On Saturday, the Guardian’s Stephen Bates had this, African bishops clash on gay issue.
The BBC’s Sunday radio programme had a segment on this too, which you can listen to with Real Audio here.
On Sunday, the Telegraph has Opposing gay clergy ‘is like backing slavery’ which is based on an interview with Richard Harries, who is unrepentant over his attempt to appoint Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading.
Meanwhile The Sunday Times has a report of letters published by Lambeth Palace Library under this headline: Queen Mother letters reveal abdication blow. They also review Diarmid MacCulloch’s book REFORMATION: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700 (see earlier and more colourful review mentioned here last week).
For other news, including Robin Eames’ article What Price Unity? and a report from Inclusive Church see here.
The Australian ABC Online site reports that Africa’s Anglican council elects anti-gay head “Peter Akinola, primate for Nigeria, has taken over as head of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa.”
Stephen Bates reports in the Guardian that Imams join plea for gay tolerance. A group including muslim leaders as well as two bishops has written an open letter (I have not yet found the full text on the web) which says in part: “We affirm our resolute support for Dr Williams’s endeavours and we rededicate our efforts to fighting fundamentalism, aggressive proselytism and homophobia, and to defending the values of tolerance, inclusiveness and respect for differences which we all cherish.”
Channel 4 broadcast a thirty minute programme, the first of a series of four featuring Rowan Williams, which was previewed in The Times under the headline Williams to reject use of ‘designer babies’.
It’s Friday, so the Church Times is available.
A further item from the Anglican Communion Institute has appeared at another place on the web, namely the blog of Kendall Harmon.
It is described as: “APPENDIX FOUR of The Anglican Communion’s Case Against the Episcopal Church USA: ASSESSING THE PROPOSAL FOR A SECOND OR PARALLEL PROVINCE” by the Very Rev. Dr. Philip Turner, Vice President: The Anglican Communion Institute. This is the document advertised on the Institute website, that I mentioned yesterday.
Basically, it argues against proposals for a parallel province for dissidents from the official actions of ECUSA and/or the Canadian church.
Croners reports that seven UK trade unions, including Amicus and Unison, have lodged a High Court challenge against laws banning discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation due in December.
The challenge covers two issues: Regulation 25, which relates to pensions, and Regulation 7(3), which affects people working for religious organisations.
I will be following this closely.
There is a body which calls itself The Anglican Communion Institute. Now you might think that such a body was in some way related to the Anglican Communion Office, in London, or was in some sense an agency of the, err, Anglican Communion.
But if you thought that, you would be wrong.
The Institute is in fact a party-political organisation, associated with the same crew of right-wingers, mostly Americans, mostly evangelicals who are currently making almost all of the noise in Anglicanism (you recall Robert Runcie’s comments about most of the splashing coming from the shallow end of the swimming pool).
You can find out more about the institute from its website. The Compass Rose motif appears on the home page. Although the site lists no geographical address or contact details other than two email addresses, the executive director is named as one Donald Armstrong, who in fact is the rector of Grace and St Stephen’s Church, Colorado Springs, USA.
One of the more interesting things about this body is that the former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, is listed prominently on the home page of the site as a member of the board of directors.
And on the page describing its mission he is quoted as saying: “I welcome this exciting initiative. At a time when our growing Communion is under strain, we need to undergird our common life with a firm base in Anglican doctrine and devotion and worship.”
Another interesting thing is that the website is advertising a forthcoming book, which is curiously titled: “The Anglican Communion’s case against The Episcopal Church, USA”. This is further described as “The Official Study Document of the Global South Primates” and as “A Paper Commissioned by the Most Reverend Drexel Wellington Gomez Archbishop of the West Indies”.
And the October Primates Meeting hasn’t even happened yet.
There was a lull in the religious news coverage of the broadsheets on Wednesday. The Telegraph had to resort to running yet another story about the Reverend Shannon Ledbetter. This story is so old it had already made it to New Zealand and there was even an item on Channel 4 News tonight.
There were some letters in the Guardian about their NEAC article of 20 September.
The Glasgow Sunday Herald has a review of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s new book, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700. Here is a quote from the review (but read it all):
As MacCulloch explains it, US presidents such as Ronald Reagan and George Bush owe their mind-sets to the Reformation. “In the USA, Protestantism, stemming from England and Scotland, set the original patterns of identity,” he writes. “American life is fired by a continuing energy of Protestant religious practice derived from the 16th century. So the Reformation … has created the ideology dominant in the world’s remaining superpower …”
NEAC-related stories are here on the main TA blog.
Also, the two archbishops have appointed a new Appointments Secretary, Caroline Boddington.
Today, The Times carries its obituary of Bishop Jim Thompson.
St Laurence Eastwood church is under threat from Southend Airport, which is not expanding.
The birth of Fulcrum and reports from NEAC are on the main TA blog today.
Bishop Jim Thomson died yesterday, here are reports from the BBC and the Telegraph.
The Times reported in more detail on the Methodist/Anglican service at which Richard Chartres repudiated the hostile sentiments of some of his predecessors as Bishop of London.
And see Peter Owen’s entry concerning another item in the Guardian.
Not exactly news in any sense, but Andrew Brown drew Church Times readers attention today to this extraordinary article in the Spectator, Render unto the Pope… in which Adrian Hilton says that the EU is a means of undoing the Reformation and extending Vatican sovereignty over Britain.
Meanwhile in England, the BBC notes that NEAC is starting today, and says that “The great majority of evangelicals - who make up the largest group in the Church - are vehemently opposed to the appointment of homosexual clergy”.
In this regard, the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions in the House of Commons on Tuesday and the text of the exchanges is here.
Christopher Morgan in the Sunday Times reports that “The Church of England has forced Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, into an embarrassing climbdown over his plans to commemorate the end of the Iraq war with a triumphant thanksgiving service.”
The Telegraph reports that Churches call for Christianity to be part of national syllabus
The Observer has an article (with colour pictures not on the web, sorry) entitled Anglicans face schism over gay row and subtitled Conservative US bishops prepare to take on liberal British wing in bitter struggle for Church’s soul.
The story must be hotting up, even Sky News, the Cable/Satellite TV channel, mentioned it.
I have not found this on the CEN site itself, only a news story about it, Bishop makes robust defence of marriage which also says “In his article, he also gives Biblical evidence of the justification for a fracturing of the Anglican Communion.”
The full text can be found on Kendall Harmon’s blog.
The Manchester Evening News reports on the Cathedral/LGCM row, Gay Row Vicars Quit.
The Telegraph reports that Muslims boycott Archbishop’s talks.
Both The Times and the Telegraph report on the CofE at the Wedding Show.
The Times has had several responses lately from readers (paper or online) about current tensions in Anglicanism, and yesterday’s letter from the Duke of Richmond is particularly worth noting.
Meanwhile Anglican/Methodist relations should benefit by the action of the Bishop of London next Monday. The Times reports that the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, will tear up a document containing “sentences of exclusion”, in an act of reconciliation outside St Giles, Cripplegate, London.
And see the main TA blog for the item from the Financial Times.
Jonathan Petre reports in the Telegraph that two area deans in the Diocese of Manchester have resigned from that office in protest against the decision not to allow LGCM to hold a service in the cathedral.
The Church Times is here.
Businesman converted by a curry from the Eastern Daily Press
Several major news items appeared recently here on the main TA blog
A bumper crop.
VAT problems not solved yet: Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph reports that EU bars move to cut Church VAT.
A second ‘Creationism’ school opens its doors. Yuck.
The Guardian reports that Girl and boy choristers sound the same, says professor and so does The Times, Cathedral choir study shows girls sound the same as boys, the Independent, Girls’ singing voices ‘are just as pure as boys’, and the Telegraph Genders singing from same songbook.
Two letters to the editor of The Times on RW’s recent article, and on the Manchester affair.
Ruth Gledhill reports on government plans to change the role of the church in maintaining paper registers, Births, marriages and deaths - the end of life’s paper trail.
At last, an Anglican bishop has spoken about the woman waiting to be stoned to death in Nigeria for adultery. The Guardian’s Stephen Bates interviewed Archbishop Ndungane, African cleric breaks ranks on gay issue. I think this story is at least as important as the one in the headline.
“There is a woman waiting to be stoned to death for adultery in Nigeria and yet we are not hearing any fuss from the leadership of the church there about that,” he said.”
The only church story I found in the British Sunday papers is by Christopher Morgan in the Sunday Times, 350 churches now no-go for Williams. This report is based on the number of parishes opposed to the ordination of women as priests in the Church of England that have currently invoked the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 to obtain extended episcopal oversight in one form or another under what is popularly called Resolution C including, but not limited to, those served by one of the three Provincial Episcopal Visitors. This is hardly news, but Morgan thinks this number will go up significantly when women bishops are approved. (It really depends on what form the legislation eventually takes.) As hardly any of the “C” churches are conservative evangelical ones, one suspects the number of places who would not welcome RW is considerably greater than 350. Morgan notes that similar methods may be proposed to deal with American opponents of gay bishops.
Saturday’s Credo column by Bishop Geoffrey Rowell is always good reading.
An item in the Richmond and Twickenham Times caught my attention: Church refuses to meet cash demand is about a parish that is unwilling to pay its diocesan contribution in full. The report is slightly suspect since this parish, St James Hampton Hill is actually in London diocese, not Southwark, but it is clear they are not short of the money: “In contrast, St James’s own news was more positive - detailed drawings have been completed for the west porch project. The church is also planning a restoration project for its stained glass windows over the next decade. An expert from the Victoria and Albert Museum has inspected the windows and was reported to be enthusiastic about renovating them.”
More on Manchester Cathedral and on the upcoming NEAC conference in Blackpool:
Times, Ruth Gledhill, Evangelicals to call for US Church’s suspension
Telegraph, Jonathan Petre, Evangelicals in show of strength
Independent, Gay group protests over ban on holding cathedral service
Guardian, Stephen Bates, Manchester Cathedral drops gay service and
Anglican evangelicals in crisis meeting
Church Times, Bill Bowder, Manchester pulls gay service and
Pat Ashworth, Blackpool congress on course to attract 2000
and while we are at it, Rachel Harden, Opposition to US bishop grows
See also on the main TA blog for
news of what inclusivechurch.net plans for 15 October.
The Guardian today has this leader entitled What price unity?
Here we go again!
Manchester Cathedral Chapter has issued this statement concerning the withdrawal of their previous agreement to host a service for the LGCM Conference planned for October
This has been reported so far as follows:
BBC Cathedral ‘bans’ gay group
ITV Gay Bishop banned from preaching
The top story this week, about RW’s New Directions article continues to be reported on the TA main blog. I hope to link to the full text of this article within the next 24 hours.
Addition: follow the link above for the full text of the RW article