates: GAFCON responds

From the GAFCON website:
A response to the statement by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

A response to the statement by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York of 29th January 2014

This week, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York sought to remind the leadership of the Anglican Communion and the Presidents of Nigeria and Uganda of the importance of friendship and care for homosexual people.

Christians should always show particular care for those who are vulnerable, but this cannot be separated from the whole fabric of biblical moral teaching in which the nature of marriage and family occupy a central place.

The Dromantine Communiqué from which the Archbishops quote also affirmed (Clause 17) the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 which states that ‘homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture’ and that the conference ‘cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions’.

Yet earlier this week, the English College of Bishops accepted the recommendation of the Pilling Report for two years of ‘facilitated conversation’ because at least some of the bishops could not accept the historic teaching of the Church as reaffirmed in the Lambeth resolution.

Indeed, in making the case for such a debate, the Pilling Report observes ‘In the House of Lords debate on same sex marriage, the Archbishop of York commended that the Church needed to think about the anomalies in a situation where it is willing to bless a tree or a sheep, but not a faithful human relationship.’ The anomaly only exists of course if it really is the case that a committed homosexual union can also be Christian.

The good advice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York would carry much more weight if they were able to affirm that they hold, personally, as well as in virtue of their office, to the collegial mind of the Anglican Communion. At the moment I fear that we cannot be sure.

Regrettably, their intervention has served to encourage those who want to normalize homosexual lifestyles in Africa and has fuelled prejudice against African Anglicans. We are committed to biblical sexual morality and to biblical pastoral care, so we wholeheartedly stand by the assurance given in the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution that those who experience same sex attraction are ‘loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.’

May God in his mercy grant that we may hold to the fullness of his truth and the fullness of his grace.

The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala
Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman, GAFCON Primates Council.
30th January 2014

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 7:30pm GMT | Comments (34) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Thursday, 30 January 2014

College of Bishops statement: GAFCON responds

From GAFCON website

There is urgency about the gospel

To the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council

29th January 2014

‘…by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God’ 2 Corinthians 4:2

My dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

I write this first message of 2014 with great hope and confidence for the year ahead. GAFCON 2013 renewed our vision for the Anglican Communion as a global fellowship faithful to the Scriptures and confirmed what many of us had already sensed, that our movement is emerging as the only real answer to the Communion’s problems of fragmentation and confusion.

In the year ahead we must resolve to devote ourselves to the great biblical mandate to make disciples of all nations which was the focus of our gathering in Nairobi. There is urgency about the gospel and it must be proclaimed in word and deed, in season and out of season and it is the same gospel, whether in strife torn nations such as South Sudan or in the affluent but morally disorientated nations of the developed world.

We cannot therefore allow our time and energy to be sapped by debating that which God has already clearly revealed in the Scriptures. Earlier this week, the English College of Bishops met to reflect upon the ‘Pilling Report’, commissioned to reflect on how the Church of England should respond to the question of same sex relationships. Its key recommendations were that informal blessings of such unions should be allowed in parish churches and that a two year process of ‘facilitated conversation’ should be set up to address strongly held differences within the Church on this issue.

While we should be thankful that the College of Bishops did not adopt the idea of services for blessing that which God calls sin, it did unanimously approve the conversation process and this is deeply troubling. There has been intensive debate within the Anglican Communion on the subject of homosexuality since at least the 1998 Lambeth Conference and it is difficult to believe that the bishop’s indecision at this stage is due to lack of information or biblical reflection. The underlying problem is whether or not there is a willingness to accept the bible for what it really is, the Word of God.

At Lambeth 1998, the bishops of the Anglican Communion, by an overwhelming majority, affirmed in Resolution 1.10 that homosexual relationships were not compatible with Scripture, in line with the Church’s universal teaching through the ages, but the Pilling Report effectively sets this aside. The conversations it proposes are not to commend biblical teaching on marriage and family, but are based on the assumption that we cannot be sure about what the bible says.

I cannot therefore commend the proposal by the College of Bishops that these ‘facilitated conversations ‘ should be introduced across the Communion. This is to project the particular problems of the Church of England onto the Communion as a whole. As with ‘Continuing Indaba’, without a clear understanding of biblical authority and interpretation, such dialogue only spreads confusion and opens the door to a false gospel because the Scriptures no longer function in any meaningful way as a test of what is true and false.

Faced with these challenges, I am reminded of the importance of the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. It places our fellowship under the written word of God, which ‘is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading’. Here we have a solid foundation for the responsible reading of the Bible which preserves its transformative power. As John the Evangelist writes ‘these things are written so that you may believe…..and that by believing you may have life’ (John 20:31).

Plans are already taking shape following GAFCON 2013 to provide our global fellowship with the organisation and communications it needs if the Anglican Communion is to recover its unity by listening to and obeying the Word of God. Using modern communications it is possible for us to experience the connectedness of being a global communion in a way that our predecessors could never have imagined. Each one of us can play a part and so may I conclude by inviting you, if you have not yet done so, to join the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans at http://fca.net. My pastoral messages and other communications can then be sent direct to you by email and together we can serve the cause of the gospel at this critical time.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 8:29am GMT | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Archbishops write to all Primates & to presidents of Nigeria, Uganda

Lambeth Palace press release (also on Bishopthorpe site)

Archbishops recall commitment to pastoral care and friendship for all, regardless of sexual orientation

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today written to all Primates of the Anglican Communion, and to the Presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, recalling the commitment made by the Primates of the Anglican Communion to the pastoral support and care of everyone worldwide, regardless of sexual orientation.

In their letter, the Archbishops recalled the words of the communiqué issued in 2005 after a meeting of Primates from across the Communion in Dromantine.

The text of the joint letter is as follows:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

In recent days, questions have been asked about the Church of England’s attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same-sex attraction. In answer to these questions, we have recalled the common mind of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, as expressed in the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005.

The Communiqué said;

‘….we wish to make it quite clear that in our discussion and assessment of moral appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people.

The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by Him and deserving the best we can give - pastoral care and friendship.’

We hope that the pastoral care and friendship that the Communiqué described is accepted and acted upon in the name of the Lord Jesus.

We call upon the leaders of churches in such places to demonstrate the love of Christ and the affirmation of which the Dromantine communiqué speaks.

Yours in Christ

+Justin Cantuar +Sentamu Eboracensis

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 5:40pm GMT | Comments (29) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Anglican homophobia: two reports and one response

There are two news reports (so far) of the latest remarks by the Primate of Nigeria The Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh on the Nigerian anti-gay legislation:

Nigerian Tribune Those practising same-sex marriage are heading for destruction —Okoh

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), The Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, on Monday, warned those practising same sex marriage to desist from the act, saying they were heading for destruction…

…Okoh explained that the act was an attempt by people to question God’s authority.
He said: “The same thing is happening today in the issue of human sexuality. It is not about whether a man should marry a man or a woman should marry a woman, the question in the garden (of Eden) has come back again.

“And as in the former time, disaster followed when man dethroned God. So, again it shall happen that if man decided to stick to the principle of dethroning God, He will face nothing but disaster.

“Man will come to nothing but extinction. For this road leads to nowhere. It is a dead end and it is not in the interest of humanity.

“We want to thank God, the National Assembly and the President. He (Jonathan) has articulated the views of Nigerians.”

Channels God’s Punishment Awaits Those Against Anti-Gay Law- Okoh

…He however commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his courage in signing the anti-gay bill into law which has continued to generate reactions in some quarters in Nigeria and beyond.

According to him, those not in support of the bill are like the biblical duo, Adam and Eve who questioned God for asking them not to eat the fruits from the Garden of Eden.

His words: “Many people do not realise that what is referred to as the homosexual trouble is not the homosexual or lesbian trouble but people’s refusal to accept the scripture for what it is, authority for life and practice following God.

He added: “in the beginning, man questioned the authority of God in the garden by saying did God actually say that you should not eat the forbidden fruit. That challenge to God’s authority dethroned God’s power and enthroned man’s power.

“”So they concluded that God has no right to tell man what to do and that they were the people who knew what to do. So man set God aside and took over the command. Consequently, disaster followed”.

There has been one response to all this, from the President of the House of Deputies of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, The Reverend Gay Clark Jennings, writing at Religion News Service : COMMENTARY: The church’s role in, and against, homophobia across Africa

…The Anglican primates of Uganda and Nigeria enthusiastically support anti-gay legislation in their countries. I, like them, am a member of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide body of more than 80 million Christians. I am troubled and saddened that fellow Anglicans could support legislation that fails to recognize that every human being is created in the image of God.

Western Christians cannot ignore the homophobia of these church officials or the peril in which they place Ugandan and Nigerian LGBT people. The legacy of colonial-era Christian missionaries and infusions of cash from modern-day American conservatives have helped to create it.

Twice in the last three years, I have traveled to Africa to meet with biblical scholars, grass-roots activists and church officials at consultations about the Bible and sexuality. These brave leaders have taught me that there is no getting around the Bible when searching for the origins of the homophobia that is rampant in many African cultures. What’s more, Europeans and North Americans bear much of the historical responsibility for this sad state of affairs. As Zimbabwean biblical scholar Masiiwa Ragies Gunda has written, it is “far-fetched to look beyond the activities of Western missionaries” when considering the role of the Bible in Africa…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 3:29pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Archbishop of West Africa dies

The Most Rev Tilewa Johnson, the Primate of The Church of the Province of West Africa, died suddenly yesterday (Tuesday).

Jan Butter and Bellah Zulu report for the Anglican Communion News Service reports with tributes and an obituary: Anglican Communion shocked by West Africa Primate’s sudden death.

Other online tributes and news reports include:

The Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop mourns ‘gifted’ leader of the Church of the Province of West Africa

George Conger Anglican Ink Archbishop of West Africa dead

PK Jarju JollofNews (Gambia and Senegal) Gambians Pay Tribute To Bishop Johnson

World Council of Churches Condolence message on death of Tilewa Johnson

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 9:36pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | News

Friday, 17 January 2014

update on anti-gay legislation in Uganda and Nigeria

The situation in Uganda has become even less clear than before. Jim Burroway reports in this article: Status of Uganda’s Anti-Homosesexuality Bill Is Completely Up in the Air … Including, Possibly, Its Death Penalty.

… Earlier this morning Kampala time, Daily Monitor reported that President Yoweri Museveni had “blocked” the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which had been passed in Parliament in December with an apparent lack of quorum. (The pro-government New Vision makes no mention of Museveni’s letter, at least not on its online edition. The Uganda Media Centre, the government’s official press office, is similarly silent this morning.) Most other major media outlets reporting on this development are citing the Daily Monitor story.

Museveni’s letter to Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga criticizing Parliament’s vote on December 20 was dated December 28 but only made public today. All of this leaves up in the air the bill’s precise status. Does Museveni’s letter represent a formal rejection of the legislation under the Constitution’s Article 91 (3) (b)? That seems to be the assumption most media outlets are making. It’s certainly what the Daily Monitor story implies, although it doesn’t say so explicitly…

The original Daily Monitor article is here: Museveni blocks Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

This development has also been picked up by the BBC: Uganda President Yoweri Museveni blocks anti-gay law.

Meanwhile, in relation to the similar legislation in Nigeria, there is this report explaining The Simple Reason Nigeria Just Banned Gay Marriage And Gay Meetings.

Also, Ekklesia has this commentary by Savi Hensman Nigeria’s anti-gay law: persecuting minorities, forsaking Christ.

And today, a petition has been launched, directed at the Archbishops of Canterbury and York: please speak out against human rights abuses in Nigeria.

Dear Archbishops Justin and John,

As you will know, Nigeria has just enacted some of the most extreme anti-gay laws on the planet. The Church of Nigeria, in particular retired Archbishop Akinola, has been supporting the bill for many years, and only last year the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese, Asaba, Justus Mogekwu, appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the anti-gay marriage bill. As Anglicans [and fellow Christians of other traditions], we call on both of you to oppose these laws, publicly and privately, in word and deed.

The new Nigerian laws include the following draconian provisions:

  • Up to 14 years in jail for people in same-sex relationships
  • Up to 10 years for anyone who ‘directly or indirectly’ shows same-sex affection in public.
  • Up to 10 years in jail for anyone who participates in an organisation which works to protect gay rights, including straight allies. This could criminalise human rights defenders and even two people just meeting for a coffee if they are known to be gay or bisexual.

The situation is urgent. Sweeping arrests of gay people are already taking place in some parts of the country. A man in Bauchi has already endured 20 lashes, ordered by a court, for ‘homosexual offences’.

Anglicans have different points of view on whether it is morally acceptable to enter a sexual relationship with somebody of the same gender. But surely we can all agree that nobody should be locked up because of who they love and nobody should be locked up for organising against an unjust law?

Even the hardline Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference committed the Anglican Communion to opposing ‘irrational fear of homosexuals’. It is time for that opposition to take the form of concrete action.

In the Gospels, Christ tells us that whatever we do for the least of His brothers and sisters, we do for Him. He also says that whatever we ask the Father in His name will be granted. We believe that your influence can limit the degree to which these laws are implemented and can help prevent their spread to other parts of Africa.

Remaining silent means turning a blind eye as some of the most vulnerable people on the planet are imprisoned or flogged. It also risks destroying the credibility of Christianity in England and many other parts of the world where homophobia is considered scandalous.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 17 January 2014 at 6:15pm GMT | Comments (29) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Still more comments on the Pilling report

Updated Thursday evening

The Council of Bishops of the Society of Saint Wilfred and Saint Hilda have issued this statement:

The Pilling Report: Statement by the Council of Bishops of the Society

The Report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality (the Pilling Report) is an important piece of work which deserves careful consideration. We encourage our clergy and people to read it and reflect upon it prayerfully.

We note that the Report proposes no change in the doctrine of the Church of England and that its practical recommendations remain, at this stage, recommendations to the House of Bishops.

Those of us who are members of the Church of England’s College of Bishops will be discussing it with other members of the College in January, and we shall also be discussing it at our own meeting in February. We plan to comment more fully after those discussions.

On behalf of the Council
+ TONY PONTEFRACT
The Rt Revd Tony Robinson Chairman

Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream published The Pilling Report: quick Q and A. The full text is copied below the fold.

Update
The Global South of the Anglican Communion has issued this quite long Statement in response to the Pilling Report.

We are writing to express our serious concerns in regard to the Pilling Report. We know that the House of Bishops of the Church of England will be discussing this and we would like to assure them of our prayers so that the Holy Spirit would guide them to the right decisions.

First, we would like to say that we believe that the church of Christ should not in any way be homophobic or have any kind of phobia. We should follow in the steps of Jesus Christ who embraced all the marginalized of his society; having said that, we must say that we did not read of any homophobic statement from any bishop or clergy in the Church of England. It is sad that anyone who does not support the ministry of gay and lesbians, as well as same-sex marriages, is considered homophobic. Obviously there is a big difference between those who refuse to recognize the presence of homosexuals in the church, i.e. homophobic, and those who do support Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 and do not support the ministry and ordination of non-celibate gay and lesbians, as well as same-sex marriages.

The Pilling Report raises an important question which requires an answer: will the Church of England conform to its context, i.e. will the Church of England allow the society to shape its faith and practice in such a way in order to be acceptable by the society, or will the Church of England recognize that its distinctive mission is to transform the society? …

Anglican Mainstream The Pilling Report: quick Q and A

What is the main conclusion of the Pilling Report?

The legalization of gay marriage has brought an urgency to the question of pastoral care for same sex couples. The church has to be seen to be providing unconditional welcome and affirmation for LGBT people, without officially changing its doctrine. So the Report recommends an informal approach, not reflected in new liturgy, whereby a “pastoral accommodation” allows clergy to pray informally with a couple, asking for God’s blessing. This may be an “act of worship to mark the formation of a same sex relationship” (paragraph 399). The decision to do this should be left to individual clergy in consultation with their PCC.

How will this be viewed in the Church as a whole?

Many Anglicans cannot understand what all the fuss is about, and that of course there should be blessings for gay couples – in fact why not gay marriage as well? But a considerable number of committed faithful Christians in the C of E and in other denominations will be bewildered by the headlines about the report’s conclusions and not understand how fellow believers could warmly welcome and bless something which the Bible says is sin and which the church has never approved of.

How did Pilling come to this conclusion?

Firstly, the report accepts a liberal view of Scripture. All members of the Commission agreed that Scriptural texts about homosexual practice are uniformly negative. The disagreements came over how to interpret this. Standard liberal positions are articulated in the report: either that we’ve interpreted the Bible wrong, or that it is not authoritative, but an optional resource in our ethical decision making. The traditional understanding of how Scripture views sex is given space, but the report insists that this is only one understanding out of many which are equally valid in the Anglican tradition.

Secondly, the report confuses the Gospel imperative to offer hospitality to people and include all in the invitation to come to Christ, with the offering of God’s blessing to ideas and actions which are contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible. The experience and demands of individuals in a particular social context has trumped eternal principles of theology and ethics. This is justified by the liberal argument that all our ideas are provisional and ethereal, but people are real. To paraphrase the famous song: “Don’t know much philosophy, but I do know that I love you…”.

How will the change be brought into effect?

As there is so much controversy and disagreement about homosexuality, the report says we can only move forward with mutual respect by a listening process. This is specifically not a series of debates, but relationship building through “facilitated conversation”, with no predetermined outcome. There is an assumption that this process will be entirely fair, where those who want the church to bless same sex couples and those who feel Scripture and church tradition cannot allow this, can meet and listen to each other in an unthreatening environment. The report does not seem to recognize that the playing field is not level in this process. While the conversation is going on, facts will be created on the ground as same sex relationships are openly “blessed” by clergy according to the report’s own recommendations. Society’s strongly libertarian majority view is heavily endorsing one side of the “conversation”. The choice of facilitators will be determined centrally and are unlikely to be neutral on the issue. Because of this bias and potential for manipulation of the discussion process, it is likely that many orthodox confessing Anglicans will simply refuse to take part.

Why is the church so keen to change its core teachings in this area?

The report believes that by cautiously advocating blessing of faithful permanent same sex relationships, the church can avoid accusations of “homophobia”, and present itself as in touch with the majority view, especially of young people. By asking people with different views in the church to spend time thinking and discussing seriously about sex and the best boundaries to set for it, this might be a form of witness to a culture which wants to rush headlong into an unrestrained “anything goes” sexual ethic.

However commission member Bishop Keith Sinclair’s dissenting statement points out that the church permitting same gender sexual relationships would be an example of “cultural captivity” – trying to appease society, and especially the “politically correct”, powerful secular humanist view of sex and relationships. The report draws a boundary that gay relationships should be “permanent, faithful, stable” but since it has reached a conclusion that Scripture cannot be trusted, there is no explanation of why this boundary should be in place, and why further ground will not be conceded in a short space of time.

The way forward

If the Bishops adopt the report, with its incoherent thinking as outlined above, it will confirm the image of the church to outsiders not as relevant and compassionate, but as wishy washy, unable to proclaim its message to the nation with courage, conviction and clarity. Within the church there will be only increased division and the serious threat of schism. Much better to quietly shelve the report, reaffirm past resolutions on heterosexual marriage as the proper place for sexual relationships, and confidently share the Gospel vision for human flourishing. We will soon hear what has been decided.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 December 2013 at 6:09pm GMT | Comments (12) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 1 November 2013

more about GAFCON 2

Updated

In my earlier article, I linked in the comments to a number of additional articles about this topic.

Here are few more items:

Andrew Atherstone Reflections on GAFCON 2 published at Fulcrum.

Church Society Lee Gatiss The Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) in Nairobi

Church Times George Conger GAFCON to be ‘an Anglican province’ in all but name

Anglican TV Interview with Dr Gavin Ashenden

Update

Two more articles, by Peter Carrell GAFCON’s gaffe (1) and GAFCON’s gaffe (2) - misunderstanding gospel and culture

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 1 November 2013 at 9:13am GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 26 October 2013

GAFCON 2 concludes with Communique and Commitment

Here is the full text of the document issued at the end of the conference in Nairobi. There is also a PDF version here.

There was an earlier press release containing the text of a resolution agreed by an unspecified number of GAFCON bishops: GAFCON votes to expand.

Much other material is available from this page. English readers may be particularly interested in the following contributions:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 2:35pm BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Archbishop’s message to GAFCON 2013

The Archbishop of Canterbury sent a video message to GAFCON 2013 and this is now available online: Archbishop’s message to GAFCON 2013: seek holiness and unity. The link also includes a transcript of the archbishop’s message and this summary:

Archbishop Justin sent a video greeting to the Second Global Anglican Future (GAFCON) Conference, which is taking place in Nairobi this week. He told them that it was his prayer that they would ‘meet Jesus afresh with elation and joy’.

The Archbishop was unable to attend the GAFCON meeting because of previous commitments, including the baptism of Prince George on Wednesday.

In his message, Archbishop Justin affirms the recent call by the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, who chairs the GAFCON Primates Council, for the Church to proclaim the gospel confidently.

To do this, Archbishop Justin says, ‘we need to be a Church that is holy’. That is a ‘massive challenge’ to churches in different contexts around the world, but is ‘absolutely critical to our proclamation of the gospel’.

To proclaim the gospel effectively, the Church must also be ‘in unity’, the Archbishop says. ‘It doesn’t mean being unanimous, all saying exactly the same thing in exactly the same way. It means that, as Jesus prays in John 17, that we demonstrate by our love for one another that Jesus is the Son of God and therefore people are drawn to believe in him. We’ve got to find ways of doing that and I don’t underestimate the challenge that is to all of us.’

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 at 11:03am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 21 October 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury preaches in Nairobi

Updated

The full sermon is available as a video, here (27 minutes).

The context of this event is explained here.

Updates:

Lambeth Palace has issued this press release: Archbishop Justin visits Nairobi.

The Church Times carries this news report by Madeleine Davies New structures needed, Welby tells GAFCON Primates and this additional commentary Archbishop and Gafcon Leaders size each other up by George Conger.

There is also this report by George Conger Welby backs GAFCON vision for a renewed Church which says there were some changes made to the sermon at its second delivery.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 21 October 2013 at 3:59pm BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Tributes to former Archbishop David Gitari

Updated

ACNS reported on 30 September: Archbishop David Gitari, former Kenya Primate dies.

ACNS has republished this obituary of the archbishop by Bishop Graham Kings: Archbishop David Gitari 1937-2013: Evangelist, Prophet, Liturgist and Bridge-Builder.

An earlier article is Archbishop David Gitari: Biblical Interpretation in Action in Kenya.

Bishop Stephen Cottrell has written this: Tribute to the late David Gitari.

The Archbishop of Canterbury published this tribute.

Update ACNS has England’s Bishop of Sherborne Dr Graham Kings speaks to BBC World Service about the late Archbishop David Gitari of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 October 2013 at 10:41pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 7 October 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Kenya

Lambeth Palace has issued this press release:

Archbishop to visit Kenya to offer solidarity
Monday 7th October 2013

The Archbishop of Canterbury will visit Nairobi on 19 and 20 October as a guest of the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd Eliud Wabukala.

The purpose of the visit, which has been arranged at short notice, is to be in solidarity with the Kenyan people following the attack on the Westgate shopping mall last month.

The programme of the visit is not yet confirmed.

The Archbishop was invited to speak at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which takes place between 21 October and 26 October in Nairobi.

He was unable to attend because of long-standing diary commitments, including the baptism of Prince George. He will, however, record a video greeting, which will be broadcast to delegates at the start of the conference.

The Archbishop is also continuing to hold in prayer the people of Peshawar, Syria, and all those in troubled parts of the world.

Earlier today GAFCON had issued this press release:

GAFCON and the Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury will visit GAFCON primates just before the opening of GAFCON 2013 in Nairobi.

GAFCON Primates are holding a two day meeting, then 1200 leaders and lay people from the UK, Asia, Africa, the Pacific and South America will fly in to Nairobi for the Global Anglican Future Conference starting on Monday, October 21st.

GAFCON Chairman Eliud Wabukala invited Archbishop Justin Welby to send greetings to the conference and he indicated he was unable to do so in person because of commitments during the week. His office has since confirmed he will make a flying visit to speak with the Primates.

The general secretary of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Dr Peter Jensen, says “The Archbishop’s decision to come to the Primates meeting is a recognition of the importance of such a large and significant gathering of Anglicans from around the world and he will be made very welcome.”

Posted October 7, 2013

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 7 October 2013 at 6:41pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Anglican Church of Southern Africa considers Pastoral Response to Civil Unions

The Republic of South Africa passed its Civil Union Act in 2006. This permits same-sex relationships to be registered as either civil partnerships or as marriages.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (a province which encompasses Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and the island of St Helena) issued this press release (among others) on Friday: Anglican Church of Southern Africa considers Pastoral Response to Civil Unions

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has urged its bishops to provide guidelines for giving pastoral care to same-sex couples who have entered civil unions under South African law.

The Church’s ruling Provincial Synod, currently meeting in Benoni, South Africa, on Friday adopted a resolution urging its Synod of Bishops to finalise guidelines “as soon as possible”.

The Church neither marries same-sex couples, nor ordains or licenses priests or deacons who live in same-sex unions. This is in line with the practice of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

However, in the words of the Right Revd Martin Breytenbach, Bishop of St Mark the Evangelist, during a debate at the Synod, “civil unions are a reality, whether we like it or not.”

Proposing the resolution, Bishop Breytenbach acknowledged he was on the “conservative” side of the debate. But, he continued, all God’s people needed pastoral care and “we have people in our church who are same-gender couples who regard themselves as married, even though I find it difficult to accept.”

The Right Revd Garth Counsell of Table Bay – from the diocese of Cape Town, which is seen as more open to recognising same-sex marriage – said the resolution was “not talking about same sex- marriage or whether we will do that or not.” It was rather about “confronting legal reality”…

The full text of the resolution is included in the release and is copied below the fold.

This Synod

1 Noting

1The progress that has been made by the Synod of Bishops and various Dioceses in developing guidelines for pastoral ministry in response to Civil Unions, and to those who experience themselves as homosexual;

2 That we have accepted Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998 as the basis for our engagement with the issues of human sexuality

3 That we are still not of one mind on these matters.

2 Affirms:

1 That God calls us to love and minister to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, while at the same time upholding God’s standards of holiness;

2 That this is a highly complex and emotive area which affects many people deeply and has a far reaching impact on the mission of the Church.

3 Commits the Anglican Church of Southern Africa:

1 To journey together in humility and mutual respect as we seek God’s mind on the difficult issues of human sexuality;

2 To continue to engage in a process of listening to the whole variety of experiences and viewpoints so as to increase our understanding of these issues;

4 Resolves to

1 Respectfully request the Synod of Bishops to work towards finalising the Guidelines for pastoral ministry in response to Civil Unions as soon as possible.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 12:30pm BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 4 October 2013

Anglican Church of Southern Africa completes Adoption of Anglican Covenant

The Anglican Communion News Service has announced today that Anglican Church of Southern Africa completes Adoption of Anglican Covenant.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) has adopted the Anglican Communion Covenant.

Its Provincial Synod today unanimously voted to ratify the decision taken at its previous meeting in 2010 to adopt the Covenant. This completes the legal process.

The Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, proposed the motion. Addressing the Synod, meeting this week in Benoni, Johannesburg, he emphasised ACSA’s commitment to being at the heart of Anglican life, often acting as a bridge-builder, and drawing on its own experiences of living with considerable diversity and wrestling with difference.

Seconding the motion, the Dean of the Province, Bishop Rubin Philip of Natal, quoted from the Introduction to the Covenant:

6. To covenant together is not intended to change the character of this Anglican expression of Christian faith. Rather, we recognise the importance of renewing in a solemn way our commitment to one another, and to the common understanding of faith and order we have received, so that the bonds of affection which hold us together may be re-affirmed and intensified. We do this in order to reflect, in our relations with one another, God’s own faithfulness and promises towards us in Christ (2 Cor 1.20-22).

With debate only addressing a minor wording amendment, the motion was passed without dissent.

The text of the motion is given below.

Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

This Synod

1. Notes ­the adoption of the Anglican Covenant at the Provincial Synod of 2010;

2. Recommits the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to playing the fullest possible role at the heart of the Anglican Communion, working to promote its unity in diversity and strengthening of bonds of affection, in a life of mutuality and interdependence, shared between autonomous churches, acting each as we are called in our own particular contexts and according to our own ordering, in response to this common gift and calling we have received in our Lord Jesus Christ;

3. Reaffirms its belief that this ordering of shared Communion life may be furthered as set out in the Preamble to the Covenant:

We, as Churches of the Anglican Communion, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, solemnly covenant together in these following affirmations and commitments. As people of God, drawn from “every nation, tribe, people and language” (Rev 7.9), we do this in order to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the grace of God revealed in the gospel, to offer God’s love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and together with all God’s people to attain the full stature of Christ (Eph 4.3,13).

4. Resolves to confirm its adoption of the Anglican Covenant.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 4 October 2013 at 1:19pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 3 October 2013

GAFCON 2013 goes ahead in Nairobi

Despite the recent violence in Nairobi, the second GAFCON conference is going ahead there, see GAFCON II is a go.

Anglican Mainstream has published the following: Why GAFCON 2013 and What is FCA? Full text copied below the fold.

Some other articles related to this:

Vinay Samuel An Overview of the Anglican Communion Today – From communion to coalition.

Bob Bettson ANALYSIS: Anglican Communion faces troubled waters

Sue Careless Reviving Communion

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala Chairman’s September Pastoral Letter

And for a different perspective, see Bosco Peters GAFCON.

Our previous reports on GAFCON related items were:

from Anglican Mainstream:

For information for those who have been asking what the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is, and why the Gafcon 2013 conference is taking place this month in Nairobi

Statement from the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (UK & Ireland, including the Diocese of Europe)

WHY GAFCON 2013? A conference in Nairobi, 21-26 October 2013, of FCA leaders, lay and ordained from across the world, representing the majority of Anglicans in the Communion. We will

  • Address current challenges to the faith (persecution and poverty, militant Islamism, aggressive secularism);
  • Listen to each other and support the most vulnerable among us (physically that’s the Africans, spiritually that’s us);
  • Make plans and decisions together, praise and mourn together, pray and resolve together;
  • Return to our churches stimulated, encouraged and resourced for mission.

WHAT IS FCA? A global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans who believe the Anglican Communion is worth preserving. The challenges to today’s church are huge, the stakes are high, but our resolve is determined – and the Communion’s best days could still be in the future. FCA will be at the heart of them. We are committed to

  • Serve the Anglican Communion with its wonderful history and its self-governing provinces, held together by a common Christian faith and deep bonds of spiritual fellowship, shared mission and exchange of ministry across the world;
  • Offer the strongest, some would say the only, effective remaining glue that holds this precious unity intact, now that the structural four instruments no longer do the job;
  • Promote a dynamic mission, and counter inauthentic expressions that depart from a biblically ordered faith.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 October 2013 at 8:44am BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Update on Peshawar casualties

Titus Presler has published this Peshawar All Saints’ update: bomb casualty toll; funds appeal; other bombings.

In a conversation from Peshawar today, Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters of the Diocese of Peshawar said that the confirmed death toll from the bombing at All Saints’ Church on Sept. 22 in the old section of the city stands at 127, with 170 injured.

“It has been just devastating,” he said. “Quite a few children are paralyzed, and others are orphaned. This is a terrible time for the Christian community.” Financial assistance is urgently needed to support the families of the dead and injured, he said.

Government officials, including the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkwa, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and federal ministers, have visited in order to express concern and condolence. The bishop has met with them either at All Saints’, where he has been based over the week, or at his home on the grounds of St. John’s Cathedral.

Yesterday’s car bomb in Qissa Khawani bazaar was detonated nearby while the All Saints’ congregation was again at worship on the first week’s anniversary of the Sept. 22 bomb. “People were in a panic, and there was such a rush,” Bp. Humphrey said, “but after about 25 minutes we were able to get them settled and resume the service.” The bomb killed 40 people and was reported to have exploded about 300 yards from All Saints’, near a mosque and a police station. On Friday, 19 people died when a bomb planted on a bus carrying government employees exploded in the outskirts of Peshawar.

Today’s confirmed count of 127 dead and 170 wounded from the Sept. 22 bomb is lower than the initial reports of 150 dead and 200 wounded, but it is considerably higher than the figure of 85 dead that is being circulated by global news media. Peshawar’s overall death toll from bomb blasts for the week is 176…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 4:05pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury speaks about Peshawar

Yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 World at One lunchtime news programme.

You can hear the interview with Martha Kearney here.

Subsequent media coverage:

BBC Pakistan church bombing victims ‘martyrs’, archbishop says

Telegraph Christians now suffering mass martyrdom, says Archbishop of Canterbury

Express “Christians are being attacked just because of their faith”, says Archbishop of Canterbury

Star Archbishop of Canterbury says pray for Kenya mall killers

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 9:53am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Church of South India elects first woman bishop

From the Anglican Communion News Service:

Church of South India elects first woman bishop

The Church of South India has today appointed its first woman bishop.

The Revd Eggoni Pushpalalitha was ordained in 1983 and has most recently been a priest in the Diocese of Nadyal in Andhra Pradesh.

Her appointment comes only days after the Church of Ireland elected its first woman bishop, the Revd Pat (Patricia) Storey as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare.

Provincial Secretary of the Church of South India, Mani M. Philip confirmed that Miss Pushpalalitha had been appointed by the Synod Selection Board this afternoon.

“We have been ordaining women since 1976,” he told ACNS, adding that in its constitution, the province mandates that at least 25 per cent of all statutory bodies should be women.

Bishop-designate Pushpalalitha is expected to be installed on Monday 30 September.

One of the 38 Member Churches of the Anglican Communion, the Church of South India is a ‘united’ Church—the result of the union of churches of varying traditions Anglican, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed. It was inaugurated in September 1947.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 2:30pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Women bishops and the recognition of Orders

The recent decision of the Church in Wales to allow women to be consecrated as bishops, and the election of a woman bishop in the Church of Ireland have prompted an article, Women bishops and the recognition of Orders, by Will Adam, editor of the Ecclesiastical Law Journal, in Law and Religion UK about the implications for the Church of England.

… This is bound to bring up again the question of the recognition in a Church which does not permit the ordination of women as bishop of episcopal acts performed by a bishop who is a woman …

However, the consecration of a woman as a bishop in the Church of Ireland changes the situation. Deacons, priests and bishops of the Church of Ireland, Church in Wales and Scottish Episcopal Church are not considered as “overseas” clergy by the law applying to the Church of England. This is significant, because the permission of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York is not required for such ministers to be invited to exercise the ministry of their orders in England …

The article refers to this 2004 opinion from the Legal Advisory Commission of the Church of England: The Effect of Acts by women Bishops of Churches in Communion with the Church of England.

Kelvin Holdswoth writes about the same topic in Taint. He concludes with

What I’m interested in is that with respect of our current bishops in Scotland, all of them have either had a female co-consecrator present at their consecration, joined in consecrating someone with a female co-consecrator present or have been consecrated by someone who has had a female co-consecrator present at their own consecration.

What I wonder is whether those who apply the theology of taint believe that anyone at all (bishops, priests or deacons) now ordained in Scotland is legit.

Oh, and by the way an English bishop was present and joining in when this situation began. I was there – I saw it with my own eyes.

Where does this leave the Scottish Episcopal Church in relation to those who would deny the legitimacy of women to act as bishops? …

Do we, or do we not, remain in full communion with [all of] the Church of England?

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 2:22pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church in Wales | Church of England | Church of Ireland | Scottish Episcopal Church

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

more media coverage of the attack on Christians in Peshawar

Updated Tuesday evening

BBC has Pakistan blasts: Burials amid anger after Peshawar church attack and Pakistanis react with ‘shock and anger’ at latest attack and also Who are Pakistan’s Christians?

Guardian Pakistani Christians mourn 85 killed in suicide bombings at Peshawar church and Peshawar church bombings show the deadly outcome of religious intolerance

Telegraph Peshawar church attack: Nawaz Sharif warns that Taliban talks could be scrapped

Independent Pakistan church blast: Christians in angry protest against attacks which killed 85 in Peshawar

Karachi News Muavia-led Punjabi Taliban behind church bombing and World leaders condemn Peshawar church attack and also Global prejudice against Christians

Update

Church Times Death toll rises after attack on Pakistan church

On Monday, the Bishop of Pontefract, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, who chairs the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pakistan Focus Group, said: “I think this is the worst case that we have had of an attack on a church, although for many years now this has been part of a pattern of attacks on Christians, both at worship and in their homes. We hope that the Pakistani government will try to protect Christians in that country, who are trying to live peaceful lives in that context.”

He said that it was “very difficult for the government in Pakistan to protect every church”; but the rise of terror groups “may mean they need to be more proactive than they have been”.

Anglican Communion Office Secretary General to Anglican Communion: “Please pray for Pakistan”

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has asked for Communion-wide prayer following the suicide attack on a church in Pakistan that left than 78 dead and more than 100 injured.

In a letter to the Anglican Communion’s Primates—its most senior bishops—Canon Kenneth Kearon wrote, “Messages of condolences have been coming in from around the Communion, and I write to ask you to consider requesting your parishes and dioceses to remember in prayer those who died or were bereaved and those who were injured or live in fear because of the tragedy…”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 8:08am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 23 September 2013

Anglican church in Peshawar is attacked by terrorists

Updated twice Monday

All Saints Church, Peshawar which was attacked yesterday by suicide bombers, is a church in the Diocese of Peshawar in the Church of Pakistan.

The diocesan website has information about the tragedy here.

Information about the historic building is here.

The Church of Pakistan is a United Church within the Anglican Communion. More information about its formation on this page. (scroll down).

And there is a blog post by an American priest who knows the church: Peshawar church bombing a condensation of horror and loss. More from Titus Presler via the Living Church here includes After church bombing Edwardes closes for 3 days and empathy abounds and College closes for 3 days in solidarity as church institution after All Saints bombing.

Media reports of the attack:

Karachi News: Twin suicide attacks in Peshawar church claim 81 lives and Peshawar church attack: Probe committee constituted, 81 dead buried. Also Nationwide protests against Peshawar church bombing and Peshawar bombing: Initial report says a warning was already issued.

Guardian: Taliban suicide attack on Pakistani church leaves dozens dead

Telegraph: Suicide bombers kill 60 Christians outside Pakistan church

Independent: Taliban claims responsibility for Peshawar church bombs that killed 78 and Pakistan’s beleaguered Christians fear Peshawar bombing will not be the last such attack

New York Times: Scores Are Killed by Suicide Bomb Attack at Historic Church in Pakistan

Reuters: Suicide bombers kill 78 Christians outside Pakistani church

Updates

Anglican Communion News Service Anglicans worldwide expresses shock, sadness over Pakistan bombings and also Sorrow over church bombings in Pakistan.

Lambeth Palace Archbishop ‘appalled’ by Pakistan church bombings

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 23 September 2013 at 7:49am BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Defending Bishop Tengatenga

Updated Thursday morning

Bishop James Tengatenga has been in the news recently because Dartmouth College reneged on a job offer they made to him, after he had already resigned his previous position as Bishop of Southern Malawi. See for example this ENS report by Matthew Davies Dartmouth withdraws Tengatenga’s appointment as foundation dean:

Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, has withdrawn the appointment of former Southern Malawi Bishop James Tengatenga as dean of its Tucker Foundation saying that his past comments about homosexuality “have compromised his ability to serve effectively.”

Meanwhile, some North American church leaders are surprised and saddened by the decision, saying that they know Tengatenga as a bridge-builder and reconciler who has a deep understanding of the complex issues concerning human sexuality.

Tengatenga, a long-standing member and current chair of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the Anglican Communion’s main policy-making body, announced in mid-July that after 15 years as bishop of Southern Malawi he was tendering his resignation to become the Virginia Rice Kelsey Dean of the William Jewett Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College from Jan. 1, 2014…

Today the Living Church has published a letter signed by a number of notable people, which criticises Dartmouth College. See Defending Bishop Tengatenga:

Dartmouth’s folly and the struggle for LGBTQ rights in Africa

Earlier this summer an offer was made to the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, Anglican Bishop of Southern Malawi, to become the next Virginia Rice Kelsey ’61s Dean of the William Jewett Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College, an organization charged with educating students and the Dartmouth community into “lives of purpose and ethical leadership, rooted in service, spirituality, and social justice.” Tengatenga accepted, announced his resignation as Bishop of Southern Malawi, made plans to come to Dartmouth in early 2014, and news of the appointment was made public on July 16. With a swiftness that hardly seemed possible, even in this age of electronic communication, messages started to circulate on blogs and over email, as were letters of protest sent to the College’s top administrators, charging the Bishop with homophobia. On July 22 the Dartmouth College Chapter of the NAACP sent a letter protesting the appointment to the president, provost, and members of the search committee…

Much of this communication was vague. Some of it, however, was quite specific, citing comments made by Tengatenga on matters related to human sexuality within the context of the Anglican Communion. Despite issuing a statement declaring his unequivocal support for marriage equality and the sanctity of human rights for all individuals appearing on the official “Dartmouth Now” site, Tengatenga continued to be criticized. One month after his appointment was announced, the President of the College, Philip J. Hanlon, released a statement saying that the appointment had been rescinded.

The President’s decision brought applause from some in the Dartmouth community. Others were appalled, as are we. The action represents a gross injustice to an individual who would have made an ideal person to provide moral and ethical leadership at the College. It casts serious doubts on what is being learned in American universities when members of those communities fail to distinguish between public positions of institutions and the views of individuals who participate in those institutions. It reflects badly on western human rights advocates who consciously or unconsciously engage in forms of cultural imperialism that undermine their own success and credibility by demanding proofs identical to their own kind and, in this instance, by also ignoring the voices of Africans and church leaders who have known and worked with Tengatenga in some cases for decades….

Do read the entire letter.

Update
A response to this letter by Joseph Asch has been published at Dartblog A Public Letter for Tengatenga. This response contains numerous links to earlier discussions on the same site.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 at 7:00pm BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 26 August 2013

follow-ups to the Archbishop's sermon in Mexico

We reported some time ago that the Archbishop of Canterbury visited Mexico (along with Guatemala and Barbados) and that he preached this sermon in Monterrey. It includes this passage:

…It is a dangerous place, a narrow path we walk as Anglicans at present. On one side is the steep fall into an absence of any core beliefs, a chasm where we lose touch with God, and thus we rely only on ourselves and our own message. On the other side there is a vast fall into a ravine of intolerance and cruel exclusion. It is for those who claim all truth, and exclude any who question. When we fall into this place, we lose touch with human beings and create a small church, or rather many small churches – divided, ineffective in serving the poor, the hungry and the suffering, incapable of living with each other, and incomprehensible to those outside the church…

This passage is directly referenced in a statement issued today by the American group Communion Partners which continues:

..It is our vocation as Communion Partners to navigate this narrow path between two dangerous extremes as we pursue the mission of the Church “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” To that end, six Communion Partner bishops (Greg Brewer, Paul Lambert, Ed Little, Dan Martins, Ed Salmon and Michael Smith) made a visit to Archbishop Justin Welby at his residence in Canterbury, England last week.

There we prayed together and discussed a range of issues concerning the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church. Also present was the Archbishop’s Director of Reconciliation, Canon David Porter. We believe the opportunity to build relationships and discuss the ministry of reconciliation we share will bear fruit in this season of our common life. We are encouraged by our experience of the Archbishop as a man of faith and prayer, committed to the reevangelization of increasingly secularized Western cultures. Please keep Archbishop Justin in your prayers and remember us before God “who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

It’s also the subject of criticism in this article by Kelvin Holdsworth: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mexico Sermon.

..It is deeply unhelpful of the Archbishop to use language which appears to suggest that the risk that those who wish to affirm gay people present is one of a lack or loss of core beliefs. That just isn’t true and is a nasty slur against fellow Anglicans. The US and Canadian churches are not places where God is absent and if the Archbishop needs to find that out, he needs to go there and meet them, something that his predecessor seemed to find impossible to do.

People will read the sermon in the US and Canadian churches and take immediate offence. (I find it offensive here in Scotland, but there it will appear to be a judgement on their national churches). Those who wish to affirm the place of LGBT people do so because of their core beliefs as Christians and as Anglicans, not because of any lack of belief or loss of God…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 26 August 2013 at 6:35pm BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Archbishop of Uganda holds a press conference

The Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali held a press conference recently. Here are some reports from it:

From the GAFCON website: Ugandan primate calls for GAFCON support

The primate of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali has likened GAFCON/FCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) to the East African Revival and called for believers to back the Nairobi conference to be held in October.

In a major statement in Kampala, Archbishop Ntagali referred to the fact that exactly ten years ago an active homosexual, who was a divorced father of two children, was elected a Bishop in the Episcopal Church in America. “This unbiblical decision on the part of a church threw the entire global Anglican Communion into chaos” he said.

The chaos, the Archbishop said, shows no sign of improving.

“We have a new Archbishop of Canterbury who is born again and has a testimony. I have personally met him and I like him very much. But, the problems in the Communion are still there, and they don’t change just because there is a new global leader. In fact, ten years later, the crisis has deepened.”

From the Daily Monitor:

Homosexuality is tearing fabric of Anglican union, says Ntagali

Gay clergy don’t belong in Anglican church, archbishop says

…The archbishop said the Anglican Church is built on the doctrines of Biblical teaching which only recognize hetero-sexual relationships.

The Ugandan Anglican community takes exception of the decision by the England House of Bishops to allow gay bishops as part of the Anglican clergy, he said, and thus will have a Global Anglican Future Conference in Nairobi, Kenya this October to resolve the issues.

The Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) will be the second of its kind that brings together Archbishops around the world who oppose gay bishops. In 2008, the anti-gay Anglican Church leaders gathered in Jerusalem, Israel to reflect on the future of the church.

Archbishop Ntagali, with these remarks, is picking off from where his predecessor left off: Henry Luke Orombi was one of the main organizers of Gafcon 2008, and also made several pastoral trips to several countries to preach against gay clergy and gay marriage.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 at 8:43am BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Barbados, Guatemala and Mexico

The Archbishop of Canterbury is engaged in a week-long trip to locations in three Anglican provinces.

Lambeth Palace has issued a series of press releases:

Archbishop Justin visits Anglicans in Barbados

‘Building communities of hope’: Archbishop preaches in Bardados

Archbishop Justin visits Guatemala

Reconciliation is our ‘gift to the world’: Archbishop preaches in Guatemala

Archbishop Justin praises Mexican Anglicans for helping ‘those most marginalised’ by poverty

‘Walk in the light with each other’: Archbishop Justin’s sermon in Mexico

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 at 3:05pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Brazilian court rules against Recife breakaway diocese

The News Service of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil reports:

Court Orders Return of Churches to the Anglican Diocese of Recife / Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil”

After a long judicial battle that lasted for a decade, a Brazilian judge has this month finally decided that the actions taken by Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti in creating of the Diocese of Recife – DR, flagrantly violated Brazilian law as well as Canon law, the Doctrine & Discipline of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil (IEAB), resulting in the suspension/demotion, and eventual dismissal of Bishop Robinson from his episcopal authority & legal legitimacy for such actions.

With the sentence, it was decreed that all the actions taken by Bishop Robinson were nullified, and all would be returned to the Anglican Diocese of Recife (DAR), including property, administration & all goods and rights which were illegally usurped, including amongst them five churches with all of their belongings. From now on, all of these parishes are under the direction and supervision of Diocesan Bishop Sebastião Armando…

For some background to this, a Thinking Anglicans report from 2005 may be helpful: Recife: a clarification.

Many of the links from that report are now broken, but the article from the Living Church is still available from the web archive Southern Cone Primate Annexes Brazilian Diocese.

There is also this 2005 report from the Church Times Venables takes Brazilian diocese under his wing. The current issue also has a news report, but this is only available to subscribers.

Anglican Ink has this report by George Conger: Recife loses court battle over church property to the IEAB.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 at 7:43am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 19 July 2013

Women in the episcopate around the Anglican Communion

YES 2 Women Bishops has published this useful Infographic: women bishops in the Anglican Communion showing the status of women in the episcopate around the Anglican Communion.

They have also published a summary of what General Synod did last week, Synod’s resolve, and these thoughts on where we are now.

So where does this all leave us? A few thoughts:

1. It seems premature for anyone to try to decide whether this form of legislation is acceptable or not. Whilst on the face of it, the proposal seems to be closer to what supporters of women bishops wanted and further from what opponents wanted, the reality of how this works will be in the Act of Synod or House of Bishops declaration which will set out the provisions for those opposed. There is a bit of a phoney war already underway with opponents of women bishops claiming that only provisions set out in the face of the legislation are adequate. In truth they already operate very happily under an Act of Synod which is detested by women clergy. This would imply that this form of provision is perfectly acceptable in other areas for those who cannot accept women bishops. It is perfectly possible, therefore, that any new Act of Synod provides precisely the provisions that opponents are looking for and is problematic for supporters of women bishops, so we really don’t yet know what the final package will look like. There is still a lot of work to do.

2. The synodical arithmetic has clearly not changed in any significant way - opponents remain opposed and supporters remain supportive. If it were put to another final vote today, requiring a two thirds majority in each house, it looks like it would still fail. For this reason, the legislative timetable is intriguing. In theory the final vote could come in the last sitting of the current synod, before elections are held and a new synod is formed. It seems implausible that a final vote will be held in the current synod session if it looks like the blocking minority remains opposed to the legislation in the run up to the final vote. Instead, the final vote will be shunted into the next Synod session when a new group have been elected, in the hope that the blocking minority is removed. Such a tactic is high risk, as there is no guarantee that this would be the outcome of synod elections. This means that unless some hearts and minds are won over in the next 12-18 months, synod elections will be dominated by this issue as each “side” seeks to get more of their number into general synod.

3. We’re back on our way. We must remain hopeful that Synod will succeed this time. The resolution passed last week is strong and positive, and so must we be. We must give thanks to those who have worked to make this happen, and resolve to pray and support them in the months and years ahead until we finally see the day when Christian women are able to fulfill their divine calling and serve as bishops.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 19 July 2013 at 3:32pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | General Synod

Monday, 15 July 2013

Nigerian Anglican Primate supports capital punishment

As background to the following news reports, here is an Opinion article from the Nigerian website Leadership entitled Much Ado About The Return Of Death Penalty.

The return of death penalty in the country after a seven-year moratorium has been on the front burner of public discussion, while the trend has been heavily criticised by organisations in defence of human rights, many people believe it is a step in the right direction. Uche Uduma samples the opinions of Nigerians on the issue.

In a bid to tackle the problem of prison congestion in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan recently called on the 36 state governors to sign death warrants to facilitate the immediate execution of the over 900 death row inmates in prisons spread across the country.

Following the directive by the President, the Edo state Governor Adams Oshomole, signed the death warrants of four convicted prisoners in the state prison. The recent execution of four convicts in Benin put an end to a seven-year moratorium on death penalty in the country. The execution of a fifth condemned inmate, who was to be executed by firing squad was not carried out because the prison where the convict was incarcerated does not have facilities to carry out such execution.

Since 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted four resolutions calling on States to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolishing it. In line with this, about 150 of the UN’s 193 Member States have either abolished the death penalty or no longer practice it. The return of death penalty in Nigeria has obviously put a strain on the campaign by United Nations to eliminate death penalty as a form of punishment. However, other states in Nigeria are making steps to hand down more death penalties.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, at the official opening of the 5th World Conference against the death penalty last week implored political leaders in countries that still have such laws in their justice systems across the world to abolish it. He pointed that the campaign to eliminate the death penalty as a form of punishment has mainly faced resistance from political leaders…

Now here are several reports about the Anglican Primate’s contribution to this debate.

Capital Punishment: Primate berates Amnesty International

ABUJA PRIMATE, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh has berated Amnesty International (AI) for condemning Edo State government over the recent execution of death sentence on four inmates in Benin.

The primate who urged the Federal Government not to allow itself to be gagged by anybody, also called for the imposition of capital punishment on perpetrators of crimes, including rape and killing.

In June, after their death warrants were signed by the Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the inmates — Osaremwinda Aigbuohian and Daniel Nsofor — whose lawyers have been struggling to obtain a stay of execution on the death sentence; and two other convicts whose identities are yet to be ascertained were hanged in Benin, the action that generated criticism by both local and international bodies…

The Daily Post reports Capital punishment: Those who rape and kill must be killed – Primate of Anglican Church.

Primate of the Church of Nigeria,Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has joined in the bashing of those opposed to capital punishment in the country, saying they are ill-informed.

The Influential religious leader was reacting to the objection of foreign countries and international bodies on the recent execution of four inmates in Benin, Edo state.

The United Nations, Amnesty International and European Union, among others had opposed the action of the state government…

This Day via allAfrica.com Nigeria: Capital Punishment - Don’t Be Gagged, Anglican Primate Tells FG

The Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Tuesday, decried the condemnations that trailed the execution of four condemned prisoners in Benin City by the Edo State Government, urging the federal government not to allow itself to be gagged by anybody.

Reacting to questions at a press conference in Abuja, the Primate noted that Amnesty International had no justification to criticise the government’s action, as they were neither directly nor indirectly affected by the action of the inmates.

He warned that the federal government should not allow anybody or organisation to teach it what morality is all about, insisting that, “the law on capital punishment for those who rightly deserve it should be enforced…”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 July 2013 at 4:27pm BST | Comments (34) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Another GAFCON condemnation of Church of England

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya, has published a July message, in preparation for the forthcoming second GAFCON conference in Nairobi in October. The message includes the following:

While we give thanks for much that has been achieved, especially in the emergence of the Anglican Church of North America and our Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, we are painfully aware that the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada continue to promote a false gospel and yet both are still received as in good standing by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Furthermore, the Church of England itself, the historic mother church of the Communion, seems to be advancing along the same path. While defending marriage, both the Archbishops of York and Canterbury appeared at the same time to approve of same-sex Civil Partnerships during parliamentary debates on the UK’s ‘gay marriage’ legislation, in contradiction to the historic biblical teaching on human sexuality reaffirmed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference.

An earlier attack from Archbishop Wabukala, also related to Civil Partnerships, was here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 July 2013 at 10:30pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Hong Kong Anglican Church adopts the Covenant

The Anglican Communion News Service reports today that

Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, the Hong Kong Anglican Church, has adopted the Anglican Communion Covenant.

The Province’s General Secretary, the Revd Peter Koon, wrote to the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon informing him of the decision by HKSKH’s Sixth General Synod held from 2 to 5 June.

Hong Kong is the seventh Province to adopt the Covenant, the others are La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, The Church of the Province of Myanmar, the Church in the Province of the West Indies, Church of the Province of South East Asia (with their own preamble), the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, and La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.

The Church of Ireland has subscribed it, and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has adopted it subject to a ratification at its next Provincial Synod.

The Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod defeated a resolution to agree in principle to adopt the Covenant in June 2012.

The Anglican Communion Covenant, a document that outlines the common life and values of the Communion, was described by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams as “Something that helps us know where we stand together and also helps us to intensify our fellowship and our trust.” It includes a section that proposes how to address significant disagreements within the Anglican Communion.

The idea of a Covenant was first raised in 2004 and member churches are currently reviewing the latest and final version.

For more on the Covenant visit http://aco.org/commission/covenant/index.cfm.

Readers will notice that there is still no mention of the fact that the proposal to adopt the Covenant in the Church of England was defeated when a majority of diocesan synods voted against.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 4:52pm BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 13 June 2013

New website for Anglican Communion News Service

From the new website

New website for Anglican Communion News Service
Posted on: June 13, 2013 1:53 PM

By ACNS staff

The news service of the Anglican Communion has today launched its first ever purpose-built news website AnglicanNews.org

The site comes almost 20 years after the electronic news service was first launched. Since then subscribers around the world have received thousands of news articles via email.

“This site brings the Anglican Communion’s ability to share its stories of life and mission to a whole new level,” said Jan Butter who is the Director for Communication at the Anglican Communion Office.

“Until now we’ve been restricted to sending news stories to people’s email inboxes. Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world can visit the new site for, not just news, but also comment, feature stories, podcasts, videos and photos. We hope that the diverse content helps to reflect the richness and variety found across our Anglican Communion.”

Mr Butter added, “Existing subscribers will still receive email alerts, but just one a day summarising the newest content on the site.”

In a comment piece written exclusively for the new website, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby highlighted the importance of effective, grace-filled communication between Anglicans, saying it was part of the gift of the Anglican Communion.

“If the Communion is a gift, then communication between us is part of that gift. This means sharing insights into what God is calling us to do, wherever we are. It means sharing our witness and our inspiration.”

He added, “There have been times [members of the Anglican Communion] have used communication as a tool to hurt each another. But we must remember that above all we are called to share the love of Christ with the world. That means nothing less than communicating in a way that reflects Christ – a way that is loving and generous, patient and forgiving.”

Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Kenneth Kearon said he was excited about what this site would mean for the Churches of the Anglican Communion.

“It has been suggested that the theology of Web 2.0 is Body of Christ theology,” he said. “If so, then good communications is the lifeblood that allows that body to work together to fulfil God’s mission.

“I am delighted that we are able to offer this resource to the people of the Anglican Communion and I invite them to contribute content that they think will be of interest to their brothers and sisters around the world.”

The site was made possible thanks to funding from The Compass Rose Society and the Church Mission Publishing Company, and to support and guidance from members of Anglican Communion worldwide. It was built by Zebedee Creations Ltd.

It is part of a broader communications strategy that includes the relaunched Anglican World magazine (available at http://shop.anglicancommunion.org) and a new website for the Anglican Communion due in 2014.

Visit the new website at http://www.anglicannews.org.

Read Archbishop Welby’s article in the comment section.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 13 June 2013 at 5:25pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Testimony of Hope

The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue is “a fluid group of bishops from Canada, the U.S., and various African countries. Together they seek to build common understanding and respect among parts of the Communion that have been in conflict.”

The latest report from the Consultation is now available: A Testimony of Hope.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 11:43am BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

West Indies bishops issue statement on same-sex unions

The House of Bishops and the Standing Committee of the Province of the West Indies have issued a Provincial Statement on Same-Sex Unions.

The full text of this statement is copied below the fold. The Diocese of Jamaica has this press statement:

The House of Bishops and the Standing Committee of the Church in the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) have stated that the idea of same-sex unions is totally unacceptable on theological and cultural grounds. And they have urged leaders of government, civil society, and the people of the English-speaking Caribbean “to resist any attempt to compromise our cultural and religious principles regarding these matters.”

In a statement issued on April 25 from their meeting at the Provincial Secretariat at Bamford House in Barbados, the Bishops and Standing Committee noted trends in developed nations and the international forums in which these nations exercise control “in which matters related to human sexuality have been elevated to the level of human rights and are being promulgated as positions which must be accepted globally.” The statement further noted that frequently, failure by developing nations to conform, results in the threat of various sanctions, including the withholding of economic aid.

However the Bishops and Standing Committee cautioned that “the dangling of a carrot of economic assistance to faltering economies should be seen for what it is worth and should be resisted by people and government alike.”

While acknowledging the diversity of family patterns within the Caribbean region, they noted that these have been understood by Caribbean people to be between a man and a woman. The Bishops and Standing Committee argued that if human rights are being invoked as the basis for same-sex unions, that same principle should be applied to allow Caribbean people the right to affirm their cultural and religious convictions regarding their definitions of marriage.

The House of Bishops includes some 23 Bishops (in service and retired) from the eight Dioceses in the English-speaking Caribbean, who meet twice a year to reflect on issues concerning the mission of the Anglican Church in the Region. The Standing Committee comprises clergy and laity elected to represent their Dioceses at the Provincial Synod which meets every three years. The last Provincial Synod was hosted by the Diocese of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands in November 2012.

The eight Dioceses in the CPWI are: The Diocese of Barbados, the Diocese of Belize, the Diocese of Guyana, the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba, the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago and the Diocese of the Windward Islands.

Provincial Statement on Same-Sex Unions
April 25, 2013

The House of Bishops and Standing Committee of the Church in the Province of the West Indies meeting at Bamford House in Barbados extend greetings to the faithful of the Province and the leaders of our nations charged with responsibility for governance.

In the course of our deliberations we have taken note of the fact that our nations are facing serious economic and social challenges which are currently taxing the human and material resourcefulness of our peoples, a situation complicated by developments in the global economy.

We have taken note also of trends within countries of the developing world and international forums, and in which these countries exercise a controlling interest, in which matters related to human sexuality have been elevated to the level of human rights and are being promulgated as positions which must be accepted globally. Frequently, failure to conform by developing nations like our own, results in the threat of various sanctions, including the withholding of economic aid.

More specifically, there is a re-definition of gender to accommodate gay, lesbian and transgendered people, and the creation of a plurality of definitions which leaves the issue of gender to self-definition, thereby dismissing traditional definition of male and female. Additionally, there is the passage of legislation among a number of metropolitan nations whereby marriage is defined as a human right in which any two persons may be joined, inclusive of persons of the same sex. The “marriage” of persons of the same sex is justified as a human right on the basis of marital equality with heterosexual unions.

While we acknowledge that there is a diversity of family patterns within our Caribbean region, these have been understood by our people to be between a man and a woman, whether defined in terms of the natural order of creation or on the basis of religious beliefs which see these grounded in the purpose of God.

We reaffirm marriage as “a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of His grace. Marriage, defined as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman, is central to the stability and health of human society. It continues to provide the best context for the raising of children”. (1) Characteristic of our patterns of cohabitation and family life is the notion that such unions are based on a relationship between a man and a woman. The idea of such unions being constituted by persons of the same sex is, therefore, totally unacceptable on theological and cultural grounds.

While we recognize that the role of the Church and the State are not the same, the Church’s task being distinctly different from the State, the Church’s mandate is informed by pastoral and doctrinal concerns and in drawing the attention of the faithful to the source and purpose of marriage, and in solemnizing such unions. The governments have the responsibility of providing the kind of legal framework for protecting, but not defining, this most basic social institution on which the stability of society and the socialization of its members rest, as well as protecting the members of such unions against abuse and injustice.

We are conscious of the fact that our political leaders within our Caribbean region are being subjected to pressures from nations and institutions from outside of our region. Frequently they are pressured to conform to the changes being undertaken in their redefinition of human sexuality and same-sex unions, under threat of economic sanctions and the loss of humanitarian aid. We urge our leaders of government and of civil society, as well as the people of our nations, to resist any attempt to compromise our cultural and religious principles regarding these matters. The dangling of a carrot of economic assistance to faltering economies should be seen for what it is worth and should be resisted by people and government alike.

The threat and use of economic sanctions are not new experiences for us, neither is the claim to a superior morality convincing for peoples who have known the experience of chattel slavery in our past. While claiming to invoke human rights as the basis for such imposition, we submit that the same principle must allow us the right to affirm our cultural and religious convictions regarding our definitions of that most basic of social institutions, marriage.

Footnote
1. Civil Partnerships: A Pastoral Statement from the House of Bishops of the Church of England, 2005, para 2.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 at 8:22am BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Desmond Tutu awarded Templeton Prize

The Church Times reports: Tutu wins £1.1m Templeton Prize.

ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu was awarded the Templeton Prize on Thursday for “advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness”.

The award, which is now worth £1.1 million, was established 40 years ago by the late global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, to reward a person “who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works”.

Dr Tutu will receive the prize at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London on 21 May. A celebration will be held next Thursday at St George’s Cathedral, Capetown…

The full text of the press release from the Templeton Foundation is currently here. Other background information is also available.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 6 April 2013 at 8:30am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

News items from around the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion Office has published three reports of the business recently transacted by the Standing Committee, which met in late March. In case you’ve forgotten, the committee’s structure is explained here.

The reports of the 2013 meeting:

There have been several reports of the recent election of a primate for the Anglican Church of Tanzania.

First there was this announcement: New Archbishop elected by Anglican Church of Tanzania.

Then there was a follow-up item Tanzania bishops welcome Archbishop-elect Jacob Chimeledya.

And most recently there was this: Tanzania’s General Secretary clarifies Archbishop election.

…The Special Electoral synod of the Anglican Church of Tanzania met on 21st February 2013 in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Dodoma to elect the sixth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Tanzania. Since then some unfounded accusations of corruption, bribery and tribalism surrounding the election of our new Archbishop have been made on the internet.
The internet can be used to develop relationships, but it can also be used to spread gossip and destabilize the church. None of those writing these false stories sought to confirm them with us. It is very sad that someone who did not attend the election would spoil what was confirmed by all our bishops as a fair and transparent election…

To understand what this refers to, see other earlier reports: here, here, and here. And then also here, and here.

And there is news from Uruguay via Anglican Journal: Pollesel election in Uruguay ratified.

The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone has reconsidered the diocese of Uruguay’s appeal and has voted to ratify the election of Archdeacon Michael Pollesel as co-adjutor bishop.

The decision came 10 months after the province’s house of bishops rejected Pollesel’s election. The Uruguayan diocesan synod had appealed the decision, but “for technical canonical reasons the form of the original appeal was not valid” and had to be presented again, said Southern Cone Presiding Bishop Hector Zavala in a press release.

The Southern Cone house of bishops and provincial executive council, “with joy and thankfulness to God,” ratified Pollesel’s election after new consideration of the appeal and the presentation of new background material, Zavala said…

Again, in case you had forgotten, here is the Anglican Journal earlier report on his rejection, and our own much earlier report about that diocese’s discomfort with the Southern Cone province.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 6 April 2013 at 7:56am BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Women Bishops in Wales

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales will be meeting on 10 and 11 April 2013. The agenda includes group discussion on women bishops, as this extract from a press release describes.

The ordination of women as bishops will be discussed by clergy and lay people from all over Wales at a key Church meeting next week.

Theological arguments for and against women bishops will be presented to members of the Church in Wales’ Governing Body during its two-day meeting at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, in Lampeter, on April 10-11.

The 144 members will be put into seven groups, each facilitated by a bishop, to consider two papers – one outlining the case for the ordination of women and one setting out the case against.

The discussions are being held ahead of the introduction of a two-stage Bill to the Governing Body in September to ordain women as bishops. That legislation, however, will not be addressed by the groups next week.

The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, says, “It is now five years since the last time that Governing Body considered the question of the ordination of women to the episcopate, and many of its members will have changed. The bishops feel it is important that Governing Body has the opportunity to explore the theological questions behind these issues, and understand the conscientious reasons why those opposed to the ordination of women to the episcopate would not be able to accept the sacramental ministry of a woman bishop as well as the theological reasons why those in favour believe that the time is right for such as a step.”

The discussions will take place on Thursday morning from 9.30am.

The full agenda is available online.

The Governing Body previously considered a bill to allow women to be bishops in April 2008. It was defeated then as it failed to achieve a two-thirds majority in the House of Clergy.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 4 April 2013 at 2:36pm BST | Comments (81) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church in Wales

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Anglican Communion leaders welcome new Pope

Updated again Friday noon

ACNS has issued this press release: Communion leaders welcome new Pope.

Lambeth Palace issued: ‘May the love of Christ unite us’: Archbishop’s statement on the election of Pope Francis.

ACNS has also issued this: “The Church universal needs Anglicans” - Pope Francis

The new Pope has reportedly said the Church universal needs Anglicans and that the Ordinariate is “quite unnecessary”.

In a note released after the election of the first ever pontiff from Latin America, the Anglican Bishop of Argentina and former Primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Rt Revd Greg Venables said Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was “an inspired choice”.

“Many are asking me what is really like. He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written.

“I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary.”

Bp Venables added that in a conversation with Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, the latter made it clear that he values the place of Anglicans in the Church universal.

“He called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the Church needs us as Anglicans.

The former Primate of the Anglican Communion’s Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America added, “I consider this to be an inspired appointment not because he is a close and personal friend, but because of who he is In Christ. Pray for him.”

Statements from:
Ireland
Wales
Scotland

Archbishop of York

The Bishop of Guildford has issued this statement as Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity and a member of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission: POPE FRANCIS 1st.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 at 11:40pm GMT | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Civil partnerships and bishops: Global South Anglican statement

A statement has been issued from the Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion:

We, Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion, are deeply concerned and worried by the recent decision of the Church of England’s House of Bishops which approves that clergy livingin civil partnerships can be candidates to the episcopate.There is already an ambiguity regarding civil partnerships per se. We learnt that most civil partnerships, according to the Office for National Statistics in the UK, take place among the most sexually active age group. In addition dissolutions of civil partnerships are now increasing especially in the last few years. This puts into question the motives behind this civil partnership and adds to our confusion in the Global South.

When the Church of England allowed civil partnerships in 2005, they said that “The House of Bishops does not regard entering into a civil partnership as intrinsically incompatible with holy orders, provided the person concerned is willing to give assurances to his or her bishop that therelationship is consistent with the standards for the clergy set out in Issues in Human Sexuality.” Now, with allowing candidates for episcopacy to do the same, to whom should they give assurances? Clarification on this point is needed.

Sadly, both the decision to permit clergy to enter civil partnerships and this latest decision which some call it a “local option,” are wrong and were taken without prior consultation or consensus with the rest of the Anglican Communion at a time when the Communion is still facing major challenges of disunity. It is contrary to “the inter-dependence” which we try to affirm betweenchurches within the Communion. Moreover, it does not only widen the gap between the Church of England and Anglicans in the Global South, it also widens the gap between the Anglican Communion and our ecumenical partners. Further, it jeopardizes the relationship between us Anglicans living in the Global South and followers of other faiths, and gives opportunities to exploit such departure of moral standards that this type of decision may provide.

The Church, more than any time before, needs to stand firm for the faith once received from Jesus Christ through the Apostles and not yield to the pressures of the society! In other words, the Church needs to be “salt” and “light” and to present a distinctive message from that of the secular world around us.

We strongly urge the Church of England to reconsider this divisive decision.

+ Mouneer Egypt
The Most Revd Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
Chairman, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Nicholas Abuja
The Most Revd Nicholas Okoh
Primate of All Nigeria Bishop of Abuja
Vice-Chairman, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++ Ian Maritius
The Most Revd Ian Ernest
Primate of the Indian Ocean Bishop of Mauritius
Hon. General Secretary, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Bolly Kuching
The Most Revd Datuk Bolly Lapok
Primate of South East Asia Bishop of Kuching
Hon. General Treasurer, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++ Stephen Yangon
The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo
Primate of Myanmar Bishop of Yangon
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Eluid Nairobi
The Most Revd Dr. Eluid Wabukala
Primate of Kenya Bishop of Nairobi
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Bernard Matana
The Most Revd Bernard Nhatori
Primate of Burundi Bishop of Matana
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Hector Chile
The Most Revd Hector “Tito” Zavala
Primate of the Southern Cone Bishop of Chile
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Henri Kinshasa
The Most Revd Kahwa Henri Isingoma
Primate of Congo Bishop of Kinshasa
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 3:23pm GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | equality legislation

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Archbishop's Advent letter to Anglican Primates

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sent an Advent letter to the Primates of the Anglican Communion and Moderators of the United Churches.

The full text can be read either on the Lambeth Palace website, or on the Anglican Commmunion Office website.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 December 2012 at 10:18pm GMT | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Uganda anti-gay legislation: latest news and comment

Updated Friday afternoon

I last reported on the situation in Uganda a few weeks ago, in Uganda anti-gay bill requested by Christians. And before that in June Bishops support Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I have seen no more recent statement from the Anglican bishops in Uganda.

Meanwhile, the proposed legislation moves nearer to enactment. Here are a few recent comment articles:

Some news reports:

A detailed clause by clause analysis of the bill starts here, and ends here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 10:43pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Anglican Covenant: report made to ACC-15

On Monday the General Synod is due to hear a presentation on the Anglican Consultative Council meeting held recently in New Zealand. A great many documents from that meeting are now available online here.

Of particular interest for the other agenda item tomorrow, concerning the Anglican Covenant, is this report on Provincial Reception of the Anglican Covenant (PDF).

This paper contains three kinds of information.

The first (Category A) is from member churches which have taken action in their governing body with respect to the Covenant, and which have communicated their decision to the Anglican Communion Office. The second (Category B) is from member churches which have taken action along the way to a decision, but which have not yet made a formal decision. The third (Category C) is from member churches whose actions have not been communicated to the ACO, but about which there is information through the media or on their own websites.

Wherever possible the exact wording of resolutions as adopted or defeated is given…

At the time this document was discussed at the ACC, Mary Frances Schjonberg of ENS filed this report: Council considers status of Anglican Covenant in small groups.

The Anglican Consultative Council spent an hour in private conversation on Oct. 31 (local time) considering the status of the Anglican Covenant but took no action.

Those reflection group conversations, preceded by a short plenary session open to the public, has been the pattern of this 15th meeting of the ACC.

Before the Oct. 31 reflection conversations began, New Zealand Diocese of Christchurch Bishop Victoria Matthews asked the members to consider “why [the covenant] is a cause of fear and why is it a sign of hope for others?”

The results of the reflection conversations were to be given to the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) and the Anglican Communion Standing Committee “as they discern the ways to take the matter forward,” according to a handout on the process…

And the previous day, in this digest report (scroll down for item) she had reported that Members get covenant status update.

While the ACC is not due to discuss the current status of the Anglican Covenant until Oct. 31, a document handed out today shows that nine provinces have made a final decision on the covenant with one rejecting the covenant, six accepting it as is and two making modifications as part of their acceptance.

Those in the so-called Category A that have approved the convent are Ireland, Mexico, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Southern Cone of America, and the West Indies. In addition, according to the document, South East Asia adopted the covenant with an added preamble of its own and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has subscribed to the covenant’s first three sections but said it cannot adopt section 4, which outlines a process for resolving disputes.

And, also in Category A, is the Scottish Episcopal Church, which has refused to adopt the covenant.

The U.S.-based Episcopal Church is one of eight provinces sorted into Category B, which is described as including provinces that have made “partial decisions” about the covenant…

The Church of Ireland Gazette also reported on all this, and interviewed Malcolm French of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition. The full text of the Gazette report is available below the fold.

Church of Ireland Gazette report, 9 November
A tale of two Anglican Covenants - one in the mind, another on paper, Bishop Victoria Matthews tells ACC-15

The Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, last week told delegates at the 15th Anglican Consultative Council meeting (ACC -15), being held in Auckland, that she thought there were two Anglican Communion Covenants: “One is the document that people have in their mind and the other is the Anglican Communion Covenant on paper.”

For that reason, she said, she wanted people “to read the Covenant and be focused on that” because often, when people start talking about the Covenant “ what they describe in their mind as the Covenant is unrecognisable”.

Bishop Matthews, as a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCU FO), was introducing an ACC -15 session on the history and progress of the Covenant.

She observed that the questions behind the Covenant were: ‘What is the best way?’, ‘Is there a way that will keep us together safely?’, ‘What is our deepest fear when we consider decision-making processes?’.

“I believe that in the original idea of the Anglican Covenant, there was a desire to allow the Anglican Communion to be a safe place for conversation and the sharing of new ideas,” she said. “The actual document of the Anglican Covenant does not achieve that for all the Churches of the Anglican Communion, and that is why some Churches have declined to adopt it.”

Bishop Matthews added: “There are those who say [the Covenant] is punitive, and those who say it has no teeth. Both [these comments] tell me that it is not yet perceived, let alone received, as a truly safe way in which to encounter one another.”

While stressing that it was not the work of IASCU FO to promote the Covenant, but rather to monitor its reception, she asked delegates - in advance of a video shown to them on the history and detail of the Covenant - to reflect on “what there is in the Covenant that offers a possible way for us to talk to each other”.

“Remember most of the Covenant reminds us who we are in Christ,” she added.

NO ANGLICAN COVENANT COALITION RESPONSE

The Moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, the Revd Malcolm French, of the Anglican Church of Canada, has told the Gazette that he agrees with Bishop Matthews that there is a ‘disconnect’ between the Anglican Covenant that is on paper and the Anglican Covenant that some people are discussing.

However, he added that, when the body of literature on the Covenant, on both sides of the debate about it, is examined, “it is far more often the Covenant’s critics who examine the text of the document itself”.

Mr French added that “most of the material written in support of the Anglican Covenant avoids any serious engagement with the text, reducing the Covenant to a notional construct, an empty vessel into which its advocates may pour whatever pretty rhetoric they believe will appeal to whichever audience is being addressed”.

The NACC Moderator told us that he also agreed with Bishop Matthews that IASCUFO’s mandate is not to promote the Covenant, but rather to monitor the process of its reception, but asked why a body mandated to monitor reception of the Covenant felt it was appropriate “to produce a series of videos clearly designed to promote its adoption”.

Mr French concluded: “Whatever the intent of its authors, it is clear the Anglican Covenant has become a cause of division rather than a means of unity. Scotland has said no. New Zealand has said no. The Philippines has said no. Despite the spin, England has said no.

“Despite the growing chorus of noes, the Communion continues to muddle along, showing once and for all that we are bound together by grace, not by law.”

  • Member-Churches of the Anglican Communion were invited to adopt the Anglican Covenant. However, at the General Synod of 2011, the Church of Ireland used a different term, agreeing to ‘subscribe’ the document.
    Proposing the motion, the Bishop of Cashel and Ossory made it clear that the term ‘subscribe’ was being used because it was understood to be less binding than ‘adoption’.
    The Bishop of Down and Dromore, seconding, concurred with Bishop Burrows’ understanding of the wording.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 18 November 2012 at 11:30am GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 16 November 2012

African challenges for the new archbishop

The Voice of America published this article about the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Tough Path Ahead for New Anglican Leader.

…The archbishop also comes from the church’s evangelical wing, which analysts say should stand him well in Africa. Pityana said that building a bridge between the two sides, however, will not be easy.

“Clearly any archbishop has got to be a master diplomat, has got to be somebody who can really balance out a variety of interests and pushes and pulls in the Anglican community. In this time, I would imagine there is a schism in all but name,” said Pityana.

Pityana said what is needed is an archbishop who can open dialogue, and he thinks Welby may have what it takes.

The incoming archbishop has worked as a crisis negotiator in Africa, working with separatists in the Niger Delta and negotiating with Islamists in northern Nigeria. His experience in Africa is important, Pityana said, especially in Nigeria, host to the world’s largest Anglican community.

“Bishop Justin has worked in Nigeria and one assumes that he has got fraternal relations with the leadership or the emerging leadership of the church in Nigeria. And so he would be able, at the very least, to be persuasive enough to open real genuine dialogue, which clearly under Archbishop Rowan Williams just did not happen,” said Pityana…

But speaking on the BBC, Nigerian Anglican leader Nicholas Okoh made it clear how he views the road ahead.

“The homosexual agenda that is being promoted here and there in the church, and by different governments here and there, if that is the agenda he is coming to promote, of course we will not be part of it,” said Okoh.

Leeds University African-religious studies expert Kevin Ward also is an Anglican priest. He said he thinks Welby has the qualities needed to make better headway toward dialogue within the Communion.

“I think that Justin Welby is going to work hard. He has this strong background of reconciliation, of working with divided people, bringing people together. And I think he will use those skills very well, not least in working with African church leaders,” said Ward.

Agence France-Presse reports: Nigerian lawmakers move ahead on anti-gay bill.
Also published by the Kenyan Daily Nation .

ABUJA — Nigerian lawmakers moved a step closer Tuesday to approving a bill that would harshly crack down on gay rights, including banning same-sex marriage and public displays of affection between homosexual couples.

The bill which has already been approved by the Senate passed a second reading in the House of Representatives with an unanimous vote and will now see a clause-by-clause review in the chamber at an undetermined date.

“It is alien to our society and culture and it must not be imported,” House majority leader Mulikat Adeola-Akande said during debate, referring to same-sex marriage. “Religion abhors it and our culture has no place for it,” she added.

House minority leader Femi Gbajabiamila said the bill represents “convergence of both law and morality.” He said that same-sex marriage “is both illegal and immoral.”

Nigeria’s senate in November 2011 approved the bill that would make same-sex marriages punishable by up to 14 years for the couple and 10 for anyone abetting such unions.

It also set out a 10-year sentence for “any person who … directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships”.

Gay organisations would also be made illegal, leading some to raise concerns over whether funding channeled through non-governmental organisations in Nigeria for AIDS treatment would be put in jeopardy…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 16 November 2012 at 9:29am GMT | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | equality legislation

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Uganda anti-gay bill requested by Christians

The Associated Press reports: Official: Uganda’s anti-gay bill to be passed by end of year despite criticism abroad.
Also published in the Washington Post.

Uganda’s anti-gay bill will be passed before the end of 2012 despite international criticism of the draft legislation, the speaker of the country’s parliament said Monday, insisting it is what most Ugandans want.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told The Associated Press that the bill, which originally mandated death for some gay acts, will become law this year.

Ugandans “are demanding it,” she said, reiterating a promise she made before a meeting on Friday of anti-gay activists who spoke of “the serious threat” posed by homosexuals to Uganda’s children. Some Christian clerics at the meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, asked the speaker to pass the law as “a Christmas gift.”

See this video from NTV Uganda via Allafrica.com: Anti-Gay Bill: Speaker Kadaga Promises to Speed Up Law in Uganda.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 6:43pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | equality legislation

Monday, 5 November 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury's Final Presidential Address to ACC-15

ACNS has published this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury: “Beware the danger of becoming less than we aspire to be as a Communion”.

The full audio recording is available to download here.

The full text of the address is now also available here.

In his final Presidential address, the Archbishop of Canterbury this evening told the Anglican Communion not to accept second best, but to seek a balance between corrective authority and enabling authority while still doing God’s work.

Speaking in St Mary’s Church, Archbishop Williams said the fellowship of Anglican churches worldwide needed to “be aware of the danger of becoming less than we aspire to be as a Communion.”

“I think that we do aspire to be a consensual catholic and orthodox family,” he told the members of the Anglican Consultative Council gathered for evening prayer. “I believe we do aspire to be a family that lives in mutual respect and recognition. And to step back from that simply into a federal model…doesn’t seem to me to be the best and the greatest that God is asking from us as an Anglican family.”

Archbishop Rowan said he believed Anglicans have a message to give the Christian world about how they can be “both catholic and orthodox and consensual, working in freedom, mutual respect and mutual restraint; without jeopardising the important local autonomy of our churches.”

He stressed that the Anglican Communion needed to work on the convergence of the different schemes and systems present across the Member Churches, and find “a legal spirit, an ethos that they share by consent and exploration and discovery rather than by kicking the whole issue upstairs to some higher legal authority.”

Authority was a theme to which he returned time and again. He suggested that the Instruments of Communion should not only have reactive or corrective authority, but also enabling authority…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 5 November 2012 at 10:52pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Bishop of Leicester opposes religious homophobia

The Bishop of Leicester, The Right Reverend Tim Stevens, spoke in the House of Lords on 25 October in a debate on homosexuality in the developing world.

The full text of his speech can be found here in Hansard.

An edited version was published at Cif belief under the headline There is no place for homophobia in the church, anywhere in the world.

…Others in this debate have rehearsed the ways in which laws criminalising same-sex sexual activity between adults have been repeatedly found in international law to violate fundamental human rights, and this debate serves also to highlight effectively the way in which criminalisation gives rise to persecution. I want, however, to concentrate on the way in which discriminatory interference in the private sexual conduct of consenting adults is an affront to the fundamental Christian values of human dignity, tolerance and equality.

It is of course no secret, as others have made clear, that on the ethics of homosexual practice the churches in general and the Anglican communion bishops in particular are deeply divided, but that cannot and must not be any basis for equivocating on the central issue of equality before the law of all human beings whether heterosexual or homosexual. Further, many of us who are bishops in this country value and treasure our links with particular dioceses around the Anglican communion. We respect and appreciate the different, and often sharply divided, theological approaches which lead to different stances on the ethical issues. But, as the Lambeth conference of 1998 made clear, there is not and cannot be any place for homophobia in the church, and all are to be welcomed regardless of sexual orientation…

And he continued:

…Many people the world over are now asking the churches to put their position beyond all doubt, by saying simply and clearly that criminalisation is wrong. I will put my position beyond all doubt by stating it in as clear terms as I can. If criminalisation leads, as it evidently does, to gay people concealing their own identity, that must be wrong; if criminalisation leads to many living in fear, that must be wrong; if criminalisation leads to the prospect of persecution, arrest, detention and death, that must be wrong; and if criminalisation means that LGBT people dare not turn to the state when facing hate crimes and violence, that must be wrong too.

It is within the adult lifetime of most of us in this House that the law was changed in this country to decriminalise homosexual acts. However, for our children’s generation, such a state of affairs must feel like ancient history – as appropriate to the moral climate of today’s society in this country as the burning of witches. We must all urgently pursue this journey to a completely new climate in those many countries of the world where same-sex relations are criminal offences…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 1 November 2012 at 9:59am GMT | Comments (22) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | equality legislation

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Good news for Zimbabwe Anglicans

USPG reports Zimbabwe court has good news for Anglicans.

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

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

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

And Bishop Chad Gandiya sent the following message:

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

Other news reports:

ZimEye History as Bishop Kunonga loses multiple High Court cases

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 28 October 2012 at 1:40pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Anglican Consultative Council opens in Auckland

Updated 30 October

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

ACC welcome: Once in a lifetime event

More material is available here.

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

Earlier the Standing Committee met, and issued this bulletin.

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

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

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 27 October 2012 at 11:19pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury speaks to Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops

Updated Sunday

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

The full text of his remarks can be found here.

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

Further background material can be found here.

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 at 7:03pm BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Anglican Covenant - reference to dioceses

updated Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 at 6:32pm BST | Comments (17) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Two Anglican provinces elect new primates

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

CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF WEST AFRICA (Anglican Communion)

ELECTION OF THE NINTH PRIMATE OF CPWA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 at 4:12pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of Ireland

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hurd Report: the 2001 review of the See of Canterbury

In commenting on today’s interview given by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Telegraph reference has been made to the Hurd report.

See these ACNS press releases from September 2001:

But the full text of the report which was previously published on the websites of both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion Office is no longer available at either place (both sites have undergone several major rebuilds since 2001, so that is not altogether surprising).

I have therefore made the full text of the report available here.

Information on Lord Hurd of Westwell is available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 September 2012 at 5:15pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Telegraph interviews Rowan Williams

Update (Saturday 9.15 am) The Anglican Communion Office has responded with this Correction to The Telegraph article.

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has responded to an article in today’s The Telegraph newspaper that inaccurately stated: “The Anglican Church is drawing up plans… that would see the introduction of a ‘presidential’ figure to take over some of the global role of the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

“The opening paragraph of this article is mischievous,” said Canon Kenneth Kearon. “There are no such plans. The Archbishop of Canterbury simply said in the interview that he could see that in the future there might be some reflection on how the administrative load associated with the Anglican Communion might be better shared.

“The Anglican Communion has several decision-making bodies, one of which is meeting in a few months’ time. Nothing like what this newspaper has suggested is on the agenda.”

The Telegraph today has a major interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

John Bingham and Benedict Brogan My job is too big for one man, says Archbishop of Canterbury

The outgoing leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans suggested a form of job share after admitting that he had failed to do enough to prevent a split over homosexuality.

Dr Williams said a new role should be created to oversee the day to day running of the global Anglican communion, leaving future Archbishops of Canterbury free to focus on spiritual leadership and leading the Church of England…

Benedict Brogan Archbishop of Canterbury interview: I don’t think I cracked it

…Does it worry him that, of the three main party leaders, two are atheists, and the third - David Cameron - says his faith comes and goes like “Magic FM in the Chilterns”? Doesn’t it make them unreliable allies against those secularising forces? “It does give me some concern. That means we have, as people of faith, to encourage our own folk to be a bit more willing to go into politics, and get their hands dirty.”

Nothing illustrates better the insensitivity to minorities than Mr Cameron’s wish to legalise gay marriage. Dr Williams is critical of the “embarrassment” the Prime Minister has caused the Church. A “very inadequate” consultation overlooked the legal position of the Churches and marriage. By opposing the change, however, the Church attracted accusations of homophobia, and for good reason, he thinks. It has been too – he says “lily mouthed” before correcting himself: “We’ve not exactly been on the forefront of pressing for civic equality for homosexual people, and we were wrong about that.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams: Church ‘wrong’ not to promote homosexual equality (audio recording)

In his last major interview before he steps down later his year, the Archbishop reaffirmed the Church’s opposition to same sex marriage and warned it would lead to a legal “tangle”.

But he added that the Church had been “wrong” in the past in its approach to homosexuality.

“We’ve not exactly been on the forefront of pressing for civic equality for homosexual people, and we were wrong about that,” he said.

Dr Williams was speaking as Faith in the Public Square, a collection of his lectures dealing with subjects as diverse as human rights, secularism and multiculturalism, is published…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 September 2012 at 7:12am BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Continuing Indaba welcomes CofE policy change

At the Church of England General Synod sessions in July, this motion was passed:

‘That this Synod, recognizing the Church of England’s historic and continuing participation in world mission as essential to our identity as members of the universal Church

(a) welcome the report entitled World-Shaped Mission and commend it to the dioceses, deaneries and parishes of the Church of England for further study;

(b) affirm the ongoing role of the Mission Agencies in resourcing the mission of the Church of England at home and overseas;

(c) affirm the continuing growth, whether through the Diocesan Companion Links, initiatives by parishes or otherwise in the relationships between the Church of England, the Provinces of the Anglican Communion and the world church

(d) encourage the building of continuing partnership between all involved in Church of England world mission and development relationships.

The ACNS has now published Continuing Indaba team welcomes “biggest change to mission policy in 50 years”.

The Church of England’s recent decision to move its model of mission from one of dependency to mutuality has been warmly welcomed by the Anglican Communion’s Continuing Indaba team.

The resolution passed at the York synod was not only a major step for Church of England, but also a boost for everyone involved with the Anglican Communion’s efforts to encourage dialogue across difference.

“This vision of a new way of doing mission has far reaching consequences for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion,” said Continuing Indaba’s Canon Phil Groves. “The World-Shaped Mission report endorsed at the Synod asks dioceses to commit to principles of partnership that encourage the continuation of a journey from former patterns of dependency towards mutuality.

“That means a move away from a model where Anglicans in the North are simply giving resources to those global South, to one where members of the Communion are genuinely giving and receiving to one another.”

What’s more, the report also contains commitments to partnership through listening and learning, listening across cultures through Indaba, and using Continuing Indaba and similar processes….

The Continuing Indaba website is here. It contains lots of resource materials.

Some earlier ACNS press releases:

Hope for ‘Continuing Indaba’

Continuing Indaba is celebrated as “a wonderful gift to the Communion”

And there was this ENS report: Continuing Indaba enables ‘gospel-shaped conversation’ which includes some videos.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 9 August 2012 at 8:58am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Global South Primates' letter to the Crown Nominations Commission

In their communiqué a week ago the Global South Primates wrote that they had written to the Crown Nominations Commission about the appointment of the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Episcopal Café has now seen a copy of this letter and published it in full: Global South Primates: next ABC must ‘address the ecclesial deficit’ of Communion.

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 29 July 2012 at 7:24pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 23 July 2012

Global South Conference issues a (separate) Communiqué

In addition to the document issued by the GS primates, there is now also this: A Communiqué from the Global South Conference on the Decade of Mission and Networking, July 16 - 21, 2012 at Bangkok, Thailand.

1. This Conference is a response to the call at the 4th Global South to South Encounter in Singapore April 2010 to gather leaders from Provinces of the Global South and other mission partners, which are unequivocally committed to the apostolic-historic faith for the Global South Conference on Decade of Mission and Networking.

2. We received with thanks a note of greeting from Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who affirmed his support for the work of the Conference.

3. Similarly, we also received with thanks a note of greeting from Elder Fu Xianwei, Chairman of the National Committee of Three Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches of China. He affirmed his friendship with the Global South Anglican Churches and continual desire for further dialogue and partnership in ministry.

4. More than 100 delegates from provinces in the Global South (comprising Africa, Asia, the Pacific and South America) gathered together in prayer, fellowship and listening to the teaching of the Word. We were also joined by a number of our mission partners from other parts of the Communion and various Mission agencies…

Jim Naughton has already commented on this statement at Episcopal Café in The Global South Anglicans and what they didn’t say:

…Followers of Communion politics will note that the statement contains no mention of The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada or the Church of England’s politics and practices regarding the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The statement comes on the heels of a relatively mild statement from the “Global South Primates”, a smaller group that often meets in conjunction with larger Global South gatherings, but in the past has taken a harder rhetorical line against more gay-friendly churches.

While the communique does identify the members of this particular fellowship as “unequivocally committed to the apostolic-historic faith” (hence the usual absence of the leaders of numerous southern Anglican provinces who define that term differently than the organizers of this meeting) that phrase is perhaps the only example of the kabuki boilerplate that previously studded the statements of all parties in the Anglican struggles over sexuality…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 23 July 2012 at 4:12pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Global South Primates issue a Communiqué from Bangkok

The full text of the document: Communiqué of the Global South Primates Bangkok, Thailand, 20 July 2012

It starts out:

1. We, the Primates and representatives of 17 Global South Provinces, met in Bangkok, Thailand, from 18-20 July 2012, in conjunction with the Global South Conference on the Decade of Mission and Networking.

2. The theme of Conference called the Church to “Be Transformed by the Renewing of the mind to Obedience of Faith for Holistic Mission in a Radically Changing Global Landscape”, offering our sanctified bodies and renewed minds as living sacrifices for our Lord’s glory.

And it includes this passage:

6. We note with great sadness the passing of Resolution A049 at the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church which authorized a liturgy for blessing same-sex unions. This action confirms our disappointment that The Episcopal Church has no regard for the concerns and convictions of the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide.

7. We stand in solidarity with our brethren in the Communion Partners who have dissented from this action. We uphold them in prayer and support them in fellowship as they continue in their commitment to the evangelical faith and catholic order of the Church, as expressed in their Minority Report known as The Indianapolis Statement.

8. We also appreciate and support all the faithful in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as well as those in the Anglican Church in Canada who remain true to our biblical and historic faith.

9. We deeply respect and appreciate our historical and spiritual relationship with the See of Canterbury. We have written to the Crown Nominations Commission with concerns from the Global South and important principles for consideration as it nominates candidates for the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Those present are listed:

Primates Present or Represented:

The Most Rev Dr Mouneer Anis, Primate of Jerusalem & the Middle East
The Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria
The Most Rev Ian Ernest, Primate of the Indian Ocean
The Most Rev Bolly Lapok, Primate of South East Asia
The Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
The Most Rev Stephen Tan, Primate of Myanmar
The Most Rev Henri Isingoma, Primate of Congo
The Most Rev Daniel Deng, Primate of Sudan
The Most Rev Bernard Ntahoturi, Primate of Burundi
The Most Rev Onesphore Rwaje, Primate of Rwanda
The Most Rev Valentino Mokiwa, Primate of Tanzania
The Most Rev David Vunagi, Primate of Melanesia
The Most Rev Joseph Kopapa, Primate of Papua New Guinea
The Right Rev Dr Johannes Seoka representing Southern Africa
The Right Rev Matthias Medadues-Badohu representing West Africa
The Right Rev Dr Chad Gandiya representing Central Africa
The Right Rev Peter Bartlett representing the Southern Cone

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 22 July 2012 at 1:03pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

General Convention declines to take a position on the Anglican Covenant

ENS reports Convention ‘declines to take a position’ on Anglican Covenant.

The House of Bishops concurred with the deputies July 10 to affirm their commitment to building relationships across the Anglican Communion, especially through the Continuing Indaba program, and to decline to take a position on the Anglican Covenant.

After considering eight resolutions, the General Convention’s committee on world mission recommended adoption of two resolutions on Anglican Communion relationships and the Anglican Covenant, a document that initially had been intended as a way to bind Anglicans globally across cultural and theological differences.

Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, chair of the world mission committee, told ENS following the vote that the resolutions are “a genuine pastoral response because we are not of one mind, and to push a decision at this time would cause hurt and alienation in our church on both sides and instead we chose to stay in the conversation.”

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition issued this statement:

The wind has clearly gone out of the sails of the Anglican Covenant. There was not even a single dissenting vote when the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia declared itself unable to adopt the Covenant. While our Coalition would have preferred a clearer “no” from the Episcopal Church, the resolution passed in Indianapolis is scarcely more than an abstention – and the commitment to “monitor the ongoing developments” rings hollow when we consider that the same General Convention phased out funding for the Episcopal Church staff position for Anglican Communion affairs. Perhaps they will monitor the situation by following #noanglicancovenant on Twitter.

The next major step in the Covenant process will be at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, this fall. We understand that there will be an attempt to introduce a ratification threshold and a sunset date to the Covenant process. Depending on the details, our Coalition is likely to be broadly supportive of both initiatives.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 at 10:47pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Monday, 9 July 2012

New Zealand "Unable to adopt" covenant

The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia today (Monday 9 July 2012) voted that it “Is unable to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant due to concerns about aspects of Section 4, but subscribes to Sections 1, 2, and 3 as currently drafted to be a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the church.”

Anglican Taonga (the communications arm of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia) reports this as “Unable to adopt” covenant.

As expected, the General Synod said a final: ‘No’ to the proposed Anglican covenant today.

But it did so quietly, and the original motion was amended to stress this church’s desire to remain tightly knit with the Communion.

And to suggest that the early parts of the covenant – the non contentious bits about “Our Inheritance in Faith” etc – “are a useful starting point” for future Anglican thinking about their church…

Also available is the full text of the resolution as passed by the Synod.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 July 2012 at 11:06am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | New Zealand

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Anglican Covenant: some updates

First, a report from Australia Brisbane defers the Covenant. The motion they passed in diocesan synod was this:

That this Synod recommends to the General Synod that it:

  • Affirm the commitment of the Anglican Church of Australia to the Anglican Communion.
  • Affirm its readiness to engage with any ongoing process of consideration of the Anglican Communion Covenant
  • Request clarification from the 15th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council as to the status and direction of the Covenant Process in the light of the position of the Church of England.
  • Urge upon the Instruments of Communion a course of action which continues to see reconciliation and the preservation of the Communion as a family of interdependent but autonomous Churches.

Second, Paul Bagshaw has two further articles discussing the recent meeting of the “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” which we reported here.

In both these articles, he suggests that there may be conflicts between English charity law (which is what governs the ACC in its constitution) and the interpretations of the Anglican Covenant which the Standing Committee has adopted.

In the first article he also comments on the recent GS1878: report by the Business Committee on the reference [of the Covenant] to the dioceses.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 9:16am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Anglican Covenant: Church of England's current status

The press release for the forthcoming General Synod group of sessions includes this statement:

One item not on the Agenda for July is the Anglican Communion Covenant. The Business Committee publishes today its report on the voting in the diocesan synods on the draft Act of Synod adopting the Covenant. 18 diocesan synods voted in favour and 26 against, so this draft Act of Synod cannot be presented to the General Synod for final approval. As the report shows, the voting was quite close. The majority of Houses of Clergy (26) voted against, but the majority of Houses of Laity (23) voted in favour. Overall, of the 1516 members of houses of clergy who voted, 732 (48%) voted in favour and 784 (52%) voted against, whereas, of the 1813 members of houses of laity who voted, 960 (53%) voted in favour and 853 (47%) voted against. The Business Committee believes that it would be helpful for members of the Synod to have time to reflect on the position before the Synod debates the report and the Diocesan Synod Motions about the Covenant that have been passed by nine diocesan synods. These will therefore be debated not in July but at the next group of sessions after July.

GS 1878 Anglican Communion Covenant: Draft Act of Synod - Report by the Business Committee on the reference to the dioceses has been published, although at this writing it is linked only here, and not over here.

Paragraph 6 may be of particular interest:.

The draft Act of Synod was approved in eighteen dioceses and not approved in twenty-six dioceses. Thus the draft Act of Synod was not approved by a majority of the dioceses and it therefore cannot be presented to the General Synod for Final Approval. For the record, there is nothing in the Synod’s Constitution or Standing Orders that would preclude the process being started over again, whether in the lifetime of this Synod or subsequently, by another draft Instrument to the same effect being brought forward for consideration by the General Synod before being referred to the dioceses under Article 8. The Business Committee is not, however, aware of a proposal to re-start the process in this way.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 4:50pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Bishops support Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

From the Daily Monitor in Kampala: Bishops want shelved anti-gay Bill dusted

Top religious leaders from across the country have asked Parliament to speed-up the process of enacting the Anti-Homosexuality law to prevent what they called “an attack on the Bible and the institution of marriage”.

Speaking after their recent annual conference organised by the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), an ecumenical body which brings together the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox churches, the bishops resolved that the parliamentary committee on Gender should be tasked to engage the House on the Bill which is now at committee level.

“We also ask the Education committee to engage the Ministry of Education on the issue of incorporating a topic on human sexuality in the curricula of our schools and institutions of learning,” the resolutions signed by archbishops Henry Luke Orombi, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga and Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga, indicated.

The clerics also appealed to all the churches in the country “to remain steadfast in opposing the phenomena of homosexuality, lesbianism and same-sex union”.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was proposed by Ndorwa West PM David Bahati and has become a subject of international discussion with most Western powers describing the Bill as barbaric…

Care2.com has Ugandan Catholics Want “Kill the Gays” Bill Revived

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) was effectively shelved last year by the government, following sustained pressure from international donor countries. Despite repeated claims to the contrary, including some unfortunate mainstream reporting, the last version of the bill contained the death penalty in some circumstances.

The Catholic Church had previously been the sole major religion in Uganda in opposition to the bill. But according to the Daily Monitor, at the annual conference of the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), an ecumenical body which brings together the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox churches, the Bishops resolved that it should be retrieved from the long grass.

The UJCC said that the bill was needed to prevent what they called “an attack on the Bible and the institution of marriage.”

The Vatican came out strongly and publicly against the bill and, Wikileaks revealed, even lobbied against it. Uganda watchers say that the change by the Ugandan Catholic church is “very serious” and that the UJCC resolution was pushed by an Anglican Bishop…

Religion Dispatches has Ugandan Bishops Push Notorious Anti-Gay Bill

… The reported support for the bill from the Uganda Joint Christian Council is especially noteworthy since Roman Catholic Bishop of Uganda Cyprian Lwanga previously denounced the bill’s death penalty and imprisonment provisions as contrary to “a Christian caring approach to this issue,” though he also said “We, the Catholic Bishops of Uganda, appreciate and applaud the Government’s effort to protect the traditional family and its values.”

And The Africa Report has Uganda: Religious leaders seek return of anti-gay bill.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 14 June 2012 at 7:57am BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Canadian, African, and American Bishops in Dialogue

A Sacrament of Love: Our Continuing Testimony of Grace

This statement was released by the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue after their third meeting June 4 to 7 in Toronto, Ont.

The statement is also available as a PDF file.

The list of participants is at the end of the statement.

The Anglican Journal reports: Anglican communion ‘a gift from God’

This week, the Anglican Church of Canada hosted the third Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. And judging by the bishops’ comments, the future looks bright for the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Growing out of Lambeth 2008, which uncovered divisions and disagreements between African and other Anglicans on the issue of human sexuality and same-sex relationships, the dialogue held its first meeting in London in 2010 and it second last year in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The group was originally organized by Archbishop Colin Johnson of the diocese of Toronto, who is also metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario.

After their meeting at the Manresa Retreat Centre, a Jesuit facility east of Toronto, almost 20 African, American and Canadian prelates and their associates attended a Communion service at Church House, the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto…

And the Anglican Church of Canada website has this: Canadian, African bishops affirm common mission.

On one level, the first wedding held at the Anglican Church of Canada’s national offices will resemble many other weddings, with finery, music, and celebration. But it is a moment of Anglican Communion harmony that might not have happened 10 years ago: the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, will conduct the marriage service for the Primate of Central Africa, Archbishop Albert Chama, and his childhood friend Ashella Ndhlovu, a resident of Toronto.

The June 8 event is a happy postscript symbolizing the deepening friendships emerging from the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. The bishops held their third meeting at the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Centre in Pickering, Ont., June 4 to 7.

Seventeen bishops from Africa, Canada, and U.S. met for prayer and discussion of two topics: mission and the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 June 2012 at 5:39pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada

Friday, 8 June 2012

Anglican Covenant rejected in Scotland

The official notice from the SEC website: General Synod votes against adoption of the Anglican Covenant.

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church today voted against the adoption of the Anglican Covenant. Following a variety of views expressed by members of General Synod, the Motion that Synod agree in principle to adopt the Anglican Covenant was put to vote - 112 votes against; 6 votes in favour; 13 abstentions. The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane then presented a resolution on the Anglican Communionin support of Motion 27, saying “The Anglican Communion matters deeply to us in the Scottish Episcopal Church. We invoke the history of Samuel Seabury, consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish bishops as the first bishop of the church in the United States of America. We want to be part of the re-founding - the bringing to birth of a new phase of Communion life.”

The Primus’ full speech on the Anglican Communion is available below as a PDF document.

Primus address on Anglican Communion (PDF)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 8 June 2012 at 6:01pm BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Scottish Episcopal Church

Friday, 1 June 2012

Anglican Communion: Standing Committee meeting

The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ meeting met for three days this week. The Anglican Communion News Service has issued these bulletins summarising the committee’s proceedings.

2012 Standing Committee Bulletin - Day 1
2012 Standing Committee Bulletin - Day 2
2012 Standing Committee Bulletin - Day 3

The Anglican Communion Covenant was discussed on Wednesday (day 1):

The Standing Committee received an update on the progress of the Anglican Communion Covenant. It was noted that eight Provinces had endorsed the Covenant to date, in some cases with a degree of qualification. They were the only responses received so far by the Secretary General…

There was general agreement that no timeframe should yet be introduced for the process of adoption of the Covenant by Provinces. The Standing Committee will return to this question following ACC-15.

An implication of the first paragraph is that the Church of England has not yet notified the Secretary General that the covenant was defeated in the dioceses.

Note: ACC-15 is the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council to be held in New Zealand from 27 October to 7 November 2012.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 1 June 2012 at 10:10pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Tom Sutcliffe: Lost in the Wilderness

Updated Thursday

Tom Sutcliffe has provided us with an improved version of his article about Archbishop Rowan Williams which we have published as a web page here.

Readers may like to know that an earlier, much shorter version of this article originally appeared here.
———-
Tom Sutcliffe has written a very perceptive article about Rowan Williams which has been published by Anglican Ink.

The title is Lost in the wilderness: Rowan Williams’s via crucis as Archbishop of Canterbury, and the future without him.

This is well worth the time to read in full, even though it is over 6000 words.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 7:32am BST | Comments (39) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 30 April 2012

Two views of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans

The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme had an excellent segment on the recent conference, by Gavin Drake. Available as a podcast from this page. The segment starts about 4 minutes into the programme.

Here’s the BBC blurb:

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, meeting in London, say they’ll offer alternative spiritual leadership to dissaffected members of the Church of England. They also want an alternative to the Archbishop of Canterbury as chairman of the Anglican primates meeting. Is this a way of keeping the Anglican communion together or splitting it asunder?

Paul Bagshaw has written an analysis on his blog, at Reading the FoCA tea leaves. He concludes the article thus:

…Therefore there will be no schism in the sense of one organization separating itself out from another on a certain day, followed immediately by either or both bodies setting up new structures and legal identities.

Instead there will be a steady continued tearing of the fabric as distinct ecclesial units (parishes, dioceses and provinces as well as individuals) align themselves explicitly with the FoCA. The legalities will depend on the law of each country (property and pensions being governed by secular law) and on the ecclesiastical structure of each Church.

I anticipate that the FoCA churches will thrive, purposeful and enthusiastic for at least the medium-term foreseeable future. It will thus be self-legitimating.

On the other hand I guess the remaining churches will flounder for a while before accepting the reality that there will be no accommodation between the two Anglican entities. Then they too will revise their own relationships, structures and communications and will settle into the new geography of Anglicanism where, in most places, there will be one dominant Anglican Church and a minority owing allegiance to its mirror image.

I don’t think who is appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury will make much difference to this process - except, perhaps, to the timing.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 30 April 2012 at 7:11pm BST | Comments (112) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Bishop Mark Lawrence & Bishop John Guernsey

From Titusonenine:

A Crucial Apr. 25 Presentation—Bishop Mark Lawrence, S. Carolina, and ACNA Bishop John Guernsey

The Guildford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship invite you to an An evening with Bishop Mark Lawrence (TEC Bishop of South Carolina) and Bishop John Guernsey (ACNA Bishop of Mid-Atlantic) On 25th April 2012 at 8 pm At Holy Trinity Claygate, Church Road, Claygate, Surrey, KT10 0JP

We are delighted that Bishop Mark Lawrence, the Episcopal Church Bishop for the Diocese of South Carolina, and Bishop John Guernsey, the Anglican Church in North America Bishop for the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, have agreed

  • to bring us up to date with developments amongst Anglicans in North America;
  • to tell us why some orthodox Anglicans have considered it appropriate to work within TEC whilst others have considered it appropriate to work within ACNA; and
  • to explain to us how people within the two organisations who hold similar views are generally able to continue to support each other in spreading the Gospel.

Kendall Harmon adds:

Please note this is is a long evening of some 1 hour and 40 minutes. During the introduction the following people are mentioned—it is opened by Philip Plyming, vicar of Holy Trinity, Claygate, and then chairman, Stephen Hofmeyr, QC. There is then a message from Bishop Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford given by the Ven. Julian Henderson, Archdeacon of Dorking. Both Mark Lawrence (who goes first) and John Guernsey then give presentations of some twenty minutes which takes you to approximately one hour. After that there are questions from those present to the two bishops about the matters at hand. Archdeacon Julian Henderson then offers brief concluding remarks.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 6:21pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ACNA | Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Anglican Covenant: final two diocesan synods

Updated with final diocesan synod vote (Newcastle)

This Saturday the final two English diocesan synods voted on the Anglican Covenant motion: Newcastle and York.

Newcastle: covenant rejected

Bishops: 2 for / 0 against
Clergy: 8 for / 18 against
Laity: 14 for / 15 against

York: covenant accepted

Bishops: 4 for / 0 against
Clergy: 26 for / 5 against
Laity: 38 for / 5 against / 1 abstention

The final tally of Church of England votes is that 26 diocesan synods voted against the covenant and 18 in favour.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 11:49am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

"Stay Together" says Bishop Greg Venables

The Church of Ireland Gazette has an audio interview this week with Bishop Greg Venables of Argentina.

The 22 minute interview can be heard via this page.

There is a major article based on this interview in this week’s Gazette, headlined Church of Ireland must stay together, Bishop Greg Venables tells Gazette. This is subscriber-only but here is an excerpt:

The Bishop of Argentina and former Primate of the Southern Cone, the Rt Revd Greg Venables, a leading theological conservative in global Anglicanism, told the Gazette last week that, should the General Synod adopt a liberal approach to the issue of same-sex relationships, those of a more conservative view should stand together but remain within the Church of Ireland, because their position was “the original Anglicanism – Prayer Book, Bible, original 39 Articles Anglicanism”.

Bishop Venables, who, along with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, was visiting Ireland to address a ‘First Things’ evangelical conference held last Saturday (21st April) at the Jethro Centre in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, was speaking to the Gazette editor before the conference.

Bishop Venables said in the interview that if the forthcoming General Synod, which it is widely expected will address the issue of same-sex relationships, were to take a less strict approach to the subject, then “those that don’t agree have to review their position and ask themselves how they are going to respond to that situation, but do it in a collegial, consultative, gracious, united way”.

However, he also stressed the need, in such circumstances, for dialogue with those of different views on the subject.

Bishop Venables said that, in the context of the current controversy in the Church of Ireland over samesex relationships, “there must be discipline, there must be consequences, and there must also be a way for things to be put right … That implies repentance, that implies recognizing that something is wrong and repenting of what is wrong and putting things right in that way.”

He also spoke about the need for the Church generally to focus on fundamental issues, especially because of cultural shifts that had taken place in recent times, and commented on current Anglican Communion affairs, in particular in relation to the proposed Anglican Covenant.

The Bishop noted how two distinct ways of being Anglican had now emerged. The first held to scriptural authority and the second saw Christianity as “an ongoing development which is related to the Scriptures, but which isn’t founded on the Scriptures”, he said.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 8:40am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of Ireland

Friday, 27 April 2012

Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Leaders Conference Statement

The GAFCON conference at Battersea has concluded by issuing this press release: The movement begins its mission and this Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Leaders Conference Statement and Commitment (PDF).

From the press release:

…In a plenary address, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali concluded that the Anglican “Instruments of Unity” have failed dramatically and that the FCA is called to model an alternative way for the churches of the Anglican Communion to gather and relate to one another in such a way as to carry out the Great Commission in the coming decades.

In their final conference ‘Commitment’, the leaders resolved to work together in an ever-strengthening partnership, to stand by each other and to engage in a battle of ideas on behalf of the Biblical Gospel.

The next Global Anglican Future Conference was also announced. The event, with invitees including clergy and lay people, as well as bishops, is scheduled for May 2013.

From the Statement:

…We received from Anglican leaders accounts of terrorism leading to death and destruction in Nigeria, and of persecution and ostracism of believers in Islamic and Hindu societies; we heard from a Christian prolife and pro-marriage advocate who has been maligned by the secular media in England, with precious little support from the Church establishment. We heard numerous accounts from Anglican leaders around the world who have been harassed by their own bishops and fellow clergy for their Gospel witness, yet have been grateful for the stance of the FCA. We note that The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada are proceeding post-haste to approve same-sex blessing rites with total disregard for the conscience of their own members, for the moratoria mandated by the official Instruments of the Anglican Communion, and for the broken state of communion where more than half the world’s Anglicans are represented by the FCA…

And this:

…In a plenary address on “Jesus, the Lord of the Church and his Mission,” Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali noted that St Paul presents the church as an exalted communion known to God, the Jerusalem above (Gal 4:26), and also as an earthly community of believers gathered together for the preaching of God’s Word, the sacraments duly administered, and effective church discipline (Article XIX; Second Book of Homilies). Applying this pattern to the current Anglican situation, Bishop Nazir-Ali concluded that the Anglican “Instruments of Unity” have failed dramatically and that the FCA is called to model a biblical way for the churches of the Anglican Communion to gather and relate to one another so as to carry out the Great Commission in the coming decades. This way needs to address different forms of missional leadership, gathering the church with traditional episcopal leaders as well as leaders exercising oversight in parochial and non-parochial ministries. The Primates’ Council will have responsibility for planning, directing and driving this agenda…

And this:

…Archbishop Jensen, the FCA General Secretary, challenged participants to agree on a “statement in the form of a commitment.” In affirming this statement, we commit ourselves to the following:

  • to reaffirm the Jerusalem Declaration and Statement
  • to commend the Jerusalem Declaration to others as the basis for resolving the spiritual crisis currently besetting the Anglican Communion
  • to invite Anglicans around the world to join FCA in order to serve Christ and his mission
  • to promote and fund the networks in their various aims to strengthen the Church
  • to create a network for ministry among young people
  • to pray for the work and ministry of FCA and for each other.

At the conclusion of the Leaders Conference, it was announced that a second Anglican Future Conference will be held in May 2013. This Conference will further the work of the FCA to renew and reform the Anglican Communion. This leads to a further specific commitment from leaders and their churches:

  • to gather for GAFCON 2 in May 2013
  • to obtain funding and resourcing for GAFCON 2.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 6:13pm BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

More about GAFCON and AMiE

The Church Times has this report by Ed Thornton We should elect our chair, say Primates (and scroll down for sidebar on Archbishop Wabukala’s keynote address).

…The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who was chairing the press briefing, sought to clarify that the Primates were suggesting the election of a chairman of the Primates’ Meeting, not “some sort of super-leader of the Anglican Communion. . . We’re not talking about a chairman of the Anglican Com­munion, but a chairman of the Primates’ Council, and one therefore able to gather the Primates.”

Asked if any Primate, such as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, would be eligible to stand as chairman, Dr Wabukala said that the position should be open to “those who subscribe to what the Anglican Communion stands for”.

Asked to elaborate further, he said that the Jerusalem Declaration, which was drawn up at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem in 2008 (News, 4 July 2008), “captures exactly what almost every­body is looking for”. When asked about Primates who would not endorse the Declara­tion, Dr Wabukala said: “That means self-exclusion. It’s not a covenant to sign to ex­clude you, but it is the faith that people pro­fess to which you may not be comfortable.” He went on: “Of course, the fact that one [chair­man] is elected, that means he is ac­cepted by all of us.”

Spokespeople for Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office both declined to comment on the idea suggested by the two Primates.

Amaris Cole reported for the Church of England Newspaper Conference: ‘It’s time for us to elect the chairman of the Primates’

…The FCA asserts this leader will not replace the traditional role Archbishops such as Dr Rowan Williams have played, a figure who will still be ‘respected’. Speaking before the conference, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said: “He will not be an Anglican Pope.” Instead they hope this figure, whom Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Chairman of GAFCON, said would have tenure of four to five years and be elected by the Primates themselves, will be the next step of the ‘forward-looking’ movement. “The Commonwealth has changed and they now elect somebody to lead without prejudice to Her Majesty the Queen and so it is the same thing,” Archbishop Okoh said. “The Church of the independent countries are no longer in the British Empire – we must make some changes.”

The Archbishops hesitated when asked what would happen if the elected chairman were to be a member of the American Episcopal Church, but it was decided as this figure would be elected by all the Primates, it’s unlikely such a chair would be selected. The conference was also used to announce that the FCA is calling for GAFCON II in May next year, although the location is unknown. This meeting has been called ‘in the face of revisionist attempts to change basic doctrines and turn Christianity merely into a movement for social betterment.’ The Archbishops did not deny that these ‘revisionist attempts’ were partly because of the handling of homosexuality, but said: “the Bible is very clear.” The FCA hopes to bring the Communion back to its primary calling – to preach the Gospel, with social action being secondary to this. The Archbishops again argued they are in Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The GAFCON website has some audio, videos and photos of the event all linked from here.

This Statement at the Celebration of the Anglican Communion at Emmanuel Centre, Westminster was issued by the Anglican Mission in England yesterday. The full text is copied below the fold.

According to this report LONDON: FCA Leaders will not break with Canterbury

Fellowship of Confessing Anglican leaders meeting at St. Mark’s Battersea heard Bishop Michael Nazir Ali say that the intention of the FCA is not to break with the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Anglican Communion but they will continue to support orthodox dioceses and parishes in liberal and revisionist provinces like the US and Canada.

Despite a media blackout, VOL has learned that the 200 global Anglican leaders including archbishops from Australia, (Peter Jensen) Nigeria, (Nicholas Okoh) Kenya, (Eliud Wabukala), the US (ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan) Latin America (Hector “Tito” Zavala), Congo, (Henri Isingoma), and (Onesphorus Rwaje) Rwanda and a slew of bishops from the US, Canada and the Global South, FCA’s goal is to ensure that orthodoxy prevails and those who are suffering as a result will be supported and given spiritual and ecclesial aid even though the days of cross border “violations” has ended.

Some of the US bishops included Mark Lawrence of South Carolina and Keith Ackerman formerly of Quincy. The largest contingent is from Nigeria.

While it has not been publicly raised, the intention is that the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will, in time, be recognized as a legitimate province of the Anglican Communion…

And this:

…Asked what the group thought of the possibility of the 62-year old Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York becoming the next Archbishop of Canterbury the reviews were mixed.

Sentamu is seen as a black evangelical twin of Dr. Rowan Williams, that is, he is evangelical and orthodox as well as socially conscious but he is an institutionalist at heart and he won’t rock the boat. “I don’t see him disciplining the American or Canadian Anglican provinces for their heretical acts. He will not come down on them; he will continue to support them for the sake of maintaining Anglican unity. The FCA will provide the needed support in the ongoing realignment and they will continue to support the faithful.”

Writing at Changing Attitude Colin Coward comments on the parish venue for the conference:

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Leaders Conference is meeting from 23 to 27 April at St Mark’s Battersea Rise, South London.

St Mark’s is the next parish to St Barnabas Clapham Common where the Revd David Page was the Vicar for 17 years. David was the first chair of Changing Attitude trustees and Changing Attitude’s first office was in St Barnabas vicarage.

The congregation of St Mark’s Battersea Rise know little about the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans or the GAFCON movement. The Vicar, the Revd Paul Perkin, chooses not to inform the congregation of his key involvement with these groups. St Mark’s is a congregation which includes a number of lesbian and gay people, including couples in civil partnerships. Paul Perkin is fully aware of their presence. They worship there because at the grass roots, they experience St Mark’s congregation as being open and welcoming.

The Church is the people. The people are defining the nature of Christian ethos and witness in each parish, not the clergy (though this is a great fantasy for clergy). The people, not the hierarchy, are building in each place a church of the people and for the people, inspired by the Spirit of God working in the heart of each person…

AMiE Statement from here:

The next few months will increasingly reveal the direction being taken by the Church of England regarding two matters:

  • its position regarding issues of marriage and sexuality, especially in the light of the church’s response to the government consultation and recent letters from a small group of mainly retired bishops,
  • and secondly the provision or not for the inclusion of those who hold to traditional understandings of the bible on matters of ministry.

We have established, and this week confirmed the principle that orthodox Anglicans who despite repeated efforts cannot receive oversight in the Church of England can continue to belong together with other orthodox Anglicans and minister with recognition within the global Anglican communion.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in this region is a fellowship of those anywhere in the UK and Ireland, including the Diocese of Europe, who can affirm the Jerusalem Declaration. Within it the Anglican Mission in England is not an institution, but a framework that is taking shape as it responds to those needing to receive help in their own dioceses. AMiE has two particular features:

  • It is a registered Mission Society dedicated to support growing and planting churches, and providing ministers and oversight for those churches, and secondly
  • It has a Panel of Bishops authorised by the FCA Primates Council to provide that oversight

The Primates of the FCA have assured us that, through instruments now available in this country, including the panel of bishops of the Anglican Mission in England and the FCA UK, those who might otherwise have been under pressure to leave the Church of England can remain within the family of global Anglicanism and be recognized by that body as faithful to the Church of England itself.

At the FCA Leadership Conference this Monday, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala reported in his Chairman’s keynote address: ‘Last year, it became clear that provision needs to be made for England too. The Anglican Mission in England was formed last June after four years of discussion with senior Anglican leaders in England had failed to find a way in which those genuinely in need of effective orthodox oversight in the Church of England could receive it’.

The AMiE has already acted to provide oversight to churches, including arranging the ordination of some ministers. For the future it is ready to extend this ministry, and to expand its panel of bishops accordingly. Parish Incumbents who affirm the Jerusalem Declaration are invited to meet on Wednesday 27th June to pray and make progress together.

So we pledge our support for all those who are orthodox in faith, who are experiencing pressure, and who wish to continue as Anglicans with international affirmation from the worldwide Anglican church. You have a clear identity as Anglicans through our common commitment to the faith contained in the Jerusalem Declaration.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 9:48am BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

GAFCON proposes to reorganise the Anglican Communion

Ed Malnick set out the background to this event a week ago in the Sunday Telegraph Traditionalist Anglican leaders to meet over homosexual bishops ‘crisis’.

This weekend, the BBC Sunday radio programme interviewed the Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen (go here for a podcast the interview starts about 10 minutes into the programme).

And the BBC reported Leaders of a dissident Anglican movement meet in UK.

The meeting opened yesterday. There is a press release, and the full text of the keynote address:

John Bingham explains in the Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury to lose worldwide Anglican role under traditionalist plans.

A coalition of bishops and leaders from Africa, the Americas and Australasia said it was time for a “radical shift” in how the church is structured away from models of the “British Empire”.

They criticised what they called “revisionist attempts” to abandon basic doctrines on issues such as homosexuality and “turn Christianity merely into a movement for social betterment” during Dr Williams’s tenure.

And they said it was now clear that the leadership in England had failed to hold the 77 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion together, leaving it in “crisis”.

They spoke out as 200 clergy and laity from 30 countries gathered in London to discuss what they called the “present crisis moment” in the church…

And this:

…They also outlined plans for an overhaul of church structures, replacing the Archbishop of Canterbury as chairman of the worldwide Anglican primates with an elected chair.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, leader of Kenya’s 13 million Anglicans, said there needed to be a “radical shift” in how the church is run.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the leader of 23 million Anglicans in Nigeria, said that while the historic position of the Archbishop of Canterbury would always be respected he should be seen as “one of” many primates.

Likening the overhaul to the way in which the Commonwealth now elects its leadership, he said: “It is the same thing, the church of independent countries – no longer the British Empire – must make some changes.”

He went on: “It is not something that should remain permanent that the Archbishop of Canterbury – whether he understands the dynamics in Africa or not – remains the chair and whatever he says, whether it works or not, is an order.

“No I think if we are to move forward we have to reconsider that position.”

He added: “At the moment it seems that the Church in England isn’t carrying along everybody in the Communion and that is why of course you can see that there is a crisis, so if we must solve the problem we must change our system.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 9:13am BST | Comments (38) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Anglican Covenant: two more diocesan synods

This Saturday two more diocesan synods voted on the Anglican Covenant motion: Chichester, and Southwell & Nottingham.

Chichester: covenant accepted

Bishops: 2 for / 0 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy: 29 for / 9 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 39 for / 25 against / 1 abstention

Southwell & Nottingham: covenant accepted

Bishops: 2 for / 0 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy 15 for / 5 against / 0 abstentions
Laity: 31 for / 6 against / 1 abstention

25 diocesan synods have now voted against the covenant, and 17 in favour. The remaining two dioceses, Newcastle and York, will vote next Saturday (28 April).

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 21 April 2012 at 12:59pm BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Church in Wales gives “amber light” to Anglican Covenant

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales debated the Anglican Communion Covenant this morning and has now issued this Press Release.

Church gives “amber light” to Anglican Covenant
April 18 2012

A plan to protect the unity of the worldwide Anglican Communion was given an amber light, rather than a green light, by the Church in Wales today (April 18).

Members of its Governing Body voted to affirm their commitment to the Communion and the Covenant process, but asked questions of the Anglican Consultative Council which meets in October. They feared the recent rejection of the Covenant by the Church of England jeopardised its future and clarifications about that were now needed before a decision could be made.

The Bishop of St Asaph, Dr Gregory Cameron, who proposed a motion which was amended in the light of the Church of England decision, said, “We have given the Covenant an amber light rather than a green light but in doing so we are being honest about where the Church is today. However, I think we need to reaffirm our strong commitment to each other through the saving power of Christ revealed in the Gospels. That is what I believe the Covenant ultimately calls us to do and I hope one day the Church in Wales will be able to vote for it.”

The amended motion, which was carried overwhelmingly, was that the GB:

i) affirm the commitment of the Church in Wales to the life of the Anglican Communion;
ii) Affirm its readiness to engage with any ongoing process of consideration of the Anglican Communion Covenant;
iii) Request clarification from the 15th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council as to the status and direction of the Covenant process in the light of the position of the Church of England;
iv) Urge upon the Instruments of Communion a course of action which continues to see reconciliation and the preservation of the Communion as a family of interdependent but autonomous Churches.

The published agenda gave this text for the original unamended motion:

That the Governing Body:

i) affirm the commitment of the Church in Wales to the life of the Anglican Communion, and subscribe to the Anglican Communion Covenant;
ii) invite the Standing Committee to monitor the Church in Wales’s participation in the Covenant on an annual basis.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 5:11pm BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church in Wales

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter Sermons and Messages

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter Sermon is available here: Archbishop’s Easter Sermon 2012 - God raised Jesus to life.

The Archbishop of York has three video messages. See Archbishop’s Easter Video Messages. And he wrote this column for the Sun: Archbishop’s Easter Joy.

The Anglican Communion News Service has published a roundup of several other Easter messages, including one from the Archbishop of Uganda.

We will add more when we find them.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 8 April 2012 at 12:04pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | Sermons

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Commission to Communion: "Tell us your views on next Archbishop of Canterbury's ministry"

Updated to add clarification

A press release from the Anglican Communion Office states:

Members of the Anglican Communion around the world are, for the first time in history, being invited to share their views on the ministry of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Crown Nominations Commission of the Church of England—the body that nominates the next Archbishop of Canterbury—traditionally asks for the views of all Primates and Provincial Secretaries of the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

On this occasion, however, not only has a Primate been invited to join the Commission, but a letter has also been sent to Provinces to be read in Anglican Communion churches inviting everyone to share their thoughts about the ministry of the next Archbishop.

The letter, sent by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion* Canon Kenneth Kearon on behalf of the Commission, states: “The Archbishop of Canterbury exercises many roles—he is Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury, Primate of the Church of England, and Focus of Unity for the Anglican Communion.
“The process of seeking the next Archbishop is led by the Crown Nominations Commission of the Church of England and extensive consultations within the U.K. have begun with various representatives of the Church of England, other Christian denominations, other faiths and wider church life. Members of the Church of England are also invited to share in this process.

“The Commission wishes to offer the same opportunity to other members of the Anglican Communion. It is seeking your views on the priorities for the ministry of the next Archbishop to enable the members of the Commission to have as rich a picture as possible as they begin their work.”

The hope is that clergy will receive the letter (translated in several languages) from their Primate or bishop and read it out in church so Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world know of and can respond to the Commission’s request.

Anglican Communion members will be able to contact the Commission via both electronic and traditional means before 30th April. All views that are received will be collated and included in a report to the Commission.

Notes to Editors

*The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion is a non-voting member of the Commission

For more information about the procedures for appointing a new Archbishop of Canterbury visit: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/2403/outline-of-procedures-for-appointing-a-new-archbishop-of-canterbury

The Anglican Communion Primate who joins the Commission is elected by the Standing Committee. As the Standing Committee is not scheduled to meet in person until May, the whole procedure, both nomination and election, occurs by email.

The Anglican Communion comprises around 85 million members in 38 regional and national member churches around the globe in more than 165 countries. http://www.anglicancommunion.org/

Update

Episcopal Café reports receiving the following:

UPDATE: Clarification from The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office:
The letter from the Secretary General to members of the Anglican Communion seeks opinions on the priorities for the ministry of the next Archbishop. The responses to that will be available to the members of the Crown Nominations Commission. This is the first time this has been done.
In a separate letter to all Primates and Provincial Secretaries the same question about the priorities for the ministry of the next Archbishop is asked, together with a request for nominations, as on previous occasions.

Sincerely,

Kenneth.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 3 April 2012 at 12:45pm BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Anglican Covenant: Manchester Diocesan Synod

Updated Saturday afternoon to add numbers of abstentions
Updated Sunday to correct date of Southwell & Nottingham synod

Manchester diocesan synod voted on the Anglican Covenant motion this morning.

The motion in favour of the covenant was defeated in all three houses.

Bishops: 1 for / 2 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy: 15 for / 25 against / 0 abstentions
Laity: 12 for / 23 against / 7 abstentions

With this result the current figures are 25 diocesan synods against and 15 in favour of the Covenant.

The remaining four dioceses will vote after Easter: Southwell & Nottingham (21 April), Chichester (21 April), Newcastle (28 April) and York (28 April).

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 31 March 2012 at 11:31am BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 30 March 2012

Comments on an archbishop's resignation

Much has been written about the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his acceptance of the Mastership of Magdalene College Cambridge. Much of this has not been worth reading, but here are some of the better articles.

Benjamin Myers in Times Higher Education: An inclusive mission

Stephen Crittenden in The Global Mail: The Philosopher Priest

Giles Fraser in The Guardian: Rowan Williams was brilliant, but failed to bridge chasm of divided church

George Conger in the Church of England Newspaper: The Rowan Williams years and Overseas reactions to Dr. Williams’ resignation

The Tablet has this editorial: Wanted: Superhuman Anglican.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 30 March 2012 at 9:23pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Church press on the Anglican Covenant defeat in England

The Church of Ireland Gazette has this editorial opinion: Anglican Covenant, Anglicanism and The Church of Ireland.

It might well be said that the unthinkable happened last weekend, with the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant coming to grief in the Church of England of all places (report, page 1). Yet, that is precisely what happened, and it will surely go down in the annals of Anglican history. The Covenant had been intended as an agreement with procedures that would help keep the Anglican Communion in one piece when facing contentious issues. Undoubtedly, it arose as a result of the inter-Anglican same-sex relationships controversy that has now seen its own fraught manifestation in the Church of Ireland playing out since last autumn and occasioning, earlier this month, a unique Bishops’ Conference on the topic for General Synod members.

One aspect of the Church of England débâcle that no doubt will be the subject of careful consideration in the relevant quarters is the fact that in some of the diocesan synods the voting was very close. In theory, following reflection at the English General Synod on what has transpired, the Covenant could be put back on the table in the Church of England after a lapse of three years, but there are at least two reasons why this is unlikely: first, as the No Anglican Covenant Coalition has pointed out, the Covenant is facing difficulties in some other parts of the Communion and, second, in any case, the passage of time and considerable disagreements about it have left the Covenant unable really to deal with the differences in the Communion over same-sex relationships. Other divisive issues could, of course, arise, but it is difficult to see all the requisite superabundance of energy actually now being summoned to recover and progress the Covenant (perhaps).

The moral of the story has at least two dimensions. First, from a practical perspective, when faced with a divisive crisis, setting up a bureaucratic procedure that is going to take years to get anywhere, if it is to get anywhere at all, is hardly a good idea. If anyone thought that ‘buying time’ would allow the same-sex relationships imbroglio to subside, that was a very mistaken notion, and we in the Church of Ireland do need to take note of that as we face our own difficulties over the issue.

Second, from a more conceptual perspective, we now know, as surely as we can know, that Anglicanism is set to remain a Communion of wholly autonomous Churches, bound together by ‘bonds of affection’. It should be added, however, that such mutual affection is far from a weak ideal; it is, in fact, a considerable calling and it is surely true that at times we do have to work at loving one another. There has been talk about being in communion implying ‘interdependence’ and thus justifying central regulation, however light, but that interdependence argument is actually quite vague because everything in the world is interdependent and, from an ecclesiological perspective, all Christians of whatever denomination, in communion or out of communion, are interdependent. Thus, as Anglicans, we are all, across the globe, now challenged to ponder our affection for one another and, where it is waning, to seek to nurture it carefully and prayerfully….

The Church Times has this leader: After the Covenant.

ANYONE offered a welcoming doughnut and a seat near the projector on arrival at church on Sunday would probably have guessed that it was one of the growing number of Messy Church services. But even if things looked normal, they weren’t. After the diocesan votes on the previous day, it is all Messy Church. The Anglican Covenant — an attempt to introduce order to the Communion — was tipped into oblivion, at least as far as the Church of England goes.

Without the Covenant, it was argued, national Churches had no formal obligation to consider the “relational consequences” (a coinage of the Covenant text) of their actions on other Churches in the Communion. Dr Williams warned that, without the Covenant, he found it “hard at present to see another way forward that would avoid further disintegration”. One of the troubling aspect of the Covenant debates — such as they have been — is the impression given by critics that they can not only live with disintegration but positively welcome it, if it means not having to relate to people with whom they disagree fundamentally.
In the end, Anglicans have discovered what another ecclesial body might have told them from the start: in the present age, a text cannot hold Churches together in the way that a person can. Given that no text will be perfect, a degree of affection is needed to persuade people to subscribe. An individual can earn that affection; a text (poetry excepted), never — especially a text monitored by a standing committee that few understand and none recognise. Time and again in the General Synod, affection for Dr Williams carried members along; but he was absent in the diocesan synods, and the link was broken…

Giles Fraser writes Covenant is dead. Long live unity.

I WILL not disguise my joy at the death of the Anglican Covenant. And death it is — despite the fact that some people will inevitably try to give its corpse the kiss of life. The idea that the Church of England has given it so emphatic a thumbs-down, especially in the face of huge episcopal and archiepiscopal lobby­ing, is evidence of how un­popular the idea is in the pews.

Here, the majority of bishops have shown themselves to be completely out of touch with the centre of gravity of the Church of England. It is not that we do not care about our brothers and sisters in other parts of the Communion. It is simply that we want our Christian solidarity to be expressed through our Anglican heritage, our common baptism, and the development of friendships — and not through a treaty that can be haggled over by church politicians, the purpose of which was always to isolate those Churches that had a different view of sexual ethics…

And there is a news report by Ed Thornton Challenges remain, Primate warns, after dioceses block Anglican Covenant.

…Speaking on Monday, Dr Williams said: “This is, of course, a disap­pointing outcome for many of us in the Church of England and many more in the Communion. Unfor­tunately, the challenges the Covenant was meant to address will not go away just because people vote against it.

“We shall still have to work at vehicles for consultation and manag­ing disagreement. And nothing should lessen the priority of sus­taining relationships, especially with some of those smaller and vulner­able Churches for whom strong international links are so crucial.”

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, a patron of the Yes to the Covenant Coalition, said on Tuesday that he was “disappointed”; but “we have to trust the mind of the Church. I simply hope that the Anglican Communion can flourish a different way, without what I thought was its best hope.”
The Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, who voted against the Covenant in Oxford diocesan synod, said that its defeat in the C of E was an “opportunity to grow up, to take stock, and to get real. It’s very sad that a large number of bishops were out of touch on this one.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 30 March 2012 at 8:12am BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | Church of Ireland

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Anglican Covenant: London Diocesan Synod

London diocesan synod voted on the Anglican Covenant motion this evening.

The motion in favour of the covenant was lost, being defeated in both the houses of laity and clergy.

Bishops: 2 for / 1 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy: 17 for / 32 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 26 for / 33 against / 2 abstentions

These are the confirmed figures taken from the diocesan website, please ignore earlier incorrect results taken from a garbled tweet.

With this result the current figures are 24 diocesan synods against and 15 in favour of the Covenant.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 29 March 2012 at 8:01pm BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Anglican Covenant: further reactions to its English rejection

Bishop Alan Wilson has written Boot and Reboot?

The boot goes into the Anglican Covenant. Time to reboot?

We could try to defibrillate the whole thing hoping that somehow this process that has just split the Church of England down the middle will somehow transmute into a great Focus of Unity. That way madness lies — stupidity that repeats the same mistake over again, hoping for a different result. Another very English option is to pretend nothing really happened, sit on our hands going “ho-hum” whilst, as Covenant supporters sometimes prognosticated, the sky falls in, or not.

Wouldn’t it be healthier to acknowledge reality? Take this as an invitation to look at the painful image in the mirror. Bishops were largely out of touch. In spite of, nay, because of our infantilised “Daddy knows best” culture, Daddy got it wrong. The troops did not buy a well-intentioned attempt to lick us into denominational shape. Much heavy covenant sell failed to persuade. It did not explain why or how bureaucratic accountability would improve on a free relationship of equals. Always start with “why?”

Bishop Graham Kings has written Communion Connections:Web of Mutuality or Fragmentation?

…It seems to me that there are three options for the future shape of the Anglican Communion. First, the ‘web of mutuality’ manifested in the Covenant, which provides autonomy and interdependence with accountability. This is the broad centre ground of those who vote for the Covenant, and includes the leaders of the Communion-minded Global South Anglican movement, based in Singapore.

Second, ‘confessionalism’, gathered around the Jerusalem Declaration of the conservative Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), the follow up group to the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON). Based currently in Nairobi, FCA hosts a conference in London from 23-27 April, at which some members of the Global South Anglican Movement will also attend.

Third, ‘independent autonomy’, following the radically liberal current leaders of The Episcopal Church, in the USA, (TEC).

Following further likely controversial decisions of TEC’s General Convention in July, there may well be more fragmentation between the first two and the third options. These decisions, together with the English vote, may lead to the Anglican Communion declining into a Federation or Association…

Benjamin Guyer has written Defending the Bishops which is a reply to Diarmaid MacCulloch’s article in the Guardian linked here previously.

…MacCulloch’s arguments are weak at best. But there is something more going on here than poor reasoning, for MacCulloch is advancing an idiosyncratic argument in favor of populism. On the one hand, vox populi non vox Dei est (the voice of the people is not the voice of God). The bishops are not now, never have been, and never will be under any obligation simply to follow the laity. The Church of England is the whole ecclesiastical body. To borrow from St. Paul, the body is “made up of many parts” (1 Cor. 12:12). There is no theological reason why one ecclesiastical office should be collapsed into another. Curiously, and in an oversimplification bordering upon historical falsehood, MacCulloch asserts that once upon a time the British episcopal churches “wanted to monopolise every form of religious expression.” But by demanding that the bishops sacrifice their voice, it is MacCulloch and his supporters who desire such monopoly. MacCulloch’s anti-authoritarianism thinly veils his own longing for domination and control.

Since at least the British civil wars of the 1640s, marginal groups with revolutionary intentions have claimed that they alone speak for “the people.” But such totalizing declarations should be met with considerable skepticism. Claiming to speak for the people may be both an act of deception and an act of manipulation. Of course, the Anglican Covenant is about the Anglican Communion, not about sexuality. This is why sexuality is not discussed in the Covenant at all. Only a grand conspiracy theory can hold otherwise. Such theories may appeal to some of the now-aged children of the 1960s, but we live in the 21st century. And today MacCulloch’s writing has been shown — yet again — to be selective, speculative, tendentious and agenda-ridden.

Benny Hazlehurst has written Anglican Covenant - Rest in Peace.

…The fact that so many clergy and lay people voted against their Bishops showed that when they really looked beneath the surface of the proposed Covenant, they found it wanting. And in doing so time and time again, they defeated the platform. And where Bishops had the courage of their convictions and voted against, they found themselves at one with their flock, rather than trying to drag them along in humble submission.

There are those who are still trying to pretend that the Covenant is still alive, desperately trying to breathe life into its limp body, while claiming still to feel the faintest pulse. They are mistaken.

What is needed now is to recognise the will of the Synodical process, and express deep and sincere thanks to those who genuinely tried to find a way forward for the Anglican Communion in the form of a Covenant – and to let it now Rest in Peace.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 at 8:00am BST | Comments (38) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

more reactions to the Anglican Covenant's rejection in England

Yes to the Covenant has issued this press release (not yet on its website):

ANGLICAN COVENANT SUPPORTERS EXPRESS ‘DEEEP REGRET

Supporters of the Anglican Communion Covenant have expressed their deep regret at the decision by the majority of Church of England Dioceses not to support the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant. Although in total more people in Diocesan Synods voted for the Covenant than against it, the rules required a majority of both clergy and laity in favour in each Diocese in order for it to go through. The decisions means that the Covenant has now been officially rejected by the Church of England, and will not be going forward for ratification by the General Synod later in the year.

Prudence Dailey, a member of General Synod and co-founder of the ‘Yes to the Covenant’ campaign, said: ‘I deeply regret what I believe to be a profoundly mistaken decision, especially when the General Synod had previously given the Covenant such overwhelming support. Many in the worldwide Anglican Communion were pinning their hopes on the Covenant as the only way forward, and I cannot help wondering what they—and especially those Provinces that have already ratified the Covenant—will make of us in the Church of England’.

She indicated that she hoped those dioceses yet to vote would still take the voting seriously to enable the mind of the whole Church of England to be reflected, and that many of them would vote in favour. Although this would not affect the outcome, it would be symbolically significant, she explained.

‘At the same time’, she said, ‘it is now necessary to look forwards rather than back. Many Provinces have already ratified the Covenant, and others may well do so; and its provisions will remain in force for those who have signed up to it. The new Archbishop of Canterbury has now potentially been left with an even more difficult and challenging task than his predecessor, but I hope and pray that a way can still be found to keep Anglicans together in a meaningful and coherent sense’. It remained to be seen whether or not it would still be possible for the Church of England to remain in any sense at the heart of the Anglican Communion, she added.

Andrew Brown has written at Cif belief about The Anglican schism. The international Anglican communion was always a rather ridiculous notion, but liberals may not like what replaces it

Historians know it is difficult to date a schism, just as it’s difficult to point to the precise row when a marriage breaks down. But in his article for the Guardian, Diarmaid MacCulloch might, I think, have pointed out that the end of the covenant also marks the end of the Anglican communion, which was always a slightly ridiculous conception, and more of an idea than an administrative reality. I still think that the single most perfectly comic line that George Carey ever delivered in his previous role as archbishop of Canterbury, was his statement to the UN general assembly that “The Anglican communion, with 80m members, is well placed to be a major player”.

Carey’s grandiosity can be put in proportion by remembering that 30 million of the Anglicans he purported to lead when he said that, were in England, most of them quite unaware of his existence.

But that doesn’t mean the communion was nothing but a comedy act, nor that its end is an entirely good thing. Christians ought to be able to agree without discipline, and for many years it appeared that the Anglican communion might offer a model for how they could do so across huge cultural and national boundaries. What, after all, did the church in New Zealand have in common with that in Nigeria, except for the accident that both descended from British colonies? For nearly 150 years, the idea of the Anglican communion seemed to supply some kind of answer: they cared about each other, and cared to some extent for each other. Once every ten years, their bishops would come to Canterbury to demonstrate this, at a shindig called the Lambeth conference…

The Anglican Communion Institute has published The Communion After Williams.

…Given the current state of the Instruments of Communion – Canterbury, Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meeting and the ACC – it is likely that many African and Asian churches will simply choose not to participate in these councils and relationships. The Covenant, precisely in its likely rejection by the Church of England and other Western churches, can now provide an alternative means of Anglican witness for non-Western churches that is nonetheless able to maintain its links with ongoing Communion structures. Saying “No” to the Covenant is something the Covenant itself acknowledges as possible, and churches like England’s are exercising that choice. But no one can say “No” in such a way as to co-opt the choice of others to say “Yes”, and it is for those who embrace the Covenant now to chart its common usefulness, which remains one of rich possibility. In general, the key to the Covenant’s dynamic adaptation to the needs of its adopting members lies in the fact that its ongoing shape and application is under the exclusive governance of those who have adopted it. And key to its potential unifying role in the future are its origins, content, and intrinsic interest in the older structures and membership of the Communion itself.

Three elements now place a wedge between any future covenanting Anglican churches and not only the Church of England, but the current Instruments of Communion themselves. First, the Covenant itself grants a functional role to the Archbishop of Canterbury within the Instruments of Communion (3.1.4); second, after its recent legal reorganization, the ACC is now an English company, whose membership for purposes of English law is the Standing Committee, of which the Archbishop of Canterbury is an ex officio member; third, Paragraph 4.2.8 of the Covenant limits participation in the Instruments for purposes of the Covenant to “those members of the Instruments of Communion who are representatives of those churches who have adopted the Covenant, or who are still in the process of adoption.” It is difficult to see, then, how the current Instruments can function for the Covenant, without the Church of England, in the absence of substantial clarification of the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as a “representative” of the Church of England. The problem with the current Instruments is only magnified by the near certainty that other western churches, who collectively exercise disproportionate influence over the Instruments, will refuse the Covenant as well.

Fortunately, the Covenant already lays out the procedural means for resolving these difficulties through its amendment provision. Paragraph 4.4.2 provides that any “covenanting Church” (or Instrument) can propose an amendment, which will take effect when ratified by three quarters of the covenanting Churches. A proposed amendment is to be submitted “through” the Standing Committee, which solicits advice and makes recommendations; but the Standing Committee’s role is mandatory not discretionary. It has no discretion to refrain from sending the proposal to the covenanting Churches for ratification. If for any reason the Standing Committee failed to send the proposed amendment out as required in dereliction of its duty, the covenanting Churches could simply deem that procedural step waived. And it must be emphasized that neither the Instruments nor the non-covenanting Churches have any ability either to amend the Covenant or to interfere in the decision of the covenanting Churches to amend. The Covenant now lies outside their control. The Covenant offers a way out of the impasse Williams’ resignation has now exposed. And it does so in a fashion that is continuous with the Communion’s own movement and spirit of counsel – it is, in other words, ecclesially legitimate…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 at 8:17am BST | Comments (29) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 26 March 2012

Anglican Covenant rejection in England: various reactions

Updated

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition issued this press release.

The Guardian has published this article by Diarmaid MacCulloch The Anglican church can start afresh. The recent vote against the Anglican covenant is hugely significant. But are the bishops ready to listen?

…So now Anglicanism needs to move forward and forget this sorry diversion, into which many perfectly well-meaning people poured a huge amount of energy over a decade when they might have been doing something useful. Woe betide any attempt to revive it, though I notice that the secretary general of the Anglican communion (now there’s an office that sounds ripe for culling) is clearly determined to keep it alive. To judge by a press statement he issued after the votes, he simply hasn’t understood the scale of the catastrophe the covenant has suffered at the hands of ordinary English Anglicans.

Anglicanism has the chance to rediscover painful lessons from its chequered past. After the 16th century Reformation, Scotland, Ireland and England all had churches with bishops. All three churches wanted to monopolise every form of religious expression throughout the realm. All failed.

In the end, episcopal churches were disestablished in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but even the established Church of England learned that it could not boss around an entire nation, and had to accept that it ministered within a country of many faiths and none. That is a precious lesson to teach its many sister churches worldwide. Try and lay down the law in that delicate, nuanced thing that is religious belief, and you end up damaging or hurting a great many people.

Anglicanism could be seen as a family: in families, you don’t expect everyone to think in exactly the same way. You listen, you shout, cry, talk, compromise. You do not show the door to one member of the family, just because you don’t agree with them. Now Anglicans can start listening afresh. The present archbishop of Canterbury has their warm good wishes, as he prepares to use his many talents and graces in a different setting. They should ask the next man or woman in the job to reconnect with the church and the nation.

Fulcrum has published this article by Andrew Goddard The Anglican Communion Covenant and the Church of England: Ramifications.

Executive Summary

  • The Church of England cannot reconsider the covenant until 2015.
  • Although diocesan votes are quite strongly against, actual votes cast remain marginally for the covenant and English supporters need to continue advocating for the covenant and its vision.
  • The covenant will continue to be considered around the Communion – eight provinces have embraced it and ACC in November will take stock but cannot end the process. * Other provinces should be encouraged to adopt the covenant despite the English decision.
  • The Church of England remains a full member of the Communion.
  • Although the CofE’s representatives cannot now participate in decision-making about the covenant within the Instruments of Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as an Instrument rather than a provincial representative, may be able to do so.
  • There continue to be 3 visions of communion within the Communion – (1) the covenant vision of autonomy and interdependence with accountability, (2) the confessional GAFCON vision and (3) the TEC autonomy-as-independence vision. Only the first vision is likely to get the support of most provinces as, though different, it is compatible with the second but not the third vision.
  • The Communion now must choose between two main paths of significant reconfiguration – (A) A covenant-focussed Communion but with the Church of England outside the covenant, (B) A looser, more incoherent Communion with various networks within or possibly separate from it.
  • Archbishop Rowan’s via media approach of holding the Communion together by enabling conversation within the framework of upholding the Windsor Report, Lambeth I.10 and the covenant now needs major restructuring if it is to survive.
  • Neither the Communion nor the Church of England can remain unchanged by this development which makes it harder for Anglicanism’s distinctive historic tradition and global communion of churches to “survive with all its aspects intact”.

Anglican Mainstream has published Anglican Communion Covenant will not be debated by CofE General Synod.

…Bishop Michael Nazir Ali said that “I am disappointed that the Anglican Communion Covenant, even in its watered down version,has failed to gain the support of the Church of England. This now means that the Jerusalem Statement (2008) is now ‘The only game in town.’”

In which connection, there is this announcement of a GAFCON meeting in London in April.

Update

Here are two more analyses:

Pluralist Analysis of the Anglican Futures

In terms of the Anglican Communion, the balkanisation that was taking place will now obviously continue. There will be those Anglicans who do use the Covenant, which will be like a declaration to each other of being relatively conservative. There will be those Anglicans of the Jerusalem Declaration (who may and may not also Covenant - see below why probably not) who are producing a strongly doctrinal Protestant version of Anglicanism. Then there will be those leaving open a more flexible future outside any Covenant.

Whatever happens, Anglicans of the confessional and doctrinal type are going to be competitive. I can’t see the Covenant as a process being sufficient for them, but then they have additional statements. The real issue for them is how they try on international oversight via their own Primates’ Council and attempt to compete using fellowship structures. Churches ‘taken on’ by them will have to force the GAFCON/ FCA into independence, possibly then forming an Anglican Church of Northern Europe (or similar title) to parallel ACNA (or have one ACN).

The fact is that if an Anglican congregation decides to ignore the diocesan bishop and seek fellowship structures and international oversight instead, the congregation will lose its church building and the parish restored. Those seeking other oversight will have to leave and be self-sufficient, and this is the means by which ‘entryism’ if practised becomes separation. There aren’t the property issues as in North America but there are issues of dioceses and structures.

The Church of England will have competition within from outside as one faction but it will also have those who dream of Covenanting. These hopefuls (of reintroducing legislation) will include diocesan bishops who can behave as if they are Covenanting. They might even declare themselves ‘Windsor Compliant bishops’, but some would do so knowing they didn’t carry their own dioceses with them. But dioceses cannot join the Covenant, and it was invasive of Rowan Williams to suggest that some American bishops could escape their own province. Only by being competitive, can they: canon law is by Church, not Communion or Covenant. One could only see such an outcome of ‘Windsor Compliants’ popping up within the Church of England if the Conservative Evangelicals were invasive in terms of competition and nothing much was being done about them…

Paul Bagshaw A personal postmortem

…The Church of England

  • The defeat will echo round the CofE’s structures of governance for some time to come.
  • It puts a question mark against the relationship of bishop to diocese (or, at least, to diocesan synod). Some will draw the lesson that new ways must be found to reduce opposition to the leadership; others, that better - more open, more 2-way communication - working relations between leadership and the rest of the diocese is needed.
  • Synodical government itself came under great strain. Win or lose, the tactics used by some bishops, and the Covenant’s inherent overweaning character, was designed to marginalise voters and thus, to diminish the whole system of synodical government.
  • This was possible because it had been steadily weakened over years. The normal tone of deference, the occasional note of ‘fear’ of opposing the bishops, the appeal to loyalty as a motive to vote, all undermine rational and prayerful decision making.
  • The premium placed on the univocal character of the House of Bishops in recent times may either be reinforced or called into question.
  • Will liberals feel emboldened again (after 20 years of Evangelicals making the running)?
  • If so, will an increasingly liberal Church of England move further away from the churches of the Global South, schism or no schism?
  • Establishment will be untouched by this - though it might have been had the Covenant been implemented…

Peter Carrell The Anglican Association and the Anglican Communion

Ideas have their time and some ideas find their time does not come according to their supporters timetable. The Anglican Covenant may prove to be such an idea as a proposal for the Anglican Communion. (It has clearly proved in the last few days to be an idea whose time has not yet come for the Church of England). As the Living Church editorial I pointed to yesterday says, we can look back to 1963 and the Toronto Congress to see that the notion of mutual responsibility and interdependence has charted the evolution of the Communion for nearly fifty years:

“The [No Anglican Covenant] coalition’s opposition to the Covenant has principally centered on a sustained disinterest in global Communion structures, funded by an unhappy amnesia (at best, ignorance at worst) regarding the modern evolution of the Anglican Communion. Among other things, prescribed reading for all members of the NACC, and those tempted to follow them, would include the report from the 1963 Anglican Congress in Toronto, Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ, which charted the course for inter-Anglican conversation of the last half century in a visionary, missionary mode.”

Will future historians look back and see that the Anglican Covenant’s rejection by sufficient member churches to prevent its effective implementation was just a hiccup on the way to fulfilment of the Toronto vision? Were that to be so then the next period of Communion life will likely show signs of the situation being a hiccup rather than a dead end. Here is how our global life might play out over the next few decades…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 26 March 2012 at 8:51am BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Anglican Communion | Church of England

Anglican Covenant rejection in England: various reactions

Updated

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition issued this press release.

The Guardian has published this article by Diarmaid MacCulloch The Anglican church can start afresh. The recent vote against the Anglican covenant is hugely significant. But are the bishops ready to listen?

…So now Anglicanism needs to move forward and forget this sorry diversion, into which many perfectly well-meaning people poured a huge amount of energy over a decade when they might have been doing something useful. Woe betide any attempt to revive it, though I notice that the secretary general of the Anglican communion (now there’s an office that sounds ripe for culling) is clearly determined to keep it alive. To judge by a press statement he issued after the votes, he simply hasn’t understood the scale of the catastrophe the covenant has suffered at the hands of ordinary English Anglicans.

Anglicanism has the chance to rediscover painful lessons from its chequered past. After the 16th century Reformation, Scotland, Ireland and England all had churches with bishops. All three churches wanted to monopolise every form of religious expression throughout the realm. All failed.

In the end, episcopal churches were disestablished in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but even the established Church of England learned that it could not boss around an entire nation, and had to accept that it ministered within a country of many faiths and none. That is a precious lesson to teach its many sister churches worldwide. Try and lay down the law in that delicate, nuanced thing that is religious belief, and you end up damaging or hurting a great many people.

Anglicanism could be seen as a family: in families, you don’t expect everyone to think in exactly the same way. You listen, you shout, cry, talk, compromise. You do not show the door to one member of the family, just because you don’t agree with them. Now Anglicans can start listening afresh. The present archbishop of Canterbury has their warm good wishes, as he prepares to use his many talents and graces in a different setting. They should ask the next man or woman in the job to reconnect with the church and the nation.

Fulcrum has published this article by Andrew Goddard The Anglican Communion Covenant and the Church of England: Ramifications.

Executive Summary

  • The Church of England cannot reconsider the covenant until 2015.
  • Although diocesan votes are quite strongly against, actual votes cast remain marginally for the covenant and English supporters need to continue advocating for the covenant and its vision.
  • The covenant will continue to be considered around the Communion – eight provinces have embraced it and ACC in November will take stock but cannot end the process. * Other provinces should be encouraged to adopt the covenant despite the English decision.
  • The Church of England remains a full member of the Communion.
  • Although the CofE’s representatives cannot now participate in decision-making about the covenant within the Instruments of Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as an Instrument rather than a provincial representative, may be able to do so.
  • There continue to be 3 visions of communion within the Communion – (1) the covenant vision of autonomy and interdependence with accountability, (2) the confessional GAFCON vision and (3) the TEC autonomy-as-independence vision. Only the first vision is likely to get the support of most provinces as, though different, it is compatible with the second but not the third vision.
  • The Communion now must choose between two main paths of significant reconfiguration – (A) A covenant-focussed Communion but with the Church of England outside the covenant, (B) A looser, more incoherent Communion with various networks within or possibly separate from it.
  • Archbishop Rowan’s via media approach of holding the Communion together by enabling conversation within the framework of upholding the Windsor Report, Lambeth I.10 and the covenant now needs major restructuring if it is to survive.
  • Neither the Communion nor the Church of England can remain unchanged by this development which makes it harder for Anglicanism’s distinctive historic tradition and global communion of churches to “survive with all its aspects intact”.

Anglican Mainstream has published Anglican Communion Covenant will not be debated by CofE General Synod.

…Bishop Michael Nazir Ali said that “I am disappointed that the Anglican Communion Covenant, even in its watered down version,has failed to gain the support of the Church of England. This now means that the Jerusalem Statement (2008) is now ‘The only game in town.’”

In which connection, there is this announcement of a GAFCON meeting in London in April.

Update

Here are two more analyses:

Pluralist Analysis of the Anglican Futures

In terms of the Anglican Communion, the balkanisation that was taking place will now obviously continue. There will be those Anglicans who do use the Covenant, which will be like a declaration to each other of being relatively conservative. There will be those Anglicans of the Jerusalem Declaration (who may and may not also Covenant - see below why probably not) who are producing a strongly doctrinal Protestant version of Anglicanism. Then there will be those leaving open a more flexible future outside any Covenant.

Whatever happens, Anglicans of the confessional and doctrinal type are going to be competitive. I can’t see the Covenant as a process being sufficient for them, but then they have additional statements. The real issue for them is how they try on international oversight via their own Primates’ Council and attempt to compete using fellowship structures. Churches ‘taken on’ by them will have to force the GAFCON/ FCA into independence, possibly then forming an Anglican Church of Northern Europe (or similar title) to parallel ACNA (or have one ACN).

The fact is that if an Anglican congregation decides to ignore the diocesan bishop and seek fellowship structures and international oversight instead, the congregation will lose its church building and the parish restored. Those seeking other oversight will have to leave and be self-sufficient, and this is the means by which ‘entryism’ if practised becomes separation. There aren’t the property issues as in North America but there are issues of dioceses and structures.

The Church of England will have competition within from outside as one faction but it will also have those who dream of Covenanting. These hopefuls (of reintroducing legislation) will include diocesan bishops who can behave as if they are Covenanting. They might even declare themselves ‘Windsor Compliant bishops’, but some would do so knowing they didn’t carry their own dioceses with them. But dioceses cannot join the Covenant, and it was invasive of Rowan Williams to suggest that some American bishops could escape their own province. Only by being competitive, can they: canon law is by Church, not Communion or Covenant. One could only see such an outcome of ‘Windsor Compliants’ popping up within the Church of England if the Conservative Evangelicals were invasive in terms of competition and nothing much was being done about them…

Paul Bagshaw A personal postmortem

…The Church of England

  • The defeat will echo round the CofE’s structures of governance for some time to come.
  • It puts a question mark against the relationship of bishop to diocese (or, at least, to diocesan synod). Some will draw the lesson that new ways must be found to reduce opposition to the leadership; others, that better - more open, more 2-way communication - working relations between leadership and the rest of the diocese is needed.
  • Synodical government itself came under great strain. Win or lose, the tactics used by some bishops, and the Covenant’s inherent overweaning character, was designed to marginalise voters and thus, to diminish the whole system of synodical government.
  • This was possible because it had been steadily weakened over years. The normal tone of deference, the occasional note of ‘fear’ of opposing the bishops, the appeal to loyalty as a motive to vote, all undermine rational and prayerful decision making.
  • The premium placed on the univocal character of the House of Bishops in recent times may either be reinforced or called into question.
  • Will liberals feel emboldened again (after 20 years of Evangelicals making the running)?
  • If so, will an increasingly liberal Church of England move further away from the churches of the Global South, schism or no schism?
  • Establishment will be untouched by this - though it might have been had the Covenant been implemented…

Peter Carrell The Anglican Association and the Anglican Communion

Ideas have their time and some ideas find their time does not come according to their supporters timetable. The Anglican Covenant may prove to be such an idea as a proposal for the Anglican Communion. (It has clearly proved in the last few days to be an idea whose time has not yet come for the Church of England). As the Living Church editorial I pointed to yesterday says, we can look back to 1963 and the Toronto Congress to see that the notion of mutual responsibility and interdependence has charted the evolution of the Communion for nearly fifty years:

“The [No Anglican Covenant] coalition’s opposition to the Covenant has principally centered on a sustained disinterest in global Communion structures, funded by an unhappy amnesia (at best, ignorance at worst) regarding the modern evolution of the Anglican Communion. Among other things, prescribed reading for all members of the NACC, and those tempted to follow them, would include the report from the 1963 Anglican Congress in Toronto, Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ, which charted the course for inter-Anglican conversation of the last half century in a visionary, missionary mode.”

Will future historians look back and see that the Anglican Covenant’s rejection by sufficient member churches to prevent its effective implementation was just a hiccup on the way to fulfilment of the Toronto vision? Were that to be so then the next period of Communion life will likely show signs of the situation being a hiccup rather than a dead end. Here is how our global life might play out over the next few decades…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 26 March 2012 at 8:51am BST | Comments (31) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Anglican Communion | Church of England

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Have eight provinces adopted the Covenant?

The Secretary General writes: “I have received notifications from eight Provinces…” but this is not the whole story.

The promoters of the document have insisted that it has to be adopted exactly as it stands, and that adopting it only in part, or with amendments to the text, is not an option.

Item: he lists Southern Africa, which has not yet completed its process.

Item: he lists Ireland, which insisted that it had “subscribed” and evidently thought that it was important not to have used the word “adopted”. This may be an Irish subtlety too far for the rest of us to understand.

Item: he lists South East Asia which can only be said to have adopted the existing text by the application of Humpty Dumpty logic. Here is the link to the full text of their Preamble to the Letter of Accession.

So I would say that at the present time the number of adopters is really only six (including Ireland).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 3:16pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

English Covenant votes - press reports

A few reports have already appeared in the press about the rejection of the Anglican Communion Covenant by a majority of Church of England diocesan synods.

Avril Ormsby for Reuters English church votes down pact to unite Anglicans

BBC Half of the Church of England’s dioceses reject unity covenant including Analysis by Robert Pigott

The Independent CoE votes against covenant on divisive issues

And there is a mention towards the end of this article by Cole Moreton and Edward Malnick in The Telegraph Twitter users invited to help choose the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 11:27am GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Secretary General on the Anglican Communion Covenant

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has just issued this press release.

The Secretary General on the Anglican Communion Covenant
Posted On : March 24, 2012 3:58 PM | Posted By : Admin ACO
ACNS: ACNS5076
Related Categories: ACO

In the light of today’s news about the decisions of the dioceses of the Church of England about the Covenant I wanted to clarify the current situation across the Anglican Communion.

In December 2009, as requested by the Standing Committee, I sent the text of The Anglican Communion Covenant to all the Member Churches of the Anglican Communion asking that they consider it for adoption according to their own internal procedures.

I have received notifications from eight Provinces that they have approved, or subscribed, the Covenant or, in the case of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, have approved pending ratification at the next synod which is usual procedure in that Province.

These Provinces are:
The Church of Ireland
The Anglican Church of Mexico
The Church of the Province of Myanmar
The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
The Church of the Province of South East Asia
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
The Church in the Province of the West Indies

What next steps are taken by the Church of England is up to that Province. Consideration of the Covenant continues across the Anglican Communion and this was always expected to be a lengthy process. I look forward to all the reports of progress to date at the ACC-15 in New Zealand in November.

Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 4:39pm GMT | Comments (30) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Church of Nigeria reacts to Archbishop of Canterbury's Resignation

from the website of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

Church of Nigeria reacts to Archbishop of Canterbury’s Resignation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized, with issues of revisionist interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and human sexuality as stumbling blocks to oneness, evangelism and mission all around the Anglican world.

It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”. The lowest ebb of this degeneration came in 2008, when there were, so to say, two “Lambeth” Conferences one in the UK, and an alternative one, GAFCON in Jerusalem. The trend continued recently when many Global South Primates decided not to attend the last Primates’ meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Since Dr. Rowan Williams did not resign in 2008, over the split Lambeth Conference, one would have expected him to stay on in office, and work assiduously to ‘mend the net’ or repair the breach, before bowing out of office. The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed”.

For us, the announcement does not present any opportunity for excitement. It is not good news here, until whoever comes as the next leader pulls back the Communion from the edge of total destruction. To this end, we commit our Church, the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to serious fasting and prayers that God will do “a new thing”, in the Communion.

Nevertheless, we join others to continue in prayer for Dr. Rowan Williams and his family for a more fruitful endeavour in their post – Canterbury life.

+Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 3:58pm GMT | Comments (60) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Bishop of Liverpool on the Anglican Covenant

Updated

The Diocese of Liverpool voted yesterday to reject the Anglican Covenant. The presidential address to the diocesan synod by the Right Reverend James Jones can be found in full as a PDF file here.

Update the full address can now be seen on video here.

A press release about it from the diocese: The Anglican Covenant will undermine not save the Communion.

In his Presidential Address to the synod of the Diocese of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones readdresses his longstanding concerns about the creation of the Covenant. The Bishop will tell synod “far from being the salvation of the Communion the Anglican Covenant would undermine it”.

Bishop James set out six key concerns over the Covenant.

  • That in a litigious world where the religious dimension makes this more fraught the Covenant with “its explicit threats of ‘relational consequences’ will be making our Communion more vulnerable to those forces that propel people forward in litigation.”
  • That the Communion will become increasingly absorbed by internal order which will take time money and energy – he will state “my heartache here is that those precious gifts of time, money and energy should be directed to the mission of God”.
  • That the church “has been born for mission” and the Covenant can introduce a dynamic the makes the communion resistant to change. As he says “instead of setting us free to engage with a changing world it freezes us at a given point in our formation, holding us back and making us nervous about going beyond the boundaries and reaching out into God’s world.” The Bishop argues that the “church must be free to go into all the world and to engage with new cultures enabling us all to learn Christ”.
  • Pointing to the Diocese of Liverpool’s relationship with the Diocese of Akure and the Diocese of Virginia he will say “the beauty of the Communion is that it allows for such ad hoc partnerships to spring up all over the world” and that “we learn most about the Gospel form those who differ from us”. The quasi legal nature of the Covenant will threaten that dynamic.
  • That through the Bible, the Creeds, the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, the 39 Articles and Book of Common Prayer we have sufficient credentials for our common life.
  • Bishop James also talked about the act of grace that it is to be in Christ stating “when we are in Christ, we are in Christ with everybody else who is in Christ, whether we like it or not- or them or not…”

The Bishop’s address continues his long stated contribution around how we should relate to those with whom we have differing theological or political viewpoints. From “Making space for truth and grace” to his speeches on the environment; relationships with other faiths and on the Ordination of women to the Episcopate the Bishop has urged a greater understanding of the opinions of those with whom we disagree. This is an approach the Bishop himself has taken within the Diocese of Liverpool as the diocese works together to pursue the mission of God in our region.

As Bishop James concludes “The Church of England and the Anglican Communion have over the centuries developed a generous embrace allowing seekers to taste and see the goodness of God. Within our borders there is a generous orthodoxy. There is space for the seeker to breathe, to enquire, to ask questions, to doubt and to grope towards faith and to find God. That I believe is a space within the Body of Christ worth preserving.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 2:05pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 16 March 2012

Rowan Williams announces his retirement

Lambeth Palace press release: Archbishop of Canterbury to be Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge

Archbishop Rowan Williams has today announced his acceptance of the position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge with effect from January 2013. He will therefore be stepping down from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December 2012.

Dr Williams’ intentions have been conveyed to The Queen, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and who formally appoints the Archbishop of Canterbury…

Bishopthorpe Palace press release: Statement Regarding Archbishop of Canterbury Stepping Down

Following the announcement this morning that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will be stepping down from his present office at the end of December, The Archbishop of York has released the following statement:

“It is with great sadness that I received the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury will be stepping down at the end of this year.

Our partnership in the gospel over the past six years has been the most creative period of my ministry. It has been life-giving to have led missions together, gone on retreats and prayed together. In his company I have drunk deeply from the wells of God’s mercy and love and it has all been joyful. He is a real brother to me in Christ…

General Synod members have been sent a copy of a note from the Secretary General (GS Misc 1019) to which is attached “Outline Of Procedures For The Appointment Of An Archbishop Of Canterbury”. We have made this available as a web page. Most of this GS Misc paper is also available here.

The Anglican Communion Office issued this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury announces he is stepping down at the end of the year.

Magdalene College Cambridge has issued this press release.

10 Downing Street issued PM Statement on resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lambeth Palace Archbishop’s interview with Press Association

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 16 March 2012 at 10:39am GMT | Comments (61) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 12 March 2012

Archbishop prays with the Pope

Anglican Communion News Service reports: Roman vespers unite Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury in prayer.

Anglicans and Roman Catholics share a somewhat turbulent history, but differences were brushed aside March 10 when Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI prayed together during an ecumenical vespers service at San Gregorio Magna al Celio in Rome.

The service marked the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Italy’s Camaldoli monastic community, which includes a presence at San Gregorio, a site of major significance to the origins of the Church of England.

Both Christian leaders, who held a private meeting earlier in the day to discuss human rights issues and concerns for the Holy Land, delivered a homily during the vespers and lit candles together in the chapel of St. Gregory…

Lambeth Palace has these texts:

Archbishop’s homily at Papal Vespers, San Gregorio Magno al Celio

Monastic Virtues and Ecumenical Hopes - Archbishop’s address at San Gregorio Magno

Archbishop’s sermon at St Paul’s Within the Walls, Rome

Monks and Mission: a perspective from England address at the Abbey of Monte Cassino

Episcopal News Service has Video: Archbishop of Canterbury preaches at Rome’s Episcopal church

Vatican Radio has these:

Full text: Pope Benedict XVI at ecumenical Vespers

Pope and Archbishop Williams discuss human rights, evangelisation and Middle East

And there is a transcript of the Vatican Radio interview here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 12 March 2012 at 6:12pm GMT | Comments (30) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Anglican Covenant: today's Sunday programme interview

On today’s BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme, there was a short item about the Anglican Covenant. Edward Stourton interviewed Diarmaid MacCulloch and Graham Kings.

The Diocese of Salisbury website carries a complete transcript of it: Transcript BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme 11 Mar 12. Discussion on the Anglican Communion

The BBC page for that programme is here. The audio is available as a podcast, as well as on iPlayer. The relevant section is also available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 11 March 2012 at 11:13pm GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Further critiques of the Anglican Covenant

Updated Monday

Paul Bagshaw has analysed the text of the video made on Monday of this week by the Archbishop of Canterbury. His article is titled Archbishop, I beg to differ.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is clearly anxious that the Covenant project is endangered in England. There is still a long way to go and neither side can be confident of victory for a few more weeks.

So, to shore up support, Rowan Williams has had to put out an appeal on YouTube. He has also sent it to those Dioceses which have yet to vote on the Covenant and asked diocesan officers to circulate it…

Andrew Davison has revised his earlier article to include some comments arising from the video, and the revised version is available here.

…In a statement on the Anglican Covenant of 5 March 2012, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote that the legal, fourth part of the Covenant does not erect a disciplinary system to force anyone to do anything. That is accurate, unfortunately, only in the most technical sense. The law of England does not force me not to steal or murder. However, it would impose punishments if I did, and that would be quite a disincentive, were I so tempted. Similarly, the Covenant does not force any Province to act one way or another, in that technical sense. It is, all the same, coercive and punitive: it is difficult to understand the exclusion of Provinces from full membership of the Communion as anything but a threat and a punishment…

And Malcolm French has written this: There was no YouTube in 1867.

…At the end of the day, only 76 of 144 bishops attended the first Lambeth Conference. Archbishop Longley’s assurance that the conference would neither have nor claim the status of a Pan-Anglican synod failed to reassure either Archbishop Thomson or Dean Stanley. Thomson and most of the bishops from the northern province refused to attend. Stanley refused to allow Westminster Abbey to be used for any part of the event. Bishop John Colenso of Natal, prefiguring the eventual unpersoning of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson in 2007, was simply not invited.

Of course, Longley won the immediate skirmish. The conference did not claim any synodical authority, and its resolutions were not binding on Anglicans at home or abroad.

But here’s what didn’t happen.

  • The Archbishop of Canterbury didn’t put out a YouTube video essentially calling Archbishop Thomson’s and Dean Stanley’s views “completely misleading and false” - and not only because there was no YouTube in 1867.
  • The Bishop of St. Asaph didn’t bleat on to The Times that critics of the conference idea were fascists - and not only because the term “fascist” hadn’t been invented yet.
  • The Bishop of Sherborne didn’t wander about the country claiming that anyone who didn’t support the conference idea was being disloyal to Archbishop Longley - and not only because the bishopric of Sherborne didn’t exist…

Update
Alan Perry has published Of Archbishops and Videos.

…But the biggest problem, as the Archbishop sees it, is not any quibbles obscure Canadians like me might have with sections 1-3. No, there is apparently some false propaganda circulating. As the Archbishop puts it:

one of the greatest misunderstandings around concerning the Covenant is that it’s some sort of centralising proposal creating an absolute authority which has the right to punish people for stepping out of line. I have to say I think this is completely misleading and false.

I would be more convinced if he were to demonstrate, citing the actual Covenant text of course, precisely why these concerns are “misleading and false.” Without doing so, he engages in unsupported assertions and even verges on ad hominem attacks.

The fact is, as I have already demonstrated, that the so-called dispute-settling process in section 4 of the proposed Covenant is vague, arbitrary and intrinsically unfair by design. And it is designed to determine winners and losers. Either an action by a Church is compatible or incompatible with the Covenant. And the decision is final, with no mechanism for further discussion or appeal.

Oh, says the Archbishop, “what the Covenant proposes is not a set of punishments, but a way of thinking through what the consequences are of decisions people freely and in good conscience make.” Given the vagueness of the process, it’s not much of a way of thinking through anything. We don’t even know how to start the process. It’s that unclear. I challenge the Archbishop to demonstrate where the Covenant text says how a question is to be raised, as it quaintly puts what elsewhere would be called lodging a complaint. It’s simply not there in the text…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 10 March 2012 at 3:23pm GMT | Comments (55) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

more from opponents of the Anglican Covenant

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has issued a press release, available as a PDF here:

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has added three new Patrons to its special group of eminent Anglicans opposing the proposed Anglican Covenant. The new Patrons are

  • The Rt. Revd. James White, Assistant Bishop of Auckland, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
  • Dr. Muriel Porter, OAM, journalist and author, Anglican Church of Australia
  • The Revd. Canon Dr. Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, Cambridge University, Church of England.

…“The disturbing theological vacuity of the Covenant document nonetheless comes with a hidden iron fist: do not be misled by its rhetoric of friendly collaboration between national churches,” writes Prof Coakley. “The Covenant bespeaks a quite different ecclesiology from that of Cranmer’s ‘blessed company of all faithful people,’ and profoundly alters what it means to be Anglican. The deepest theological challenges of our day cannot be answered by hapless bureaucratic manipulations of our theological tradition.”

Diarmaid MacCulloch has recorded a video in which he opposes the Covenant: see Diarmaid MacCulloch Adds To The Video Debate.

And, he also written a covering note Historical Problems with the Anglican Covenant for a learned paper The Anglican Covenant and the Experience of The Scottish Episcopal Church: Rewriting History for Expediencies Sake.

I would like to recommend most highly this historical article by the Ven. Edward Simonton, Archdeacon of Saint Andrews in the Diocese of Montreal. It is a marvelously clear, learned and well-informed introduction to the history and significance of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, which reveals just how shoddy and ill-informed are the historical arguments which have been used to promote the introduction of a so-called ‘Anglican Covenant’. Simonton guides his reader through the history of a Church in Scotland which is a complete contrast to that of the Church of England, yet which is just as ancient in its episcopate. This is particularly important because one of the planks of the ‘Covenant’ is that the Anglican identity, on which its attempt at universal discipline is based, looks to the Thirty-Nine Articles and the 1662 Prayer Book. This is simply not so in the case of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which one has to remember was up to 1707 a Church in an independent kingdom, Scotland…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 9:21am GMT | Comments (26) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 5 March 2012

more support for the Anglican Covenant

Updated

The Archbishop of Canterbury recorded this video at lunchtime today, according to a comment here earlier. There is a transcript as well.
Archbishop: why the Covenant matters.

Mark Chapman has published at Living Church an article titled Spatial Catholicity.

Fulcrum has published several articles:
Anglicans and Covenants: A Very Brief History by Benjamin M. Guyer
The Anglican Communion Covenant: Fighting to preserve and enhance something deeply valuable by Stephen Kuhrt
Are we Anglicans or Baptists? by John Watson

Update
Five Reasons FOR the Covenant by Gregory Cameron

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 5 March 2012 at 9:45pm GMT | Comments (64) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Anglican Covenant: two bishops defend it

This week’s Church Times carries a letter from the Bishops of Bristol and Oxford, which is behind the paywall this week, but is freely available from the Diocese of Bristol’s website at Bishops of Bristol and Oxford’s Anglican Covenant letter.

With a large number of dioceses soon to debate the Anglican Communion Covenant, and with there being in some quarters suspicion or even hostility towards it, we would urge pause for reflection as to what is at stake, both for the Anglican Communion as a whole and for our own Church of England.

The Covenant process has been developed with the full participation of all the churches of the Anglican Communion. It is likely the most consulted-over document the Communion has ever known. At heart, it offers a way for the churches to renew their commitment to each other and to express their common Anglican identity and mission. It’s something our own church has been at the centre of shaping and developing…

And it concludes with this:

The Anglican Communion Covenant is currently under consideration in all the churches of the Communion, according to their own processes for adoption. Already nine have decided to adopt it . A luke-warm response, or worse, rejection, of the Covenant in the Church of England would meet with bewilderment in the wider Communion. Some would ask with the prophet Isaiah, “Can a mother forget her children?”

But it would also impoverish the Church of England. Our church life and mission is infinitely the richer for the relationships we share around the Communion. The Covenant offers us a precious opportunity to consolidate those relationships and to demonstrate our commitment to one another as churches. Let’s not miss this opportunity offered to us in our time.

A detailed and comprehensive response to this letter has been published by Paul Bagshaw and can be read at What is not being said about the Covenant? It needs to be read in full, but here is an extract:

I choose to believe that many, perhaps the majority, of the English bishops are personally committed to the Covenant - but always and only in broad generalisations.

In essence we are told: the Covenant is A Good Thing, it doesn’t change anything but is vital to keeping the Communion together, and the consequences of not passing it are horrendous.

But this advocacy never seems to address what any critical reader of the Covenant text might ask:

  • The bishops’ say there are no new powers or structures; but what does the text actually contain?
  • And if there are no new powers or structures then how can choosing or rejecting it possibly make so much difference?
  • In particular, if the Covenant leaves provincial autonomy just where it was then how can it have any effect on future decisions a province might contemplate?
  • In sum: what’s so wrong with the Communion that we currently have that it will fall apart without the Covenant, but which the Covenant - by merely restating what we already know and practice - can possibly resolve?

I struggle to see the logic.

But I do see something missing. The ultimate power of Section 4 of the Covenant is to exclude an offending province by recommending to every other province that they turn their backs on it. All lesser powers of exclusion and demotion stem from this central power…

Alan Perry has compiled aggregate voting statistics here. It would be very interesting to compare the voting totals in each diocese with the corresponding totals for the recent parallel voting on women bishops, to see what the comparative levels of attendance were.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 4 March 2012 at 8:39pm GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Anglican Covenant: two more diocesan rejections, one in favour

Today the dioceses of Bradford, Chelmsford and Hereford voted on the Anglican Covenant. Chelmsford and Hereford rejected the proposal, Bradford voted in favour.

The running totals are therefore 13 against, and 8 for.

In Chelmsford the voting was (Corrected):

Bishops: 2 for, 1 against, 1 abstention
Clergy: 27 for, 29 against, 7 abstentions
Laity: 31 for, 30 against, 3 abstentions

In Hereford the voting was:

Bishops: 2 for, 0 against
Clergy: 15 for, 15 against, 1 abstention
Laity 21 for, 23 against, 1 abstention

In Bradford the voting was:

Bishop: 1 for, 0 against
Clergy: 15 for, 9 against, 2 abstentions
Laity: 16 for, 15 against, 3 abstentions

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 3 March 2012 at 6:50pm GMT | Comments (27) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 2 March 2012

Anglican commission consultants reinstated as full members

The Anglican Communion News Service reports: Consultants reinstated as full members on IASCUFO

Two consultants of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) have been reinstated as full members at the request of the Commission’s chairman.

The redesignation of Dr Katherine Grieb and Archbishop Tito Zavala as consultants took place as a result of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams’ Pentecost letter to the Anglican Communion issued in May 2010.

This latest decision follows a request by IASCUFO chairman Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi that Archbishop Williams reconsider the application of the letter to IASCUFO so that the consultants can be reinstated as full members for the sake of the work of the Commission.

Acknowledging that members of IASCUFO are present in virtue of skills relevant to the work of the Commission and are not present as representatives of their Provinces, Archbishop Williams has requested that the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon reinstate Archbishop Zavala and Dr Grieb.

ENS reported this as Consultants reinstated as full members on ecumenical commission

…Williams’ request concerning Grieb came in May 2010 following the consecration of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Douglas Glasspool, who is openly gay, and his decision about Zavala was made in October 2010 because the Southern Cone had failed to clarify whether it was still involved in cross-border incursions into other provinces.

Grieb is an Episcopal priest and professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary. Zavala was bishop of Chile at the time but has since been elected as archbishop of the Southern Cone province.

The request to reinstate the members fully was made by IASCUFO chairman Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of the Anglican Church of Burundi.

Williams, according to an article from the Anglican Communion News Service, has asked the secretary general of the Anglican Communion to reinstate Grieb and Zavala “acknowledging that members of IASCUFO are present in virtue of skills relevant to the work of the commission and are not present as representatives of their provinces.” Yet when the sanctions were imposed, Williams cited developments and actions taken by the individuals’ provinces.

The May 2010 sanctions impacted other Episcopalians serving on ecumenical bodies. Two were asked to leave the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue and one member each stepped down from the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission and the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.

One Episcopal Church member serving on the Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council was initially removed but later reinstated as a consultant after it was agreed that that body is not an ecumenical dialogue but the coordination of work by full communion partners.

At the time, no mention was made about ecumenical commission members from other provinces — such as Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda – that had been involved in cross-border interventions in the United States.

An annotated version of the full IASCUFO membership list was published here, in October 2010.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 2 March 2012 at 10:50am GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Anglican Covenant: another result and some comment

The Diocese of Sodor and Man voted yesterday against the Anglican Covenant. The voting was as follows:

Bishops: 1 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions

Clergy: 5 for, 12 against, 0 abstentions

Laity: 21 for, 15 against, 1 abstention

This means that 11 dioceses (25%) have now voted against the covenant, and 7 dioceses (16%) have voted in favour of it.

The letter in last week’s Church Times from Diarmaid MacCulloch is now available to non-subscribers, see The Anglican Covenant: worse than schism?. The original version of this letter is copied below the fold.

Liam Beadle has written an essay titled The Anglican Communion Covenant: A Church of England Objection from an Evangelical Perspective which is also available as a PDF file.

It would be interesting to conduct a survey of what it is that English Anglicans most value about their Church. It might be its worship; it might be its restraint; it might even – particularly if we are asking a group of evangelicals – be its formularies, namely the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. It should therefore be startling to Anglicans that we are being asked to agree to a covenant which ignores our liturgical tradition, responds to a presenting issue, and adds to our formularies. Several dioceses in the Church of England have already voted against the proposed Covenant, and in this short paper I seek to explain my own reasons for rejecting it…

Original version of the letter to the Church Times

Anglican Covenant: where next?

Twenty years into the reign of that good and pious monarch George III, in 1780, John Dunning MP tabled a motion in the House of Commons that ‘The influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished’. It was passed, despite much fury from the government of the day (which had just inadvertently created the United States of America by its stupidity). Dunning’s Motion did not end the efforts of the executive to accrue power and centralise; those efforts are with us still. Nevertheless, to use a phrase which Dunning would not have recognised, but would have relished, it was a reality check: it reminded royalty and the executive to preserve a delicate balance amid parliamentary politics and not try undue self-assertion. Although George III was pretty cross at the time, his successor still sits on her throne, while the descendants of many monarchs contemporary with King George look back on the guillotine, the firing-squad or ignominous exile.

A triumphalist whiggish anecdote from British history, yes, but on the weekend of 18 February, a very whiggish event happened in England. Four Anglican diocesan synods were asked to vote in favour of the Anglican Covenant, with every pressure from the executive (that is, the vast majority of the Bench of Bishops), and all four synods declined to do so. It was a sign that the incoherence of the arguments in favour of the Covenant was beginning to become clear. We have been assured that the Covenant is vital for the future of the Anglican Communion, and so not to approve it will lead to break-up and theological incoherence. Equally, we have been assured that the Covenant has been watered down so much that it won’t change very much really, so it is perfectly safe to vote for it. Above all, not to vote for it will be very upsetting for the Archbishop of Canterbury, who supports the Covenant. This argument, widely if a little surreptitiously canvassed, irresistibly reminds me of a MacCulloch family anecdote: my grandfather was taking morning worship in St Columba’s Episcopal Church, Portree, around 1900. It was a hot day; a party had come to church from one of the great houses on the Isle of Skye, and one of the young ladies said to her hostess in a stage whisper, ‘Oh, I think I’m going to faint’. The matriarch majestically retorted ‘You will do no such thing. It would be disrespectful to Almighty God, and distressing for Canon MacCulloch.’ Although the admonition was on that occasion successful, that is no way to do theology. The future of Anglicanism can’t be decided on whether a momentous theological decision will hurt any one person’s feelings.

The Anglican Covenant is bad theology for many reasons: the most important of which is that it gives to central bodies the authority to decide who is fully an Anglican, in a way that offends every canon of Anglican history. It also makes an elementary mistake about discipline in our tradition. There is no question but that the Covenant originated in a wish on the part of certain primates of the Communion to put the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada in the Naughty Corner. If anyone tries to deny that, let she or he read a collection of essays from 2002, To mend the net, co-edited by Archbishop Drexel W. Gomez of the West Indies (Chairman of the Covenant Design Group, no less) and by Archbishop Maurice W. Sinclair of the Southern Cone. Now it is obvious that every body with a common purpose needs rules which may amount to discipline; but discipline in our Church is exercised against erring individuals, not against entire ecclesial bodies which have in prayer and careful thought about real pastoral situations, have come to their own decision about what is right for their own situation in a God-given place. It is a nonsense to try to spank an entire Church, although authoritarian-minded folk have often tried it over the centuries of Christian history. On 18 February, four Anglican dioceses made that point. So far, ten dioceses in England have voted down the Covenant, and only five have voted for it. Now, perhaps, those bishops who back this ill-thought-out and potentially disastrous measure should get the message, and let the Covenant quietly subside into the swamp of bad ideas in Anglican history.

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church, University of Oxford.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 2 March 2012 at 10:15am GMT | Comments (34) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 27 February 2012

Anglican Covenant passes in two more English dioceses

Last Saturday two more dioceses considered the proposal to approve the Anglican Covenant, and the motion passed in both cases.

In Sheffield the voting was:

Bishops: 2 for, 0 against
Clergy: 16 for, 6 against, 1 abstention
Laity: 31 for, 9 against, 0 abstentions

In Winchester the voting was:

Bishops: 3 for, 0 against
Clergy: 22 for, 11 against, 4 abstentions
Laity: 38 for, 10 against, 2 abstentions

Subsequently, the Yes to the Covenant campaign issued this press release:

Immediate release

BISHOPS RALLY TO SUPPORT ANGLICAN COVENANT CAMPAIGN AS TIDE TURNS

Supporters of the Anglican Communion Covenant expressed optimism this weekend, after Diocesan Synods in the Winchester and Sheffield dioceses voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Covenant. This represents a significant turnaround from only a week ago, when four dioceses voted against the Covenant.

The shift follows the establishment of the new grassroots campaign, ‘Yes to the Covenant’, whose Patrons are the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, and the Bishop of Sherborne, the Rt Revd Graham Kings. A number of other Bishops have also expressed their support, including the bishops of Peterborough, Southwell & Nottingham and Brixworth. Other high-profile supporters include eminent theologians Professor N T Wright (formerly Bishop of Durham) and Professor Oliver O’Donovan.

Prudence Dailey, co-founder of ‘Yes to the Covenant’, said the campaign had clearly succeeded in presenting a more balanced view, against a background of determined negative campaigning by a small group of detractors. Diocesan Synod members now stood a better chance of being fully informed before casting their votes, she said.

Voting now stands at 7 dioceses in favour and 10 against. If the Covenant is approved by a majority of the Church of England’s 44 dioceses, it will then go forward to the General Synod to decide whether to adopt it formally.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

The Anglican Communion Covenant is being promoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to foster greater unity among Anglicans worldwide. The need for a Covenant was initially recognised as a result of divisions originating following the consecration of the actively gay Gene Robinson as a bishop in the USA. All Anglican Provinces are being encouraged to adopt the Covenant, as a way of establishing general mutual accountability by agreement.

The initial press release from this group which was only received at TA today, is dated 21 February.

NEW PRO-ANGLICAN COVENANT CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

The Church of England is in danger of sleepwalking into a terrible mistake, according to a new campaign group launched today.

‘Yes to the Covenant’ is urging the Church of England to sign up to the Anglican Communion Covenant. The Covenant is being promoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to foster greater unity among Anglicans worldwide, amid deepening divisions which originated following the consecration of the actively gay Gene Robinson as a bishop in the USA.

Campaigners warn that Anglicanism—the third largest church in the world after Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox church—is on the verge of collapse as a coherent global entity, and that local Synods are in danger of unwittingly aiding its disintegration. The Covenant has to be approved in a majority the 44 Church of England Dioceses before it can go forward to the General Synod for a final vote; but it has been rejected by a majority of the Diocesan Synods which have voted to date.

According to Prudence Dailey, co-founder of the ‘Yes’ campaign and a lay member of General Synod, preoccupation with issues such as women bishops has resulted in a failure to take the Anglian Covenant sufficiently seriously. ‘Many Diocesan Synod members are turning up to vote with very little idea of what the Covenant is or why it matters, and many are not turning up at all—if you compare the totals of those present and voting with the recent Diocesan vote on women bishops, for instance, the figures are significantly lower.’

At the same time, there had been an orchestrated campaign against the Covenant, with opponents spreading ill-founded fears that it was somehow ‘un-Anglican’, without providing any realistic alternative, she said. Whenever the Covenant had been discussed previously in the General Synod, it had received overwhelming support, and might reasonably have been expected to be adopted comfortably, until a vocal minority began sowing doubts about it.

A number of other Anglican Provinces—mostly in poorer parts of the world—have already signed up, and regard the Covenant as of great symbolic importance in reinforcing their identity as part of a worldwide community of fellow Anglicans. ‘The Anglican Covenant is about mutual accountability, mutual trust. For the Church of England to walk away from it now would be interpreted as us saying to the poor and marginalised, “we don’t trust you, and we don’t need you”. That might not be what was meant, but it is undoubtedly what would be heard—and we would all be the poorer for that’, said Miss Dailey.

A website, www.yestothecovenant.org, has been set up, with information about the Covenant and reasons for supporting it.

ENDS

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 3:20pm GMT | Comments (34) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 24 February 2012

Anglican Covenant: reports and reactions

Updated 9 March

The Church Times reports this week on the progress of voting in English dioceses on the Anglican Covenant: Covenant tastes defeat in diocesan voting.

ALMOST a quarter of C of E dioceses have now voted against the Anglican Covenant.

It was debated last weekend by the diocesan synods of Leicester, Portsmouth, Salisbury, and Rochester, and rejected by all of them — in some cases, despite impassioned pleas from bishops.

Just five of 15 English dioceses have so far approved the Covenant, which must be debated by diocesan synods by the end of March.
Approval by 23 diocesan synods is required for the Covenant to return to the General Synod. Rejection by 22 dioceses would effectively derail approval of the Covenant by the Church of England…

And there is this:

in a letter in the Church Times today, the patron of the coalition, the Revd Dr Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church in the University of Oxford, writes: “Those bishops who back this ill-thought-out and poten­tially disastrous measure should get the message, and let the Covenant quietly subside into the swamp of bad ideas in Anglican history.”

The letters page is subscriber-only for another week but I expect this text will appear elsewhere shortly.

A splendid speech given last Saturday to Leicester diocesan synod by David Jennings is available here.

The Diocese of Norwich held an ‘Anglican Covenant Listening Seminar’. By far the best of these papers is the one by Andrew Davison available here (PDF).

Update That paper has since been revised to add some comments in response to the recent video from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the new version is here (PDF).

There have been several comments about the new website:

And there have been several comments about the new videos published by the ACO:

And, from Scotland Kelvin Holdsworth has written Remember the Anglican Covenant?

…In Scotland it is quite hard to find anyone arguing in favour of the Covenant. At last year’s General Synod we had pseudo-Indaba groups which reported pretty negatively on the whole business and it was difficult to find anyone from any of the groups who had encountered anyone at all who thought well of the proposal. The message which I’ve consistently heard since then from around the church is people saying that the Anglican Communion is very important to us but that the kind of communion that the Covenant proposes is not the kind of communion that we see as being desirable. Indeed, the strong message seems to be pro the Communion but against the kind of setup that would be a consequence of accepting the Covenant. The presumption that there would be widespread disagreement about the Covenant in Scotland doesn’t really seem at this stage to be holding up. So far as I can see, there isn’t a great deal of disagreement at all about it…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 February 2012 at 11:28pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | Scottish Episcopal Church

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Anglican Covenant has supporters and critics

Updated Wednesday evening

Update Anglican Communion Faith and Order body issues videos on the Covenant

Members of the Anglican Communion with Internet access can now watch three videos produced by the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO) in which its members speak about the Covenant.

In one, members from Provinces including England, the West Indies, Central Africa and Southern Africa explain why they consider the Covenant important for the Communion.

In another the Church of Ceylon’s Rt Revd Kumara Ilangasinghe, recently retired Bishop of Kurunagala, shares his thoughts on the value of accountability.

In the third, members share their thoughts about the sections of the Covenant.

A group named Yes To The Covenant has been formed, and has a website. As explained here, this is the initiative of two members of the Church of England in the Diocese of Oxford.

The speech given in support of the Covenant at the Salisbury diocesan synod on Saturday by Bishop Graham Kings is available here, or here.

It has attracted several responses, including this detailed criticism from Tobias Haller, Should Anglicans Be Grapes Or Marbles? from LayAnglicana and In praise of Arranged Marriage… from Satirical Christian.

Jin Naughton has raised some more fundamental questions about the Covenant at Episcopal Café in Anglican Covenant: Due process and the lack thereof. He refers to an essay by Sally Johnson which he quotes in part:

In essence, the Standing Committee receives a question, receives assistance from unspecified “committees or commissions” mandated by unspecified authority, takes advice from any body or anybody it deems appropriate and decides whether to refer the question to the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting. The Standing Committee then decides whether to request a Church to “defer” a decision or action and what relational consequences should result if it does not. It 
then moves on to a determination of whether or not a Church’s action or decision is or would be “incompatible with the Covenant.” The Standing Committee does this “on the basis of advice received from the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting,” not on the basis of a process or procedure in which the Church whose action is in question participates in any way, other than to the extent it has representatives on the ACC (from which it could already be barred) and a primate at the Primates’ Meeting (from which its primate could have been excluded). …

Agreeing to an undefined, unspecified process in which the decision-making bodies have full discretion to act in any manner they deem best–not only as to the process but as to the standard and burden of proof, information considered, and all other aspects of the dispute resolution system–is what the covenant contemplates. In the words of the rule of law, there is no procedural due process and no substantive due process guaranteed by the covenant. The outcome is to be trusted and respected based on the persons/bodies making the decisions rather than a system based on how the decision is made. (italics added.)

Tobias Haller in another article, titled No[t This] Anglican Covenant repeats the argument he has made before, that there is an alternative.

…I am well-set in my mind against the current draft PAC, but I do not in the long run think the idea of a set of rules for the conduct of inter-provincial affairs in the Anglican Communion is in itself “un-Anglican.” We have, I think, a sufficient such arrangement in the by-laws of the ACC, but I am not averse, nor do I think it contrary to good sense or our traditions, to exploring other ways of working together across the Communion. But the current document is not it. As I’ve said in the past, I think the IASCOME Covenant for Mission or the Continuing Indaba and Mutual Listening Process much more helpful towards edification; in particular as the PAC explicitly calls for de-edification (i.e., “relational consequences” that will decouple or lessen the “bonds of affection”).

And, Bosco Peters has written CofE Covenant vote 10-5 against. He questions the ecclesiology behind the Covenant:

…The ecclesiology of the Tony Blair-chosen Archbishop of Canterbury has come in for some battering in the women bishops debate. Although no one apparently has yet translated his latest speech into English, Rowan Williams appears unwilling to throw himself fully into the fullness of the catholic church being present in each diocese. The ecclesiology which hankers after an international “universal church” (a sort of international super-church, rather than a communion of dioceses) undergirds the “Anglican Covenant”. It’s a perfectly fine alternative ecclesiology, and has a perfectly fine exemplar in Roman Catholicism…

Finally, Cranmer writes about The death of the Anglican Covenant.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 21 February 2012 at 9:35pm GMT | Comments (30) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Anglican Covenant debate: a shift in momentum

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has issued a news release: Momentum Shifting in Anglican Covenant Debate. (Full PDF version is over here.)

With one-third of English dioceses now having voted on the proposed Anglican Covenant, leaders of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition are detecting a significant shift in momentum. With last weekend’s clean sweep in Leicester, Portsmouth, Salisbury and Rochester, ten dioceses have rejected the Covenant while only five have approved it.

“When we launched the No Anglican Covenant Coalition just 16 months ago, it seemed like we were facing impossible odds,” said the Coalition’s Moderator, the Revd Dr Lesley Crawley. “But now the tide appears to be turning. The more church members learn about the Covenant, the less they like it.”

“I’m glad to see how perceptive the diocesan synods have been once well-rounded arguments are put to them,” said Coalition Patron and Oxford University Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch. “There were two Covenants in the Church of England’s seventeenth-century history, and in combination, they destroyed episcopacy until wiser counsels prevailed. It appears the dioceses are not interested in helping present-day bishops making it a hat trick.”

“It is heartening to see the dioceses rising up to their responsibilities instead of delegating their discernment to the House of Bishops and the archbishops,” according to former Oxford Professor and General Synod member Marilyn McCord Adams, who now teaches at the University of North Carolina. “Churches come to better decisions when parties feel free to disagree.” Professor McCord Adams is also a Patron of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition.

To date, the proposed Anglican Covenant has been approved by five dioceses of the Church of England (Lichfield; Durham; Europe; Bristol; Canterbury) and rejected by ten (Wakefield; St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich; Truro; Birmingham; Derby; Gloucester; Portsmouth; Rochester; Salisbury; Leicester). Approval by 23 diocesan synods is required for the Covenant to return to General Synod. Rejection by 22 dioceses would effectively derail approval of the Covenant by the Church of England.

Some historical background to the coalition can be found in this post by Malcolm French We happy few.

The current state of voting in the 44 Church of England dioceses is being tracked weekly by Modern Church at this page.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 21 February 2012 at 8:59am GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Anglican Covenant rejected in more English dioceses

Four dioceses in the Church of England voted today on the proposal to adopt the draft Anglican Covenant. Earlier results are reported here.

In Leicester the voting was:

Bishops: 2 for 0 against
Clergy: 15 for, 21 against, 3 abstentions
Laity: 21 for, 14 against, 4 abstentions

It appears that there was confusion at the synod in the interpretation of this outcome, but we believe that the defeat in the House of Clergy means that the motion is defeated, and that this will be confirmed in due course.

In Salisbury the voting was:

Bishops: 1 for, 1 against
Clergy: 11 for, 20 against, 2 abstentions
Laity: 19 for, 27 against, 0 abstentions

In Portsmouth the voting was:

Bishop: 1 for, 0 against
Clergy: 12 for, 17 against, 0 abstentions
Laity: 13 for, 17 against, 2 abstentions

In Rochester the voting was:

Bishop: 1 for, 0 against
Clergy: 8 for, 30 against, 3 abstentions
Laity: 14 for, 26 against, 7 abstentions

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 18 February 2012 at 6:57pm GMT | Comments (23) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 17 February 2012

Dispose of the messy Anglican Covenant

Giles Fraser has written in this week’s Church Times about the Anglican Covenant.

…To recap: the Anglican Covenant is an international treaty, cham­pioned originally by the Bishop of Durham at that time, Dr Tom Wright, among others. It was a re­sponse to the threats by conservative Anglicans that they would walk away from the Communion if other provinces became more gay-friendly. It is rather like bankers’ saying that they would walk away from the City of London if they had to face the Tobin Tax. This sort of blackmail ought never to be pandered to.

Of course, the Covenant never was the only game in town. This is the type of emergency rhetoric that is often used to push through otherwise unpopular legis­la­tion. But the fact that the Anglican Commu­nion has not fallen apart — it is just a bit dented — shows that a great deal of the huffing and puffing about walking away was just empty threats and so much posturing.

The idea that all the different Churches of the Communion can be held together only by signatures on a page rather than years of tradition and common baptism and liturgy is an unnecessary bureaucratisation of theology and fellowship.

If you allow one province a quasi-legal mechanism for pushing out another province, then you are providing a context for acrimony, not for reconciliation. Recon­cilia­tion comes when those divided by differences learn to see Christ at work in each other. Mostly, this is achieved through patient friendship and listening….

In other Anglican Covenant news, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition has announced another prominent academic Professor Marilyn McCord Adams has become a patron. See full press release here (PDF).

“The proposed Anglican Covenant was conceived in moral indignation and pursued with disciplinary intent,” according to Professor McCord Adams. “Its global gate-keeping mechanisms would put a damper on the gospel agenda, which conscientious Anglicans should find intolerable. The Covenant is based on an alien ecclesiology, which thoughtful Anglicans have every reason to reject.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 17 February 2012 at 12:46pm GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 13 February 2012

African Anglicans meet in Burundi

ACNS carries four reports from the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, which held its 11th meeting last week in Bujumbura, Burundi.

11th CAPA Council opens in Burundi

Hosted by the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, the 11th CAPA Council meeting is bringing together Primates or their representatives, clergy and lay people from the 12 Anglican Provinces of Africa along with partners and other observers from around the world.
The Council of the Anglican Provinces of Africa, whose secretariat is based in Nairobi, Kenya, is a continental body that brings together the twelve Provinces of the Anglican Church in Africa.
CAPA exists to effectively co-ordinate and provide a platform for that part of the Anglican Communion in Africa to celebrate life and consult and address challenges in the continent. Through fellowship and partnerships, capacity building and the promotion of good governance and social development it seeks to realize God’s promise of abundant life…

11th CAPA Council Meeting - Day 1

Delegations from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Central Africa, the diocese of Egypt, Tanzania, West Africa, South Africa, Indian Ocean, were introduced and brought news and greetings from their respective Provinces. Some of the key points mentioned included widespread numerical growth through evangelism, the need for believers to be nurtured, the need to raise the competence of clergy through training, the multi-dimensional needs of the new nation of South Sudan and the necessity for solidarity with the Christians in North Sudan, and the on-going challenges in Zimbabwe and North Africa.
Partners and observers from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office, the Anglican Alliance, the Anglican Communion Office, USPG, United Thank Offering, Netsforlife, Trinity Church, TEC, CMS Africa, Christian Aid, and ECoH were introduced. The Most Rev. John Chew from the Global South Primates was welcomed…

The final day of the 11th CAPA Council Meeting

The review of the CAPA Constitution was presented by the Rt. Rev. Trevor Mwamba from Botswana diocese, the Province of Central Africa. It was agreed that the current Constitution should remain in place so that further discussion can take place in the Provinces.

…Resolutions were passed, and a communiqué drafted along with an appeal for harmony in and greater understanding between Muslim and Christian communities. These will be released shortly.
The Most Rev. Ian Ernest thanked everyone for their support during his term of office, especially the General Secretary, the Rev. Canon Grace Kaiso and the CAPA secretariat. He wished the newly elected Chair, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of Burundi, and Vice Chair, the Most Rev. Albert Chama, Archbishop of Central Africa, and other elected officers and Standing Committee members well and assured them of his support in the future.
It was decided that the next CAPA Council would be held in DR Congo…

African Anglicans appeal for harmony, understanding between Muslims and Christians

Anglican leaders from across the continent of Africa have made an emotional appeal to Muslim faith leaders to stand with them in opposition to “tragic violence that is destroying our communities”.
The appeal was issued at the end of a three-day meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa in Burundi where conflict between the two faiths was high on the agenda…

Scroll down at the link above for the full text of the appeal.

Note that in all this there appears to be no mention of participation in the council by representatives of ACNA, GAFCON, AAC, or Anglican Mainstream.

CAPA’s own website is here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 February 2012 at 8:42pm GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Anglican Covenant: opposition grows in England

Updated 11 Feb to add Gloucester voting figures

On Saturday both Derby and Gloucester dioceses voted decisively to reject the proposed Anglican Covenant. Canterbury voted strongly in favour.

In Derby the voting was:

Bishops: 0 for, 1 against
Clergy: 1 for, 21 against, 2 abstentions
Laity: 2 for, 24 against, 2 abstentions

In Gloucester the voting was:

Bishops 1 for, 0 against, 1 abstention
Clergy: 16 for, 28 against, 1 abstention
Laity: 14 for, 28 against, 6 abstentions

Update: from the comments below, we now have figures for Canterbury:

Bishops: 1 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions
Clergy: 26 for, 14 against, 0 abstentions
Laity: 39 for, 13 against, 0 abstentions

Recently, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition announced the appointment of Oxford University Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, DD, as a Patron of the Coalition. The full press release is here (PDF).

…“Anglicanism was born in the Reformation’s rejection of an unwarranted and unhistorical over-centralization of ecclesiastical authority,” according to Professor MacCulloch. “This pernicious proposal of a Covenant (an unhappy choice of name if you know anything about our Church’s history) ignores the Anglican Communion’s
past, and seeks to gridlock the Anglican present at the cost of a truly Anglican future…

Also a paper written by Peter Doll, Canon Librarian of Norwich Cathedral, in support of the Covenant, was comprehensively critiqued by Jonathan Clatworthy and also by Lionel Deimel.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 5 February 2012 at 4:34pm GMT | Comments (24) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 26 December 2011

Sudan bishops like ACNA and snub TEC's Presiding Bishop

Updated Friday
The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of Sudan has issued a statement, and also sent a letter to the Presiding Bishop of TEC.

See the news report by George Conger in the Church of England Newspaper Sudan breaks with the Episcopal Church.

The American Episcopal Church’s support for gay bishops and blessings has led the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) to ban Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori from visiting the church. The dis-invitation to Bishop Jefferts Schori follows a vote by the ECS House of Bishops last month to swap its recognition of the Episcopal Church for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as the legitimate expression of Anglicanism in the United States…

The letter reads as follows:

“The Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church United States of America
Thursday 15th December 2011

Dear Bishop Katharine,

Advent greetings to you in the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is with a heavy heart that I write you informing you of our decision as a House of Bishops to withdraw your invitation to the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS). We acknowledge your personal efforts to spearhead prayer and support campaigns on behalf of the ECS and remain very grateful for this attention you and your church have paid to Sudan and South Sudan. However, it remains difficult for us to invite you when elements of your church continue to flagrantly disregard biblical teaching on human sexuality.

Find attached a statement further explaining our position as a province.

(Signed)

—(The Most Rev.) Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Archbishop Primate and Metropolitan of the Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and Bishop of the Diocese of Juba “

The statement, which has appeared on various blog websites reads as follows:

STATEMENT OF HOUSE OF BISHOPS OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF SUDAN ON HUMAN SEXUALITY

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan in its meeting held in Juba from 14-16, November 2011 in the context of General Synod has reaffirmed the statement of the Sudanese Bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 2008 as quoted below:

“We reject homosexual practice as contrary to Biblical teaching and can accept no place for it within ECS. We strongly oppose developments within the Anglican Church in USA and Canada in consecrating a practicing homosexual as bishop and in approving a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships.”

We are deeply disappointed by The Episcopal Church’s refusal to abide by Biblical teaching on human sexuality and their refusal to listen to fellow Anglicans. For example, TEC Diocese of Los Angles, California in 2010 elected and consecrated Mary Douglas Glasspool as their first lesbian assistant Bishop. We are not happy with their acts of continuing ordaining homosexuals and lesbians as priests and bishops as well as blessing same sex relations in the church by some dioceses in TEC; it has pushed itself away from God’s Word and from Anglican Communion. TEC is not concerned for the unity of the Communion.

The Episcopal Church of Sudan is recognizing the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) fully as true faithful Orthodox Church and we will work with them to expand the Kingdom of God in the world. Also we will work with those Parishes and Dioceses in TEC who are Evangelical Orthodox Churches and faithful to God.

We will not compromise our faith on this and we will not give TEC advice anymore, because TEC ignored and has refused our advices.

(The Most Rev.) Dr. Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop and Primate of Episcopal Church of Sudan, Juba, 12th December 2011

Responses from American dioceses are recorded by Episcopal Café in Dioceses respond cautiously to latest letter from Church of Sudan.

Update
The report on this from last week’s Church Times is now available, see Sudan chides US and backs ACNA.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 26 December 2011 at 2:42pm GMT | Comments (67) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

More AMiA correspondence from the Rwanda House of Bishops

The previous report on this: AMiA will negotiate with ACNA was updated with a link to one additional letter last Thursday.

Other correspondence has now emerged, and can be found here: Communique from House of Bishops of Rwanda. The original letter is dated 9 December, but was issued with a covering letter from two AMiA bishops, only on 16 December.

From the covering letter:

We also have delayed sending these letters because we needed to clarify with the Rwandan HoB the second bullet point in the letter to clergy and churches. While AMiA affiliated congregations are under the pastoral oversight of Archbishop Rwaje, they are also affiliated with the U.S. non-profit corporation, The Anglican Mission in the Americas. As a result, churches have had a type of “dual citizenship” with Rwanda and the AMiA. Unfortunately, while many of us had been led to think differently, the churches in the AMiA have never been canonically resident in the Anglican Province of Rwanda or anywhere else in the Anglican Communion. We are currently working with the Rwandan HoB to discern ways to rectify this for those congregations that desire a true membership in the Anglican Communion. At the same time, the canonical status of the clergy is clear. If you are clergy in the AMiA, (other than the 8 active bishops who resigned*) you are canonically resident in PEAR.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 26 December 2011 at 12:09pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ACNA | Anglican Communion

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Two more provinces adopt the Anglican Covenant

Reports from ACNS

Papua New Guinea approves Covenant and says it is “proud to belong to the Anglican Communion”

The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea has announced that its Provincial Council last week approved and accepted the Anglican Covenant.

Writing to the Secretary General of the decision on behalf of the House of Bishops, the Bishop of Port Moresby, the Rt Revd Peter Ramsden, said the decision was based on their understanding of the name Anglican Communion.

“Anglican” was one of the styles of Christianity brought to this land and people near the end of the nineteenth century”, he wrote. “It never pretended to be the only form of Christianity, but it did reflect how one part of the Christian family had developed, built on the importance of scripture, creeds, sacraments and episcopal order. Today we try to combine our Anglo-Catholic theological heritage and personal discipleship to the Lord Jesus in the way we witness to the five marks of mission with our ecumenical partners in PNG and our Anglican partners overseas…

If you aren’t sure where Papua New Guinea is, here’s a map.

Southern Cone approves Anglican Communion Covenant

At its recent November (3 to 11) meeting in Asunción, Paraguay, the Executive Committee of the Province of the Southern Cone of America, together with its Bishops, voted to approve the Anglican Covenant. The Province views the covenant as a way forward given the difficult circumstance of watching certain Provinces of the Anglican Communion propose novel ways of Christian living in rejection of Biblical norms.

In response to these novel practices the Southern Cone had held churches in North America under its wing for some time while the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) was formed. However, the Province has not maintained jurisdiction over any local churches there for over a year. As a result, all so called ‘border crossings’ by any provincial members ceased (as of October, 2010) even though the Southern Cone still remains in impaired communion with US and Canadian Provinces. It is hoped that the Covenant can now provide Communion stability.

One of the Bishops commented, “We believe that life in the Communion must be maintained by a basic level of accountability if, in fact, we are a family of interdependent churches. The Covenant helps fulfill this role. Naturally, house rules should be kept to a minimum. But being a member of a family has responsibilities that must be ‘lived into’. Right now, a small faction in the Communion continues to do ‘its own thing’ enjoying many privileges and few responsibilities of family.”

There is commentary on this:

Preludium Province of the Southern Cone adopts Covenant, give or take a clause or two.

…The Province of the Southern Cone has adopted the Anglican Covenant, but with its fingers crossed. Apparently the PSC hopes that no one will notice that it still has the deposed bishop of Recife under its wings, along with a sizable number of congregants constituted as a diocese.

The PSC claims that it is no longer doing those things it ought not to have done in Canada and the United States, but makes no apology for having done so.

I suppose this counts as a “yes” in the score card on the acceptance of the Anglican Covenant, but there will not be much joy in Anglican-Land over this one.

The No Anglican Covenant scorecard on provincial voting is over here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 22 December 2011 at 9:12am GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Instead of the Anglican Covenant

Jonathan Clatworthy has published an article at Modern Church entitled Instead of the Anglican Covenant.

Proponents of the Anglican Covenant sometimes challenge opponents to suggest alternatives. Thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his 2011 Advent Letter to the Primates, wrote:

I continue to ask what alternatives there are if we want to agree on ways of limiting damage, managing conflict and facing with honesty the actual effects of greater disunity. In the absence of such alternatives, I must continue to commend the Covenant as strongly as I can to all who are considering its future.

This article seeks to respond to the challenge. It can only be a partial response because unlike the Covenant’s proponents, who are supported by the resources of the Anglican Communion Office, opponents work on a voluntary basis and none has the right to speak on behalf of all. The matter is complicated by the marked reluctance of proponents (with honourable exceptions like the Bishop of St Asaph) to communicate directly with opponents at all. This means that nobody in particular has been asked to offer an alternative. This one expresses the views of Modern Church and the No Anglican Covenant Coalition.

Normally, opponents of a suggested change are under no obligation to present an alternative change. In this instance we understand the challenge to stem from a sense of crisis and a concern to do something to resolve it. The question, as we understand it, is: if the Anglican Covenant will not be the solution to our current problems, what will?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 at 10:24am GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Anglican Covenant, IASCUFO, and the 1878 Lambeth Conference

Tobias Haller draws our attention to Recommendation 1 from the 1878 Lambeth Conference. (The full set of them can be found in this PDF file.)

Union Among the Churches of the Anglican Communion - Encyclical Letter 1.5

There are certain principles of church order which, your Committee consider, ought to be distinctly recognised and set forth, as of great importance for the maintenance of union among the Churches of our Communion.

  • First, that the duly certified action of every national or particular Church, and of each ecclesiastical province (or diocese not included in a province), in the exercise of its own discipline, should be respected by all the other Churches, and by their individual members.
  • Secondly, that when a diocese, or territorial sphere of administration, has been constituted by the authority of any Church or province of this Communion within its own limits, no bishop or other clergyman of any other Church should exercise his functions within that diocese without the consent of the bishop thereof.
  • Thirdly, that no bishop should authorise to officiate in his diocese a clergyman coming from another Church or province, unless such clergyman present letters testimonial, countersigned by the bishop of the diocese from which he comes; such letters to be, as nearly as possible, in the form adopted by such Church or province in the case of the transfer of a clergyman from one diocese to another.
  • This does not refer to questions respecting missionary bishops and foreign chaplaincies, which have been entrusted to other Committees.

Tobias notes in Those Were the Days (Lambeth 1878) that:

It appears to me that most of the troubles in the present Anglican Communion stem from the failure of some provinces to observe and abide by point 1. Some of those same provinces have gone on to violate point 2, and the recent trouble in AMiA seems to reflect a bit of the mess one gets into by not observing point 3.

But point 1, in one sentence, is the key to any real Anglican unity. No further “covenant” is needed. And the one currently on offer provides a mechanism to frustrate point 1, by shifting from respecting the actions of the provinces to placating those offended by them. The proposed Covenant is government by discontent and disrespect.

This view is clearly not shared by IASCUFO members, who have issued this Communiqué following a recent meeting in Korea. They say this:

…Aware of our mandate to promote the deepening of communion between the churches of the Anglican Communion, we emphasised the importance of being a fully representative group, and we greatly regret that some of our members were not present. We re-affirmed the significance of the Anglican Communion Covenant for strengthening our common life. …

Jim Naughton has written a severe criticism of this at Episcopal Café in The InterAnglican Standing Committee and the illusion of consultation:

…One feels both gratified and alarmed, then, to learn that at is meetings last week, IASCUFO (the InterAnglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order) recognized the importance of “being a fully representative group” and “re-affirm[ed] the significance of the Anglican Communion Covenant for strengthening our common life.” Gratified, because, well, it is nice to have your opponents make your points for you. Alarmed because the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion Office continue to behave as though the more centralized church they hope to create already exists.

Whatever its claims, IASCUFO is in no way representative. Its members are not elected to represent their provinces, but are cherry-picked by the communion office to ensure the outcome that the Archbishop of Canterbury desires, while creating the illusion of consultation. (In this way it is similar to the Covenant Design team and the Windsor Continuation Group.) Of the 19 individuals named in the release, no more than three hail from churches that have adopted the covenant. (Precise numbers are hard to come by, as many churches don’t actually care enough about the covenant to have made a public statement indicating their attitude toward it.) Yet the group asserts its representative nature, and then affirms what the churches its members allegedly represent have not: that the covenant is essential in strengthening our common life.

IASCUFO employs collegial rhetoric, but it behaves like a pressure group. What sets it apart from other pressure groups is that it uses financial resources contributed by member churches to lobby on behalf of a covenant that many of those churches will not sign—a covenant that would assure that essential decisions in the communion would continue to be made by purportedly representative bodies that are in no way accountable to the communion’s member churches.

As for some members being absent, here is a full list of its membership, dated July 2009, and here are some annotations provided in October 2010 by John Chilton. Readers may care to work out for themselves who was missing from the Korean jaunt.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 at 3:34pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Akinola supports Nigerian anti-Same-Sex Marriage Bill

According to Box Turtle Bulletin in This Anglican Bishop Wants You To Rot In Jail:

Archbishop Peter Akinola, retired Anglican Primate of the Church of Nigeria, has enthusiastically endorsed Nigeria’s anti-gay bill which would impose criminal penalties on same-sex unions and LGBT gatherings. Akinola told Nigeria’s Guardian that the Nigerian government should reject warnings from Britain and the United States that efforts to deny basic human rights to LGBT people would have international implications…

Here is the original article in the Nigerian Guardian Akinola, Others Urge Support For Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

Akinola, who described the bill as “a new orientation towards transformation and reformation of Nigeria from its moral decadence into a new platform of sound morality,” said President Jonathan would be going against God’s will for Nigeria if he refused to sign the controversial bill into law.

He stated that Nigeria needs such law to preserve the nation’s sacred moral heritage for national development.

The former Primate of Church of Nigeria, who described homosexuality as an aberration, said it was repugnant to the word of God and African beliefs. “Same-sex marriage is against natural order of creation; it is against the laws of our religions, and it is against our African custom and traditions,” he said.

Responding to international protests that the bill would limit the rights of homosexuals in Nigeria, Akinola said human rights have limits by the operative society.

“Can you say you have right to marry anybody you want and because of your right, you now go and marry your mother or sister or daughter in the name of human right? For example, in this community, everybody has the right to own a car, but this community says that you drive your car on the right lane. Can you now say because it is your right to own a car, you must drive on the left, while every other person drives on the right?” he asked.

The full text of this bill, as passed by the Nigerian Senate, can be found here.

It now passes to the Nigerian House of Representatives, where this week’s statements from the US President and US Secretary of State, were not well received.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 10 December 2011 at 8:50pm GMT | Comments (18) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 9 December 2011

AMiA withdraws from Anglican Church of Rwanda

The Anglican Mission in the Americas has withdrawn from the pastoral oversight of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda.

Yesterday there was an official Statement to the Clergy and Laity of the Anglican Mission.

As you may know, on December 5, in response to unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances, the Anglican Mission in the Americas withdrew from the pastoral oversight of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. In addition, Bishop Chuck Murphy resigned as Primatial Vicar and Bishops Murphy, Sandy Greene, Todd Hunter, TJ Johnston, Philip Jones, Doc Loomis, John Miller and Silas Ng, as well as retired Bishop John Rodgers, resigned from the House of Bishops of Rwanda.

During this interim period, the Anglican Mission is under the oversight of our founding Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini, Moses Tay and Yong Ping Chung until we have a new provincial home within the Anglican Communion. Bishop Murphy is meeting with these overseeing archbishops in London next week to discuss options for the best way forward…

Background documents, in PDF format, are all linked from this page.

And there is another news article today, Addressing Finances with Rwanda.

The AMiA was formally founded in 2000, six months after Bishops Chuck Murphy and John Rodgers were consecrated bishops by Archbishop of Rwanda, Emmanuel Kolini and Archbishop of Southeast Asia, Moses Tay, at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore. Its origins are in a conference held in South Carolina in 1997.

When the Anglican Church in North America was formed in 2009, the AMiA was a founding member, but subsequently in 2010 changed its status to Mission Partner.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 9 December 2011 at 10:50pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ACNA | Anglican Communion

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

No Anglican Covenant Coalition reviews the past year

press release from No Anglican Covenant Coalition

COALITION CELEBRATES SUCCESSES, PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

LONDON – After slightly more than a year, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition can point to several successes, according to Coalition Moderator, the Revd Dr Lesley Crawley.

  • Four dioceses of the Church of England have rejected the Covenant (Birmingham; St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich; Truro; Wakefield). Where synod members were provided with balanced background material (i.e., material that presented both the case for and the case against the Covenant), the synods have voted it down. Four dioceses, where little or no material was presented other than officially sanctioned pro-Covenant material, have approved the Covenant (Lichfield; Durham; Europe; Bristol). A total of 23 diocesan synods must approve the Covenant for the matter to return to the General Synod.
  • The Tikanga Maori defeated the Covenant at their biennial runanganui, virtually ensuring the defeat of the Covenant in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
  • The Philippine House of Bishops has indicated they will not support the Anglican Covenant, likely ensuring the defeat of the Covenant in the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.
  • Individual dioceses in the Anglican Church of Australia (Newcastle; Sydney) and The Episcopal Church (California; Eastern Oregon; Michigan; East Carolina; and others) have indicated their opposition to adoption of the Covenant.

“In November 2010, we launched the Coalition to ensure that the case against the proposed Anglican Covenant would be given a fair hearing,” said Dr. Crawley. “Today we are seeing our efforts bear fruit. When fair debate has been allowed, the results have been gratifying.”

Critical to the success of the campaign, especially in the Church of England, has been the support of the Coalition’s Episcopal Patrons, Bishops John Saxbee and Peter Selby, who have encouraged diocesan bishops to allow for a full and open debate. In the coming months, 37 more English dioceses will vote on the Anglican Covenant. Only 18 additional no votes are needed for the Church of England to reject the Covenant.

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition continues to provide assistance to those researching the proposed Covenant. The Resources section of the Coalition website (noanglicancovenant.org) is regularly updated with new material and analysis.

In the coming year:

  • The Episcopal Church will consider the Covenant at its General Convention in July in Indianapolis,Indiana. The Executive Council of the church has circulated a draft resolution to reject the Anglican Covenant.
  • The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia will consider the Covenant in July at its General Synod/Te HinotaWhanui in Fiji. Given the rejection of the Anglican Covenant by Tikanga Maori, rejection of the Covenant by that church seems assured.
  • The General Synod of the Church of England is scheduled to consider the Covenant at its July session. However, unless 19 more diocesan synods have approved the Anglican Covenant by that date, the matter will not return to General Synod.

“Anglican Communion Office officials have repeatedly responded to criticism of the Anglican Covenant by suggesting that critics have not read the document,” said the Coalition’s Canadian Convenor, the Revd Malcolm French. “Ironically, we find that the more familiar people are with the document, the more likely they are to reject it. The Coalition is committed to ensuring a proper and balanced debate in churches throughout the Anglican Communion.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 11:00pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 5 December 2011

Critical comments about the Anglican Covenant

The following critiques of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent Letter have appeared.

Alan Perry Of Advent Letters and Archbishops

In spite of many assurances, some Anglicans evidently still think that the Covenant changes the structure of our Communion or that it gives some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some undemocratic or unrepresentative body.

Er, that would be people like me, I imagine. But then, I’ve read the document and analysed it, rather than simply rely on unsupported “assurances” to form an opinion.

With all respect to those who have raised these concerns, I must repeat that I do not see the Covenant in this light at all.

I do wish that the Archbishop would ask someone to respond to the sorts of concerns that I and others have raised, and perhaps even offer a rationale or argument in favour of the Covenant. “No it isn’t” is not an argument, it’s mere contradiction.

It outlines a procedure, such as we urgently need, for attempting reconciliation and for indicating the sorts of consequences that might result from a failure to be fully reconciled.

Well, actually, it outlines the rough idea of a procedure, which is so vague that it’s practically useless, to make arbitrary decisions based on unclear criteria whether a given decision or action of a given Province is or is not “incompatible with the Covenant.” And, although it threatens “relational consequences” it doesn’t define them, so the Archbishop is incorrect to say that it indicates any “sorts of consequences.” The process, such as it is, is a recipe for arbitrariness.

Tobias Haller Noises off…

…The Archbishop also asks a question, and then assumes his question has no takers as he rushes back to square one.

I continue to ask what alternatives there are if we want to agree on ways of limiting damage, managing conflict and facing with honesty the actual effects of greater disunity. In the absence of such alternatives, I must continue to commend the Covenant as strongly as I can to all who are considering its future.

I can, of course, think of any number of “alternatives” to what I continue to see as a deeply flawed and, by its own self-confession, ineffectual effort at conflict management:

  • Reliance on the Covenant for Communion in Mission from IASCOME
  • Restoration of the purely consultative function to Lambeth, with a staunch refusal to adopt any resolutions at all, other than those that directly empower mission and ministry
  • Expansion of ministry and mission cooperation between provinces, focused not on the mechanics of the Communion or disagreements on policies, but on doing the things Jesus actually commanded
  • Continuing to provide forums for the sharing of views between provinces, as in the Continuing Indaba and Mutual Listening Process which is “a biblically-based and mission-focused project designed to develop and intensify relationships within the Anglican Communion by drawing on cultural models of consensus building for mutual creative action.”

and Shedding some light

…In what seems a very disingenuous statement, I just noticed (thanks to Rod Gillis for pointing it out in the comments to the report at Thinking Anglicans) the irony in another portion of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent musings:

In spite of many assurances, some Anglicans evidently still think that the Covenant changes the structure of our Communion or that it gives some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some undemocratic or unrepresentative body. With all respect to those who have raised these concerns, I must repeat that I do not see the Covenant in this light at all. (¶ 7)

Beg pardon, but it is the Archbishop who introduced language of two tracks or two “tiers” for the future of the Communion. Moreover, the invitation not to participate in, or be suspended from, one or more of “the Instruments” is spelled out in the Covenant at 4.2.5. And further unspecified “relational consequences” concerning the actual status of communion between members churches, is also threatened (4.2.7).

If these are not “change to the structure of the Communion” then what are they? It seems to me they are fundamental changes to the only structure we have. Evidently, the Archbishop thinks otherwise, which leads me to wonder what he means by “structure.”

Andrew Gerns Communion does matter. The Covenant is not the same as Communion.

…Communion is a gift. The problem is not the Communion. The problem is the Covenant.

To make the argument, Dr. Williams begs the question: since he did all the visits and all these events happened without the Covenant in place, then is it possible to be a Communion without the Covenant? Would these connections cease if the Covenant were to not pass? Would Anglicans stop working together or would our voice be diluted in any way without the Covenant in place?

Put another way, would the voice of Anglicanism be any stronger in Zimbabwe and would it influence Mugabe any more if they had the Covenant in their back pockets? Would having the Covenant stop Polynesian islands from being any more submerged and would the urban parish be any more relevant to it’s neighborhood with a fully empowered Anglican Covenant?

Once more he talks about how we must not focus on the things that divide us, while extolling a document that defines itself in terms of division, rather than reconciliation. He says we need this to make room for everyone. Dr. Williams asks for an alternative to the mechanisms outlined in Part IV. He says that no one has offered an alternative. While this point is in itself debatable, allow me instead to make a my own humble suggestion:

Instead of spending time (as Section Four posits) on throwing each other out when we disagree, how about building a communion that encourages dialogue and reconciliation?

Instead of focusing on eliminating conflict by making sure that no innovation can happen without the approval of the most conservative member of the Anglican Communion, how about creating a structure and processes that encourage members of Churches who see the implications of the Gospel differently to come together, listen to one another, pray together, share experiences of mission together, and break Eucharistic bread together?

Mark Harris Canterbury writes a letter. It is Advent after all.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 5 December 2011 at 2:28pm GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Advent letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury

from Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sent the following Advent letter to the Primates of the Anglican Communion and Moderators of the United Churches.

photographic copy of the letter as sent on paper (PDF)

Full text as a web page

The following three paragraphs are the ones most likely to provoke discussion:

6. Along with such signs of hope, the Communion still lives with numerous tensions. A number of Primates felt unable in conscience to attend the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin early in the year. However, two-thirds of the Primates were present to pray and take counsel together. In addition to a number of strong statements in defence of various Christian communities in situations of suffering and stress, and a very clear commitment to work together on issues of gender-based violence, the meeting produced a carefully considered statement on what those present believed was the proper role of a Primates’ gathering; and it was clear in the discussion that the position and powers of the Primate were very different in different Provinces. These differences affect opinions over the sort of powers a Primates’ Meeting could and should have. They still need more careful and dispassionate discussion, and a sustained willingness on the part of all Provinces to understand the different ways in which each local part of the Anglican family organizes its life.

7. This of course relates also to the continuing discussion of the Anglican Covenant. How it is discussed, the timescale of discussion and the means by which decisions are reached will vary a lot from Province to Province. We hope to see a full report of progress at next year’s Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting. In spite of many assurances, some Anglicans evidently still think that the Covenant changes the structure of our Communion or that it gives some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some undemocratic or unrepresentative body. With all respect to those who have raised these concerns, I must repeat that I do not see the Covenant in this light at all. It sets out an understanding of our common life and common faith and in the light of that proposes making a mutual promise to consult and attend to each other, freely undertaken. It recognizes that not doing this damages our relations profoundly. It outlines a procedure, such as we urgently need, for attempting reconciliation and for indicating the sorts of consequences that might result from a failure to be fully reconciled. It alters no Province’s constitution, as it has no canonical force independent of the life of the Provinces. It does not create some unaccountable and remote new authority but seeks to identify a representative group that might exercise a crucial advisory function. I continue to ask what alternatives there are if we want to agree on ways of limiting damage, managing conflict and facing with honesty the actual effects of greater disunity. In the absence of such alternatives, I must continue to commend the Covenant as strongly as I can to all who are considering its future.

8. These questions are made all the more sharp by the fact that the repeated requests for moratoria on problematic actions issued by various representative Anglican bodies are increasingly ignored. Strong conscientious convictions are involved here. No-one, I believe, acts out of a desire to deepen disunity; some believe that certain matters are more important than what they think of as a superficial unity. But the effects are often to deepen mutual mistrust, and this must surely be bad for our mission together as Anglicans, and alongside other Christians as well. The question remains: if the moratoria are ignored and the Covenant suspected, what are the means by which we maintain some theological coherence as a Communion and some personal respect and understanding as a fellowship of people seeking to serve Christ? And we should bear in mind that our coherence as a Communion is also a significant concern in relation to other Christian bodies – especially at a moment when the renewed dialogues with Roman Catholics and Orthodox have begun with great enthusiasm and a very constructive spirit.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 1 December 2011 at 6:10pm GMT | Comments (17) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Divine Commonwealth Conference

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) organised this event. See the press release, DIVCCON: CELEBRATING OUR DIVINE COMMONWEALTH.

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) takes another stride with the introduction of Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON). At a time when the revisionist agenda is ravaging some parts of the global Global Anglican Communion, and we are confronted at home with compromises and shallowness in many aspects, we see this as the time to return to our roots by defending the ancient landmark (Proverbs 22:28) which was built on the ministries of the apostles and focused on Christ as the Biblical story and the cornerstone of our faith…

The conference which has this website, has the full text of many of the talks here.

It has also issued this proclamation:

CONFERENCE STATEMENT
From the first Divine Commonwealth Conference
Held at the National Christian Center, Abuja, Nigeria
7th – 11th, November 2011

In the name of God: the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The first Divine Commonwealth Conference was held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, from Monday 7th to Friday 11th November 2011. It was an international, non-denominational spiritual conference initiated by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the leadership of the Most Reverend Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate.

We, the participants, numbering over 5,000 Bishops, Clergy and Laity, deeply appreciated words of encouragement and goodwill from notable leaders from Nigeria, other parts of Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, including the retired Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Primates of West Africa and Kenya, the Methodist Archbishop of Abuja and the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God…

For the full text download this PDF file. It is also available on various other websites including here.

It includes the following:

10) We are convinced that no community without the living God at its centre is a true Commonwealth. Neither is a “Commonwealth of Nations” a true commonwealth if it does not stand for righteousness. In this regard, we were shocked by the recent statement from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Right Honourable David Cameron, to the effect that his Government would aid only those countries that adhere to “proper human rights”. It is clear that his true agenda is to force the normalization of homosexuality and gay marriage as a human right”. While acknowledging the sacred worth of every human being we reject this erroneous notion as contrary to God’s intention for humankind and harmful to those he claims to protect. Another implication of this is that the “Commonwealth of Nations” is still being treated as a body of unequal partners, where, because of economic status, some nations are still vulnerable to manipulation. We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to resist any such intimidation on this matter.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 18 November 2011 at 10:49pm GMT | Comments (19) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Anglican Covenant: several recent views

Michael Poon recently wrote an article for the Living Church titled Rebooting Anglican Communication.

In whatever ways we justify and reinterpret the Communion instruments of the Anglican Communion, it is clear the instruments no longer unite Anglican churches worldwide. Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meetings have become obstacles rather than means of healing the Communion’s wounds.

The reasons are clear. The Anglican Communion itself, understood as a Christian World Communion alongside the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and other families of churches, is a novel idea in the post-Western missionary era. The instruments emerged in haphazard ways amid the devolution of metropolitan authorities from Canterbury and New York to churches in the southern continents. To be sure, they were useful to connect churches with one another in years surrounding the independence of the southern churches.

They have now become part of the problem, and have lost their legitimacy in the new conditions of the new century. For one, international conferences are expensive exercises, which are hardly sustainable in present-day economic conditions. More important, there is a worrying disconnect between what happens at Communion levels and what occurs at local levels. The faithful in their parishes are expected to remain loyal Anglicans week in and week out. To them, the Anglican disputes are irrelevant. Many of them perhaps have not heard about the Anglican Communion Covenant. Churches of weaker numerical strength and in more fragile conditions are sidelined as well in a high-stakes and wasting religious war….

Tobias Haller has published the text of a talk he recently gave, entitled Anglican Disunion: The Issues Behind “the Issue”.

…Let me first say a word or two about where I don’t think we find our identity. And that, ironically, is in the very “Instruments of Communion” which the Proposed Anglican Covenant appears to wish to install at the center of our ecclesiastical life.

The Windsor Report called them “instruments of unity,” which is not a little blasphemous since our unity is in Christ. But those instruments don’t in any case seem to have had the effect of improving unity. The four are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates’ Meeting. These are all relatively recent entities not only in Christianity but even among Anglicans.

Obviously the Archbishop of Canterbury has been around since the late sixth century, But the office only began to function as anything like a voice in a “communion” with the beginnings of that “communion” when the Episcopal Church became an independent entity in 1785-89…

…It was not until 1867 that the first Lambeth Conference was called, largely to deal with problems in the by then much more widely dispersed collection of provinces in the Anglican family. It was a full century after that, in 1968, that the Anglican Consultative Council, a representative body including for the first time laity and clergy as well as bishops, was created. Ten years later, in 1978, the Primates of the Communion gathered for the first time as a separate body.

Obviously these entities can hardly be held to be either “foundational” or “essential” or “definitional” of what it means to be the Anglican Communion, which appears to have gotten on well enough without them for much of its life. Yet since the Windsor Report they have loomed rather larger in the picture. And the pressure towards a single unified body has taken form in the Proposed Anglican Covenant.

Savi Hensman at Ekklesia has just published an article titled A clearer, less divisive Anglican Covenant?

Attempts to bring in an Anglican Covenant which can be used to define Anglicanismand discipline member churches have run into difficulties.

Many are uneasy with this development. In November 2011, it became apparent that the province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia would reject it.

In the words of a diocesan resolution, one of its clauses contains ‘provisions which are contrary to our understanding of Anglican ecclesiology, to our understanding of the way of Christ, and to justice’.

Perhaps it is time to abandon such efforts and build on the foundations laid six years ago by the Anglican Consultative Council, when it agreed a very different Covenant for Communion in Mission…

Meanwhile, Fulcrum published A Churchgoer’s Guide to the Anglican Communion Covenant.

The whole Anglican Communion is considering whether to adopt the Anglican Communion Covenant. All Church of England dioceses and many deaneries are discussing it in coming months before it returns to General Synod in 2012. Fulcrum has consistently supported the covenant but is aware that there is little accessible material explaining it. As a result, many people are relatively uninformed or are being misinformed about it and its significance by some opponents. We have therefore produced this short briefing paper which answers some common questions and provides ten reasons to support the Covenant…

This prompted the No Anglican Covenant Coalition to publish: A Detailed Response to Fulcrum.

Recently, Fulcrum, an English Evangelical organization, issued a document offering ten points allegedly explaining why Evangelical Christians should support the adoption of the Covenant. The No Anglican Covenant Coalition (NACC) has published below a brief overview of why the ten points are inadequate reasons for Evangelicals to support the adoption. In this document we offer point-by-point refutation…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 at 9:40am GMT | Comments (51) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 4 November 2011

Tikanga Maori rejects Anglican Covenant

Two reports from New Zealand:

AnglicanTaonga Maori quash Anglican Covenant

The Anglican Covenant is all but dead in the water as far as this church is concerned. This follows a crucial vote by Tikanga Maori at its biennial runanganui in Ohinemutu today.

The Covenant will still come before General Synod in July, but a decision to accept it requires a majority vote in all three houses – lay, clergy and bishops – and by all three tikanga.

Today’s runanganui decision effectively binds all Maori representatives on General Synod to say no…

Bosco Peters writes at Liturgy Maori reject Anglican Covenant

In order for people to understand the significance of this news, you need to comprehend the decision-making processes of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. Like other Anglican Churches, a decision made (for example at General Synod) needs the agreement of all three houses – bishops, clergy, laity. But in our Church, at General Synod level, it also needs the agreement of all three Tikanga (cultural streams)…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 4 November 2011 at 9:38am GMT | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Archbishop's Central Africa visit concluded

Additional press releases from Lambeth Palace:

Archbishop travels to Manicaland, Zimbabwe

Visit to St Augustine’s Mission in Manicaland, Zimbabwe

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

Archbishop of Canterbury arrives in Zambia

Archbishop meets President Michael Sata of Zambia

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

Press reports:

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

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

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

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 16 October 2011 at 2:56pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Monday, 10 October 2011

Archbishop's visit to Zimbabwe - day two

Updated again

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury set to meet Robert Mugabe

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

ZimGuardian Archbishop of Canterbury cheered in Zimbabwe

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

Zimbabwe Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury arrives in Zimbabwe

BBC Archbishop delivers message of hope to Zimbabwe

Reuters Archbishop of Canterbury to confront Zimbabwe’s Mugabe

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

AFP Anglican leader voices ‘concerns’ in Mugabe talks

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

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

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

Subsequent press reports:

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

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

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

New Zimbabwe Mugabe ‘on top of things’: Williams

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

AFP via Sydney Morning Herald Williams urges Mugabe to end attacks

Reuters Head of Anglican church confronts Zimbabwe’s Mugabe

BBC Rowan Williams hands Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe abuse file

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 10 October 2011 at 8:28am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury in Zimbabwe

Updated frequently on Sunday as additional reports are published

The Telegraph reports Archbishop of Canterbury cheered in Zimbabwe.

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

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

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

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

AFP Anglican leader cheered in Zimbabwe amid Church split

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury on ‘healing’ Zimbabwe trip

Reuters Archbishop of Canterbury denounces attacks on Zimbabwe church

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

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

Press Association Williams backs Zimbabwe’s Anglicans

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 9 October 2011 at 4:27pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 8 October 2011

more on Archbishop's visit to Central Africa

Updated Sunday morning

The Sunday Telegraph has two reports:

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

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

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

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

Two other earlier reports:

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

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

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

RadioVOP Anglican Does Not Support Homosexuality - Archbishop Of Canterbury

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

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

Press releases from Lambeth Palace:

Archbishop Rowan arrives in Malawi

Archbishop meets President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi

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

Sunday morning updates

ENI via ACO Williams, Malawi president discuss church agriculture projects

New Zimbabwe Mugabe to challenge Williams over sanctions

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

Zim Eye Mugabe may refuse to meet Rowan Williams

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

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

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

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury on ‘healing’ Zimbabwe trip

CNN Archbishop wants to meet with Mugabe over Anglican persecution allegations

AFP Mugabe wants to quiz Anglican leader on gays, sanctions

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

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

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

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 8 October 2011 at 10:42pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Central Africa

Updated Friday afternoon
additional items below the fold

Official press release issued Wednesday:

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

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

British press reports:

Riazat Butt Guardian Rowan Williams seeks meeting with Robert Mugabe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

African press reports:

ZimOnline Williams visit for solidarity: church

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

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

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

The Zimbabwean Archbishop to pay a pastoral visit to Central Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

Church Times Williams to confront Kunonga

New York Times Anglican Leader to Seek Meeting With Mugabe

Reuters Archbishop of Canterbury to press Mugabe on persecution

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

Christian Today Archbishop hopes to meet Mugabe in Zimbabwe

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

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

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

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

Maravi Post Archbishop Williams to raise persecution issues with Mugabe

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

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

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 10:31pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Sydney Anglicans: more reactions to Muriel Porter's book

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 8:55am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Church of Australia | Anglican Communion

Friday, 30 September 2011

Nigeria proposes new legislation on same sex marriage

Updated Wednesday afternoon

Changing Attitude reports on this, see New Bill prohibiting same-sex marriage placed before Nigerian Parliament.

For the third time in five years the Nigerian parliament is considering a law seeking to prohibit same sex marriage after a new bill was presented to the House. The Nigerian Vanguard newspaper reported on Wednesday September 28, 2011, “The bill had its second reading yesterday September 27, just as senators described the act as ungodly, morally and religiously unacceptable”. The bill is sponsored by Senator Domingo Alaba Obende, Edo North senatorial district and had its first reading in July…

Box Turtle Bulletin has the text of the bill, see Here It Is: Nigeria’s Proposal To Criminalize Same-Sex Marriage:

A BTB reader found a copy of Nigeria’s latest proposal to not just ban same-sex marriage (it’s already illegal in Nigeria), but to impose criminal penalties on anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage — as well as for anyone who “witnesses, abets and aids the solemnization of a same gender marriage contract.” The penalty for entering into a same-sex marriage under the proposed measure would be three years’ imprisonment. The penalty for witnessing/aiding/abeting a marriage would bring five years imprisonment or a fine of ₦2,000 (2,000 naria, or US$13 in a country where the average annual income is US$1,200). If a group of persons witness/aid/abet a marriage, the fine is ₦50,000. It’s unclear whether two people at a wedding would be considered two individuals or a group. The bill also does not define what constitutes witnessing, abetting or aiding in the solemnization of a marriage.

This bill is a considerably scaled down from an earlier bill that was being considered as late as 2009…

Meanwhile, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Nicholas D. Okoh, spoke recently on this subject, see this report from thisdayonline.com: Anglican Primate Launches Attack against Gay Marriage, Homosexuality.

Peeved by the growing malaise of sexual immorality in the country, Primate, Church of Nigeria, the Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, has described the practice of homosexuality, lesbianism and gay marriage as great evils that must neither be condoned nor allowed to further exist in our society…

But Changing Attitude also reports that Nigeria Human Rights Defenders condemn 2011 Same Gender Marriage Prohibition Bill.

Wednesday updates

Savi Hensman has written Nigeria’s anti-gay Bill: remembering human rights at Ekklesia.

Some Nigerian politicians are again trying to push through legislation to further criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people and their friends.

Sex between people of the same gender is already a crime, and in some parts of the country, men who have sex with each other can be put to death – but certain people seem to believe this is not harsh enough.

The Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2011 is a scaled-down version of earlier anti-LGBT bills. These were dropped after strong protests by human rights advocates at home and abroad., “We as a country need to act very fast for this trend not to find its way into our country,” the Bill’s main sponsor, Senator Domingo Obende, reportedly said. “Same sex marriage cannot be allowed on moral and religious grounds. The Muslim religion forbids it. Christianity forbids it and the African traditional religion forbids it. It should not be allowed because it will lead to a breakdown of the society.”

Apparently he warned that the results would be catastrophic if action was not taken to prohibit same-sex marriage: “With the legalisation of same sex marriage, every school in Nigeria would be required to teach that this perversion is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Textbooks would have to depict man/man and woman/woman relationship and stories written for children as young as kindergarten would have to give equal space to homosexuals…

And Changing Attitude reports that Changing Attitude Nigeria will campaign against the prohibition marriage between persons of the same sex bill.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 30 September 2011 at 11:24pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Zimbabwe prepares for Rowan Williams to visit

Updated again Sunday morning

The Zimbabwe press contains reports of Bishop Kunonga’s statements about the forthcoming visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

New Zimbabwe Kunonga scorns Williams visit

REBEL Anglican cleric Nolbert Kunonga claims the Archbishop of Canterbury is visiting Zimbabwe in October to “lobby for homosexuality” and “represent neo-colonialism”.

Kunonga, who was banished by the main Anglican Province of Central Africa and the worldwide Anglican Church in 2007, charged that Archbishop Rowan Williams was a “civil servant on a mission”.

“The Anglican Church is a political organisation when it is in England,” said Kunonga, who denied he was a Zanu PF “puppet”.

He added: “Rowan William was appointed by the Queen and the Prime Minister and he is a civil servant of Britain. In a political and economic environment, the civil servant represents and symbolises with his State…

Zimbabwe Guardian Archbishop Kunonga: I’m no Zanu-PF puppet

…Speaking to journalists yesterday, Archbishop Kunonga said he supported democracy that involved the passing on of natural resources to people.

He said he spoke his mind in his capacity as a church leader and not as a Zanu-PF activist.

“I do not need any favours from anyone. I am fighting for this land, mines, natural resources of this land and economic power, which is in the hands of the whites. That’s my fight with the British.

“I am not a puppet of Zanu-PF and if I am a puppet, then I am a proud and educated puppet,” he said…

And according to the Telegraph in London in a report by Peta Thorneycroft Rowan Williams is ‘lobbying for homosexuality’, claims Mugabe-backed bishop:

Reverend Admire Chisango, the secretary for Mr Kunonga’s “diocese”, told The Daily Telegraph: “We have not received an invitation to attend the Archbishop’s service.

“You know Lambeth is just a club, the Lambeth Conference is a fellowship and the Archbishop of Canterbury marries women marrying women and men marrying men.

“He is on the wrong side of the scriptures and commits blasphemy.”

Meanwhile, the Voice of America reports that Evictions of Anglican Clerics Continue as High Court Rebuffs Application.

Evictions of Zimbabwean priests from properties owned by the Harare Diocese of the Anglican church continued following a High Court decision late last week refusing to stop the removals by a faction led by the former Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku recently gave Kunonga control of all church properties until a final ruling is made on control of the church’s assets. On Friday, High Court Judge Tendai Uchena dismissed an application in which Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Church of the Province of Central Africa - the regional branch of the worldwide Anglican Church - sought protection for clergy against evictions from their rectories and houses. Explaining his ruling, Uchena said Chidyausiku was expected to deliver a final judgment so there was no need for a lower court to rule in the case.

Chidyausiku had promised to deliver a judgment on Friday, but did not do so.

Saturday updates

Some further reports have appeared.

Newsday Kunonga dubs self ‘life Bishop’

Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga who has called himself “life Bishop” remained defiant and claimed ownership of 3 800 properties in and outside Zimbabwe. He argues there is nothing to apologise for.

On Friday, Kunonga evicted two families from St Luke’s Church in Rhodesville.

The latest eviction precedes a wave of evictions targeted at those refusing to recognise Kunonga’s authority.

On Thursday Kunonga described the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who is set to visit Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia in October, as a non-entity and said there was nothing to stop him from being “Bishop forever”.

“I would prefer not to meet him because I will not be in solidarity with him. I am taking things from Williams because I am indigenising…”

ZimEye Chief Justice speaks on Anglican row

CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has blasted the Bishop Chad Gandiya-led faction of the Anglican Church for seeking political intervention in the long-drawn property ownership wrangle still pending before the courts.

This, the Chief Justice said, was tantamount to interference with the independence of the judiciary…

Sunday update

Standard Kunonga speaks on Anglican chaos

…Kunonga told journalists on Friday that as long as he was alive, all the 3 800 Anglican properties in the country would remain in his custody. He said whoever wants to use the property should rejoin his group, because it was impossible to have him and Chad Gandiya as bishops. “There is always one diocese, one bishop and one throne, not two,” Kunonga said.

“People simply walked out in thousands, they simply walked out on their own after being misled by nonentities. If they want to come back, they are free to do so and we are not going to ask them anything.

“Those who ran away from the church and do not want to come back just have to rest their case, because they donated the properties to the church, they donated to God,”

He said a lot of people had begun retracing their steps back to his faction. “There was a time when there were only five of us in the hundreds of churches, but now the situation is improving and some churches now have 300 parishioners, and these are the same people coming back after realising they had been lied to,” he said.

While extending a conciliatory hand to ordinary members of the church, Kunonga dismissed possibilities of reconciliation with the Gandiya faction. “We call for reconciliation, everybody is free to come and worship with us. We invite people and we don’t chase them away,” he said. “The dispute of bishops has nothing to do with worshippers, as has been said in the media, some people choose to politicise the dispute, others choose to be judgemental.

“The dispute is between ourselves and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and bishops of the Province of Central Africa and it is purely doctrinal and has nothing to do with politics.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 30 September 2011 at 4:11pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Global South Primates visit China

Updated Friday evening

Global South Anglican has published Communiqué of the Global South Primates during their visit to China in September 2011.

A large number of primates of Anglican provinces visited China from 30 August to 10 September 2011. The attendance list is:

Most Rev Dr John Chew, Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi, Most Rev Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis, Most Rev Justice Ofei Akrofi, Most Rev Bernard Ntahoturi, Most Rev Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh*, Most Rev Stephen Than Myint Oo, Most Rev Hector Zavala, Most Rev Eliud Wabukala, Most Rev Onesphore Rwaje, Most Rev Albert Chama. (*Note: Abp Okoh left a day earlier before the Communique was finalised.)

The text of the communique deals in part with their perceptions of China, but also contains their views on the Anglican Communion. This section is copied below the fold.

Updates

Press coverage in the Church Times: Instruments lack backbone, Primates of Global South say.
And in the Church of England Newspaper: Canterbury’s international agenda in tatters.

11. In our reflections, we found that our Anglican Communion has also undergone a tremendous transformation in recent decades. Today, the majority of Anglicans are found no longer in the west, but in churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are firmly committed to our historic faith and order.

12. At the same time, it grieves us deeply to observe many Anglican churches in the west yielding to secular pressure to allow unacceptable practices in the name of human rights and equality. Beginning with the undermining of Scriptural authority and two millennia of church tradition, the erosion of orthodoxy has gone as far as the ordination and consecration of active gay and lesbian clergy and bishops, and the development of liturgies for same-sex marriage.

13. We are wholeheartedly committed to the unity of Anglican Communion and recognize the importance of the historic See of Canterbury. Sadly, however, the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Unity have become dysfunctional and no longer have the ecclesial and moral authority to hold the Communion together. For instance:

13.1. It was regrettable that the Lambeth Conference 2008 was designed not to make any resolutions that would have helped to resolve the crisis facing the Communion.

13.2. The Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in January 2011 was planned without prior consultation with the Primates in regard to the agenda. There was no commitment to follow through the recommendations of previous Primates’ Meetings. The responsibility given by all bishops at the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences for the Primates’ Meeting to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” seems to have been completely set aside.

13.3. The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the Anglican Communion Standing Committee, and Communion-level commissions such as the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) and the Anglican Communion Liturgical Commission no longer reflect the common mind of the churches of the Communion because many members from the Global South can no longer with good conscience attend these meetings as issues that are aggravating and tearing the fabric of the Communion are being ignored.

14. We have devoted much time to discuss the Anglican Communion Covenant and the Preamble by the Province of South East Asia documenting the historical events leading up to the Covenant and insisting that the Primates should be the proper moral and spiritual authority for the monitoring of the Covenant. The Covenant with the Preamble have been commended to our respective Provinces for further study and decision.

15. We are committed to uphold the apostolic faith and traditions that define us as Anglicans. This commitment compels us to adopt a proactive stance with respect to our common mission and witness.

15.1. We are planning a Missions Consultation with the theme “Decade of Mission and Networking” as proposed in the Fourth South-to-South Encounter, as a unifying vocational platform on which we realize and build up our common life and witness. Orthodox Anglican churches and groups will be invited to join hands with us in missions.

15.2. We commend the initiatives of theological education carried out in some of our provinces to strengthen the theological foundations and deepen theological reflection among future leaders of the Church.

15.3. We are developing economic empowerment strategies and networks to enable churches in the Global South to be more economically self-sustaining using the resources God has blessed each of our nations.

15.4. We are committed to support faithful orthodox Anglican churches and groups in the west which share our historic faith and order.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 at 4:06pm BST | Comments (32) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 9 September 2011

Anglican priest in Zimbabwe freed; bishop robbed

Updated Saturday morning

ACNS report the latest development: As Zimbabwe priest is freed, bishop is robbed of communications equipment.

The Bishop of Harare the Rt Revd Dr Nicholas Chad Gandiya said he is suspicious of a robbery at his house in which only money and communications equipment were taken.

On the same day that international media carried the news of the arrest and imprisonment of Anglican priest Reverend Julius Zimbudzana and of the impending visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Zimbabwe, four men forced their way into the bishop’s home on Thursday evening. They ordered him and his family to lie on the floor and then proceeded to ransack the house.

Bp Chad said, “We gave them all the money we had between us all which came to $600 to $800. They threatened to kill us if we did not give them money. They searched my son’s bedroom and ours for money and any valuables they could get. They literally trashed our bedroom. They took my laptop and my son’s two laptops and all our cell phones.

“They shoved us all into the bathroom and tried to lock us in but it did not work. They threatened to load all our property in cars and take it all away. We rejoice and thank God that none of us were hurt. We simply did what they told us to do.

“I am however, very suspicious of this robbery. It seems what they were after were just the laptops and phones.”

He added that the robbery means that his ability to communicate is now, of course, much more limited than before.

The robbery took place only hours after the priest in charge at St Mary’s Anglican Church, Reverend Julius Zimbudzana, was finally released from jail after being arrested on a charge of taking over Anglican church property worth over US$1.5 million…

Saturday morning updates

Mail Online Archbishop of Canterbury risks church split as he seeks to meet Mugabe

Telegraph More Anglican churches and properties seized in Zimbabwe

SW Radio Africa Mugabe’s Bishop Kunonga evicts nurses, school head and priests and also OUTSIDE LOOKING IN - A letter from the diaspora

Council on Foreign Relations Archbishop of Canterbury Wants to Meet with Mugabe

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 9 September 2011 at 12:04pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Anglican priest arrested in Zimbabwe

Updated Friday

Since the October visit of Archbishop Williams was announced, there have been further developments in Zimbabwe.

ACNS Anglican Bishop of Harare: “Priest’s arrest for ‘theft’ of US$1.5 million is baseless”

Highlands Police today (Tuesday 6 September 2011) arrested Reverend Julius Zimbudzana, the priest in charge at St Mary’s Anglican Church for allegedly taking over Anglican church property worth over US$1.5 million as police intensified their persecution of the Anglican Church, hiding behind unjust court rulings.

Dr Nicholas Chad Gandiya, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare in the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) immediately dismissed the charge as persecution of the Anglicans under the CPCA by the police, acting on the instructions of the ex-communicated Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

“That [accusation against Revd Julius] is unfounded, baseless and without foundation,” Bishop Gandiya said. “This is very strange indeed as no parish in our diocese (perhaps the exception of the Cathedral Parish) has properties worth that much. He has been refused bail. The police claim they have clear instructions not to release him…”

Other reports:

Church of England Newspaper Harare eviction order appealed

SW Radio Africa via AllAfrica.com Anglican Priest Arrested By Police in Highlands

Telegraph Anglican priest arrested in Zimbabwe as Archbishop of Canterbury plans visit and also Archbishop of Canterbury ‘to meet’ Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe

New Zimbabwe Archbishop of Canterbury to meet Mugabe

Friday updates

The Church Times has this report: Zimbabwe: priest arrested for ‘taking’ his own parish which also includes this:

…The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Lang­staff, has recently returned from a trip to the diocese of Harare, which has a link with Rochester.

Bishop Langstaff attended a dio­cesan conference with clergy, and said that it was a “slightly surreal ex­peri­ence, as off-stage we knew clergy were routinely being persecuted” and churches’ property being disposses­sed. “Gradually, all of the clergy will be ousted from their own property. But, although Kunonga has the buildings, he has no people. He is only interested in making money.

“Congregations are now meeting in borrowed premises and tents, and are growing. I went to one church meeting in a tent. There was a very positive atmosphere, and people feel they are growing spiritually and are more committed — and feel good will come out of it. The congrega­tions are in really good heart, but are concerned for their clergy.”

BBC Archbishop will find Zimbabwe Church in chaos

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will find his followers dismayed and a Church in chaos when he visits next month…

And the Telegraph has an editorial column: Christian courageous

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is right to expose himself to risk by visiting Zimbabwe, where many Christians practise their faith in fear, and meeting its President, Robert Mugabe…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 8 September 2011 at 8:08am BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

More Anglican Covenant complexities

In the previous Covenant article, mention was made of the recent analysis by Andrew Goddard.

Two developments in relation to that.

Alan Perry wrote this critique of it: Send in the Theologians

The editors of the No Anglican Covenant blog asked the ACO if what was claimed about IASCUFO working on reforms to the Instruments of Communion was correct. The answer is available here: Don’t Panic.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 at 6:46pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 5 September 2011

Anglican Covenant roundup

From New Zealand come reports that two further dioceses have voted against adoption of the Anglican Covenant:

Auckland Covenant clause ‘contrary to Anglican ecclesiology’

But, for the amended text of the resolution that was passed, please see the comments below.

Waiapu The following motion was passed by a 99.5% majority:

Waiapu affirms its desire to remain a member of the Anglican Communion. We do not believe that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will enhance the life of the Communion and request that General Synod/te Hinota Whanui declines to sign the Covenant. (All three regional conferences supported this motion going to Synod.)

The No Anglican Covenant campaign has criticised the materials recently issued in the Diocese of Oxford.

Meanwhile, the Living Church has published a number of articles in support of the Covenant, to which Lionel Deimel has helpfully provided a set of links. See this page. He explains why he did this here.

One of these is by Andrew Goddard who has published an interesting article which suggests that, in the light of the Anglican Covenant’s prospective adoption, some reforms are needed to the Anglican Instruments of Unity.

This is also available from the Fulcrum website: Commitment in Word and Deed.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 5 September 2011 at 4:12pm BST | Comments (14) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Archbishop Williams to visit Zimbabwe

The Church Times reports: Williams to visit Zimbabwe as harassment continues.

And Ekklesia has a report from ENInews headlined Anglican leader to seek meeting with Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

An earlier Church Times report said: Kunonga looks over the border as evictions bite.

And there was this ACNS report: Zimbabwe Anglican Church fights to reclaim its properties and end attacks.

The Church of England Newspaper has Mugabe meeting for Archbishop Williams and earlier Anglican clergy under siege in Harare.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 3 September 2011 at 11:03pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 29 August 2011

Sydney Anglicans

Updated Saturday

ABC in Australia has published this article by Muriel Porter: Sydney Anglicans and the threat to world Anglicanism. It starts:

Sydney Diocese has always been an important player in the Anglican Church of Australia.

It is the oldest and largest of the 23 Australian dioceses, and until its recent catastrophic financial losses, was the richest. It is also the most conservative, and is strident in defence of that conservatism.

But how could Sydney Diocese be a threat to the international Anglican Communion? After all, Australia, with just 3.7 million Anglicans according to the 2006 census - the same number as those Australians who claimed no religion - should be but a small player among the 80 million world Anglicans.

Yet in the first decade of the twenty-first century, under the leadership of Archbishop Peter Jensen, Sydney Diocese has become a force to be reckoned with in the Anglican Communion. As a leader of the alternative international Anglican movement focused in the Global Anglican Future (GAFCON) project, his diocese became what can only be described as a destabilizing influence.

And it ends with:

Overall, Sydney’s influence is of real concern for the future of world Anglicanism.

The article is an edited extract from Dr Porter’s new book Sydney Anglicans and the Threat to World Anglicanism.

Dr Porter is a journalist and author, a Fellow of the University of Melbourne School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, and a member of the Australian General Synod.

Update

ABC News has published this response by Mark Thompson Religion & Ethics: Serious flaws in Muriel Porter’s misguided polemic.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 29 August 2011 at 12:00pm BST | Comments (52) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Church of Australia | Anglican Communion

Friday, 26 August 2011

Liturgical consultation on marriage rites also hears about same-sex blessings

Today’s Church Times carries a news report, by me, on the recent meeting of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation.

See ‘Respectful’ hearing for gay-rites debate.

“RITES relating to marriage” was the subject under study by 56 Anglican liturgists at the biennial meeting of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC) earlier this month in Canterbury. Continuing work that was begun two years ago in New Zealand, a report on this topic will be completed by December.

Participants came from 19 An­glican provinces, including Brazil, Hong Kong, Nigeria, and the Southern Cone. Topics included theology, cultural contexts, and the shape and elements of ritual. Papers were delivered by the Bishop of Central Tanganyika, the Rt Revd Mdimi Mhogolo, and by the Revd Dr Simon Jones, of Merton College, Oxford…

…In addition to the regular sessions, there was a separate presentation by members of the Standing Commis­sion on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) of the Episcopal Church in the United States on their development of a theological rationale and litur­gical principles for same-sex bless­ings. Those who attended were asked to give feed­back by consider­ing specific ques­tions in small work­ing groups.

The chair of the IALC, Dr Eileen Scully, from Canada, said on Thurs­day of last week that the purpose of the IALC meeting was to work on rites related to heterosexual couples only. In countries where civil-marriage laws were changing, how­ever, to allow either civil unions or same-sex marriage, Churches faced challenges. They needed to reflect on the parallels with traditional marriage…

Anglican Communion Office backfiles of material on IALC here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 26 August 2011 at 11:50am BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 5 August 2011

The Future(s) of Anglicanism

Gladstone’s Library is holding a residential event from the evening of Friday 2nd to lunchtime on Sunday 4th September which is titled The Future(s) of Anglicanism.

Is there a distinctive Anglican ethos and does it still survive? What does Anglicanism stand for? Is Anglicanism in danger of splitting apart over contentious issues like gay clergy, divorce, women bishops - the so-called western liberal agenda? The end of Anglicanism as we know it?

Is an Anglican Covenant the answer to our contemporary problems? Amidst all the controversy do we miss signs of hope and vibrancy - and the beginnings of an exciting future?

The speakers are:

  • Bishop Gregory Cameron
  • Jonathan Clatworthy
  • Bishop Gayle Harris
  • Simon Sarmiento
  • Anne Stevens
  • Peter Francis

More details from this page.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 5 August 2011 at 2:30pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 25 July 2011

Nigerian Anglicans issue Human Rights communiqué

We reported back in May: Primate calls for Nigeria to leave the UN.

Then at the end of June, there were some press reports about a national consultation in Nigeria, for example: Homosexuality: Nigeria’s Anglican church calls for pull out from UN or Homosexuality: Okoh urges FG to quit UN.

Now, the actual communiqué from that conference has been published: COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS.

While it is critical of the United Nations, it does not include a call for Nigeria to withdraw.

Jim Naughton’s earlier comments about this are still relevant.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 25 July 2011 at 12:13pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Ghana: Anglican support for homophobia

Updated Wednesday

There are disturbing reports of Christian, and in particular of Anglican, support for attacks on homosexual people in Ghana.

Independent Alex Duval Smith Ghana official calls for effort to ‘round up’ suspected gays

In a new burst of African homophobia, a government minister in Ghana has drawn support after calling on the country’s intelligence services to track down and arrest all gays and lesbians.

The call from Paul Evans Aidoo, the minister for the Western Region of Ghana, marks the latest in a series of expressions of officially condoned homophobia across the continent, which has previously been seen in Malawi, Uganda and South Africa…

BBC Paul Evans Aidoo’s Ghana gay spy call ‘promotes hatred’

A Ghanaian minister is “promoting hatred” by urging people to report those they suspect to be homosexual, a human rights group has told the BBC…

Africa Review Homosexuality: Ghana churches caution politicians

Ghanaian politicians who may want to push the idea of human rights to include open support for homosexuals will think twice after the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) took a strong stand on the issue.

The latter have and called on the faithful to “vote out lawmakers who show support for homosexuals”.

The CCG’s position stems from fears that international human rights groups want to lobby Parliament to pass a law that would legalise homosexuality in the country.

And:

The Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in Ghana, the Right Rev. Mathias Medadues-Badohu, says the Church in Ghana would intensify its teaching on the ills of homosexuality and would use its clinics to help those who want to get “out of it”.

ghana mma Christian Leaders Warn Politicians Over Gays

…Rt. Rev. Matthias Modedues-Badohu, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church and Bishop of Ho, said, “We speak against acts that go against the word of God. It is abnormal and not good. Our objective is to condemn it so that people will not get involved.”

The Anglican Communion Office recently held a Continuing Indaba Hub Meeting in Ghana, see this ACNS report, “The Anglican Communion is one family” Ghanaian bishop tells theologians.

Updates

Warren Throckmorton has written about this at Religion Dispatches Ghana’s Government Silent on Investigation of Gays.

…Some observers believe the number of sexual minorities may have been inflated in order to whip up opposition to homosexuality which could advance the standing of conservative politicians. Graham Knight, a British blogger living in Ghana, recently wrote that the claim of 8,000 sexual minorities has little support in fact. Knight concluded, in a blog post titled Did Ghana register 8000 homosexuals? The facts behind the hype that:

the real story is of a rather low-key workshop that has been sensationalized by the press, possibly with the collusion of a local doctor. The press reports are designed to create fear as are the unrepresentative group of Muslims claiming an imminent Sodom and Gomorrah for Africa.

While the accuracy of the original story is open to question, only a spark is needed to get a fire going—intentionally or not. And given the rhetoric in Ghana, it is difficult to avoid comparison to Uganda’s recent history in relation to sexual minorities. In March, 2009, three Americans spoke at a conference on homosexuality and used false and misleading information to inflame public sentiment against gays. Later that year, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was tabled…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 23 July 2011 at 9:23pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Divorce in Jerusalem: Anglicans must convert first

Jill Hamilton writes in the Guardian today, Christians in the Holy Land shouldn’t have to convert to Islam to get divorced.

“We cannot wait for politicians to sort things out, we have got to make a difference ourselves,” concluded Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, at the conference on Christians in the Holy Land co-hosted at Lambeth Palace with archbishop Vincent Nichols, the head of the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales.

As they explored ways to support Christians in the Middle East, I sent a query to Lambeth Palace asking why Anglicans in Jerusalem convert in order to get divorced. The reply from the press office was disappointing: “Each province has its own canon law, so the archbishop wouldn’t have any jurisdiction over this in another province … “

Yet it is time that foreign churches, as well as sending money and priests to the Middle East, used their influence to reform family law in the region. Who will bring pressure to bear to modernise the dense muddle of Christian personal status laws in the Middle East? The majority of the 14 million Arab Christians there cannot divorce. Many are locked into dead marriages – or convert to another religion so they can divorce…

And more precisely she reports that:

In the Holy Land, Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans can only separate; to remarry they first have to convert to Greek Orthodox or Islam to obtain a divorce. Annulment is possible, but there are only about five cases finalised in the region annually. Converts for divorce, though, are welcomed by the Greek Orthodox church. Metropolitan Cornelius, the Greek Orthodox judge in Jerusalem, has said the majority of divorces he handles are for former Catholics.

Information about the Lambeth Palace conference referred to at the beginning of this story can be found here, then here, and finally here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 23 July 2011 at 6:44pm BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A Short Introduction to the Anglican Covenant

Updated

press release from noanglicancovenant.org

COALITION RELEASES A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE ANGLICAN COVENANT

LONDON – Responding to requests for a concise explanation of the Anglican Covenant and the lack of even‐handed discussions of the Covenant from official sources, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition has released of A Short Introduction to the Anglican Covenant. The one‐page primer outlines the history and likely effect of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

“Most of the study material that has been produced to date has been designed for readers already familiar with the background and issues involved,” said the Coalition’s Moderator, the Revd. Dr. Lesley Fellows. “This brief, plain‐language explanation is intended to help ordinary Anglicans worldwide to understand what is being proposed.”
“Many people have complained that the official study material from the Anglican Communion Office has lacked balance and has failed to take seriously the concerns of Covenant critics,” according to the Revd. Canon Hugh Magee, the Coalition’s Scottish Convenor. “Recent study material from Canada has taken a more realistic view. While clearly written in opposition to the Covenant, A Short Introduction seeks to present a fair but critical view of the Covenant.”

A Short Introduction to the Anglican Covenant may be printed and copied by groups or individuals. It is particularly appropriate for people who know little about the Covenant or are overwhelmed by the available material related to the proposed pact. The document is available formatted both for letter‐size stationery used in Canada and the United States and for A4 stationery used in Britain and elsewhere.

Update

More attractive two-page versions are now also available: A4 stationery; North American stationery.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 at 11:44pm BST | Comments (33) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Episcopal Patrons for No Anglican Covenant Coalition

Coalition Appoints Episcopal Patrons

NEWS RELEASE
JULY 6, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BISHOPS JOHN SAXBEE, PETER SELBY TO BE PATRONS OF NO ANGLICAN COVENANT COALITION

LONDON – The Right Reverend Dr John Saxbee and the Right Reverend Dr Peter Selby have been appointed Episcopal Patrons of the international No Anglican Covenant Coalition.

“The Anglican Communion doesn’t need a Covenant because Anglicanism is a Covenant, predicated on grace and goodwill,” Dr Saxbee said. “If there is grace and goodwill, a Covenant is unnecessary. If there is no grace or goodwill, a Covenant will be unavailing.” Dr Saxbee was Bishop of Lincoln from 2001 until his retirement in January of this year.

Dr Selby, Bishop of Worcester from 1997 to 2007, has been a supporter of the Coalition since its launch last November. “This proposed Covenant is not the solution to the tensions in the Anglican Communion,” he said. “It will inevitably create a litigious Communion where every serious disagreement will become a possible occasion to seek a province’s exclusion.”

“More and more questions are being raised about the potential pitfalls of the proposed Anglican Covenant,” said the Reverend Dr Lesley Fellows, Moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition. “We have consistently seen that support for the Covenant tends to collapse in the face of full and fair discussion and analysis. We are very pleased to welcome Bishops Selby and Saxbee as our first Episcopal Patrons. They are well respected in the Church of England and throughout the Anglican Communion. We expect that their views on the Covenant will persuade many more people to take a harder look at the risks inherent in this radical proposal.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 9:41am BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

TEC Commission reports on the Covenant

The Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church has issued a report on the Anglican Covenant.

See this ENS news report: Task force releases report on Anglican Covenant.

“The SCCC is of the view that adoption of the current draft Anglican Covenant has the potential to change the constitutional and canonical framework of [the Episcopal Church], particularly with respect to the autonomy of our Church, and the constitutional authority of our General Convention, bishops and dioceses,” says the report.

The full text of the report can be found here as a PDF.

Mark Harris has commented on it: The Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons’ report. There it is.

Lionel Deimel has Analysis of the Report from the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 29 June 2011 at 10:00am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Canada reports on the Anglican Covenant

The Anglican Church of Canada has produced further material, in addition to its excellent study guide and linked materials which were mentioned earlier.

see the press release: Governance Working Group analyzes Covenant.

…This GWG report is one step in the Anglican Church of Canada’s ongoing consideration of the Covenant. A resolution at General Synod 2010 (A137) requested several actions to advance this work. First, the Anglican Communion Working Group was asked to prepare materials for parishes and dioceses to study the Covenant and give feedback. These materials were released June 9 and are available online.

Both the GWG and the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee were asked to assess the Covenant by “providing advice on the theological, ecclesiological, legal, and constitutional implications.”

The resolution also requested that “conversations, both within the Anglican Church of Canada and across the Communion, reflect the values of openness, transparency, generosity of spirit, and integrity, which have been requested repeatedly in the context of the discussion of controversial matters within the Communion.”

After this period of consideration, the Council of General Synod will bring a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant to General Synod 2013.

The report itself is here as a PDF. There is also an Executive Summary, also a PDF.

I have reproduced below the fold those parts of the Executive Summary which are of most relevance outside Canada. A read of the full report is highly recommended, as many of the issues raised by it should be of concern to all Anglicans worldwide.

The Anglican Church of Canada Governance Working Group
LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES PRESENTED TO THE CANADIAN CHURCH BY THE PROPOSED ANGLICAN COVENANT

Executive Summary

…The GWG’s Memorandum identifies four broad areas of concern:

1. Lack of Definitional Clarity

Because the Covenant is intended to bind those Churches which adopt it, there are concerns about the imprecision or ambiguity of important terms used in the Covenant, which makes it difficult to know with certainty the meaning, scope and operation of the Covenant:

  • communion
  • The Anglican Communion
  • Church
  • Faith
  • a shared mind
  • relational consequences
  • incompatible with the Covenant
  • controversy and controversial action
  • commissions and councils of the Communion

2. Procedural concerns

The procedures contained in section 4 of the Covenant raise a number of concerns:

The multiple roles of the Standing Committee creates uncertainty about the authority and jurisdiction granted to it under each role and cumulatively.

There is a lack of both substance and detail in the rules of process to be followed.

There are no criteria for actions or decisions which are deemed to be “controversial”, which is what initiates the procedure under section 4.

The Covenant does not contain the normal procedural fairness that is fundamental in Canadian jurisprudence.

The rules around the establishment, application and length of moratoria are ill-defined or absent.

The proposed Covenant does not provide rights for appeal.

The outcomes for a Church declining to implement recommended “relational consequences” are unspecified.

3. Constitutional Issues for the Canadian Church…

4. Consequences of Non-Adoption

Not adopting the Covenant does not affect the membership of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Anglican Communion.

How do non-covenanting churches relate to the actions of the Standing Committee?

Apart from section 4.2 of the draft text, are there any substantial consequences to the Canadian Church if it chooses not to adopt the Covenant.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 19 June 2011 at 7:25am BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sudan

Updated Wednesday and Thursday

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has released the following statement regarding recent violence in South Kordofan, Sudan:

Along with the Christian leaders represented in the Sudan Ecumenical Forum and Council of Churches and many more throughout the world, we deplore the mounting level of aggression and bloodshed in South Kordofan State and the indiscriminate violence on the part of government troops against civilians. Numerous villages have been bombed. More than 53,000 people have been driven from their homes. The new Anglican cathedral in Kadugli has been burned down. UN personnel in the capital, Kadugli, are confined to their compound and are unable to protect civilians; the city has been overrun by the army, and heavy force is being used by government troops to subdue militias in the area, with dire results for local people. Many brutal killings are being reported.

This violence is a major threat to the stability of Sudan just as the new state of South Sudan is coming into being. The humanitarian challenge is already great, and the risk of another Darfur situation, with civilian populations at the mercy of government-supported terror, is a real one.

International awareness of this situation is essential. The UN Security Council, the EU, the Arab League and the African Union need to co-operate in guaranteeing humanitarian access and safety for citizens, and we hope that our own government, which has declared its commitment to a peaceful future for Sudan, will play an important part in this.

The Diocese of Bradford is linked to the Diocese of Kadugli in Northern Sudan. There is an appeal from the Bishop of Bradford on the diocesan website. This has links to information about what is going on in Sudan.

Wednesday update

The Diocese of Salisbury also has a link with the Episcopal Church of Sudan. It has published a response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement. There is more information on the diocese’s link at Sudan Link.

From the Anglican Communion News Service: Anglican agencies to work together on humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

ENI News has Christian leaders condemn terror in Sudan’s Kordofan.

Thursday update

William Haigh, the British Foreign Secretary issued this statement on Sudan to the House of Commons yesterday. The Minister of State answered an oral question in the House of Lords.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 at 12:03pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | News

Sunday, 12 June 2011

White Collar Crime?

Updated Monday evening

The Church of St-Matthew-in-the-City in Auckland, New Zealand published this petition on its website: Petition to the Anglican Bishops of New Zealand. The heading reads:

Stop White Collar Crime - Ask NZ bishops to end their discrimination against gays and lesbians

Following an explanation of the specific NZ circumstances, it says:

We respectfully ask the bishops of the Anglican Church in New Zealand to be true to the values of the Gospel and end the discriminatory practices that prevent the selection and ordination of gays and lesbians who are in committed relationships.

Bishop Philip Richardson, Bishop in Taranaki then wrote this response: White collar crime?

And the anglicantaonga website also published a news article about the exchange, Bishop refutes “white collar crime”.

A new petition urging bishops to end their “discrimination” against gays and lesbians misunderstands both church law and the power of bishops to change church doctrine.

That’s the view of Bishop Philip Richardson, who has released a public response to the “Stop White Collar Crime ” petition being driven by Auckland’s St-Matthew-in-the-City…

Both Kiwianglo’s Blog and Anglican Down Under have drawn attention to this. Both seem to think this dialogue is a good development. Scroll down here to see Ron Smith’s comments. Peter Carrell has identified the following key passage from Bishop Richardson’s response:

I believe that General Synod needs to reach an agreed position on these three inter-related issues, in the following order:

First , whether sexual orientation towards those of one’s own gender is a consequence of wilful human sinfulness, or an expression of God-given diversity. This in itself requires the process of collective biblical exegesis, prayer and discussion and debate which we are engaged in.

Depending on our collective answer to the first question, the church might then be in a position to move to the development of a formulary for the blessing of committed, life-long, monogamous, relationships other than marriage.

It is worth making the point that as bishops of the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki we have suspended the licenses of heterosexual ministers living in relationships other than marriage (for example, in civil unions) for exactly the reason that there is no agreed position in this church on the status of committed relationships other than marriage.

Thirdly, the church could agree that such relationships so blessed and formally recognised by the church meet the standards of holiness of life that is the call on every Christian life, and is required to be reflected in the lives of those called by God and affirmed by the church to holy orders.

Update
Bosco Peters has written a response to this: Gay Ordinations Invalid?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 12 June 2011 at 2:38pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

second Maori vote against the Anglican Covenant

For our earlier report on the New Zealand situation, see New Zealand Maori diocese rejects Covenant.

Now, Bosco Peters reports that a second Maori diocese has also voted against it. See Maori momentum growing against Anglican Covenant. Below is the text of the motion, see Bosco’s post for further analysis.

TE HUI AMORANGI O TE TAIRAWHITI
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
TURANGA-NUI-A-KIWA

Saturday 11 June 2011

Motion concerning the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant

IT IS MOVED:

That for the purposes of providing feedback to Te Hinota Whanui (General Synod) and Te Runanganui o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, Te Hui Amorangi o Te Tairawhiti wishes to express the following:

  • We have carefully considered the text of The Anglican Communion Covenant, and what we know of the context in which it was proposed;
  • In terms of our shared Mihingare and Anglican heritage, our call to communion, and our call to ministry and mission, the Covenant offers us nothing new or more compelling than the Spiritual Covenant that we already have with each other through faith in Jesus Christ;
  • We see that Section Four of The Anglican Communion Covenant propose measures of compliance and discipline – including “relational consequences” and being declared “incompatible with the Covenant” – that go against our Gospel imperative to “love one another” (John 13:34-35).

We note that our sister Amorangi, Te Hui Amorangi o Te Manawa o Te Wheke, has stated its opposition to The Anglican Communion Covenant because:

  • It is a threat to the rangatiratanga of the Tangata Whenua;
  • It does not reflect our understanding of being Anglican in these Islands; and
  • We should instead focus on the restoration of justice for Tangata Whenua under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We agree with Te Hui Amorangi o Te Manawa o Te Wheke, and choose here to stand in solidarity with them.

For the reasons expressed above, Te Hui Amorangi o Te Tairawhiti states that it is opposed to the adoption of The Anglican Communion Covenant.

MOVED: Rev Don Tamihere SECONDED: Rev Connie Tuheke-Ferris

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY WITH ACCLAMATION

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 12 June 2011 at 9:24am BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Scottish Episcopal Church: General Synod Day 1

Update Monday evening
The brief note below about the Anglican Covenant may be misleading. To clarify, a decision in principle on whether or not to adopt the covenant will be made at the General Synod in 2012. Formal adoption requires canonical legislation, and it is this that will require a further two years. Full details are in the Paper from Faith and Order Board.

Update late Thursday:
Kelvin Holdworth reports that the Primus actually said more about the Anglican Covenant in his charge than was included in the official text, and gives a transcript, in What the Primus actually said.

The Scottish Episcopal Church is holding the 2011 meeting of its General Synod in Edinburgh from today until Saturday. There was a official preview published last month, General Synod 2011, and all the papers can be downloaded.

There are these official reports of the first day’s business.
Primus’ charge at the opening Eucharist
Brief summary of business General Synod - Thursday 9 June

There is also an official Twitter stream.

Kelvin Holdsworth is blogging from the floor of Synod.

The business included a paper on the process of considering the Anglican Covenant: Paper from Faith and Order Board. The process described in this paper was accepted by the Synod; this will involve making a final decision on whether to adopt the covenant at the 2014 meeting of the Synod, although a decision not to adopt it could be made earlier.

There is background information on the Scottish General Synod here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 9 June 2011 at 6:17pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Scottish Episcopal Church

Thursday, 2 June 2011

problems in Zimbabwe for Anglicans

Updated Friday evening

USPG reports 16 arrested as persecution of Anglicans in Zimbabwe continues.

Sixteen church-goers have been arrested and priests have been turned out of their homes in Zimbabwe’s Diocese of Harare – where the Anglican Church is facing persecution at the hands of an ex-communicated bishop.

The Rt Revd Chad Gandiya, Bishop of Harare, said the arrests were illegal and that those detained – including a elderly woman – were traumatised.

The diocese is now trying to arrange bail and has asked for prayers for those in prison and their families.

Bishop Chad, a USPG Regional Manager until 2010, said: ‘I am really concerned about this. We shall be running around to try and bail the whole group out today, if the police will listen.’

The Anglican Church in Harare is under attack from an ex-communicated bishop, Dr Norbert Kunonga, a supporter of President Mugabe, who left the Anglican Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in 2007 to try and set up a rival church.

Kunonga, with the support of police and henchmen, has seized CPCA church property and used violence to break up church services…

And there is a lot more detail in that article, including a full statement by Bishop Chad Gandiya (scroll down).

Earllier, there was a lengthy report in the New York Times by Celia W Dugger Mugabe Ally Escalates Push to Control Anglican Church:

…But it is leaders of the Anglican Church, one of the country’s major denominations, who have lately faced the most sustained pressure. Nolbert Kunonga, an excommunicated Anglican bishop and staunch Mugabe ally, has escalated a drive to control thousands of Anglican churches, schools and properties across Zimbabwe and southern Africa.

“The throne is here,” declared Mr. Kunonga, who has held onto his bishopric here in the sprawling diocese of Harare through courts widely seen as partisan to Mr. Mugabe. He has also been backed by a police force answerable to the president, whom Mr. Kunonga describes as “an angel.”

Chad Gandiya, who was selected by the Anglican hierarchy in central Africa to replace Mr. Kunonga as bishop of Harare, said he was baffled by the support for Mr. Kunonga from state security services since the church that Bishop Gandiya leads is apolitical: “It’s not Kunonga we find at the church gates, it’s the police. It’s not Kunonga who drives us out, who throws tear gas at us, it’s the police. When we ask them why, they say they’re following orders.”

Friday evening update

USPG now reports 16 Anglicans released on bail in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The Rt Revd Chad Gandiya, Bishop of Harare, has told USPG that 16 Anglicans arrested on Wednesday have now been released on bail…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 2 June 2011 at 11:24pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 30 May 2011

Another Anglican Covenant roundup

The Anglican Communion Institute has published The Covenant: What Is It All About? by Philip Turner.

The Living Church has published Recognizably Anglican by George R Sumner.

Mark Harris asks What’s at Stake with the Anglican Covenant. Some questions. And earlier, The Strange Case of the Province of South East Asia and their Letter of Accession.

Jonathan Clatworthy has written two items: Analysis of the Provincial Votes and a letter which has not so far been published by the Church Times but which appears here at Wounded Bird.

The Daily Episcopalian ran a series last week of articles that were first published by the Chicago Consultation:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 30 May 2011 at 8:46pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Ireland "subscribes" to the Anglican Covenant

Updated

The Church of Ireland has voted in favour of the Anglican Covenant. Here is what the official press release, issued last Friday, says:

The General Synod of the Church of Ireland meeting today in Armagh voted in favour of the following Motion on the Anglican Covenant:

‘Seeing that the Anglican Covenant is consonant with the doctrines and formularies of the Church of Ireland, the General Synod hereby subscribes the Covenant.’

The vote was passed by a large majority of the House of Representatives. The House of Bishops also voted as a separate House, approving the motion, also by a large majority.

The Motion was proposed by the Bishop of Cashel & Ossory, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows, and seconded by the Bishop of Down & Dromore, the Rt Revd Harold Miller. In the course of the Synod debate it was stressed that the word ‘subscribe’ in relation to the Covenant, rather than ‘adopt’, was important. Subscribing the Covenant is an indication that the Church of Ireland has put its collective name to and aligned with it. The Covenant sits under the Preamble and Declaration of the Church and does not affect the sovereignty of the Church of Ireland or mean any change in doctrine.

So subscription is something different to adoption. And South East Asia used the term accession.

Confused? If so, then these three four blog articles may not help you.

Catholicity and Covenant has Quincy, SE Asia & Ireland: Covenant questions.

Bosco Peters at Liturgy has Anglican Covenant meaningless.

Tobias Haller at In a Godward Direction has The Anglican Covenant — Let’s be clear.

Alan Perry has What goes on in the Emerald Isle?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 15 May 2011 at 10:54pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of Ireland

Friday, 13 May 2011

South East Asia endorses the Anglican Covenant

George Conger reports for the CEN that South East Asia endorses the Anglican Covenant. Here’s an extract:

…The province noted that “our accession” to the covenant was based on the understanding “that those who accede” to the agreement “will unequivocally abide by Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 in its spirit and intent,” and would honour the moratorium on gay bishops and blessings.

Churches that accede to the covenant should also “bear authentic witness to the orthodox faith by an unequivocal commitment to the standards of moral and ethical holiness as set by Biblical norms in all aspects of their communal life.”

And South East Asia stated that it saw the primates as the body to oversee the implementation of the covenant, as it was the group “responsible for Faith and Order” in the Anglican Communion.

The language of the covenant that called for “common commitments and mutual accountability” among Anglicans to “hold each Church in the relationship of communion one with another,” echoed the “closing appeal” of the Kuala Lumpur statement. The 1997 statement called call for new structure to “guard the internal unity of our Communion,” and “strengthen the bonds of affection between our provinces, and especially, make for effective mutual accountability in all matters of doctrine and polity throughout the Communion.”

The province said the “similarities” between the documents were “not accidental” as the covenant was “the culmination of a decade of intense disputes over ethical teaching and church order in the Communion. The Kuala Lumpur Statement, in fact, marked the beginning of a united stand, spearheaded by churches in the southern continents, for the faith that was once delivered to the saints across the Communion.”

Those too young to remember it will find the Kuala Lumpur Statement here.

The full text of the Preamble to the Letter of Accession can be read here.

The Living Church has a report on this at S.E. Asia Adopts Anglican Covenant which contains the inital paragraphs.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 May 2011 at 7:50am BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Church press reports on GAFCON 2

The Church Times has a sober news article, ‘Disappointed’ Primates announce GAFCON 2 by Ed Thornton.

THE leaders of GAFCON, a global network of conservative Anglicans, said this week that the decision to “reduce the status” of the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin earlier this year (News, 28 January) was “unacceptable.” Those who organised the meeting had been “misled”. The GAFCON leaders announced plans for a second conference in 2013, and the opening of new offices in London and Nairobi.

A 13-point communiqué, issued on Wednesday after a meeting of GAFCON Primates in Nairobi last month, said: “The fabric of our communion life has been torn at its deepest level and until the presenting issues are addressed we will remain weakened at a time when the needs before us are so great.”

The Church of England Newspaper has an exuberant report from George Conger headlined Gafcon throws down gauntlet to Dr. Williams.

The formation of the Anglican Ordinariate was a natural consequence of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s mismanagement of the crisis facing the Anglican Communion, the leaders of the Gafcon movement said in a statement released on May 10.

In a strongly worded communiqué summarizing the work of their April 25-28 meeting in Nairobi, the archbishops of the Gafcon movement, representing a majority of the church’s members, voiced their displeasure with the usurpation of authority by Dr. Williams and the staff of the Anglican Consultative Council and laid upon their door responsibility for the de facto schism within the communion.

While the 13-point communiqué touched on administrative issues for the Anglican reform movement, including the creation of a Nairobi and London offices, the appointment of Bishop Martyn Minns as Deputy Secretary, and the calling of a second Jerusalem conference in 2013, the heart of the letter came in a sustained attack on the actions taken by London-based instruments of the Anglican Communion.

While Pope Benedict XVI’s offer of an Anglican Ordinariate was “a gracious gift” to those Anglican clergy and congregations “alienated by recent actions in the Communion,” it should not have been necessary, the archbishops said.

“Our own Communion has failed to make adequate provision for those who hold to a traditional view of the faith. We remain convinced that from within the Provinces that we represent there are creative ways by which we can support those who have been alienated so that they can remain within the Anglican family,” they said…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 May 2011 at 7:43am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Update on the Ugandan bill

Updated again 11 am Friday morning

The US Government has issued an extremely strong denunciation of the legislative proposals, see CNN U.S. State Department condemns ‘odious’ Ugandan anti-gay bill.

The State Department Thursday condemned a proposed bill in the Ugandan parliament that could make engaging in homosexual acts a capital offense punishable by death. The bill may be debated Friday by the Ugandan parliament.

“No amendments, no changes, would justify the passage of this odious bill,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. “Both (President Barack Obama) and (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) publicly said it is inconsistent with universal human rights standards and obligations.”

The State Department, he said, is joining Uganda’s own human rights commissions in calling for the bill’s rejection.

“We are following this legislative process very closely,” Toner said. “Our embassy is closely monitoring the parliament’s proceedings and we also are in close contact with Uganda’s civil rights and civil society leaders, as well as members of the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community there.”

Warren Throckmorton has this analysis of the current position: Possible amendments to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Human Rights Watch has Uganda: Parliament Committee Backs Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The Ugandan parliament’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has regrettably recommended passage of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, including retaining the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” Human Rights Watch said today. The committee’s report, as seen by Human Rights Watch, recommends amendments deleting some provisions but adding criminal penalties for “conduct[ing] a marriage ceremony between persons of the same sex.”

The committee’s report is likely to be presented to parliament on May 13, 2011, as part of a debate before the bill could be up for a vote. Such reports are required under parliamentary procedure…

Box Turtle Bulletin has HRW: Uganda’s Parliamentary Committee Backs Retaining Death Penalty and Other Expanded Penalties.

Friday morning updates

Box Turtle Bulletin Uganda’s Death Penalty Appears Firmly In Place
Warren Throckmorton Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Is the death penalty off the table or not?

Warren Throckmorton Breaking: Ugandan Parliament stalled on technicality, fate of anti-gay bill uncertain

Despite being called to business today by Speaker Edward Ssekandi, Uganda’s parliamentary session has been stalled today and may adjourn without taking any action on pending legislation, including the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. According to parliamentary spokeswoman, Helen Kawesa, Parliament is stalled on a “technicality.” She said there is no Cabinet in place because it was dissolved in preparation for the end of the 8th Parliament in advance of yesterday’s Presidential inauguration. It is unclear who raised the issue of the necessity for Cabinet to be place for business to be conducted. However the effect is that the session is winding up, with members discussing how to proceed before the end of the 8th Parliament on 18th…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 May 2011 at 11:35pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Canadian Ordinariate has difficulties

Updated Monday

Several reports of this have emerged today. The “Traditional Anglican Communion” in Canada is not, it seems, getting what it wants.

Ordinariate Portal has TAC Archbishop on Canadian Ordinariate.

Anna Arco at the Catholic Herald has Ordinariate talks stall in Canada.

As the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been gaining deacons in the last few weeks and continues to take shape, expectant eyes begin to focus on the other side of the Atlantic. A decree establishing personal ordinariate for the United States is rumoured to be announced any day now. Things are looking good for the further implementation of the Pope’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus which reached out to Anglo-Catholics.

But this morning we learned that the leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion has thrown his toys out of the pram and warned that the British structure may well be the first and last ordinariate, as negotiations in Canada have come to a standstill.

Archbishop John Hepworth – a flamboyant and outspoken former Catholic turned Anglican who leads the TAC – wrote a letter to Bishop Peter Elliot, a former Anglican who is the Vatican’s appointed delegate for the Australian ordinariate, in which he accused the Vatican’s Canadian point man for the ordinariate of derailing the process. He said he would put talks with the Church on hold. He added that the Canadian development would have an effect on the potential establishment of ordinariates around the world, including in Australia. The TAC is the largest umbrella group for Anglo-Catholic continuing churches around the world who have broken with the Anglican Communion…

The bulk of membership of the TAC is to be found in Africa and in India, as originally reported by me in the Church Times, see my statistics here.

Update
The RC Archbishop of Toronto has issued a Statement re: Implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 May 2011 at 4:09pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill is far from dead

I wrote an article this morning for Cif belief that was published with the title Uganda’s anti-gay bill is far from dead.
It may be temporarily off the parliamentary agenda, but local Anglican support for the Ugandan anti-gay bill continues

The infamous Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, which earlier this week was thought likely to be voted upon on Wednesday as the current session of the Uganda parliament draws to a close, does not now appear on the order paper for the day. The bill, which is technically still at the committee stage, could, however, be carried forward into the next session of parliament…

The article includes this analysis of the Anglican angle:

Sadly, local Anglican support for the bill continues, even though on Tuesday of the archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement in which he opposed it, saying: “Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers.”

This was not, in fact, a new statement, but rather a quotation from the interview in the Telegraph that he gave in December 2009 to George Pitcher, who has since become his secretary for public affairs. Pitcher also wrote: “He adds that the Anglican Church in Uganda opposes the death penalty but, tellingly, he notes that its archbishop, Henry Orombi, who boycotted the Lambeth Conference last year, “has not taken a position on this bill.”

That lacuna was remedied in February 2010, when the Anglican church of Uganda issued a detailed statement offering strong support for the bill. It has not made any further public statements on the bill since that time. Archbishop Orombi has continued his boycott of Anglican Communion events, including the latest primates meeting in Dublin, and to support the rival church body Gafcon, which has announced plans for expansion. There can be little chance of a change of heart on homosexuality by Orombi.

Since I wrote this morning, the situation - which was changing rapidly then - has developed even further. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was restored to (a revised) Order Paper. However, it was not reached during the Wednesday session, and may now be considered in the additional session that has been scheduled for Friday. For the latest reports see Warren Throckmorton here, and also Box Turtle Bulletin here.

Update Box Turtle Bulletin also reports LA Times Not Withstanding, Uganda’s Death Penalty Has NOT Been Dropped.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 at 11:31pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

GAFCON expands its organization

GAFCON has a press release: Plans announced for GAFCON 2 and London and Africa offices.

GAFCON primates meeting in Africa have announced plans for another international conference as well as opening offices in London and Nairobi.

The council of Anglican leaders was established by the Global Anglican Future Conference in 2008, representing more than 35 million Anglicans.

Now, the Primates are planning for a second GAFCON in 2013 preceded by a leadership conference in New York in 2012…

…In a 13 point statement issued after their Nairobi meeting, the Council said “if we are offer adequate support to our member provinces, sustain our various initiatives, and strengthen our communications capabilities we must add capacity to our current secretariat.”

A Chairman’s office would be established in Nairobi, Kenya and a GAFCON Global Coordination office would be established in London under the direction of the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, serving as Deputy Secretary and Executive Director.

The meeting discussed the challenges confronting the Anglican Communion and the Primates said they were “disappointed that those who organized the Primates meeting in Dublin not only failed to address these core concerns but decided instead to unilaterally reduce the status of the Primates’ Meeting. This action was taken with complete disregard for the resolutions of both Lambeth 1978 and 1998 that called for an enhanced role in ‘doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters’. We believe that they were seriously misled and their actions unacceptable.”

“We continue to be troubled by the promotion of a shadow gospel that appears to replace a traditional reading of Holy Scriptures and a robust theology of the church with an uncertain faith and a never ending listening process. This faith masquerades as a religion of tolerance and generosity and yet it is decidedly intolerant to those who hold to the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints”.

The thirteen-point statement is available in full via the above link, and also as a PDF. It includes:

9. Confident of the power of God’s Word to renew His church we are creating a network for theologians and theological educators who embrace the Jerusalem Declaration to give further support for our seminaries and Bible Colleges. We have also reviewed and approved plans for the leadership conference now scheduled for April 2012 and the beginning preparations for an international gathering of Primates, Bishops, Clergy and Lay Leaders now scheduled for the first half of 2013 and provisionally designated “GAFCON 2”.

10. We are delighted in the election of the Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala, Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya to serve as Chairman of the Primates’ Council and also the Most Rev’d Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to serve as Vice-Chairman. We were pleased to appoint Bishop Greg Venables and Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini as trustees. We also welcomed the Most Rev’d Hector Zavala, Province of the Southern Cone and the Most Rev’d Onesphore Rwaje, Anglican Church of Rwanda as new members of the Council.

11. We also recognized that if we are offer adequate support to our member provinces, sustain our various initiatives, and strengthen our communications capabilities we must add capacity to our current secretariat. Consequently it was agreed that a GAFCON/FCA Chairman’s office would be established in Nairobi, Kenya and a Global Coordination office would be established in London under the direction of the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, serving as Deputy Secretary and Executive Director.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 at 8:12am BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Anglican Covenant: Mostly Harmless?

Alan Perry has written an article about the Anglican Covenant, which he has titled Mostly Harmless.

I have had a number of conversations with well-informed, thoughtful Anglicans, many of them in leadership positions such as Synod members and bishops and ecclesiastical lawyers, which convince me that a large number of people have essentially adopted a narrative about the proposed Anglican Covenant, a narrative which seems to be relatively uninfluenced by anything like reading the document. Their comments typically go like this:

I don’t actually believe that the Covenant will accomplish what it is supposed to do. It won’t really address the tensions in the Anglican Communion. But I don’t believe that it is the Abomination of Desolation, either. I don’t think it’s going to have any ill effect. Recommendations of Relational Consequences are nothing to worry about.

This reminds me of the succinct description of the Earth and its inhabitants in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Mostly harmless.” Not to mention feckless.

I’m not sure about that assessment, but let’s assume it for a minute. What amazes me is the conclusion reached based on it:

Since it’s mostly harmless, even if it’s also not likely to produce any positive effects, I will vote to support it because by doing so we can show our commitment to the Anglican Communion and our loyalty to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Now, I am committed to the Anglican Communion, and loyal to the Archbishop of Canterbury, but I don’t grasp how this conclusion follows from the assumption that the proposed Covenant is both harmless and feckless.

Concerning the Archbishop of Canterbury, he has this to say:

And as to demonstrating loyalty to the Archbishop of Canterbury, surely supporting a proposed Covenant which we believe will eventually just sit harmlessly on a shelf gathering dust is equally ineffective. Do we participate in a charade simply to avoid hurting the Archbishop’s feelings, or to cheer him up by giving him something in the win column? Is that not to play the role of the royal advisers, praising the Emperor’s new clothes to his face whilst trying to avoid sniggering behind his naked back? In what way is that loyal to the Archbishop?

And he includes this specific reference to the Church of England:

What will happen when a woman is appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury, if some churches can’t accept her authority as an Instrument of Communion? Could a question be raised as to whether the Church of England in making the appointment was not sufficiently cautious, or failed to obtain sufficient consensus? How harmless will the Covenant look then?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 4 May 2011 at 8:35am BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada | Church of England

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Covenant alternatives: are there any?

Alan Perry has written Yes, Virginia, There is an Alternative

TINA: There Is No Alternative.

The slogan was used so often by Margaret Thatcher that my English friends tell me her detractors began to call her Tina.

TINA can indicate a number of possible things:

At times, it is true, that options are in short supply. And it may seem there are no choices but a single proposal on the table. But that is not the usual meaning of TINA.

TINA can also indicate a failure of imagination or initiative. In this case, it’s not so much that there are no alternatives, but rather that whoever is in charge is unable to think of any, or simply couldn’t be bothered.

But in its usual sense, TINA is an ideological assertion. It’s not that there aren’t any alternatives, but that whoever is saying TINA is unwilling to entertain any other options than that which is being pushed. In this sense, TINA is a slogan. It’s propaganda, which dismisses any attempt to suggest that alternatives should be imagined and explored. It’s a slightly less impolite way of saying, “my way or the highway.” TINA is the slogan of what is euphemistically called strong and decisive leadership, or bullying in plain English.

TINA has taken a central place in the narrative in support of the proposed Anglican Covenant. We are told that it is the Covenant or the demise of the Anglican Communion. We are told that there are no other options, so we’d better get on board with the right side of history and support the Covenant. I’m not here launching an ad hominem attack on the leadership of the Anglican Communion. I’m not calling them Margaret Thatchers or bullies. Nor am I suggesting that they are deliberately engaging in propaganda. I am prepared to believe that they honestly believe that there is no alternative to the Anglican Covenant as proposed.

But they’re wrong. TINA isn’t true. There are alternatives…

In the same vein, Laura Sykes penned Is Archbishop Rowan fatally dependent on his sat nav?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 at 6:44pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Monday, 18 April 2011

New Zealand Maori diocese rejects Covenant

The central North Island hui amorangi (Maori diocese) of Te Manawa o Te Wheke has become the first New Zealand episcopal unit to formally give the thumbs-down to the proposed Anglican covenant.

Read more about this at Manawa o Te Wheke rejects Anglican covenant.

The text of the motion passed unanimously:

That Te Hui Amorangi o Te Manawa o Te Wheke, for the purpose of providing feedback to Te Hinota Whanui/ General Synod, states its opposition to The Anglican Covenant for the following reasons:

  • After much consideration this Amorangi feels that The Anglican Covenant will threaten the Rangatiratanga of the Tangata Whenua.
  • We believe The Anglican Covenant does not reflect our understanding of being Anglican in these islands.
  • We would like this Church to focus on the restoration of justice to Te Tiriti o Waitangi which Tangata Whenua signed and currently do not have what they signed for.

There are five [Maori] hui amorangi. Any motion must gain a majority in all three Tikanga (Maori, Pakeha, and Polynesia) and three hui amorangi constitute a majority in Tikanga Maori. So two further similar votes would cause the Covenant to be “dead in the water” in New Zealand.

Peter Carrell has written Dead Duck Covenant?

Bosco Peters has written Maori vote against Covenant

…Since 1992, the Constitution of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia provides for three Tikanga (cultural streams) partners to order their affairs within their own cultural context: Tikanga Maori (the indigenous people of Aotearoa-New Zealand); Tikanga Pakeha (those here by virtue of te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi); Tikanga Pasefika (encompassing the episcopal units of Polynesia in New Zealand, Vanua Levu and Taveuni, and Viti Levu West, and the Archdeaconries of Suva and Ovalau, Samoa and American Samoa, and Tonga).

When significant decisions are made at te Hinota Whanui/General Synod, as with other Anglican Provinces, there must be agreement across all houses – here those are the house of bishops, clergy, and laity. There must also be agreement across all Tikanga. In other words, even if Tikanga Pakeha and Tikanga Pasefica are in majority agreement in favour of the Covenant, if Tikanga Maori votes against the Covenant, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia would be saying no to the Covenant…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 18 April 2011 at 8:33am BST | Comments (37) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Three articles from the Living Church

There have been several articles recently in the Living Church by Church of England writers.

Andrew Goddard has written about Establishment in the CofE.
See Arbiters of the Faith?

The Church of England, wrestling with internal differences over provision for opponents of women bishops and over responses to same-sex relationships, could soon find a further contentious topic being added to the mix: the question of establishment, the church’s relationship with the state. This has been highlighted by two recent developments in which government ministers or Members of Parliament have pressed for a certain conception of equality in English law and society…

Paul Avis and Geoffrey Rowell have both written about the Anglican Covenant.

See Catholicity Outweighs Autonomy by Avis.

The future of the Anglican Communion is in jeopardy. The Windsor Report proposed an Anglican Covenant, centering on mutual commitment, to secure a unified future for the Communion. The Anglican Covenant is the only credible proposal that I am aware of to help hold this family of churches together. The alternative to the Covenant is to allow the present sharp tensions to be worked out in the formal separation of some churches of the Communion from others — and that means schism, and the fracture and possible dissolution of the Anglican Communion…

And Belonging Together by Rowell.

…As vice-chair for a number of years of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations, I am aware of how divisions in the Communion pose challenges to our ecumenical partners in dialogue — who are we talking to? Do Anglicans affirm same-sex relationships as equal and equivalent to marriage, or do they uphold Christian teaching of marriage as being a lifelong union between a man and a woman? Behind the particular questions are questions about authority in the Communion, and our belonging together. The Anglican Covenant emerges out of this situation and is a result of careful consultation. If we can make ecumenical agreements with other churches we ought clearly be able to do so among ourselves…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 April 2011 at 9:18am BST | Comments (51) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Anglican Standing Committee update

The Standing Committee is a 14-member group (15, if the Archbishop of Canterbury is present, as he is an ex officio member, as well as being its President). Seven of its members are elected by the members of the ACC, and five are members of the Primates’ Standing Committee. The other two members are the Chair and Vice-Chair of the ACC, elected by the members in plenary session. Their function is together to assist the Churches of the Anglican Communion in advancing the work of their mission worldwide.

There is a Q and A about the Standing Committee here which has further information.

The previous TA update was this one. And later there was an interview with Canon John Rees which we reported here.

The minutes of the meeting held in July 2010 are available from this page as a PDF, here.

The meeting held in March 2011 was reported in a series of bulletins starting with this one, and continuing here, then here, and finally here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 April 2011 at 8:24am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Archbishop Okoh answers some questions

The Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, has been interviewed on a range of subjects. The full text is published on the website of the Church of Nigeria. Read it here.

TA readers may be most interested in this section:

QUESTION: HOMOSEXUALISM WHAT IS YOUR NEW? [sic]

RESPONSE: The fight against homosexual had been on for quite some time and the Anglican church in Nigeria and I must say not only in Nigeria in other places of the world have said no to the homosexual lifestyle, that that type of sexual orientation is unbiblical, ungodly, unnatural, unacceptable.

We have said that over and over again, we discover that those who are set on it think we are ignorant, they think we are living the old past time- ancient days but that this is a post modern day and that they can rewrite the bible to suit their culture the way they want it.

But what we have continued to say is that that sexual relationship is against the society because the society rules through procreation and when we allow a sizeable member of the society to be homosexuals or Lesbians we cannot expect procreation to take place so naturally it is against nature.

It is unfortunate and right now, the other time I visited United Kingdom they were saying that people are free to come to the places where they worship to come and solemnize their homosexual relationship or lesbian relationship in their places of worship.

I am aware that the Church of England says no and so also the Roman Catholic Church.

There are quite a number that says they don’t mind and that the basic thing is that two people love themselves which is a very selfish perspective.

The issue at stake is not just a case of if it will make two people happy if they love themselves. I think that the rejection of absolute truth, absolute right and wrong had turned everything to the doctrine of relativism.

We are in a kind of free moral fall and we do not know when it is going to stop. Let me say this is not an Anglican form, it cuts across denominations. Some have decided to keep quiet because it is very embarrassing they decided to hide it.

The Anglican Church has been quite vocal about it discussing it openly. Those of us in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and some other parts of the world, some parts of Australia, some part of America, some parts of United Kingdom.

You don’t have a particular place where you will say the whole of this people are homosexuals we just have pockets, in fact this is a kind of focal minority who are trying to turn the table against the majority and right now as I talk to you, the journalists, the lawmakers, in the UK, the politicians, the school authorities, the government, they are all in support. In America, we now have two bishops who are homosexuals and of course Canada supported it.

I can say that this vocal minority has redefined the family in a very radical way. What we used to know is a family made up of a man a woman and Godly raised children. We are now being told that a man and a man can form a family and then they can get a child.

There was even a very amusing one claiming to be a mother and presenting another man who is the husband and they adopted a child from a surrogate mother. All these are happening in our time, and when you dare raise objection they say you are not sufficiently educated, they say you are living in the pre-medieval age, they say you need to be exposed.

But the question we continue to ask is that the gospel came to us and identified areas where we were not living well and the gospel corrected us, the gospel transformed our lives, for instance we were killing twins here and when it was exposed to us that we were wrong, we dropped it.

The irony of the situation now is that the people who brought this are now telling us that such things are right but thank God we are not very confused we are not confused at all.

The scripture has been given to us we will not return it to anybody, we have accepted it and we are implementing it because we have a heavenly agenda.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 15 April 2011 at 12:16am BST | Comments (38) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Los Angeles declines to endorse Anglican Covenant

The Diocese of Los Angeles has issued this press release: Diocese of Los Angeles declines to endorse Anglican Covenant.

And there is this video documenting the process by which Diocesan Convention initiated the response.

Here is an extract:

… We are concerned about the omission of the laity from Section 3. As St. Paul teaches, we are all of us the Body of Christ and individually members thereof (I Corinthians 12). There are four orders of ministry in the Church – bishops, priests, deacons and lay people, who also minister as members of the baptized people of God. Such an ecclesiology should both undergird the theology expressed in the Covenant and the church structures developed as means of connecting and serving the churches of the Communion. A Covenant to which we could subscribe would need to re-imagine the Instruments of Communion to provide a stronger representation from all the orders of ministry.

Section 4 is of greatest concern. It creates a punitive, bureaucratic, juridical process within the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, elevating its authority over the member churches despite previous affirmations of member church autonomy (see, e.g., Section 4.1.3). It contains no clear process for dispute resolution, no checks and balances, no right of appeal. The concept of mediation, introduced in Section 3.2.6, is not mentioned in Section 4. The covenant’s focus on “maintenance, dispute and withdrawal” bodes of an immobilized church mission instead of one that is flexible and prophetic. For these reasons, we cannot agree to Section 4.

We cannot endorse a covenant that, for the first time in the history of The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion, will pave the way toward emphasizing perceived negative differences instead of our continuing positive and abundant commonality. We strongly urge more direct face-to-face dialogue, study, prayer and education before the adoption of a document that has such historic significance in the life of the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church. Our differences should not be seen as something that must be proved wrong or endured but rather a motivation to dig deeper into discerning God’s purposes for God’s church…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 at 11:56pm BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Nigerian bishops ask for help in England

The following passage comes from Archbishop Okoh’s opening address to the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria held on 3 March 2011. (It has only just come to my attention.)

Visit to the UK: In our meeting in Lagos, we were mandated to visit the UK to ascertain the condition of Nigerian Anglicans, and how to help them. Our first attempt was on 17th December 2010, which failed because excessive snow fall, led to the closure of Heathrow airport. We rescheduled for 16th February, 2011. Thank God we were able to go. It was a full delegation. The Group was made up of:

The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh - Primate
The Most Revd Joseph Akinfenwa - Ibadan
The Most Revd Michael Akinyemi - Kwara
The Most Revd Bennet Okoro Owerri
The Most Revd Ignatius Kattey Niger Delta
The Most Revd Emmanuel Egbunu - Lokoja
The Rt. Revd David Onuoha - Secretary
Barr. Abraham Yisa - Registrar

The delegation was well received by the Nigerian High Commission in London. There was a brief meeting and an interactive section. The group also visited the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. Our message:

The need to allow Nigerians to worship “the Nigeria way” in abandoned Church buildings or allow them a scheduled time in parish Churches where they could express themselves unreservedly in worship, to save us from the unceasing and intense bleeding of our young executive Anglicans moving over to the New Generation Churches due to what they describe as “cold” worship style. Our request was viewed positively by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England. We also visited the Lord Bishop of London and the Bishop of Southwark. Other places visited include Manchester and Birmingham. In summary the Archbishop requested us to put our proposal into writing. He assured us that it is a practical proposal. We addressed a group of Nigerians of different age brackets in London, Manchester and Birmingham and had a special session with representatives of Nigerian Clergy in the UK. Our visit was said to be timely. But a few had their reservations.

Another issue which has emerged in this visit is the status, sponsorship and future of the Nigerian Chaplaincy in the UK. At the moment they are enjoying the last part of the generosity of the CMS, and the grace and benevolence of St. Marylebone. These are issues requiring urgent attention.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 6 April 2011 at 1:34pm BST | Comments (33) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Chicago Consultation publishes The Genius of Anglicanism

press release from The Chicago Consultation

CHICAGO CONSULTATION RELEASES PUBLICATION ON PROPOSED ANGLICAN COVENANT

The Genius of Anglicanism includes essays by theologians, church leaders

April 5, 2011—The Chicago Consultation, which advocates for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the worldwide Anglican Communion, has released a collection of essays and study questions on the proposed Anglican Covenant.

The Genius of Anglicanism, a 64-page booklet, includes eight essays and study questions, and may be downloaded at no cost at www.chicagoconsultation.org.

“We believe that congregations, bishops, General Convention deputations and individual Episcopalians will benefit from this careful exploration of the proposed covenant,” said the Rev. Lowell Grisham, co-convener of the Chicago Consultation and rector of St. Paul’s Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

“The proposed covenant is a complex document that could have a major impact on the Episcopal Church and its many vital and longstanding relationships within the wider Anglican Communion,” he added. “We are grateful that well-respected theologians, clergy and lay leaders were willing to analyze it for us.”

The Very Rev. Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and former dean of divinity at New College, Oxford, wrote the introduction for the guide, which was edited by Jim Naughton and includes essays by:

  • The Rev. Ruth Meyers, Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, on the relationship of the proposed covenant to the Baptismal Covenant of the Episcopal Church
  • The Rev. Ellen Wondra, editor in chief of the Anglican Theological Review and academic dean at Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois on how a theological innovation, such as the proposed covenant is received or rejected by a community of faith
  • The Rev. Timothy Sedgwick, Clinton S. Quin Professor of Christian Ethics at Virginia Theological Seminary, on the concept of episcopal authority in the proposed covenant
  • Fredrica Harris Thompsett, Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cam bridge, Massachusetts, on how the proposed covenant will affect the participation of the laity in Communion affairs
  • The Rev. Canon Mark Harris, of the Diocese of Delaware, a member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council on the proposed covenant and the traditional concept of “the historic episcopate locally adapted”
  • Sally Johnson, chancellor to Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies on the judicial and disciplinary provisions in the fourth section of the proposed covenant
  • The Rev. Gay Jennings, the Episcopal Church’s clergy representative to the Anglican Consultative Council, on the Anglican Communion’s existing covenant, which is grounded in the Five Marks of Mission
  • The Rev. Winnie Varghese, priest-in-charge at St. Mark’s-Church-in-the-Bowery in New York City and member of Executive Council on the kind of covenant necessary to make the Communion an ally of the poor and the oppressed.

Grisham, who prepared the study questions that accompany each essay, said he believes the booklet will be widely used in the run-up to the Episcopal Church’s next General Convention in July 2012.

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit www.chicagoconsultation.org.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 6 April 2011 at 12:37am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Anglican Covenant section by section

Alan Perry has just written an analysis of Section 3 of the Anglican Covenant, see Life Together.

Section 3 of the proposed Anglican Covenant describes the way in which the Churches of the Anglican Communion collaborate with each other. At the heart of this section is a description of the Instruments of Communion. These used to be know as Instruments of Unity, but for some inscrutable reason the term was changed in recent times.

Section 3.1.2 correctly notes, quoting the Lambeth Conference of 1930, that “Churches of the Anglican Communion are bound together ‘not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference’ and of the other instruments of Communion.” This statement is a little ironic, of course, being contained within a document which is being proposed as central legislation for the Communion, and which gives at least some executive powers to the Instruments of Communion and the Standing Committee. As we say in Quebec, it seems the proposed Covenant is speaking out of both sides of its mouth…

His earlier analyses of Section 1 are called Defining the Faith and Living the Faith.

That of Section 2 is called Vocation and Mission in the Anglican Communion.

And there is lots more analysis of the Anglican Covenant elsewhere in his blog.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 3 April 2011 at 7:52pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Friday, 1 April 2011

letters about the Anglican Covenant

Letters published last week in the Church Times can now be found at Anglican Covenant: responses to last week’s Church Times guide.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 1 April 2011 at 8:12am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Some Anglican Covenant views

The Satirical Christian has written Ecclesiastical Dominos.

How do you get people to vote for something they don’t want?

In the Church of England, it’s easy. You employ the domino effect.

Take the Anglican Covenant, for instance. It is clear that many people in the Church of England are deeply suspicious of it. In the debate in General Synod last November many voices raised deep misgivings about it, even among the House of Bishops. In fact, enough people were sufficiently concerned to mean that if the vote was taken purely on what people thought, it would probably have been chucked out there and then…

Bosco Peters has written Anglican Covenant.

…I have tended towards the approach that if you have a problem because you lost something in the garden, to get a solution that’s where you should be looking – even if the light in the house is better! I do not think that the “Covenant” is the appropriate tool as a solution for the “problem”, just as I do not think that a sledgehammer is the appropriate tool as a solution for screwing two planks together.

The “problem” is the ethics of committed same sex relationships. Discussing that is IMO what should be happening. Of course, for some, there is nothing to discuss…

And he continues with

How to get a province to sign up to the “Covenant”
Lessons from/for the Church of England

1) Make sure that the lowest voting percentage possible be required (2/3 or 3/4 in all houses would be just hopeless to get the “Covenant” through. And involving parliament in the state church’s significant signing away of its autonomy would just be a step too far.) How embarrassing if others signed up to the “Covenant” and the Church of England didn’t!

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 31 March 2011 at 10:35pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Friday, 25 March 2011

Irish Colloquium on The Proposed Anglican Covenant

The (slightly shortened) texts of the papers delivered at the recent event in Dublin are now online at the website of Search.

“The Proposed Anglican Covenant - a step forward or a step too far?”

The SEARCH Colloquium on “The Proposed Anglican Covenant - a step forward of a step too far?” took place in TCD on Saturday March 12th and has been judged a great success. Over 50 people attended the Thomas Davis Theatre to hear speakers from England, Wales and Ireland (both North and South) consider the decision on our response to the Covenant to be made at the General Synod in Armagh in May.

After a welcome from the TCD chaplain and secretary of the SEARCH editorial committee, the Revd Darren McCallig, and a brief introduction from the editor, Canon Ginnie Kennerley, the speakers and their subjects were as follows:

The panel discussion which followed was chaired by the Revd Professor John Bartlett, chairman of the SEARCH editorial committee.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 March 2011 at 10:18pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of Ireland

Church Times Guide to the Covenant

Last week the Church Times published a Guide to the Covenant. This is now available to non-subscribers, but only as a PDF file (4.1 Mb).

Download The Anglican Covenant - A Church Times Guide.

This is highly recommended reading. :-)

One of the articles has been reproduced at Anglican Mainstream. See Church of Nigeria and the proposed Anglican Covenant.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 March 2011 at 9:00am GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Lichfield Diocese approves Anglican Communion Covenant

From the Lichfield Diocesan Website

Lichfield Diocese approves Anglican Communion Covenant
Date 19/03/11

The Lichfield Diocesan Synod has become the first in the Church of England to approve the Anglican Communion Covenant with overwhelming votes in favour in all three houses (bishops, clergy and laity).

The vote at today’s meeting in Longton Hall near Stoke on Trent is in response to the General Synod’s decision to refer the matter to the dioceses. All 44 dioceses in the Church of England are being asked to “approve the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant.” Last week the diocese of Wakefield voted to reject the motion; and the diocese of Hereford voted to refer the matter to deanery synods for wider discussion.

An attempt to adjourn the debate in Lichfield diocese so it could be referred to deanery synods was rejected with 47 voting in favour of an adjournment and 60 voting against.

Before the debate, members heard from the Revd Dr Andrew Goddard, lecturer in ethics at Trinity College, Bristol, who introduced the Covenant and outlined some of the arguments for and against it.

The idea behind an Anglican Communion Covenant - the closest thing to a constitution for the worldwide Anglican Communion - was first proposed in the Windsor report of 2004, following developments in relation to same-sex partnerships in North America. It was envisaged that the Anglican Covenant would “make explicit and forceful the loyalty and bonds of affection” which govern the relationships between the churches of the Anglican Communion.

A text of the Covenant was sent to all the Provinces of the Anglican Communion for their approval in December 2009. Each Province has different governance structures and it is expected to be a number of years before all the Provinces complete the process for acceptance or rejection. The Anglican Consultative Council will discuss progress at its meeting expected in November 2012.

In the Church of England, the House of Bishops agreed in May 2010 to commend the Covenant to the General Synod and a draft Act of Synod was debated by the General Synod in November last year and referred to diocesan synods. If a majority of dioceses agree to the draft Act of Synod it will return to the General Synod for final approval, possibly in 2012.

The Anglican Communion is not a single church or a federation of churches but a collection of 44 different churches made up of 34 Provinces, four United Churches, and six other churches, spread across the globe; with an estimated 80 million Christians.

The tensions in the Communion which arose as a result of the liberalising actions of the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada in the area of sexuality highlighted that there were no formal structures or agreements for handling disputes when they arise. The Covenant is designed to balance the need to define how the churches of the Communion formally relate to each other without creating a formal constitution or federation; continuing to hold the Communion together through mutual relationships.

The Diocese of Lichfield has formal mission partnerships with the Dioceses of West Malaysia, Kuching and Singapore in South East Asia, Matlosane in South Africa and Qu’Appelle in Canada. Churches within the diocese enjoy individual relationships with churches across the Communion.

The result of the vote in the Lichfield Diocesan Synod were:

House For Against Abstain
Bishops 4 0 0
Clergy 39 11 1
Laity 57 9 1
Total 100 20 2

The audio of the Synod debate will be available on the Lichfield Diocesan website on Monday afternoon: lichfield.anglican.org/chadnet/synod.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 March 2011 at 5:01pm GMT | Comments (69) | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Monday, 14 March 2011

Anglicans in Japan: archbishop's statement and more

Updated again Thursday morning

The Archbishop of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai The Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu has issued a statement via the ACNS, see A statement from the Archbishop of the Anglican Communion in Japan.

…Since the earthquake the Provincial office has worked very hard to find out about the people and the churches in Tohoku diocese. However, we could neither contact them by phone nor email. Only yesterday were we able to start to see a picture of the devastation in the affected areas. I had been most concerned that I could not contact the Bishop of Tohoku diocese [The Rt Revd John Hiromichi Kato], but on Saturday he rang me and I was able to find out more about what had happened to the churches in Sendai City.

Bp Kato explained that he himself had not been able to find out much about the other churches in the diocese of Tohoku. This was largely due to the fact that neither power supplies nor telephone lines had been restored in areas most badly hit by the tsunami. There is particular concern for two churches: Isoyama St Peter’s Church in Fukushima Prefecture and Kamaishi Shinai Church and the kindergarten in Iwate that were close to the sea. Priests have been frantically trying to confirm that their parishioners are safe. We also know that it is not only Tohoku diocese that has been affected, some churches in Kita Kanto diocese have been reported to have been damaged also…

An earlier report: Bishop of tsunami-hit diocese is safe, but uncontactable.

Tuesday update

Update 2 from the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan)

From Shinya Samuel Yawata - Secretary, PIM NSKK, based upon reports from the dioceses of Tohoku, Kita Kanto, Yokohama and Tokyo

15 March, 2011

The earthquake/tsunami affected areas include the dioceses of Tohoku and Kita Kanto, and a very small area of the Diocese of Yokohama in Chiba prefecture.

The Diocese of Tohoku covers the prefectures of Aomori, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata, and Fukushima, and the last three have been hit hard, particularly Miyagi prefecture. Membership of diocese of Tohoku is about 1,500 people and there are 29 churches, chapels and missionary stations. Its Cathedral is in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture.

The Diocese of Kita Kanto covers prefectures of Ibaragi, Tochigi, Gunma, and Saitama. The membership of the diocese is about 2,100 people and there are 31 churches, chapels, and missionary stations. Its Cathedral is located in Maebashi-shi, Gunma prefecture.

It was the biggest earthquake in recent history, followed by a big tsunami, and fires. Now the nuclear reactor is in danger. The death toll continues to rise and as I write this there are 3,100 or more deaths and 550,000 people are living in temporary shelters (according to [Japanese newspaper] Asahi Shimbun).

This update inc