Thinking Anglicans

Panel of Reference Communiqué

Updated Wednesday
The Connecticut Six have issued a press release in response to this.

We, our priests, vestries and congregations, were shocked and gravely disappointed to learn of the Panel of Reference’s actions in causing the Archbishop of Canterbury to withdraw his referral of our applications to the Panel. Our congregations appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, requesting he refer our situation to the Panel of Reference in July 2005 in light of the abusive and hostile actions of the Rt. Rev. Andrew Smith, Bishop of Connecticut….

…Bishop Smith reported at a clergy meeting on February 8, 2006, that the Panel of Reference had notified him of their review and requested a response from him in early January 2006. We received no word from the Panel regarding its communications with Bishop Smith. Now we read in a public document that the Archbishop of Canterbury has withdrawn the Connecticut reference to the Panel “until such time as the matter of the civil cases has been resolved.”

Regrettably, the Panel of Reference did not consult with us or give us an opportunity to speak to their need for a stay of pending civil litigation. Through our counsel, we have repeatedly advised the Diocese of Connecticut that we are agreeable to a referral to the Panel of Reference. Accordingly, we can only assume now that the Diocese and the remaining defendants in the civil litigation have advised the Panel that they will not agree to the Panel’s request to stay the civil litigation. Once again, it appears that the Diocese of Connecticut has denied Parishes the relief and a fair hearing to which they are entitled by evading an acceptable process providing for dispute resolution. Presumably, the Diocese has concluded that it cannot persuade a disinterested mediator of the rectitude of its position…

ACNS has published a Communiqué from the Panel of Reference which reports on a meeting held in London from 9 to 12 May.

It reveals that only three cases have been referred to it so far. Of these:

1. The Diocese of Fort Worth, which does not ordain women to the priesthood, and appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury on the grounds that it is in serious theological dispute with the Episcopal Church, which at its 72nd General Convention in 1997 passed canons to make the ordination of women mandatory. The Panel considered the preliminary draft of its report, and hopes, after consultation with the parties, to publish its recommendations in the near future.

2. An appeal by six parishes in the Diocese of Connecticut against the oversight of their Bishop. Because the Panel decided last year as a matter of principle that it should not normally consider references where civil cases are proceeding, the Archbishop of Canterbury has withdrawn the reference to the Panel until such time as the matter of the civil cases has been resolved.

3. Parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada which have appealed for alternative episcopal oversight. The Panel has developed a preliminary draft of its report and representatives of the Panel would be visiting Vancouver in the immediate future in order to meet with both parties.

No mention at all of any other cases, such as Recife or Florida. However, it also says that two additional references were received in the course of the meeting, upon which work was undertaken.

The Panel has also revised its procedures.


opinion columns

Geoffrey Rowell writes about dance: Let us ignore the mantras of modernity and dance the sacred dances.

Michael Binyon writes about a tent: London opens its desert tent of timelessness.

Christopher Howse writes about the Hidden life of Charterhouse.

Bob Holman writes about obituaries in Face to Faith.

Earlier in the week, following this news report, Simon Jenkins wrote about church buildings: The most important financial appeal I know is new roofs for old churches. This caused some letters in response today.


Saturday press on the Lords debate

Reuters British parliament blocks assisted suicide law
Associated Press British Lawmakers Reject Right-To-Die Bill

The Times David Charter The religious and the righteous unite in a moral crusade and Greg Hurst Peers wreck Bill to legalise euthanasia for terminally ill
And this leader: Means to an end

Telegraph Graeme Wilson Peers split as assisted dying Bill is derailed

Guardian Will Woodward Lords vote to block assisted suicide bill for terminally ill

Independent Ben Russell Lords vote against ‘right to die’ Bill after impassioned debate and this leader: Peer pressure

New York Times Alan Cowell British Religious Leaders Urge Defeat of Assisted-Suicide Bill


what the bishops said yesterday

Here are Hansard links to:

Archbishop of Canterbury
Bishop of St Albans
Bishop of Portsmouth
Lord Carey of Clifton
Lord Habgood

To read these in the context of the entire debate, start here.

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more on today's Lords debate


The amendment by Lord Carlisle was passed by 148 to 100 votes.
BBC Lords block assisted dying bill
The Times Lords block mercy killings Bill
Guardian Lords block right to die bill
Telegraph Lords reject right to die Bill

Archbishop of Canterbury Extracts from a speech given in the House of Lords debate on Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster appeared together on the BBC radio programme Today this morning. Link here (Real Audio, 15+ minutes total). Or link here to download an mp3 file. Or read a transcript on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website.

Together with the Chief Rabbi they also have a joint letter published in The Times this morning. You can read the letter here.
Related news story by Ruth Gledhill: Religious leaders fear ‘right to die’ law would turn into ‘duty to die’.

The Telegraph is editorially opposed to the bill.
Related news story by Graeme Wilson Should doctors help patients to die?

The Guardian is editorially in favour of the bill.

Reuters Three-quarters support assisted dying -poll
Press Association Lords to clash on right-to-die Bill
BBC Lords debate assisted dying bill

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House of Lords debate on assisted suicide

As I mentioned last Saturday, the Church of England is opposed to the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill to be considered in the House of Lords on Friday. A lot of information is available here.

According to Anglican Mainstream:

In a surprise development regarding Lord Joffe’s Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill, Lord Carlisle tabled an amendment yesterday ‘that the bill should now be read a second time this day six months hence’ . This, in effect, kicks the bill into the long grass and will kill it. The vote will take place after the debate on Friday. We expect it to occur sometime after 3pm.

The Care Not Killing petition has been signed by over 100,000 people so far.

This legislation is also heavily opposed by the membership of the Royal College of Physicians. See RCP cannot support legal change on assisted dying – survey results.

The bill is also opposed by many disabled people, see Not Dead Yet in the U.K. – Disability Coalition Opposes Assisted Suicide Bill. And also this.


Church of Ireland General Synod meeting

Detailed reports on what they have done can be found here. A few randomly selected items:

The Diocese of Down and Dromore won an award for its website.

Archbishop Eames announced his retirement in the course of his presidential address (and here is comment from the Belfast Telegraph)

The synod considered Windsor Report 2004: A Further Response which can be read in PDF format here.

The report (again in PDF format) on the Anglican Consultative Council may also be of interest.

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Monday's news

Jonathan Petre reports that Williams turns to ‘wise men’ in crisis over gays by which he means:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has quietly appointed four “wise men” to advise him on the crisis over homosexuals that is threatening to tear the worldwide Anglican Church apart.

They have yet to be named, but are expected to include the liberal Primate of Wales, Archbishop Barry Morgan, and the conservative Primate of Central Africa, Archbishop Bernard Malango.

The group will play a pivotal role following next month’s General Convention of the US Episcopal Church, the American equivalent of the Church of England’s General Synod…

Stephen Bates in the Guardian reports on Anglican relief as California diocese elects straight bishop:

…The election was greeted with some relief in senior church circles but not by the conservative American Anglican Council, which hopes to overturn the Episcopal leadership. A statement said that California remained a “bastion of amorphous Christianity” and criticised all the candidates for not pledging to withhold consent for “same-sex partnered individuals” as bishops.

James Bone in The Times Anglicans avert clash over gays

Meanwhile back in England, Ruth Gledhill reports Church seeks spirituality of youth . . . and doesn’t like what it finds:

THE Church of England has debunked the widely held view that young people are spiritual seekers on a journey to find transcendent truths to fill the “God-shaped hole” within them.

A report published by the Church today indicates that young people are quite happy with a life without God and prefer car boot sales to church…

The book is Making Sense of Generation Y. The Church of England press release is here.

Ruth has also written on her blog about the California election in US election makes schism unlikely.


Nigeria: wording of Canadian resolution

Meeting of the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada
Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre, Niagara Falls ON
2006 04 23-27 [regular spring meeting of the house]


moved by Bishop Lawrence [Archbishop of Moosonee] / seconded by Bishop Poole [Suffragan – Toronto/Credit Valley]

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada notes with grave concern legislation before the Nigerian parliament that would prohibit or severely restrict the freedom of spech, association, expression, and assembly of gay and lesbian persons in Nigeria. This legislation is inconsistent with the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, that recognises these rights as derived from the inherent dignity of the human person.

The Archbishop and Bishops are especially grieved by the strong and public support for this legislation given by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). Whereas Lambeth 1998 resolution I.10 called on churches to listen to the experience of homosexual persons, the proposed legislation criminalises civil and religious same-sex marriage as well as the public and private expression of same-sex affection, all public affiliation between gay persons, and even publicity, public support, and media reporting of the same. The proposed legislation, endorsed in an official communique of the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria signed by its Primate, would make the very act of listening to homosexual persons impossible.

The members of the House of Bishops are in full agreement with the Primates’ statement from Dromantine in 2005, that ‘The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us.’ The Nigerian legislation, and its endorsement by the Church of Nigeria, is indeed anathema to us, and quite at odds with the grace and love given to all human beings in Jesus Christ.

We therefore disassociate ourselves from the actions of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) that are inconsistent with the Commitments of its bishops made at Lambeth and Dromantine, and we call on Anglicans throughout the Communion to listen and respect the human rights of homosexual persons.

Carried unanimously


heterosexual male elected in California

There is extensive news coverage this morning of the election by the Diocese of California of a heterosexual male as its diocesan bishop.

The BBC Sunday radio programme has an interview (about 3 minutes duration) with Craig Martin of the diocesan nominating committee.
Go 16 minutes into the recording, available here (Real Audio). (Better link on Monday).

Episcopal News Service California diocese elects Mark Andrus as bishop
Living Church Alabama Suffragan Elected Bishop of California

Reactions came from:
The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes A Statement by Bishop Duncan on the California Election
The American Anglican Council The American Anglican Council (AAC) Comments on the Episcopal Election in the Diocese of California
Integrity html copy here of PDF original here
The Bishop of Upper South Carolina, Dorsey Henderson and Canon Kendall Harmon, S.C. bishop reacts to California election

Newspaper reports:
New York Times Neela Bannerjee Election of Episcopal Bishop Avoids Inflaming a Crisis
Washington Post John Pomfret Episcopalians Reject Gay Candidates
San Francisco Chronicle Episcopalians avoid rift in picking bishop
San Jose Mercury News Episcopalians avoid schism
Chicago Tribune All Saints keeps its pastor
Los Angeles Times Episcopalians Elect Straight Bishop in S.F.

Here is a eyewitness description of the election by Karen on Kinesis Habemus episcopam!


election weekend opinions

I refer of course to the ECUSA episcopal elections.

Back here in England, we have columns of opinion:

The Times Jonathan Sacks The Jewish tradition is firmly opposed to assisted dying.

This is the view of the Church of England (see also this page on What Can I Do?) and also see the remarks of the Bishop of St Albans. And if you agree you can sign up at Care NOT Killing.

Also in The Times we have Ian Hislop on Broad of church and broad of mind.

In the Telegraph Christopher Howse reports on a new opera about Thomas Becket in King’s friend and victim.

The Guardian has a Face to Faith column by Simon Rocker in which he argues in favour of state funding for faith schools.

Earlier in the week, the Guardian had a column by Giles Fraser titled God is the God of all about the relationship between the BNP and evangelical Christians. The Methodist Church website to which he refers can be found here.
Addendum some more detail on the BNP/Christian issue can be found here.


where to find election results

Updated Saturday evening
There are a total of four episcopal elections in the USA today.

As any results are likely to be published late today, or even from an English viewpoint early tomorrow, I list here the places where the outcomes are most likely to be found.

Eastern Michigan
Background information
Results Election Completed: Ousley elected on 5th ballot.

Background information
Results Election Adjourned after 36 ballots.

Northern California
Background Information
Results Election completed: Beisner elected on 4th ballot.

Background Information
Press coverage prior to the election
Results Election completed: Andrus elected on 3rd ballot.

Initial press coverage afterwards:
BBC Bishop vote avoids gay clergy row
Reuters Heterosexual elected Episcopal Bishop of Calif
Corrected Version of Reuters report

AP via Washington Post Calif. Episcopalians Elect New Bishop

And Elizabeth Day in the Sunday Telegraph gets it spectacularly wrong with Anglicans on brink of crisis as California aims for first lesbian bishop


CofE pensions update

The Church Times has a report today by Bill Bowder: Dioceses asked to find £10m to shore up pensions

The letter referred to in the article can be found on the Church of England web site linked from this page.
WARNING the .rtf file there is (at present) 4.3 Megabytes in size. [file size now fixed] You may find it more convenient to read the letter below the fold here.



Coekin appeal is heard

There are reports of the hearing of the appeal being made by Richard Coekin against the action of Bishop Tom Butler of Southwark.

The Times Vicar defends protest against gay marriage
Church Times Scott-Joynt hears Southwark appeal
Church of England Newspaper Southwark appeal hearing for vicar

Meanwhile Mr Coekin is busy as described by the CEN in Why reaching men with the Gospel is no picnic in the park as well of course as here.


Lake Malawi again

In the Church Times Pat Ashworth reports: Archbishop defies court.

THE ARCHBISHOP of Central Africa, the Most Revd Bernard Malango, and the disputed Bishop of Lake Malawi, the Rt Revd James Mwenda, have been found in contempt of court, and were due to appear with others before a judge yesterday. If they failed to appear, a warrant would be issued for their arrest…


Nigeria: Canadian bishops speak out

According to the Anglican Journal:

Canada’s Anglican bishops unanimously endorsed a motion expressing “grave concern” about proposed legislation in Nigeria that “would prohibit or severely restrict the freedom of speech, association, expression and assembly of gay and lesbian persons.” Their motion also called criticized the (Anglican) Church of Nigeria for its support of the legislation…

Full news story.

Anglican Mainstream has issued an editorial comment, defending the Nigerian church, in response to this news story. You can read that here.


California episcopal election

Update Saturday morning
The Times carries this article by James Bone Lesbian priest who could split the Anglican Church
Chicago Tribune via Lesbian priest may be selected for bishop position Original version: Pastor doesn’t shy from call
Reuters Episcopals consider gays in Calif. bishop election
Washington Post In Bay Area, Diocese May Elect Gay Bishop
Tri-Valley Herald Faithful facing colossal decision
National Public Radio feature on this (3.5 minutes) Listen via this page
San Francisco Examiner Anglicans choosing a bishop and see also the front page headline of the newspaper today (pdf format)
BBC Radio: Today programme interview of David Anderson and Susan Russell (4 minutes)
(hat tip KH for several of these links)

Update Friday
The New York Times has this on the eve of the election Episcopalians Divide Again Over Electing Gay Bishop

There are several news reports about this election for the Diocese of California, which takes place next Saturday.
The election site with all the official information is here.

San Mateo County Times Bishop hopefuls aim for diversity

AP via San Jose Mercury News California Episcopalians consider electing gay bishop

San Franciso Chronicle Gay issue at forefront of Episcopal bishop vote

Marin Independent Journal Episcopal churches brace for election of bishop

Los Angeles Times Church Braces for Possible Election of Gay Bishop

Christian Science Monitor Episcopalians face key votes over gays


Time magazine names Akinola in 100 list

Time has announced its 2006 list of

…the 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example, is transforming our world”.

Under the category of

Leaders & Revolutionaries – Dictators, democrats, holy men (and a TV host) – these are the people with the clout and power to change our world,…

they have included Archbishop Peter Akinola.

The article about him is written by Rick Warren.

Hat Tip: PoliticalSpaghetti.

Update Friday
This matter is reported in the Church of England Newspaper by Andrew Carey in an article titled Archbishop Akinola recognised on Time list.

The Church Times reported it only in a nib (not on web until next week) as follows:

Akinola makes top-people’s list

THE Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, and Pope Benedict XVI have been included in Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. The Iraqi Muslim Shia cleric and military leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, was also included.


more Special Commission followup

Earlier reaction from within ECUSA and in the press to the Special Commission report (issued on 7 April) was recorded here and also here.

Some further items have appeared. This is not a complete list, so please propose additions that I may have overlooked.

First, from the Anglican Communion Institute I want to link to two earlier articles that although not directly in response to the commission’s report, do have some relevance:
If there is a future for ECUSA and the Anglican Communion, then what? by Ephraim Radner dated 2 April
An open letter from the ACI to General Convention members, dated 4 April.

(More recently, Dr Radner wrote a personal note entitled Why I am Still a Member of the Anglican Communion Network and there is also this footnote.)

Next, a further article by Michael Watson Are the SCECAC resolutions intended to authorize private blessings?

David Simmons wrote this analysis and Sarah Dylan Breuer wrote this response to him.

The anthills blog contains several posts about the report. They include:

Mark Harris’s four part commentary on the Windsor Report is here: one, two, three, and four.
Update part 5 added.

Fr Jake proposed some Amendments to the Special Commission’s Proposed Resolutions.

Integrity published its response as a PDF file, but AAC has republished it as html here.


Abp Sentamu interviewed on multiculturalism

Christopher Landau interviewed John Sentamu for the BBC Sunday programme.

You can hear that interview by going 19 minutes foward into this recording (Real Audio). Better and more permanent link from the BBC now available here. The segment is nearly 7 minutes long.

This took place at the Fulcrum conference on in Islington last Friday, at which the archbishop was a main speaker. You can find out all about the conference at this page.

Update CEN report of conference: Finding a place for the Gospel in modern day Europe