First, Jonathan Petre had another Anglican story on Friday, headlined Attempt to expel US Anglicans at summit which reports that ‘Conservative archbishops are increasingly confident that they can force the expulsion of the American Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion over its liberal line on homosexuality’.
And today’s Sunday Times has this by Christopher Morgan, Church revolt against Williams over gay bishop which says much the same thing. But also that LGCM is seeking to have Peter Akinola barred by David Blunkett from entry to the UK. on the grounds that he might incite hatred…
Second, if you didn’t hear this morning’s Sunday programme on Radio 4, go here to find out what was said by Steven Croft of Cranmer Hall. His views differed somewhat from those of the guy from Reform (in Hull). Andrew Brown the journalist was also interviewed in this piece. The Beeb’s intro starts:
Not all publicity is good publicity, as the Church of England found out recently when it got a thorough battering in the press over the Jeffrey John Affair. But one group who may disagree are the evangelical Anglicans who so vocally opposed the gay cleric’s appointment as bishop. They have been loud and proud in their attempts to show they are a force to be reckoned with
I’ve been going to Greenbelt for most of my adult Christian life. This year’s had a higher impact on me, probably because I needed it more than in other years. These days I spend most of the time chewing the fat with old friends who I meet up with each Greenbelt, especially among those who have, like me, been involved in ‘Alternative’ Worship. A number of seminars and talks this year sought to bring together thinking from Alternative Worship groups and what is becoming known as ‘Emerging Church’ – neither of which is an exclusively Anglican phenomenon.2 Comments
It’s Tuesday evening (26 August) and I got back from Greenbelt last night – I think it was my fifth year of attending. Though I’ve categorised this as news, I’m not sure that Greenbelt is news for Thinking Anglicans. No dancing Archbishop Rowan this year, so it probably won’t make it to the nationals, except the Church Times. But there were connexions with what’s being discussed elsewhere on this site.0 Comments
Writing in today’s Telegraph, Jonathan Petre reports on a new study by Peter Brierley of Christian Research. He says this suggests that, if current trends continue, evangelicals will make up more than half of all Sunday church worshippers in 10 years’ time, up from about a third now. Moreover, all but a tiny proportion of the new breed of evangelicals will be theologically conservative, viewing sex outside marriage, including homosexuality, as outlawed by Scripture.
Petre’s full article here does contain some criticisms of the research by Gordon Lynch of Birmingham University. TA will seek more information too.2 Comments
Theo Hobson, writing in today’s Guardian, says that “We are witnessing the end of the Church of England”. This is not for the reasons normally given, such as conflicting views on homosexuality, but because of differing understanding of the concept of the church. “The evangelicals, ever since the reformation, have been lukewarm about the church’s institutional authority. They see it as a means to an end” – and that is all.0 Comments
Today the Church Times breaks the news that somebody has produced a handbook to help organisations avoid having to employ non-Christians.
Bill Bowder’s story is headlined How to employ only Christians – a guide.
I’m sending off for a copy of this book immediately.
Here is some more background in a 6 June press release from the Evangelical Alliance.
On 8 May, a letter was sent to members of the Council, members of the House of Bishops, and Diocesan Secretaries, reporting what had been achieved by Church House staff in their negotiations with the government about the Employment Equality Regulations. The full text of this letter appears below.
Analysis real soon now 🙂0 Comments
Robin Eames and John Neill, archbishops respectively of Armagh and Dublin, have issued a press release containing a joint statement concerning the election of a bishop for the diocese of New Hampshire, USA.
The statement says that this election raises grave issues for the Anglican Communion and refers to the discussion on homosexuality in which the Irish House of Bishops is currently engaged. The archbishops say: “We regret the threat to the unity of the Anglican Communion caused by this election at a time when the Christian Church faces such grave issues in a divided world.”
This statement then refers to Clause 3 of the declaration to which all Irish clergy must subscribe. This says:
“The Church of Ireland will maintain Communion with the sister Church of England, and with all other Christian Churches agreeing in the principles of this Declaration; and will set forward, so far as in it lieth, quietness, peace, and love among all Christian people.”
The statement ends as follows:
“It is clear that what happens in another part of the Anglican Communion cannot change the Church of Ireland and that we have a duty to do all that we can to maintain as high a degree of unity as possible with those from whom we differ.
Our prayer must be that God will deepen our understanding of these issues, so that we may discern a way forward that is faithful to Christ and sensitive to the needs of the Church and of the world. In the past many issues have led to division between Christian Churches and that division has often crippled the mission of the Church. It is our task today, whilst differing on many issues, to maintain the communion to which God calls us.”
The Economist has on 14 August, published in its regular Bagehot column, a piece titled Archbishop Major which asks With the Anglican Communion on the verge of schism, can Rowan Williams learn anything from John Major?
Note: Back in July, the Economist wrote about the Jeffrey John affair, and quoted Peter Akinola of Nigeria as saying: “I cannot think of how a man in his senses would be having a sexual relationship with another man. Even in the world of animals, dogs, cows, lions, we don’t hear of such things.” The Economist then said:
“Why should the Archbishop of Canterbury pay any attention to such on outburst? First, the Nigerian Primate has powerful allies, both at home and abroad. Social conservatives in the Church of England, who are fast becoming expert organisers, had by June 25th set up a new network, Anglican Mainstream, to lobby against the appointment of gay clergy…
“The second reason why… has to do with the increasing centralisation of the Anglican communion… George Carey… has bequeathed… an institution in which decisions taken in one diocese are subject to global scrutiny and comment, and in which the head of the church is expected to answer for the whole.”
This new article is available electronically only to those who subscribe to the magazine, and I cannot reproduce it here in full without breaching copyright. But there is a summary below.
I think the comparison with Major has some merit, although obviously RW and JM are leagues apart, not least in IQ. Certainly, the claim that there is no chance of a “miraculous reassertion of the good manners and tolerance that have been the traditional hallmarks of Anglicanism” seems pretty accurate to me when reviewing the recent remarks of African and American conservative anglicans.0 Comments
In my earlier analyses of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, I failed to report that in addition to Clause 7(3), there is a further special exemption for “organised religion” at Clause 16 which deals with Qualifications Bodies. Clause 16(3) reads:
(3) Paragraph (1) does not apply to a professional or trade qualification for purposes of an organised religion where a requirement related to sexual orientation is applied to the qualification so as to comply with the doctrines of the religion or avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers.
I’m not entirely clear what this is intended to refer to as far as the Church of England is concerned. Is ordination to be considered as a trade qualification?
The DTI guidance note says:
48. Regulation 16(3) provides an exception in relation to qualifications for purposes of an organised religion, which is similar to the exception in regulation 7 (see above), and to section 19 of the SDA. Where a qualification is for purposes of an organised religion, it allows the body to apply a requirement related to sexual orientation so as to comply with the doctrines of the religion or avoid conflicting with followers’ religious convictions. This could apply to qualifications required to be a minister of a particular religion, for example, to the extent that such a position constitutes a profession or trade for the purposes of regulation 16. Regulation 16(3) is consistent with Article 4.1 of the Directive, although it does not copy out its wording. This is because a requirement which meets the criteria defined in regulation 16(3) is necessarily a genuine and determining occupational requirement which is applied proportionately, within the meaning of Article 4.1.
I have written previously in my personal blog here about the Employment Equality regulations and the role played by the Archbishops’ Council in their framing.
Here is the full text of the letter which William Fittall, Secretary General of the General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council, sent to the Clerk to the JCSI on 9 June.
Comment about this is invited from readers. I expect to publish my own analysis here shortly.0 Comments
Second, here is a pastoral letter written by the Bishop of Arizona to his diocese. (Arizona is a diocese which voted in all three orders in favour of the confirmation of the Bishop-elect of New Hampshire and in favour of the compromise resolution on same-sex blessings.)
I found all of these helpful in understanding how mainstream Americans view recent ECUSA events.0 Comments
Ruth Gledhill writes in The Times today that Archbishop of Canterbury backs faithful gay relationships. This story is based on the fact that Canterbury Press is to republish an earlier essay of Rowan’s in the book of essays The Way Forward: Christian Voices on Homosexuality edited by Timothy Bradshaw, due to appear in the middle of September.
A second article in the same newspaper discusses another essay and the book further.
Gay clergy need not be celibate, says Dr John.
Rabbi Lionel Blue talked about acceptance of gay people in Tuesday’s Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4.1 Comment
Damian Thompson reviews Rowan Williams by Rupert Shortt
The only half-crown item in a sixpenny bazaar
Mary Ann Sieghart has written this article in The Times:
If all liberals left the church it would cease to be a national institution and become a narrow sect.
Thinking Anglicans has received the sermon that Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark preached at St Mary’s Putney on Monday, 11 August at the service which launched www.inclusivechurch.net.1 Comment
Matthew Parris, in a bizarre article in The Times on Saturday says that the Church should not change its view on homosexuality.1 Comment
Thinking Anglicans has received the following press release, announcing the formation of a new movement in the Church of England.3 Comments
Last week the Doctrine Commission of the Church of England published a report entitled Being Human and with the long explanatory subtitle “A Christian understanding of personhood illustrated with reference to power, money, sex and time”.
It doesn’t seem to be readable on the web, but there is a summary on this week’s Church Times website and the report can be bought from Church House Publishing or, as they say, from any good bookshop.
From the summaries I have seen so far this looks like an important contribution as to how we understand ourselves. I plan to get a copy soon, and will add my further thoughts here.0 Comments