Thinking Anglicans

CofE response to Nuffield

The newspaper stories on this were reported earlier.

The response of the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics Consultation on Critical care decisions in fetal and neonatal medicine: ethical issues can be read in full here.

The preamble states:

Please note that :

  • The Church of England’s submission to the Nuffield Inquiry is entirely in keeping with the Church’s policy on treatment at the beginning and end of life (see Euthanasia and Suicide)
  • The submission stated that fetuses and newborns should only have treatment withheld or withdrawn if treatment is futile.
  • We believe firmly that every life is valued and loved by God equally.

Religious Festivals and Celebrations

Jonathan Petre has a report in the Telegraph Leave Christmas alone, say Muslims.

The statement reported comes from the Christian Muslim Forum whose website, which is in English, Arabic, and Urdu, carries the full text of the statement only as a PDF; it is reproduced below the fold here.



the views of Bishop Nazir-Ali

First, there was this article in the Sunday Times Bishop attacks ‘victim’ Muslims. Then there was another article which the Daily Mail didn’t put on their website but which Anglican Mainstream has since published: Nazir-Ali speaks on the moral vacuum in Britain, Prince Charles and Islam.


the views of Archbishop Sentamu

Last Friday, the Archbishop of York gave a lecture in Newcastle, to the Readers of that diocese. You can read the full text of what he said here.

This event has provoked extensive press coverage. The longest is based on an interview conducted the same day, before the lecture, for the Daily Mail by Sarah Sands. You can read this interview at Archbishop blames ‘chattering classes’ for collapse of Britain’s spiritual life.

You can read a rehash of the same interview in The Times here. Hat tip to Andrew Brown for spotting this.

There was also this in the Sunday Times and this from the Press Association, and this in the Telegraph.


two reports from Battersea Rise

The Church Times has Battersea vicar causes stir by remarks about Global South by Rachel Harden.

A VICAR of a south-London parish where one of the Church of England’s most senior officials is a Reader explained this week why he asked for the tape-recording system to be turned off at the end of a Sunday service so that he could talk about supporting the Global South.

The Revd Paul Perkin, Vicar of St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, in Southwark diocese, and a member of the General Synod, said that he believed his remarks would be taken out of context if they were recorded and repeated…

The Church of England Newspaper has “We Have Renounced Secret Ways”…But Have We? by Simon Butler.

In South London recently, a prominent Evangelical minister asked that the microphones and recording equipment in his church be switched off. To a hushed congregation he announced that, with a split in the Anglican Communion imminent, his church would need to decide with who they were going to ‘sit’. This, he said, was to have particular implications for the finances of the church, which may need to be redirected towards the ‘Global South’. He asked his congregation to trust his lead on this matter. Consultation was clearly not on the agenda…


Theos the think tank

Updated Tuesday

A new religious British think tank was launched this week, named Theos. Its website is here. Its first published report is titled “Doing God”: A Future For Faith in the Public Square and it can be downloaded as a PDF file here (warning: over 1 Mbyte).

Press reports of this launch event:

Telegraph Jonathan Petre Majority views religion as force for good

Guardian See the leader listed here yesterday. And on Comment is free see Madeleine Bunting, Martin Newland, and AC Grayling.

BBC Leaders back faith in public life

The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishops back campaign to promote religion and Wise men of the churches set out to keep Christ in Christmas

Ekklesia Theos think tank ‘gives hope to humanists’. Here is the BHS press release mentioned.

Theos has also published this article by Alister McGrath The Dawkins Delusion

The BBC radio programme Sunday covered this launch too, listen to Christopher Landau here (Real Audio, 5 minutes 46 seconds).


religious news on a Sunday

Today’s newspapers are full of religion:

The Observer has a front page story about the Church of England: the headline reads Some sick babies must be allowed to die, says Church, though the content of the story may not justify that use of “must”. The church document on which this story is based has not yetnow been made public by the Church of England. Read it here. Meanwhile, here is the Nuffield Council for Bioethics report launch page.

The Sunday Times has an article by historian David Starkey not unrelated to his TV series which restarts this week, Henry was wrong. Put religion back in its box. Simon Jenkins reviews the book of the TV programme here.

The Sunday Telegraph has two reports by Jonathan Wynne-Jones
Schools are being forced to put tests before morals, archbishop warns
Chruches [sic] to unite at historic summit against rise in anti-religious public feeling


opinions for Saturday

Jonathan Sacks writes about Remembrance Sunday in The Times: As guardians of our children’s future we must keep faith with the past. And Andrew Lloyd writes about it from Basra: Two minutes of silence under Abraham’s sky.

But other events also happen at this time of year. Christopher Howse explains in the Telegraph while debunking claims about Halloween being pagan, in Fenny Poppers and paganism.

A Church Times leader comments on the US elections: US voters turn against Bush.

A Guardian leader comments on religion: God’s squads:

… Individual faith is politically sensitised, to be called in aid by the Christian right trying to prevent Turkey joining the EU, as much as by those who genuinely see describing it as a problem as the first step to solving it. In this context, there is a heavy burden on Britain’s Christian tradition. To pretend there is no history of hatred between Islam and Christendom, nor any fundamental conflict in their theologies, is both absurd and dangerous. It has to be acknowledged. But it is a problem to overcome, not a legacy to be savoured. The assertion by the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, the evangelical Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, that Christianity is superior to other religions and that Britain must preserve its Christian heritage, is highly damaging. So was Frank Field’s claim at the launch of a new religious thinktank, Theos, this week, that Islam could not be English until it had been here for 1,000 years. Of course, Anglicanism is wrestling with its own internal difficulties. The evangelicals and liberals grow strident; hardliners may be reassured by Bishop Nazir-Ali’s remarks. But most Britons, whose Christianity is notional at most, are more likely to be repelled. A rising profile in the media is no guarantee of more parishioners in the pews. Church attendance, already below 10%, is predicted to fall to 2% by 2040…

Meanwhile on the Guardian’s blogsite, Comment is free Andrew Brown published two pieces:
The eternal turbulent priest which is about Lord Carey and also Rowan Williams. And Why God needs heretics.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about When the mask of Pastor Ted slipped off.

In connection with that, hat tip to Ruth Gledhill for digging out this excellent sermon of Sam Wells. Please note however there is a factual error in the first paragraph of the sermon, see comment below by Sarah Dylan Breuer for details.


more trouble in Philadelphia

Updated again Sunday morning

Episcopal News Service reports that: PENNSYLVANIA: Standing Committee files complaint against Bennison.

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania is alleging that its bishop, Charles E. Bennison Jr., “has repeatedly usurped” its “canonical prerogatives and authority.”

A so-called “verified complaint” sent to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori formalizes the Standing Committee’s on-going dispute with Bennison over its claim that he has spent money and transferred funds without the Standing Committee’s required consent.

The complaint, signed by the five clergy and five lay members of the Standing Committee, claims Bennison has violated the canons of General Convention, the diocese’s canons and engaged in “conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy” in violation of the Episcopal Church’s Canon IV.1.1(e), (f), and (j).

You can read the full text of the complaint by following this link, on the Standing Committee’s own website.

The Diocese of Pennsylvania is scheduled to hold its annual convention on Saturday 11 November.

For earlier reports, see this.

In a separate story, the Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported that Critics say bishop hid brother’s sexual abuse.

A group called Concerned Pennsylvania Episcopalians has been formed.

Update Saturday morning The Living Church has reported in: Convention May Include a Referendum on Pennsylvania Bishop.

Update Sunday morning reports of the convention yesterday:
Philadelphia Inquirer Episcopal bishop hears some call for him to resign
Living Church Pennsylvania Convention Will Reconvene; Reprimand of Bishop Fails


APO: more developments

Updated Sunday morning

First, ENS reported on the Pittsburgh convention: Convention backs Duncan’s desire to leave Province III, achieve alternative primatial oversight. Also, the text of the Chancellor’s opinion to which I referred earlier is now available in a more accessible format, below the fold.

Second, the Living Church reports on a very interesting presentation given by David Booth Beers the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, in Chancellor: Episcopal Church Will Prevail in Communion and Courts.

Update 28 November The Living Church has issued Correction to Conference Coverage which relates to the story linked above.

Third, ENS also reports that

A second group of Episcopalians has called on bishops and standing committees to consider seriously South Carolina Bishop-elect Mark Lawrence’s stance toward the diocese’s continued affiliation with the Episcopal Church, as they decide whether or not to consent to his ordination.

Read SOUTH CAROLINA: Episcopal Forum calls for caution in consent process. The original of the letter can be found here on the website of the group.

And fourth, the Global South issued this note: A Statement by the Global South Steering Committee on Consultations with bishops requesting APO.

Update Sunday morning
A further article about the meeting which David Booth Beers addressed is here: Chancellor Sees Hopeful Outlook For TEC On Church Property Issues by Auburn Faber Traycik



Anglican/RC solidarity on women's ordination

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release

Roman Catholic and Anglican Solidarity on Women’s Ordination

The Roman Catholic group CWO (Catholic Women’s Ordination) and the Anglican group WATCH (Women and the Church) have sent a joint letter to all the Bishops of both Churches giving support to those in the Church of England for their recent vote in favour of women Bishops and calling for the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to look urgently at the growing desire for women priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

The letter has been sent before the joint meeting of Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, to be held at Hinsley Hall, Leeds on 14th –15th November 2006.

The letter says:

We say to the Anglican Bishops: please do not be afraid of raising the subject of ordaining women with your Catholic colleagues. It falls to the RC Bishops, when they gather in Synod, to consider whether these major issues in the Magisterium of the Church need to be looked at afresh. There are clearly many Catholic Bishops in England and Wales who personally believe that women should be ordained: we hope that in the privacy of your meeting that you will be able to discuss this, and perhaps help the Catholic bishops to consider ways of raising this formally in the structures of their Church. The XII Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is to take place in Rome in October 2008: such a gathering might well provide an opportunity for a discussion of women’s ordination. The RC Bishops of England and Wales, from their experience of working alongside Anglicans, will surely have much to say on the contribution that can be made by women priests.

To the Catholic Bishops we say: please do not feel this is a one-way dialogue. We believe you also have much to share with your Anglican brothers on the same issue. 14 years ago the C of E voted wholeheartedly for the ordination of women, by a two-thirds majority in all three houses of General Synod. This past July, Synod overwhelmingly agreed with the majority of the Bishops that admitting women to the episcopate was ‘consonant with the faith of the Church’. As Catholics we hope you will feel able to share with your Anglican colleagues that, as this is the step they are taking, they must appoint women as bishops on the same basis as men are appointed as bishops. To do otherwise would be to alter seriously the nature and understanding of episcopé. You will no doubt wish to point out that, in any future reconciliation between Rome and Canterbury, all priests and bishops will need to be universally recognised.


Lust for Certainty

Here’s an interesting event that takes place on Tuesday 21 November at 6.30 pm at St Mary’s Church, Putney.

Called The Lust for Certainty it is a roundtable discussion on the dangers of dogmatism with Anthony Kenny, Kathy Sykes, Mark Vernon, Giles Fraser, Stuart Sim and Mick Gordon.

More details here.


Jefferts Schori and theology

Jim Naughton posted recently in response to the unwarranted criticism by some conservatives of what the new American primate had said about the relationship between Christianity and other faiths. His post was excitingly titled Orthodox soteriology. Jim’s links lead to several relevant articles about the doctrine of salvation.

The NPR interview in question took place on 18 October and is 21 minutes long. It covered a lot of other ground as well, and can be found here.

Fr Jake also has an article containing links to put this matter into a wider context of mainstream Christian theology. See Seeking the Way to God.

Fr Jones has added his views: Will Only A Few Be Saved?


Fulcrum on listening

The most recent Fulcrum newsletter is entitled Listening to learn, Learning to listen and is written by Andrew Goddard.

The position taken here on this particular issue differs from that taken by Anglican Mainstream. Let’s see what TA readers think of it.


further PB reports

Stephen Bates reports in the Guardian on the Saturday investiture service, Celebrations greet first woman to lead Anglican province.

There is no coverage of this event in The Times but it is mentioned obliquely in the Telegraph where Jonathan Petre reports on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s planned visit to the Pope later this month, Williams will meet Pope to revive talks on unity and last week Jonathan also reported: Archbishop to meet leaders seeking split from liberal Church.

There was a second service on Sunday: reported by ENS as Presiding Bishop takes seat in Washington National Cathedral and the full text of that sermon is here.


PB interviewed on BBC and NPR

There is a short interview with the ECUSA Presiding Bishop, conducted by Jane Little, at the start of today’s Sunday radio programme. Listen here ( about 4 minutes, Real Audio, better URL later in the week).

And another radio report from National Public Radio here (5.5 minutes long) includes comments from the PB and also from Bishop Robert Duncan.

Update Monday
The NPR broadcast, more specifically Bishop Duncan’s comment, provoked a reaction from Anglicans Online which you can read here.


PB investiture

Updated Sunday morning

The service of investiture of the new presiding bishop takes place today, Saturday, in the Washington Cathedral.

Further details on the cathedral website here.

Printed order of service here as a PDF file.

The service will be broadcast on the web starting at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Go here to watch or listen.

Update Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s investiture sermon.

Initial press coverage
Rachel Zoll Associated Press Female Bishop Takes Top Episcopal Office and a later version of this Episcopalians Install Female Leader.
Pictures here, and here.

ENS now has lots and lots of pictures, starting here.

ENS also has a full report of the service in Amid prayer and ‘shalom,’ Katharine Jefferts Schori invested as Episcopal Church’s 26th Presiding Bishop by Mary Frances Schjonberg and in International guests bring global context to Jefferts Schori’s investiture by Matthew Davies. And also in Thousands line up outside Cathedral poised to observe history in the making by Daphne Mack.

The BBC has Woman bishop takes over Church.

Update Sunday morning
Washington Post Alan Cooperman Female Bishop Takes Helm of Episcopal Church
New York Times Neela Banarjee A Woman Is Installed as Top Episcopal Bishop
Los Angeles Times Louis Sahagun First woman takes helm of Episcopal Church
Washington Times Julia Duin The bishop presiding is a woman

The text of the greeting from Rowan Williams:

Saturday 4th November 2006

‘I am happy to send my prayers and best wishes to Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the historic occasion of her inauguration as Presiding Bishop. She will take on this responsibility in the most challenging of times, but she will be supported by the good will and prayers of very many in the USA and around the world as she strives to lead faithfully, honestly and collaboratively. I pray that she will daily know the love and mercy of God in Jesus Christ as the foundation of all she does, so that this reality will radiate from her ministry and her witness.’



Pittsburgh acts on APO

The Diocese of Pittsburgh passed a somewhat modified resolution on APO. Here is the full text of the official announcement:

Clergy and lay deputies voted overwhelmingly to approve Resolution I on November 3 at the City Center Marriott in Pittsburgh. The final vote was 97 aye, 14 nay, and 3 abstentions in the clergy order and 117 aye, 40 nay, and 7 abstentions in the lay order. In debate, the original resolution was replaced with a substitute. The resolution, as passed is below. The text of the original resolution is available here.

The approved resolution reads as follows:

RESOLVED, the 141st Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh confirms the actions of the Standing Committee taken on June 28, 2006, specifically (1) the withdrawal of consent for inclusion in the Third Province of the Episcopal Church (under Article VII of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church); and (2) the appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates of the Anglican Communion, and the Panel of Reference for immediate alternative Primatial oversight and pastoral care.

Steve Levin in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that City Episcopal Diocese votes to leave province.

The Associated Press headline was Pittsburgh Episcopalians vote to withdraw from national church.

More detail below the fold.
Update: link added to Pittsburgh Chancellor’s opinion



opinion time

In The Times Whatever next? The afterlife is discussed by Roderick Strange and other religious representatives.

Diversity of belief is a very Anglican tradition says Martyn Percy in the Guardian.

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph reviews a new book about cathedral canons in Explosive mix of canons.

Andrew Brown writes on Comment is free about the risk of corruption in churches, see Soul providers.

Giles Fraser had a column in the Church Times headed Why do Evangelicals like purity?

Simon Barrow on Ekklesia takes a different tack to the discussion of The God Delusion with Turning God into a disaster area.
He also has published additional links to reviews of this book here.


press reports on the new PB

There has been a lot of press coverage of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Here is a selection:

Christian Science Monitor Jane Lampman In turbulent times, a new Episcopal leader

Church Times Rachel Harden Jefferts Schori prepares for office in a visit to Lambeth

Associated Press Rachel Zoll via the Corvallis Gazette-Times Jefferts Schori: ‘Transparency’ on views vital

Reuters Michael Conlon New Episcopal Church head says dissent limited

Update Saturday
Associated Press Rachel Zoll Episcopalians to Install Female Leader and sidebar A Look at Katharine Jefferts Schori

Chicago Tribune New era in Episcopal Church

San Diego Union-Tribune New U.S. Episcopal leader seeks peace