Update 11 February
Anthony Archer has an article in the Church of England Newspaper
Bringing the appointments system home
Update 4 February
The Church Times has a report on this subject Let us vet new bishops, says Synod member
The General Synod is scheduled to debate this private member’s motion sometime after 2.30 pm on Thursday 17 February. It has been given some prominence in the official press release about the forthcoming session, which says:
Senior Church Appointments
This private member’s motion from Mr Anthony Archer seeks to ask the Archbishops’ Council to set up a working party to undertake a wide-ranging review of the offices of suffragan bishop, deacon, archdeacon and residentiary canon, and the law and practice regarding appointments to these offices. In doing so, the motion proposes that the Church should adopt an integrated, consistent and transparent method of making appointments to senior ecclesiastical offices.
The wording of the motion has been published here.
The printed version of this also reprints the text of GS Misc 455 Code of Practice for Senior Church Appointments issued in 1995 which is not available electronically from the CofE website, but is accessible here.
Other documents have been issued by the Secretary General in connection with this motion:
GS 1405 Working with the Spirit: Choosing Diocesan Bishops – the Perry Report published in 2001 (as a PDF file about 0.5 Mb)
GS Misc 770 CHOOSING DIOCESAN BISHOPS A report on progress on the implementation of the Report of the Steering Group appointed to follow up the recommendations of “Working with the Spirit” – this is not yet on the CofE website, but is accessible here.
We are also promised, in GS Misc 770, an electronic copy of GS 1465 “Choosing Diocesan Bishops. The Report of the Steering Group appointed to follow up the recommendations of Working with the Spirit”, but neither this, nor new paper copies of it have appeared yet.
And finally, for the moment, Mr Archer has prepared a note for his colleagues on EGGS, which he has given TA permission to publish. It can be found here.1 Comment
Guardian Stephen Bates Gay Ugandan Christian denied visa to visit UK (well OK it’s just as much a story from the UK about the Foreign Office)
A gay Ugandan Christian has been denied a visa to enter Britain in order to attend a meeting at the invitation of the Anglican church next week because there is a warrant for his arrest in his home country where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment.
Chris Stentaza, a headteacher at a church school who was dismissed from his job and forced into hiding after speaking at a conference of gay Christians in Manchester 15 months ago, has been rejected for a visa by the British high commission in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, apparently because of his sexuality.
He had been invited to join a delegation due to meet Canon Gregory Cameron, the secretary to the church’s commission responsible for last October’s Windsor report, investigating ways of keeping the worldwide communion together after the row over the promotion of gay clergy.
Update Monday 31 Jan
Today, the Guardian carries a letter about this Christian persecution
Chris Stentaza’s experience of persecution (Gay Ugandan Christian denied visa to visit UK, January 29) has become extremely common among gay Christians in Africa.
The most recent wave of imprisonments and beatings in Uganda started in 1999 when President Yoweri Museveni launched a crackdown on homosexuals, publicly supported by the Anglican archbishop.
Just last month, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported that the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda had intensified following the Anglican church of Uganda’s aggressive campaign against homosexuality that was launched as a direct response to the American church consecrating a gay bishop.
Throughout Africa, gay Christians are frightened, isolated and desperate. Those who are open about their sexuality are commonly excluded from church life and refused baptism and communion. They can be subjected to verbal abuse by their priests and bishops. Those working for the church are sacked.
The Anglican church has committed itself to listen to the voices of lesbian and gay people. Yet the church attacks and excludes them as soon as they make their voices heard. The bishops of the Anglican communion must make it possible for listening to take place and engage in the dialogue that it has been so repeatedly promised.
Rev Colin Coward
Director, Changing Attitude
Rev Dr Giles Fraser
Chair, Inclusive Church
Rev Kelvin Holdsworth
Changing Attitude Scotland
Rt Rev Barry Hollowell
Bishop of Calgary
The Rev’d Susan Russell
President, Integrity USA
East African Standard, Nairobi African Anglicans firm on gay bishop
African Anglican Archbishops yesterday rejected the apology by the American Episcopal Church over the ordination of a homosexual bishop and the wedding of gay couples.
The clerics, representing 50 million faithful, asked their American counterparts to repent instead.
“They have only apologised and not repented,” said Dr Reverend Bernard Malango, the Archbishop of Zambia.
“Apology does not make sense to us, the biblical word is repentance,” said Kenya’s Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.
They were speaking late yesterday at a news conference in Nairobi at the end of a two days meeting skipped by South Africa’s archbishop Njongokulu Ndungane, the only pro-gay voice in Africa.
The meeting dubbed third Trumpet, was chaired by the Nigerian Primate archbishop Peter Akinola was also attended by representatives of representatives from South East Asia, Latin America and Asia.
or this report from Associated Press Anglicans Abroad Say Apology Not Enough
Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola noted the U.S. bishops apologized to individual church members in a letter issued earlier this month expressing “sincere regret” for consecrating V. Gene Robinson in November 2003 as bishop of New Hampshire without full consideration of other Anglicans’ objections. But Akinola told journalists they failed to repent for an act he said was contrary to their faith.
“That gives us a very big question mark whether we are together or not,” said Malawi’s Archbishop Bernard Malango.
Akinola spoke after a weeklong meeting to discuss recommendations by an Anglican commission to resolve discord within the communion over homosexuality.
In a report issued in October, the panel urged the U.S. branch not to elect any more gay bishops and called on conservative African bishops to stop meddling in the affairs of other dioceses.
In Kenya Friday, church leaders were circumspect about their views on the recommendations, saying they did not want to pre-empt a meeting of all Anglican archbishops in Ireland next month.
About 15 archbishops attended the gathering in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Daily Champion, Lagos Tinubu, Odili Speak On Role of Clerics in Governance
GOVERNORS Peter Odili of Rivers and Bola Tinubu of Lagos states have hailed the positive roles of the clergy in secular governance, describing same as elevating.
In a brief speech that lasted five minutes, Gov. Odili said both religious clerics and secular rulers had common goal which, according to him, was serving the people and so they should co-operate.
…Gov. Tinubu, in his own speech, lauded the position taken by clerics, urging them to speak the truth always.
…The governor maintained that the church had a social responsibility to crusade against all vices, insisting that it was only by doing so would Nigerians feel challenged and retraced their steps, if they are on the wrong track.
Both Govs Tinubu and Odili praised the Anglican Church for standing firm against gay practice, saying that it was an indication that the church had come of age in Africa.
Here is another item from the Standard Anglican bishop urges all faiths to reject gay unions
Christians were yesterday exhorted to intensify the fight against gay relationships in the church.
Mombasa Anglican Bishop Julius Kalu made the clarion call yesterday, urging all religions to come out against homosexuality and lesbianism.
“Homosexuals have invaded all religious institutions, including non-Christian ones,” said the bishop.
In a statement issued just a day after Anglican Church of Kenya bishops rejected an apology by the Episcopal Church in America over the ordination of an openly gay bishop and its support for same-sex unions, the bishop said: “We call upon all denominations to come out and condemn this evil, which is against the commandments of God.”
The bishop also expressed concern over the rampant practice of lynching suspected witches in parts of Coast Province.
Several suspected witches have been killed in Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta districts over the past few months. In the latest incident, a middle-aged woman in Voi Division, Taita Taveta District, was set upon by an angry mob which beat her senseless before setting her ablaze.
A community in Kaloleni Division, Kilifi District has also put up a list of 11 suspected witches, whom it wants eliminated.
Bishop Kalu pointed out that the government has enough machinery to deal with those involved in the vice and proposed that they should be charged in court or placed in seclusion.
One of the oft-made criticisms of the report is that it begins to introduce a curia-type of centralisation into Anglicanism. Yet, as Aidan O’Neill says, the Church of Rome offsets the power of the Vatican by emphasising the place of conscience. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger puts it: “Over the Pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed above all else, even if necessary against the requirements of ecclesiastical authority.”
The Windsor report acknowledges no equivalent checks and balances to safeguard individuals against the will of its newly imagined ecclesiastical authority. That makes it a very dangerous document.
In a report out this week, members of the Church of England House of Bishops Theological Group and the Faith and Order Advisory Group have argued that “any commonly agreed standard of faith is bound to be difficult for those who disagree with it. However, a necessary part of Christian discipleship is learning to accept the constraints of living within a community that makes decisions that we may not agree with. A necessary part of the baptismal vocation involves dying to self.”
This is a shameless piece of doublethink. For Bishops Hind and Nazir-Ali, dying to self apparently only applies if you are in the minority. Furthermore, it suggests that the principled resistance to homophobia is, in fact, a form of selfishness – unchristian even. They go on to suggest “discipline to be exercised in cases where there is an explicit rejection of the report’s recommendations”. No space is offered to those who reject institutional homophobia in an act of principled dissent. No wonder people are worried as to what sort of thing the Anglican Communion is becoming.
The paper by Aidan O’Neill which is referred to can be found on The Tablet website and is titled Rights, responsibilities and religious bodies.
In today’s Guardian there is an article by Diarmaid MacCulloch about contemporary politics, The end of days: a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The Telegraph continues that theme with Christopher Howse writing about Tony Blair in To kneel or not to kneel.
The Credo column in The Times is by Roderick Strange Those we have loved and lost reveal the way. However, more interesting is Matthew Parris who writes about Ruth Kelly and Opus Dei: Why Ruth Kelly’s faith and her politics cannot be separated. In particular he says:
It was disappointing, then, when Ms Kelly denied that she had ruled herself out of any ministerial job on religious grounds. Instead she is anchoring her position in the time-honoured — and thoroughly dubious — assertion that she knows how to distinguish between faith and politics. Ms Kelly insisted in an interview with the Daily Mirror that her faith was a private matter which had nothing to do with her job. “I have a private spiritual life and I have a faith. It is a private spiritual life and I don’t think it is relevant to my job,” she said.
What? That is wholly inconsistent not just with the whole drift of Opus Dei’s work, but with Christ’s teaching. Of course one’s faith, and the moral code anchored in it, is relevant to one’s job. It is impossible to read the Gospels in any other way.
When I was a medical chaplain I worked with a rabbi, who would stop by my office and tell me a Jewish joke on the way to a meeting. “What is the only thing two Jews can ever agree on?” he would say, “what a third should give to charity.” I’m sure I could come up with a Christian version, that the only thing two Christians can agree on is who a third should, or shouldn’t be sleeping with. The depressing thing about the press is that when the church is mentioned at all, it is usually about the mating habits of Christians, a subject abou which the gospels say very little.
What will be of no interest to the press is what Christians can agree on. When I came back from my post-Christmas break I learned that my congregation had had a retiring collection for victims of the Asian tsunami, raising almost £250, even after they’d already given to the church collection. I thought it was fantastic. Two aid agencies which I know about, raised phenomenal amounts in a matter of days, and this on top of their existing programmes for aid in various parts of the world.
You don’t have to be a Christian to have been moved by the devastation of the Asian tsunami. What is interesting about the response is that there was no question about it: there was an earthquake, a freak wave, communities destroyed, lives lost and help needed, and we responded, immediately.
It was only later on that I began to wonder why many thousands more people continue to die through disease and malnutrition, in countries for which development is impossible because of crippling debt, and trade rules which favour us, the rich West. Are we slower to come to their aid because, deep down, we know that their suffering is a result of a world whose resources are distributed in ways which are always in our favour. A tsunami is ethically neutral, African farmers undercut by cheap European produce is not. It’s easier to give to one than the other because, with a natural disaster we can ask why? without being in danger of finding that the answer might have something to do with changing the way we live.
While we were still making sense of the news footage from Sri Lanka and Phuket, the New Year’s Day episode of the Vicar of Dibley took the 20th anniversary of Live Aid as its theme. The programme included the characters wearing a white armband as a way of introducing the Make Poverty History campaign.
Make Poverty History is a coalition of all the non-governmental aid agencies in the United Kingdom including Christian ones like the Church of England, Cafod and Christian Aid. It is borne of a widely-held conviction both among the religious, and among those who are not, that the human race can no longer live in conditions whereby three-fifths of our species barely lives. The hope of the campaign is that 2005 is the year when we finally come to grips with the problem, both while we have the presidency of the G8 countries, and while we have a Chancellor who is passionately committed to ending poverty.
This is something which Christians should be able to agree on. While sex has a bit-part in the Bible, looking after the poor is a central theme. I discovered this week that one in sixteen verses in the Bible is about poverty; one out of nine in the first three gospels.
Last Advent, when he preached on the Last Judgement, James Forbes of New York’s Riverside Church, was talking about the parable of the sheep and the goats, where those who are not destined for paradise are asked by Jesus what they had done for the needy? Forbes went on to say that, according to this parable, “nobody gets to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor”.1 Comment
Update Sunday 30 Jan
Additional coverage of this on today’s Radio 4 Sunday programme. Listen here with Real Audio (7 minutes).
There was considerable press coverage of this topic even prior to this week’s publication of the second report on the Review of Clergy Terms of Service. Some of this was inspired by the trade union Amicus. They in turn were reacting to a separate UK government decision concerning the outcome of a consultation held by the Department of Trade and Industry with its Clergy Working Group. Basically, the government has decided it will not pursue the route of requiring churches and other faith bodies to give clergy employee status provided that the churches agree to conform to a (not yet published) DTI code of practice. The issue is the Section 23 rights that employee status would automatically confer. (This is a reference to Section 23 of the Employment Relations Act 1999.)
17 January Telegraph Clergy trade unions attack compromise over workers’ rights
17 January Ekklesia Clergy say Government has acted like Pontius Pilate
21 January CEN Churches ‘win exemption’ from employment laws
21 January Church Times Clergy rights under review by Bill Bowder
The new report published last Monday, GS 1564 Review of Clergy Terms of Service: Part Two (RTF format only) recommends inter alia that these Section 23 rights should be conferred on all clergy, while retaining office holder status. Those who currently have Freehold could obtain these rights by transferring to the new Common Tenure if they wish. The full press release describes the recommendations this way. The summary version press release said:
This Review, under the chairmanship of Professor David McClean, was set up by the Archbishops’ Council in 2002, following its response to the Department of Trade and Industry’s discussion document on Employment Status in relation to Statutory Employment Rights. Its terms of reference were to review the terms under which the clergy hold office, to ensure a proper balance of rights and responsibilities, and to consider in this context the future of the freehold and the position of the clergy in relation to statutory employment rights.
The Review Group’s first report, on the position of clergy without the freehold or employment contracts recommended a new form of tenure for clergy, to be called common tenure. This was welcomed by Synod in February 2004. The Group’s second report, now before Synod, proposes applying common tenure to clergy with the freehold, defining incumbents’ rights in terms of employment law rather than ownership of property, providing an enhanced Human Resources function across the dioceses, and adopting a general framework for ministerial review. Synod is asked to welcome the report, provide for a period of consultation with the dioceses and agree that the Archbishops’ Council should appoint an implementation group to follow up the recommendations in the report as a whole.
The explanation of what General Synod is being asked to do about this, as published by the Business Committee, can be found below the fold.
Amicus and the organisation known as the The English Clergy Association have expressed hostility to this as well. Press coverage so far:
23 January Sunday Times Vicars in revolt over ‘theft’ of their freeholds
25 January Telegraph Clergy face loss of ‘job for life’ guarantee
25 January The Times Church to end 800 years of clergy having jobs for life
25 January Yorkshire Post Bishops could get power to hire and fire vicars (this is quite misleading as nothing in this report is concerned with “hiring”)
28 January CEN New battle looming over plans to abolish freehold
28 January Church Times ‘Incapable’ clergy face the axe as freehold comes under review which is the best newspaper account of the proposals so far, though the CT also has this rather reactionary editorial Replacing the freehold
The Living Church has just published an article by Joan Gundersen who is an officer of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. Neither of these organisations has the article on their own website, but it does appear on the website of Via Media Dallas: The Center Still Holds.
This article, which was written in July 2004 but only published in January 2005, contains some statistics on the membership of NACDAP and the AAC, which are now of course partially out of date. I have therefore corrected them below where I can, and added emphasis. Further corrections welcomed.
Of the 100 dioceses within the United States, so far only
nineten have joined the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. Of more than 7,300 parishes in the Episcopal Church, only 4 percent are affiliated with the American Anglican Council (AAC), and one-third of those are in the ninenetwork dioceses. Roughly one-third of the dioceses of the church have no AAC affiliates.
Although there is no public listing of individual parishes affiliated with the network, apparently only about 70 have done so. For example, in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, home of network moderator Bishop Robert W. Duncan, approximately 27 percent of diocesan communicants belong to parishes that have officially repudiated the network. Groups supporting tolerance of diversity have arisen in 12 dioceses [11 of which have]
withstrong AAC presences, and these groups have formed a national alliance called Via Media USA to preserve the traditional Episcopal openness to different perspectives and scriptural interpretations.
Separately the Network has this week published a letter from Bishop Robert Duncan which says:
Six convocational deans – serving the vast areas of our country (including some 200 congregations and 300 clergy) that are in non-Network dioceses – have devoted much of their energies to what has become the creative engine of the Anglican Communion Network.
The apparent discrepancy between these two reports in the number of congregations in non-Network dioceses is noticeable, and cannot be entirely explained by the delay in publication, especially since one more diocese has joined the network since July, reducing the number of congregations outside Network dioceses. Another factor might possibly be the inclusion of some non-ECUSA congregations and/or clergy in Bp Duncan’s figures, but in any case it remains an extremely small proportion of ECUSA. At least 80 of the 200 claimed congregations would be in the FiF Convocation. (Thanks to Dr Gundersen for her additional research.)
What is frustrating is the lack of information on the Network website. Not even the number of Network dioceses is correctly given, let alone a list by name of these dioceses, published for all to see. The AAC website is no better at publishing its membership statistics.11 Comments
UPDATED (Friday 28 January) to link three more GS Misc papers. In addition what was GS Misc 764 is now GS Misc 763.
UPDATED (Tuesday midnight) to link a few more online papers.
UPDATED (Monday 5pm) to link a few more online papers.
General Synod meets in London from 5pm on Monday 14 February to 7pm on Thursday 17 February. I list below the papers for this group of sessions, and link to those that are online. Apart from the Agenda and the Business Committee’s report on it, which I have put first, they are in numerical order. There is a list in agenda order on the CofE website.
GS 1559 Agenda
The following extracts from the full agenda are online.
Business for Monday 14th February
Business for Tuesday 15th February
Business for Wednesday 16th February
Business for Thursday 17th February
Legislative Business (Special Agenda I)
Liturgical Business (Special Agenda II)
GS 1560 Report by the Business Committee
The business committee’s usual report on the agenda.
GS 1520B Weekday Lectionary and Amendments
These texts are being brought to Synod for final approval.
GS 1524B Draft Pastoral (Amendment) Measure
GS 1524Z Report by the Steering Committee
Final approval of this measure, which will facilitate the community use of churches which remain in use for worship, will be sought.
GS 1535A Common Worship Ordination Services
GS 1535Y Report by the Revision Committee
These are online in sections.
Report by the Revision Committee
Annex to the Report
The Ordination of Deacons
The Ordination of Priests
The Ordination of Bishops
GS 1555A Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure
GS 1555Y Report by the Revision Committee
GS 1561 General Synod Elections 2005: Report by the Business Committee
Proposals for the timetable for this year’s general election to General Synod, and the number of clergy and laity to be elected by each diocese.
GS 1563 Draft Convocations election to the Upper House Rules (Amendment) Resolution 2005
GS 1563X Explanatory Memorandum
Amendments consequential on the decision to reduce the number of suffragans elected to the House of Bishops.
GS 1565 Appointed member of the Archbishops’ Council
Mark Russell is being recommended to Synod to fill the place on the Archbishops’ Council left vacant by the retirement of Jayne Ozanne.
GS 1566 Review of Constitutions of Bodies answerable to the Synod through the Archbishops’ Council
GS 1567 Higher Education and the Church’s Mission
A report to support a debate on the purpose of higher education.
Diocesan Synod and Private Member’s Motions
The texts of these motions are below the fold
GS Misc 765A Senior Church Appointments
GS Misc 765B Note by the Secretary General
Senior Church Appointments: other background papers
GS 1405 Working with the Spirit: Choosing Diocesan Bishops
Briefing for members of Vacancy-in-See Committees
The second item mentioned below, the report from the chairs of the Theological Group and FOAG, not previously available, is now on the web:
Original RTF format is here (this includes the HoB report itself as well as the annex)
an HTML version is here (just the annex)
A document GS 1570 has been sent out to synod members which contains two things:
The agenda papers also contain
Three of these four items are reproduced below. All are likely to appear on the CofE website on Monday.
The motion to be moved by the Bishop of Durham and debated by Synod (starting at 9am on Thursday 17 February) is:
That this Synod
(a) welcome the report from the House (GS 1570) accepting the principles set out in the Windsor Report;
(b) urge the Primates of the Anglican Communion to take action, in the light of the Windsor Report’s recommendations, to secure unity within the constraints of truth and charity and to seek reconciliation within the Communion; and
(c) assure the Archbishop of Canterbury of its prayerful support at the forthcoming Primates’ Meeting.
The other items are below the fold.1 Comment
Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times weekly Credo column that In silence and stillness we can seek God. Here’s a portion:
The wisdom of the great Christian teachers of prayer — echoing that found in other religious traditions — places a high value on the discipline of silence, quietening the incessant babbling of outward and inner chatter to allow a settling into a deep and attentive stillness, rooted in a Godgiven inner peace.
Seraphim of Sarov, the 19th-century Russian saint, taught: “Keep your heart in peace and a multitude around you will be saved.” Centuries earlier St Benedict urged his monks: “Diligently cultivate silence at all times,” and, in a vivid image, Diadochus, the 5th-century bishop of Photiki in Greece, cautioned that just as “When the door of the steam bath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes,” so the desire to say many things through the door of speech dissipates the remembrance of God: “Timely silence then is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.”
In the biblical story of Elijah on Mount Horeb, the prophet stands in the entrance of his cave, and finds the presence of God to be not in fire, storm and earthquake, with all their terrible physical power of destruction, but in “a still, small voice” — which, literally translated, is “the sound of thin silence”. It is this which awes Elijah so that he wraps his face in his cloak. And the psalmist writes: “Be still — let go — and know that I am God.” Silence and stillness, which require discipline, enable us to be attentive, to listen, not for some external voice, but, as we open ourselves to the presence of God, to that life which is at the source of our being.
Christopher Howse devotes his weekly Telegraph column Sacred mysteries to considering Why should young Muslims tolerate it? which refers to what Mr David Bell, the chief inspector of schools, has been saying.
Michael Brown in the Yorkshire Post writes about the demise of the Mirfield Commem Day in Alas, no more ‘miracles’, whatever the weather0 Comments
Earlier I linked to an American TV report on PBS which included (as TV programmes so often do) tiny snippets from several bishops. They have now published an additional page (hat tip to KH) which contains what appear to be longer extracts from the interviews which they conducted. Here is the page:
Read the comments of six Episcopal bishops after the recent House of Bishops meeting, January 12-13, 2005 in Salt Lake City
The bishops are: Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Mark Sisk of New York, Charles Jenkins of Louisiana, Katharine Jefferts Schori of Nevada and Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.
Reading these longer remarks (total length around 7000 words) is time-consuming but gives a much better understanding of how these bishops view what has happened so far.
Now that I have read all of this myself, I note that both Bishop Salmon and Bishop Duncan, while making clear their criticisms of the majority, also make some positive comments about the House of Bishops meeting and about the “Word to the Church” statement. Samples of this:
We had a very good statement come from the House of Bishops today (January 13), but it didn’t promise any action other than to regret what it was that we had done in the Communion by the way in which we did what we did. What a number of us have seen is very clearly necessary was that we actually had to make a statement that says we submit to this, and some of us have done that. This is really all about the rest of the world dealing with the American church, and the rest of the world at this point receives what it is we’ve said today. The words we spoke — they sounded right. Whether the action will follow out of those words is what remains to be seen.
…The statement is better than I would have expected. It at least begins with saying we are deeply sorry for the trouble we’ve caused…
The Windsor Report is not something that you would have a yes or a no to. There were four significant things that they asked of us, and one of the ones that the English House asked specifically was the issue of moratorium, and what we’ve done is said we will deal with that, but we’re not going to deal with it until March. I think the primates will be looking at what we have decided and draw a judgment on it.
…I think that there was an attitudinal change among a number of people who said, “We do not like what has happened to us and the Communion, and we want to keep the bonds of the Communion,” and that came from people who would be in positions exactly opposite where Bishop Duncan and I would be, who would have voted on the other side. I think that what has happened is that in this space of time, the travail we have gone through has had an effect on people. I think when a number of people in that room said, “We are deeply sorry for what has happened and how this has affected the whole Communion,” there were people on all sides of the spectrum who meant that. I think there was progress there. How that is going to work out, I don’t think anybody knows. But it certainly was different from any House [of Bishops] meeting that I have attended before.
The Church Times carries a report of the American House of Bishops meeting, ECUSA offers its apology for ‘hurt’ caused.
Its final paragraph, on the website, reads:
Bishops in the conservative Anglican Communion Network (ACN) immediately criticised the House of Bishops for “failing to issue a definitive statement on moratoria”. Twenty-one of them signed a statement calling for ECUSA to comply in full with the unanimous recommendations of the Windsor report. Their “statement of acceptance of and submission to” the report, issued through the ACN, concluded with a commitment to “engage with the Communion in our continuing study of the biblical and theological rationale for recent actions”.
In fact, this description of the signatories is not quite accurate. Not all the signers of the statement are bishops whose dioceses are members of the Network of Anglican Communion Diocese and Parishes. There is an analysis of the signatures below the fold. But since the meeting, no additional signatures have been announced, not even that of Terence Kelshaw, Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, which is a Network member.4 Comments
St. Francis did it in his own inimitable style. Faced with trying to discern God’s will at a crossroads he invited his companion to whirl round on the spot until he fell down. The direction in which his body lay was the one Francis took.
Pausing a moment to imagine a Church of England where General Synod was replaced by “Spin the Archbishop”, I want to pose the question of how the church should structure its decision making in order to seek God’s will.
There is a timeliness in asking. Nationally the Church of England must come up with a process that determines whether and how women might be admitted as bishops. Next month the Primates from around the world meet to give their response to the Windsor Report. Last week the ECUSA bishops reminded us all that their decision making structures give greater weight to the views of laity and priests than many other Anglican Churches.
Having signed up to the simple mantra “synodically governed — episcopally led”, I’m beginning to feel we need to think deeper. Are we holding to a model of decision-making fashioned according to the principles of committee government, but living in an era when both theory and best practice have moved well beyond it. Good governance is increasingly built around smaller bodies whose members are expected to weigh a range of viewpoints rather than to press the case of a particular consistency. Individual governors take lead responsibility for aspects of work. Boards concentrate their energies on the key “Mission-critical” issues and devolve other decisions to more subordinate levels. Ironically it is exactly what the Archbishops’ Council should be equipped to deliver — if only it had been given a more appropriate remit.
Alongside governance theory I would also like to lay some theological criticism. A Christian entity that claims the right to determine direction has to be corporately rooted in Christ. In my own Diocese our Synod and Bishop’s Council meetings have improved in direct proportion to the extent that they come together in worship. It is not enough to be individually devout. Decisions need to be taken in a community that is striving to form itself as the Body of Christ through corporate prayer, worship, study of scripture and fellowship. And I suspect that just as there is a size above which a congregation no longer functions as a single body, so too for a council or synod.
Lastly, and I hope still in the domain of theology, I want to raise the importance of trust. Decision making bodies lose their legitimacy once those on whose behalf they function cease to trust them. More positively the baptismal liturgy emphasises that our relationship with God is characterised by belief and trust. Historically democratic governance structures were justified on the basis that the ballot box maximises trust by allowing the greatest number to give or withdraw their confidence. This is not a place to begin a general critique of democracy in the 21st century; but it is important to recognise that democracy is not a “good thing” in itself — rather a means to achieving greater trust in some instances.
So as both the Church of England and the Anglican Communion struggle with some momentous decisions I want to follow the hints in the Windsor Report and suggest that at the top of the agenda should not be “what” we decide but “how” we decide. And to press that the characteristics we are looking for in a good decision making process are the adoption of best practice, corporate holiness and the maximisation of trust.
All three of which are less obviously present in our current mechanisms than they were in St. Francis’s dizzy brother.1 Comment
Here is a report, from The Living Church via titusonenine Special Meeting of Bishops Only a Beginning which includes the following:
In requesting a point of personal privilege to announce that he would be moving to the adjacent hallway to collect signatures for a statement pledging full support for the recommendations of the Windsor Report, the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., Bishop of South Carolina, closed out the special House of Bishops meeting in Salt Lake City Jan. 12-13 in much the way it began: with two somewhat different agendas in evidence.
Bishop Salmon – who emphasized that he will continue to attend future House of Bishops meetings and, while there, reveal his intentions forthrightly to his colleagues – did not stay to vote for the final version of “A Word to the Church From the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.”
Before the bishops had returned to their respective dioceses, Bishop Salmon had the signatures of 20 colleagues on “A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004.”
“I don’t think we are going to get anywhere if we don’t take the Windsor Report seriously,” Bishop Salmon said. “The response of the House of Bishops did not rise to the level expected by the Communion. We heard a call for submission, and we who are unequivocally prepared to submit have responded accordingly.”
First, ENS has published a report of the Utah meeting: Bishops sign supplemental statement following ‘Word to the Church’. This includes an interview with Bishop Edward Salmon of the Diocese of South Carolina:
Yet the group of 21 bishops agreed that the response “didn’t go far enough, and that the Windsor Report asked us to deal with three issues directly,” South Carolina Bishop Edward L. Salmon Jr. told ENS in a January 19 telephone interview. He said the supplemental statement — which was neither received nor regarded by the House of Bishops as a minority report — was not intended as an “in-your-face response” but rather as an honest assessment of views shared by the signatories. “What we wanted people to hear is that the bishops who signed this statement were willing to respond to the requests of the Windsor Report.”
Salmon said the bishops engaged in “some very frank discussion” with each other during the meeting, which spanned 11 hours and was closed to visitors and the media. The South Carolina bishop, whose regular attendance and participation at House of Bishops meetings throughout the 15 years of his episcopate has been praised by his peers, emphasized the importance of clear conversation around issues: “I don’t think people can do business without frank discussion… I don’t think we’re ever going to get anywhere if we’re not willing to talk to each other seriously.”
Salmon said the group of 21 would have preferred the House of Bishops “to respond at the front end” of its recent meeting on matters of moratoria on ordaining additional openly gay bishops, and on blessing same-sex unions. He said that deferring this conversation to the House of Bishops’ upcoming March meeting “sends a message” to the Communion, and asked “what does that behavior mean?”
The majority of bishops voted, however, to wait for the Primates’ response before addressing the moratoria issues, and acknowledged that far-reaching decisions must be put not only to the House of Bishops, but also to the full General Convention. “Obviously, we’re not in agreement,” Salmon said.
Second, there is a report in the Denver Post of remarks by Bishop Rob O’Neill of the Diocese of Colorado: Episcopal cleric lauds apology from bishops:
In a pastoral letter this week to Colorado’s 35,000 Episcopalians, Bishop Rob O’Neill endorses what he called a “heartfelt and sincere” apology from U.S. bishops for failing to consider the global ramifications of elevating a gay bishop.
… “It is evident that the House (of Bishops) as a whole highly values the relationship of the Episcopal Church to the worldwide Anglican Communion, (and) wishes to remain within its fellowship,” O’Neill wrote.
He said in an interview he believes the apology represents “significant progress.”
But conservatives have criticized it as not going far enough.
The Rev. Ephraim Radner of Pueblo, a traditionalist, said the bishops’ meeting in Salt Lake largely put off tougher decisions, and he expressed skepticism about holding the U.S. church and the wider communion together.
Third, there has been further, lengthy criticism of the HoB statement by Andrew Goddard on the ACI website: Fruits of Repentance. In relation to the wording of the apology offered, the issue appears to be the failure of the HoB to quote WR verbatim, i.e. by not including these exact words:
“[to express its regret that] the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached”
What the bishops actually said was:
“we as the House of Bishops express our sincere regret for the pain, the hurt, and the damage caused to our Anglican bonds of affection by certain actions of our church”
A fragment of Goddard’s argument:
But is that not what the Windsor Report sought? Certainly, it is part of what it sought and that is perhaps a sign of hope. However, the gulf between the Pastoral Letter’s construal of regret and repentance and that of the Report is clear when examining the words of the key para 134, cited and accepted in the minority report. In addition to regret for consequences – which is present in the Pastoral Letter – the Report asks ECUSA “to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the see of New Hampshire” (italics added). In that key phrase lies the fault-line between the vision of the Communion implicit in the Pastoral Letter and that found explicitly in the minority report and the Windsor Report.
An earlier post reported on this topic.
Here is a new batch of his Written Answers.0 Comments
Each of the following items deserves to be read in full. Don’t judge them simply on the basis of my quotes: it’s very hard to represent such articles in summary form.
Revised Item the Anglican Communion Institute has today published two further articles criticising the ECUSA HoB statement, thereby breaking the URL previously listed for the first one.
First, the Anglican Communion Institute has asked Where Is ECUSA on The Windsor Report?
(this URL will not last, but I cannot predict what it will change to when this article moves from their front page). Predictably the ACI finds fault with the ECUSA HoB statement.
Our main question is this, Does the ECUSA genuinely believe it has a special Communion understanding at odds with that set forth in The Windsor Report? If so, could it state this in clear and unambiguous ways?
Second, Bishop Jack Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth has published BISHOP IKER’S REPORT on the Response of the House of Bishops to the Windsor Report:
At the conclusion of an all-day special meeting of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church to respond to the Windsor Report, it was decided that little would be said, and even less would be done, to try to resolve the crisis that divides us. In a nutshell, the Bishops expressed their desire to remain full members of the Anglican Communion, while continuing to reject the clear teaching of the Communion on matters of sexual morality.
Third, Bishop Samuel Howard of the Diocese of Florida has published his Response to the Meeting of the House of Bishops but only in PDF format. This includes a statement agreed last December by all the Bishops of the Fourth Province (southeastern U.S.):
“We welcome with gratitude the work of the Lambeth Commission on Communion.
We believe that the recommendations of the Windsor Report regarding expressions of regret and voluntary moratoria with respect to communion-damaging actions are well-considered and appropriate. We also believe that the call for a rigorous communion-wide study and discernment process on the matters of human sexuality that challenge us would strengthen us as a communion. We commit ourselves to full participation in these processes, including the participation of gay and lesbian Christians as called for by the Windsor Report.
To make a right beginning, we as the House of Bishops of Province IV express our own sense of sincere regret for the damage caused to the proper constraints of our Anglican bonds of affection by the consecration to the episcopate of a homosexual person living in a committed relationship and by the perceived authorization of public rites of blessing for same sex unions.We further recommit ourselves to our membership in the Anglican Communion.
We commit ourselves as bishops to refrain from consent to the consecration to the episcopate of any person living in a same sex relationship and to the authorization of public rites of blessing for same sex unions until the General Convention of 2009, subject to reconsideration at that time. Recognizing the authority of the General Convention in our polity, as well as our own Episcopal responsibility for leadership, we invite the General Convention of 2006 to affirm our commitment on behalf of the Episcopal Church as a whole. It is our intention that our voluntary decision to refrain from such actions will allow time for the depth of study and discernment on issues of human sexuality requested by the Windsor Report.
We further commit ourselves to respect the boundaries of provinces and dioceses and call upon our brother and sister Anglican bishops to join with us in this commitment.”
Big hat tip to KH for finding this:
Summer Season: Reformation – Europe’s House Divided, by Diarmaid MacCulloch
The transcript of an Australian radio interview with Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of a multi-award-winning biography of ‘Thomas Cranmer, A Life’, who was Archbishop of Canterbury under King Henry VIII. Now he’s written an equally distinguished history of the Reformation, or as he says, ‘Reformations’ plural.
This programme was first broadcast on 31 March 2004 and apparently rebroadcast on 12 January 2005.1 Comment
This story has now also been reported in both The Times and the Guardian:
Telegraph takes blame for Archbishop’s loss of faith by Andrew Pierce
Editor says sorry to archbishop by Stephen Bates
not to mention a further report by Ekklesia
Sunday Telegraph fails to correct misrepresentation of Archbishop.
It had also been covered by Andrew Brown in his weekly Church Times press columns on 7 January, Archbishop’s Doubt
and again on 14 January, Telegraph proles.
Ekklesia reports that Dominic Lawson the editor of the Sunday Telegraph has admitted his paper made a mistake.
Paper admits it misrepresented Archbishop of Canterbury. In summary form:
The editor of a major newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph in the UK, has admitted that his paper misrepresented the opinions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, by falsely claiming that the tsunami disaster had made the Archbishop doubt whether God exists.
…Ekklesia associate Simon Barrow wrote to the editor, saying “Your headline… makes me question not Dr Williams’ faith … but the capacities of your headline writer and sub-editor.”
He continued: “Did they choose simply not to read the Archbishop’s article, which nowhere states what they attribute to him? Or do they and you now regard news reporting as the creative art of sidestepping facts in order to produce a more sensational story?”
The Sunday Telegraph chose not to apologise editorially last week, though it published letters critical of the headline, and also critical of Dr Williams’ article. Its weekday sister paper, The Daily Telegraph, also published a leader excusing the mistake and accusing the Archbishop of being unclear.
This is evidently not a viewpoint shared by Dominic Lawson. Replying to Simon Barrow, he wrote: “I share your sentiments… It grieves me that we should let down our readers who have the right to expect the highest standards.”
In his personal letter to the Archbishop, Mr Lawson straightforwardly recognises that the headline, “apart from misrepresenting the nature of your argument, was also theologically obtuse.”
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Rowan Williams visiting Westminster Cathedral yesterday: Williams harks back to Anselm. (The BBC also carries a report on this visit, Archbishops pray for tsunami dead.)
In the Guardian the godslot is written by John Newbury The Christian centre cannot hold.
The Bishop of Colombo in Sri Lanka, Duleep de Chickera writes in The Times about the tsunami disaster: Our solidarity after the tsunami shows the way to a lasting peace. Part of this reads:
“What have you to say about the kingdom of God?” ( “now” clearly implied) was the question fired at me by a Buddhist from a leading local NGO as soon as I sat down next to him at a lecture in Colombo. This forthright (theological) question centres on God in the tsunami. For the churches of South Asia, steeped in poverty — and within living memory of dominant colonial Christianity — the “vulnerable God” theory is relevant.
A powerful dominant God is distasteful and alien to the poor and powerless. Much more, the “vulnerable God” theory flows very much from the text as well. The incarnation clearly conveys a God of love who deliberately takes on vulnerability to identify and save.
As waves ravaged humans, the vulnerability of this creator God of both waves and humans was sensed in the deafening silence. God is love and the freedom that love confers imposes inherent restrictions on controls on all creation. Human relationships, between parent and child or among spouses, bears this out. So the loving, liberator, parent God who was not in the wind, earthquake and fire was certainly not in the tsunami.
The vulnerable God however is not a passive God. This distinction is essential for faith to be kept. To borrow a phrase from Bishop Geoffrey Rowell’s recent pastoral letter to his diocese, this God is an insider. In Christ God took human form to stand with humans in our suffering and loss. The incarnation is historical fact as well as a telescope into the ways of the same God in past and future history. As God was in the historical incarnation, so God has been with those who suffer grief and loss. This God invites God’s people to do and become likewise.
The usually gentle waves of the sea are soothing to tired Asian feet that stand in poverty and bear an immense burden. The vulnerable servant Lord touched and washed feet. This was more than an act of humility. This was an enacted parable highlighting that relevant ministry begins from where people are placed — where they stand — and addresses suffering.
Large killer waves destroy all within their path. Dominance, whether in our theologies about God, leadership, aid or attitudes, is anti-Christ and counter productive to peace, justice and reconciliation. The way forward for all, South Asians who grieve as well as the world at large, is mutually to touch and wash each other’s feet.
Also in The Times Michael Binyon writes about The struggle to keep the faith in Bethlehem.0 Comments
Thursday morning saw me in St Martin in the Fields, along with more than 500 other Christian clergy, of varying denominations, plus a couple of rabbis – all were women, and as well as consuming coffee and cake, laughing with and at Dawn French, and listening to the choirgirl and choirboy of the year singing the Vicar of Dibley theme, we prayed, we sang, and then we went off to accompany a delegation to Downing Street and return to Trafalgar Square for photo-opportunities.
It was a stunt, of course. Designed to catch the media’s attention for the makepovertyhistory campaign. Backed by Christian Aid, the Jubilee campaign, CAFOD and other agencies, we were promoting the three makepovertyhistory aims for this year of Britain’s presidency of the EU and chairing of the G8 group: just trading structures, the dropping of debt for the world’s poorest countries, and the creation of more and better aid programmes by the wealthy nations.
Makepovertyhistory is, at least in part, the brainchild of people for whom catching the limelight is their stock-in-trade. Usually I find myself uncomfortable with the harnessing of celebrity and need: Comic Relief, Children in Need, even 20th-anniversary Live Aid make me cringe. And, for me, the makepovertyhistory TV adverts are a disaster area.
So why did I turn out? The aid and development agencies behind MPH have a seriously good track record, they know what they are talking about, and they are the people to whom I turn when I want to know about trade justice, or debt relief, or where and how best to contribute to overseas aid. And the purposes of this campaign move on from bandaging the wounds left by a system which puts so much of the world at a disadvantage while we prosper to addressing the structural questions, just as Jubilee 2000 did when most of us were first alerted to the destructive patterns of debt imposed by the affluent on those struggling in poverty. These are political questions, and the time is right for political campaigning; just watch the coverage of Gordon Brown’s Africa trip for confirmation of that. If turning out with my be-collared sisters can help to turn a wider audience’s attention to the campaign, yes, of course I’ll be there.
Even so, there remained a nagging discomfort about a purely female demonstration. In the Church of England, it has been a long, hard road to inclusion, to the acceptance of male and female as equal vehicles of grace and ministry, a road whose end we haven’t yet reached. Should we not have gone as both sisters and brothers of the cloth? We acted as we did to get publicity, but the fragility of that argument was proved by the day itself: there was some coverage, but the antics of the third-in-line to the throne kept us well down the batting order in the news.
Meeting as women, though, and particularly as women clergy of the CofE, did have a very powerful resonance, which perhaps the organisers would not have expected or even understood. When women were campaigning for admission to the priesthood, and particularly as they waited for the result of the General Synod vote, St Martin’s was one of the places of gathering, waiting, and preparation. Many women present on Thursday found themselves remembering other days in St Martin’s, other times when we sang ‘We are marching in the light of God’. We still spend a great deal of time addressing the wrongs and woes of the church; it was salutary to be addressing, instead, the wrongs and woes of the world.
Jane Freeman2 Comments
Further Update Sunday
The BBC Sunday programme has 4 minutes of radio interview with Mark Pinsky discussing the HoB meeting this week.
Listen here with Real Audio.
The Associated Press has a further story quoting Bishop Robert Duncan Episcopal bishop says letter lacks remorse over same-sex clergy:
One of the leaders of conservative Episcopal clergy said that a signed statement of “sincere regret” by U.S. bishops fell short of what was needed to heal a rift in the church over the consecration of a gay bishop.
“It certainly didn’t go far enough, but it was a move in the right direction,” said Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh.
Kevin Eckstrom’s report for Religion News Service appears in a somewhat longer form in the Winston-Salem Journal The Great Divide
“This is really all about the rest of the world dealing with the American Church. And, the rest of the world, at this point, receives what it is we said today. The words we spoke were … they sounded right. Whether the action would follow out of those words is what remains to be seen.”
PBS (the American public TV network) had a news feature Episcopal Bishops’ Meeting in Utah. This report concludes with the following:
One sign of efforts to prevent gay ordination and same-sex marriages from splitting the Episcopal Church was the announcement that the two priests leading the campaigns for equal rights for gays and lesbians have been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to come to London for consultations.
Update This is now confirmed by the following press release (original only in PDF format)
15 January 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
INTEGRITY INVITED TO LONDON FOR CONVERSATION
Integrity is pleased to have been invited by the Revd. Canon Gregory K. Cameron, Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office, to London for a conversation on practical ways in which a Communion-wide dialog on human sexuality might be moved forward. The meeting will take place in early February. Integrity will be represented by its president, the Rev. Susan Russell, and its immediate past president, the Rev. Michael W. Hopkins. We understand that several other Anglican LGBT groups have also been invited to participate.
No detailed agenda for the meeting has been enunciated and Integrity has no preconceived notions about its outcomes. Nevertheless, we are deeply appreciative of the opportunity to engage in this conversation and are hopeful that constructive, concrete next steps will emerge.
The Windsor Report rightly reminds us all that “Lambeth Resolution 1.10 calls for an ongoing process of listening and discernment, and that Christians of good will need to be prepared to engage honestly and frankly with each other on issues relating to human sexuality. It is vital that the Communion establish processes and structures to facilitate ongoing discussion” (¶146). Integrity has continuously called for such dialogs during the past three decades of its ministry and we stand ready to help make them a reality.
(The Reverend) Susan Russell, President
Doug Ball, Executive Secretary