Thinking Anglicans

primates meeting: agenda and attendees

Updated again Saturday morning

The Anglican Communion News Service has published Anglican Communion Leaders to meet in Tanzania. There will be several new faces: from Ireland, USA, Scotland, Brazil, Australia, Korea, Japan, Indian Ocean, Aotearoa, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Burundi.

More official material is here. An official list of the primates with biographies can be found here or another unofficial set of profiles can be found here.

A highly informative article by Graham Kings, originally published in the Church Times about Singapore: Intellectual Centre of a Movement can be found at Fulcrum’s site.

Another Living Church article Nigerian Primate: Consensus on Sexuality Necessary Before Lambeth Conference suggests that the outcome of this meeting may affect the willingness of some to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

George Conger has a report in the Church of England Newspaper reproduced at titusonenine: Primates will spend only four hours discussing Windsor. This includes the following detail:

The Primates will also travel to the Cathedral Church of Christ, also known as the Cathedral of the Universities Mission in Central Africa, in Zanzibar. In deference to the theological divisions within the Primates’ ranks, the Cathedral service will be a choir office. A daily Eucharist will be held at 12:15 during the week, but these have been designed as optional services, as the members of the Global South coalition stated in their September communiqué from Kigali they would not break bread with the American Presiding Bishop.

And this paragraph from George’s earlier report in the Living Church should not be overlooked:

Whether the primates will follow the agenda crafted in London by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is uncertain. The agenda for the 2005 primates meeting underwent significant changes as the meeting progressed, and similar changes are anticipated for this meeting. A pre-meeting strategy session for the African primates and other American and international church leaders will be held Feb. 10 in Nairobi, Kenya.l


InclusiveChurch responds to adoption debate

Press release from InclusiveChurch
An interactive network for the voice of liberal Anglicans

InclusiveChurch responds to adoption debate

The debate on gay adoption highlights an increasingly serious problem within the Church of England.

We have been called to bear witness to the gospel of generous, redemptive love and justice, but time and again we are perceived to be more concerned with rejection than welcome, with bunker-digging rather than dialogue.

The collective sigh of relief that was breathed and the profound joy that was felt across the country when women were ordained to the priesthood, from those outside as well as those inside the Church, has now been overshadowed.

Instead, the Church is now associated more and more strongly in the public mind with another form of discrimination – homophobia. We are now in a situation where, however carefully public statements are worded, the Church’s of England’s grudging response to the Equality Act, and to last year’s civil partnerships legislation, only encourages the belief that ‘the Church has a problem with gays’.

Meanwhile, the country has moved on. Civil partnerships have been warmly welcomed by gay and lesbian people and their friends and families, with uptake take-up far in excess of Government predictions. And around the country gay couples are getting on with the tough and uniquely valuable vocation of bringing up adopted children.

The Church is certainly called to be counter-cultural. We are certainly called, for example, to challenge trade injustice, to question policy on the international arms trade, to resist consumerism – not least its trivialisation of God’s precious gift of sexuality – in short, to try to work for the good of all people under the eyes of God.

But sometimes our resistance to lessons learned in the secular world appears to be a denial of the possibility of progress.

We cannot control God’s outrageously inclusive Gospel. We should, rather, be asking what God is teaching us through our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters who have heard the Gospel message of salvation and redemption, and become part of the Christian community.

To this end, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement has organised a conference on “Faith, homophobia and human rights” on February 17th.

And the Church of England’s General Synod is preparing to discuss a motion on February 21st which includes the following:

‘That this Synod acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire…’

We support these initiatives. As a church, we are in danger of becoming like sheep bleating in our little fold while real life goes by on the road outside. We acknowledge the diversity of opinion within the church. But it is our hope and prayer that the conference and the debate may be occasions to move away from rejection, so that we can jointly preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ’s love for God’s world to which we are all committed, trusting that the Spirit will through dialogue and mutual respect lead us into all truth. .

Revd Briony Martin, Vice Chair, InclusiveChurch


adoptions rumble on

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor writes in today’s Telegraph that Regulation must not trump conscience.

This is presumably the first step in the campaign reported by Jonathan Petre Church to fight to defend role in public life.

As Ekklesia reports in Church accused of getting its facts wrong on faith-based welfare the National Secular Society is ready to respond.

The leader column in the Independent Leading article: New morality? If only… is unequivocal in its summary of the position:

… The affair has also shown how social attitudes have changed in most of Britain. A few decades ago, the prospect of officially sanctioned gay adoption would have caused outrage. But few people today take the view that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt. The debate has focused instead on whether Catholic[s] agencies have a right to exempt themselves from the law of the land.

But perhaps most significantly, the affair has shown the limits of organised religions to influence political power. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the head of Catholics in England and Wales, wrote to every Cabinet minister to demand an exception for Catholic agencies. He was supported by the Church of England and the Muslim Council of Britain. It was a formidable coalition. But it failed.

Now the Cardinal accuses ministers of trying to impose a “new morality” in Britain. If this new morality means it will henceforth be impossible for religious groups to discriminate against people simply because they happen to be homosexual, we fail to see the problem with that.

Two links to the past that may be helpful to put all this in context:

First, this solution to the RC adoption agency problem is not original: see this report dated August 2006 from the San Francisco Chronicle SAN FRANCISCO Catholic agency finds way out of adoption ban Alliance with other groups gets around same-sex parent issue.

Second, this July 2006 Ekklesia report: Redeeming Religion in the Public Square.

Addition: Jonathan Bartley had this Thought for the Day on the radio this morning.


reactions to the adoption decision

The BBC interviewed Cardinal Murphy O’Connor on the radio this morning, see report (with link to audio): Cardinal warns of ‘new morality’.

Ekklesia has a news article on all this: Cardinal raises debate about church-government relations after adoption row and also this here.

Ekklesia has also published a comment article, Conscience and justice by Savi Hensman in which she analyses some of the implications of the Anglican archbishops’ recent letter.

The Telegraph has published an article claiming that Opt-out refusal ‘bans church from public life’.

Tom Wright’s rant to Ruth Gledhill (also summarised here) about the decision drew scorn from Jim Naughton who in a piece titled …or weird by Michael Jackson said:

…But being called arrogant by N. T. Wright, is like being called ugly by Jabba the Hutt.

This remark is a reference to an earlier critique of NTW which was titled N. T. Wright: Le Communion c’est moi.

And Savi Hensman has also sent an open letter to NTW which is reproduced below the fold.



ABC answers a question about SORs

I do not know what exact question was asked, but the following was, according to a Lambeth Palace press release, the reply made by Rowan Williams:

In response to a question on the UK Government announcement on the implementation of Sexual Orientation Regulations:

“I’ll wait to see I think what the period of negotiation that lies ahead will bring, to see whether the concerns of the Catholic Church has raised are going to be addressed. But what we’d most want to do is to disentangle two things. There’s a particular issue on which the Catholic church has taken a stand, as other Christians have; and there’s a general issue about the rights of the state and the rights of conscience especially in voluntary bodies. Now that second question is one that, I think, is by no means restricted to this issue. And I think it’s not going to go away, so I would like to see some more serious debate now about that particular question – what are the limits, if there are limits, to the State’s power to control and determine the actions of voluntary bodies within it, in pursuit of what are quite proper goals of non-discrimination. So I hope there’ll be a debate about that.”

More on this later, maybe.


adoption agency row: Blair decides

Updated Tuesday morning

The Prime Minister has announced his decision.
BBC No exemption from gay rights law.
There appear to be potential difficulties about this in Scotland, BBC No exemption for church adoption.
Other reports in the Telegraph, Times and Guardian, and from Reuters.

Ruth Gledhill has a lot more on this, including exclusive, extensive comments from the Bishop of Durham: Durham damns Blair as ‘deeply unwise’.

Ekklesia has Blair confirms that Catholic adoption agencies will not be able to discriminate.

Later reports:
Guardian Catholic agencies given deadline to comply on same-sex adoptions
Independent Blair announces deal on adoption
Telegraph Church loses opt-out fight over gay adoptions
The Times Gay adoption laws will have no exemptions, Blair tells Catholics and Bishop scorns ‘arrogance’
Scotsman Church accuses Blair of ‘thought crime’ in row over gay adoption


primates meeting: more reports

Updated Monday evening

Jonathan Wynne-Jones wrote in the Sunday Telegraph about that Kearon email, Williams ‘fostering schism, aide fears’ without mentioning the original report in the Church Times at all.

Jim Naughton pointed out that the headline refers to remarks made by Bishop Paul Marshall, not by Kenneth Kearon.

William Crawley took the Telegraph report at face value, and headlined Kenneth Kearon: Rowan Williams is fomenting schism, thus also attributing to Kearon a remark he has not made, at least not in public.

The Living Church has just reported: Third Episcopal Bishop Invited to Primates’ Meeting.

And, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has just published both a press release and the Full Text of the Request to the Global South Primates as well as A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Robert Duncan. There is a related report from the Living Church here.

Another report from the Living Church: George Conger describes how Episcopal Church Figures Prominently on Primates’ Agenda. Also, the Anglican Journal has a similar review of the meeting in Primates’ meeting likely to be difficult.

Updated Wednesday morning
Last Sunday’s radio programme Sunday had an interview with Jonathan Wynne-Jones about all this, listen here (5 minutes).


more reactions to the adoption row

Simon Barrow has written on Commentisfree: Learning to love again. Church agencies are turning against their own message. ‘Defeat’ at the hands of equality legislation may be the best spiritual outcome for them.

An earlier statement on Religious Adoption Agencies by LGCM is here.

From the Independent Why I wish a non-religious agency had arranged my adoption.
Also Dominic Lawson wrote Don’t be fooled: the Catholic Church is not bluffing over gay adoption and there was also this leading article.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that Compromise on gay adoption is still possible, say bishops and Andrew Pierce wrote Speaking as an adopted gay Catholic . .

The Tablet carries a feature article A love found wanting by Martin Reynolds, and carries an editorial, Need for compromise:

…The Government’s task, of which it is making heavy weather, is to balance the good of outlawing discrimination against homosexuals against the bad of seeing these excellent Catholic agencies close down. And they really would close: the bishops are bound by teachings and policies that are not theirs to change (and certainly will not be changed by this legislation). But most of what both sides want can be achieved by compromise. Gay couples will find plenty of agencies to welcome them, and the Catholic societies can continue with their good work in accordance with their consciences. So the battle boils down to the argument that to allow one exception, even on grounds of religious conviction, would undermine the new law as a whole. That is stretching the argument too far.

It is unwise for issues involving a genuine conflict of rights to be pushed to the point where there is total victory for one side and defeat for the other. But it would be well for the Catholic Church to recognise why its own position has become difficult to explain and defend. Its submission to Government makes reference to Catholic sexual ethics. Not long ago the Vatican published an ill-judged document that described the legal recognition of homosexual relationships as “the legislation of evil”. The Catholic Catechism says that Scripture describes homosexual acts as “grave depravity”. This is far removed from the temper of the times, and probably no longer even reflects what a majority of practising Catholics believe about homosexuals. Many of them have gay friends and gay relatives; Catholic mothers have gay sons. Some of the most devout are gay themselves…


opinion columns

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Candlemas.

In the Guardian Face to Faith is by Aidan Rankin who writes that the ‘many-sidedness’ of Jainism could inoculate us against fundamentalist rigidity.

The Times has Rodrick Strange writing about how Ordinary loves reveal extraordinary truth of compassion. Also, Greg Watts writes about religious broadcasting.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times In support of the scapegoat.

The Guardian also has a fascinating book review by Diarmaid MacCulloch of Martin Goodman’s compelling account of two crucial centuries in Jewish history, Rome and Jerusalem. See Original Spin.


primates meeting in Tanzania

Updated Saturday morning
Several recent items relating to this meeting next month.

First, the Living Church reports that two American bishops who have been invited by Archbishop Rowan Williams to come to Tanzania, as mentioned here, are: Robert Duncan and Bruce MacPherson. See:
Bishop Duncan, Another Bishop Will Attend Primates’ Meeting
Details on Tanzania Meeting Few For Western Louisiana Bishop

Second, the Church Times today published a news report, Secretary-general hints at ‘difficulties’ with Dr Williams, about which the Living Church has published this: Louie Crew: Publication of Private Email a Betrayal.

American views of Rowan Williams, as previously summarised by Bishop Paul Marshall, will not be improved by the report in the Anglican Journal saying Archbishop of Canterbury to meet with Canadian bishops. For a further expression of American opinion on the archbishop, read Jim Naughton …and starring Rowan Williams as Dale Carnegie (for an explanation of this title: see here).

Episcopal News Service has a report that Design group to give draft covenant to Primates.

The Anglican Communion’s Covenant Design Group’s report to the February meeting of the Communion’s Primates will include a draft covenant, according to one of the two Episcopal Church members of the group.

Both the Rev. Dr. Katherine Grieb, associate professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, and the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, rector of Church of the Ascension in Pueblo, Colorado, adhered to the group’s agreement to keep the details of its report confidential. Grieb said the report contains a draft of a proposed covenant.

However, both spoke to the Episcopal News Service about the covenant-design process and discussed their thoughts about the idea of a covenant for the Communion, which originated in the Windsor Report (paragraphs 113-120). The Archbishop of Canterbury appointed the group at the request of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates’ Meeting and of the Anglican Consultative Council…

Do read this report in full.


Virginia news catchup

Updated Saturday morning
Previous report here.

Earlier this week, Bishop James Lee took action against all the clergy of his diocese who participated in recent secessionist actions.
Diocesan press release: Bishop Inhibits Clergy; Diocese Responds to Filings by Separated Churches
ENS Bishop inhibits clergy; diocese responds to filings by separated churches
Living Church Bishop Lee Inhibits 21 Priests.
Richmond Times-Dispatch Episcopal Church bars 21 clergy from duties
Washington Times Breakaway Episcopal priests face defrocking

Today, Bishop Martyn Minns has responded to this action.
Bishop Minns responds to Bishop Lee’s premature and punitive actions against 27 clergy. (PDF)
For an html copy of the letter see here.

Today also, the diocese elected a new bishop coadjutor (suffragan with right of succession). For details of Shannon S. Johnston and his election see here, here, and here.

And the Falls Church News-Press reports that F.C. Episcopal Non-Defectors Gather Off-Site; Bishop May Defrock Yates. This report notes that The Falls Church formerly claimed 2800 members, but less than half this number had voted to secede.

Living Church Three Start-over Congregations Send Delegates to Virginia Annual Council by Doug LeBlanc

…Many of the 1,000 delegates and visitors present gave a standing ovation when the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee announced that both the standing committee and the executive board of the diocese voted unanimously to take legal action over property ownership in the departing parishes.

They applauded vigorously when the Rt. Rev. John Paterson, Bishop of Auckland, New Zealand, said, “If the Episcopal Church needs a strong and united Diocese of Virginia, it is no less true that the Anglican Communion needs a strong and united Episcopal Church, and The Episcopal Church needs the Anglican Communion.”

They gave a standing ovation when the Rt. Rev. David C. Jones, bishop suffragan, read a statement of unqualified support for Bishop Lee by nearly all the active and retired bishops in Province III of The Episcopal Church (with the notable exception of Pittsburgh’s bishops).

Bishop Jones said the departing congregations had shifted their emphasis “from belonging to Christ through baptism” to “adhering to one point of view.” When he added, “That is not an Anglican development,” delegates rose again, applauding and cheering….

Richmond Times-Dispatch Miss. priest next Va. bishop
Washington Times Bishop voted in as Lee’s successor


views on the adoption agency row

Andrew Brown writes about the Anglican archbishops’ statement: Is Rowan too subtle or too supple? It is in the nature of churches to regard themselves as higher moral authorities, but there’s no reason for the rest of us to go along with it.

Stephen Bates also writes about this: Gallantry after the battle. The Anglican archbishops’ intervention in the gay adoption row was an astonishing blunder.

Listen to an interview with Stephen Bates on the Guardian website here.

And, Elizabeth Ribbans on the Guardian Editors’ blog asks Was archbishop’s intervention a mistake?

Simon Barrow writes about it at Ekklesia: Adapting ourselves to adoptive grace. It would appear that the most senior figures in the English Catholic and Anglican churches have no real idea just how bad they look to a massive number of people right now.

Ekklesia also reports on what LGCM said, Catholic Church adoption policy seriously confused, says Christian group.

Changing Attitude said this in a press release.

In The Times Mary Ann Sieghart comments on The fallout from the gay adoption row. Jane Shilling also has some comments here. The leaders of Affirming Catholicism have a letter to the editor here.

The full transcript of the BBC TV interview with Robert Pigott which was referenced earlier, hcan be found here.


adoption agency row: latest development

Updated Thursday daytime

Following the initial report by Gary Gibbon on Channel 4 News that:

After meeting Labour backbenchers, the programme understands that Mr Blair won’t now be pushing for Catholic adoption agencies to be allowed an exemption from the law which will require them to place children with gay couples.

Downing St said Mr Blair would be seeking a “pragmatic solution” to the matter.

He would look to find agreement on how long they would have to wind up their operations after new gay rights regulations came into force.

The proposals, which result from last year’s Equality Act, are reported have caused a split in the Cabinet.

Mr Blair and Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly – a prominent Catholic – favouring an exemption, and colleagues including the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, insisting that the rules should apply equally to everyone.

The regulations, being drafted by Ms Kelly’s Communities and Local Government department, must be approved by a vote of both Houses of Parliament before coming into effect.

other news sources have now confirmed this story:
Daily Mail Blair caves in over adoption laws

The Times Catholics get time to adjust to gay rights. Also this leader: Adopt a Compromise and this cartoon.

Guardian Cabinet rejects exemption on gay adoptions and this leader: Principle under pressure. And this comment by Madeleine Bunting Retreat on adoption and the Equality Act will crumble.
Stephen Bates has also written on this topic, both in the paper, The loving gay family and the archbishop next door and on Comment is free in Adopting the wrong attitude. Also, Two churches, one view and a question of conscience.

Telegraph Blair retreats over opt-out for gay adoption
Faith or career – the choice facing Kelly by Graeme Wilson and Jonathan Petre

BBC ‘No opt-out’ for Church adoption (has link to video report from last night’s TV news). There is also an audio clip from the Today programme here.

Independent Blair backs down over gay adoption law.


more on the adoption agency row

See previous entry for the letter from Rowan Williams and John Sentamu and earlier press reports, including The Times today.

Dr Sentamu was interviewed on the BBC Today radio programme: listen here, about 6 minutes long.

Should Catholic adoption agencies be able to refuse to place children with gay couples? We speak to the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu

Further press coverage:
Telegraph Churches unite against gay laws by Jonathan Petre and George Jones
Telegraph leader Sexual disorientation.
Guardian Archbishops back Catholic stance on adoption rights for gay couples by Will Woodward and Stephen Bates (another version of this story here).
Independent Cherie Blair ‘split Cabinet in Catholic adoption row
Independent Leading article: When the interests of child and church collide
and a report from last Sunday, Faith & Reason: Ruth Kelly, her hard-line church and a devout PM wrestling with his conscience.
Magnus Linklater in The Times Kelly must face her tragic end – to resign on principle.
Ekklesia Call for Kelly’s head as Blair ponders and C of E backs Catholics and Sentamu seeks to defend church against charges of discrimination.


Anglican archbishops write to Prime Minister

The Church of England has published the text of a letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Tony Blair.

Dear Prime Minister,

The Church of England, along with others in the voluntary sector, including other churches and faith communities, have been in discussion with the government for some time over what has become known as the Sexual Orientation Regulations. Those discussions have been conducted in good faith, in mutual respect and with an appropriate level of confidence on all sides.

Last week that changed. Speculation about splits within government, fuelled by public comment from government ministers, appears to have created an atmosphere that threatens to polarise opinions. This does no justice to any of those whose interests are at stake, not least vulnerable children whose life chances could be adversely, and possibly irrevocably, affected by the overriding of reasoned discussion and proper negotiation in an atmosphere of mistrust and political expediency.

The one thing on which all seem able to agree is that these are serious matters requiring the most careful consideration. There is a great deal to gain. It is becoming increasingly evident, however, that much could also be lost, as the letter from Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor makes clear.

Many in the voluntary sector are dedicated to public service because of the dictates of their conscience. In legislating to protect and promote the rights of particular groups the government is faced with the delicate but important challenge of not thereby creating the conditions within which others feel their rights to have been ignored or sacrificed, or in which the dictates of personal conscience are put at risk.

The rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well meaning.

On numerous occasions in the past proper consideration has been given to the requirements of consciences alongside other considerations contributing to the common good, such as social need or human rights – the right, for example, of some doctors not to perform abortions, even though employed by the National Health Service.

It would be deeply regrettable if in seeking, quite properly, better to defend the rights of a particular group not to be discriminated against, a climate were to be created in which, for example, some feel free to argue that members of the government are not fit to hold public office on the grounds of their faith affiliation. This is hardly evidence of a balanced and reasonable public debate.

As you approach the final phase of what has, until very recently, been a careful and respectful consideration of the best way in which to introduce and administer new protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in England and Wales, we hope you, and cabinet colleagues, will do justice to the interests of the much wider grouping of interests within the nation that will be affected. It is vitally important that the interests of vulnerable children are not relegated to suit any political interest. And that conditions are not inadvertently created which make the claims of conscience an obstacle to, rather than the inspiration for, the invaluable public service rendered by parts of the voluntary sector.

Yours faithfully,

Most Rev and Rt Hon Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury

Most Rev and Rt Hon John Sentamu
Archbishop of York

Reference is made above to a letter from Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor. That letter can be read here.

Press coverage
Earlier reports from the Telegraph Jonathan Petre Gay laws would force closures says Cardinal and A bare fist fight.

Later reports from The Times Ruth Gledhill and Greg Hurst Anglicans back right to deny gay adoption and Tony Blair: torn between two loves.


Drenched in Grace: Anglicans, Inclusion and the Gospel

Drenched in Grace: Anglicans, Inclusion and the Gospel is the title of the InclusiveChurch residential conference to be held from 21st to 23rd November 2007 at the Christian Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire.

DRENCHED IN GRACE: Anglicans, Inclusion and the Gospel

More than at any time in the recent past, those who seek to offer an open, inclusive and welcoming Gospel within the Anglican Communion are facing great challenges. Now more than ever we need to be equipped with the theological and ecclesiastical resources which mean that we can with confidence affirm that the Gospel of justice, inclusion and peace we try to communicate is scriptural, rational and central to Anglican tradition.

Confirmed speakers so far are:

Dr. Jenny Te Paa
Principal of Te Rau Kahikatea, College of St John the Evangelist, Auckland, New Zealand and member of the Windsor Commission

Rev. Dr. Louis Weil
James F. Hodges Professor of Liturgics, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley California

Rev. Canon Lucy Winkett
Precentor, St Paul ’s Cathedral, London

Rev. Dr. Sharon Moughtin-Mumby
formerly lecturer in OT Studies, Ripon College, Cuddesdon and now Curate, St Peter’s Church, Walworth (Diocese of Southwark)

Mark Russell
Chief Executive Officer, Church Army

For further details see here and for a booking form go here.


church attempts to use new media

Jonathan Wynne-Jones has had two stories in the Sunday Telegraph lately on this:

14 Jan For YouTube, read PewTube

21 Jan Hug somebody for Lent

The latter was triggered by a Church of England official press release titled: Lent – now str8 2 ur fone about the Love Life Live Lent campaign. The associated website is not what you might expect, but rather is

Both these projects are subjected to some serious criticism, first by Dave Green at wannabepriest under the title Oi, Williams…. NOOOO! and then by Dave Walker at The Cartoon Blog. I agree with their comments. What do TA readers think?



A new joint project of Fulcrum and Inclusive Church has just started. Titled Goddard2Goddard it has as a strapline Waiting for Goddards: Corresponding Theologies.

Who are we?

Andrew Goddard is Tutor in Christian Ethics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and Giles Goddard is Rector of St Peter’s Church, Walworth, South London. Giles is also Chair of Inclusive Church while Andrew is on the Leadership Team of Fulcrum and a scholar of the Anglican Communion Institute.

What are we doing?

We agreed just before Christmas to correspond with each other over the next few months on matters relating to the challenges facing the Anglican Communion and the Church of England and to publish our exchanges online. The correspondence will appear on both the Fulcrum and Inclusive Church sites although both of us are writing in a personal capacity. We do this knowing we initially come with different perspectives on many of the major presenting issues (the nature of Anglicanism, life in communion, the Windsor Report, Lambeth I.10 on sexual ethics etc) and eager to explore these together.

Why are we doing this?
The project is explained further both here and here.

The initial pair of letters can be read on either site:

Giles to Andrew 19 December

Andrew to Giles 13 January

Further letters will be posted both here and here.

The Fulcrum forum has a thread for discussion which you can read here.


weekend columnists

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times: A gentle reminder that soft answers can turn away wrath.

Chris Hardwick writes about Conscience in Face to Faith in the Guardian.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about how The Bible is not a legal document.


Virginia: new developments (updated)

Updated again Saturday morning
The Diocese of Virginia has just issued this: Diocesan Leadership Declares Church Property ‘Abandoned’
A Letter to The Diocese of Virginia from the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop

Please read both documents in full.

Friday morning
Episcopal News Service Virginia leadership declares church property ‘abandoned’
Living Church Diocese Declares Departing Virginia Church Properties Abandoned
Richmond Times-Dispatch Diocese moves to recover breakaway churches’ land
Associated Press via Washington Post Episcopalians Readying Legal Challenge
Washington Times Church dispute headed to court

Friday evening
Episcopal News Service Presiding Bishop affirms Church’s ‘fiduciary and moral duty’ to preserve property

From the CANA website:

On January 12, Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA received the following letter from the leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia (the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee). Bishop Minns’s response is also pasted below. CANA regrets that given the Episcopal Church’s more recent public polemical statements, that we are forced to make these two private letters part of the public record. In the past, the headquarters of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has endorsed the principles of civility and grace (e.g., “The Grace and Power of Civility” by David Abshire). But their recent unilateral actions of (1) denying their own Protocol’s access to amicable separation, of (2) breaking off the negotiation process, of (3) driving a wedge into CANA congregations, of (4) denying senior priests access to COBRA health care extensions — all of these seem to prove that the Episcopal Church is more interested in posturing than people. CANA continues to pray for a peaceful resolution and that the Episcopal Church leaders will not initiate litigation.

» January 10, 2007 – Letter from the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee to the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns (PDF)

» January 16, 2007 – Letter from the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns to the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee (PDF)

and also Anglican District of Virginia leaders urge Episcopal Bishop and Diocese to return to negotiating table.

FAIRFAX and FALLS CHURCH, Va, Jan. 19 – Two leaders of the Anglican District of Virginia today urged the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, to cease both his divisive rhetoric and his march toward the courthouse and instead return to the negotiating table.

“It is still not too late for Bishop Lee and the leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to stand down from making any more threats against faithful Christians who followed the Diocese of Virginia’s protocol for departing congregations, and instead to return to the negotiating table,” said Tom Wilson, Senior Warden of The Falls Church and Chairman of the Anglican District. “I still have hope, even now, that we can sit down and reason together.”

The Anglican District of Virginia is a growing association of Anglican Churches in Virginia, consisting of 16 worshipping congregations and two emerging church plants. On a typical Sunday, almost 6000 people attend these churches, making Anglican District larger than almost half of the Episcopal dioceses in the United States…

This article from the Washington Post yesterday contains detail about the Heathsville, Virginia church mentioned in the correspondence above: Praying for Answers.

Saturday morning
Living Church Departing Virginia Churches Urge Diocese to Resume Negotiations
Washington Post Congregations Give Warning On Property
Washington Times Breakaway churches urge bishop back to talks

The Rev. Dr. John Yates Writes to The Falls Church via Stand Firm