Thinking Anglicans

ECUSA HoB followup – Friday

Updated Friday evening see below

The Church Times reports the story as US dons sackcloth and bans all new bishops

and also has a sidebar (though not yet on the public website) Canadians defiant on the committee report which was first reported here.

The BBC published US Church moves to avoid splits. This story starts:

The US Anglican Church says it will not appoint new bishops or bless same-sex relationships for at least one year.

But other reports from the USA indicate that when the House of Bishops said (emphasis added):

Nevertheless, we pledge not to authorize any public rites for the blessing of same sex unions, and we will not bless any such unions, at least until the General Convention of 2006

some of them were making a personal commitment not to bless such unions and were not speaking for all their clergy.

Episcopal News Service has a further report on the meeting, Episcopal bishops begin ‘new day’ of collegiality. Kendall Harmon says the information about the Diocese of South Carolina in this report is inaccurate.

Another news report was Episcopal leaders to hold up bishop ordinations—gay or not from the Chicago Tribune.

The Times website has No gay bishops? Then no bishops at all by Ruth Gledhill who concludes the article with:

My question is why they could not, for the sake of peace, simply go as far as the primates and Windsor requested, and no further. If, as Dr Williams has posited, unity is inseparable from truth, then for the sake of unity surely even the lesbian and gay lobby could have put their purple ambitions on hold for a couple of years while everyone tries to sort out the mess.

The public is invited to comment.

The Church of England Newspaper has this report:
US Church puts moratorium on consecrating all bishops

The NACDAP has published a statement from Bishop Duncan and the AAC has published A Statement from the President of the American Anglican Council on Communications Issued by the Episcopal Church House of Bishops. This claims that:

The Covenant Statement and the Word to the Church issued by the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops is insulting to the Primates of the Anglican Communion. While it aims at specific requests of the 2004 Windsor Report and the 2005 Primates Communiqué, it fails to fulfill clear expectations outlined therein. The House claimed to affirm the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 1888, and yet they failed to repent of their decisions and subsequent actions contrary to Scripture as well as Anglican faith and order. Note there is no affirmation of the authority of Scripture or Lambeth 1.10, which were upheld by the primates. Are there not two mutually exclusive views presented in this covenant?

Reuters published Conservative U.S. Anglicans Attack Bishops’ Move.

GetReligion has Everybody loves to see justice done — on somebody else
Fr Jake has A Closer Look at the Attempted Coup

Further Update
Ruth Gledhill has this report in The Times ‘These are apostolic leaders behaving like lawyers’
George Conger has this report in the Living Church Bishops’ Support of Covenant Statement Not Unanimous


ECUSA HoB – Thursday morning reports

Telegraph Jonathan Petre Liberals delay appointing new bishops

Washington Post Alan Cooperman Episcopalians Halt Ordaining of Bishops

New York Times Laurie Goodstein Episcopal Dispute Over Gay Policies Halts All U.S. Bishop Appointments

Religion News Service via Beliefnet Episcopal Church to Freeze Same-Sex Blessings, Elections of All Bishops

Houston Chronicle Episcopalians ban consecration of new bishops

and the latest writethrough of the Associated Press report by Rachel Zoll Episcopalians ban OK of new bishops

From Canada, so focused on Dromatine rather than Camp Allen:
Canadian Press Anglican Church ‘broken’ over same-sex debate


ECUSA HoB – more news

Further statements are promised later today.
Update From the House of Bishops: ‘A Word to the Church’ has now been issued. Key paragraphs are:

At our meeting in Salt Lake City in January 2005 we said that we would “commit ourselves to a more thorough consideration of the range of concrete actions identified in the [Windsor] Report at our House of Bishops meeting in March 2005.” We also said we believe it is extremely important to take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to show us the way to deepen our communion together.

We believe that the Covenant Statement we have made has been achieved under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our Covenant expresses remarkable convergences among us during these days and emerged from our mutual desire to speak as one House embracing widely divergent points of view. We sensed a profound solidarity and willingness to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

We pray that this Covenant Statement will be seen by brother and sister Anglicans as responding to some of their concerns. We pray that our overwhelming support for the Covenant may be a sign to them of our unwavering commitment to life in communion.

We pray as well that our Covenant will be useful for us all in healing relationships and opening the way for renewed solidarity in the service of Christ’s work of reconciliation. We believe our Covenant Statement is a reflection of a fresh spirit of mutual forbearance and reconciliation among us. We faced into our deep divisions with an openness that has not characterized our recent past. We believe this marks the beginning of a new day in our life together as bishops and as the Episcopal Church.

Meanwhile, The Living Church has published this report:
Presiding Bishop: Primates “Out for Blood” at Meeting which says that:

Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold identified by name six Episcopalians for having detrimentally influenced the course of the primates’ meeting in remarks to the House of Bishops at their March 11-17 spring retreat at Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas.

The devil is a liar and the father of lies and the devil was certainly moving about Dromantine, the site of the primates’ meeting in Northern Ireland, the presiding Bishop said, according to accounts from several bishops who spoke to THE LIVING CHURCH on the condition that their names not be revealed. The primates were “out for blood,” Bishop Griswold told them.

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh; the Rev. Canon Bill Atwood, general secretary of the Ekklesia Society; the Rev. Canon Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Parish, Fairfax, Va.; the Rev. Canon David Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council; the Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon, canon theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina; and Diane Knippers, president of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, were singled out for opprobrium by the Presiding Bishop for their behind-the-scenes roles at Dromantine…

Picture of all six available here

A further report from George Conger is posted at the website of The Living Church: Bishops Declare ‘Time for Healing’

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following statement:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has welcomed the Covenant statement issued yesterday by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA), during their spring meeting in Camp Allen in Texas.

“I welcome this constructive response from ECUSA’s House of Bishops. They have clearly sought to respond positively to the requests made of them in the Windsor Report and in the Communiqué issued after the recent Primates Meeting. It is clear that there has been a real willingness to engage with the challenges posed.”

First press reports on last night’s statement:

Larry Stammer Los Angeles Times Clash Over Gay Episcopal Bishops Delays New Ordinations
Reuters U.S. Anglicans set moratorium on gay bishops
Rachel Zoll Associated Press No Episcopal bishops confirmed for a year


ECUSA bishops respond to Windsor/primates

Episcopal News Service reports that:

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church adopted, by nearly unanimous vote late this afternoon, “A Covenant Statement” that includes “a provisional measure to contribute to a time for healing and for the educational process called for in the Windsor Report” (full text of Covenant Statement is here).

The Covenant Statement includes the following items:

Relating to the WR request for an expression of regret:

2. We express our own deep regret for the pain that others have experienced with respect to our actions at the General Convention of 2003 and we offer our sincerest apology and repentance for having breached our bonds of affection by any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners before taking those actions.

Relating to a moratorium on episcopal elections:

3. The Windsor Report has invited the Episcopal Church “to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges” (Windsor Report, para. 134). Our polity, as affirmed both in the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Communiqué, does not give us the authority to impose on the dioceses of our church moratoria based on matters of suitability beyond the well-articulated criteria of our canons and ordinal. Nevertheless, this extraordinary moment in our common life offers the opportunity for extraordinary action. In order to make the fullest possible response to the larger communion and to re-claim and strengthen our common bonds of affection, this House of Bishops takes the following provisional measure to contribute to a time for healing and for the educational process called for in the Windsor Report. Those of us having jurisdiction pledge to withhold consent to the consecration of any person elected to the episcopate after the date hereof until the General Convention of 2006, and we encourage the dioceses of our church to delay episcopal elections accordingly. We believe that Christian community requires us to share the burdens of such forbearance; thus it must pertain to all elections of bishops in the Episcopal Church. We recognize that this will cause hardship in some dioceses, and we commit to making ourselves available to those dioceses needing episcopal ministry.

Relating to a moratorium on public rites of blessing for same sex unions:

4. In response to the invitation in the Windsor Report that we effect a moratorium on public rites of blessing for same sex unions, it is important that we clarify that the Episcopal Church has not authorized any such liturgies, nor has General Convention requested the development of such rites. The Primates, in their communiqué “assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship” (Primates’ Communiqué, para. 6). Some in our church hold such “pastoral care” to include the blessing of same sex relationships. Others hold that it does not. Nevertheless, we pledge not to authorize any public rites for the blessing of same sex unions, and we will not bless any such unions, at least until the General Convention of 2006.

Relating to participation (or otherwise) in the Anglican Consultative Council:

6. As a body, we recognize the intentionality and seriousness of the Primates’ invitation to the Episcopal Church to refrain voluntarily from having its delegates participate in the Anglican Consultative Council meetings until the Lambeth Conference of 2008. Although we lack the authority in our polity to make such a decision, we defer to the Anglican Consultative Council and the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church to deliberate seriously on that issue.


WR/primates: Scottish bishops response

The Windsor Report/Primates’ Communiqué: A response from the College of Bishops has been published on the official SEC website.

Part of the response discusses homosexuality. The bishops say:

On the matters of sexuality which occasioned the Report we are conscious that, like any province within the Anglican Communion, there is in our life significant diversity of view on both the matter of the consecration of Gene Robinson and the authorisation of liturgies for the blessing of same sex unions.

The Scottish Episcopal Church has never regarded the fact that someone was in a close relationship with a member of the same sex as in itself constituting a bar to the exercise of an ordained ministry. Indeed, the Windsor Report itself in suggesting that a moratorium be placed on such persons being consecrated bishops, itself acknowledges the existence of many such relationships within the Church.

The Scottish Episcopal Church has, even before the 1998 Lambeth Conference, sought to be welcoming and open to persons of homosexual orientation in our congregations, and to listen to their experiences. This has on occasion led clergy to respond to requests to give a blessing to persons who were struggling with elements in their relationship, and who asked for such a prayer. We were glad to note that the concern of the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Communiqué was not with such informal pastoral responses to individual situations, and was about the official authorisation of a liturgical text for the blessing of such unions.

We do agree that the whole area of debate in this matter is of such a fluidity, within which many different understandings exist, that it would certainly be premature to move formally to authorise such a liturgy.

The College of Bishops is conscious that the pressures within the debate on matters of sexuality vary from one province to another. Within our Province the debate tends to focus on matters to do with scriptural authority and human rights and justice. We sense that we are privileged in that we are a small province, and discussion across differences may be more easily achieved in our life than in other parts of the Communion. We hope that as a result of the publication of the report discussion across difference will take place, rather than a consolidation of opinion among the like minded. We welcome therefore the commitment of the Communiqué “to take positive steps to initiate the listening and study process” and each of us will seek to facilitate discussion across differences within his diocese as recommended in Lambeth 1:10.

Members of the College indicated to the Primus that while acknowledging the significant pressures the Primates were under to arrive at a statement that would preserve the Communion, they personally regret the decision in the Communiqué to request the voluntary withdrawal of ACC members of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference.

We are conscious that as a Church we are much indebted in our life both to a significant presence of persons of homosexual (lesbian and gay) orientation, and also to those whose theology and stance would be critical of attitudes to sexuality other than abstinence outside marriage. We rejoice in both, and it must be our prayer that discussion following the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Meeting will enable the energy of both to be harnessed to serve the Church and the proclamation of the gospel.


Canada committee report

The motion shown below was passed unanimously by the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee (a Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of Canada) at its recent meeting. It goes now as a recommendation to the governing body of the Canadian church – the Council of General Synod – that will meet in May to determine Canada’s response to the Primates’ communique.

Motion FWM 03.05.#6
Moved by Patricia Bays
Seconded by Richard Leggett

That, while acknowledging the sincere concern of Anglicans throughout the world for the unity of the Communion and recognizing the pain of Anglicans of all persuasions caused by recent events, this Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee reluctantly but firmly recommends to the Council of General Synod the following resolution:

1. That the Council of General Synod confirm the membership of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Anglican Consultative Council with the expectation that the duly elected members attend and participate in the June 2005 meeting of the Council in the UK.

2. That the Council of General Synod welcome the invitation to explain at the June 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council the current situation, the steps that were taken by Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada and the General Synod and the underlying theological and biblical rationale with respect to the decision to bless committed same sex unions.

3. That the Council of General Synod, in response to the second part of Paragraph 14 of the Primates’ Statement of February 24 2005, commend the Windsor Report to the Anglican Church of Canada for study.

Explanatory Notes

Part 1 of the Motion

  • The Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee is concerned that existing ecclesiological and synodical structures, in dioceses and Provinces and within the Communion, are being pre-empted in their processes, and in the appropriate exercise of the checks and balances already available to them. Authority is being extended to bodies that goes beyond that constitutionally allocated to them. One principle of the evolution of church law is that we create new mechanisms only when all existing mechanisms have been exhausted.
  • In light of the above, we believe that the request to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council is an inappropriate action at this time for the following reasons:
    • The Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council states that the Anglican Church of Canada is a member of the Council, entitled to send three delegates to its meetings.
    • Article 3.A of the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council clearly states that questions of membership are initiated by the Anglican Consultative Council.
    • The roles of the Instruments of Unity as proposed by the Virginia and Windsor Reports have not been formally received by the Communion.
    • The Primates’ Statement of February 24 2005 contributes to further confusion regarding the interconnection of the Instruments of Unity.
    • If the request issued by the Primates (Section 14 of the Primates’ Statement of February 24) were to be honoured, it would set a precedent for dealing with other issues.

Part 2 of the Motion

  • The Windsor Report commends dialogue and study, and representatives of the Canadian church need to be present to keep communication open. At the heart of the Anglican Communion is the principle that we meet. For this reason we believe it is important to accept the invitation to make a presentation to the Anglican Consultative Council.
  • The Anglican Church of Canada is still in a process of discernment and is not at present of one mind. Its Primate’s Theological Commission is reflecting on whether same sex blessings are a matter of doctrine or not. A decision on the substantive question has been deferred to the General Synod of 2007.

Part 3 of the Motion

  • We welcome the opportunity to engage in further study as requested by the Anglican Consultative Council at the time of the release of The Windsor Report. The Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee reviewed the Response to the Windsor Report from the Canadian Church, compiled at our Primate’s request. We believe that further study of both the Windsor Report and our Church’s Response to it is important for all Canadian Anglicans.

Carried unanimously


Ugley Puritans

The Telegraph reports today in Clergymen refuse communion with bishop in row over gays that

…at least eight conservative clerics have told the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev John Gladwin, that they will refuse to share Holy Communion with him. They are furious that the bishop and five of his colleagues sent a letter to a national newspaper earlier this week announcing their determined support for liberal Anglicans in North America…

That would be a reference to this letter in The Times in which the bishops merely said:

…We remain in full sacramental fellowship with all the churches of the Anglican Communion, including those of Canada and the US, and we seek to remain in full communion with all of them…

which is of course a simple statement of fact that applies to every single member of the Church of England at the present time, whether they like it or not, including those objectors in Chelmsford. Clearly that favourite term of conservative evangelicals the plain meaning of the words has escaped them. Individual members of Anglican Communion churches do not have the luxury of deciding for themselves who they are in communion with.

The newspaper list among the eight people the clergy of the Henham, Elsenham, & Ugley benefice, John Richardson and Richard Farr. Mr Farr is best known for his refusal to allow the use of his church hall for a yoga class. His own account of this event can be read here.

The extent to which conservatives are upset by the bishops’ letter is quite remarkable:see this Mainstream – Letter to London Times so far not published by the paper, and see also this Statement on Sacramental Fellowship with the Bishop of Chelmsford by Messrs Farr and Richardson.


primates: links to responses

Two very helpful lists of responses to the Dromantine communiqué are these:

Episcopal News Service Primates Meeting 2005 – News & Resources
which includes, among much else, links to statements by a number of American bishops.

Stand Firm Various Responses to the Primates’ Dromantine Meeting Communique which includes links to very many people, bishops and otherwise, who have written responses.

A further ENS resource on another page contains An interview with Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town and Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold which is an audio recording of an interview conducted by Kevin Eckstrom of RNS.


some Saturday reading

Starting close to home, Christopher Rowland has written a column in today’s Guardian The best of enemies which starts:

The issue of the Anglican Church and homosexuality has brought home to me how central it has become to the identity of Christianity for Christians to vilify their enemies, especially those who profess the same faith but hold to different expressions of “the truth of the gospel”.

In many ways, church history is a tale of intolerance and lack of charity. The difficult thing is that such attitudes are not some aberration, but are deeply rooted in the primary sources of orthodox Christianity and, at times, in the Bible itself.

From Ireland, ‘Church needs to celebrate, not just tolerate, all human sexuality’ says Church of Ireland minister

In his new book, The Right True End of Love: Sexuality and the Contemporary Church, the Dean of Killaloe, Very Rev Stephen R. White looks at the issue of sexuality, especially homosexuality, and maintains that the time has now come for the church to change its attitude from one of toleration to one of celebration. He says ‘the Church’s efforts to address issues of sexuality are ‘eminently ignorable’, ‘unimaginative’ and ‘un-theologically based’.

The book is particularly timely given recent controversies over homosexual clergy in the Anglican Communion. The Anglican primates, who met recently at Newry, discussed and broadly welcomed the Windsor Report on the matter.

Dean White looks at the church’s inherently negative attitudes towards sexuality, exemplified in the wording of the marriage vows in the Church of Ireland, where marriage first and foremost exists ‘for the due ordering of families and households’ and secondly for the hallowing of the union betwixt man and woman, and for the avoidance of sin’. He looks at the contentious issue of homosexuality and how the most charitable response from within the church is toleration. This, he says, is not acceptable. Toleration of difference is not a celebration of difference, and such an attitude is inclined to become ‘a favour graciously conferred by the “normal” majority on a somehow “inadequate” minority’.

As the American House of Bishops is currently meeting, several American newspapers have columns about them:

Chicago Tribune Episcopal bishops seeking to avoid schism on gay issues

Houston Chronicle A house of cards

Dallas Fort Worth Star-Telegram For Episcopalians, this might be the big one


primates: more news and views

Today’s Church Times editorial Who wants to be an Anglican now? expresses the views of many who seriously doubt the sincerity of our supposedly Christian leaders:

…The communiqué, with its assurance that the Primates met “with Christian charity and abundant goodwill”, already looks fanciful. In the past week, the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda have made statements to the effect that no new debate is needed on the subject of homosexuality. The Primate of the Southern Cone flew straight to a rally of dissenting parishes in New Westminster, Canada. Another Primate reported that conservative colleagues had been boasting of their ability to make Dr Williams do as they wanted.

What continues to shock churchpeople most, however, is the account of how the Primates from the global South were unwilling to attend eucharistic celebrations with the North Americans. Their stance was consistent with having announced themselves out of communion with the US and Canadian provinces after the consecration of an openly gay bishop and the blessing of same-sex unions. Nevertheless, their decision calls into question the very use of the term “Communion” for the Anglican Churches.

Eucharistic hospitality is at the core of Anglicanism. The Thirty-Nine Articles tell us not to be perturbed by the unworthiness of the ministers. If, as the Primates seem to have done, we start to calculate the unworthiness of our fellow communicants, altar rails around the world would be empty (unless, of course, we also calculate our own unworthiness). When we consider the Primates’ representative function, and their task of uniting the Church, the implications seem graver still.

All this has had a profoundly depressing effect on those committed to the Anglican enterprise…

The Church Times news columns proceed to report various related developments, including the actions of two Global South primates, in this article: My trip was ill-timed, Venables admits. Scroll down the article for yet another copy of the text of Henry Orombi’s own words as reported in the New Vision newspaper of Kampala, here headlined as Ugandan: ‘Repent or depart’.

The feature articles from last week’s Church Times have become available to non-subscribers earlier than expected:
Suddenly, an end to Western arrogance by Gregory Venables
Still together, thanks to a generous spirit by Barry Morgan
The need for restraint by Stephen Sykes

Here also are some letters to the editor.

Meanwhile the Church of England Newspaper has Liberals turn on Williams and US Church considers action.


The Church and Europe

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Christopher Herbert, who chairs the House of Bishops’ Europe Panel has written today to all senior Anglican clergy encouraging them to contribute to a more informed debate on Europe.
See this CofE press release Bishop calls for informed debate on Europe.
The text of the bishop’s letter is also below the fold here.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Guide to the EU can be found here.

The House of Bishops’ Europe Panel is a sub-committee of the House of Bishops. The Panel acts as a point of reference for items affecting the Church of England’s relations with Europe and the European Union institutions which arise in the House of Bishops and General Synod. The Panel is committed both to promoting and shaping an open and transparent Europe close to its citizens and to monitoring the EU institutions in so far as they affect Church life and practice.



recent news

First, the The Rt Revd John Paterson, former primate of New Zealand, has issued a Statement from the Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council:

As Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, I have received the requests of the Primates Meeting to the ACC. Inevitably such requests raise questions about the inter-relationship between the various Instruments of Unity which will need to be examined in the light of the Windsor Report at our next meeting.

The Primates Meeting asked the ACC to provide at its next meeting in June an opportunity for the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to set out the thinking behind the recent actions of their Provinces in accordance with paragraph 141 of the Windsor Report; and also to take positive steps to initiate the listening and study process which has been the subject of resolutions not only at the Lambeth Conference in 1998, but in earlier Conferences as well.

Accordingly I have asked the Design Group to include in our programme an opportunity for a Consultation at which the major input will come from members of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada, and it is hoped that delegates from other parts of the Communion will contribute also. We will also continue to work on the request from Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution 1.10 which the ACC began at its meeting in Dundee Scotland in 1999. The aim will be to initiate a listening and study process which will review what has already taken place and co-ordinate further work in this area.

Meanwhile, the Anglican Journal reports that Canterbury snubs North American churches:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has rejected an invitation to attend a joint meeting in April of U.S. and Canadian bishops next month in a move that the Canadian primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, said is clearly linked to the turmoil over homosexuality.

This follows close on the heels of the following press release from the Canadian primate: A statement by the Most Rev. Andrew S. Hutchison:

Now that several days have passed since the end of the Primates’ Meeting in Belfast and the issuance of a communiqué that has received wide publicity, I thought that Canadian Anglicans might want to hear a bit more about the meeting, about the decisions that were made and about what those decisions will mean for the Canadian church in both the short and the long term. Where, in short, do we now find ourselves and where do we go from here?

Let’s start by looking at where we are and where we are not. We still, today, have an Anglican Communion of which the Canadian and American churches are a part, and I have to say that prior to going to Belfast, I did not for a moment take this outcome for granted. There was, I believe, a real possibility that the Primates might disagree to such an extent that I would not be able to say today that we still have a communion. The fact that this did not happen is something we can be grateful for. It is also evidence that there may yet be truth to the notion that despite our difficulties in the Anglican Communion there is still more that unites us than there is that separates us. This is not to minimize the difficulties of the meeting nor the deep divisions that clearly exist in the Communion. But it is certainly worth noting that after these very difficult five days, the will emerged to find a way for us to stay together.

Meanwhile in Kansas, Church, Episcopal diocese split:

Worldwide divisions over homosexuality in the Anglican Church burst open in Kansas on Sunday, as the Episcopal diocese announced a separation with a large Overland Park church.

The Rev. Dean Wolfe, Episcopal bishop of eastern Kansas, said that Christ Church Episcopal at 91st Street and Nall Avenue had agreed in principal to sever ties with the diocese and the national Episcopal Church.

Full details are on the diocesan website.


Windsor/Primates – various views

A number of comment items that should really have been posted here earlier.

Last Saturday in the Telegraph the regular Christopher Howse column was titled Wilder shores of Anglicanism.
Several recent articles in GetReligion are of interest, in particular Reporting vs. fear-mongering
and earlier items can be found via the Anglicanism archive page.

Reverting to the earlier report here concerning Henry Orombi, his press conference statement was thought worthy of reproducing in full on the NACDAP site and Peter Toon commented that Ugandan Archbishop commended the Communiqué but apparently had not carefully read it!

From the other end of the spectrum, Mark Harris has a blog on which he wrote about Why the so called crisis in the Anglican Communion is no crisis of mine.

And finally, this report, via Confessing Evangelical of what Private Eye had to say about Schismatic liturgy.


English bishops speak up

related news story by Ruth Gledhill Break-away bishops could undermine truce on gays

One of the signatories, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Rev John Packer, said: “This is a strong statement of support for listening to the experience of lesbian and gay Christians.

“Many lesbian and gay Christians, rightly or wrongly, feel that the primates’ statement did not emphasise the need to emphasise them in the same way that the bishops of the Church of England did at our recent General Synod. We wanted to make it clear that we had in no way reneged on that promise. Sometimes I feel that people are saying they want to listen, when in fact they have already made their minds up.”

The following letter appears in Monday’s edition of The Times, signed by the bishops of Salisbury, Chelmsford, Leicester, Ripon & Leeds, St Albans and Truro.

The Church and homosexuality

Sir, We are encouraged by the commitment of the primates of the Anglican Communion to “the underlying reality of our communion in God the Holy Trinity” whilst engaging in dialogue and listening, in relation to the issues which have “obscured” that communion. The communiqué issued at the end of their week-long meeting in Newry (report and leading article, February 26) recommends actions which will allow that dialogue to continue and articulates the deep bonds of affection which continue to unite us.

We do not believe that the different responses of our sister churches to lesbian and gay people are of such significance that we should break the bonds of communion. We welcome the positive steps which will now be taken to engage in dialogue with lesbian and gay people. This call has been repeated by successive Lambeth conferences and we will do all that we can to facilitate that mutual listening throughout the Communion. We assure lesbian and gay Christians of our commitment to the principle of the Lambeth conference that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.

We remain in full sacramental fellowship with all the churches of the Anglican Communion, including those of Canada and the US, and we seek to remain in full communion with all of them. We also clearly state our continuing solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the global south.In a world ravaged by the effects of poverty, war and disease our communion must seek to serve the whole human family.

We assure the Archbishop of Canterbury of our support for him in the ministry with which he has been entrusted and we offer him our love, our fellowship and prayers.


other weekend news

Bishop David Sheppard has died. Many newspaper stories on this:
Observer Former bishop of Liverpool dies and Appreciation: David Sheppard, 1929-2005
Sunday Times Sheppard the cricketing bishop dies after cancer battle, aged 75
BBC Online Cricketing bishop dies of cancer and Obituary: Lord Sheppard
Telegraph Former Bishop of Liverpool David Sheppard dies

David Hope has started his new job as a parish priest at St Margaret’s Ilkley
Sunday Times From palace to bin duty: an archbishop downsizes
This follows an earlier story in The Times Former Archbishop starts new life at grass roots

Yesterday, The Times editorialised that Richard Chartres was the best person to become Archbishop of York: Balanced ticket and there was an accompanying news story New favourite emerges for York archbishopric. As no sources are cited in the latter, it is unclear whether the editorial came first or the other way around.
Nor were any sources at all cited in this article: Liberal and weak clergy blamed for empty pews but for those who want to know where this comes from the answer is Readers can judge the validity of the survey for themselves.
Addition a helpful comment about the survey by Dale Rye is here on titusonenine.

And the Church Times reports that Clerics second happiest at work but they do provide a clue as to the source of this claim which is to be found at Hairdressers are cutting it in the league table happiest jobs

1 Comment

art and religion meet

Today, the Observer carries a report by Jamie Doward that fills page 3 of the paper:
Anti-gay millionaire bankrolls Caravaggio spectacular
This concerns a current special exhibition at the National Gallery in London, but is concerned not with the content of the exhibition but with the identity of the financial sponsor who is Howard Ahmanson. The illustrations for the article include a picture of him. An excerpt:

But it is clear Rushdoony’s influence – and the legacy bequeathed by Ahmanson’s generosity – lives on at the foundation which continues to argue homosexuality is sinful. Ortiz said: ‘I would categorise homosexuality, as the Bible does, with necrophilia and bestiality and bigamy and the rest of it. It’s obviously not the way, physically, things were designed to work and morally it’s not what God has permitted.’

And though Ahmanson may distance himself from the foundation his money continues to fund anti-gay causes. In 2000, Ahmanson gave at least $310,000 to the Knight Initiative, for its campaign against the granting to homosexuals in California of the same legal rights as heterosexuals.

And he is a generous supporter of the conservative American Anglican Council (AAC) which has unleashed chaos upon the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, by threatening to break away from the 70-million strong Anglican Communion over the ordination of gay bishops.

Liberals in the Anglican church in Britain said there was an absurd paradox that the National Gallery had to seek funding for an exhibition of a painter, whose work scandalised the church, from the deeply religious Ahmansons.

‘It’s ironic that one of the major funders of the exhibition – about which there has been such interesting comment about Caravaggio’s realism, use of real life models and homo-erotic content – should also be one of the major funders of the AAC,’ said Reverend Nicholas Holtam, vicar at St Martin-in-the-Fields church next to the National Gallery.

History, suggested Holtam, was repeating itself. ‘Ahmanson’s support seems to be an example of Caravaggio drawing the contemporary conservative church into a reality they want officially to deny – just as he did in his own day.’

Sidebar to the article:
Howard F Ahmanson Jr: the man and the money

Born: Los Angeles 1950. Inherited a fortune from his father’s savings and loans company.

Funds: a number of right wing causes and charities through his own private company Fieldstead and Company Inc, which describes itself as ‘a private philanthropy working in national and international relief and development, education, the arts, family and children’s concerns’. Gave financial backing to RJ Rushdoony, high priest of a religious movement known as ‘reconstructionism’ which calls for government based on the literal word of God. Has given millions to the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based centre which attempts to prove Darwin’s theory of evolution was wrong and the Claremont Institute, a right wing think-tank which promotes family values. Has additionally given money to right-wing intellectual Marvin Olasky, credited by Newt Gingrich as the intellectual author of ‘compassionate conservatism’, the ideology espoused by George W Bush.


Bishop Duncan reports to his diocese

Episcopal Church to Decide Whether to “Walk Apart” from Communion
By Lionel Deimel, President, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh

Monroeville, Pennsylvania — February 28, 2005 — Following a service of Evening Prayer, Bishop of Pittsburgh and Moderator of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, offered a perspective on the recent Primates meeting at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Monroeville. He took questions from the mostly friendly audience after his presentation.

The message of Duncan’s presentation was that the U.S. and Canadian churches have fractured the Anglican Communion, and, that unless they repent of their “innovations,” they, but not him or the diocese he leads, will be outside of it.

Duncan began by reading his statement of February 25, in which he called the clarity of the communiqué from the Primates “breath-taking.” The bishop, who had traveled to Northern Ireland to be able to hear from the Primates directly about their meeting, said that his remarks were based on meeting with 17 of the 35 attending Primates over three days. The church leaders pressed five points, he said. (Audio of the bishop’s presentation, though not of the question period, can be found on the diocesan Web site, along with a description of it.)

First, the teaching in Network dioceses, the teaching of the Anglican Mission of America, and that of other Anglican traditionalists, is the teaching of the Anglican Communion. “There is no other,” Duncan asserted. Both on matters of Scripture and on human sexual behavior, the present teaching of the Anglican Communion is represented in the 1998 Lambeth resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality.

Secondly, Duncan reported that the Primates told him to “go back to North America and help people make the choice.” The synodical bodies of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada have been given time to accept or reject the Windsor Report. It is clear “that to hold the innovations of the General Convention of 2003 or the innovations of the General Synod of Canada in 2004 is to make a decision to walk apart from the Communion.”

According to Duncan, his supporters were encouraged to “flood the system” embodied in the “panel of reference” the Archbishop of Canterbury is urged in the Primates’ communiqué to establish. The task of this panel, he said, is “to guarantee adequacy of protection for orthodox minorities in places where they have been on the run or under duress.” Some 70 congregations are presently attempting to put themselves under conservative, non-Episcopal-Church bishops, and Duncan indicated that he plans to turn these cases over to the Archbishop immediately.

Duncan’s fourth point was that the Primates with whom he met insisted that all groups representing “missionary Anglicanism” in North American must be united under his leadership. The Primates are tired of dealing with the “alphabet soup” of AAC, AMiA, REC, FiFNA, etc.

Finally, the Bishop of Pittsburgh reported that the conservative primates wanted to send the message to the American orthodox to “grow up.” Conservatives, like progressives, want their own way and complain when they fail to get it. Duncan told his flock that it is in a “spiritual battle of immense proportion.” Referring to 2 Timothy 4:3–7, he said, “We’d like to keep the faith, but we have a harder time running the race and fighting the fight.” Summarizing, the five instructions, Duncan said simply, “Expect to suffer.”

Many of the queries during the question period involved “what ifs” and explanations of the mechanics of the decision-making that will be taking place as a result of the Primates’ decisions.

The first speaker, like most of those raising the more difficult issues, was a member of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. She spoke of being a casualty of the battle the bishop is leading and of being a “pariah” because she attends a church not supportive of his goals. Not all Primates, she asserted, share the views of those to whom Duncan spoke. The bishop, in response, pointed out that all Primates in attendance, including Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, subscribed to the Primates’ communiqué.

Duncan was asked if he, like the Primates, would pledge to neither cross diocesan boundaries without permission nor encourage others to do so. He replied that the Primates believe that the work of the panel of reference would make such actions unnecessary. He warned, however, “I can say to you that what I will encourage is that the orthodox throughout this country are honored and given a place, and I will do whatever I have to do to see that they are given a place.” According to Duncan, the Primates agreed not to interfere in existing arrangements involving foreign bishops overseeing churches in the U.S. Duncan cited parishes in the Dioceses of Oklahoma and Los Angeles as being part of this agreement. It is unclear how this reputed agreement might affect the lawsuit brought by Bishop of Los Angeles Jon Bruno against three congregations in his diocese claiming now to be in the Ugandan Diocese of Luweero.

Asked what he would do as Bishop of Pittsburgh if the Episcopal Church were to do as he anticipates it will and chooses “to step outside the Communion,” Duncan replied, “I intend to serve the [conservative] majority here,” raising questions about the relationship of the diocese to General Convention in such an eventuality.

Supporters and opponents of the bishop’s position each expressed frustration that mission suffers when the church is taken up with internal divisions. Duncan agreed that this was inevitable, in spite of his best efforts, and blamed the American churches for diverting the Primates from issues of HIV/AIDS, debt relief, etc., at their recent meeting.

Duncan said that he would support all congregations, even those progressive ones who saw their views as prophetic and opposed to those of the Communion. He spoke of believing that all congregations should be “free,” while noting that he no longer believes that about property—alluding to the ongoing lawsuit that resulted from his attempt to have the diocese declare that parish property is owned by individual congregations. In all dioceses, we should operate out of charity, he suggested.

Duncan criticized Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold for discouraging the House of Bishops from acting on the Windsor Report before it was received by the Primates. The Church of England, on the other hand, saw no barrier in the timing to acceptance of the report. He called the Presiding Bishop’s action a delaying tactic and complained of the members of the House of Bishops that “we talk gracefully but act in power.” Duncan suggested that the action of the Primates might have been less harsh had the House of Bishops been more forthcoming with a conciliatory response at their recent Salt Lake City meeting. According to Duncan, Primates saw the North American churches as arrogant and considered the positions of the leaders of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada as “startling.”

In response to other questions, Duncan described the church as being on a path of “mutually assured destruction.” “The majority,” he said, is “working to eliminate the minority, and the minority has sufficient power to resist the majority until it is eliminated.” He described the election of the next Presiding Bishop as a “plebiscite on which direction the church will go.”


Friday press reports

Updated 2 pm – new items at bottom

Stephen Bates reports in the Guardian what a “not normally noted as a liberal” primate told him, but only on condition of anonymity. Anglican leaders divided and defiant after gays pact

The primate, who is not normally noted as a liberal, was speaking on condition of anonymity. He said: “Some primates were personally offensive towards Rowan and gratuitously rude about him behind his back. They had no respect for him and said: ‘He’ll do what we tell him to.’ If I wasn’t a Christian, I would walk away from this right now. I believe a split in the church is inevitable.”

…The anonymous primate said that the conservative archbishops had ignored a direct appeal by the Archbishop of Canterbury for them to attend a service at which he was to preside at Dromantine. Twenty of the 35 attended a “celebration” dinner hosted by Nigeria’s Archbishop Peter Akinola but paid for by American Episcopalian traditionalists opposed to their liberal church leadership following the end of the meeting.

The Church Times also reports on the atmosphere in which the meeting was conducted:
Pat Ashworth Yes, they’re united, but only just: Primates’ response

Other Church Times reports:
Americans and Canadians face tough decisions
Primates’ meeting: the ACC response

Over at the Telegraph Jonathan Petre reports Primate attacked for stance over gays and refers to this letter.

George Conger in the Church of England Newspaper has the most detailed account of events at Dromatine, the article is in two parts:
Behind the scenes at the Primates’ Meeting, part 1
Behind the scenes at the Primates’ Meeting, part 2
Here is his account of the Thursday afternoon:

Matters took a quick turn when at 2pm when an independent journalist announced that he was getting ready to break the story of the agreement over the internet. The Primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Gregory Venables of Argentina, telephoned the journalist asking him not to proceed as the details had not been completed nor signed.

Though delayed, an incomplete story announcing the deal broke at approximately 4.30pm causing anger among the global south primates who were fearful that publication of the proposal would wreck negotiations.

As problems unfolded over the leak, Bishop Griswold became perturbed after witnessing the departure of a number of global south primates with their American supporters to dine off-campus.

Bishop Griswold spoke with Dr Williams, who then dressed down the Primates upon their return for sneaking away. In rebuking the Primates, Archbishop Williams committed his first gaffe of the meeting, as his infelicitous tone offended the African leaders.

In the midst of the turmoil over absent primates, exaggerated news reports, and bruised egos, the Primates voted to junk the evening’s agenda and finish the communiqué.

Sources at Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Consultative Council told us the next day that the determination to finish the report and regain control of the agenda from the press unified the Primates as nothing else had over the week.

The drafting committee presented its work to the Primates and after only a few readings the communiqué was adopted — breaking with past practice of arguing over each jot and tittle. At 10.22pm the communiqué was released to the press.

The expression of repentance from the Episcopal Church found in earlier drafts did not materialise due, in part, to the rush to finish. Archbishop Peter Carnley explained: “At the beginning of our meeting we did talk about an expression of regret”, however “I think we lost sight of that particular issue in the course of the meeting”.

The endorsement of the communiqué, however, did not return harmony to the Primates. After the deal was done, Archbishop Williams announced he was going to lead the noonday Eucharist on Friday and invited all the Primates to attend as a gesture of unity. The global south primates declined.

Other CEN report: North American Churches suspended from Communion
and editorial which will disappear next week, but another copy is here

An American report from yesterday, by David Steinmetz in the Orlando Sentinel Negotiating truce in Anglican civil war

Associated Press report by Richard Ostling

And for those who thought Orombi okays gay debate in Church was too good to be true, well, it isn’t: No debate on gays, says Orombi.

1 Comment

ecclesiastical autonomy

A very interesting legal paper has been published by Dr Augur Pearce concerning the ecclesiastial autonomy of the Church of England.

There is a summary of the key points (and a biographical note) on this page: English Ecclesiastical Autonomy and the Windsor Report by Dr Augur Pearce.

and the full 12 page article can be downloaded in PDF format from here.

The last two summary points read as follows:

  • Reflecting that the Windsor Report’s proposed ‘communion law’ (subordinating national ecclesiastical autonomy for the future to an international agreement and arbiters) could only be effected in England by primary legislation, the paper mentions two existing approaches to self-obligation in the legislative field (in the European Communities Act and Human Rights Act). Given that either approach would affect radically the tradition of independence that formed the English Church as now known, and that a possible consequence could be to narrow the national church’s broad popular appeal, Parliament may think very carefully before approving such legislation while leaving the Church of England its national status and associated endowment.
  • Being no expert in the history of the North American churches’ involvement with the Lambeth Conference, the writer does not seek to apply his conclusions directly to their situation. It is recognised that as voluntary rather than national churches, the conceptual basis for their autonomy is quite different. However it is suggested that if the Church of England is indeed presently not bound by Lambeth Conference majorities, the North American churches should consider whether it can be right for them either to own such an obligation.
1 Comment

primates meeting: more documentation

First, Anglican Mainstream has very helpfully provided a transcript of the interview that Rowan Williams gave to Roger Bolton on last week’s BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme.
Interview with Rowan Williams – Transcription

Second, Bob Duncan gave a speech in Pittsburgh about the Primates Meeting, and there is an audio file of the speech on this page and a summary of his remarks on this page.

Third, there was a statement issued before the Dromantine meeting which is only now available. A Statement from Global South Primates meeting In Nairobi January 27th/28th, 20O5

Fourth, Australian radio ABC National has a transcript and audio files of its weekly programme The Religion Report, entitled Woes of Anglicans; Dances of Ecstasy

And finally, a newspaper report from the Montreal Gazette A communion shaken by conflict
This contains perhaps the greatest exaggeration yet about the Lambeth Conference 1998:

The worldwide Anglican conference in 1998 upheld traditional church teaching, which prohibits practising homosexuals from receiving communion.

1 Comment