Thinking Anglicans

CANA update

Updated Friday

The CANA website has been slightly updated with the news reports already published elsewhere of the Nigerian consecration service.

However, there is more information on the Truro Church website which has published this letter from Martyn Minns. He writes:

…I am also involved in ongoing discussions with Bishop Lee and his chancellor to find a way forward that responds to the various jurisdictional and pastoral challenges that are presented by my consecration. I remain confident that we will be able to do so…

And the Bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, has sent this letter, which I interpret to mean that he has not met his own deadline for publishing an agreed statement as he had indicated previously. He writes:

Since the election of the Rev. Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Church, Fairfax, as a Bishop in the Church of Nigeria, Martyn, the Truro vestry, the Standing Committee and I have had several discussions concerning the challenges this situation posed to the Diocese of Virginia and Truro Church.

Our discussions are continuing. And while I could wish for a more timely resolution to this situation, I am mindful that the Holy Spirit requires much of us, including patience.

As your Bishop, I have sought wise and godly counsel in this matter. In all of this, I have acted with the highest degree of pastoral concern for the congregation of Truro Church while also considering the needs of the entire Diocese.

At this time, I earnestly seek your prayers and support as we continue to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern a way forward that glorifies God and honors our Church.

Friday Update
The Washington Times has Virginia bishops hit impasse.


Episcopal Majority

The website of the lobby group, Episcopal Majority now contains two major articles that taken together explain what the stance of this new group is:

Christopher Wilkins has written Still Remaining Faithful.

Mark Harris has written Necessary but not Sufficient.


Daybreak at Kigali

The Global South Primates meet at Kigali in September. Michael Poon in Singapore has written an interesting essay about what we all might expect from that event: Daybreak at Kigali – Horizons before the Anglican Global South Primates in September 2006.


more on that Dutch interview


Since its original publication here the interview Rowan Williams gave to Nederlands Dagblad has attracted some attention.

The article by Jonathan Wynne-Jones in the Sunday Telegraph Gays must change, says archbishop was reprinted elsewhere, e.g. in Gulf News as Archbishop does a U-turn on gay relationships.

Not everyone is convinced of that interpretation, see for instance, The Canterbury Tail.

One critique of the interview comes from William F. Coats and is reproduced below the fold. Mr Coats’ new group Episcopal Majority has its website here but it does not contain this article.

Update Wednesday
Fr Jake has more about this at Canterbury Attempts to “Hold the Center”.



miscellany from the United States

Associated Press via Dallas Morning News Dallas Episcopalians consider church split

Fun Facts to Know and Tell About ALPO* by Kim Byham

Looking Again for an Episcopal/Anglican Middle by Marshall Scott

Mickey Mouse’s Dog No Longer a Planet (hat tip SR) Satire is alive and well in suburban Chicago.


bank holiday weekend

The Guardian considers John Betjeman’s poetry in a Face to Faith column by Terry Philpot.

So also does Charles Moore in a Telegraph column.

Christopher Howse has written about The Vatican’s war of words. For more on this, the Tablet article by Arthur Roche is here.

In The Times Ziauddin Sardar discusses Hezbollah.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about Dewi Zephaniah Phillips.


more from the Melvyn Bragg interview

Here is another part of the interview. See earlier part here.This interview by Melvyn Bragg of the Archbishop of Canterbury was originally screened on 19 June 2005.

The full transcript of the section dealing with women bishops can be found here. This is reproduced with ITV’s permission.


church press reports on Communion stories

The Church Times has this article: Dr Williams invites US bishops to an exchange of views by Pat Ashworth

The Church of England Newspaper has these articles:
New York summit to bridge American divide by George Conger
Not everything is negotiable ,says Archbishop by Ed Beavan
Martyn Minns consecrated a Nigerian Bishop in US


Central Africa: another election crisis?

Pat Ashworth reports in today’s Church Times that Anxiety about Zimbabwe diocese grows. An excerpt:

FEARS of a crisis similar to the one in Harare are being voiced about the election of a new Bishop of Manicaland, the largest diocese in Zimbabwe. The Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Revd Bernard Malango, has called on church members to “desist from rigging elections and doctoring documents”.

Archbishop Malango was in Mutare last weekend for the election of members to the elective assembly, the body that will choose the new bishop. The election was cancelled at the last minute in June, after allegations of vote-rigging were confirmed ( News, 14 July). Documents had been tampered with to remove two names and substitute others who had not been elected to the assembly. The election was presided over by Mr Justice Kailaile, the judge who abandoned the trial of the Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Nolbert Kunonga, last year.

Insiders say that four of the six members on the assembly are interested in becoming Bishop. A source said on Tuesday: “How are they going to be able to do their assignment in a just, righteous, dignified, transparent, and professional manner when they are interested parties? Another problem, like the one in Harare diocese, is likely to occur.”

The earlier report is here.


Russians write to (some) Network bishops

Updated Friday and again Monday

The Living Church reports that a Letter from Russian Orthodox Church Suggests Overture to the Network.

The letter itself can be read in full here. A related news article from the same website is here: Moscow Patriarchate in solidarity with American Episcopalian bishops who refused to support the woman leader of their Church.

There does seem to be a bit of confusion here. The report by George Conger notes that:

While two of the dioceses that have requested APO, Fort Worth and San Joaquin, do not ordain women to the priesthood, and were motivated to seek APO in part by the election of the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop, the primary reason set out in the consolidated request for intervention by Archbishop Rowan Williams for the seven dioceses was concern with her doctrinal views, not her gender.

And as noted elsewhere, it does seem odd that the author of this letter apparently thinks that Bishops Duncan and Salmon object to the PB-elect based specifically on her gender, but does not include Bishop Jack Iker (whose objections have been equally publicised in the mass media), or Bishop Keith Ackerman (whose position is well known, but whose diocese has not yet taken similar public action).

Update Friday
Bishop Duncan has replied to this letter: see press release here, with links to full text of the reply (PDF format) in both English and Russian.

Update Monday
Some press reports of this:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal Diocese: Russians explore restoring relations
Associated Press Russian church offers to restore ties with conservative dioceses

There is a further Living Church report, Network Welcomes Russian Orthodox Dialogue Proposal.


Melvyn Bragg interview transcript

Last weekend, ITV had a repeat showing of the major interview by Melvyn Bragg of the Archbishop of Canterbury that was originally screened on 19 June 2005.

The full transcript of the section of this interview dealing with homosexuality can be found here. This is reproduced with ITV’s permission.


more concerning the New York meeting

Updated Thursday

The Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold has issued via ENS a statement concerning the meeting announced by the ACO last week: Comment from the Presiding Bishop on September meeting. The main part of what he says is this:

I have become aware of a great deal of speculation regarding a meeting that will take place in New York in mid-September. I would like, therefore, to offer a few clarifying words on what has been conceived as an opportunity for those of differing perspectives to come together in a spirit of mutual respect to exchange views.

Shortly after the General Convention, Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, shared with me some conversations he had had with the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the whole notion of “alternative primatial oversight” and the difficulty in making a response. Though application for the same had been made to the Archbishop, it was clear in our conversation that the Archbishop, though symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, has no direct authority over the internal life of the Provinces that make up the Communion. Canon Kearon’s point was that such requests needed to be discussed and a resolution be sought within the Episcopal Church itself. We agreed that the most helpful next step might be to have a candid conversation to include the Presiding Bishop-elect and me together with bishops who have expressed a need for “alternative primatial oversight,” and to have Canon Kearon join with us in the conversations. Bishops Duncan and Iker were then asked to be participants. We also agreed that the group might be expanded by other bishops to be chosen by the participants themselves. Bishops Duncan and Iker invited Bishops Salmon, Stanton and Wimberly to take part. I have asked Bishops Henderson, O’Neill and Sisk. This is the genesis of the meeting now set for mid-September. Bishop Peter Lee was asked to serve as convener and he in turn thought it would be helpful were he joined by a bishop known to have views different from his own. Accordingly, Bishop John Lipscomb was also asked to serve as convener. Whether or not this is the first in a series or in fact a one-time conversation will be decided by the group itself…

Jim Naughton has commented about this at Daily Episcopalian in The Guest List.

I don’t know whether it is significant that none of the bishops who opposed the “manner of life” resolution — passed on the last day of General Convention and meant to insure our ongoing involvement in conversations regarding the future of the Anglican Communion — have been invited. But any meeting which requires a conservative counterweight to the resolutely centerist Peter Lee of Virginia (see the statement) is weighted heavily to one side.

My hunch is that the composition of this group will give momentum to an argument/fear already abroad in liberal circles: that when push comes our elected episcopal leadership may well betray the convictions of the majorities that elected them for the sake of what they perceive to be our institutional viability.

I am not suggesting that a betrayal is in the works, but this matter continues to be handled on both sides of the ocean in a way certain to demoralize the Church’s left/center majority.

I would feel a lot better about this meeting if some lay people, such as Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, were involved.

The Living Church has reported the statement here.

Update In an email published here, Gregory Cameron has written:

…The meeting in September to which you refer has been convened precisely so that bishops who are asking for alternative primatial oversight can meet with their current primate and his successor to determine from within the Episcopal Church the best way forward. While the Archbishop of Canterbury had a role in establishing this meeting, and will be represented at it by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, it is intended to allow the Episcopal Church to reach its own conclusions, and does not represent any independent action by the Archbishop of Canterbury at all…

G K Cameron
Deputy Secretary General
Anglican Communion Office

This was in reply to an email which is reproduced here.

George Conger has a report in the CEN New York summit to bridge American divide.


Melbourne election: archbishop elected

The candidates were announced earlier.

The Right Reverend Dr Philip Freier has been elected by an overwhelming majority as the new Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne.

Diocesan press release, and ACNS copy of it.

Three newspaper reports in the Melbourne Age from Barney Zwartz:
Church pursues quest for leader
NT bishop favoured as Anglican leader
City’s Anglican bishop named


Connecticut case dismissed by federal court

Updated again Thursday morning

The United States District Court has dismissed the case brought against the Diocese of Connecticut by the “Connecticut Six”. The full ruling can be read as a PDF file, which is available here.

A press release from the Diocese says:

A federal lawsuit filed against Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Andrew D. Smith was dismissed by a judge in a ruling yesterday, August 21.

The civil suit was filed last September by clergy and lay people from six Episcopal parishes (among 176) in Connecticut, against Bishop Smith and others, including the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church USA. The lawsuit accused them of depriving the six plaintiff parishes of their rights, under the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and sought to have a state law that provided for corporate organization of the Episcopal Church declared unconstitutional.

The plaintiff parishes included lay members from St. Paul’s, Darien; Bishop Seabury, Groton; Christ Church, Watertown; Trinity, Bristol; Christ & the Epiphany, East Haven; and St. John’s, Bristol, and clergy from five of those parishes. All six had been in dispute with the Bishop and Diocese over Episcopal authority and jurisdiction. The conflict started in late 2003 with theological differences. As an accommodation to those differences, Bishop Smith offered Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) in early 2004 but it was not accepted by any of the six parishes. The suit was filed after the actions of the bishop in July 2005, when he intervened at St. John’s in Bristol, inhibiting the priest and installing a priest-in-charge and an administrator.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Janet B. Arterton concluded that the bishop acted under canon law, and that the claims by the plaintiffs lacked an essential element justifying a federal suit. Several other claims filed under Connecticut tort law were also dismissed by the federal judge.

Bishop Andrew D. Smith, who is currently out of the state, was reached late yesterday and notified of the court’s decision. In a statement of response he said:

“I am gratified by the decision of Judge Arterton that it is inappropriate to seek federal intervention in a matter of church life and governance. Non-interference by civil authorities in religious matters is a constitutional foundation of our nation and I trust that those members of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut who appealed to the courts will recognize the significance of this ruling and will seek to live in communion with their Bishop and this Church.”

There is also an ENS release: Federal judge dismisses Connecticut lawsuit. This contains a lot more detail and adds the information that:

The six congregations also appealed to the Panel of Reference established by the Archbishop of Canterbury in response to a request of the Primates at Dromantine, Northern Ireland, in February 2005. The Archbishop of Canterbury withdrew the reference to the Panel in May 2006 until the civil case was resolved, citing the decision of the Panel not to consider references where civil cases are in process.

Update Wednesday
The American Anglican Council has issued a “Connecticut Six press release”: Connecticut Six Clarify Status of Civil Litigation. Now also on the CT Six site.

There are also two local newspaper reports: Lawsuit Against Bishop Dismissed and Federal judge dismisses lawsuit over gay Episcopal priest battle.

Update Thursday
The Church of England Newspaper has this report by George Conger Connecticut court case against Bishop thrown out.


Jack Iker interview

Stand Firm has an interview with the Bishop of Fort Worth, Jack Iker
Read it all here.


Rowan Williams interview

Rowan Williams gave an interview to the Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad.
Here is the English translation which is titled The Church is not inclusive.

There is also a news article ‘Church is split by gay movement’s impatience’.

The Telegraph has a short news item by Jonathan Petre headlined Archbishop fears gay divide.


Truro Church and the Nigerian consecration

Although TA reported promptly on the election of Martyn Minns as a Nigerian bishop, on 28 June, we failed to link to the Truro Church press statement, timestamped 1.00 pm the same day, and Vestry letter (PDF) dated the same day, and subsequently made available on the Truro website. The Vestry letter says in part:

We are writing to you, late at night, as we’ve just completed a special meeting of Truro’s vestry to hear about this development. At the close of this meeting the vestry unanimously agreed to give Martyn their vote of endorsement for him to accept this call.

But Martyn’s not going anywhere. The vestry also decided to give Martyn their unanimous endorsement to continue as rector of Truro until we have our next rector in place. As it so happens, CANA is a small enough organization that the requirements on Martyn will initially be relatively light. He will basically be functioning as a pastor to the CANA pastors. Our signatures below indicated that we completely support Martyn in all of these actions. Furthermore, all of this information, including our desire for Martyn to remain as rector until his successor is in place, has been communicated to Bishop Lee.


Nigeria: report and pictures of consecrations

Updated twice Monday

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has a report, with pictures, of the episcopal consecrations which took place there today: Consecration: ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP CHARGES CHRISTIANS TO DEFEND THE FAITH.

Click on the pictures there, for larger versions.

Update Here is a Nigerian Sun newspaper report, dated Monday though apparently written prior to the service.
Gay bishop controversy: Church of Nigeria moves to save Nigerians in the US:

…According to Akinola: “The Anglican Church in America has been torn apart by the controversial ordination of an open gay Priest, Gene Robinson as a bishop of new Hampshire in 2003. The years following that unfortunate incident have been traumatic for the entire Anglican Communion. The recent decisions of TEC’s general convention held in June, has put US Anglican Churches on a seeming disintegration and a major re-alignment.

“Already seven dioceses in TEC depressed by the dangerous voyage of the Episcopal church, have requested for an immediate alternative primatial oversight and pastoral care. They include the dioceses of Central florida, Fort Worht (Texas) Pittsburgh, Springfield. (Illinois), san Joaquin (California) South California and Diocese of Dallas. Indications are that many more are itching to leave the Episcopal Church” the primate added.

Akinola who leads about 20 million of the 77 million Anglicans worldwide pointed out that “with the establishment of CANA in April 2005, and the sending of a missionary Bishop to Congo in October 2005, and the commencement of a non – geographic nomadic mission in August 2006, the power of God is working his purpose out.

“CANA was first announced after full consultation with the Nigerian congregations in America, with the enthusiastic endorsement of the Episcopal Synod and standing committee of the Church of Nigeria. The intention is not to challenge or intervene in the Churches of Ecusa and in Anglican Church of Canada, but rather to provide a safe harbour for those who can no longer find their spiritual home in those churches” he maintained.

Akinola stated that the church of Nigeria had deliberately held back from this action (sending a bishop for CANA) until now, because as according to him, “It hoped that the Episcopal church of USA would heed the cry of the Anglican Communion as expressed in the essential elements of the Windsor report and the dromantine communique, which recommended that the US Church halt the further election of openly gay Bishops. “But the actions of their (ECUSA) last convention held in June 2006 showed that they were far from turning back. Infact, they are even more committed to pursuing their unbiblical revisionist agenda. That is why a Bishop to America has become inevitable you cannot serve God and Mammon,” he asserted…

The NACDAP/ACN has a press release:Network Welcomes Consecration of Bishop Minns.

The American Anglican Council now also has a press release with pictures from Abuja of yesterday’s event: Nigeria Consecrations in Abuja Include Bishop Martyn Minns of U.S. The wording is the same as here, but the pictures are different.

This report from Voice of America Anglican Church of Nigeria Installs Bishop From America

ACNS Digest has Four Bishops for First Consecration Service – Nigeria – As Anglicans consecrate new Bishops for Warri, Bauchi, and Lagos Mainland and for America


more about Getting Equal

In June, I linked here to the article for the Church Times that I wrote about the latest DTI consultation Getting Equal on outlawing discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation throughout the UK in the provision of goods and services.

Since then, the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales also published their response to the DTI consultation. You can read it here (PDF ) and also the covering letter (another PDF). It is far more restrained in its language than the response from Anglican Mainstream or the even more extreme response of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship.

One specific RC concern is to do with child adoption services. This week, The Tablet has an interesting article which discusses how this issue has been handled by Roman Catholics in the USA: Dilemma of gay adoption by Terry Philpot. (Access to this PDF article is free, but requires registration.)

There is a related news report (only available on the web by subscription) concerning opposition to the anticipated regulations from the Scottish RC bishops on this score. But there is no mention there of the English RC objections which are contained in the document linked above. A Scottish RC press release is here.

The DTI response to the consultation is expected 12 weeks after the closure date of 5 June. That could be next week. This response will then be followed by the publication of draft regulations for parliamentary approval in October.

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Canadian Anglicans and the AIDS conference

The XVI International Aids Conference has just concluded in Toronto.

The Anglican Journal has extensive coverage of this including:
In the age of AIDS, can theology kill?
Faith communities call for action on AIDS

The Diocese of Toronto also has coverage that includes:
Faith communities can eradicate HIV/AIDS stigma
Religious leaders who are HIV-positive share stories

Here in the UK, Ekklesia had Zimbabwean HIV+ woman helps young people Choose Life and there is more at Tearfund.

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