Thinking Anglicans

columns in the weekend press

Richard Chartres writes in The Times about church finances. In Church coffers are half full, not half empty he writes in part:

ALL Barchester has been roused by reports that a cash crisis in the Church of England could lead to a cut in clergy numbers by up to a third, with worshippers being directed to meet in one another’s homes. This doomsday scenario is mistaken, but despite Archdeacon Grantly’s derisive snorts, it is good to have a serious debate about the present state of the Church of England…

…The report which gave rise to the initial press reaction will be discussed by the General Synod next month. Its main thrust is that “the key challenge facing the Church is not financial but the need for it to develop a more dynamic mission emphasis”. This is the point on which we need the real debate to be focused.

The inhibiting factors have to be faced. One is the way the Church does its business, with the postwar explosion of boards, synods, councils and committees, all involved in a carousel of consultation,. John Sentamu, the new Archbishop of York, as Primate of England is just the right person to tackle this plate of spaghetti. His appointment is very good news…

Over in the Guardian Jane Shaw writes about the Anglican Communion in Rival bids for the Anglican franchise, and she concludes her column with:

…There is a new set of alignments, in which people want to be with other people who read the Bible like them more than they want to unite with all other Anglicans. These alignments cross national boundaries. We might call this the confessional versus the communion.

The bullying behaviour of those united in an alignment to oppose the North American decisions suggests that they have no interest in the integrity of the communion unless we all think like them.

The Windsor report, the 2004 document meant to sort out the divisions within the communion, attempts to do that by changing the nature of the communion. We need to be clear about that. We will go from being a “fairly loose federation of kindred spirits, often grateful for mutual fellowship but with each province reserving the right to make its own decisions”, as church historian Henry Chadwick described the communion in 1993, to one in which, as the report says “no province, diocese or parish has the right to introduce a novelty”.

Local differences, or dispersed authority as we understand it in Anglican terms, will have no place in this more authoritarian global structure. Someone’s version of Anglicanism will prevail, but whose? Who will own the Anglican franchise?

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph discusses Prayer and God’s rescue plan

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Aaron Orear
18 years ago

I’d no idea how deep the ideological divide cut until I attended (as a reporter) the Open Doors conference of Canada’s Anglican Essentials. The vitriol I heard from the stage, and in the eagerly assenting audience, was frightening. Liberal theologians were compared to Caliban, and homosexuals and those who support gay rights were informed that they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And my favourite moment – Pittsburgh’s Bishop Robert Duncan, calling for unity among the various American and Canadian splinter groups, asserted that “worrying who’s in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury is a barrier to unity.” He… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
18 years ago

Canon Shaw offers a spot-on analysis of our dilemma: “Who will own the Anglican franchise?”

(And will there be any room left for those who hold to it as dmitri brilliantly summarized below? “Celebrate the mass together; pray together; preach the good news that the Kingdom of heaven has drawn very near; heal the sick; feed the hungry; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; visit those in prison; bury the dead; educate the ignorant; Be instruments of peace; love one another as God has loved us.”

Will any further Confessional “loyalty oaths” be required?)

P Barclay
P Barclay
18 years ago

Aaron, what you appear to have heard must surely come from hot-heads, not the overwhelming majority. No-one has the right to decide who will inherit the kingdom, and that most conservatives would also maintain. We can all find hot-heads who go OTT. Dare I suggest that there are some liberals who also overstate things. My experience is that even the most level-headed may sometimes latch on to what s/he actually wants to hear, and ignore the rest. We may differ on some issues, and fair enough. If your comments above are suggesting that they represents the views and feelings of… Read more »

Aaron Orear
18 years ago

Hotheads or not, they were speakers invited by the group’s leadership to address the membership. If they represent the extreme of the conservative position then Anglican Essentials ought to take a bit more care in selecting its representatives.

And yes, there are liberal theologians who go too far. I’m scheduled to cover that side of the debate in the next couple weeks…I’m sure it will prove as enlightening as the last.

18 years ago

JCF wrote:
“Will any further Confessional “loyalty oaths” be required?”

Sure, it’s called the Windsor Action Covenant. The Rev. Mark Harris has the goods on it:

and Simon has previously reported on it here. (yes, I know that you know about this already – but it bears repeating for others 🙂

Simon Sarmiento
18 years ago

Aaron’s report on the Canadian event is now online at

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