Thinking Anglicans

interviews with Bishop Katharine

There have been several interviews:

Time 10 Questions For Katharine Jefferts Schori or without graphics here.

Living Church Bishop Jefferts Schori: Open to the Spirit’s Leading.

Back in June, PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly had a TV interview: you can read the transcript or watch the video here.

Tonight, CBS Nightly News will probably run an interview with her. British viewers of Sky News can also see it.
Update See Bishop Jefferts Schori: Take two
Update see article based upon the interview here. Also links to video clip.


Saturday's opinion columns

In this week’s Tablet Richard Harries writes about The female mitre.

Yesterday’s Guardian had an interesting feature article by Natasha Walter about CofE schools: On a wink and a prayer.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about the poet RS Thomas.

Roderick Strange in The Times has We must not stray from understanding the essential inhumanity of evil.


It’s a relationship, not a doctrinal quiz

Vincent Strudwick wrote in last week’s Church Times about the proposed Anglican covenant. The strapline:

The Anglican covenant is about working together, not agreeing on doctrine. Give it a chance, argues Vincent Strudwick: ‘We need each other and our conflicting views in this task’

Please read the whole article.


The saga of Archbishop Malango

From last week’s Church Times :

Pat Ashworth reports at length on an episcopal saga in Central Africa, Court pursues Primate over bishop’s aborted trial. She concludes:

…The Archbishop of Canterbury has no jurisdiction in Central Africa. But there is a right of appeal to him in the canons on matters of law and fact. There is likely now to be a two-pronged attack on Archbishop Malango: a secular court compelling him to set the trial down for continuation, and a call for Canterbury to instruct him to resume the trial. New legal ground could be broken.

Dr Williams has already indicated that he believes Archbishop Malango — who is due to retire at some time in the next year — should suspend Bishop Kunonga. In a statement to The Sunday Times last month, he said: “In the context of a prolonged and political crisis, the diocese of Harare faces intolerable strain in the form of the very grave and unresolved accusations against Bishop Kunonga. In other jurisdictions, a priest or bishop facing such serious charges would be suspended without prejudice until the case had been closed. It is therefore very difficult for Bishop Kunonga to be regarded as capable of functioning as a bishop elsewhere in the Communion.”

Lambeth Palace said in a further statement on Monday: “The Palace has been in conversation with the Archbishop and others in the province as well as with the Bishop of Harare. It remains our view that due process and principles of natural justice must be followed for the benefit of all.”

Attempts to reach Archbishop Malango failed this week. A member of the Lambeth Commission, he has been prominent in the condemnation of the Episcopal Church in the United States over same-sex blessings, and of the Church of England over civil partnerships. He has described the implications of these as “staggering. . . It will seriously undermine our ability to reach people for Christ across the globe.”


synod reports from CT

The hugely comprehensive coverage of General Synod in today’s Church Times is available at present only to subscribers. TA will link to that material next week. For now, the following items are available:

News Report: Synod hands women over to drafting group

Leader: One faith, one Lord, one Church

Columnist: If only the Church could make its mind up by Giles Fraser

1 Comment

synod reports from CEN

The Church of England Newspaper is on the web today with numerous reports of General Synod:

Quandary ahead on women bishops
Faithful Cities report lacks evangelistic focus – says Synod
Commissioners want scrutiny
Synod’s Carbon attitudes lukewarm
Women bishops are justified
Archbishop criticises US Churchs legal processes for doubts
Dr Williams clarifies his thinking on the plans for a two-tier Anglican Communion
Church to double FE chaplains
Pensions plan welcomed
Synod debates merits of tax policy
Archbishop demonstrates that he has found his true home in York
Couples allowed to wed in any churches where they have link
Plans for freehold replacement unveiled to Synod members
Prisons policy defended


synod press coverage last items

The Times mentioned the final day of synod in Ruth Gledhill’s story about Ndungane’s letter: Church must keep to ‘middle ground’.

Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph was able to report Give married couples an even break on benefits, says Synod. This pleased the writers of leader columns there: The Synod’s solid sense.


General Synod: question about Prisons

Updated Thursday – see below

As background to this question, the Church of England Newspaper published a news report last week headlined Prison ministry axed.
There was also a report in the Telegraph Prison service axes Christian course and an opinion item also.
The CEN article was mentioned during the debate on the report of the business committee, at the start of the synod meeting last Friday, and it also led to an additional question being raised, which was answered on Tuesday morning. There were also several supplementary questions. The whole sequence can be listened to here.

The Ven Alan Hawker (Bristol) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:

Q: In the light of recent press reports about the ending of particular Christian programmes for prisons, will the House of Bishops, in consultation with the Mission and Public Affairs Council, ascertain the facts and make representations to the Home Secretary?

The Bishop of Worcester as the Bishop to HM Prisons to reply.

A: I thank the Archdeacon and Mrs Ruoff who first raised the issue for the opportunity to correct the very inaccurate reports in the Church of England Newspaper about the ending of the Inner Change Programme at HMP Dartmoor. These reports suggest that it is becoming more difficult or even impossible to gain approval for specifically Christian programmes in prisons. I have consulted with the Chaplain General, who is of course a member of the Synod and with us this morning.

The Inner Change programme failed on five different counts to obtain approval under the Prison Services ‘Effective Intervention’ Criteria. For instance objective research on re-offending rates sadly did not confirm the claims made for the programme: experience of the programme in the USA has been mixed, and there have been concerns about its ability to integrate with general chaplaincy provision. Contrary to what is said in the CEN, the Chaplain General was not involved in the decision, which was made by the Area Manager after the usual panel meeting. The same panel and the same Area Manager have accredited a number of specifically Christian programmes including Kairos. Many specifically Christian programmes are approved and taking place in prisons – Alpha probably being the best known. The idea that chaplains have to sign a ‘multi-faith covenant’ is simply not true.

The Standing Committee of the House of Bishops is currently planning the agenda for the October meeting of the House and I have been asked by the Archbishop of York to propose an outline for a session or sessions on the criminal justice system. I am sure that the position of the Christian faith and practice in prisons would be part of that discussion. I am in regular touch with Christopher Jones and the members of the Mission and Public Affairs Division, and shall be glad with him to supply any necessary briefing if the Private Member’s Motion which has just been tabled comes to be debated.

The pressures in the prison system, with record numbers incarcerated, and the variety of religious faiths represented, present a hugely challenging environment for the Service in general and the Chaplaincy in particular. Despite these pressures, the Chaplain General has enabled the production of policies which maintain the proper balance between maintaining that which is specifically Christian and enabling proper provision for other faith communities so that the needs of their members can be met. I would wish to assure him and all chaplains of our support and our prayers in their demanding task, and Synod of the continued validity of Christian witness in prisons.


Andrew Carey has responded to Bishop Selby: you can read it here. And there is a news item also: Prisons policy defended.

And Andrew has further comments about this on his blog here.

And, in relation to the Telegraph coverage, there is a letter from the Director General of the Prison Service here.


some American responses to General Convention

The Presiding Bishop has issued some personal thoughts in A Word to the Church.

Bruce Mullin has written at Beliefnet What’s Going on in the Anglican Communion?

The Living Church has published an editorial comment Convention Stumbles and Falls on Windsor Report.

The Anglican Communion Institute has published Our New Season of Anglican Maturing by Christopher Seitz, Ephraim Radner, Philip Turner. Reaction to it by Matt Kennedy is here. A further article by Ephraim Radner in response to Kennedy is here.

Tom Woodward’s blog has published A Manifesto by The Rev. William R. Coats.


another reaction to the vote on Monday

11 July 2006


The Director of the Anglican organisation, Affirming Catholicism, the Rev’d Richard Jenkins, today welcomed the decision of the Church of England’s General Synod to press ahead with moves to admit women to the episcopate. The General Synod, meeting in York over the last 5 days, voted by substantial majorities to welcome and affirm the view that the development was consistent with Anglican faith and practice and to proceed with drafting necessary legislation for women to be ordained as Bishops. Synod also passed an amendment to endorse the view that those who oppose the move are equally loyal Anglicans.

I’m delighted that the Synod has voted so resoundingly to admit women to the episcopate. It has also underlined its determination to find principled ways to keep the minority who object to the move within the body of the Church. We will continue to engage in the process with charity and theological rigour in order to help craft legislation which admits women to the episcopate on the same basis as men, provides a safe and secure space for those who object, and encourages all of us to encounter and enrich each other in one polity.

In the run up to the recent debates, Affirming Catholicism’s theological group made submissions on the issue to the House of Bishops’ working parties and published a book outlining the Catholic case in favour of women bishops which was circulated to every member of General Synod. The Affirming Catholicism group will reconvene once the official legislative drafting group is created. Affirming Catholics in Synod (ACiS) numbers over 90.



Pittsburgh: 9 parishes react against diocese

Updated Wednesday

Nine parishes in the Diocese of Pittsburgh have today issued a press release. You can read the whole thing here. It starts like this:

Nine urban, suburban and rural congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh today challenged the recent actions of the Right Reverend Robert William Duncan and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. On 28 June 2006, the Bishop and Standing Committee announced their intention to withdraw from the duly recognized, geographically-determined Province III of The Episcopal Church, envisioning the emergence of a theologically-determined “Province X.” The parishes believe that these steps, if left unchallenged, could effectively remove the Diocese from The Episcopal Church. The congregations further believe that by requesting “alternative primatial oversight,” the Bishop and Standing Committee seek to remove the Diocese from the oversight of the presiding bishopelect of The Episcopal Church, the Right Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori. The parishes also believe that all of these actions constitute an effort to retain use of property which is properly within the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church while withdrawing from The Episcopal Church.

The diocese has responded with its own press release. It says in part:

…“There continues to be confusion about the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s status in the Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Duncan, “I will say again what we have been saying for months now. We have no plans to be anything but faithful, orthodox, Anglican-Communion-bound Episcopalians, today, tomorrow and the day after that. We are the Episcopal Church in this place and we are going to continue being what we always have been.”

Bishop Duncan went on to note that the June 28 decisions of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Standing Committee did not bring the diocese outside of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church in any way. Instead, they simply served to make clear the diocese’s firm intention, expressed by overwhelming margins at numerous diocesan conventions, to remain a “constituent” member of the Anglican Communion, even while much of the Episcopal Church continues choosing a path that is breaking that bond…

Press coverage of this:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steve Levin Nine Episcopal parishes don’t want new province
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Craig Smith 9 parishes may go to court (This headline directly contradicts what was said at the press conference according to Levin in the P-G; the diocesan statistics are quoted differently too)

Response to claim by diocese concerning Missouri precedent:
Lionel Deimel of PEP has responded to a part of the diocesan press release as follows:

Claim: That the experience of Missouri provides a precedent for withdrawing from a province of the Episcopal Church.
Fact: Article VII of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church does require that a diocese agree to its placement in a particular province. Pittsburgh did agree to being in Province III. The canons of The Episcopal Church specify the assignment of each diocese to a province. There is no provision for withdrawing from a province, only for transferring to another existing province. Missouri was originally in Province VII, which includes most of the Southwest. In the 1960s, Missouri decided that it had little in common with dioceses in that geographical area and would fit better in a more Midwestern region. It stopped participating but did not try to withdraw formally from Province VII. This situation helped encourage General Convention to pass a canonical change specifying a means by which a diocese could transfer to another province. Missouri then followed the specified procedure to transfer to Province V, which includes much of the Midwest.

A much lengthier discussion of all this by Lionel Deimel can be found in An Appraisal of the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s “Withdrawal” of Consent to Inclusion in Province III (PDF format).


More on Lake Malawi

The Nation now reports that Malango rules out Henderson return:

The office of the Anglican Archbishop of Central Africa in Zomba has indicated that the decision to order Bishop James Mwenda to return to Zambia does not mean giving a chance for rejected British clergyman Paul Nicholas Henderson to head the Diocese of Lake Malawi.

Provincial Secretary Eston Pembamoyo said Monday Mwenda had to leave the country to allow for neutral discussions between Anglican bishops in Malawi and the laity of the Lake Malawi on the way forward.
Pembamoyo ruled out the possibility of reconsidering the diocese’s first choice, Henderson, who was rejected following allegations that he supported gay activities in the United Kingdom.

“Henderson’s case is a closed chapter. There is no way we can start discussing him again,” said Pembamoyo…


the heartlands of Anglicanism

ACNS reports that the Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, has written a lengthy reflection on the nature of Anglicanism, and what it means to be an Anglican. The reflection is addressed to his fellow Primates. Here are a few snippets from the early paragraphs:

What does it mean to be Anglican? What is it about Anglicanism that has led so many to conclude that it provides the most productive spiritual soil for living out the Christian faith? What is it that we have, which we dare not lose?

Archbishop Rowan offers his own description of our distinctive Christian inheritance…

It is indeed within the territory encompassed by these strands that I find my own experience and understanding of Christianity. These describe the rich heartlands of Anglicanism — the solid centre, focussed on Jesus Christ, to which we are constantly drawn back by the counterbalancing pull of the other strands, if any one threatens to become disproportionately influential.

These Anglican heartlands are the subject of my reflections — the historic fertile middle ground, which is in danger of being forgotten amid polarising arguments and talk of schism.

The ACNS summary is included below the fold. The full reflection by Archbishop Ndungane is here.



General Synod business: Tuesday morning

Synod ended its July sessions at 11.20 this morning. As your correspondent leaves the University of York the official report of the morning’s business is not yet available, so for the record here is the motion passed by Synod nem con on a show of hands. The business was entitled “Married Couple’s Tax Allowance”, although the motion was heavily amended to make it more general.

That this Synod, wishing to reaffirm the importance of marriage as central to the stability and health of society and the best context in which to bring up children

(a) reaffirm its own priority of supporting family life (including the work of the Mothers’ Union and FLAME) and encouraging more couples to affirm their commitment and love to each other in marriage; and

(b) call upon Her Majesty’s Government to do the same, in all ways open to it and in particular by removing the considerable financial penalties placed on marriage by the tax and benefit system.

Update The official report of the morning’s business is now available here.


further news reports

Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph has New Church effort on women bishops

Ruth Gledhill in The Times has Synod vote on women clergy is setback for traditionalists

Matthew Davies for Episcopal News Service has a detailed report of the debate in Church of England begins long process toward ordaining women bishops

Michael Brown reporting for the Yorkshire Post concentrates on one single speech in Leading Yorkshire cleric attacks bishops over women’s ordination.

Also, though unrelated to synod, yesterday the Guardian had Bishops warn PM over Trident and the BBC had Bishops say Trident is ‘anti-God’.


General Synod business: Monday afternoon

The official report is here. This will be updated following the evening session.


two more reports of this morning's debate

Paul Roberts has written about this morning’s debate here: General Synod – Monday.

Stephen Bates has also written: Going round in circles.


More about this morning's debate

The two major contributions of the Archbishop of Canterbury to today’s debate on women bishops can be found on his own website:
Speech given moving item 14 on Women in the Episcopate at the Church of England’s General Synod
Closing Speech on item 14 (as amended) on Women in the Episcopate at the Church of England’s General Synod
For audio links go here.

Reactions have already come from Forward in Faith, and from WATCH. The latter is a PDF file, so is reproduced below the fold.



Lake Malawi: Mwenda to return to Zambia

The Nation has a report by Juliet Chimwaga Mwenda kicked out, heads back home.

Anglican Bishop James Mwenda at the centre of a controversy over the headship of the Diocese of Lake Malawi is going back home in Zambia, the church’s Archbishop Bernard Malango confirmed Sunday.
But Malango could not give further details on the development, saying he would issue a press statement Monday…


General Synod business: Monday morning

The official report of this morning’s business is available here.