Thinking Anglicans

12 bishops dissent from Monday’s statement by the House of Bishops

Premier Christianity has published the full text of a statement by bishops who are publicly dissenting from the statement issued by the House of Bishops on Monday. This is copied in full below the fold. For reactions to this letter, see the preceding TA article.

On Monday the House of Bishops reached a decisive point in the journey discerning how to proceed in relation to Living in Love and Faith. We have participated in good faith in attempts to find consensus but were unable to support the decisions taken on Monday. There was deep disagreement within the House. Sharing the profound concerns of many in the Church of England and in the wider Communion, with heavy hearts we find it necessary to dissent publicly from the decisions of the House.

We welcome the fact that the House recognised the need for General Synod to exercise its legitimate responsibilities in relation to liturgy and doctrine under Canon B2. However, the decision to commend the suite of prayers for use in public services bypasses those procedures and does not permit the General Synod to consider the full significance of the prayers. Nor can Synod determine whether the bishops have fulfilled their intention (supported in February) that the final form of the prayers should not be “indicative of a departure from the doctrine of the Church of England”. Indeed, legal and theological advice the House has received suggest clearly to us that the decisions of the House may fall short of this commitment.

We are also firmly of the view that we need to adhere to the commitment made to bring the Prayers of Love and Faith, the pastoral guidance and pastoral reassurance (including whatever formal structural provision is necessary) to Synod as a single package, rather than doing so in a piecemeal fashion. We are therefore unable to support the collective decisions made by the House which we believe fail to safeguard the pastoral stability, mission and unity of the Church.

Faced with these sensitive matters over which there remains deep disagreement, we are committed as bishops to continue seeking to discern a way forward in the interests of the whole Church and to providing pastoral care for all. At the same time, we believe that bishops must have due regard to the obligations of good and proper governance. Even at this late stage, we urge our episcopal colleagues and the Archbishops, as joint Presidents of General Synod, to reconsider the course we saw mapped out in our meeting.

We join the prayers of the whole Church as we seek to bear united and faithful witness to the good news of Jesus Christ entrusted to us, in the midst of the challenges we face as the Church and especially for our wider world at this time.

The Bishop of Blackburn, Philip North
The Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Rob Munro
The Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson
The Bishop of Hereford, Richard Jackson
The Bishop of Islington, Ric Thorpe
The Bishop of Lancaster, Jill Duff
The Bishop of Oswestry, Paul Thomas
The Bishop of Rochester, Jonathan Gibbs
The Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox
The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Paul Williams
The Bishop of Beverley, Stephen Race

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FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
8 months ago

12 out of about 108.

Hardly as deeply divisive as some would think.

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  FearandTremolo
8 months ago

It may well be more bishops than the direct signatories. In Chi it is very probable that Martin Warner has signed on behalf of his two suffragan bishops (Horsham & Lewes), as by all accounts they both share his views on this matter.

Tom
Tom
Reply to  Francis James
8 months ago

Why would Martin Warner sign on behalf of his Suffragans? Philip North didn’t do it on behalf of Jill Duff

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  John Armstrong
8 months ago

Actually it’s 10 out of 46 (21.7%). Rob Munro and Paul Thomas are not in the House of Bishops, which currently has 7 vacancies (6 diocesans, 1 suffragan). It also means 7 out of 36 sitting diocesans (19.4%). There are usually a maximum of 53 members of the House of Bishops – 42 diocesans, 2 ex-officio (Dover and Forces), 9 elected Suffragans.

Francis
Francis
Reply to  Nic Tall
8 months ago

either way, about 1/4. Plus some who would’ve joined the 12 but have either recently announced their retirement (Durham) or are about to move so can’t consult properly with their staff/ deaneries (Birmingham, Truro/ Winchester, Coventry). Plus a number who have just retired (incl. Carlisle & Peterborough). So really about 12 of 42 diocesans and 2 out of 9 suffragans

Peter Owen
Admin
Reply to  John Armstrong
8 months ago

It’s not quite that simple. There are actually 53 members of the House of Bishops: 42 diocesans, 9 elected suffragans, the Bishop of Dover and the Bishop to the Forces. In addition 9 other bishops are in attendance; they can speak but not vote. Details are here. Two of the signatories (Ebbsfleet and Oswestry) are in this last category.

PS There are several vacancies at present.

FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
Reply to  Peter Owen
8 months ago

I meant of the total number of bishops in the CofE, but I take your point. It’s possible that I’ve over-estimated the 108 based on what Google thinks, but my understanding is that we have an awful lot of bishops in total, and that 12 is not a huge proportion of them.

Shamus
Shamus
8 months ago

Those who want to manage the CofE according to a business model, and with a united cadre with great leadership skills presumably won’t be happy with this split amongst the “board of directors”. Personally I think it is healthy to admit to this division of opinion rather than keeping a fake united front.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Shamus
8 months ago

The “collective responsibility” model is quite wrong in this context, because that model presumes a central authority that can (or should) reward the compliant and discipline the wayward.
Dioceses are not subsidiaries–though authoritarian archbishops would probably prefer they were.
I also agree with you that this kind of discussion is healthy. Some look to a church to provide certainty–settled, clear doctrine, easily explained and understood. But that to me has never been the Anglican way. And of course considering Christianity as a whole, it is ahistorical.

Lottie E. Allen
8 months ago

Better out than in. Given how many Bishops we have it’s tempting to say “so what”. But what was the point of the collective discussion if they are not prepared to respect it (just imagine how furious they would be if the boot was on the other foot). No wonder people are leaving the Church in droves when we see dinosaurs like this. (“Dinosaur” is the polite version: if you don’t like it be grateful I didn’t post the first draft…)

Gerard Hennessy
Gerard Hennessy
Reply to  Lottie E. Allen
8 months ago

Well said

Rev Colin C Coward
8 months ago

At least two of these bishops are gay. What is it that this group of bishops want? What do the gay bishops want for their LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters? What do the gay bishops want for themselves. Not our full inclusion, not equal marriage, just a spurious and united faithful witness to the good news of Jesus Christ which turns out to be prejudiced, homophobic and abusive.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
8 months ago

For these gay bishops to put their heads above the parapet in this way means everything else they say loses credibility.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
8 months ago

Not just gay bishops, but bishops with lots of gay clergy. Do they really think that they’re holding hands under the apple tree! I would have thought that the ‘flying’ bishops (perhaps not Islington) would be especially blessed with gay clergy. There is an element of the absurd in all of this that makes some of us laugh and others cry.

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Fr Dean
8 months ago

The Bishop of Fulham has not signed

Simon
Simon
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
8 months ago

not a member of the house of bishops nor invited to be present (as he is not a PEV)

Peter
Peter
8 months ago

Episcopal government is not an exercise in counting heads.

The bishops are divided on the issue of Same Sex Rites.

The idea that is just another bump in the road does not bear serious consideration

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  Peter
8 months ago

If it were 1 in 5 Bishops advocating liturgical affirmation of same sex relationships, and 4 out of 5 opposing them would you see that as significant? Worthy of reconsidering opposition to same sex relationships? Or would you think that just meant a small number of bishops opposed to the majority? Do you see this as significant because the minority share your view? At what level of dissent can we say the broad middle of the church is ready to move forward and ought to? If 4 out of 5 bishops agreed? 9 out of 10? 19 out of 20?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Nic Tall
8 months ago

A statement was issued on Monday asserting that the House of Bishops intend to commend PLF prayers.

The House of Bishops does not commend anything of the sort.

It is ecclesiological nonsense to start to assert that all that matters is that a majority of bishops think something.

Episcopal government is collegiate.

Susannah Clark
8 months ago

These Bishops signed the paper on Doctrine in January, but have not signed this in October:

Jonathan Baker (Fulham)
Ruth Bushyager (Horsham)
Christopher Cocksworth (shortly to become Dean of Windsor)
Karowei Dorgu (died in September)
James Newcome (retired)
Martyn Snow (Leicester)

These Bishops are new signatories who did not sign in January:

Rob Munro (Ebbsfleet)
Philip North (Blackburn)
Srephen Race (Beverley)
Paul Thomas (Oswestry)

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susannah Clark
8 months ago

As soon as the Bishop of Coventry’s appointment to the Deanery of Windsor was announced it was obvious that he would cease to be involved in LLF or continue to be a member of the House of Bishops upon leaving Coventry.

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
8 months ago

The signatories are members of the GS House of Bishops. Oswestry, Beverley, Ebbsfleet, Lancaster and Islington must be among the 9 suffragans elected to the house.

Peter Owen
Admin
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
8 months ago

Beverley, Lancaster and Islington are three of the elected suffragans, and so members of the House. Oswestry and Ebbsfleet are not members, but in attendance.

Graham Watts
Graham Watts
8 months ago

Genuinely interested in what goes on here. Does everyone in the room agree to the statement when in the meeting and then realise later that they don’t agree. Or do they agree in the room knowing that there is a plan to retract that agreement later. Or is there no written statement when the meeting breaks up. The statement is written after the meeting by someone who thinks that that is what was agreed. The tweleve then see what gets published and realise that is not what they understood. Perhaps agree to anything at the meeting as they have a… Read more »

Kathryn Vessey
Kathryn Vessey
Reply to  Graham Watts
8 months ago

Surely those who disagree did so at the meeting of the Bishops… maybe they were overruled at the time. We just do t know. I’m glad they have spoken out.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Graham Watts
8 months ago

Meanwhile , away from the House of Bishops, there has been a terrible massacre of hapless Jewish civilians by Hammas, which is now being repaid in kind by another slaughter , this time of those unlucky enough to be trapped inside Gaza
And our top story is- ??The C of E’s obsession with Sex…. And in particular what sort of sex the house of Bishops think others should be allowed to enjoy.
My prediction for next week- there will be learned consideration of why numbers in the pews are continuing to decline

Dr John Wallace
Dr John Wallace
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 months ago

Amen, Susanna. You have hit the nail firmly on the head. Thank you

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Dr John Wallace
8 months ago

You said it for me, John.

Patrick Comerford
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 months ago

The perfect response Susanna

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 months ago

I’m sure many of us feel these matters very deeply without saying much. I often reflect on the irony, and tragedy, of these events in the land where Our Lord and Saviour lived and ministered.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 months ago

If the HoB were to trouble itself with the Israel/Hamas war, they would just issue a bland statement condemning violence on all sides, asking Israel and Hamas to be respectful of civilians, and praying to God for peace. I agree that bishops’ obsession with people’s sex lives is troubling, but I don’t know what the CofE can offer regarding Israel and Palestine. Hamas dreams of a Greater Palestine free of Jews, and receives funding and other material support from Iran and therefore Israel can never permanently crush it, IMO. At the same time, many Israelis dream of a Greater Israel… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Simon W
Simon W
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
8 months ago

Reading the review in last week’s Church Times of ‘Policy of Deceit: Britain and Palestine, 1914-1939’ by Peter Shambrook, the documents show clearly which nation has historic responsibility for tying the Gordian knot in the first place.

FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
Reply to  Simon W
8 months ago

But to talk about that, they’d have to talk about the material legacies of imperialism and colonialism.

And that might get them disestablished 😉

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 months ago

Thank you Susanna for that.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
7 months ago

Amen to this Susanna. Perfectly written.

Mark
8 months ago

I’m starting to think that the RC Church is going to be marrying same-sex couples sooner than the C of E (indeed it already has episcopally-approved same sex blessings in some countries, such as Belgium). That might put the Anglo-Catholic episcopal foot-draggers on this issue in rather a quandary…

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
Reply to  Mark
8 months ago

I haven’t spotted a response from The Society about Pope Francis’ remarks about LGBT+ blessings. Surely there must be one or one on the way. Anyone know? I’d love to read what they’ve got to say in response to the Holy Father.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
8 months ago

The House (and College) of Bishops only do collective responsibility when it suits them. They have declared war on each other, which will be a major theme going forward. I know something about all of them, and will comment further when back from a few days away on 23 October. They won’t like what they hear.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Anthony Archer
8 months ago

Considering the horrendous situation in the Middle East with Israel demanding that 1.1 million Palestinian people move from the North to the South of the Gaza Strip, Mr. Archer using the phrase that the Anglican bishops have “declared war on each other” is both insensitive and highly inappropriate. Also, the threat contained in his final sentence is far from helpful nor constructive.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Anthony Archer
8 months ago

I shall be interested to read what you have to say, Anthony. I have often wondered if diocesans and suffragans have a different ‘centre of gravity’ on human sexuality. Then apart from the beliefs, there is the process and the proposed further steps. And of course, the whole issue of pastoral provisions (for example for gay priests and ordinands) which are still very much awaited… initially in July, then delayed to November, and now quite possibly with contentious ones put on hold even longer than that.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
8 months ago

Given the events in Israel, it was inappropriate for these bishops to speak out at all on this issue right now. Synod is a month away. Why couldn’t this wait? It suggests a rather warped sense of priorities.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Kate Keates
8 months ago

Isn’t it possible to do more than one thing at a time? To pray about more than one thing at a time?

Peter
Peter
8 months ago

The House of Bishops is not a management group or board of directors. Nor is it equivalent to the government executive in Cabinet. They may, for obvious reasons, generally keep their differences to themselves but they are not subject to collective responsibility rules. They are certainly not “over-ruled” by the majority in the House. A Diocesan governs his or her Diocese on the basis of the authority of their own office. Nobody can tell them what they must or must not do in regard to their episcopal responsibilities. A group of Diocesans do not commend the PLF prayers. They obviously… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Peter
Gerard Hennessy
Gerard Hennessy
Reply to  Peter
8 months ago

And while the CofE argues with itself, swathes of fhe country shrugs its shoulders, and continues of its merry way. We are out of step, out of sync, and rapidly running out of tlme.

I have no wish to be a revolutionary. No wish to be fashionable. No wish to be controversial. But we either embrace and authentically welcome the LGBT+ community, or we simply sign our own death warrant as a viable relevant dynamic Church…

Peter Misiaszek
Peter Misiaszek
Reply to  Gerard Hennessy
8 months ago

I’m going to take exception with your conclusion that there is a correlation between the death of a church and acceptance of LGBTQ+. The data does not support this conclusion. On the contrary, church modelling and growth data indicate that the more conservative denominations and evangelical congregations within our own church are on, at minimum, a stable growth tragectory. Notwithstanding my own support for equal marriage, the fact remains that it is unlikely to lead to growth of a congregation. This doesn’t mean that acceptance of the said group isn’t the correct thing to do. I believe it is. But… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
Reply to  Peter Misiaszek
8 months ago

Notwithstanding occasional examples of growth (sometimes because of significant SGF pump-priming), you are overly sanguine about church modelling and growth data. My own diocese has had leadership that was as signed up to new ways of being church as it is possible to be, and it’s bishop set it the target of doubling active churchgoers in ten years. There is no sign whatsoever of this being anything but a catastrophic failure, because all the figures in the round point to a sharp contraction that was going on year after year before the pandemic and was only exacerbated by those years.… Read more »

Peter Misiaszek
Peter Misiaszek
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
8 months ago

I don’t think I’m overly sanguine at all. I’m under no illusions that we are in the midst of a profound deChristianization of western society. Some have used the term post-Christian, but I beg to differ. The data in Canada indicates that people are leaving Christianity in droves. Evangelical Anglican churches are not in catastrophic decline and some are even growing. But that image of growth has to be examined closely. The so called “growing churches” tend to be in dense urban areas. Are they actually attracting and converting new followers or merely sheep stealing from the churches where some… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter Misiaszek
8 months ago

I agree, Peter. Growth and decline are both complicated phenomena with multiple factors involved. Our parish in south Edmonton is currently growing steadily, but this is almost entirely due to an influx of new Canadians from various parts of Africa; they attend church regularly, bring their kids, and invite their friends and relatives. But this isn’t entirely independent of things we do. In visiting our new members I’ve been told over and over again that the two things they like about our parish are (1) the warmth of the welcome, and (2) the fact that they recognize the preaching as… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
8 months ago

Sorry, what is SGF?

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
8 months ago

There are other ways of disagreeing. +Peter Carrell is Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand – an Anglican province that, in 2018, voted to accept the celebration of same-sex marriages. While not personally agreeing with this he publicly supports clergy in his diocese who wish to conduct marriages of same-sex couples. Here he explains why …https://www.inclusiveevangelicals.com/post/how-a-bishop-supports-those-offering-blessing-while-not-personally-agreeing-with-blessing

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
8 months ago

David,

Structural differentiation is the obvious solution.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Peter
8 months ago

Not for +Peter – did you actually read the article?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
8 months ago

Yes.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
8 months ago

I don’t see what difference structural differentiation makes but maybe a policy of neutrality for all diocesan bishops (neither using the prayers themselves nor speaking out against them) could be beneficial?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate Keates
8 months ago

Bishops are entitled to act according to their conscience. If they think the commendation of PLF is wrong they can and should speak – as they have done. The church is divided and that division is now metastasising into disorganised arrangements that will impact congregations and clergy across the Country. Structural differentiation would at least allow an organised process to take place to remedy the conflict. I know the response will be “crisis – what crisis ?” but it just does not wash anymore. There is no general episcopal commendation of PLF. There is no realistic prospect of a successful… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  David Runcorn
8 months ago

Bishop Peter is so often refreshingly sensitive in what he writes. I mean, in the end we either have accommodation of multiple consciences or we have two Churches. Scotland has adopted the attitude of seeking unity in diversity. Imposed uniformity of belief is simply not going to work (it’s what we have at the moment but it’s now pastorally unsustainable). The ‘de facto’ reality is that the Church of England (in its parishes and among priests and congregants) holds deeply contrasting views on sexuality, and there is simply not going to be a reconciliation of those conflicting views. Chris Bryant… Read more »

Simon W
Simon W
Reply to  Susannah Clark
8 months ago

Hear, hear Susannah. It’s possible that +Peter may be elected archbishop of the Pakeha dioceses in NZ as ++Philip has completed his second term in office.

Andrew Tweedy
Andrew Tweedy
Reply to  David Runcorn
8 months ago

Good, humble, servant leadership from Peter Carrell. What a contrast with the hard hearted and self-righteous legalism of many influencers in the Church of England.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  David Runcorn
8 months ago

I will make a personal reference here. Peter Carrell’s father Brian Carrell was also a bishop. I had a sabbatical at Massey University in Palmerston North NZ in early 1991, and Brian Carrell was Vicar of Palmerston North at that time. By the time I met Brian Carrell it had been announced that he was going to be a bishop, and a date had been set for his consecration. I had departed NZ by the time the consecration took place, but was delighted to receive a cutting of the press account of it.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  David Runcorn
8 months ago

I knew Peter online before he became bishop of Christchurch. I believe that what sets him apart from so many others is his genuine openness to the idea “I might be wrong.”

Mat Sheffield
Mat Sheffield
8 months ago

It is extremely rich that the same people who celebrated Steven Croft ‘bravely’ releasing his essay (Together in Love and Faith) in advance of the HoB meeting in November last year, are now complaining all over social media about a different group of bishops doing much the same thing post-fact; openly airing their disagreements with the house. The same is true of the reverse of course, and plenty of people who raged about Croft are now saying ‘how brave’ about these 11/12 Bishops airing their grievance. The HoB should either enforce a consensus communication policy, or allow everyone to speak… Read more »

Inquattrogatti
Inquattrogatti
Reply to  Mat Sheffield
8 months ago

Mat, +Oxford spoke his mind before a decision was reached by the House (as have conservative bishops, CEEC et al done so many times prior to the meeting on Monday). You will recall that CEEC materials were launched an embarrassingly short period of time after LLF was launched, demonstrating much preparation. More recently +Lancaster and others have spoken repeatedly about where they stand. It really isn’t the case that those who oppose LLF haven’t had their voice. The extraordinary action this week by the dissenting bishops is that seven diocesans have spoken out *after* the House has reached consensus, and… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Inquattrogatti
8 months ago

I dont know Matt at all, but you just weaponised his children on a post. That is not OK. Small wonder that some of us remain anonymous on here for fear of such dirty posts as this.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
8 months ago

Nonsense. If he’s happy to show his children he should be open to a reasonable, inoffensive question about them.

Peter Debenham
Peter Debenham
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

I’m sorry but Homeless Anglican is correct in their challenge. There is a big difference between having young family in a profile picture and other people feeling free to use them for their polemic. It truly is why many people feel threatened about engaging in politics (in all senses, not just in a field as nasty as church politics). The idea that who you and your family must be hidden before engaging reinforces the power of those who have no such requirement Individual personal circumstance indeed is where matters of philosophical and theological theory collide. However, in a forum such… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
8 months ago

Thank you for speaking out about this. I agree and had a similar reaction to Colin Coward saying that 2 out of 12 bishops are gay. Since some of the others are married that comes very close to outing people and I thought it was very wrong.

In any event Inquattrogatti’s was pointless. Hypothetical personal questions are pointless because people really don’t know.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Kate Keates
8 months ago

Kate just because someone is married to a person of the opposite sex does not preclude them from being gay, bi or queer.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
8 months ago

I would agree with you over this particular issue. Worse, for someone my age, it is painfully reminiscent of the National Front, and similar groups “Would you let your daughter marry one?” jibes of the 1960’s. I would hope that that was not intended.

Ex clergy
Reply to  Inquattrogatti
8 months ago

I worked with a member of clergy who had a gay child. They didn’t walk them down the aisle and eventually was banned from seeing their grandchild ( child born in an earlier relationship)
I don’t know what happened to the child who was the innocent victim in it all.
My vicar was totally fixed on the idea that his interpretation was correct and was prepared to lose part of his family.
I have left the Church of England

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Mat Sheffield
8 months ago

I have always believed that the bishops policy of silence during the LLF process was a mistake. How can we laypeople be expected to follow a path of good disagreement unless the bishops can model that same good, constructive, disagreement in their own actions and words?

What has actually happened is that the conservative bishops have spoken out strongly, but the progressive bishops have followed the policy of silence. What is now needed is for the many bishops who support same sex blessings and marriage to speak out equally clearly. I am not holding my breath.

mark
mark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

What is needed is an ecumenical answer to this because all churches have the same debates. ecumenism seems to be an unpopular word with each denomination but in many rural communities it could be the only way for physical church to survive

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  mark
8 months ago

AMEN

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

The point was that Bishops have plenty to say, and plenty of opportunity to say it. There was a genuine attempt to hear from as many people as possible without the Bishops giving the answer in advance. The collective restraint shown by the bishops over an extended period was, I think, a sign of the care they all took (and that was across the range of views). It is not true that only one set of bishops have spoken or that only one view has been given in public (the Bishop of Oxford is one example). It is true that… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Mat Sheffield
8 months ago

You didn’t think it was inappropriate to release the statement when Israel is mourning the worst day of atrocities since the Holocaust? Why couldn’t it have waited a couple of weeks?

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Kate Keates
8 months ago

Please don’t exclude the Palestinians in your comment about mourning.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
8 months ago

I agree with the sentiment in relation to today but at the time of the statement it was Israel and I wanted to try to be factually accurate.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Kate Keates
8 months ago

Because we are now seeing TV screens and not experiencing anything with moral ache and pain, and real death and slaughter. I am not Orwell, but it was going to come to this. Maybe after they kill our babies, or burn down our villages, we will get a big cyber detox. When I return from France, I always feel I am being transported via TV screens into a world that is big, but not real. It’s not that France doesn’t also do that, but the US is huge and TV is just a weird appendage of ads and selling-you-this stuff.… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Anglican Priest
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
8 months ago

There appears to be a wider issue here with regard the inability of bishops to prioritize equality and human rights over ecclesiastical politics. This current flap in the C of E has similarities with episcopacy and governance issues in the wider Communion. For an ecumenical perspective see Sarah Mac Donald’s report in The Tablet on professor Mary McAleese’s intervention, Inequality ‘Embedded’ in Catholic Church. Much of her criticism could apply across the board to Anglicanism including at the Communion level. In fact, in many respects we are going in the wrong direction away from a theology of the whole people… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

My contribution is unlikely to help- sorry- I had a stroke recently so my words may not come out well! It won’t help for me to see these revolting bishops as losers, or even bad losers. I have poor knowledge of history (and less interest?) but how did bishops come to lord it over what they may see as Their diocese? I’m not convinced that polite ‘good disagreement’ is working (though one lives in hope). May these bishops (and priests) have the courage of their convictions and depart in peace, but not take their diocese with them- it is not… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  God 'elp us all
8 months ago

Short answer, the C of E’s Canon C 1 3. : ”According to the ancient law and usage of this Church and Realm of England, the priests and deacons who have received authority to minister in any diocese owe canonical obedience in all things lawful and honest to the bishop of the same, and the bishop of each diocese owes due allegiance to the archbishop of the province as his metropolitan.” Many views have been expressed on TA about how “all things lawful and honest” should be interpreted, but I think I have supplied what can be considered the ‘official’… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

Thank you Rowland. IIRC Jesus is recorded as offering two commandments; perhaps he missed canonical obedience. I also believe he is reported as being a bit down on the more pharisaical understandings of ‘the law’. But then, I wasn’t there. I believe also, again IIRC, that mantras like ‘scripture, reason and tradition’ are subsequent constructs. Thank you to moderators who have ‘approved’ my somewaht intemperate comments and to all who have wished me well. I liked the Bishop of Liverpool’s emollient words of comfort (instruction?) to his people which may be found in a parallel TA thread- I wish him… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  God 'elp us all
8 months ago

Clearly I misunderstood your question which was addressed to Rod Gillis, so I should have left it to Rod to reply. I also join with the best wishes for your recovery.

Howie Adan
Howie Adan
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

‘…in all things lawful and HONEST…’. So not in things intrinsically dishonest, which seems to open a rather wide door to holy disobedience.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  God 'elp us all
8 months ago

I hope you continue to get better

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  God 'elp us all
8 months ago

Thanks for your reply. That is a significant health issue. I do hope your recovery will go well. I am not familiar with the ‘jigs and reels’ of the LLF project; but I am interested in how the church in general and the episcopate in particular is contending with issues of equality and human rights. Largely with the usual special pleading as far as I can tell. There are serious problems on this front whether it is an allegedly ‘liberal’ church like Canada, or the House of Bishops in the C of E, or the Bishops at Lambeth, or GAFCON… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  God 'elp us all
8 months ago

I hope you make a full recovery. Thank you for continuing to contribute despite your health challenges.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

‘There appears to be a wider issue here with regard the inability of bishops to prioritize equality and human rights over ecclesiastical politics.’ I’m as annoyed as anyone else, but I’ve noticed an unfortunate tendency to use the label ‘ecclesiastical politics’ to describe a theological conviction we ourselves don’t share. The dissenting bishops have a theological conviction about marriage, and of course they’re going to use political means to stand up for it. The government of the Church of England is set up politically! People on my side of the issue have been discussing for months what political mechanism they… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

I’m not arguing that there is any pure ‘apolitical’ stance. Quite the opposite. Standing up for the advancement of any issue in the wider society is a matter of the body politic. Standing up for human rights and equality is political. Denying or opposing equality and human and civil rights is political as well. I’m critiquing the church for a failure to prioritize equality and human rights as such. Surely you must be aware that the there is a widespread lack of enthusiasm in the church for even the suggestion that these are matters of human rights. As I pointed… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

The opponents of marriage equality are not using the Bible as a matter of strategy. The Bible is the core of their faith: they live by it and would probably die for it. For them this is a crucial issue and they are entirely in earnest. Like Paul, I would acknowledge their zeal, but regret that it is not enlightened. But they are sincere in their belief, though sometimes cynical in their strategy. Just like the rest of us.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Your intelligent and sensitive response is much to be desired in these parlous times. The place of the Bible in Christian belief and practice isn’t as one among other ‘religious bases.’

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 months ago

The mantra of social conservatives. Just yesterday R.C. Archbishop José Miguel Gómez Rodríguez said that the church and its synodical process “cannot remove pages from the Bible.” Asked whether the church could approve same sex blessings or women’s ordination he replied, ““No, but the Church already knows that answer.” Presumably this we know because the bible tells us so. (see link). This is the same view of conservatives across the board including Anglicans inside and outside The Communion. Unfortunately the ‘bible’ argument it is also the fall back position of most non-conservative Anglicans. Of course, this demonstrates the fact that… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

My reply does not stretch into the domains of your opining.

It is a simple statement. One could say, a truism.

The place of the Bible in Christian belief and practice isn’t as one among other ‘religious bases.’

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 months ago

I’m sure that is true in your mind. There is likely no great benefit for you or I or anyone else here in a continuation of a yes there is, no there isn’t’ type exchange. I have pointed out my presuppositions. I suspect even most ‘liberals’ here don’t agree with them either. Best of luck with your new staff position with the ACNA plant in the States. Exciting to have a new project as one moves into older age. Me, I am almost 70. I’m a congenital and chronic gadfly. It appears to be the way God and my culture… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

I take as my guide on this the soaring reflections on scripture found in Donne’s sermons. (Nothing there about social and political destiny — seems a pretty brittle declension).

Thanks. I’m just a theologian helping out when I am here. My main work is in France.

It is exciting to see a church springing up (most people haven’t any idea about ACNA versus X,Y.Z;) They are just enthusiastic worshippers, and ACNA is the main Anglican presence where they live.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 months ago

It’s not ACNA versus X, Y, Z. It’s ACNA v the Episcopal church

Last edited 8 months ago by FrDavid H
Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

They do not know and they do not care. One can only tell you that so many times. Can you try to understand a world outside of your own ken and anger? More than half of the parishioners don’t have previous anglican backgrounds, but simply gather to worship God and love their neighbors.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 months ago

Obviously it is good that this is an enthusiastic and growing congregation, and many today sit loose to denominational labels and look for a church that suits them. However anglicanism is episcopalian. Catholic minded anglicans see the diocese as the unit with the congregation and priest in communion with a bishop. So,not being Congregationalist, which bishop they are in communion with does matter . Stephen Sykes feared the future of anglicanism would resemble Orthodoxy with different (and perhaps competing jurisdictions). I rather think he was right

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Perry Butler
8 months ago

Re: orthodoxy and competing jurisdictions, I should think culture wars a more apt description of the current situation.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Perry Butler
8 months ago

People seem to miss the point that the TEC Bishop and the ACNA Bishop are not in conflict. The ACNA Diocese in SC is much larger than the TEC one. ACNA is not a non-diocesan church. We are not in the context of England. My orders remain in TEC (and PTO in the CofE). This is a church plant in my neighborhood. I am theologian in residence. ACNA and TEC in SC weathered more than a decade of legal battles. These are over. Since then, TEC has sold some churches to ACNA. The church camp is the property of TEC-SC.… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Anglican Priest
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 months ago

They may not know. But you do. You are supporting a “church” which was founded against the denomination in which you claim to be a member. How is that “loving your neighbour” when a decision was made to leave them?

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

See my comment above. You do not understand the situation in this geographical context. The two Bishops are cooperating. That is called, ‘loving one’s neighbor.’

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

(TEC) Bishop Pierre Whalon just left this comment at the TEC website. This will help you understand (one hopes) the different place TEC finds itself on this time-line with ACNA. (It may well portend what happens in the CofE, but that is another topic). The Episcopal Church (needs to) to live out and spread the Gospel. That is not statistical but existential. Competing with our daughter church will not change that imperative and it would be faithless to be distracted by such rivalry. We have the same challenge as the Anglican Church of North America: be faithful, and leave the… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 months ago

It seems somewhat charitable to call a breakaway organisation a “daughter” church when spreading the gospel is surely weakened by schism . Showing how Christians dislike each other by breaking apart is hardly an advertisement for ACNA, or a good marketing ploy.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

Here we agree. ACNA is not the ‘daughter’ of TEC — a bizarre idea. I don’t know what Whalon was thinking. One possibility is that, given that the ACNA vs TEC conflict has moved into the new terrain of co-existence and no more legal battling, he was searching for someway to have TEC look in a “generous” role. But that is speculation. You’d have to ask him. The main point–and this is what he has said in his quote–is what was being conveyed: TEC and ACNA ought to avoid rivalry and get on with the business of growing churches. This… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Anglican Priest
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anglican Priest
8 months ago

Anglican Priest, I think you provided a really helpful insight from your present which is our future.

I am accused on this site of “banging on” about a general settlement as if such a thing would be a superfluous distraction.

It is absolutely certain that organised co-existence will at some point happen.

The longer we wait to acknowledge that, the greater the cost in terms of waste and harm.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Peter
8 months ago

Yes, and in the US, the years of conflict entailed 1) huge legal costs, 2) the declaration by the PB of ‘non-orders’ over Bishops and Clergy, 3) loss of property for those not wanting TEC’s new direction, 4) serious and considered debate over the character of TEC’s polity re: central and diocesan authority and identity, 5) loss of property by TEC in TX, SC, and in other pockets, 6) the creation of ACNA (which we at ACI opposed, 7) futile efforts to request/gain a special provincial status for the six conservative dioceses, 8) endless meetings with the then ABC Rowan… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

A very helpful comment. Thank you.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Thanks Janet, I have a different take. The church and its bishops both conservative and non-conservative are using the bible and faith based resources to advance their positions. Some in the church want to create a sub-culture where in opponents and proponents of sexual equality can otherwise co-exist and ‘mutually flourish’. This is a strategy of an organization and all its players in which, as argued by Mary McAleese for example, inequality is firmly imbedded. The bible, whether one is pro or con on contemporary bio-ethical issues, simply cannot solve all our problems. Once again the church is trying to… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

Rod, I was simply trying to explain their point of view. I’l try this. ‘It’s worse than that. They actually believe it.’

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

What you say may be true of some, but not all. I believe that, among the political class opposed to marriage equality, the Bible is merely one tool among many to prevent a liberalization of society.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Pat ONeill
8 months ago

But why do they want to prevent liberalisation? Because they think the Bible forbids it. Having been brought up con evo, I used to think so too, but now I read the Bible differently. That is to say, partly, that I pay attention to texts that were skated over when I was young, and that gives me a different outlook on the whole.

Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds
8 months ago

This letter immediately sent me back to Rowan Williams’s 2022 Reith Lecture: ‘One of the things that I often want to say to others in the church and in other religious communities is, that the worst message we can convey to the society around us is embarrassment and anxiety and quite often religious communities convey that. “We’re worried and we’d like everybody to know just how worried we are,” and… trying to take part actively and even transformingly in public conversation is I would say the opposite of that. We’re not here because we’re worried. We’re here because we believe… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Reynolds
8 months ago

Re: Williams, “…we believe we have some gift to offer into the conversation.” That is in tension with your observation ( which I agree with), “…thin gruel at a time when the Church could really benefit from some rigorous theological resourcefulness and grounded pastoral imagination.” What the church is offering the world on complex bio-ethical issues( and I include human sexuality among them) are biblicist archaisms.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
8 months ago

Here is an artistic presentation by Vancouver rock duo Rock and Hyde also known as the Payolas$. ( Paul Hyde is originally from Harrogate, Yorkshire). Notice the reoccurring image of the C of E Bishop in full regalia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5kLzAajFZQ

“And if I wash my hands in your dirty water,
Will your religion make me clean?”

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

And with the bishop
‘And it seems you are doing all you can
To make me feel a guilty man ‘…

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 months ago

I know, I couldn’t resist. Lol. Legacy of my misspent youth in college radio. But it is interesting to get a wee window on how others see us. Popular arts and culture present religion in a very stark light. Instance Joni Mitchel’s, The Magdalene Laundries; Graham Nash, Cathedral and so on. Literature is a step up in that regard. See: A History of Loneliness by John Boyne ( A book Stanley Monkhouse recommended); or the American film Spotlight. I’ve noticed that clergy are often the ‘bad guys’ in a lot of British TV mysteries. Interesting.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

‘I’ve noticed that clergy are often the ‘bad guys’ in a lot of British TV mysteries. Interesting.’

In stark contrast to a character like Father Mulcahey, Rod, who somehow comes across as a very good guy.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

His character grew as the series progressed. He became a little more rounded. That doesn’t really address the point I’m making about the manner in which religion is often reflected critically to negatively, and deservedly I would add, in popular art and culture.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Rod Gillis
8 months ago

Intriguing but the gloves make him more likely a bishop of the Roman obedience!
(for what it is worth!)

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
8 months ago

I am a straight man. My rather fragile Christianity has been fostered and kept alive by the Christian witness of several Gay priests and in particular Bishop Cherry Vann. I don’t know Bishop Cherry personally but her enthronement sermon (available on You Tube) has inspired me. Her Christianity inspires me, it is faith I can believe and a faith I can trust and this has led me to Newport Cathedral where I find a similar practical, inspiring, loving Christianity. I find this direct, loving, practical Christianity almost completely absent from.the Church of England. Even “liberals” are pretty grudging about gay… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Reply to  David Hawkins
8 months ago

Thank you for this testimony.

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