Thinking Anglicans

Chief Rabbi criticises Church of England

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has written an article criticising the action of the General Synod to review its investments in firms whose products are used by Israel in the occupied territories. Some news reports on this:

BBC Church’s Israel policy criticised and listen to this Radio 4 Today discussion (Real Audio – 5 minutes) Jeff Barak of the Jewish Chronicle and Keith Malcouronne, a General Synod member.

Telegraph Jonathan Petre Synod has damaged relations with Jews, says Chief Rabbi

Guardian Stephen Bates Sacks accuses synod of bulldozer ill-judgment

The Times Helen Nugent Chief Rabbi flays Church over vote on Israel assets

Independent Ian Herbert Chief Rabbi attacks Church of England for its Israel protest

The full text of the article, which appears in the Jewish Chronicle today, was issued to the press beforehand. It can be found below the fold.



Tutu speaks out on Guantánamo

Update Saturday
‘The Americans are breaking international law… it is a society heading towards Animal Farm’ – Archbishop Sentamu on Guantanamo

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has joined in the growing chorus of condemnation of America’s Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Read the BBC News report Tutu calls for Guantanamo closure and listen (Real Audio – 8+ minutes) to the Radio 4 Today interview:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been very critical of Britain’s way of dealing with the threat from terrorism and he too, along with Kofi Annan and many others, supports the mounting pressure to close Guantanamo Bay.


Nigeria: open letter to Canterbury and others

Changing Attitude has published a press release, concerning an Open Letter to the Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, the Anglican Communion Office and the Anglican Consultative Council.

You can read the full text of the Open Letter here. It summarises the history of events relating to Changing Attitude (Nigeria) and the press releases from The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and then concludes:

On Wednesday 18 January 2006 the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria approved a bill for an Act prohibiting marriages between people of the same sex. The Bill also prohibits the public show of same sex amorous relationships. Any person involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations in private is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 5 years imprisonment. The bill received the support of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

We understand that the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council is meeting in London in March 2006. We ask that you bring this matter to the attention of the Standing Committee and the Councils of the Anglican Communion. In particular:

We ask that attention be paid to those members of the Councils who are failing to honour the documents and statements agreed by those Councils to listen to the experience of lesbian and gay people.

We ask that the Primates of the Anglican Communion respect the dignity and integrity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Anglicans and oppose legislation designed to curtail our essential right to protection and freedom of association.

We are committed to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We are committed to engage with the Church in dialogue in a spirit of mutual respect, honouring difference.


civil partnerships: a college dean writes

In the Guardian today, Stephen Bates writes that: Dean considers blessing gay couples in civil partnerships.

The letter to which he refers is reproduced below the fold.



Nigeria update

Changing Attitude has issued this press release:
Changing Attitude Nigeria responds to Government proposals to outlaw same-sex marriage

A recent comment on the Nigerian government’s proposals can be found in Vanguard (Lagos) via Holy Nigeria ! or a direct link here. Another comment column from the same source is Homosexuality And Its Enemies.

Mark Harris writing on his blog The Silence Continues includes a portion of the wording of the proposed legislation. The full text can be downloaded in PDF format here from okrasoup.

Andrew Carey writing in the Church of England Newspaper recently said:

The fact of the matter is that evangelical Anglicans elsewhere in the Communion are badly compromised by the Nigerian Church’s attitude to the human rights of homosexuals….

Evangelicals in the west who claim to ‘love the sinner’ while ‘hating the sin’, must work to persuade Anglican leaders elsewhere that a truly pastoral approach to homosexual people must be as concerned about their human rights as it is about their all-too-human wrongs.


Church Representation Rules 2006

Update March 2011 Comments on this article are now closed, but see Church Representation Rules 2011.

Church House Publishing has just issued the 2006 edition of the Church Representation Rules. The rules are not online (but perhaps they ought to be) and the published edition does not list what has actually changed since the previous (2004) edition. The changes are in Statutory Instrument 2004 No 1889, the legal instrument that put them into effect. As this will make little sense without (and probably even with) reference to the old version of the rules I give a summary of the changes below the fold.



ECUSA departures

I have no idea who is responsible for this blog, but it seems to contain useful information:

ECUSA departures

Lists parishes that have left the Episcopal Church USA. When a group of parishioners has left, and the parish itself remains in the ECUSA, it is not listed here.


Lake Malawi update

NIcholas Henderson, whose election as bishop of the diocese of Lake Malawi was not confirmed, is visiting Malawi.

There have been four reports recently, whose tenor suggests that considerable disquiet remains about earlier events there.

The Nation Malawi Pro-gay bishop to visit Malawi 3 Feb

The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) via Anglican Christians for Bishop’s Impeachment 7 Feb

The Nation Malango okays pro-gay bishop visit 10 Feb

The Nation I’m not gay — rejected bishop 13 Feb


Sunday radio items

Three Anglican items from the BBC Sunday programme:


“I am ashamed to be an Anglican”, said the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, this week. “More sanctimonious claptrap from the C of E.” said Canon Andrew White in Iraq. He said he despaired of his church. They were both talking about a resolution passed at this week’s General Synod supporting disinvestment in the company Caterpillar because of the use of their products by Israel in the West bank and Gaza against Palestinians.
This row is of course hugely embarrassing for the C of E and is made even more so by the fact that George Carey’s successor Rowan Williams, supported the motion. But the present Archbishop was clearly worried by the adverse reaction that resulted and wrote to the Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sachs, expressing his deep regret at the effect on Jewish friends and neighbours of how the Synod’s decision had been perceived.
Interviews with Simon McIlwaine, spokesperson for Anglicans for Israel and the Bishop of Chelmsford, John Gladwin.

Listen (11m 17s)

More items below the fold.



Ecumenical comments from the CofE

Two items from the CofE Council for Christian Unity:

Some comments on Ecumenical Responses to “Women Bishops in the Church of England?” by Martin Davie. This is a follow-up to GS Misc 807 which was considered by General Synod last Monday.

A Response from the Faith and Order Advisory Group to the decisions of the Swedish Church Assembly concerning homosexual partnerships
In January 2006 FOAG sent to the Church of Sweden a response to its new official policy on homosexual partnerships and the “Life Together” document underlying it. This response was made available to members of the General Synod and sent to all the Anglican and Lutheran Churches of the Porvoo Agreement.

The Church of Sweden press release relating to this is here.


General Synod: more documents published

Two documents have been added to the CofE website:

The Decisions made by the Synod at the group of sessions are available as an RTF file here. An html copy is here.

The Answers to Questions 61 to the end, i.e. those which were not reached during the Thursday session. These are in an RTF file here.

Written Answers to Questions 1 to 16 and 26 to 60, which differ only very slightly from the oral answers given on Thursday, were issued to the Press, but not to synod members, in printed format on Thursday. The actual answers delivered can be heard in the Audio file published here (scroll to the bottom).

Answers to Questions 17 to 25 were reproduced here earlier, and the corresponding audio file can be found here.

1 Comment

columns for Saturday

Overcoming fear is the first step towards a cure for wounds of the soul is the title of the column by Roderick Strange in The Times.

Christopher Howse writes about RC re-organisation in London in Time for a tricky bit of rewiring.

Giles Fraser writes in the Guardian about how iconoclasm links Milton, Marx and the Sex Pistols with the Jewish and Islamic worlds in Face to Faith.

Alain Woodrow writes in the Tablet about the cartoons, Sacred and profane.


more synod press coverage on Saturday

The Telegraph can’t stop. No less than four items about the slavery issue.
Jonathan Petre An unhappy reminder of complicity in a tragedy
Ben Fenton Church’s slavery apology ‘is not enough’
Letter to the editor The bishop who fought the slave trade
Telegraph leader Slavish guilt

And Times Online had Archbishop apologises to Chief Rabbi over Israel snub by Ruth Gledhill, see also here.

Update Jerusalem Post George Conger Archbishop apologizes for divestment

1 Comment

Archbishop writes to Chief Rabbi

Following on from the General Synod vote about Israeli-related disinvestment, Rowan Williams has sent a letter to England’s Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks. See the press release which includes the full text of the letter.


Friday press reports

Church Times
Synod rejects ‘single-clause’ option for women bishops
Rachel Harden Housing sell-off is ‘deplorable’
Bulldozer motion ‘based on ignorance’

Jonathan Petre Compromise close on women bishops

Michael Hann Should the C of E pay reparations for slavery?


General Synod: Thursday afternoon

Here is the official report: General Synod – Summary of business conducted on Thursday 9th February pm

I will report further on some of the Answers to Questions later.


General Synod: Thursday morning

The motion to move forward on women bishops was passed with 1 negative vote. But there were several people present who abstained. The voting was recorded as 348-1. The official report is here: General Synod – Summary of Business Conducted, Thursday 9th February am. The audio file is now available there.

Details of the rejected amendments are given below the fold. All were lost on a show of hands, except as otherwise noted.

The key paragraph of the motion is very loosely worded, note the phrasing I have emphasised below:

(b) consider that an approach along the lines of “Transferred Episcopal Arrangements”, expressed in a Measure with an associated code of practice, merits further exploration as a basis for proceeding in a way that will maintain the highest possible degree of communion in the Church of England;

Archbishop’s contribution to the debate on the House of Bishops’ Women Bishops Group: Report to the General Synod
Archbishop’s speech summing up the debate on the House of Bishops’ Women Bishops Group: Report to the General Synod

Press Reports:

Reuters Church of England backs plans for women bishops and Williams urges support for women bishops

BBC Synod backs women bishops plan

Press Association Church backs compromise on women bishops



Thursday morning press reports

Church Times Wednesday’s Roundup

Telegraph Jonathan Petre Church offers apology for its role in slavery

The Times Ruth Gledhill Church apologises for role in slave trade

Also, Oliver Kamm Wholly wrong: a holy mess

And a letter to the editor from Lord Carey.

Guardian Stephen Bates Church apologises for benefiting from slave trade

Reuters Anglicans say sorry for role in slave trade

New York Times Neela Banerjee Anglicans Vote to Divest From Concerns in Israel-Occupied Areas

Jerusalem Post George Conger Church of England’s disinvestment vote ‘only advisory’

BBC A stained glass ceiling?


General Synod: Wednesday

This morning’s business is reported on the CofE website:
General Synod – Summary of Business Conducted Wednesday 8th February am.

This includes a full audio record of the Questions about the Octavia Hill Estates including the supplementary questions and answers. The text of Andreas Whittam Smith’s written answers is below the fold.

In his supplementary answers, he referred to the Oxford judgement. That can be read in full here (PDF format)

Press Association
Martha Linden Church Commissioners reject housing sale criticism

Church of England Newspaper
Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Matt Cresswell Bishop says property sale will affect Church’s mission

The CEN has placed these Synod stories from yesterday online:
Rural discrimination claim
Synod plea for stronger Christian ethos in Church colleges
Convergence revealed in conversations with Baptists

The official report of the afternoon’s business is here:General Synod – Summary of Business Conducted on Wednesday 8th February pm
When noting the voting figures given, it may help to remember that the total membership of the synod is 466.

Archbishop’s contribution to the debate on the Bicentenary of the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade

Associated Press Church of England to apologize for role in slave trade
BBC Church apologises for slave trade
ekklesia Church of England apologises for part in slave trade



press reports of Tuesday's debates

Guardian Stephen Bates
Synod opens debate on women bishops

Telegraph Jonathan Petre
General Synod tries to smooth path for first woman bishop

Press Association Compromise over women bishops ‘discriminatory’

Church Times Synod Roundup

And, Alastair Cutting is blogging from the synod.

Some other press coverage of the Caterpillar matter:
Jerusalem Post George Conger Lord Carey ‘ashamed to be an Anglican’
Haaretz Anglican Church in Britain decides to divest
Palestine News Agency UK Campaigners Welcome Church of England Divestment Vote on Caterpillar
ekklesia C of E’s disinvestment vote increases risk for arms dealers say campaigners