Thinking Anglicans

ACN meeting in Pittsburgh

Updated Tuesday morning
Initial press coverage of this speech:
Episcopal News Service Network meeting opens with challenge to Canterbury
Associated Press Conservative Episcopal bishop says Anglican church at crossroads

The Anglican Communion Network is holding its Annual Council Meeting in Pittsburgh. You can read the press release about this here. The PIttsburgh Post-Gazette ran this preview.

The full text of the Moderator’s Address has been published. It gives a detailed picture of how the ACN views itself and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Here is the section about the appeals for “Alternative Primatial Oversight”:

First, there is the matter of the appeal of seven Network Dioceses for an extra-ordinary pastoral relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury, a relationship that most have described as “alternative primatial oversight.” After the Bishops and Standing Committees of the seven Dioceses lodged the request, the Bishops of the seven Dioceses worked together on a submission to Lambeth Palace which unified and developed the original requests.. This fourteen page submission, including appendices, was transmitted in the week of July 16th. The purpose of the appeal was:

  • disassociation from “innovating” ECUSA
  • spiritual cover through re-assignment of the tasks normally assigned to the Presiding Bishop
  • recognition of Communion standing from Canterbury as required in the ECUSA constitution
  • commitment to accountability under the Constitution and Canons as an “enduring” ECUSA, and;
  • the creation of a practical “cease-fire” in the American Church such that the Communion Covenant process might run its course.

Needless to say, we are hopeful about the Appeal, if not necessarily optimistic. This is a kairos moment in the life of the Anglican Communion, especially as regards the evolving role of its leadership by the Archbishop of Canterbury. If Canterbury can find a way to recognize the spiritual legitimacy of the claim of the Network Dioceses (and of the Network Parishes in Non-Network Dioceses) – together, one would hope, with the wider fellowship of emerging “Windsor dioceses” — to be that part of ECUSA that has “not walked apart” from the Communion – that has sacrificially and faithfully stood for what is the Communion’s articulated teaching and for what are the accepted boundaries of its order – then Canterbury sustains and renews his claim to be “gatherer” and “moral voice” of the Communion. To do this, he must bring along a strong majority of the Primates and of his own House of Bishops, for he is no pope. But do this he must. If he fails, any hope for a Communion-unifying solution slips away, and so does the shape and leadership of the Anglican Communion as we have known them. Our prayers are with Rowan Williams now more than ever. It is a kairos moment, a crossroads of Church history.


Prison Service: radio discussion

From the BBC radio programme Sunday:

Inner Change Freedom Initiative

The Inner Change Freedom Initiative is a Christian programme aimed at reforming prisoners which has been in operation in Dartmoor since April but the Prison Service has now denied it formal approval and that means it will have to stop in October. The people who run the programme, the Prison Fellowship, believe it is being shut down because it’s too Christian and falls foul of the prison’s diversity policy. They have attracted some high level support in the Church hierarchy. The Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn, says the Chaplain General of the Prison Service should resign over the matter. However by no means all his fellow bishops agree. Edward [Stourton] talked to Peter Selby, the bishop of Worcester, who is the Church of England’s Bishop for Prisons.

Listen (4m 3s) (Real Audio)


more ECUSA legal moves against bishops

Several reports of American bishops under fire:

First, in relation to San Joaquin some correspondence has been published on Brad Drell’s blog. Here is a PDF file which contains:

  • a five page letter dated 17 July, from the Chancellor of the San Joaquin diocese to the Chair of the Title IV Review Committee, which seeks to rebut the claims made against his bishop, and
  • another five page letter dated 22 June, from Bishop Swing of the Diocese of California (now retired) to Bishop Schofield of the Diocese of San Joaquin which seeks to persuade the latter to take action to rescind the amendments to the constitution of his diocese which precipitated the action against him.

Second, the Living Church has a report that the Presentment Against Bishop of Connecticut Moves Forward. This refers to an action which was last reported on 11 months ago, in August 2005.

Third, there are reports of a complaint against another bishop, this time retired Bishop William J. Cox. See here, and corrections here.

And finally for the record, the Living Church reports on changes to the membership of the Title IV Review Committee. (Title IV of the ECUSA Canons concerns Discipline.)



Perspective is the title of a sermon delivered last Sunday at Evensong in St Albans Cathedral by the Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade, formerly Rector of St Alban’s Parish, Washington, DC.

Psalm 73:21-end
Job 13.13-14.6
Hebrews 2.5-end

The full text is below the fold.


1 Comment

from the papers

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times that The example of Jesus points the way to a meaningful pattern of prayer.

Also, Michael Binyon writes about York’s local hero — the first Christian emperor. ( Yorkshire Post news report here.)

In the Guardian Nicholas Buxton, a participant in the BBC’s Monastery series, now an ordinand at Cambridge, writes Face to Faith.

Also, Karen Higginbottom writes about graduates who don’t want to enter the corporate world finding their true calling in religion, in Keeping the faith.

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writes about Archbishop Milingo in Zambian archbishop reclaims Korean bride.

This week’s Church Times has Jonathan Bartley writing that Christians are in denial on faith hate.


more reports on the Algarve

Pat Ashworth has a detailed report in the Church Times ‘Sadness’ at events that led to Algarve split.
The All Saints website mentioned in this article is here.

There is also a further report in the Algarve Resident this week, Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

Earlier reports are here.


Latvia: bishop writes to president


Bishop Geoffrey Rowell has written to the President of Latvia, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, following the recent events that occurred in Riga.

See Reuters Latvian gay priders bombarded with eggs, excrement and the Baltic Times Gay bashers arrested after parade attack. And also this first hand report on commentisfree.

Update Wednesday evening additional Baltic Times reports here: Gay pride celebration marked by clashes, EU reps call for sanctions on Latvia and FIRE JAUNDZEIKARS.

Update Thursday evening
Thomas Hammarberg is the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg. He has written this article about the Riga events.

Update Friday morning
The Church Times has this by Rachel Harden Protesters attack worshippers.

The bishop’s letter has been published on the diocesan website. The recent statement on human rights by the Latvian president is here. The bishop’s letter concludes:

You have made it recently very clear that human rights lie at the very foundations of the Constitution of Latvia and that they are to be respected without any discrimination or restriction. Furthermore the Constitution also guarantees to the residents of Latvia the right to freedom of speech and assembly. I hope, along with many other Christians and people of goodwill, that those who threaten such human rights will be brought to account and that those attacked at St Saviour´s will be interviewed for the information they can give to assist the process of bringing unlawful behaviour to account. In our opinion, this is important, because its seems evident that the events of July 22nd were not a spontaneous protest, but a pattern of behaviour by organized vigilante groups who use intimidation and threats of violence as their tools. European history is well versed in such tactics and their consequences.

Within the Anglican community there are differing opinions as to the moral appropriateness of homosexual behaviour. However, we are unequivocal in our belief that the victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered toward people of the same sex is anathema to us and that, as children of God, homosexual people deserve the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship. The attack that occurred on Saturday was not, however, just an attack on homosexual people but a hostile assault on a varied number of people and on St Saviour´s church.


San Joaquin development

Updated 1 August
Episcopal News Service Committee set to review accusation against San Joaquin bishop
Living Church Bishop Swing Writes to Bishop Henderson

The Living Church reports that Complaint Alleges Bishop of San Joaquin Has Abandoned Communion.

Four bishops with jurisdiction in the state of California have asked a disciplinary panel to approve an expedited deposition of the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin.

In a letter to the organizing chair of the Title IV [Ecclesiastical Discipline] Review Committee, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles; the Rt. Rev. Jerry M. Lamb, Bishop of Northern California; the Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, Bishop of San Diego; and the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, Bishop of California, are concerned that Bishop Schofield intends to “abandon the communion of this Church.” As one of the primary pieces of their evidence the four cite recent changes that qualify subordination under the diocesan canons to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention.

At its annual meeting last October, delegates to San Joaquin’s convention approved the second reading of a change to Article II of its constitution to state that it “accedes to” the Canons and Constitution of the General Convention “to the extent that such terms and provisions” are “not inconsistent with the terms and provisions of the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin.” The four believe this fact alone is sufficient to remove Bishop Schofield from office without trial.

San Joaquin is in Eastern California, the see city is Fresno.
The diocese has issued this press statement.

The constitutional change made by the diocese is discussed here (PDF) by a local group named Remain Episcopal.

Title IV Canon 9.1 is reproduced below the fold (PDF original here).

A petition opposing this action can be found here.



Fort Worth development

Updated Wednesday

The Diocese of Fort Worth, which earlier had submitted an appeal to the Panel of Reference, and more recently had also asked for “Alternative Primatial Oversight” has now announced that it proposes to withdraw from the regional association of dioceses, known as Province VII: Standing Committee resolves to leave Province VII.

Province VII consists of twelve dioceses in the South West of the USA. They are said to be “the most orthodox province in ECUSA”.

For the background on these internal provinces see this paper (PDF) by Lionel Deimel. This was written about Pittsburgh, which invented the concept of a “Province X”, and that concept is presumably equally applicable here.

Update a further report in the Living Church Fort Worth Dean: General Convention is ‘Outside the Faith’. The Dean of St Vincent’s Cathedral said:

…General Convention is essentially an illegal body now. They have stepped outside the [apostolic] faith.”


about comments

We have two announcements to make to those who comment here:

First, if you are not already doing so, please consider seriously using your own name, rather than a pseudonym. While we do not, at this time, intend to make this a requirement, we do wish to strongly encourage the use of real names.

Second, a few people have sometimes written very long comments that really are essays in their own right, rather than being comments on the original article, or direct responses to previous comments. We have therefore decided to introduce a length limit of 400 words per comment, with immediate effect. Longer comments than that will in future quite probably not be published. If you still want to write such essays, we suggest that you set up your own blog, and you will be very welcome to then link to them in the comments here.

We hope that this will all lead to more and better comments.


CT synod reports

The full set of articles on this month’s General Synod at York is now available on the Church Times website, and each one is listed below.

If instead you want the short official version, the CofE website has two files here at the top of the page.

Women as bishops
Rome’s objections swept aside
Drafting group set women-bishops puzzle PART ONE and PART TWO

Anglican Communion
Dr Williams defends Anglican covenant

Marrying in church
Pretty churches in focus, as couples’ choice is debated

Draft Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure

Draft Budget 2007
Commissioners’ view ‘badly wrong’
Alterations to PCC accounts
C of E wrestles with paying pensions bill
Synod warned of a possible run on grave spaces

Clergy Terms of Service
Clergy updated on their rights

Faithful Cities
Keeping faith with the city

Global Warming
Be prophetic, churchpeople are urged

Marriage and Taxation
Marriage disincentives decried

Further Education
FE chaplains: ‘their time has come’

Prison discipleship programme

Other legislation
Guernsey discipline

Other items
Pioneer ministry
Old Catholic anniversary
World Council of Churches

1 Comment

more ECUSA stories

During the past week or so, lots of articles about ECUSA have appeared in American media. Here is a selection of them.

Steve Levin in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Mainline denominations losing impact on nation

Michael Luo New York Times Leaning Left, but Not When It Comes to Gay Bishops

Christian Century Division looms for Episcopal Church

Via Media Dallas An Open Letter to Bishop James M. Stanton

William E. Swing Bishop of California Communists, Counterfeiters, and Catholics

And a number of articles from the Living Church:

Day of ‘Cathartic Encouragement’ Falls Through. See also the LEAC press release EPISCOPAL ‘MELTDOWN’ ENDS LAY GROUP’S INDICTMENT PRESSURE ON ‘RADICALIZED BISHOPS.

Gary Kriss No Longer Catholic

Jack Iker Bishop of Ft Worth Our Future in Question

George Conger Arkansas Bishop to Allow Non-Sacramental Same-Sex Blessings and the actual text of the bishop’s letter is here.


Saturday: some items for thought

Stuart Kenworthy an American priest serving as a military chaplain in Iraq has written about this experience: Dispatches from the Iraqi desert.

Pete Tobias who is a Liberal Jewish rabbi, has written in Face to Faith in the Guardian that “We must acknowledge that ‘scripture’ was written by fallible humans if we are to solve the Middle East’s troubles.”

Louise Mitchell writes in The Times about interfaith work: ‘Do unto others’ is only the first step on a long and gruelling journey.

Alan Webster writes in The Times about ecumenism in France: French priests put the cordiale into the entente.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about an RH Benson novel in The palm trees of Armageddon.

Last week’s Church Times had this article by Marilyn McCord Adams: Waiting on others can stifle prophetic action.


Rowan Williams radio interview

This morning on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, the Archbishop of Canterbury was interviewed about the Middle East situation.

Here is a transcript of the interview. You can listen to the interview here (Real Audio). It’s about 7.5 minutes in length.


a response to Cardinal Kasper

Women Bishops: A Response to Cardinal Kasper by Tom Wright and David Stancliffe is now available online here at Fulcrum.


Algarve Chaplaincy

Updated Friday evening and Saturday morning

The Church of England Newspaper carries a front page news story about the Anglican chaplaincy in the Algarve, which is in the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe: Algarve parish seeks alternative oversight. There is a further column, also by Andrew Carey, in the same issue, about this matter, which is now available, in an expanded form here.

The Diocese in Europe has issued this statement: St Vincent’s Anglican Church in the Algarve.

The trade union Amicus has issued this statement: Amicus wins pay out for bullied clergyman.

And from the Algarve comes this report: Controversy over new church for Algarve. Update Another report is here.

Friday’s Guardian has a report by Stephen Bates Clergyman compensated after ‘bullying’ by Algarve retirees. Sit&Go ilgalaikė automobilių nuoma

Saturday’s Telegraph has a report by Jonathan Petre Sunshine parishes split as chaplain is forced from job.


Middle East statement by ABC

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this statement:
Archbishop condemns escalating violence in the Middle East.

So far, among London newspapers, only The Times has reported on this. Further discussion by Ruth Gledhill here.

Ekklesia has Williams laments Lebanon vicious spiral of violence.

It has however been reported in Bahrain and in Iran, and was mentioned by the Associated Press and also in The Nation.


CofE has RSS

The Church of England now has an RSS feed for its News page.

Read about it here.

Update and the feed notified me that there is now a press release about it.

Thinking Anglicans also has RSS feeds: one for articles, one for comments. On the home page look in the left hand column for the orange RSS logo above the two links.


listening in Worcester

Here is one Church of England diocese that is taking seriously the request of the Lambeth Conference and other bodies to engage in listening:

Listening for the Truth in Love, which was launched on 13 July, is a listening process. It was set up by the Diocese of Worcester Board for Social Responsibility. It is the result of a resolution passed at the Diocesan Synod meeting of November 2005 which set up a group to provide opportunities and materials to enable conversation about the homosexuality debate.

A pack has been produced that covers the topic from a number of viewpoints and is designed to encourage people to hold meetings to listen to each other’s experiences and opinions. The pack includes leaflets setting out different interpretations of Scriptures, personal experiences and materials for worship.

The individual elements of the pack are PDF files which can be downloaded from this page.

The Bishop of Worcester, the Right Revd Dr Peter Selby commented:

“This pack is designed to enable real conversation around the issue of human sexuality. This means a willingness to listen to different views and be open to new ways of thinking and new possibilities of understanding. We’re not expecting people to suddenly change long-held convictions, but we do hope that through listening there might be healing and learning for us all.”

What are other dioceses doing?


the Anglican covenant proposal

TA recently linked to a Church Times article by Vincent Strudwick. Discussion of the covenant proposals here and elsewhere suggests that not everyone has read the latest covenant document published by the Anglican Communion Office. This was linked on TA back on 22 May, but it bears repetition:

See covering note: Towards an Anglican Covenant

And the actual document The Proposal for an Anglican Covenant starts here.

PDF copies of the document in both English and Spanish can be found here.

Here’s the concluding bit:

The Provenance of this document

This document was prepared by a small working party convened by the Deputy Secretary General at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General. It was intended to inform the deliberation of JSC upon the proposal for an Anglican Covenant and was adopted by them as a basis for further consultation across the Communion. Since this is only a tentative and consultative document, the drafting group was deliberately kept small and relatively inexpensive, which meant confining membership to those who could come easily to London for two day meetings. The CDG mandated by the decision of the JSC will be a body more representative of the wider Anglican Communion.

The members of the group were:

  • Professor Norman Doe, Director of the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University, author of “Canon Law in the Anglican Communion” and member of the Lambeth Commission on Communion;
  • Dr Andrew Goddard, Tutor in Christian Ethics, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and Fellow of the Anglican Communion Institute;
  • Canon Robert Paterson, Senior Bishops’ Adviser, Church in Wales and Vice-Chair of the Primates’ Working Party on Theological Education for the Anglican Communion;
  • Canon John Rees, Legal Adviser to the Anglican Consultative Council, consultant to the Lambeth Commission and to the Reception Reference Group, and convenor of ACLAN;
  • Canon Vincent Strudwick, Fellow Emeritus of Kellogg College, Oxford;
  • Canon Gregory Cameron, Deputy Secretary General, Secretary of the Lambeth Commission and of the Reception Reference Group, ACO Staff Consultant to ACLAN.

London, 20th March 2006