Thinking Anglicans

Nigeria: from the provincial website

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has published this article: FROM CARPENTER TO PRIMATE:Ambassador Sagay writes on Abp. Akinola. (Article in THE GUARDIAN of Sunday 1st October, 2006 reproduced with permission).

It is described on the homepage as “An interesting newspaper article showing a parishioner’s view of Abp. Peter Akinola …”

Here’s another more recent report from the Guardian about the plans for 14 October: Fellowship Holds Thanksgiving For Primate Akinola.

Mark Harris has some commentary about this at Preludium headed Shameless Commerce: Church of Nigeria style, as do his readers.

MadPriest also has comments.


Fulcrum responds to TA comments

In response to an earlier article here which linked to a piece by Andrew Goddard, several commenters responded strongly to that piece. Graham Kings has submitted this response:

As Fulcrum theological secretary, I offer the following few points concerning the posts about Fulcrum by JBE, Giles Fraser and Steve Watson:

1. JBE has commented about the founding of Fulcrum and Andrew Goddard’s role. My Fulcrum August newsletter, ‘Founding of Fulcrum’ shows that ‘proto-Fulcrum’ gathered first in October 2002, before the Reading controversy and the founding of Anglican Mainstream, and Andrew Goddard was part of Fulcrum from the beginning.

2. For Fulcrum’s original (and still valid) statement on sexual ethics, an issue raised by JBE and Steve Watson, see:

‘In the much-contested area of sexual ethics this means that the proper context for sexual expression is the union of a man and a woman in marriage. We will participate in debates on issues in sexual ethics arising today in the life of the Church and we identify as key references the CofE document Issues in Human Sexuality and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference and True Union (a document shared with the Anglican Primates’ Meeting, Brazil 2003).’

See also our submission to the Lambeth Commission.

3. It was good to meet Giles Fraser at the launch of Fulcrum in November 2003 and yes, our aim then and now is to ‘renew the evangelical centre’. In our FAQ section, this is elucidated as:

‘It deliberately has two meanings: Fulcrum aims to renew the moderate centre of the evangelical tradition in the Church of England and also to renew the centre of the Church of England which is historically, and again currently, evangelical.

The sermon by Tom Wright launching Fulcrum may be seen

4. Giles Fraser also suggests that we are an arm of Anglican Mainstream. This is not the case. Anglican Mainstream is a single issue campaigning network whereas Fulcrum, as may be seen by the subjects of our articles, covers the whole range of theological and missiological issues. Although both are conservative on issues of sexuality, on other issues we differ from Anglican Mainstream eg in our attitude to the irregular ordinations in Southwark, and in that we positively advocate the consecration of women to the episcopate.

5. Finally, Andrew Goddard mentioned Michael Poon’s crucial article on the varying status of the Kigali Communique and the Road to Lambeth document. They are not of equal weight, and this whole discussion needs to take this difference of weight seriously:

‘We need to read The Road to Lambeth against the official document Kigali Communique, and indeed not the other way around. They are not two parallel statements from Kigali that bear the same authority.’

This is Michael Poon’s important comment in his perceptive response to the CAPA report ‘The Road to Lambeth’:
‘Quo Vadis? – Questions along the Road from Lambeth – A response to CAPA’s Invitation’, by Michael Poon, Global South Anglican site, 2 October 2006.

In a key passage of the article, Poon comments:

‘Shortly before the Kigali Meeting met, Canterbury issued a statement announcing that he has invited Archbishop Drexel Gomez to head a Covenant Design Group to draft an Anglican Covenant. He confirmed that this will be ‘a major and serious focus for the Lambeth Conference’. The Primates at Kigali greeted this in the most enthusiastic language. They believed that ‘an Anglican Covenant [that is now a major and serious focus for Lambeth 2008!] will demonstrate to the world that it is possible to be a truly global communion where differences are not affirmed at the expense of faith and truth but within the framework of a common confession of faith and mutual accountability’ (Communique, 7). In other words, the Global South Primates affirmed in clearest possible terms their intent to contribute in the Covenant processes. The Covenant constitutes the test of faithfulness (and membership). Lambeth 2008 will be the defining moment for the Communion.

Indeed, are not the recommendations in the Report superseded by recent events? Is not the Spirit of God at work, giving us more than we have ever imagined possible? Does not this explain why the CAPA Primates themselves did not explicitly endorse it at Kigali?’


Nicholas Holtam responds to the Global South

A Response to the Primates of the Global South

Dear Friends in Christ

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus.

In the statement following the meeting of Anglican Primates from the Global South at Kigali you said you’re your vision is for a “global communion where differences are not affirmed at the expense of faith and truth but within the framework of a common confession of faith and mutual accountability”. You have begun to take initial steps towards the formation of a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Church in the USA. You received a draft report called ‘The Road to Lambeth’ commissioned by the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa and commended it to your churches for study and response. You also commended this report “for wider reflection”. This response is part of that process.

“The Road to Lambeth” is based on five assumptions. These assume too much, or too little, or are just plain wrong, and consequently the document cannot support the breadth of traditional Anglicanism. It misquotes and misuses the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral which, ironically, was formulated as the basis for Christian unity and the fulfilment of Christ’s prayer, “that they all may be one”. You assert interpretations of three texts about homosexuality “as a sign of fallenness and a sin separating one from salvation”. In this you are asserting one conclusion to what is now generally recognised as more complex exegesis, thereby ruling out all views but your own. These texts are about homosexuality and abuse associated with idolatry . For at least some Christians they do not settle the matter with regard to what we are now considering, baptised people in loving and faithful same sex relationships. In keeping with your vision for the Communion, faithful exegesis also requires an element of mutual challenge holding us accountable to experiences that differ from our own.

The fifth assumption is simply extraordinary – “the requirement that believers not associate with openly immoral church members (1 Cor 5.1-13; 2 Thes 3.14)”. This universalises specific teaching in a way that could never have been intended by St Paul. One is tempted to ask if it is alright to continue to associate with those who aren’t so open about their immorality; to assert the more significant assumption that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness; and to quote Jesus’ teaching about forgiving the sinner not seven times but seventy times seven.

The Christian Church has a great deal of experience of divisive issues about which faithful Christians disagree strongly. In the first century circumcision and attitudes to Jewish food laws were hotly contested but those issues got resolved within the pages of the New Testament and that settles the matter for us. Many issues did not. For example, the way of peace was at the heart of Jesus’ ministry. In the life of the Church this has resulted in two quite distinct and sometimes contradictory strands: Christian pacifism and the Just War tradition. We have learned to live with both and we now recognise the fruitful tensions between these fundamentally different approaches to war and peace. Christians do not see such differences – while significant and having potentially serious implications for ethical decision making – as being detrimental to “a common confession of faith”.

For those Christians who assert “the supreme authority of Scripture” this dispute is about whether the Anglican Church is keeping faith. The difficulty with this approach is that the meaning of Scripture is not always plain and simple and needs interpretation. Further, for Anglicans Christian ethics have never simply been Biblical ethics. We also use as authorities the tradition of Church teaching (a faithful wisdom from the Church down the ages), as well as the authority of our God-given reason and intellect. These three authorities work together to help us discern the work and will of God.

In John’s Gospel Jesus says that the Spirit will lead us into all truth, not that we already have all truth. From Kigali you say in effect that there is no new truth to be discovered in relation to human sexuality. In response many of us, and not just those who are homosexual by nature, and not just those in the rich West or North of the world, will say that we asked for bread and you gave us stones.

The reason homosexuality has become so divisive is because it is the touchstone for other matters. In the current debate these issues that purport to be about the use of scripture have got attached to separate but also fundamental issues about the legacy of colonialism. You assert that “70% of the active membership of the Anglican Communion” is in the Global South. As the Primates of the Global South you observe that your Provinces are under-represented in the senior positions within the Anglican Communion which is still in the control of “the Anglo-American bloc”. History and money are the reasons but you are right and the time to face the new reality is overdue.

However, this sort of structural issue is deeply difficult to resolve. Of course there has to be pressure for change to take place, but there is an evident willingness within the Anglican Communion to listen to and address the experience of the Global South. For example on development issues the Anglo-American bloc of the Anglican Church has led public opinion and many of the political processes that are seeking greater justice.

This is not a simple area of discussion and agreeable debate. There is an aspect of the current dispute which looks as though the Anglo-American bloc has exported its contentious issue of the moment – same sex relationships – to parts of the world where this issue is not particularly pressing and other matters seem more urgent.

I wonder if you realise that the tone and style of your statement is as offensive as the worst aspects of colonialism and neo-colonialism that you oppose? It is bullying to assert the will of the majority of the Communion in ways that permit no disagreement. The majority is not always right. It is also theologically deeply flawed. Jesus taught the significance of the Kingdom of heaven being known in the outcast and in the child. The Global South knows this from its own experience. Might it also be the experience of Christians in the Anglo-American bloc in relation to gender, race and sexual orientation? Perhaps this is why the recent processes of the Anglican Communion have emphasised the need to listen carefully to our differing experiences?

Each Primate represents an autonomous Province within the Communion. In the actions you are proposing the Primates of the Global South have given in to the pressure to interfere in the legitimate business of autonomous Anglican Provinces, thereby offending fundamental principles of Church order. It is a gross breach of Christian discipline for any Primate to organise parallel structures within another Province in the pretence that this furthers “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”.

“The Road to Lambeth” begins by saying we are at a crossroads, a parting of two ways. It looks different from Trafalgar Square in London. At St Martin-in-the-Fields we have been able to hold together a very diverse church community including British people with roots in many of your Provinces. We also welcome visitors from around the Communion, including from your Provinces. We have welcomed some of you. Our unity is in Christ and our being in Communion depends not on whether we agree about matters of morality but because Christ calls us, “to do this in memory of him”.

St Martin-in-the-Fields’ experience is unique but every parish church knows what it is to be the world’s local church. That the Provinces are straining apart is contradicted by the daily realities of local church life and ought to give you pause for thought. What we daily see with our eyes and touch with our hands is, even in the imperfect Anglican Communion, an experience of what it is to know Christ and to grow together in greater depth and maturity.

In the past we have based the organisational unity of our Communion on a broad and generous expression of Christianity, such as the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. This has created a variety of complementary and overlapping Anglican identities. Just because you choose to define “The Road to Lambeth” from Kigali by the image of our being at a crossroads and the way ahead as a narrow road, does not mean this is the way of Christ. I urge you to recognise that at least some of those with whom you disagree are also seeking to walk faithfully in the light of Christ. Please think and pray very hard as you consult your own Provinces because the arguments you have used are fatally flawed and from where I stand the direction you propose looks deeply misguided.

Revd Nicholas Holtam
Vicar, St Martin-in-the-Fields, London
St Francis’ Day 4th October 2006

The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral
The following Articles supply [a basis for Christian unity]:
1. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as “containing all things necessary to salvation,” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
2. The Apostles’ Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
3. The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.
4. The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church.
As adopted by the Lambeth Conference of 1888, Resolution 11


A further IC response to Kigali


In September 2006, a Global South Primates Meeting was held and the Kigali Communiqué published. We are among the many Anglicans concerned that its direction is at odds with our understanding of Scripture and the essence of Anglican tradition.

It is disappointing that the Communiqué renounces fellowship with Anglicans in North America and provincial autonomy, and commends for further reflection ‘The Path to Lambeth’, which condemns provinces as following the ‘way of idolatry’ if they take a different view on theology or even comply with equality laws. This also claims that there is a general ‘requirement that believers not associate with openly immoral church members’; and ‘We in the Global South have always made repentance the starting point for any reconciliation and resumption of fellowship in the Communion.’ This echoes Archbishop Peter Akinola’s earlier description of the Episcopal Church of the USA as a ‘cancerous lump’ which must be ‘excised’.

Witnessing in a broken world

The Communiqué draws attention to the tragedy of the genocide in Rwanda, to which primates and other leaders responded by ‘prayer and reflection. We were chastened by this experience and commit ourselves not to abandon the poor or the persecuted wherever they may be and in whatever circumstances. We add our voices to theirs and we say, “Never Again!”’ It continues, ‘As we prayed and wept at the mass grave of 250,000 helpless victims we confronted the utter depravity and inhumanity to which we are all subject outside of the transforming grace of God.’

Over the past century, widespread cruelty and slaughter have taken place not only in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America but also in Europe. Many vividly remember when Hitler’s regime, which held that some people were superior and others subhuman, murdered large numbers of Jewish and disabled people, and locked gypsies and gays, communists and feminists in concentration camps which many did not survive. How have ordinary people repeatedly been persuaded to go along with ethnic ‘cleansing’ and other barbarity?

Factors perhaps include the tendency of humans to feel distaste or contempt for, or distance themselves from, those regarded as ‘other’. Most disturbingly, while some Christians have bravely resisted, other devout believers have been convinced that mistreating others was doing God’s will. Through the centuries many have believed that the Bible justified anti-Semitism and separation of humankind into different ‘races’ or violence against the defenceless. It is all too easy not to question what teachers, pastors and national leaders claim is righteous and true. Scripture and tradition, as well as claims of social progress, have been misused to justify victimising others, not recognising them as children of the same heavenly Father, in whose image they are made. Indeed ‘The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse – who can understand it?’ (Jeremiah 17.9).

Less obviously, in both the global South and North, the destitute and abandoned largely go unnoticed by the prosperous and comfortable, apart from occasional acts of charity. Often Christians as well as non-Christians pass by on the other side (Luke 10.25-37), unwilling to enter too deeply into the lives of those whose experience is different from their own.

Humility is called for on the part of Anglicans throughout the world who wish to challenge cruelty and injustice and grow more like their Shepherd, who teaches people to love even their enemies (Matthew 5.43-48), patiently seeks the lost (Luke 15) and is willing to lay down his life for his sheep (John 10.11-16). ‘Evangelical’ or ‘Anglo-Catholic’, ‘liberal’ or ‘traditional’, we can only witness authentically to a broken world if we can admit our own fallibility.

Being Anglican

Nevertheless Anglicanism has something to offer the world. It arose from the ashes of brutal conflict in which pious Christians burnt or beheaded one another in God’s name. Former enemies, joined in a common baptism, together partook of the body and blood of Christ.

Decolonisation further decentralised power in the Anglican Communion, as did the increased role of laypeople in decision-making. There is no single authority which wields control everywhere, which could stifle cultural and theological diversity.

At best, Anglican engagement with Scripture, tradition and reason (and experience, some would add) has provided fertile ground for the workings of the Holy Spirit. It has sometimes taken a long time to reach consensus, and profound theological disagreements remain on issues ranging from lay presidency at communion to nuclear warfare, remarriage of divorcees and homosexuality. Patience can be hard, not only for those who believe that harmful teachings and practices are not being strongly enough challenged but also for others who feel that their vocation or very humanity has not been recognised because of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity or disability. But in time correct ideas are generally confirmed and wrong ones abandoned, in the context of shared worship, prayer and care for the sick and needy.

Dare any of us judge others, confident that we occupy the moral high ground (Matthew 7.1-5)? Does the language of “The Road to Lambeth” reflect the wisdom from above that is pure, peaceable, gentle and full of mercy (James 3.13-18)? Can we presume to come to the Lord’s table trusting in our own righteousness, and insist that certain of our brothers and sisters be barred if we are to attend? Jesus himself was criticised for eating with sinners (Matthew 9.11-13); are the disciples greater than the master? And if strong differences of opinion arise over other matters (which is likely) might there not be further splits? Will clergy who disagree with legitimate decisions within their provinces again seek out archbishops overseas to offer episcopal oversight? This is not in accord with Anglican tradition, and sets a poor example to a divided world.

Living with difference can be painful, and it may take time to learn to dispute difficult issues with kindness, respect and empathy. But the breadth of Anglicanism is part of our inheritance which we should cherish. Through continuing to eat and drink together at the Lord’s table and seeking to love across boundaries of culture and opinion, Anglicans may experience spiritual renewal and play a greater part in the healing of the nations.

Prepared by Savitri Hensman, Anglican Matters and member of InclusiveChurch executive


InclusiveChurch on San Joaquin

Statement from InclusiveChurch regarding the Diocese of San Joaquin

9th October 2006

1.0 On October 1st, the Diocese of San Joaquin in California gave notice that it is calling a conference on 1st and 2nd December 2006 following proposals to amend the Diocesan constitution. The amendments would “place the Diocese of San Joaquin in an ideal position to be part of any ecclesiastical structure that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primates might design”.

There can be little doubt that we are witnessing the rolling out of a carefully planned and well-funded strategy to create a church-within-a-church. If San Joaquin is successful, it will probably be followed by the other Dioceses seeking Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO). From there, it is likely that non-geographical missionary dioceses will be created, so that parallel structures will exist initially in the United States but thereafter in Canada, the United Kingdom and across the world.

2.0 This in tandem with the “Road to Lambeth” document and the Kigali Communique further confirm that the attempt to subvert traditional Anglicanism is already well advanced. We view these developments with deep concern.

3.0 InclusiveChurch is a broad-based organisation. Our supporters, across the world, include evangelicals, broad-church Anglicans, liberals and catholics. The partners with whom we work very closely include: Accepting Evangelicals, Changing Attitude, the Association of Black Clergy, the Modern Churchpeoples’ Union, the Society of Catholic Priests, Women and The Church, the Group for the Rescinding of the Act of Synod, Affirming Catholicism and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. We are orthodox Anglicans. We care deeply about the Gospel of Jesus Christ as communicated through the Anglican tradition. We look to the tradition of Lancelot Andrewes and Richard Hooker: “One Canon (of Scripture) reduced to unity by God Himself, two Testaments, three Creeds, four General Councils, (over) five centuries.” We understand the Anglican Communion to be both Catholic and Reformed, episcopally governed and synodically led. And we give thanks to God for its breadth, its diversity and its complex life.

4.1 It is in this context that we believe that what we are seeing is a serious distortion of Anglican polity and theology. In particular, bodies which have no legal or executive status in Anglicanism – notably the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meetings – are being promoted to a position where they are being used to override fundamental Anglican principles – provincial autonomy and synodical government. Resolution 1.10 – which came at the end of a notoriously unedifying debate and is the flawed result of a badly managed process – apparently justifies the elevation of the Windsor Report to a quasi-legal status with the Primates sitting as judge and jury on the “Windsor compliance” of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

4.2 None of this is acceptable. Primates are not cardinals. The Primates’ meeting is not the Curia. Primates of any part of the Anglican Communion do not have the right to commit their provinces to action without implementing detailed and comprehensive synodical processes. The Windsor Report was an attempt to find a way through the apparent impasse we had reached. We acknowledge that it has, in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, been “widely accepted as a basis for any progress”. As a result and in order to go the extra mile, TEC and the ACC have agreed in the interests of unity both to withdraw from the meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council and to major amendments in provincial practice. But the notion that TEC has in some way “broken the rules” has no place in Anglican ecclesiology.

5.0 Savitri Hensman has written “Anglicanism has something to offer the world. It arose from the ashes of brutal conflict in which pious Christians burnt or beheaded one another in God’s name. Former enemies, joined in a common baptism, together partook of the body and blood of Christ.

Decolonisation further decentralised power in the Anglican Communion, as did the increased role of laypeople in decision-making. There is no single authority which wields control everywhere, which could stifle cultural and theological diversity.

Dare any of us judge others, confident that we occupy the moral high ground (Matthew 7.1-5)? Does the language of “The Road to Lambeth” language reflect the wisdom from above that is pure, peaceable, gentle and full of mercy (James 3.13-18)? Can we presume to come to the Lord’s table trusting in our own righteousness, and insist that certain of our brothers and sisters be barred if we are to attend? Jesus himself was criticised for eating with sinners (Matthew 9.11-13); are the disciples greater than the master? And if strong differences of opinion arise over other matters (which is likely) might there not be further splits? Will clergy who disagree with legitimate decisions within their provinces again seek out archbishops overseas to offer episcopal oversight? This is not in accord with Anglican tradition, and sets a poor example to a divided world.” (InclusiveChurch: a further response to the Kigali Communique – by Savitri Hensman)

6.0 This statement is being written in a thriving, inner city parish in South London. Half of the congregation are from Nigeria; one fifth from Sierra Leone and Ghana. Some are gay or lesbian. We do not agree on everything. But we meet, every Sunday, at the altar and share in the eucharist. We give thanks, every Sunday, that we are the Body of Christ; by the one spirit we were all baptised into one body.

6.1 The approach being taken by the “Global South” and the dioceses seeking APO seems to assume a theological dualism. Those who ascribe to a particular series of beliefs, coalescing around attitudes to homosexuality, are right. Everyone else is wrong. In the words of the Archbishop of Nigeria “Who ever subscribes to this covenant must abide by it and those who are unable to subscribe to it will walk out”. We see no place in Anglicanism for the description by a Primate of another province as a “cancer” which must be “rooted out”.

7.0 We call on all members of our communion – laity, clergy and bishops – to recognise the clear and present danger to the charism with which we are entrusted. In a world where modernity is increasingly rejected, and where the “lust for certainty” is increasingly paramount, the Anglican Communion has a great deal to offer. In the words of the Archbishop of Cape Town “We must not lose this inheritance, if we are serious about being faithful to the Lord, as he has been faithful to us.”

For further information and to sign up as a supporter of InclusiveChurch’s aims, go to

Giles Goddard – Chair –
On behalf of the InclusiveChurch Executive


CofE bishops feel marginalised by government

Jonathan Wynne-Jones had an exclusive in the Sunday Telegraph headlined Drive for multi-faith Britain deepens rifts, says Church.

The BBC followed up on this by interviewing the Bishop of Hulme, Stephen Lowe:

According to the Sunday Telegraph, “The Church of England has delivered an astonishing assault on ministers’ attempts to turn Britain into a multifaith society”. The criticisms are said to come from a confidential church document written by The Archbishop of Canterbury’s interfaith adviser and discussed at a House of Bishop’s meeting last week. The document is reported as saying that the drive to make minority faith communities more integrated has backfired, that the Muslim community has been given privileged attention and that the Church of England has been sidelined. Roger [Bolton] is joined by the Bishop of Hulme, Stephen Lowe, who was this week appointed as the first Church of England Bishop for Urban Life and Faith and who has seen the document.
Listen (4m 14s).

The BBC website reported this too: Bishop defends multi-faith fears

The Church of England issued this official response today: Community cohesion: a response to media coverage. More on the CofE’s Inter Faith Relations here.

Ekklesia’s report is headlined Church advisor complains of marginalisation by Government


Changing Attitude on Kigali

Changing Attitude England has published a lengthy response to the Kigali communiqué and The Road to Lambeth. Read it in full here.

The Kigali communiqué published at the conclusion of the Global South meeting and The Road to Windsor document have received widespread coverage and reaction. While many parts of the church are engaged in discussion about the impact of the communiqué on the future of the Anglican Communion, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Anglicans have been feeling deep anxiety and fear…

One gay Anglican commented this week about Archbishop Finlay, retired bishop of Toronto, who presided at the blessing of a lesbian couple and as a result had his licence to officiate at marriages suspended:

“As I’m sure many gay people do, I find this “debate” enormously painful. Painted, as it is, in such stark, uncompromising terms, and apparently so one-sided, it is easy to lapse into self-doubt, to question one’s decisions of the past. Archbishop Finlay has given hope and encouragement to me, and countless others, who might despair, and, God forbid, begin to loathe themselves again.”

This is the effect Global South attitudes have on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Anglicans. They create fear, anxiety, self-loathing…


still more about Kigali

Earlier in the week, Jonathan Petre reported for the Telegraph that Williams told to act over gay clergy or face summit boycott:

Conservative Anglican leaders are urging the Archbishop of Canterbury to crack down on gay clergy in England or risk a boycott of the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

The archbishops, mainly from Africa and Asia, have expressed privately to Dr Rowan Williams their fears that the Church of England is fast becoming as liberal as its American counterpart.

They are particularly angry that bishops are failing to discipline gay clergy who have openly defied official guidelines on civil partnerships.

The concerns were raised at the Global South summit in Rwanda earlier this month, though no direct reference was included in their final statement. However, in a fresh blow to hopes for unity, sources said a number of archbishops may refuse to attend the Lambeth Conference, the 10-yearly summit of bishops held in Canterbury…

Andrew Goddard at Fulcrum has published a lengthy analysis, Fulfilled or Finished? which responds to the InclusiveChurch article by Giles Goddard (no relation), published earlier:

…The Inclusive Church statement (written by its Chair, Giles Goddard) and the GS documents to which it responds make evident just how serious are the differences and how wide is the gulf between Anglicans. They also signal how seriously – and how soon – we may face realignments that would bring about ‘the end of the Communion’ as we know it. The differences now becoming very clear relate not only to where we go from here but also understandings of where we are and how we got here.

The following offers an initial response to Giles Goddard’s various points in the hope that, by dialogue and listening, we may in the months ahead come to understand better where different perspectives are coming from and whether they are ultimately irreconcilable within the same ecclesial structures…

Thanks to Nick Knisely for drawing my attention to this analysis:Kigali, Covenant and Communion written by a Canadian blogger.


opinions this Saturday

Christopher Howse uses his Saturday Telegraph column to write about church schools in Debt of thanks to church schools. Ekklesia was less enthused about the Church of England’s recent press release as reported in Church schools policy dubbed ‘un-Christian’ as criticism grows.

Many people today are discussing what Jack Straw said about veils. The Guardian had a leader: Veiled issue. So does the Telegraph, Integration can’t be achieved behind the veil. And The Times has Veiled threat. Ruth Gledhill has a lot of background information and links here. Simon Barrow has an analysis at Good governance needs bridges not barriers in relating to Muslims.

In the Guardian’s Face to Faith column, John Coutts of the Salvation Army writes about the Caucasus.


more on Kigali

The Church Times last week had a news report by Pat Ashworth: Global South Primates call for a ‘separate structure’ in USA.

The newspaper also had a leading article: Taking the road from Kigali:

…a determination to “stand against evil” is not a normal starting point for discussions about the better working of the Church Catholic. It helps to explain the Primates’ antagonistic stance towards the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the United States, though this is cloaked as a willingness to respond to those inside the US who have asked for outside assistance and oversight. But, however explicable, the decision to set up a parallel organisation in an existing province – unbidden – is a schismatic act; for what is a “separate ecclesiastical structure” but a Church?

The Kigali Primates speak of proceeding “in consultation with the instruments of unity in the Communion”. This is a perverse idea in the circumstances. None of those instruments – the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Lambeth Conference – could countenance such a move. It is possible that the Global South Primates believe the US Episcopal leadership to be so discredited that the rest of the Communion will allow a new organisation to take its place as the official Anglican body there. It is more likely that they are not particularly interested in seeking permission. The document The Road to Lambeth, endorsed by the Primates of the Global South, hopes that its road ahead “may pass through Lambeth, our historical mother. But above all it must be the road of the Cross.”…

Michael Poon at Global South Anglican had some comments about the most contentious of the documents from Kigali: Quo Vadis? – Questions along the Road from Lambeth – A response to CAPA’s Invitation:

The Road to Lambeth is an appeal for faithfulness to God. It also recommends the way by which we keep this faith. These are two related but distinct summons. It is important to bear this in mind as we read the Report. My purpose here is to heed the Global South Primates’ advice to reflect on this draft report.

I begin with an observation on the status of the Report. The Report states in its Preamble that it was commissioned by CAPA Primates in February 2006. CAPA Primates received it “with gratitude” on 19 September 2006. They did not say they approved it; rather they “commended [it] for study and response to the churches of the provinces in Africa”.

The Kigali Communiqué takes a more reserved view on the Report. In sharp contrast with the enthusiastic language used on the Anglican Covenant processes earlier in Section 7 of the Communiqué, the Global South Primates stated that they “receive” the Report. They noted that “it highlights the crisis that now confronts us” and “commend this report for wider reflection”. In other words, they recognized the depth of the crisis that called for faithfulness. However, they shied away from endorsing the particular solutions the Report offered.

What then is the status of the Road to Lambeth? A CAPA commission drafted it and presented it to their Primates in September. CAPA Primates now officially recommends it for wider study. They have not mentioned how they will follow it up. The Global South Primates takes note of it as a document from CAPA, and commends it for wider reflection within the Communion…


Responding to domestic abuse

Update The report can now be downloaded from the CofE website (458 kB pdf file).

The Church of England has launched a set of guidelines for anyone with pastoral responsibility as part of the Church’s commitment to victims of domestic abuse and to addressing the circumstances that lead to such abuse. The press release is here. Responding to Domestic Abuse: Guidelines for those with pastoral responsibility was produced in response to a motion passed by General Synod in July 2004.

Two press reports concentrate on the reasons for abuse rather than on how to respond to it.

Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph Traditional marriage vows ‘could be used to justify wife beating’

Ruth Gledhill in The Times Distorted Christianity ‘causing abuse’


Urban Life and Faith

The Church of England is to appoint its first Bishop for Urban Life and Faith. To quote the press release

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have appointed the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Hulme, to promote the dissemination and implementation of the report Faithful Cities, the follow up report to Faith in the City, which was widely welcomed at its launch in May. The appointment is for three years, during which the Bishop will respond to issues of urban policy and life on behalf of the Church.

The press release about Faithful Cities and the Faithful Cities website.


Ndungane preaches at Southwark

Stephen Bates has written about the sermon preached at Southwark Cathedral by Njongonkulu Ndungane the Archbishop of Cape Town. You can read the sermon itself in full here. Please do read it all.

The comment piece is published under the headline Harvesting intolerance. It covers the sermon, but also several other current events. It’s also worth reading all the way through.

The BBC Sunday radio programme’s Jane Little also interviewed the archbishop:

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane
The slow and painful story of the disintegration of the Anglican communion continues to unfold. The divisions over homosexuality have pitted church leaders from the south – largely in Africa – against liberals in the west for condoning something they see as unbiblical. But one prominent African archbishop has long called for tolerance and has now broken with his fellow archbishops accusing them in turn of standing on the brink of destroying Anglicanism. Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane joins Jane in the studio.
Listen (5m 52s)


San Joaquin: diocesan convention plans

The Living Church has two reports about the Diocese of San Joaquin:
San Joaquin Reschedules Diocesan Convention and San Joaquin to Consider Leaving The Episcopal Church.

Episcopal News Service has San Joaquin diocese to consider constitutional amendments severing relationship with the Episcopal Church.

All of these are prompted by this announcement on the diocesan website:

Due to recent meetings held within the Anglican Communion, the annual convention in the Diocese of San Joaquin was postponed to convene on December 1st and 2nd of this year, so that clergy and delegates would be better prepared to respond to any decisions made by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Primates that might affect us.

Meetings held in Houston by the Windsor Bishops, as well as the meeting of Primates in Kigali, Rwanda during September, were encouraging to those who have anticipated redefined relationships within the Anglican Communion.

In anticipation of some of the changes that have come about through the above mentioned meetings, constitutional amendments have been proposed that place the Diocese of San Joaquin in an ideal position to be part of any ecclesiastical structure that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primates might design.

The Diocese of San Joaquin remains true to the Apostolic teaching and practice of the Episcopal Church that it received by being part of the Anglican Communion. The constitutional changes currently being proposed by the diocese affect neither this faith nor practice but rather perpetuate the historic Faith of the Church in a time when these things are being challenged by others.

Proposed Constitutional changes that have been on file with the Secretary of Convention since September 1st may be found here [PDF file].

Fr Van McCalister
Public Relations Officer
Diocese of San Joaquin


Camp Allen: Lambeth Palace comments

The Living Church has published this report by George Conger: Archbishop of Canterbury Clarifies Role in Camp Allen Meeting. The quotation from Jonathan Jennings reads:

“The Archbishop of Canterbury was not involved in the organization of the Texas meeting and the Bishops of Durham and Winchester did not attend at his request,” Mr. Jennings noted.

“Once they had been invited by the organizers, they sought his consent to become involved in these discussions. This was discussed in the context of other initiatives and of the statements publicly made by the Archbishop since the General Convention, and consent was given to their participation in their own right in the Texas meeting,” he said.

Links to the conflicting reports: what Bishop Wimberly said originally, what the Camp Allen letter said, what the Presiding Bishop said.


Martyn Minns and Peter Lee

Following rumours over the weekend, the Diocese of Virginia has now confirmed that the Bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, has offered a licence to the Cana Missionary Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, Martyn Minns, to serve until the end of 2006 as priest-in-charge of Truro Church. However the letter from Peter Lee says he has not yet received Martyn Minns’ signature on the licence.

Here is the official press release:A letter to the Diocese of Virginia from the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop:

October 2, 2006

Dear Friends:

On August 20, 2006, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns was consecrated a bishop in the Church of Nigeria. That act established his canonical residence in Nigeria and ended his canonical residence in the Diocese of Virginia. Consequently, as a Bishop from another province of the Anglican Communion, Martyn’s ability to function in any jurisdiction other than Nigeria, where he is canonically resident, requires that he be licensed by the Bishop with oversight.

As you well know, the vestry of Truro Church, where Martyn had served as rector since 1991, desired that he be allowed to serve in an ordained leadership capacity while they continue their search for a new rector, and I have been in conversation with the vestry as well as the diocesan Standing Committee, the diocesan Chancellor and others seeking their counsel on this question. Those conversations have concluded in such a way that I believe responds pastorally to the needs of Truro Church and maintains the integrity of the Canons of the Diocese and of The Episcopal Church with respect to ordained service, diocesan and provincial boundaries and episcopal authority.

Accordingly, I have licensed Martyn to serve as priest-in-charge of Truro church through January 1, 2007. The details of the license also establish that Martyn will perform no episcopal acts in the Diocese of Virginia through January 1, 2007 and that Martyn will exercise his ministry in compliance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church and The Diocese of Virginia. The license I issued requires Martyn’s signature. While I have not yet received the executed license, and had not intended to write to you until I had received it, I write to you now in light of the wide publicity being given to Martyn’s letter to the Truro congregation issued late last Friday.

I believe our response to this peculiar situation achieves the goal of discerning a resolution that expresses our concern for the pastoral needs of this congregation, honors the Church and glorifies God.

While I believe this resolution brings this matter to a close, I have no illusion that it satisfies those who continue in conflict over the actions of the 75th General Convention. As you read this, some in the Diocese are in the midst of an organized program of discernment to examine the future of their relationship with The Episcopal Church and The Diocese of Virginia.

While there can be no predetermined outcome for the results of engaging the Holy Spirit, as I write this, I am mindful of the centuries of the faithful who built up the Diocese of Virginia following periods of great division and destruction. I pray that, whatever may be the result of this period of discernment for the members of these congregations, in the end each member will choose to remain a faithful part of the Body of Christ as constituted in our Diocese and in our Church.


Peter James Lee

Bishop of Virginia

The rumours were reported here, and here, and here. The original report here has still not returned.

Other blogs also commented: see Fr Jake here, and Mark Harris here and later here.

You can see a TV interview with Martyn Minns recorded on 29 September here. Richard Kew comments here.

Episcopal News Service has reported this: VIRGINIA: Bishops Lee, Minns reach agreement on Truro Church