Thinking Anglicans

Rowan Williams speaks at Global South meeting

Press release from Lambeth Palace
For immediate use
31st October 2005

Archbishop – church’s hope ‘only in Christ’

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told Anglican Church leaders from the Global South that the only ground for unity in the church ‘is to be found in Christ’. Speaking at the 3rd Anglican Global South to South Encounter meeting at Ain al Sukhna, some 80 miles south of Cairo, Dr Williams said that the church had to be focussed on Christ:

“The church is one because Jesus Christ is one; the church is holy because Jesus Christ is holy; the church is catholic because Jesus Christ is the saviour of all; the church is apostolic because as the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends us. In other words, if we are to understand the nature of the church at all, we are to understand who Jesus Christ is and what he does.”

“Someone said recently that the path to heaven doesn’t lie necessarily through Lambeth. I agree. The path to heaven lies solely through Jesus Christ our Saviour and the unity he gives and the only use and integrity of our instruments of unity comes when they serve that.”

“Now I don’t suggest that we can forget the practical questions that are laid upon us at the moment in our Anglican fellowship. But I do say that we shall never begin to answer them adequately unless our eyes, our minds and our hearts are with Jesus, are where Jesus is.”

The Archbishop said that one of the greatest challenges faced by Anglicans was the development of authentically local voices in liturgy.

“In all sorts of ways the church over the centuries has lent itself to the error, indeed the sin of trying to make cultural captives, whether it is the mass export of Hymns Ancient and Modern to the remote parts of the mission field … the shadow of the British Empire that hangs over our own Communion or the export of American values and styles to the whole world; we are in a real difficulty here…. The question comes back again and again; ‘How do we encourage people to write liturgy, to write prayer books, to write Eucharistic prayers, in their own language with the rhythm, the association and resonance that your own language has for you and no other has.”

He said that the church had to find its holiness ‘under the cross’; where people were in need of healing:

“… our holiness takes us where Jesus goes; our holiness takes us to those Jesus died for; it takes us into the neighbourhood of those who are forgotten, who have no voice, those who need healing and forgiveness. It takes us into very strange places indeed and the holy person, as we all know, is often found in very odd company.”

Following the lecture, Dr Williams answered questions from the conference on a number of areas.

On sexuality, he affirmed that the church had not been persuaded of the acceptability of same sex unions. These questions, though, would not go away.

“Theologians will go on discussing this and it will not be possible to stop them. For nearly a century, in the 4th century in this country of Egypt, the conflict over the Trinity raged between theologians and bishops and was not resolved overnight. I distinguish as clearly as I can a question a theologian may ask and an action or determination a church may take or a bishop may take. I think this is a necessary distinction for the life and health of the church. It would be a tragedy if the church sought to suppress questions; it is equally a tragedy when the church seeks to create facts on the ground that foreclose discussion and reflection on such questions.”

On the question of authority within the Anglican Communion, he said that he had no desire to assume further powers:

“Since I do not have canonical power outside my own province, my freedom is limited. I say it as a matter of actual fact; I do not have authority over the canons and constitutions of another province… I don’t want to be a kind of pope, solving the problems of every province.

“For me, the prospect of an Anglican ‘covenant’ or a convergent system of canon law is the best hope that we have. That being said, many provinces as we know, are wedded to the idea of an absolute constitutional independence.”

On the Windsor Report, he said that it was too early to come to a judgement as to whether or not the responses of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada satisfied the terms of the report:

“I don’t think we could say that they have satisfied in a simple and direct way what Windsor asked because that process is still continuing and will continue. Archbishop Eames gave an optimistic reading of this; I’m waiting to see.”

On the status of the networks of dissenting parishes in the United States and Canada, he said that he was happy to recognise them as part of the Anglican Communion.

“There is no doubt in my mind that these networks are full members of the Anglican Communion; that is to say that their bishops, their clergy and their people are involved with the Communion which I share with them, which we all share with them. Now formal ecclesial recognition of a network, as if it were a province, is not so simply in my hands or the hands of any individual. But I do want to say quite simply yes of course; these are part of our Anglican fellowship and I welcome that.”

The Archbishop’s full text is here.


communique from Egypt

The meeting in Egypt has issued a communique, entitled A Third Trumpet from the South: Trumpet III The Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter Red Sea (Egypt), 25-30 October 2005

You can find copies of this document either here or here or here. No doubt copies of it will be sent to other agencies in due course. The original PDF file seems to be available only from the AAC.

Update Monday morning
The communique has now appeared on the Anglican Communion News Service: The Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter.

First press reports on this:
Reuters Conservative Anglicans warn liberal churches in West
Associated Press Anglicans: N. American Church Too Liberal


civil partnerships: earlier CEN analysis

Back in August, an analysis of the bishops’ Pastoral Statement, written by Andrew Goddard, was published in the Church of England Newspaper but not on their website: The Civil Partnership Act and the Church of England. This escaped my attention at the time.


final synod papers

The final papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod are now online and linked in my earlier posting here.

Also circulated to Synod members and now online is a summary of the decisions of the most recent meeting (4/5 October) of the House of Bishops.


news from Egypt

The only substantive report so far from the Anglican meeting there is this one from Reuters:
Rowan urges split church to keep talking


reading for Saturday

Alister McGrath writes in The Times about atheism: The Enlightenment is over, and atheism has lost its moral cutting edge.

Paul Oestreicher writes in the Guardian about the rebuilding of Dresden’s cathedral.

Christopher Howse summarises what Rowan Williams said to Mary Midgley about Gaia in a dialogue at St Paul’s Cathedral in Living on the skin of Gaia (you can read more about the book here).

Those who found Rowan Williams’ remarks about Islam in the context of Richard Hooker interesting may also find this critique by Colin Chapman of last summer’s Spectator article on Islam of interest: An Open Letter to Patrick Sookhdeo, while Madeleine Bunting has an interview today in the Guardian with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Speaking of Williams and Hooker, Graham Kings’ review of Anglican Identities has been republished:‘Passionate Patience’.


more news from Nigeria

There has been an ominous development in the Nigerians criticise Akinola story: see this report from Changing Attitude:
Changing Attitude Nigeria members held by police.


voting turnout analysis

The figures for diocesan voting turnout published by the Church Times last week have been analysed.

In summary, less than 61% of the eligible clergy, and less than 49% of the eligible laity bothered to vote at all. There is a wide variation between dioceses but there is no significant correlation between the clergy turnout and the lay turnout in the same diocese.
The highest clergy turnout was in Derby (77.2%), and the lowest was in Oxford (48.4%).
The highest laity turnout was in Rochester (63.9%) and the lowest was in Worcester (37.4%).

These figures exclude results not made available to the Church Times, namely Europe, Guildford, and Winchester. Also the Bath & Wells laity election was declared void and will be rerun, and the Clergy election in Sodor & Man was uncontested.

The total number of eligible voters included in this analysis was: Clergy 12,264; Laity 25,333.

The full table of figures is now available here.


Rowan Williams on Richard Hooker

Another long but very worthwhile lecture. Rowan Williams delivered the The Richard Hooker Lecture at the Temple Church yesterday.

Richard Hooker (c1554-1600): The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity Revisited.


Synod papers

The newly elected General Synod will meet in London on Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 November. Papers for this meeting, listed below, are now appearing online. GS 1593 and 1595 are scheduled for dispatch to members on Friday this week.

Legislative Business

GS 1592 Report by the Business Committee
GS 1593 Review of Clergy Terms of Service: Property Issues and Progress Report
GS 1595 Facing the Challenge of Terrorism

Papers for Legislative Business

GS 1348B Amending Canon No 24

GS 1594 Payments to the Churches Conservation Trust Order 2005
GS 1594X Report and Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1596 Admission of Baptised Children to Holy Communion Regulations
GS 1596X Report and Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1597 Draft Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure [large file: 5 MB]
GS 1598 Draft Amending Canon No 27
GS 1599 Draft Vacancy in See Committees (Amendment) Regulation
GS 1597-9X Report and Explanatory Memorandum

GS 1600 Clergy Discipline Appeals Rules
GS 1600X Explanatory Memorandum


Washington Post on African attitudes

Two articles on Monday in the Washington Post discuss homosexuality in Africa.

Nigerian Churches Tell West to Practice What It Preached on Gays
includes some quotes from Archbishop Akinola.

A companion piece is Namibia Chips Away at African Taboos on Homosexuality


Scripture and Sexuality

Scripture and Sexuality – our commitment to listening and learning is the title of a major lecture delivered yesterday by the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan. Here’s how it starts:

Few people doubt that the 1998 Lambeth Resolution on Human Sexuality – Lambeth 1 10 as it has come to be known has not had a profound effect on the Anglican Communion. In fact you could be pardoned for thinking that the Anglican Communion since then has not been interested in any other topic, since it has dominated the Agendas of Provinces, meetings of Primates and of the Anglican Consultative Council. The ordination of a practising homosexual as a Bishop in the USA and the blessing of same sex relationships in Canada might not have had the repercussions they have had, if the Lambeth Conference in 1998 had not had such an acrimonious debate about sexuality. What I would like to do in this lecture is to look at Lambeth 1 10 and ask why this resolution rather than any other has caused such problems, for after all there were 63 pages of resolutions at the 1998 Lambeth Conference.

It’s an extended read, but well worth it.


London DEF complains about Robinson

Update Thursday The Guardian today carries a news report by Stephen Bates on this, see Church rift deepens over gay bishop’s visit.

The London Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship Committee has sent a letter to DEF members, which criticises the plans for the Changing Attitude service described here.

The full text of this letter can be found below the fold.



Guardian extra

The Guardian has now published on its website the Face to Faith column by Giles Fraser that was in the Saturday paper with the strapline:

Secularists who dismiss Christianity as the choice of the stupid should turn their critical gaze a little closer to home…

Here’s a part of it:

While the ordinary atheist remains indifferent to religion and all its ways, the born-again atheist has adopted the worst arrogance of Christian fundamentalists – just in negative.

Part of the problem is that many born-again atheists remain trapped in a 19th-century time warp, reheating the standard refutations of religious belief based on a form of rationalism that harks back to an era of fob-watches and long sideburns. One Oxford don has called the website of the National Secular Society a “museum of modernity, untroubled by the awkward rise of postmodernity”. Ignoring the fact that at least three generations of thought have challenged an uncritical faith in rationality, the society continues to build its temples to reason, deaf to claims that it is building on sand.

This commitment to Victorian philosophy turns to farce when campaigning secularists describe themselves as freethinkers. In truth, atheism is about as alternative as Rod Stewart. The joke is that many who were converted at university via Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene think of themselves as agents of some subversive counterculturalism. This is ridiculous to Da Vinci Code proportions. Contemporary atheism is mainstream stuff. As John Updike put it: “Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic uninterestingness as an intellectual position.”

(More about the “Secularist of the Year” award mentioned can be found here)


More statistics

The following statistics were supplied at the press briefing for the November 2005 meeting of the General Synod, held on 21 October.

New General Synod. Figures as at October 2005
Age profile of elected diocesan representatives

Average in 2000

Clergy average age reflects the clergy population as a whole.

Gender balance by Houses


These figures exclude 9 voting places not currently filled – 6 Bath and Wells laity, 1 religious community laity, Third Estates Commissioner and one appointed Archbishops’ Council place occupied by a diocesan bishop. They also exclude the 10 places available, but rarely filled, for co-opted voting members, and the 13 observer places for deaf, ecumenical and youth representatives.

Gender balance by Houses January 2001


(These figures exclude 1 voting place not filled – one appointed Archbishops’ Council place occupied by a diocesan bishop. They also exclude 10 places available, but rarely filled, for co-opted voting members and 8 observer places for ecumenical representatives.)


BBC on Egypt meeting

The BBC Sunday programme had a piece on this. Ed Stourton interviews Stephen Bates, mostly about Abp Akinola. Mention is also made of the Civil Partnership Act and the CofE response.

Global South
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury will be in Egypt this week, talking to a meeting of the group of Anglican Churches known as Global South. But one of them, the church of Nigeria, has just changed its constitution to remove references to the see of Canterbury as the focus for Anglican unity. It is another chapter in the long-running saga of Anglican travails over the issue of homosexuality.
Listen (4m 15s) (Real audio)


American paranoia?

After the Living Church published on 19 October a news report, Via Media Groups Mobilize for the ‘Day After’, the American Anglican Council got very excited about a document that came its way which was a partial rough draft of some minutes from a Via Media USA steering committee meeting. Curiously, the particular organisation discussed in this draft, the NACDAP, hasn’t yet shown any reaction at all.

Update Monday 24 Oct the NACDAP has now published this response: Network responds to “worst-case scenario” and reprinted the original document on its own website.

The author of the draft has issued a personal response which is reproduced here below the fold.

The silliness of all this is discussed by Mark Harris in this blog item, The AAC and the Via Media Memo: Lots of Noise and Smoke, and Certainly Paranoia.

Very sensible comments about it were made by Dale Rye on titusonenine which you can read here and here.



for Saturday reading

First, two journals have reviewed the same book today: Earthly Powers: religion and politics in Europe from the French Revolution to the Great War by Michael Burleigh.
Diarmaid MacCulloch reviews it in the Guardian Holy and profane
Owen Chadwick reviews it in the Tablet The idolatry of nationhood

Second, in the godslots, we have
Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writing about Cherie’s love of Chesterton
Bernard Crick in the Guardian saying that This age of fanaticism is no time for non-believers to make enemies
and Roderick Strange in The Times By loving our enemies we come as close as we can to God’s perfection.

The October Fulcrum newsletter is by Francis Bridger and is entitled The Anglican Communion and the Evangelical Centre. This reflects on the recent Eames lectures.

And here is the speech that Rowan Williams delivered earlier this month at the confirmation of the election of John Sentamu as Archbishop of York.

1 Comment

Sandy Millar and Uganda

The Diocese of London has issued this announcement:
Preb Sandy Millar to become a Bishop

Bishop of London hails the appointment as ‘a very welcome step’

The Most Rev’d Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda, with the August 2004 consent of the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda, appointed a priest of the Church of England, the Rev’d Prebendary Sandy Millar, as Assistant Bishop in the Church of Uganda. He will be consecrated in Uganda on 27th November 2005.

Bishop-elect Millar will be licensed to act as a Bishop in Mission in the London Diocese using his wide experience as a church planter and growth practitioner…

This story goes back a full year and more, see CEN from September 2004, Sandy Millar proposed as ‘missionary bishop’ or Church Times Millar’s tale is not confirmed.

Read the full press release for all the details. But note in particular the following excerpts:

“…This step has been taken with the full support and encouragement of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The two Archbishops were in touch by letter about the proposal in 2004. The consecration of Prebendary Millar with the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury could not be more different from the intrusions into the affairs of other provinces which formed part of the agenda for the Windsor Commission. Unsanctioned intrusions lead to fragmentation. This step by contrast recognises the reality of a wired up world in a way that promotes closer communion. The particular circumstances of this appointment make it very unlikely that it will establish a precedent…

“…Sandy will of course continue to respond to invitations as he does now but to suggest [as some people have done] that he might become a standard bearer for Church of England dissidents in other Dioceses is to misunderstand the man and to misunderstand the disciplines under which bishops in our church operate…


Archbishop speaks

There was a splendid interview of Dr John Sentamu, the new Archbishop of York, on the BBC Today programme this morning. Listen to it here.

Friday afternoon update

A number of online reports of the interview have now appeared.

Telegraph Archbishop of York reveals his anger at racist letters
Times Racists sent excrement-filled letters to black Archbishop
BBC Hate mail sent to new archbishop

Anglican Mainstream has published this fragment of a transcript.