In Los Angeles, Bishop Bruno has said that he will not take legal action against Bishop Maurice Benitez: Bishop to Hold Off on Charges
Meanwhile NACDAP has published this Analysis of Bishop Bruno’s Lawsuit Against St. James Church, Newport Beach (it would be more comprehensible if the source documents were available)
The ECUSA House of Bishops has held a meeting in Spokane. Larry Stammer reported on it this way: Bishops End Session With Hope and here is the ENS press release, A word to the Episcopal Church from the House of Bishops.
Another ENS press release is subtitled House of Bishops informed of network leaders’ plan to launch parallel agency and refers to this announcement by NACDAP: Anglican Relief and Development Fund Launched. The same body had earlier claimed that SUPPORT AND RECOGNITION OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION NETWORK INCREASES. The figures in that release deserve some analysis in due course.
Yet another item of interest from this HoB meeting is on titusonenine and is Bishop Epting’s House of Bishops’ Presentation concerning the status of ECUSA’s ecumenical relations.
Today the Telegraph carries a story by Jonathan Petre
Archbishop faces fresh crisis over Holy Communion.
This refers to remarks by the Bishop of North Sydney, the Rt Rev Glenn Davis. What happened was that Glenn Davis wrote an article which was published two weeks ago in the Church Times. You can read that here:
What’s all the fuss about?
The link in that to the Carlisle origins of Communion by Extension is incorrect: it should be to this: Extending the boundaries by David Smethurst
The BBC Sunday programme talked to the people of Ripon, and others…
Last Sunday in Ripon Cathedral, The Bishop, John Packer, announced the suspension of the Dean, John Methuen. The Dean has protested his innocence. Although it isn’t clear what he is being accused of, there seems to be some concern about his allegedly autocratic style.
Interviews with members of the public in Ripon and the Dean of Southwark Cathedral in London, the Very Rev Colin Slee.
Listen (5m 24s) with RealAudio.
Yesterday, the Telegraph carried Suspension of Dean fails to silence whispering which contains a lot more
background detail whispers.
The British Roman Catholic weekly The Tablet has printed a report by Richard Major their American correspondent
Carey raises stakes ahead of Eames report:
…After 18 October the struggle will probably be not so much with the leadership of Ecusa, but within individual dioceses and parishes, which will have to decide how to respond to a world in which they might not be able to remain in full communion both with Ecusa and with the see of Canterbury. Ecusa’s relationship with the world’s 75 m. Anglicans, most of whom live in Africa, will also be in doubt. The African provinces have been the most outspoken in their opposition to the consecration of Robinson.
Fr David Moyer, leader of Forward in Faith in North America, told The Tablet that at the minimum Eames must ‘sternly rebuke Ecusa for its go-it-alone attitude’ and offer ‘immediate provision of security for the life and witness’ of conservative clergy. But he said Ecusa had become ‘irreformable’: liberals are in ‘tight control’ of the ship, he said.
At the other end of the spectrum, Integrity, for 30 years the lobby group for Episcopalian homosexuals, refused to believe that Ecusa could be ‘voted off the Anglican island, as in Survivor’. Its president, the Revd Susan Russell, said that ‘prophetic ministry always comes at a cost’. ‘The Church is stronger, the Gospel better served’ because of its change of mind about homosexual acts, she told The Tablet, adding that it was ‘incomprehensible’ that the presence of practising homosexuals in the episcopate might make people feel obliged to secede.
Most parishes and parishioners are dreading what will follow after 18 October - if they have noticed it at all. ‘My people don’t know and don’t want to know and certainly don’t want to decide, but that’s just no longer an option,’ one Episcopalian priest told The Tablet. Another predicted that ‘if the Communion fractures over homosexuality, Anglicanism will become a well-disciplined Church to the right of Rome, leaving Ecusa as just a quaint declining sect of two million bourgeoisie’.
Doug LeBlanc on GetReligion has comprehensively dissected this report, see “Incomprehensible!”
Further to recent discussion on this ACNS has issued the following
Statement from Lambeth Palace on the ‘network’ stories
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Rowan Williams, has had a wide range of meetings and conversations with many groups and individuals on all sides in relation to the current concerns in the Anglican Communion. These meetings remain private and confidential.
Amongst those with whom the archbishop met last autumn were those dissenting from the impending consecration of Gene Robinson; those involved wished to discuss the shape that might be taken by groups dissenting from the decision of General Convention but remaining within the structures of ECUSA.
The term ‘network’ was suggested as offering one appropriate model to provide support for those dissenting from the resolution but intending to remain within ECUSA’s structures. The Archbishop felt that this might prove a suitable working concept, but no proposals as to its potential form, structure or outworking were advanced.
In relation to the discussion of the term ‘confessing church’; this concept indicated, in accordance with traditional Protestant usage - that the dissent was understood to be on a matter of conscience that, for the dissenter, touched on the integrity of the church itself. No narrower example or more specific comparison, for instance to the church in Germany in the 1930s, was intended.
It starts out:
THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, gave his personal backing to a new, ultra-conservative organisation for orthodox Anglicans that is poised to become a recognised arm of the Anglican Communion in America.
The Times has learned that Dr Williams, in a private meeting with leading American clergy at Lambeth Palace, advised the setting up of a “network” to provide a home within the American church for those who disagreed with the decision to consecrate the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.
Dr Williams went so far as to suggest the new network be called the “confessing” network. This was taken by those at the meeting as a reference to the the “Confessing Christian” movement that stood for the orthodox faith in Germany at a time when the official Christian bodies were being manipulated by the Nazis.
Although Lambeth Palace denied that any such direct link was intended, a spokesman for the Archbishop admitted that the term “confessing church” had been invoked as one way for the conservative evangelicals and Anglican Catholics to describe themselves.
The Church Times has this lovely picture and a report by Pat Ashworth
Dean of Ripon denies ‘conduct unbecoming’
The Church of England Newspaper has
Dean of Ripon to fight ‘autocratic’ charges
Earlier this week Leeds Today had this
Dean in cathedral row could be ‘defrocked’
Update for coverage of the report when published, see main TA blog here
See earlier report here.
The Church Times has a lengthy report by Rachel Harden , which lists
Seven options on women bishops
A chapter from a draft of the report lists seven options:
• maintaining the current status quo, whereby women priests cannot be made bishops;
• drawing up single-clause legislation to allow women to be bishops;
• allowing women priests to become diocesan bishops, but not archbishops;
• allowing women priests to become suffragan bishops, but barring them from diocesan posts and archbishoprics;
• allowing women to become bishops within a diocesan team, which would always include a male bishop;
• creating an extended form of episcopal oversight for those opposed to women bishops;
• establishing a third province within the Church of England for those opposed.
The Church of England has issued a statement Terrorism and Community Relations which is a submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee from the Mission and Public Affairs Division of the Church of England. The press release says:
The threat of terrorism faces governments with the challenge of maintaining security without undermining human rights but some current counter-terrorist measures threaten to aggravate tensions between Muslims and other groups in British society, the Church of England has warned in a submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee enquiry into the effects of counter-terrorism legislation on community relations.
This is partly due to legislation that creates a separate system, criticised by all-party groups, for indefinite detention of terrorist suspects who are not British nationals, says the submission from the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council. It also points to other measures creating a sense of insecurity and stigmatisation among Muslims. Police, says the submission, should use powers of arrest and search even-handedly and media reporting should reflect more representative and responsible views from within Muslim communities.
The full text of the statement is available.
This has been reported:
Stephen Bates in the Guardian Anti-terror measures ‘alienate Muslims’
Bill Bowder in the Church Times C of E warning on terror law
The CT article has a useful link to the press release from the Institute of Race Relations concerning its recently published study which documents the facts in support of this (full IRR report available as a pdf file here).
Church of England Newspaper
Editorial: The anti-terror laws
This week the nation has shared the indescribable trauma of the Bigley family as they await news of British hostage Kenneth Bigley. The rise in hostage-taking in Iraq is just one example of the unintended consequences of the high anxiety about terrorism post-9/11 and following the war in Iraq, lead us very often to seek someone to blame. For some it will be political leaders like Blair and Bush, for others, it is the policies of Israel while many more lay the blame entirely at the door of innocent Muslim communities.
Yet if we argue that terrorists are responsible for their actions we cannot then take steps to assign blame to the entire communities from which they come. Just as Muslims are primarily the victims of Islamist terrorism, so Muslims are indirectly the ‘victims’ of anti-terror laws which affect them disportionately. So argues the Church of England’s submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.
The submission recognises the fine balance of maintaining security without undermining human rights, but argues that current counter-terrorists measures are aggravating tensions between Muslims and other groups in British society. It must however be pointed out that in any particular stop-and-search operations to identify terrorists those who are thought to be Muslim because of their ethnic identity are bound to be disproportionately affected.
The Church of England rightly has conducted a listening exercise for the past two years through the offices of Lambeth Palace. The anxieties of the Muslim community have been heard clearly in this exercise about the heavy-handed effects of the counter terrorist measures especially on non-British nationals, and about everyday problems faced such as stop-and-search policies as well as Islamophobia in British society. In any such listening exercise however, contradictory viewpoints from the communities involved will cancel each other out, and not all fears and concerns will be justified or well-founded.
In fact, since the terror attacks on 9/11 2001 the British public are probably better informed about Islam than ever before. They are more likely to know that not all Muslims are terrorists, despite the fact that terror groups claim to be mainstream in the interpretation of Islamic theology. And in fact, a great deal of sympathy for Muslim communities has followed the attacks, including many supportive measures undertaken by church and other community groups. Furthermore, Muslim leaders are increasingly demonstrating a renewed sense of responsibility in leading the communities to help police in identifying the terrorists who embed themselves in Muslim communities and those who recruit for terrorist groups. The Muslim community is signalling that it is moving away from the role of victim and recovering a confidence that arises from being an important part of British society.
The Church of England’s submission is a welcome support for another faith community in British life, but is in danger of portraying the diverse Muslim communities in Britain as helpless and in need of constant defence. In fact, robust as never before, Muslims in Britain are beginning to rise to the challenge of dealing with the specific problems of terror associated with extreme Islamist beliefs in concert with other faith groups and with the authorities.
Three separate news stories arrived close together, all containing recent remarks by the Archbishop of Uganda.
First, he recommended to his own clergy that they should use the internet:
Discard Old Preaching - Orombi from the Kampala Monitor via allAfrica.com
The Anglican Archbishop, Luke Orombi, has advised priests to read widely, listen to media reports and surf the internet to be able to relate their preaching to modern developments.
He said Christians are tired of stereotype ways of preaching like quoting verses and reading them over and over again to the congregation…
Second, from New Vision (Kampala) via allAfrica.com
Orombi Decries Evil in Church
The archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi, has said the immorality that has been prevalent on the streets has entered the Church.
He called upon priests to show their faith in God by resisting temptations that could lead them into wicked acts.
…”All forms of immorality usually take place on the streets, but now it’s slowly spreading into the Church. These days you even hear that a priest has committed adultery or defiled a child. Where is the Church heading?” he asked…
And third a Statement from the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda which is addressed to ECUSA. Some excerpts:
…For many of us, the internal workings of ECUSA are a mystery. Were it not for the information revealed in these open letters, we would not have known that the UTO grants of the Episcopal Church Women were part of the official ECUSA structure. Nor would we have known that women in the Episcopal Church support the recent heretical and immoral actions of the General Convention, which have caused ECUSA to separate itself from the historic church and the vast majority of the Anglican Communion and Christendom. We are grateful to have this information, and respectfully request that UTO not send us any more funds – even if grant requests have been submitted.
…This state of broken communion saddens us because of the loss of relationships and partners, and we believe it also grieves the heart of God. We continue to pray that ECUSA will repent of its actions so healing can begin, reconciliation be pursued, and communion be restored. We continue to rejoice in the formation and growth of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes in the United States under the leadership of Bishop Bob Duncan, and thank God that there is a faithful remnant of Anglicans in America with whom we can remain in communion. We look forward to deepening our ties and mission partnerships with those parishes and dioceses that are part of this Anglican Communion Network.
A new story in the Daily Pilot by Deepa Bharath
St. James secession nets lord’s judgment
NEWPORT BEACH — St. James Church leaders hailed a former archbishop’s criticism of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles for suing three churches from the diocese.
The Canadian Anglican Journal has a useful reprise of previous events:
ECUSA’s troubles continue with three parishes seceding
From Canada, the Anglican Journal has this report by Marites N Sisson
Church awaits critical commission report which contains quotes from Alyson Barnett-Cowan a Canadian commission member.
Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, a Canadian member of the commission, refused to provide details of the report, but said that all 17 members of the commission — who represent varying, sometimes contradictory voices — agreed on the recommendations. No one, she said, was expected to disassociate themselves from it.
“There was a very strong sense of commitment, of wanting to make it work,” she said.
Ever since a majority of Episcopal bishops supported the ordination of an openly gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire, the Anglican Communion (of which the Episcopal Church is a province) has been subjected to a wrenching civil war. Although schism, or permanent division in the church, has not yet occurred, there has been more than a hint of it in the air.
According to Bishop John Howe of Orlando, who voted against the consecration of a gay bishop, every diocese of the Episcopal Church — traditionalist and liberal — has lost money, members and priests. The large Diocese of Virginia reported some months ago that it had lost more than $845,000 in income and was forced to lower its contribution to the national church by $257,428.
Not all of the costs have been financial. Ecumenical relations with the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches have been seriously impaired and various provinces of the Anglican Communion around the world have declared themselves in broken or impaired relationship with the Episcopal Church.
Our desire was first to describe to Archbishop Williams our experiences working toward reconciliation and unity in our respective dioceses and in the American province as a whole, what is contributing to that effort, and what is deterring or undermining it. We spoke very candidly about the American Anglican Council and the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, how we are experiencing their activities and actions, and about the activities of bishops from other dioceses and other provinces of the Anglican Communion within our jurisdictions. Second, we sought from the Archbishop some sense of how our continuing efforts might best support him in his work to bring greater unity to the Anglican Communion. Third, we described to Dr. Williams how we felt his ministry and leadership could most support the American Church.
The nature of our conversation was frank and direct, and the Archbishop was both open and responsive. It was, however, a private conversation, and in that respect confidential. In the last year too many people have taken the Archbishop’s remarks in similar consultations and used them publicly to further their particular perspectives and agendas. I know you will understand when I refuse to compromise either his trust or our common work toward unity in the mission of Christ’s Church by repeating here or elsewhere his reflections and responses.
The principle of provincial autonomy within the Anglican Communion recognizes the deep cultural differences between national Churches, and reveals a determination to avoid any lingering semblance of colonialism. One of its consequences has been that relationships between provinces have had to depend on trust, friendship and mutual respect, rather than on institutional arrangements and enforceable rules. The Archbishop of. Canterbury has a symbolic role as the focus of unity, but his actual powers are minimal. Given this looseness of structure, the Communion has always been vulnerable to unilateral action, but has hitherto avoided catastrophe by a widespread and generous willingness to value freedom and to enjoy the positive benefits of living with diversity. Not any more. “War” is perhaps too strong a word to describe its present state, but there is certainly a bid to dictate the agenda by those who are utterly convinced that they alone know the mind of God. The result is that attempts to resolve the Communion’s problems by appeal to its traditional values seem likely to fail, because for some dissidents it is precisely the readiness to tolerate differences, which is now the main source of contention.
A Church at War is an impressive piece of journalism, well informed, anecdotal, highly readable, sharp, sometimes unfair, gently mocking where mockery is deserved and, as far as I can judge, mostly accurate. Its author is a Roman Catholic, the religious affairs correspondent for the Guardian, and is married to an Evangelical Anglican. His theme is that the current dispute within Anglicanism, though ostensibly about homosexuality, is best understood as an attempt by conservative Evangelicals to seize power.
Bates adds much illuminating detail to the history of the crisis, from the Church of England Bishops’ 1991 Report Issues in Human Sexuality, to the firm and, as many believe, disastrous anti-homosexual stance taken by the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the subsequent dispute in 2003 over the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in the USA, and Canon Jeffrey John’s forced withdrawal from the offer of a suffragan bishopric in England. Unfortunately, like many others, Bates misses the main point of the 1991 report, namely that in strongly contested matters there must be freedom for individual consciences, but that the Church as an institution must not prematurely commit itself to one side or the other. As a significant background to these developments, he also charts the post-war rise of evangelicalism, and the recent growth of hardline groups which have fastened upon homosexuality as a rallying point for Christians worried by critical attitudes towards biblical authority, and disgusted by what they imagine homosexuality must entail. “What precipitates the split now he writes, “is that a section of conservative Evangelicals, with a militant and exclusivist philosophy and a taste for confrontation, has organised an attempted coup to seize the old church for its own agenda. Theirs is a sectarian, congregationalist church that can tolerate only one sort of Christian and only the authority of those bishops who agree with them. There is no room for dialogue, doubt or debate…” A harsh judgement, maybe, but there is plenty of evidence to show that it is not far from the truth.
From the Guardian last Saturday:
Guardian Special The World in 2020
Ever wondered who will be holding down Britain’s top jobs - from Labour leader to Queen Vic licensee - in 2020? We canvassed expert opinion to bring you the definitive list. Just don’t hold us to it …
and the article included this:
Archbishop of Canterbury
Who? Canon Dr Judith Maltby
Current job Chaplain of Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Age now 46
Nominated by Rev Giles Fraser, vicar of Putney, writer and lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford
An awful lot would have to change in the Church of England before Judith Maltby could be enthroned in Canterbury: the church doesn’t currently allow women to be ordained as bishops. She would also be the first American to head the worldwide Anglican communion. She has denied any interest in becoming a bishop, but her admirers would be keen for her to change her mind. “She’s clever, she has a strong sense of social justice, and we need women in positions of power in the CofE,” says Giles Fraser.
(Thanks to Stephen for telling me about this)
Stephen Bates reports in the Guardian
US bishops’ cash threat as split over gays widens
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is being warned that North American bishops will cut off funds from the Anglican church in Africa if they are disciplined for supporting the election of a gay bishop, in a row which threatens to split the worldwide church.
Update This story is generating a lot of comment from Americans, see for instance Money, sex and power by Doug LeBlanc which has lots of links to related material.
Ruth Gledhill reports in The Times
Carey fights for the palace Batman
THE former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, has spoken out in support of the intruders at Buckingham Palace, arguing that they were “right to draw attention” to their plight.
He said that the actions of the Fathers 4 Justice campaigners were born out of society’s “sad and sorry departure” from traditional marriage and the increasingly commonplace phenomenon of fatherless families. He also called for a radical rethink of the orthodox Christian understanding of marriage, which is based on St Paul’s dictum that “the man is the head of the woman”.
and the story concludes with this:
He said that the Church must also take responsibility for the situation, having for centuries assigned a submissive and compliant role to married women, which no longer bore relation to reality.
The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds John Packer has announced that the Dean of Ripon John Methuen has been ‘inhibited’ (the equivalent of being suspended on full pay) from his clerical duties following the laying of formal complaints against him under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure.
Under the Measure, formal complaints of ‘conduct unbecoming the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders’ are sent to an independent examiner who can either recommend their rejection or that the matters should be determined by means of trial in a Consistory Court. In a statement made to the Cathedral congregation today, Sunday September 19, Bishop John Packer says that while the Dean is clear that he has a full answer to the complaints, he has decided to inhibit the Dean under the Measure, while the legal process takes place, in order to eliminate, as far as possible, continued pressure and gossip.
Here is the official press release from the Diocese.
Update Here is the Yorkshire Post report by Michael Brown and Julie Hemmings Suspended dean faces ‘trial’ over conduct.
In a statement made to the cathedral congregation, Bishop Packer said:
“I regret to have to inform members of the Cathedral congregation that a number of formal complaints against the Dean of conduct unbecoming the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders have been laid before me under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure.
The Dean is clear that he has a full answer to the complaints.
However under the Measure, and to eliminate as far as possible continued pressure and gossip, I have decided to inhibit the Dean from the exercise of his office until such time as these matters are disposed of, either by a rejection of the complaints by an independent examiner, or by means of a trial in a Consistory Court.
Until that time the Dean will play no part in the life of the Cathedral and Diocese.
For the time being Canon Michael Glanville-Smith, as Senior Residentiary Canon, will take responsibility with his colleagues for the life and witness of the Cathedral. I ask for your prayers at this difficult time for Dean John and his family, and for all members of the Cathedral.”
Two further items on the current ECUSA situation which are worth a read:
First courtesy of titusonenine an article from The Living Church magazine
Bryan Owen: Beware of the Trojan Horse
The Rev. Bryan Owen is the rector of the Church of the Incarnation, West Point, Miss.horse; this appeared as a viewpoint article in the September 19, 2004 issue of THE LIVING CHURCH magazine. (The Reader’s Viewpoint article does not necessarily represent the editorial opinion of The Living Church or its board of editors.)
Second, this from the PBS TV programme Religion & Ethics News Weekly
Ongoing Tensions in the Episcopal Church
Correspondent Kim Lawton reports from a conservative Episcopal church in northern Virginia where the former Archbishop of Canterbury rather than the local bishop presided on Sept. 15 at confirmation services — another sign of division over the Episcopal Church’s support of its first openly gay bishop.
Update for coverage of the report when published go here
Christopher Morgan in the Sunday Times reports that Women may be bishops but not archbishops. Here are two extracts that list the eight options:
The findings of a three-year inquiry headed by Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, this weekend drew accusations of misogyny after it emerged that three of its eight key options would deny women equal rights with men.
The options propose to allow women to become bishops but not archbishops of Canterbury or York; to deny them the chance to have their own dioceses; or to require them to be part of a team with at least one male bishop to chaperone them.
Of the five other proposals, one would see the church retain the status quo where women are allowed to be ordained only as priests or deacons. Three others anticipate a split in the church or exodus of male priests, while only one would give women the full rights to be appointed to every post in the church.
The report by Nazir-Ali, who was a leading contender for Archbishop of Canterbury two years ago, is an attempt to appease both the supporters of equality in the church and the traditionalist opponents of women bishops. However, this weekend it appeared unlikely to satisfy either camp as it does not come down in favour of any of the eight options.
… Of the three options that would entail a permanent junior role for women, one would allow women to be suffragan bishops but prevent them being a senior bishop in charge of one of the church’s 44 dioceses.
Another option would allow women to become diocesan bishops but not archbishops. This might satisfy the evangelical lobby who believe that within the church women should be under “male headship”. The report points out that this would “still entail the existence of a ‘glass ceiling’.”
Other possibilities could see the introduction of combined male-female teams of bishops in each diocese, or the division of the church to create a “male-only” province. This would provide a third, independent province, overlaying those of York and Canterbury and led by an archbishop catering for all who did not wish to be under a female prelate.
Nazir-Ali warns that if the church opts for straight equality for women bishops, this could mean traditionalists refusing to recognise them and leaving the church altogether. “This would be an extremely grave situation,” warns the report.
A final option would see priests opposed to women bishops being paid off to leave the church.
I’m not sure what’s so special here: for months now we have been told that the report does not make any recommendation but merely sets out the options. Now we have some data about the options listed. Only in the Church of England would it take three years to create a list of options…
Andrew Brown has commented upon the recent disclosures which were reported here on Friday.
In Dr Williams’ blessing he says in part:
…However, there may be a partial explanation in the arrogance of the Northern, liberal faction in the American church, which regards the Anglican Communion with proprietorial contempt. This really, really, upsets people at Lambeth Palace, and, until recently, they could do nothing about it. Now, of course, they can destroy the liberals by giving their enemies an opening to sue them for everything they own on the grounds that the liberals will be no longer official Anglicans, recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. And it looks as if this is what will happen. What makes me so sure? A tiny story found through Simon Sarmiento: that it was Rowan Williams himself who suggested to the American
bigotsconservatives that they call themselves “The Confessing Anglican Network”, because this name echoed the “confessing” churches which kept the true faith in Nazi Germany.
And so the subtlest theological mind in Britain has reached the point where clergymen who denounce the ordination of practising homosexuals are morally comparable to the Christians who faced jail and execution for resisting the extermination of the Jews. The implied comparison of their opponents actually does bear some thought, which, once, Dr Williams might have given it.
Read it all to see the context in which this comment is put. The reader comments there are also of interest.
Today’s BBC radio programme Sunday has further material about Lord Carey’s visit to Virginia.
Listen here with Real Audio (5.5 minutes) including a substantial interview with the former archbishop conducted by Jane Little.
The BBC’s blurb for it says:
Bishop Peter Lee
“Needlessly provocative” is what the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement called the former Archbishop of Canterbury’s decision to fly into Virginia this week to confirm three hundred people into the Episcopal Church. They came from twelve of the nearly two hundred parishes that make up the Diocese of Virginia that officially falls under the command of Bishop Peter Lee. But these twelve parishes are deeply troubled by his endorsement of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire and so they shunned him. Bishop Lee says the solution was to invite Lord Carey to take his place, and that it wasn’t, in his view, inflammatory.
The whole of the programme will be of interest to Americans, see the list of items here (this link will break after a week).
See also Religion and politics in America
Lord Carey confirmed in the Diocese of Virginia this week, at the invitation of the diocesan bishop, Peter Lee.
The Washington Post reported it this way:
Va. Episcopalians Enlist Ex-Archbishop’s Services
Here is the Associated Press report as it appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Former Archbishop of Canterbury hopes to heal split among U.S. Episcopal churches
The BBC’s Jane Little reported it as: Lord Carey confirms US Anglicans
Although British newspapers had reported the long-planned event some weeks ago, no other British reports have appeared this week.
Frank Griswold has written a letter to ECUSA bishops in which he comments on the forthcoming report of the Lambeth Commission. You can read the letter here.
Update the letter has now been published by Episcopal News Service and that copy can be read here.
Both The Times and the Telegraph report today that more young people in Britain believe in horoscopes than in the Bible.
Ruth Gledhill Horoscopes are new religion
Jonathan Petre The young put their faith in mysticism
Both The Times and the Guardian have columns by Rabbi Jonathan Romain (it is Jewish New Year): God, belief and action and The Bible is not a divine puzzle for our leisure time while the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times about Compassion has to coexist with a sense of human responsibility
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about St Theodore If anyone should be patron of racial harmony it is Theodore
and the Guardian has a report about another piece of Anglican history:
Defrocked rector was ‘unfairly vilified’
Mark Harris has today published a new article in which he takes note of new information received. The new article can be read here.
The new information itself appeared on titusonenine on 5 September and can be read in its original form here together with numerous comments about it, and referring back to the original piece.
You can read a further critique of the new article by Mark Harris from a conservative viewpoint here.
Update later comments from titusonenine can be read here.
Beliefnet published Episcopalians, Anglicans Launch Diplomatic Push Before Commission written by Kevin Eckstrom.
The Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan discussed the issues facing the commission in his Presidential Address to the Governing Body.
The Church of England Newspaper published this article: Archbishop’s right to invite under the scrutiny of Eames and also carried this editorial comment (text will disappear so saved below the fold here).
The Church Times carries a news story by Bill Bowder: Report could have a ‘profound impact for good’ says Eames and its op-ed columnist Giles Fraser has an opinion column: The cynical option.
Extract from CEN Editorial
The Anglican Communion, by contrast, seems increasingly to be two different entities held together by a very thin external skin – ferrets in the proverbial sack, to use the language of one’s local hostelry! ECUSA has been stamping on its dissenters at home, using the full force of civil law against clergy and congregations to suppress the traditional ethical way, while appealing for compassion and harmony over here. This ‘good cop – bad cop’ routine has worked wonderfully well for them. It seems that their sudden embassy to the Eames Lambeth Commission, a privilege not accorded to their opponents, has worked to prevent sanctions being implemented on ECUSA. Perhaps the so-called ‘liberal’ squeal of church rage from the Dean of Southwark, noted for his Father Christmas costume, scared the commission, who knows – but Eames has ‘choked’ at the only decision it can make if it is to maintain a single Anglican Communion.
The nature of this division is as deep as it can get, affecting the doctrine of creation, the authority and clarity of Scripture and two millennia of uncontested ethical tradition. The western cultural drift of romanticism and amoral ‘inclusivity’ controls society – must it splinter and take over our church too?
A simple guide to the Lambeth Commission on Communion can be found this week at Anglicans Online written by me.
On the BBC’s Sunday radio programme an interview with Frank Griswold
Listen here with Real Audio. 6 minutes long.
The BBC’s blurb:
On Friday it was announced that the Lambeth Commission on Communion will publish its report on the 18th October. The commission, chaired by Archbishop Robin Eames is trying to find a way of holding the fragmenting Anglican communion together. The commission says it expects to propose radical changes in the ways Anglicanism relates to its different constituencies. The Dean of Southwark, Colin Slee, has now warned that a “civil war” could result. This latest and gravest crisis was triggered by the decision of the Episcopal Church in the United States, ECUSA, to elect the practising homosexual Canon Gene Robinson, to the office of Bishop, and by the blessing of same sex unions in Canada. The man who consecrated Gene Robinson is the presiding Bishop of ECUSA, Frank Griswold, who is preaching in St Paul’s Cathedral later today. Earlier Roger asked him how he would react, if as has been rumoured, the Eames Commission recommended ECUSA be disciplined? Would a civil war result?
The Observer has a report by Jamie Doward on Eames: Silence of gay bishops ‘will split Anglicans’.
There is also a report on the anniversary of “9/11” which leads with RW’s visit to Cairo, Christians ‘should show more respect’.
The Telegraph clearly disagrees with this idea, and reports on its own poll of clergy who found for them that Clergy vote Rowan Williams as ‘one of the least effective’ modern archbishops (read the story carefully to see what the questions and answers were).
And it carries an opinion column by Peter Mullen Don’t blame God, Dr Williams.
The same paper carries a news report, not by its religious affairs specialists, which says that Half of gay ‘marriages’ are conducted in church. This will be unwelcome reading to many conservatives.
And a story from yesterday that I missed:
Guardian Stephen Bates Churches should take yellow brick road to reaching people
The Church Times has looked at the new statistics published on the web this week, and found the claim of 3 million a bit weak.
THE CLAIM was made this week that the size of the Anglican Church in England is “approaching three million”, rather than the often quoted figure of about one million.
The claim comes in the introduction to the latest set of statistics, for 2002, released by the Church of England’s research and statistics department on Tuesday. Its presentation is upbeat, despite the picture of widespread, measurable decline in almost every category.
Read the whole article C of E is three (or one) million strong which has the following useful table:
The full text of what RW has said can be found here
Address at al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo
A press release is here:
Archbishop’s visit to Egypt
Since earlier in the week, a number of further reports have appeared:
9 Sep Daily Pilot “Community Commentary” by Timothy Titus St. James property debate stacked against local church
10 Sep Daily Pilot “Readers Respond” St. James secession emotional
10 Sep titusonenine Statement in Response to Lawsuits Filed on September 7, 2004, by the Diocese of Los Angeles and Bishop J. Jon Bruno Against St. James, All Saints’ and St. David’s Anglican Churches
11 Sep Daily Pilot Churches respond to diocese lawsuit
Lawyers for St. James in Newport Beach and two other breakaway churches say legal claims show ‘true colors’ of the Los Angeles diocese.
In The Times Geoffrey Rowell writes about his recent visit to a Russian monastery at Solovki in Belief which resurrects hope from the wreckage of despair. An extract:
At the heart of the Christian understanding of God is the faith that the God who allows human beings made in his image the freedom that is necessary for them to love, is the one who in love enters into the darkness and evil that such freedom also permits. Crucfixion/Resurrection is the deep inner rhythm of the life in Christ which is at the heart of the Church. Solovki which seemed annihilated and crushed by the tortures of the gulag is now a place of resurrection, of hope born out of an incredible despair.
Somewhere this resurrection faith, to which Solovki is a standing witness, touches the terrible darkness and evil of Beslan, a very ordinary Ossetian town which I passed through once on a journey from Georgia. Innocent children, teachers, families broken-hearted and grieving, caught in a web of evil and destruction — the scenes we have witnessed will haunt all of us.
There are no easy answers to this problem of evil, no way to live in the face of it, except the way of that deep conversion which is repentance, a turning away from darkness and evil, to the resurrection life of new creation. The cost and victory of God’s love in the Cross of Christ, which next Tuesday the Church will celebrate on Holy Cross Day, is where we see the God who stands alongside us, and enters into our human suffering, in a gulag in the White Sea or in a school gymnasium in Beslan. “Out of the deep have I called to you, O Lord — Lord, hear my voice!” “If I go down to Hell, you are there also.” “Nothing can separate us from the love of God” for, as the Russian church sings on Easter night: “Christ is risen! and the demons are fallen.”
It is this faith alone which is the source of our hope, and the kindling of our love. Without this there is only the continual rekindling of a cycle of hatred and violence, creating that web or axis of evil which can only divide and destroy. Easter faith and resurrection life point us to that goal of our human life together, which is shalom, the deepest peace and communion, the life of the city of God, which is by grace God’s gift to us.
In the Telegraph Christopher Howse writes about how Getting out of hell isn’t easy.
In the Guardian Rabbi Tony Bayfield comments that Religion is a bloody disgrace which is subtitled The Abrahamic family of faiths is now frighteningly dysfunctional.
Related to this is the article in The Times by Simon Rocker on efforts to encourage a more constructive Muslim-Jewish dialogue in Britain: Fraternity eases the religious and political divide.
In Friday’s Church Times Giles Fraser wrote this:
It’s the Psychology of survival a biblical reason for obsession with sex
I missed this yesterday:
Guardian Martyn Percy on Harvest Festivals A harvest of the spirit
The British newspapers report:
Guardian Stephen Bates Anglicans consider gay clergy
Telegraph Jonathan Petre ‘Civil war’ fears over gay bishop
The Times Ruth Gledhill Crisis group fails to resolve Anglican dispute over gays This article gives a lot of space to the paper also published by “Anglican Mainstream” but in fact a copy of material on the site of the Anglican Communion Institute which appears to be the originating body for this article.
Anglican Mainstream, the multinational conservative evangelical group founded to oppose the appointment of Dr Jeffrey John, now Dean of St Albans, as Bishop of Reading, demanded “restorative discipline” on Ecusa that would reduce it to observer status for two years. During that time it should rescind its actions or face outright expulsion.
In a statement signed by leading global evangelical bishops and theologians, including the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, President of the Church of England Evangelical Council, the group insisted thatr Ecusa “must not be able to use the label Anglican in a way that identifies them as part of the Anglican Communion”.
The evangelicals also insisted that Ecusa’s relationship with Canterbury, if it is to continue at all, must be “qualitatively different” from Canterbury’s relationship with what will become the continuing Communion. They would need to have a clearly “diminished” status, Anglican Mainstream said.
There are already indications that if the African and Asian bishops’ demands for discipline against the US are not met, leading bishops will set up a rival Anglican Church with its titular headquarters in an ancient see such as Alexandria. The Primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev Peter Akinola, has previously said: “You do not need to go through Canterbury to get to Jesus.”
In the open letter on its website yesterday, Anglican Mainstream said: “If this request (for discipline) is ignored, then plainly we have reached the end of the Anglican Communion in its present form.”
American newspapers mostly carry the AP report previously listed. However, in the New York Times Laurie Goodstein mentions Eames in passing while reporting on a local event: Bishop Says Conflict on Gays Distracts From Vital Issues
Earlier, the Church of England Newspaper had Civil war brewing over Eames recommendations
and the Church Times had ‘No fudge’ as Lambeth report is finalised
The Associated Press filed this: Anglican commission on gays wraps up
and Reuters filed Anglicans hope for “peace and healing” over gays
Three religion stories:
Yesterday, Hywel Williams had an opinion column The trouble with George which is about George Carey. None of it is complimentary, here is a sample:
Never keen on his successor, Carey is as blunt as the present archbishop is opaque. Now he seems determined to give a voice to the church within the church, a movement that rejects not only liberal tolerance but also the church authority that once gave him a career. For the striking thing about the gay-phobic evangelicals of the US and Britain is that they are not really Episcopalians. They reserve the right to follow bishops they approve of and then to withdraw diocesan subscriptions if the local bishop fails to toe their line. They are, in effect, Congregationalists running their own churches and selecting their own theology.
Today, Stephen Bates reports on the new CofE statistics that were published yesterday (see Peter Owen’s announcement here).
Church counts its blessings. This report shows that credibility on this subject will not recover quickly from the past perceptions of statistical manipulation:
The church claimed yesterday that other statistics published this year, showing attendances continuing to decline well below 900,000, were wide of the mark and that a “more precise figure” showed an average of 1.7 million people attending church over the month (though only a million attending on Sundays).
This story is getting more confusing.
Doug LeBlanc thinks it is impossible for Bishop Robert O’Neill of Colorado to be present in London on the timetable Jonathan Petre has proposed:
Through the space-time continuum with Bishop Robert O’Neill.
ENS has issued an explanation from the Diocese of Massachusetts about why the meeting is happening in the first place:
Massachusetts diocese issues clarification about Bishops’ Meeting in London
The meeting was first discussed among the group in April as an opportunity for two newer bishops and two established bishops to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury and was subsequently scheduled in June.
This shows that Petre also had one name wrong: it is the current Bishop of Ohio, Mark Hollingsworth, not the retired bishop thereof whom he named, who is involved.
Earlier, ENS had issued this note about Griswold’s preaching engagement at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Kendall Harmon asks various questions about why this reporting is happening now, not earlier, and other matters in More on the Trip of the four Bishops to London (scroll down to the part in italics).
Personally, I think that Rowan Williams is entitled to keep his engagement diary private.
Los Angeles Times Larry Stammer Diocese Sues Breakaway Parishes
Episcopalians lay claim to property in North Hollywood, Long Beach and Newport Beach.
Daily Pilot Diocese files suit against church
Episcopal bishop says property belongs to the national church. Local leaders hold steadfast in their secession stand.
AP via L.a. Daily News Southland Episcopalian churches sued for revolt
In this Reuters report dated Monday 6 Sep, Anglican Leaders Seek to Heal Gay Bishops Rift, Paul Majendie quotes Clifford Longley as saying
“I think I put my money on it being a fudge. Temperamentally I do not think they are inclined to go for a fight. Never in the past has any of these commissions come to anything. They have never managed to apply sanctions.”
Today, Wednesday, Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph reports that US bishops fly in for ‘sanctions’ talks , a story which suggests that at least the bishops of Massachusetts, Ohio (retired), Colorado and West Tennessee don’t share Clifford Longley’s optimism.
Doug LeBlanc has reflections on the Los Angeles Times coverage by Larry Stammer in this post on GetReligion: Qualifying a bishop’s words
5 Sep Associated Press via LA Daily News Breakaway parishes meet
5 Sep Long Beach Press-Telegram For All Saints, another Sunday worship
6 Sep Daily Pilot St. James receives a Texas-size boost
Maurice Benitez, former bishop of the Diocese of Texas, encourages nondenominational path.
7 Sep Los Angeles Times Priest Steers O.C. Parish Through Rough Waters
Leader of a church that left Episcopal diocese has had a long journey to the center of schism.
The Los Angeles Times carries two stories by Larry B Stammer under the heading
EPISCOPAL CHURCH SCHISM
Push to Be Inclusive Creates a Divide
By reaching out to homosexuals, L.A. Bishop J. Jon Bruno alienated three parishes. He’s no stranger to crisis.
A Prelate of Evangelical Intensity
Ugandan berates the American church and says it’s departed from historic teachings.
And the Daily Pilot had this editorial comment:
Church practicing what they preach
There is also material about Los Angeles, including a quote from Archbishop Orombi, in this BBC radio report by the Sunday programme which deals first with the Lambeth Commission story. Listen here (Real Audio)
The Church and homosexuality - Liberal Anglicans in Britain have told us they may seek Episcopal oversight from pro-gay American Bishops if the Church of England supports the Anglican Communion in disciplining the American wing of the church for supporting homosexuality…
In the Guardian Madeleine Bunting - a former Religious Affairs correspondent - writes about Cummins & Co (We can no longer ignore Islamophobia, or the racism that fuels it)
Also, Colin Sedgwick writes that Evangelicals are strict, not stupid.
Locusts and wild honey are discussed by Christopher Howse in his weekly Telegraph column Sacred mysteries.
The Times has Stephen Plant writing in the Credo column that Christians were late converts to the joys of democracy. This is in the context of the Olympics in Athens and the Republican Convention in New York City.
First, a reprise of events so far is available in this NPR radio report:
Gay Bishop Ordination Still Rocking Episcopal Church which includes interview quotes from Bishop Bruno
Second, and new today:
Larry Stammer Los Angeles Times Bishop Asserts Control
L.A.’s Episcopal prelate assigns assistant bishops to take over three breakaway parishes.
Deepa Bharath Daily Pilot L.A. bishop fires leaders of churches
Head of Episcopal diocese informs pastors, vestries of three breakaway churches, including Newport Beach church, that new priests, directors to take over in their communities.
Update Orange County Register 3 parishes’ Episcopal clergy replaced
Copies of a letter to one parish about this from Bishop Bruno, and of the press statement issued by all three parishes in reply to these letters can be found on titusonenine headed The Episcopal Controversy in Los Angeles Escalates Still Further
This morning on the BBC radio programme Today the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was interviewed by John Humphrys concerning the events of yesterday in Russia. The interview runs for 11 minutes.
News story based on interview:
Massacre tests Archbishop’s faith
Audio recording of interview:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams on the religious aspect of the Russian siege (Real Audio required)
Update As readers might easily miss the TrackBack, here is a direct link to the GetReligion post that reflects on Rowan’s broadcast remarks:
Theodicy on the Radio
Today Jonathan Petre at the Telegraph joins in, with Anglicans to shun gay-row bishops in which he suggests that the recommendations will focus immediate actions on individual bishops rather than on provinces:
Liberal American bishops face having their invitations to Anglican summits withdrawn by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, if they continue to defy the worldwide Church over homosexuality.
Under tough proposals likely to be recommended by the Lambeth Commission next month, the liberal leadership of the American Episcopal Church could be excluded from policy making and shunned by the vast majority of Anglicans. Bishops who publicly support the consecration of Canon Gene Robinson as Anglicanism’s first actively gay bishop last year or who authorise gay “marriages”, both of which breach official Anglican policy, would be penalised.
They would only be readmitted to the councils of the worldwide Church if they reversed their position and repented.
The 19-strong commission, which was set up by Dr Williams to avert a schism over the issue, is to finalise its recommendations at a meeting in Windsor next week, but it is thought to have reached a broad consensus at earlier meetings.
In its final report, which is due to be published in October, the commission is expected to resist calls from hardline conservatives to expel the Episcopal Church immediately.
But if its liberal leadership has not recanted by the time the next Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops convenes in 2008, the whole church could still face ejection.
Although debate over homosexuality will not be stifled, only bishops who abide by the Church’s official line will be welcome at Anglican summits, and new bishops will also be required to sign up to the policy…
The next meeting of the Lambeth Commission is next week. Yesterday a press release from Armagh arrived which said:
THE LAMBETH COMMISSION
Chairman: Archbishop Robin Eames
Press Contact: Rev Brian Parker Tel 028 90 232909 (m) 07775 927 807
1 September 2004
LAMBETH COMMISSION MEETS NEXT WEEK
The Lambeth Commission established by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, to face up to the crisis in the Anglican Communion over sexuality issues, meets next week in St George’s, Windsor to draw up its Final Report.
Under the Chairmanship of the Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Robin Eames, the Commission has been working since October 2003 when an emergency meeting of the Anglican Primates requested the setting up of an international commission to suggest ways forward out of the current crisis. Apart from meetings in the United States and England members of the Commission have undertaken many contacts with the 38 Provinces or Churches of the Anglican Communion and have received hundreds of written and oral submissions.
Dr Eames will present the Report of the Commission to the Archbishop of Canterbury in October when it will be released for study throughout the world Church.
The consecration of a practicing homosexual, Bishop Gene Robinson, in the United States and the practice of blessing same sex unions in Canada have provoked a storm throughout the Anglican Communion. Commentators have described it as the most serious divisions ever to emerge in the Church. Already some leaders and Provinces have declared themselves alienated from or ‘out of communion’ with the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. and the Anglican Church of Canada.
While the Commission has not been asked to pronounce on sexuality issues it is expected that its Report will recommend radical changes in the ways Anglicanism relates to its different constituencies. The crisis presents major problems for the Archbishop of Canterbury who is by tradition the leader of the Anglican Communion.
This morning, The Times carries (page 2 of the fullsize paper version) this report by Ruth Gledhill
Anglicans ready to ostracise US church over gay bishop
Parts of this article can also be found online here.
Some further excerpts are below the fold.
This article in the Belfast Telegraph is also clearly from the same source:
Eames tells of sadness at global divisions
Archbishop Eames, before leaving for London to prepare for next week’s meeting, told the Belfast Telegraph today: “This has been the most difficult and challenging task I have ever been given in my Anglican experience. Feelings on all sides of the problem are running high.
“The diversity of our world church family is being reflected in the depth of feeling and the diversity of opinion across the world.”
Archbishop Eames said that the Commission had been working under “extreme pressure” since it was set up by Dr Williams at the end of last year. This followed the appointment of the actively homosexual Dr Gene Robinson as a Bishop in New Hampshire, and also the blessings of same-sex unions by the Anglican Church in Canada.
Already a number of leaders within the 38 Provinces in the world-wide Church have declared themselves to be alienated or “out of communion” with the Anglican Churches in the USA and Canada.
Archbishop Eames said: “When people read our suggestions in the report, I pray that they will be able to see a way forward which is positive and realistic. Apart from the difficulties we have faced, I am saddened at the effect these divisions have had on the real work and mission of the Church in a suffering and bewildered world.”
More from Ruth Geldhill’s report
The Anglican Church in Canada, where the diocese of New Westminster has authorised the Church’s first same-sex blessings rite, is also likely to face disciplinary action, although not as severe as America. The General Synod in Canada agreed this summer to hold off on universal sanction of same-sex blessings. But if the Canadian Church were to pursue this, it too could find itself in the exclusion zone.
…There is certain to be a bitter fight between the different factions before any recommendations are enacted. America is financially powerful and the commission’s recommendations must go first to the primates next February and then to the Anglican Consultative Council, the representative body of the Anglican Communion, before they can be enforced.
Sources at the highest level of the Church are understood to consider the whole situation a disaster for the lesbian and gay community in particular. But disciplinary action against America is thought to be the only way to preserve what little unity remains of the Anglican Church.
Already, some church leaders and provinces have declared themselves “out of communion” with America and Canada. The Nigerian Church is “planting” or founding new evangelical Anglican churches in America in response to the crisis, and bishops in Uganda have taken three parishes in America into their “care”.
The restructuring is the most radical of a number of options that have been considered by the commission. Another way forward would have been to persuade all provinces to agree a joint code of canon law, but it would have taken many years for all the separate synods to agree. This would also have turned the Anglican Communion into a pale shadow of the Roman Catholic Church, with the Archbishop of Canterbury an Anglican pope in all but name.
Instead, it is expected that the Anglican Communion will be reformed into a federation similar to that of the worldwide Lutheran Church.