Thinking Anglicans

southwark ordinations: church press reports

Updated Friday morning

The Church of England Newspaper carries this report by Andrew Carey
Southwark minister stripped of licence after irregular ordination
and this article, by no less a person than Richard Coekin himself, is entitled
No option but to ordain

In the Church Times Pat Ashworth reports Dr Butler blasts irregular ordinations
and there is editorial comment:
The perils of Surbiton

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Bob Marsden
Bob Marsden
16 years ago

It is worth pointing your readers to the article written by Richard Coekin in the same Church of England newspaper. He ends with some pertinent words for us all to hear and to heed!

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

That statement sums up neatly everything which is wrong with evangelical Christianity, and why I would prefer an entirely atheist country than anything even remotely infected by this sort of belief.

Thankfully, whilst churches like this are good at marshalling pre-moderns, their overall impact is small, and their public influence marginal.

They are, from my perspective, my enemy. Simple as that.

Augustus Meriwether
16 years ago

In ref to Rev Richard Coekin’s article: Coekin quotes the Egypt thingy: ‘the basic message of redemption and the power of the cross to transform lives’. This is the sort of thing that really worries me. While they are busy doing their ‘patient and loving scriptural discipleship’ (whatever that means – probably involves a lot of warm, friendly smiles and pointing at leviticus proof texts) with this ‘transformation’ in mind, WHAT -exactly- is that ‘transformation’? Are they aiming at a life of celibacy (albeit ‘supported’ by their ‘ministry’), or are they aiming at a ‘healing’ or at least ‘reorientation’ which… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
16 years ago

Does this mean it’s now officially the “Church of England (in South Africa) Newspaper”? ;-/

Bob, Mr. Coekin (I can call him “Mister”, right? In either sense of the term?) can spout all the “plain meaning of Scripture” he wants to. If he thinks that tired phrase is going to make those of us who ***love Scripture equally, but interpret it differently*** shut up, or cease to be faithful *Anglicans*, he’s sadly mistaken (particularly when he tries to out-Anglican his diocesan!).

“No option but . . .”: didn’t Adam & Eve try that one, post-apple, on God? ;-p

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
16 years ago

Well, there is a remarkable amount of vitriol spilled here – but it is sound and fury signifying nothing, from people who did not get their own way. Dr Butler may well withdraw his licence, but it makes no practical difference to anything in a free country. Rev Coekin and his colleagues are free to carry on their mission and ministry, unhindered by association with a diocese which has lost its way down an antinomian blind alley. For the information of American readers, who are accustomed to authoritarian styles of church leadership, there is nothing more which the Bishop of… Read more »

Sean Doherty
16 years ago

The first half of Coekin’s article is actually quite good and helpful I thought. It is very helpful to have his side of the story although I am still pretty convinced he should not have done what he did. Augustus – I would be quite surprised if Dundonald et al were pushing people to experience transformation of their sexual feelings. In my experience that is more an aspect of charismatic evangelicalism, and many folk from a reformed background are quite uncomfortable with that kind of discourse and some would reject it entirely. They would normally simply say that if you’re… Read more »

Ruth
Ruth
16 years ago

I am conservative on matters of human sexuality but also radical and open in my evangelicalism. However I find Reform and it’s behaviour abhorrent. I do not accept that their claim to orthodoxy is valid. They hold no overarching insight into the scriptues – I have been on the receiving end of an Oak Hill trained Reform vicar. Their adherence to unbiblical teaching on Predestination, unbiblical teaching the Holy Spirit, unbiblical teaching on the role of women in the church and the slavish unthinking adherence to Penal Substitution is anathema. They are more concerned with their low church traditions and… Read more »

Neil
Neil
16 years ago

Before another thread on Thinking Anglicans degenerates into venom and name calling…. Sean, “did Richard Coekin really have ‘no option’ but to ordain? And it seems the answer is pretty obviously no.” If you mean, would he have died if the ordinations had not proceeded, I guess you’re right. But combine an acute sense of frustration with continuous doctrinal slippage, together with strong principles and commitment to proclaiming Christ, together with an awareness of a lack of support indeed invariably opposition from the hierachy and I think it understandable that something has to give. Alan makes a good point: “Had… Read more »

steven
steven
16 years ago

Ruth: Your post points up one of the problems with schisms–once they start it’s very hard to hold them in check. All the old conflicts and enmities between high/low, evangelical/catholic, can come flaming to the foreground even though the current battle is between theological conservatives and liberals. I have hopes that the via media of traditional Anglicanism can hold these disparate (fringe) elements together within a traditional framework while also allowing leeway for different churches to locate themselves at different positions on the evangelical/catholic axis, but it will obviously be a battle. And, as your rather passionate post proves, it… Read more »

steven
steven
16 years ago

Oh, by the way, the Coekin article is excellent. I feel like I have a much better idea now of the background of this split and conflict. PS-For all of those filled with fear and/or loathing at this article–this is not an invitation to argue, you obviously disagree–I take that for granted. However, it is another good reason for you to seek to speed up the separation process.

Steven

Sean Doherty
16 years ago

“Something has to give” is hardly the same as “no option”. There are lots of things that could give which don’t make the prospect of all-out warfare and a probable split both nearer and more possible. If he was really that concerned he should have appealed to Canterbury or even the Panel of Reference. Or he could have brought in ordained people from elsewhere to lead these churches. Or they could have continued as lay leaders. But at the end of the day the bishop has no obligation to ordain or licence anyone, especially if he has concerns about church… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

I agree. I simply wish that we could get on with it.

Maybe we should start a new organisation, Steven, for those who want to work towards a civil and Godly separation – because at the moment absolutely no-one, anywhere, in terms of organisations, is advocating this.

Neil
Neil
16 years ago

Sean, it’s a strange and sad perspective on episcopal ministry to say the bishop has “no obligation” when we are talking about support of gospel work.

I believe it’s the Bishop who bears greater responsibility, by virtue of his position – and now by virtue of his actions.

What we are debating is the fine detail of symptoms – the bigger picture reminds us that this is the tip of the iceberg.

Bob Marsden
Bob Marsden
16 years ago

I thought everyone would like to read this … just published on the Church Society website. Happy reading and thinking! http://www.evangelicals.org/news.asp?id=247 Mission ordinations – were they illegal? Since the ordinations last week in south London questions have been raised about the status and validity of the action, not least by the Bishop of Southwark in a letter addressed to clergy in the Diocese. The Bishop makes reference to the Overseas Clergy Measure and appears to argue from this that the ordinations were illegal. Section 4 of the Measure does two things: First, it permits certain bishops to perform episcopal acts… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
16 years ago

The full text of the Measure can be found here:
http://www.sarmiento.plus.com/cofe/womenbishopsannexes.html#B

Simon Sarmiento
16 years ago

Bishop Tom’s letter does not argue that the ordinations were illegal due to a violation of the Measure. He refers to the fact that he warned Mr Coekin of the requirements of this Measure. By using a bishop from outside the Anglican Communion, it appears this advice was taken. The revocation of Mr Coekin’s license appears to be a separate matter entirely.

steven
steven
16 years ago

Merseymike: I agree on the need for some type of organization to promote and mediate a civilized and Christian separation. There are plenty of folks that are still willing to go tooth and nail on the primary issues–where there is no possibility of agreement–but very few that seem to be ready to engage in constructive and civil dialog about the actual shape and advantages of separation–where there is still a possibility of agreement. Unfortunately, I’m no organizer. It seems with all of these various organizations with the catchy names (“Reform”, “Via Media”, etc.) there would be one that could dedicate… Read more »

FriarJohn
FriarJohn
16 years ago

What I don’t get is this:

Why is it so terrible that the Bishop of Southwark didn’t just roll over and do as these people demanded?
It sounds like they were presented with the idea that they would be ordained simply because a growing Fundy parish thought they needed them.

MartinLuther
MartinLuther
16 years ago

What a big fuss about nothing.

A CESA bishop has ordained in the UK three presbyters into CESA. Wonderful. Anglicans will recognise the validity of their ordination and delight in their faithful ministry.

The ABC may well overrule the Bishop Tom’s decision.

Looking forward to the day when Bishop’s surrender their freehold and their licences can be revoked.

Thomas Renz
Thomas Renz
16 years ago

I do not think FriarJohn does justice to the men involved. Andy Fenton and Richard Perkins went through the normal MinDiv selection process and were trained for ordination at a college recognised by the Church of England. To my knowledge no-one has ever raised any issues which should keep them from ordained ministry. In his explanation why he did not ordain them, Bishop Tom neither affirmed nor questioned their vocation to ordained ministry. In fact, his concern is not, it seems, the suitability and vocation of these candidates per se but the way the church plants in which they have… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

No, they are not Anglicans, thus they are not ordained in the Anglican church.

They may have a ‘ministry’ but it sure isn’t an Anglican one!

Augustus Meriwether
16 years ago

Thomas Renz: “To my knowledge no-one has ever raised any issues which should keep them from ordained ministry. In his explanation why he did not ordain them, Bishop Tom neither affirmed nor questioned their vocation to ordained ministry.” It would be supremely unethical, bad practice and probably against Church guidelines and regulations if not some employment laws to discuss publicly details as to why a bishop decides not to ordain or employ or commission or whatever a particular individual. Surely you can see that. That sort of information is strictly kept for the likes of appeal hearings, tribunals, inquiries or… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
16 years ago

In England the bishop is not required to give any reason. Nor does he have to justify taking anyone’s licence away (at least not until 2006 when new rules come into force).

Power without responsibility is the prerogative of the …. well, I will let you finish the sentence.

The dispute is about more than just this incident: it is about the urgent need to make the church mission-shaped. Which is proving difficult under present management.

Thomas Renz
Thomas Renz
16 years ago

Augustus Meriwether – I take your point. It would be entirely inappropriate for the Bishop, or earlier in the process MinDiv, to make public the *reasons* for rejecting a candidate for ordination. I was trying to emphasise that the issue does not appear to be the calling and suitability for ordination of these two candidates per se but the church plants. Bishop Tom has not declared Andy Fenton and Richard Perkins unsuitable for ordination (again: if he had done so, I would not expect him to reveal publicly his reasons). Rather, he has declared that he will not provide these… Read more »

Augustus Meriwether
16 years ago

Daring to edge a little closer to the nub, Thomas Renz, I would question whether it would be right for him to even declare them ‘unsuitable for ordination’ as you put it – under any other circumstances that would seem inappropriate to me (and in these circumstances, actually).

Thomas Renz
Thomas Renz
16 years ago

Is this not what happens each time when a MinDiv selection conference comes to the conclusion that a candidate is not recommended for ordination? The reasons are not made public, although I think that they have to be revealed to the candidate, but the fact is a public fact, even if it is not advertised in newspapers. There are after all sending churches and referees as well as DDOs and Bishops involved in the process. Maybe the analogy doesn’t work for you but with reference to the situation at hand: Would it not be disingenuous for the Bishop to state… Read more »

martinluther
martinluther
16 years ago

Has Bishop Tom explained his hostility and refusal to support in any way Evangelicals planting churches in the Diocese? How are Evangelical churches to plant churches and remain within the CoE if their Diocesan Bishop is hostile to them. The Bishop is not an employer. Clergy are not pawns that he can move around or revoke the licences if he does not like them. Bishops are meant to be servants and supporters/encouragers of biblically faithful ministry. How has Bishop Tom served/supported/encouraged such ministry? Richard Coekin has not done anything wrong, so why revoke his licence? Can you imagine what would… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
16 years ago

AM, it amounts to nothing more substantial than the opinion and policy of one individual bishop – unless you subscribe to some kind of diocesan infallibility theory. Another bishop, in consultation with the local church, has agreed that these men were qualified and suitable for ordination and has acted accordingly. The Church of England may technically be established, but it has no jurisdiction over those who do not accept it. And evidently Rev Coekin has chosen to walk away from it, along with his colleagues. It is just one denomination among many, and if it no longer carries any credibility… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

I would have thought that the departure of Coekin can only be seen as an advantage.

At least he has been consistent anough to reject the CofE given that he seeks ordination from those outside.

Göran Koch-Swahne
16 years ago

I’m troubled by the idea advanced here, that what is illegal for a bishop in Communion would somehow be permissible for a bishop not in Communion.

Surely, what is void in the first case is schism in the second?

Canonically, ordinations are made on behalf of the diocesan Bishop.

So surely, no ordinations performed behind the back of the diocesan Bishop and without her/his knowledge, can be valid.

Thomas Renz
Thomas Renz
16 years ago

Richard Coekin has not actually left the CofE, Richard Perkins and Andy Fenton have. Or so it seems to me.

Thomas Renz
Thomas Renz
16 years ago

Come to think of it, it appears to be possible for a CESA minister to be on the electoral roll of a CofE parish. I don’t know about proprietary chapels and their plants: do they have electoral rolls? If so, they are presumably still to be considered CofE congregations (in answer to the question I posed above) and Andy Fenton and Richard Perkins may be on the electoral roll of these congregations. Thus I may have concluded prematurely that they have left the CofE. In any case, there seems to be no reason to think that Richard Coekin has left… Read more »

Martinluther
Martinluther
16 years ago

Richard Coekin is still very much an Anglican minister. He could be appointed to any CoE church. Indeed, Bishop Tom could have a change of heart and relicence him. I think Andy Fenton and Richard Perkins are in a different situation. They have not been ordained deacons into the CoE. Although CESA is not in full communion with Canterbury, the CoE recognises the validity of ministers ordained by CESA. Re: Goran’s comments, what is schismatic is a Bishop refusing to support Gospel initiatives by Evangelicals. If Evangelicals believe that sharing the good news of Christ is more important that issues… Read more »

Gerard Hannon
Gerard Hannon
16 years ago

The person identifying himself/herself as Martinluther, wrote: “Roman catholic, Baptist or Methodist ordinations in the Diocese are valid whether or not the Bishop approves. Ditto ordinations by CESA.” Does the writer seriously doubt that if RC parishioners were ordained by CofE Bishops (or any other historic Apostolic Succession Bishops) that the RC diocesan Bishop would regard the act as a revocation of that person’s right to officiate at RC liturgies (or other functions)? Those CofE members who chose to be ordained by a CESA Bishop have left the Anglican Communion. That does not mean they are not good Christians; just… Read more »

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