Thinking Anglicans

Resourcing Mission Group

Hidden away at the bottom of the Church of England’s papers webpage is this item.

Resourcing Mission Group

The Resourcing Mission Group was one of the groups created by the Archbishops in 2004 following the adjournment by General Synod of the consultation document GS1529: “Future use of the Church Commissioners Funds”. This is the Group’s interim report, on which the Church’s views are being invited. Its final report will be prepared in the autumn after the consultation process has finished.

Main report
Annex A 26kb
Annex B 72kb
Annex C 27kb
Annex D 36kb (Excel document)
Additional Annex 49kb

The terms of reference of the group were “to identify achievable ways in which the financial and other resources of the Church of England might be best deployed (a) to secure their equitable distribution across the Church and (b) to facilitate local mission objectives and plans”.

Nothing about the consultation process has appeared on the CofE news page or on the rather obscure Church Commissioners’ own news page so it is unclear where comments should be sent. I suggest “Resourcing Mission Group Secretariat” at Church House Westminster.


Nottingham meeting details published

Information about the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in June is now available:
Anglican Consultative Council ACC-13 Meeting
Programme of Events
List of Attendees

Some additional useful links:
The ACC constitution
A briefing paper by James Behrens, from Anglican Mainstream which discusses the relationship between the ACC and the other instruments of unity
The Jubilee Campus of the University of Nottingham


Civil Partnerships and the CofE

In view of the forthcoming Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships it may be of interest to read what the Church of England said formally to the UK Government back in 2003 when the government was holding a public consultation on this matter.

The document is on the CofE website in Word format though its location here is not very obvious. An accessible copy of it is available here.

The government document to which this was responding is this one (very large – 1.5 Mb – pdf file). The report on this consultation is another similar sized document. One item from it is this:

2.13 Of those representing nationally-based religious groups:

  • For example, the Church of England, the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Salvation Army, the Methodist Church and others
  • 53% (9 responses) supported the principle of a civil partnership scheme
  • 47% (8 responses) opposed, or did not offer an opinion on, the principle of a civil partnership scheme

2.14 Of those representing individual religious groups and congregations:

  • These were largely Baptist, Evangelical, Free and Congregational churches
  • 85% (17 responses) opposed the principle of a civil partnership scheme
  • 15% (3 responses) supported the principle of a civil partnership scheme

The legislation that was then drafted and subsequently passed differs from what was in the consultation document in various ways, so the CofE comments should not be interpreted as applying to the legislation as it now stands.


The Panel and the Connecticut Six

It’s now 18 days since we were told (on 11 May) that the other participants in the Panel of Reference would be named “next week”.

Meanwhile these developments in the Connecticut case:

A Statement by the Connecticut Six was issued on 27 May, in response to the diocesan statement of 19 May. This starts out:

A recent statement by the Bishop of Connecticut (issued through his spokesperson, Karen Hamilton), which has been masquerading as a piece of journalism, includes distortions of fact and blatant misrepresentations; it is proof positive of the need for immediate intervention here in Connecticut. There are two major issues that must be addressed: Bishop Smith’s abandonment of orthodox Anglican faith and order and his continued harassment of faithful clergy and congregations in Connecticut.

Unfortunately, the article fails to substantiate this criticism by listing any specific “distortions” or “misrepresentations” in the diocesan article, but after addressing the other two issues mentioned, it concludes:

Everyone in the Episcopal Church concerned with the preservation of the Anglican Communion and the imperatives of simple Christian charity, should call on the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury to employ the Panel of Reference to intervene immediately, so that adequate episcopal oversight can become a reality for faithful Episcopalians of Connecticut. No further adversarial action, or threats of such action, should be countenanced.

There has been one attempt to suggest a way forward in this dispute, in earlier (April) blog posts by Leander Harding, which I had missed at the time: Observations On CT Clergy Meeting Today and Thoughts On The CT Six. These suggestions do not seem to have had any effect on the dispute.

Also, last week, David Anderson issued An Open Letter to the Anglican Communion from the AAC President

While this does not mention Connecticut, it is an extended criticism of the remarks already reported from Archbishop Peter Carnley about the Panel.

If the Panel of Reference is a serious effort by the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office to address the needs of those who otherwise would seek succor from global Anglican Provinces, and if there is serious intent to implement this Panel so that it fills this need, major change including the choice of the chairman will be necessary for this to be acceptable and useful. If it is designed to be unacceptable or useless, the bother of assembling the Panel can be dispensed with.

One might have thought that this subject should be placed firmly on the agenda of the forthcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham, where other provinces could express their views face-to-face to ECUSA representatives. However, since the ECUSA delegation was asked by the Primates meeting (and has agreed) not to participate in that meeting, that’s now not possible. What a pity.


Civil partnerships and the clergy

Update Tuesday
Here is a good critique of this newspaper report: Get a Clue

According to Christopher Morgan of the Sunday Times the Church of England will respond to the issue of clergy who wish to enter into a Civil Partnership in the following manner:

Church to let gay clergy ‘marry’ but they must stay celibate

HOMOSEXUAL priests in the Church of England will be allowed to “marry” their boyfriends under a proposal drawn up by senior bishops, led by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The decision ensures that gay and lesbian clergy who wish to register relationships under the new “civil partnerships” law — giving them many of the tax and inheritance advantages of married couples — will not lose their licences to be priests.

They will, however, have to give an assurance to their diocesan bishop that they will abstain from sex. The bishops are trying to uphold the church doctrine of forbidding clergy from sex except in a full marriage. They accept, however, that the new law leaves them little choice but to accept the right of gay clergy to have civil partners.

The decision is likely to reopen the row over homosexuality that has split the worldwide Anglican communion. It may also overshadow an international meeting of senior bishops next month designed to heal rifts between liberals and conservatives over the issue.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement estimates that within five years 1,500 homosexual Anglican clergy will have registered under the new law, which comes into force on December 5.

The Church of England proposal is contained in a draft Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships, drawn up by Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich. It was discussed at length and provisionally agreed at a meeting last week at a hotel in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire.

A final draft with some amendments will be produced for approval by the House of Bishops, the upper house of the church’s General Synod.

Under the proposal, a priest intending to register a civil partnership would inform his or her bishop in a face-to-face meeting. The priest would then give an undertaking to uphold the teaching of the Church of England, outlined in the 1991 document Issues in Human Sexuality. This paper prohibits sex for gay clergy.

Although no sanctions are included in the new proposal, it is expected that a breach of the rules may lead to disciplinary action or the possible suspension of clergy.

Some bishops, however, are uncomfortable about subjecting their priests to the proposed interviews.

One said this weekend: “We all have clergy in gay partnerships in our dioceses and there is a genuine reluctance on the part of a number of us to make their lives more difficult.”

…The bishops have also agreed to a government request to change ecclesiastical law to favour civil partners. A change to the Pluralities Act of 1838, for example, will enable gay partners to occupy vicarages for up to two months after the death of a priest.

This matter was the subject of questions at the General Synod in February, and the answers were published exclusively on TA here. The Civil Partnership Act can be read in full here.

The government is also proposing to amend the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003. Clause 3 (defines the meaning of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation) and Clause 25 (benefits dependent on marital status) are the sections affected. The purpose of the first of these amendments, which would add a new sub-clause 3.3, is explained thus:

Purpose and effect

1. The purpose of this new provision is to make it clear that, for the purposes of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, the status of a civil partner is comparable to the status of a spouse. The effect is to enable a civil partner who is treated less favourably than a married person in similar circumstances to bring a claim for sexual orientation discrimination under the Sexual Orientation Regulations. New paragraph 3(3) prevents the discriminator from being able to say, by way of defence, that being married is a material difference to being a civil partner. The discriminator would have to show that the married person and the civil partner were not in a comparable position for some other reason, for example, that they were doing different jobs.

2. An employer etc would not be able to justify less favourable treatment of a civil partner as compared to a spouse in similar circumstances unless he could show that being heterosexual was a genuine occupational requirement (GOR) of the job within the meaning of reg 7(2). The additional GOR exception in reg 7(3) for employment for purposes of an organised religion permits an employer to apply a requirement “related to sexual orientation” (rather than to be a particular sexual orientation). It may therefore permit a narrow range of employers, such as religious organisations, to require that an employee be married (rather than a civil partner) but only where such a requirement is necessary to comply with the doctrines of the religion, or because of the nature and context of the job, to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers. It is likely that these defences will only be available in a very limited number of circumstances.

The proposed wording of the clause is as follows (the consultation is now closed and this might change when the proposal is formally published for parliamentary approval):

New regulation 3(3)

3. Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation

“(3) For the purposes of paragraph (2), in a comparison of B’s case with that of another person the fact that one of the persons (whether or not B) is a civil partner while the other is married shall not be treated as a material difference between their respective circumstances.”


opinions for a holiday weekend

Last weekend, Trinity Sunday, Geoffrey Rowell wrote for The Times
Divine love may prosper in our daily chores

During the week, AKM Adam, who teaches at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary near Chicago, wrote this:
Truth, Error, and Varieties of Dissent
Subtitled Is it even possible to err, theologically? How would we know?, it has provoked interesting comments, both on his own blog and at titusonenine

Some earlier posts by AKMA on current Anglican disputes are also of interest:
Things To Come and a follow-up Still Working On It
More recently, Power and Powerlessness of Stories

In another vein completely, Jonny Baker recently wrote is it possible to get a church of england diocese to change? which discusses change in the Diocese of Lichfield.


recent items from the Church Times

Last week there was a major feature on FD Maurice ‘He was an inspiration for social witness’ by Jeremy Morris.

There was also this substantial extract from Mary:Grace and hope in Christ and this article Why there’s nothing to fear about Mary by Nicholas Sagovsky. (He also wrote that week on the same topic in the Tablet).

The previous week, there was a major article by Nicholas Holtam Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London about his parish church: Looking beyond the church. (This was an edited extract from this year’s Eric Abbott memorial lecture.)

Another feature that week concerned the cleaning of St Paul’s Cathedral: St Paul’s — how clean is this house?


Allegorical and Literal

Just after reading the ARCIC Report on Mary I attended a lecture in Cambridge on “The Bible and the Emergence of Modern Science” by Prof Peter Harrison, of Bond University, Australia. It marked the conclusion of a series sponsored by the Templeton Foundation.

Prof. Harrison began by referring to C P Snow, and to the way in which scientists and theologians didn’t understand each other. Then, going through a history of the way in which scriptures had been interpreted, he pointed out that, alongside the literal meaning of any text, the words of scripture were also read in a variety of allegorical senses until the end of the middle ages. Medieval works on natural history exhibited the same kind of interest in allegory, with mythical beasts sitting comfortably alongside animals which could be observed.

At the Renaissance, with the coming of printing, and modern vernacular texts of scripture, the Reformers discarded the allegorical meanings in favour of literal meanings. So whilst allegorical commentaries on the Song of Songs had once been popular, in Reformation times it became far more important to explore the literal meaning of what Paul wrote to the Romans.

This critical approach to biblical texts gradually spread to other fields of learning. Prof. Harrison demonstrated that some books on natural history in England in the early 17th century continued to describe mythical animals long after biblical scholarship in reformation countries had pointed the way towards seeing literal meanings as being of prime importance. Eventually, science based solely on observation and experiment began to flourish unimpeded in England, Holland and Sweden, where allegorical meanings of scripture had been discarded. But in Catholic countries, scientists like Galileo were severely constrained by the church establishment.

Prof. Harrison concluded his lecture by returning to C P Snow and to the continuing problem that theologians and scientists can still use language and assign meanings to words in different ways.

In my view the new ARCIC document illustrates the same difficulty. There is no problem with the literal meaning of the gospel texts. Whilst we acknowledge that the title “Mother of God” may be a poor translation of the original Greek term, 16th century reformers, and Anglicans today are in agreement about the way in which this title is understood. The problems centre on those interpretations of scripture in which Anglicans would argue that a more than literal reading haws been applied.

The report acknowledges the problem, saying

In the following paragraphs, our use of Scripture seeks to draw upon the whole tradition of the Church, in which rich and varied readings have been employed. In the New Testament, the Old Testament is commonly interpreted typologically (By typology we mean a reading which accepts that certain things in Scripture (persons, places, and events) foreshadow or illuminate other things, or reflect patterns of faith in imaginative ways (e.g. Adam is a type of Christ: Romans 5:14; Isaiah 7:14 points towards the virgin birth of Jesus: Matthew 1:23). This typological sense was considered to be a meaning that goes beyond the literal sense. This approach assumes the unity and consistency of the divine revelation.) events and images are understood with specific reference to Christ. This approach is further developed by the Fathers and by medieval preachers and authors.

It sounds like special pleading to retain pre-renaissance allegorical readings of scripture. But, 350 years after the reformers rejected this kind of approach to scripture as a means of establishing doctrine, it is no more possible for Anglicans to go back to the medieval position than it would be for scientists today to write papers on the unicorn or the gryphon.

This has to be said whilst affirming an Anglican defence of the title Theotokos. It is accepted on the grounds that not only is it a definition agreed by an ecumenical council, but also on the grounds that those who arrived at the definition did so on the basis of literal, rather than allegorical readings of scripture. The Fathers understood clearly what they were doing. One might add, for example, that the devotional insights exhibited in St. Bernard’s allegorical commentary on the Song of Songs were never intended to be doctrinal formulations, and were not understood as such. It might therefore be clear that Revelation 12 and 21 or Genesis 3, whilst poetic and interesting, should not be used to illuminate Christian doctrine about Mary as we would wish to affirm it today.

There are, however, dangers in over literalism when applied to biblical texts. The most obvious, as any scientist will report, concern the ways in which some fundamentalist Christians would support a belief in a six day creation, or Noah’s flood, simply because the text says it happened. When we see these texts as illustrations which had a particular meaning for their own time, it is possible to take a rather kinder view of the ways in which Genesis 3 or Revelation have traditionally been read as referring to Mary than would emerge from a solely literal reading.

But, as the report acknowledges, the remaining difficulties concern Marian dogmas formulated after both the Great Schism and the Reformation. The ARCIC 1 statement on the Eucharist said Our intention has been to seek a deeper understanding of the reality of the Eucharist which is consonant with biblical teaching and with the tradition of our common inheritance. That is to say it laid a great stress on the ecumenical understanding of a united church, and tested this faith against a present day reading of scripture accepted by scholars on all sides. As such, the document has provided a firm foundation for further liturgical and doctrinal convergence between the churches.

My fear about the present report is that, by wanting to retain post reformation dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church which are not underpinned by readings of scripture which modern scholars would support, it has not remained faithful to the principles established by ARCIC 1. As a result its conclusions will be of far more limited application. But, from the Anglican point of view, it will remind very many of us of a great deal of doctrine concerning Mary which we can accept, but may in some quarters have neglected.


Canada announces Nottingham team

The names of those who will make the requested presentation from the Anglican Church of Canada at the Nottingham meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council have been published. Unlike the American case, the information comes from an official press release:
Anglican Church announces ‘presenters’ to Anglican Consultative Council

As well as the four presenters, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has announced that he will attend at least part of the meeting of the Consultative Council in Nottingham, Eng., the week of June 19…

The Canadian presenters to this special hearing will be:

  • The Very Rev. Peter Elliott, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver and prolocutor of General Synod.
  • Canon Robert Falby, Chancellor and lay canon of the Diocese of Toronto and a member of General Synod;
  • The Rev. Dr. Stephen Andrews, President and Vice-Chancellor of Thorneloe University, member of General Synod for the Diocese of Algoma and a member of the Primate’s Theological Commission;
  • Ms. Maria Jane Highway, a member of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous partner to General Synod from the Diocese of Brandon and a member of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee of General Synod.

General Synod: July 2005 Timetable

General Synod members have been sent a timetable for July’s meeting. It does not appear to be available online, so I have reproduced it below.



The times of sessions are as follows (unless otherwise indicated):
9.15 am to 1 pm; 2.30 — 6.15 pm; 8.30 pm — 10 pm

Friday, 8 July

3.00 pm
Prayers, introductions, welcome to and reply on behalf of the ecumenical guests
Report by the Business Committee
Ordinal: Second Revision Stage


Saturday, 9 July

Group work
Legislative Business
i. Further Miscellaneous Provisions Measure: Final Drafting and Final Approval
ii. Clergy Discipline Measure Code of Practice
iii. Clergy Discipline Measure Rules
iv. Fees Orders
v. Approval of petition renaming the See of Southwell

Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill: Report by the Mission and Public Affairs Council
Communion before Confirmation: Report by the Board of Education

Formation for Ministry in a Learning Church: Follow-up to the Hind Report

Sunday, 10 July

Inter-Faith Relations: Report by the Mission and Public Affairs Council
Parochial Fees: Oxford Diocesan Synod Motion
Standing Orders Committee Report

Church Urban Fund: Report by the Archbishops’ Council

Monday, 11 July

Presidential Address
Strategic Financial Review: Progress Report

Women in the Episcopate

Ordinal: Final Approval
Audit Committee Report

Archbishops’ Council Annual Report

Tuesday, 12 July

Anglican Methodist Covenant: Interim Report from the Joint Implementation Commission
Holy Communion and closing ceremonies


Opinions on Mary

This weekend, there is no shortage of columns expressing Anglican views on the recently published ARCIC statement:
Peter Carnley preached this sermon in Seattle at the launch of the statement
Harriet Harris, chaplain of Wadham College, Oxford wrote this analysis in the Church of England Newspaper
Nicholas Sagovsky, Canon of Westminster, and commission member wrote this article in the Tablet
And the Church Times opinion was expressed in this leader

From the Roman Catholic side:
John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter interviewed Archbishop Brunett
Sarah Jane Boss of the University of Wales, Lampeter, wrote this article in the Tablet
And the editorial opinion of the Tablet is here


ECUSA team for Nottingham is named

The Living Church has published a further report on this subject: Presiding Bishop: ACC Presentation will Invite Dialogue

The Episcopal Church’s presentation will “fall into three sections,” the Presiding Bishop noted. The seven-member team will address issues “scriptural and theological; the reality of homosexuality in the life and experience of faithful persons and families; and a witness to the fact that divergent points of view on issues of sexuality need not be church dividing, and that those who stand in different places can make common cause together in the service of Christ’s mission.”

While the Anglican Consultative Council will “pay for three persons to represent us” in Nottingham, Bishop Griswold wrote, he added that “I feel that we are best served by sending six, in addition to myself, and I have every confidence that these six persons will represent the Episcopal Church with faithfulness and grace.”

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada will each have an hour and a half to respond to the primates’ Feb. 24 communiqué. “This will include time for queries, clarifications and conversation with the members of ACC, as our presentation needs to be put forward in a gracious and open-ended way that invites dialogue and conversation,” Bishop Griswold wrote.

The Living Church has published a news story Delegation named for June 21 ACC Meeting

The list of names is:

The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of Atlanta; the Rev. Michael Battle, associate dean of academic affairs and vice president of Virginia Theological Seminary; the Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins, Bishop of Louisiana; the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, suffragan bishop of New York; the Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity; and Mrs. Jane Tully of Clergy Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (C-FLAG) will join the Presiding Bishop and a delegation from the Anglican Church of Canada in addressing the ACC on June 21.

This report also confirms the date for this session as 21 June, and says of the names listed:

The delegation chosen by the Presiding Bishop represents a diverse slice of the Church. Bishop Jenkins voted against affirming the election of Bishop Gene Robinson at the 74th General Convention, while Bishop Alexander voted in favor. Bishop Roskam participated in Bishop Robinson’s consecration. The Rev. Susan Russell is president of the Church’s largest gay and lesbian advocacy group, and Mrs. Tully, wife of the rector of St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, is a leader of C-FLAG.


Duncan claims network is the legitimate church

An earlier item reported a major interview with Robert Duncan in the Living Church. A further segment of this interview appeared later in the magazine, and is reproduced below the fold.



Views on the ACC

Last week’s Church Times had a fascinating though lengthy letter from a Canadian, Pamela Bird headed Canadian and US Churches and the Anglican Consultative Council.

The whole letter should be read, but after reciting the history of the ACC’s constitution, based on her personal involvement at every stage, she writes this:

…It cannot, any more than Lambeth Conferences or Meetings of Primates, legislate for the Anglican Communion, but, because it consists of bishops, clergy and laity, duly appointed by their national synods, it does represent the whole weight of the whole body of Anglicanism. It cannot impinge on the autonomy of individual provinces any more than can Lambeth Conferences or Primates’ Meetings, but can make strong recommendations for their consideration.

This preliminary history is necessary to make it clear that the Anglican Consultative Council is not a “club” from which members may be expelled. It is meant more as a forum in which just such issues as sex orientation may be discussed, and a way forward may be discovered and developed.

There have been issues before this latest where solutions have been sought in love and understanding. The ordination of women was one such at its very first meeting, as was also grave misgiving in South Africa over some World Council actions and Anglican participation. The Communion didn’t fall apart, nor suggest that some of its members should withdraw. I should like to stress the word “members”, not “delegates”.

It beggars belief that the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the United States — two of the three prime architects of gatherings and fellowship in the Communion —should be invited to depart or should themselves consider it; or that others of the original member provinces should concur.

The 1978 Lambeth Conference was more cautious than the 1968 one, and back-pedalled furiously. What had been spawned? Bishops seemingly were afraid for their “authority”, and were precipitate in suggesting that the Primates should meet as often, though not necessarily at the same time, as the ACC. This was an episcopal decision only: it did not come from the General Synods or national governing bodies of the provinces, though presumably they were expected to finance the meetings.

Some of the provinces whose archbishops are so vociferous on a certain issue were not in existence when the Anglican Consultative Council was proposed and constituted, largely at the instigation of Canadians in the Anglican Church; the Canadian Church has been foremost in its support of Communion affairs, of MRI, especially in Africa, and the dismantling of apartheid.

Lambeth Conferences of bishops are attended by invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury; Primates call themselves together; but the Anglican Consultative Council has a constitution, and exists by the will of the whole of Anglicanism. It must not be conned into thinking that other gatherings can ask its members to withdraw.

Having been so deeply involved in the formation and early history of the Anglican Consultative Council, and being both English and Canadian, I have very serious concern for the continuance of the Anglican Communion. It is unique in its philosophy of unity in diversity, and, through this, it has been able to reconcile many thorny questions. But if the African Primates in question persist in their current paths of thinking, I greatly fear a break-up is probable. In any case, it should be a matter for the ACC — including the Canadian Church and ECUSA — to ponder, until reconciliation is reached.

Anglican Mainstream has published the reply they sent, which is also in today’s Church Times.


more on DEPO and Connecticut

Nine days later, there is no further news of who else will serve on the Panel of Reference. However, via the Living Church we do know something more about how Peter Carnley sees it working: Archbishop Carnley: Panel will aid Mediation Process.

…The Panel of Reference will be an independent body, Archbishop Carnley said. It will offer pastoral advice and mediation. It is not an adversarial processes leading to a judgment. It will work with some of the differences experienced by parishes, dioceses, and provinces. Services will be offered to a national church at the request of its Primate. Participation will be voluntary.

In cases when an alternative bishop has been requested, Archbishop Carnley prefers to think of it as “alternative episcopal ministry” rather than “alternative episcopal oversight.” The diocesan bishop still has jurisdiction, but another bishop will provide ministry to the parish, diocese, or province in question.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will refer requests to the panel. It has not been decided whether to request services through their bishop or directly to Canterbury, Archbishop Carnley stated.

Archbishop Williams will send letters of invitation soon to a short list of candidates for the other panel members. It is intended to have membership representing the geography of the entire Anglican Communion. Consideration will be given to gender and the different orders of ministry. Lay members are likely to be canon lawyers. Theological experts may be consulted, according to Archbishop Carnley, who explained that the Anglican Communion Office will probably provide a secretary and legal advisor.

The first meeting of the Panel of Reference may be held in July, although Archbishop Carnley said most work will be done electronically to save costs. Work will probably be divided among subgroups, instead of the entire panel dealing with every case. The entire panel will probably only meet together once a year or so…

We also have more from Connecticut. An ENS release,written by the director for communications and media in that diocese, says: Connecticut – Question of authority unresolved.

Whether or not six priests will acknowledge the authority of the diocesan bishop is the central issue of an ongoing dispute in Connecticut.

The “Connecticut Six,” as they have become known in the media, want to be released from their ordination vows of obedience to Diocesan Bishop Andrew D. Smith, with whom they disagree about Smith’s support of the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003. The six, all rectors of congregations, are also demanding suspension of selected canons governing financial obligations, ordination procedures, and clergy succession…

The controversy in Connecticut is widely seen as part of a strategy by the American Anglican Council (AAC), and its affiliate the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, to realign the Anglican Communion by replacing the Episcopal Church USA with a network of conservative dioceses and parishes. At one point, it appeared that the six rectors and their congregations wanted to create a “mini-diocese” within Connecticut.

Last spring, in response to their request, Smith offered to work with the six conservative parishes using the DEPO model — a temporary measure of approximately two years during which Smith would delegate some of his authority for pastoral care to a conservative bishop agreeable to both sides. During that time, the parish and bishop would continue to work intensively at reconciling their differences. Smith has spoken with several conservative bishops willing to serve as a delegated bishop for the parishes…

Additionally, two letters to the editor of the Living Church from clergy in that diocese, criticise even more strongly the stance taken by the “Connecticut Six”. These are in reply to a Living Church editorial of 1 May headlined Harsh Treatment. The letters, which have not appeared on the TLC website but are circulating on many email lists, are reproduced below the fold.



Mary: Hope and Grace in Christ

The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission, a group originally set up by Archbishop Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI, and re-established by Archbishop Robert Runcie and Pope John Paul II has published its latest report Mary: Hope and Grace in Christ.

The publication was celebrated on Monday in Seattle by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Seattle, Alexander Brunett, and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Peter Carnley.

ACNS has placed a summary introduction to the report by the Revd Canon Donald Bolen, Roman Catholic Co-Secretary of ARCIC on its website.

Update 20 May
The Church Times has published a lengthy article by Rachel Boulding summarising the document: Anglicans and Roman Catholics reach agreement about the Virgin Mary


Canadians: New Westminster responds

See earlier report on Canada here. Since then the situation in the New Westminster diocese has become clearer.

That diocese has now held a synod and voted to limit blessings within the diocese.
As explained in the official statement, this is not a moratorium, but simply a restriction on the number of authorised venues. Blessings are thus authorised to continue in the seven previously authorised parishes, and also in one additional parish, which had itself only voted to become such a place on April 3. But no new locations will now be authorised until at least 2007. There are 78 parishes in the diocese.

The diocese has also published the full text of the Diocesan Response to Windsor Report which is a 38 page document in PDF format. The press release says:

Whether to impose a complete or partial moratorium on same sex blessings made up only a small part of the report by Oakes and Leggett, but it was the only contentious item. The delegates agreed that sections of the Windsor report suggested too much centralization of power in the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

They also agreed that the Windsor report was wrong to state that the diocese had made no serious attempts to consult with other churches within the Anglican Communion before authorizing blessings.

Reuters report of the synod meeting: Anglicans offered compromise on same-sex unions.


St Albans Pilgrimage 2005

Saturday 25 June 2005

10.30 am Procession from the Roman Basilica (site of Alban’s trial) to the Abbey, and Enactment of the Martyrdom

11.30 am Solemn Concelebrated Eucharist of Saint Alban
President: The Bishop of St Albans, Christopher Herbert
Preacher: The Dean, Jeffrey John

4 pm Solemn Evensong and Procession to the Shrine
Preacher: The Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries

  • Car and coach parking available at the Verulamium Museum where the procession begins.
  • All are encouraged to process from the Basilica, but for those who can’t make the 10.30 start, it will also be possible to join the procession at the cathedral
  • All priests are invited to robe (alb & red stole), process and concelebrate.
  • To register and receive further details, write to the Dean’s secretary, St Alban’s Cathedral, AL1 1BY; or phone 01727 890202; or e mail
  • There is no charge.

For more details of the day,including a map, see the cathedral website.

This event will also be attended by the Friends of St Albans Abbey, by the Society of Catholic Priests and is included in the new Diary section of


Connecticut and DEPO

I have reported earlier on the situation in the Diocese of Connecticut.

Recent developments this week include:
The Day 900 Show To Support Embattled Clergymen
Bristol Press ‘Connecticut Six’ rally at State Capitol

Some 900 people, including nine bishops from other states, attended a church service, and then 120 people including at least one bishop, from Pittsburgh, attended an outdoors rally. Those bishops who were expected to attend the service are listed here and a raft of press coverage is linked from here.

Update This report in the Hartford Courant Episcopal Clergy At Capitol Denounce Church On Gay Issue contains more details:

During the hourlong rally, speaker after speaker railed against the Episcopal Church and its leaders…

Bishop Robert Duncan of the diocese of Pittsburgh and head of the Anglican Communion Network said, “We are here to warn the people of this nation that there is a counterfeit abroad in the land that looks and sounds like the real thing but has no currency when you try to spend it.”

Duncan called on the supporters to “oppose the false message of unity for the sake of unity,” uphold what he called the historic faith and order of the church and “choose to uphold the sanctity of marriage, and chastity outside of marriage.”

Other visiting bishops included Bishop Donald Harvey of Newfoundland, the leader of the Anglican Communion Network in Canada; Bishop Jack Iaker of Fort Worth, Texas; Bishop James Adams of Western Kansas; retired Bishop Fitzsimmons Allison of South Carolina; retired Bishop Andrew Fairfield of North Dakota; and Bishop Samuel Chukuka of Nigeria.

Elsewhere I have been criticised for not understanding the supposed shortcomings of the American DEPO plan.

The following noteworthy people, among others on the Lambeth Commission,

  • Archbishop Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies
  • Archbishop Josiah Iduwo-Fearon, Archbishop of Kaduna, the Anglican Church of Nigeria
  • Archbishop Bernard Malango, Primate of Central Africa
  • Bishop James Terom, Moderator, the Church of North India
  • Bishop N Thomas Wright, Bishop of Durham, the Church of England.

said this about DEPO (my emphasis added):

In this regard, we commend the proposals for delegated episcopal pastoral oversight set out by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) in 2004. We believe that these proposals are entirely reasonable, if they are approached and implemented reasonably by everyone concerned. We particularly commend the appeal structures set out in the House of Bishops policy statement, and consider that these provide a very significant degree of security. We see no reason why such delegated pastoral and sacramental oversight should not be provided by retired bishops from within the province in question, and recommend that a province making provision in this manner should maintain a list of bishops who would be suitable and acceptable to undertake such a ministry. In principle, we see no difficulty in bishops from other provinces of the Communion becoming involved with the life of particular parishes under the terms of these arrangements in appropriate cases.

It was NACDAP that issued “A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004” , now signed by some 30 bishops. The Bishop of South Carolina 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.”

But that “statement of submission” omits any reference to this part of the Windsor Report.

The Diocese of Connecticut has published a note explaining exactly how DEPO would work in that diocese. It is in PDF format, but an accessible copy is now here.

The subject will no doubt be reviewed by the newly appointed Panel of Reference. This move was welcomed earlier in the week by Frank Griswold, see Presiding Bishop welcomes appointment of Panel of Reference chair.

Update for a counter-argument against all this, from Kendall Harmon, see On the Inadequacy of DEPO.


weekend columns

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writes about Corpus Christi processions in England in Stepping on sweet herbs.

Roderick Strange writes about Pentecost in Fire of the spirit enlivens and forges bonds. Also in The Times Nick Wyke writes about Christian Aid Week in The collectors who believe in life before death.

Obituaries of Hugh Montefiore are in all the newspapers:
The Times

Elsewhere, this lengthy (40 page)article, A Personal View of Anglican Uniatism, available only as PDF file, by Aidan Nichols, has attracted some attention.

Mark Harris has written for the Witness about moratoria, in Roses among the Thorns: The African Anglican Bishops’ Communiqué.

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