CATHOLIC Archbishop of Abuja, Rt Rev John Onayeikan has been elected president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
In a keenly contested election in Abuja yesterday, Onayeikan polled 72 votes to defeat the incumbent and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Most Rev. Peter Akinola who scored 33 votes…
…Now, CAN’s 304-member general assembly is expected to ratify the election at its July 5 to July 6 2007 meeting in Abuja.
According to the association’s constitution Onayeikan, who won majority of votes of the NEC, shall be deemed nominated as president while Akinola the runner-up is vice-president (VP), nominee.
However, sources at the NEC said: “Akinola is not likely to accept the position of VP. It may be a bit condescending for him. I will be surprised if he accepts that position when the general assembly meets on July 6.”
Five General Synod members have sent the following note on the Draft Anglican Covenant to their fellow synod members.
TA will be glad to publish any other communications to synod members on the Covenant that we receive.
The Draft Anglican Covenant
1. The case for a Covenant has not been made out – the so-called crisis in the Anglican Communion has been greatly exaggerated by the media and by some within the Communion who have a vested interest in generating the crisis phenomenon. We need to reclaim the agenda for ourselves. The Communion has always been a federation of allied Churches which has lived with differences of views on a wide range of matters. Trust has been strained across the Communion in the sense that some accuse others of breaking faith on certain issues in relation to human sexuality. But vigorous disagreements are nothing new or startling for us. The four instruments of the Communion are perfectly capable of dealing with difference. It is also possible to argue that trust is not under strain; trust has been strengthened because we are now more open about our different expressions of faith within the body of Christ.
2. The Covenant is an attempt to impose agreement where this did not exist before – a founding principle of Anglican ecclesiology is immortalised in the words of HM Queen Elizabeth I who did not wish “to make windows into men’s souls”. When questioned about the Eucharist, she said “Christ was the word that spake it. He took the bread and brake it; And what his words did make it that I believe and take it.” There has never been a single version of “authentic Anglicanism” and a Covenant cannot begin to grapple with the existing diversity within our Church and the Communion. A true family cannot exist without disagreements and neither can the Anglican Communion. It is because we are in Communion with one another that we need to struggle with one another.
3. The Covenant is a route to disunity – in drawing a sharp distinction between covenanters and non-covenanters, this process would create and constitute division rather than fostering continued Communion-wide dialogue. Province A may have already declared itself out of Communion with province B, even though province B may still regard itself in Communion with province A. People already refuse to share the Eucharist together. But the current structures allow for people and provinces easily to re establish links re assert communion with one another. The Covenant will institutionalise this process and make it harder.
4. If the Communion needs a Covenant, we all need to agree about it; if we can all agree about it, we do not need a Covenant – the Covenant is process focused rather than outcome focused. It ignores the “elephant in the room”: we need to learn to live with difference in witness to the world of Christ’s body broken for us. The Covenant is displacement activity.
5. The mechanisms in section 6 of the Covenant are woefully inadequate to establish what would be, in effect, a new order within the Anglican Communion and the Church of England – the four instruments of the Communion are satisfactory for a federation of allied churches but are not suitable institutions for a new order. No indication is given as to where the balance of power would lie under the Covenant as between the four instruments or how they would operate together in order to enforce the covenant. If a new order were to be established, it would require fundamental institutional reform. It is not possible to superimpose a new order on the existing structure.
6. The gift of Anglican ecclesiology is that it is both a Church catholic and reformed and this is undermined by the Covenant – the Church of England emerged from the Reformation with an essential balance between bishops and the people. This is currently expressed in the jurisdiction of a bishop in Synod. The Covenant fundamentally shifts the balance of power towards bishops in an unprecedented way. Three of the instruments of the Communion are exclusively made up of bishops which subordinates the role of clergy and laity. The Covenant fails to acknowledge that Anglican tradition has never accepted something akin to papal or curial authority, whilst also not being congregationalist. It is critical that the Anglican tradition is maintained, clergy and lay participation synodically expressed with authority, and undue weight is not handed over to episcopally dominated structures.
7. Covenants with other Churches do not have the same legal significance as the draft Anglican Covenant – an expression of common will or mutual respect is very different to, in effect, subordinating the Church of England to the institutions of the Anglican Communion.
8. The Covenant raises such fundamental issues that a period of careful reflection and reception is required – the Anglican tradition of living with difference is one of our core charisms. It is not acceptable for General Synod to be bounced into endorsing the current approach to the Covenant without full reflection and debate. Although the Primates may wish to debate the Covenant at the next Lambeth Conference and we may wish to pray for these deliberations, they should not be seen as having synodical endorsement when we have no idea what representations may be made on our behalf or what the shape of the final draft Covenant will be.
The Very Revd Colin Slee (Deans 55); the Revd Brian Lewis (Chelmsford 90); the Revd Paul Collier (Southwark 217); John Ward (London 359); the Revd Canon Prof Marilyn McCord Adams (Universities 446)5 Comments
Annex 4 of GS 1661, the paper by the MCU, is now available here.
Note that it is not the most recent paper from MCU on this topic. That one can be found here.10 Comments
Annex 3 of GS 1661, the paper by Dr Martin Davie, is now available here.4 Comments
The meetings of General Synod are always accompanied by a wide variety of “fringe meetings”.
At York, one of these will be organised by Changing Attitude as reported here: Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria to visit UK:
In York he will talk at a meeting of the CA York group on Saturday 7 July and a fringe meeting at General Synod on 8 July. He will meet bishops and members of Synod. He also hopes to meet Bishop Benjamin Kwashi of the diocese of Jos, Nigeria, who is at Synod for a meeting organised by Anglican Mainstream.
Want your fringe meeting publicised here? Write to us in the Comments.
Anglican Mainstream has announced its meeting here:
Bishop Benjamin Kwashi, Bishop of Jos, Northern Nigeria will speak at the Anglican Mainstream “fringe meeting” at General Synod on Monday July 9th 2007 at 1 .15 p.m. on The Anglican Communion – an African Perspective.
Bishop Kwashi has been Bishop of Jos since 1992. He has seen a number of his church buildings burnt to the ground and his wife was physically assaulted by terrorists in their home last year.
He is Co-ordinating bishop for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America and Chairman of the board of Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA) International.
David Mac-Iyalla of Changing Attitude Nigeria and Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife Brazil will be joining 70 members of General Synod to hear Bishop Kwashi. .
Annex 2 of GS 1661, the paper by the Bishop of Chichester, is now available here.7 Comments
ANNEX 1 of GS 1661 THE ANGLICAN COVENANT PROPOSAL is reproduced below. For context read this.
There has already been much discussion about the idea of an Anglican Covenant in recent months, including some preliminary discussion by the bishops of the Church of England. The House of Bishops welcomes this debate by the General Synod as part of a longer process of reflection across the Communion. No-one expects a definitive verdict at this stage; but it is important to think through whether the whole idea of a Covenant for the Communion is of value, and the papers circulated will greatly assist such thinking. The plans for the Lambeth Conference have made provision for a full discussion there in the light of responses from the Provinces.
As the papers collected here make plain, the Covenant is not meant to be a new creed or code, dictated by some authoritarian body divorced from the real life of the Communion’s member provinces. It is, of course, in some degree a response to a crisis – and we are all rightly cautious about creating lasting structures in reaction to temporary crises. But our present troubles in the Communion have raised the question, ‘What is the nature and extent of the responsibility we have to and for each other as Anglican provinces, and how is it grounded in the mutual responsibility of members of the Body of Christ?’ This entails deeper questions about our responsibility to and for the whole of our heritage of reading Scripture intelligently in the context of living tradition, and about how that is to be transmitted to those who follow us. And, arising from all that, there are issues about what sorts and levels of consultation and shared decision-making would be an appropriate expression of such responsibility. The Covenant is not an attempt to create an international executive; but if something like a Covenant does come into effect, it may be easier to express and explore the consequences of developments proposed in one province or another, so that decisions may be better informed, and more adequate strategies for dealing with conflict may be created.
Inevitably, this implies that we have to recognize that there are some limits to Anglican ‘diversity’. It is a simply a matter of fact that some questions – not only the debates over sexual ethics – are experienced as fundamentally Church-dividing issues. It could be that a well-structured Covenant would help us not to treat every divisive matter with the same seriousness and enable us to discern what was really – theologically and ecclesially – at stake when disagreements arose. It is not a tool for promoting schism or canonizing heightened intolerance, but an element in the continuing work of handling conflict without easy recourse to mutual condemnation.
And that is the point that we hope will be considered carefully. Whether or not a Covenant is adopted, the question of handling conflict will not go away. In the age of instant global communication, this question is likely to be sharper than ever. If we do not have a Covenant in the Communion, we shall not be absolved from the imperative to manage our conflicts and tensions better than we have been doing. Unless we can do better, the future of the Communion is going to be more and more fragile and uncertain, and we can’t just appeal to some imagined traditional Anglican way of handling things without fuss. That is why many of those who have been engaged in dealing with the fallout from recent conflicts – in particular the Primates of the Communion and the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council – have concluded that something like a Covenant is a constructive path for the future, and why the hope has been expressed that the bishops attending the Lambeth Conference will be ready to work with the concept and with the proposals already outlined. We hope the Synod will consider their arguments with sympathy.
+ Rowan Cantuar: + Sentamu Ebor:42 Comments
The General Synod of the Church of England will debate the Anglican Covenant Proposal on Sunday 8 July in a session timed to run from 2.30 pm to 6.15 pm, and intended also to cover a separate debate on the Anglican-Methodist Covenant. The Agenda item reads as follows:
THE ANGLICAN COVENANT PROPOSAL (GS 1661)
17. At the invitation of the Presidents, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez (chair of the Anglican Covenant Design Group) will address the Synod.
A member of the House of Bishops to move:
18. ‘That this Synod:
a) affirm its willingness to engage positively with the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007 for a process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion;
b) note that such a process will only be concluded when any definitive text has been duly considered through the synodical processes of the provinces of the Communion; and
c) invite the Presidents, having consulted the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council, to agree the terms of a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office by the end of the year.’
Amendments for this item have to be delivered to the Synod Office by 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 7th July.
Here’s what the Business Committee report says:
Anglican Communion Covenant (Sunday, 8 July)
40. All Provinces of the Anglican Communion have been asked by the Primates to offer comments by the end of the year on the draft of a possible Anglican Covenant, which was prepared by a design group and discussed by the Primates in Tanzania in February 2007. This is the first stage in what will be a fairly lengthy process involving the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the subsequent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council and, subject to that, the possible subsequent submission to Provinces of a text for approval.
41. The House of Bishops has considered the Primates’ request and agreed the text of a motion that will be moved at the Synod by a member of the House of Bishops. It invites the Synod to affirm its willingness to engage positively with the process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion and to endorse a process, under the oversight of the Presidents, which will enable a response to be sent on behalf of the Church of England to the Primates’ invitation for comments by the end of this year.
42. For the Synod debate, the House of Bishops has assembled resources (GS 1661) including a Foreword by the Archbishops, other contextual material and the text of the draft Covenant.
43. The Presidents have invited the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies, and Chair of the Covenant Design Group, to address the Synod before the debate is introduced by a member of the House of Bishops.
And below is the first page of GS 1661. The electronic copy of this document (.rtf ) does not include Annex 4 or Annex 5. Links are however provided below to the originals of these two. Links to html copies of all the other annexes have now been added.
THE ANGLICAN COVENANT PROPOSAL
1. In February the Primates of the Anglican Communion asked all Provinces to consider and offer comments by the end of the year on the draft of a possible Anglican Covenant that had been prepared by a design group and discussed by them in Tanzania. The text of the draft Covenant is attached to this note.
2. The Primates noted that this would be only the first stage in what, if the Covenant idea found favour, would be quite a protracted process, involving the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the subsequent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council and the subsequent submission to provinces for approval.
3. The House of Bishops discussed the Primates’ request in May and agreed a motion for Synod to consider in July. The text of the motion, which the Bishop of Chichester will move, is on the agenda. It touches on how the Church of England should engage with the proposed process and prepare a response for submission before the end of the year.
4. To resource this debate, the following documents are attached:
(1) A Foreword by the Archbishops (Annex 1).
(2) A contextual note by the Bishop of Chichester (Annex 2).
(3) A more detailed background note by Dr Martin Davie, theological consultant to the House of Bishops (Annex 3) which draws upon some preparatory thinking on the idea of a Covenant by the Faith and Order Advisory Group.
(4) A copy [RTF version] of some material prepared by Jonathan Clatworthy and Paul Bagshaw of the Modern Churchpeople’s Union (Annex 4 [PDF version here] and circulated at the request of the House. Given the range of comment that the idea of a Covenant has generated, the House thought that members of Synod might find it helpful to be able to read more than one analysis of the issues that arise. An html copy is now here.
(5) The latest text of the draft Covenant (Annex 5) on which the Church of England and other Provinces have been asked to comment.
5.Immediately before a member of the House of Bishops moves the motion, the Synod will be addressed by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, who chaired the Covenant Design Group. Members wishing to read the full report to the primates from the Design Group can access it at: http://www.aco.org/commission/d_covenant/docs/covenant.pdf
[hard copies are also available from the General Synod Office on request and will also be available at the Information Desk in York].
11 June 2007
The Church of England has released today a report Talent and Calling about how senior appointments (other than diocesan bishops) should be made. The first part of the official press release is below the fold; the full text, including the list of recommendations, is here. The report is scheduled to be debated at General Synod on the afternoon of Monday 9 July 2007.
One recommendation is that “that the right both to appoint to the 28 Crown deaneries and also to choose the person to be appointed should continue to rest with the Crown”, although with changes to the procedures. But Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph reports that there will be calls at Synod to remove the Crown from the process of appointing deans: Church ‘poised to cut ties to state’.1 Comment
Papers for next month’s sessions of the General Synod of the Church of England are starting to appear online and are listed below. The list will be updated as more papers become available.
Latest update: Wednesday 27 morning
(with the days on which they are scheduled to be debated or otherwise considered. Business may be rescheduled, particularly legislation, marked #. Items marked § will only be debated if a member asks for this.)
GS 1616B Draft Church of England Marriage Measure (Saturday#)
GS 1616YY Report of the Revision Committee (Saturday#)
GS 1616Z Draft Church of England Marriage Measure: draft measure for final drafting and final approval: report by the Steering Committee (Tuesday#)
GS 1650 Talent and Calling: Report of the Senior Church Appointments Review Group (Monday)
GS 1651 Transforming Worship: Report of the Liturgical Commission (Saturday)
GS 1655 Present and Participating: A place at the table (Sunday)
GS 1657 Report by the Business Committee (Friday)
GS 1658 Appointments to the Archbishops’ Council and the Church of England Pensions Board (Saturday)
GS 1660 Clergy Pensions (Saturday)
GS 1663 Disability Issues for Ministry in the Church of England (Monday)
GS 1664 Forty-First Report of the Standing Orders Committee (Saturday)
GS 1665 The Archbishops’ Council’s Draft Budget for 2008 (Tuesday)
GS 1666 Sunderland Minster Representation Scheme (Saturday#§)
GS 1670 Church of England Funded Pensions Scheme (Accrual Rates) (Amendment) Rules 2007 (Saturday#)
GS 1671 Church of England Funded Pensions Scheme (Guaranteed Increases) (Amendment) Rules 2007 (Saturday#)
GS 1667, 1670 & 1671 X Explanatory Memorandum
GS Misc 855A and 855B Private Member’s Motion: Possible Military Action against Iran (Saturday)
GS Misc 856A and 856B Diocesan Synod Motion: The Church Commissioners(Monday)
GS Misc 857A and 857B Private Member’s Motion: Ethical Investment Advisory Group: Restricted Investments (Monday)
The Anglican/Methodist Covenant: Living God’s Covenant: Second Interim Report of the Joint Implementation Commission (Sunday)5 Comments
Updated Monday afternoon
Alan Cooperman in the Washington Post has a very interesting review today of the American church situation: More U.S. Episcopalians Look Abroad Amid Rift.
…African and, to a lesser extent, Southeast Asian and Latin American prelates are racing to appoint American bishops and to assume jurisdiction over congregations that are leaving the Episcopal Church, particularly since its consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003.
So far, the heads, or primates, of Anglican provinces overseas have taken under their wings 200 to 250 of the more than 7,000 congregations in the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism. Among their gains are some large and wealthy congregations — including several in Northern Virginia — that bring international prestige and a steady stream of donations…
epiScope has important commentary on the numbers contained in this report: read Jan Nunley here. In summary many of the 200-250 congregations never were congregations of the Episcopal Church.
The Church Times report on last week’s developments is Archbishop of Kenya to consecrate US bishop by Pat Ashworth.
The Washington Times had this report by Julia Duin Anglican Kenyans name U.S. bishop which includes:
…”We are just working as rescuers,” Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said yesterday, referring to conservatives distressed by liberal trends in the Episcopal Church. “We needed someone there [in America] who understands their culture. I am not there for name and fame and to build myself.”
About 10 of the 30 congregations were immigrant groups overseen by a group of Kenyan bishops and never affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The other 20 congregations were mainly Caucasians who left the denomination over disagreements on biblical authority and the denomination’s 2003 consecration of openly homosexual New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson…
The Episcopal Church’s executive council this week warned the Diocese of Quincy and three other dioceses that changes in their constitutions over the past three years are “null and void.”
The problem, Quincy officials said Friday, is the diocesan constitution has not been changed since at least 1993.
The executive council adopted a resolution “reminding” the dioceses, each of which has requested alternative oversight, that they can’t change their constitutions in an attempt to change their relationship with the denomination.
However, for further explanation of why these dioceses were named in the resolution, epiScope has this article, with several useful links to earlier reports concerning each diocese named.10 Comments
The Vancouver Sun recently reported that the Anglican Diocese of B.C. reps favour same-sex blessing.
The Diocese of British Columbia is on Vancouver Island, next door to the Diocese of New Westminster. Its own website is unavailable as I write but the New Westminster website reports further on this matter in a news article Neighbouring diocese votes in favor of same sex blessings which includes the full text of the resolution passed.
This week the Vancouver Sun carries a long article by Douglas Todd titled His house divided which reviews the situation in the Canadian church.
Another report is Anglicans gather as threat of schism looms by Richard Foot of CanWest News Service0 Comments
Religious Intelligence has Anglican Communion moves closer to schism by Ed Beavan.
Stephen Bates has Anglican split comes closer as US church rejects demand over gays in the Guardian.
Ruth Gledhill in The Times has Anglican schism looms closer over gay consecrations.
Episcopal News Service has posted a video report of the Executive Council meeting:
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson offer an overview of the recent Executive Council meeting, held June 11-14 in Parsippany, New Jersey. The Rev. Jan Nunley, deputy for communication for the Episcopal Church, reports.
Go here to watch it.15 Comments
Chris Duggan writes about the meaning of words in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.
Christopher Howse writes about The case of the missing Gospel in the Daily Telegraph.
Roderick Strange writes in The Times about True forgiveness.
Giles Fraser has a rant in the Church Times.
Commonweal has two articles, one by Timothy Luke Johnson, the other (scroll down) by Eve Tushnet on Homosexuality & the Church.2 Comments
GRAS Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod
Press Release – For Immediate Release
Senior Women Clergy Numbers Rise
Numbers of women clergy deployed in the dioceses in the Church of England have risen to an average of 25.8 of all clergy in the dioceses. Women now account for 17% of full time stipendiary clergy in the dioceses and for 8% of senior posts, including deans, archdeacons, other cathedral clergy and area deans.
These statistics have been gathered for the second time in five years in the Furlong Table, named in honour of the late Monica Furlong. Furlong, a witty and incisive writer and observer of the Church of England, and also a fearless and tireless campaigner for the ordination of women, suggested to a group of young female ordinands that statistics be gathered to monitor the deployment and promotion of women clergy in the Church of England.
The first Furlong Table was produced in 2000 for GRAS, the Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod, by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, Catherine Butt and Leah Vasey-Saunders, all then students at Cranmer Hall theological college in Durham. The updated figures for 2005 have been produced by the Reverend Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, now Chaplain and Solway Fellow of University College, Durham.
GRAS believes that
Revd Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes
University College, Durham, DH1 3RW
Revd Canon Peggy Jackson
The Rectory, 170 Sheen Lane, SW14 8LZ
|19||St.Edms & Ipswich||27.5||-6||5.5||22.0|
|24||Bath & Wells||25.0||+9||11.6||13.4|
|41||Sodor and Man||11.8||+2||11.8||0.0|
Notes for Editors
The Furlong Table measures the numbers of women clergy deployed in each of the dioceses in the Church of England. The average points score has risen by over a third from 2000 to 2005, from 18.6 to 25.8. This is made up of an on average doubling of the points received from women in senior posts, together with a 50% increase in the number of other ordained women in full time stipendiary posts in the dioceses.
A perfect score in this table would be 100, representing 50% of all other full time stipendiary clergy in a diocese being female. The top score of 39.9 is still disappointingly low, but it is moving in the right direction. This means that in Oxford, which rose 15 points to become the best diocese in the Church of England for women’s deployment in 2005, women had been appointed to 17% of senior clergy posts, and 23% of other clergy were female.
Overall, in 2005, women represented 5% of cathedral deans, 6% of archdeacons, 14% of other cathedral clergy and 8% of area/rural deans.
The greatest percentage change was for Truro Diocese, which saw its score increase by 354%! Truro was joint with Durham Diocese for the biggest rise up the table, both gaining a massive 26 places. Truro rose from 40th place (out of 43) to 14th, whilst Durham rose from 34th to 8th place.
Other diocese which saw big gains were Derby, up 17 places from 35th to 18th, and Peterborough, up 15 places from 26th to 11th place. Three diocese have fallen badly in the table: Bristol fell 27 places, from 11th to 38th, Guildford fell 23 places from 7th to 30th, and Rochester fell 17 places from 18th to 35th place.
The draft agenda is available as a small PDF file here. Yesterday’s news article is here: Anglicans prepare to gather in Winnipeg for crucial General Synod.
Today, the Toronto Globe & Mail carries a report by Michael Valpy Bless same-sex unions, retired archbishops urge which says:
…The archbishops’ statement is signed by John Bothwell, Terence Finlay and Percy O’Driscoll, all former metropolitans, or chief bishops, of Ontario; David Crawley and David Somerville, former metropolitans of British Columbia; and Arthur Peters, former metropolitan of Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.
It says: “We urge the members of general synod to vote in favour of affirming the blessing of faithful, committed, same-gender unions and to agree that dioceses may decide, by appropriate processes, how they will act in this matter.
“We have studied, reported [on] and discussed the place of gay men and lesbians in the church for 25 years…
“We are deeply concerned that ongoing study … will only continue to draw us away from issues which are gradually destroying God’s creation – child poverty, racism, global warming, economic injustice, concern for our aboriginal brothers and sisters, and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor…”
Updated Friday morning
Episcopal News Service reports that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, USA (a body similar in some ways to the Archbishops’ Council in the Church of England) has declined to participate in the plan put forward by the Primates of the Anglican Communion in February for dealing with some disaffected Episcopal Church dioceses. This follows earlier action by the ECUSA House of Bishops.
Read the whole of the official press release: Executive Council declines to participate in Primates’ ‘pastoral scheme,’ says only Convention makes policy which begins:
The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council told the Anglican Communion June 14 that no governing body other than General Convention can interpret Convention resolutions or agree to deny “future decisions by dioceses or General Convention.”
The Council declined to participate in a plan put forward by the Primates of the Anglican Communion in February for dealing with some disaffected Episcopal Church dioceses.
The statement, titled “The Episcopal Church’s Commitment to Common Life in Anglican Communion,” “strongly affirm[ed] this Church’s desire to be in the fullest possible relationship with our Anglican sisters and brothers.”
The text of the statement and its accompanying resolutions passed with limited debate.
The statement agreed with the House of Bishops, which said in March that the so-called Pastoral Scheme “would be injurious to The Episcopal Church.” An accompanying resolution (EC012) also “respectfully requests the Presiding Bishop to decline as well.” The statement itself “respectfully ask[s] our Presiding Bishop not to take any of the actions asked of her by this scheme.”
Read the full statement text: The Episcopal Church’s Commitment to Common Life in the Anglican Communion.
The Living Church issued this report: Council Rejects Primates’ Pastoral Plan; Insists on Diocesan Accession Clause.
A further ENS report is titled Executive Council puts disaffected dioceses on notice about constitutional changes:
Episcopal Church dioceses that change their constitutions in an attempt to bypass the Church’s Constitution and Canons were warned by the Executive Council June 14 that their actions are “null and void.”
The Council passed Resolution NAC023, reminding dioceses that they are required to “accede” to the Constitution and Canons, and declaring that any diocesan action that removes that accession from its constitution is “null and void.” That declaration, the resolution said, means that their constitutions “shall be as they were as if such amendments had not been passed…”
Rachel Zoll of Associated Press reports this development in Episcopal Panel Rejects Anglican Demand
Michael Conlon of Reuters has U.S. move on gay bishops may widen Anglican split
New York Times Laurie Goodstein Anglican Demand for Change Is Rebuffed by Episcopalians
Los Angeles Times K Connie Kang Anglicans’ demand on gays is rebuffed
Stephen Bates in the Guardian has Theological college’s head is undermining it, say predecessors. And Jonathan Petre in the Daily Telegraph has Oxford college row escalates. The Guardian begins:
The principal of Wycliffe Hall, the Oxford University Anglican evangelical theological college, was under renewed pressure last night after his three immediate predecessors claimed he was undermining its reputation and threatening its survival as an academic institution.
The unprecedented intervention, in the form of a joint letter leaked among members of the evangelical community, represented the latest twist in the crisis that has gripped the 130-year-old permanent private hall, which trains theological students and candidates for ordination in the Church of England, and its conservative evangelical principal, Richard Turnbull, following revelations about his conduct of the college…
The full text of the letter to Bishop James Jones described in the articles is as follows:
The three most recent former Principals of Wycliffe, Geoffrey Shaw, Dick France and Alister McGrath, met today in view of the publicity given to the crisis in the Hall. Were it simply a matter of media speculation and sensationalism we would not have written to you. Our enquiries from a variety of sources have convinced us of the seriousness of the situation and filled us with deep foreboding.
The resignation of so many competent and dedicated teaching and admin staff all together in such a small community cannot be written off simply as a new broom sweeping away out of date and out of touch lumber. Nor as a supporter of Richard Turnbull has written “a few ruffled feathers reacting with sourness and extreme bad grace”! These are men and women who have given outstanding service to the Hall and its students and it is due to them that Wycliffe has gained a worldwide recognition for its excellence in biblical scholarship, study, exposition, personal devotion and praxis. Yet they have been made to feel stumbling blocks to a new regime by a man who despite the qualities many attribute to him has had no experience of academic and spiritual formation leadership in a college context.
The repercussions of all this are deeply disturbing. Already voices are being raised in the University as to the suitability of Wycliffe as a PPH. Bishops and DDOs may decide to give the Hall a wide berth. Staff with suitable qualifications may not apply for vacancies. Students from the broad range of evangelicalism which has traditionally characterised the Hall are unlikely to apply and the resultant limited focus on one strand of evangelicalism is unlikely to commend the Hall to the wider church. The Hall is running on borrowed capital and we fear for its future. If this sounds melodramatic it is realistic and is prompted by our love and concern for the Hall.
With very great sadness we must in all seriousness ask you to recognise before it is too late that there is a widespread lack of confidence in the present Principal, both in his managerial style and his myopic vision. We find it hard to envisage the Hall maintaining its erstwhile acknowledged reputation under its present leadership.
Not personally signed but authorised by
Geoffrey Shaw Principal 1979 – 1988
Dick France Principal 1989 – 1995
Alister McGrath Principal 1995 – 2004
Updated again Thursday morning
There were two news reports Wednesday:
In the Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre reports under the headline Anglican coalition to force through breakaway that:
A powerful coalition of conservative Anglican leaders is preparing to create a parallel Church for conservatives in America in defiance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, provoking the biggest split in Anglican history, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
According to sources, at least six primates are planning the consecration of a prominent American cleric as a bishop to minister to Americans who have rejected their liberal bishops over the issue of homosexuality…
In the Living Church George Conger reports Kenyan Primate to Consecrate Former Episcopalian as U.S. Bishop:
The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya, has announced he will consecrate the Rev. Canon Bill Atwood as a suffragan bishop to oversee the U.S.-based congregations of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK).
The Aug. 30 consecration of Canon Atwood as “Suffragan Bishop of All Saints’ Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi” is “part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces,” Archbishop Nzimbi said on June 12, to “support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.”
An undisclosed number of Global South primates are expected to participate in Canon Atwood’s consecration in Nairobi and are expected to work with the Kenyan Church in forming a “North American Anglican Coalition…”
For those who have never heard of Bill Atwood, this website may provide information (it’s rather out of date).
Update Kendall Harmon has posted the full text of an email from Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi:
FROM THE ARCHBISHOP OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF KENYA
RE: CONSECRATION OF THE REVD. CANON DR. BILL ATWOOD AS SUFFRAGAN BISHOP ON THURSDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2007
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ.
God in His mercy has granted us a great salvation in Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit. The foundations of that faith have been celebrated and shared through many centuries and cultures. In particular, we rejoice in the godly Christian heritage of this faith that we have received in the Anglican Communion.
Now, the fabric of the Anglican Communion has been torn by the actions of The Episcopal Church. The damage has been exacerbated by the failure of the House of Bishops there to provide for the care called for in the Windsor Report and to reject the Pastoral Council offered through the Primates in their Communiqué from Dar es Salaam.
Tragically, the Episcopal Church has refused to provide adequate care for the faithful who continue steadfastly in “the faith once delivered to the saints.” Following months of consultation with other provinces, the Anglican Church of Kenya is taking steps to provide for the care of churches under our charge.
As a part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces, the ACK will consecrate The Revd Canon Dr. Bill Atwood as Suffragan bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi of the ACK to support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.
Our goal is to collaborate with faithful Anglicans (including those in North America who are related with other provinces). A North American Anglican Coalition can provide a safe haven for those who maintain historic Anglican faith and practice, and offer a way to live and work together in the furtherance of the Gospel.
The Most Rev. Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi
ARCHBISHOP OF KENYA &
BISHOP OF ALL SAINTS CATHEDRAL DIOCESE
Wednesday evening update
Archbishop Akinola has also issued a statement which begins:
I have received news of the proposed consecration of Canon Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi, in the Anglican Church of Kenya, to serve Kenyan related congregations in North America. Canon Atwood has worked tirelessly throughout the Communion for the sake of the Gospel and is well known to many of us in the Church of Nigeria.
This action demonstrates a growing recognition by Anglican provinces in Africa that the situation in North America continues to deteriorate because of the intransigence of the leadership of The Episcopal Church. This was made most evident by the response of their House of Bishops to the carefully crafted Primates’ Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We cannot sit quietly by while those who continue steadfastly in the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ are denied adequate pastoral care and made the targets of pernicious lawsuits…
Religious Intelligence has a report: New blow for Anglican Communion unity hopes by Nick Mackenzie.
Ruth Gledhill had US conservatives to defy Archbishop of Canterbury in Times Online.
…Bishop Orombi reaffirmed his stand that the Church of Uganda will not restore links with churches in America that support homosexuality. “We shall not associate with them even if it means losing aid. We rather remain poor than accept aid which will in the end lead to moral decay of society,” he said…
In a Reader’s Viewpoint article in the Living Church for the issue dated 24 June, The Revd Francis H. Wade has written about the Windsor Report and the draft Anglican Covenant, which he describes as a Coup d’Eglise. He starts like this:
In 1851, French President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte seized dictatorial powers that eventually allowed him to become Emperor Napoleon III, the last monarch of France. His actions gave currency to the term coup d’ètat, literally “strike the state,” which has described political takeovers from that day to this.
The parallel phrase coup d’èglise (strike the church) has not made it into the common lexicon but may be the only way to accurately describe the lightning ascendancy of the primates of the Anglican Communion. From their first meeting in 1979 to their asserted role in the proposed Anglican Covenant, the group has moved from non-existence to centrality. This may or may not be what the Anglican Communion needs; it may or may not be what every devoted Anglican wants; it may or may not be the leading of the Holy Spirit; but we should all know that it is happening…