Thinking Anglicans

Network council meeting decisions

Updated Wednesday afternoon

Doug LeBlanc reports further in the Living Church :Revised Network Charter Retains Clause Acceding to TEC Constitution.

Delegates to the annual council meeting of the Anglican Communion Network declined removing the organization from under the authority of the constitution of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church during a plenary session July 31.

The proposal would have deleted language from the group’s organizational charter that the Network “shall operate in good faith within the Constitution of the Episcopal Church.”

Instead, the council adopted a bylaws resolution that says Network affiliates outside The Episcopal Church are not required to submit to the constitution of The Episcopal Church.

The decision followed a plea by the Rt. Rev. James Stanton, Bishop of Dallas, that the council not act prematurely. Bishop Stanton pointed out that the General Conventions of 1964 and 1967 defined The Episcopal Church as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.

Press releases issued include:
Network States Willingness to “Engage in Mediation” with National Church
Bishop Duncan Re-elected Network Moderator
Council Ratifies Common Cause Structural Document
Network Approves Common Cause Theological Statement

One reaction to all this can be found in Ephraim Radner: A Brief Statement of Resignation from the Anglican Communion Network.

George Conger has a picture of all the bishops.

Doug LeBlanc has a further Living Church report, Archbishop Venables Challenges ‘Curia’ Characterization:

During a press conference after the Anglican Communion Network’s two-day council meeting, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone challenged the notion among some Episcopalians that the primates are claiming curial powers for themselves.

Because Anglicans worldwide are led by locally elected bishops, he said, “Common sense and biblical concepts would say that the primates are at that highest level of authority, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, said the primates’ increased authority is in direct response to Resolution III.6 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That resolution said, in part, that the primates’ meeting should “include among its responsibilities positive encouragement to mission, intervention in cases of exceptional emergency which are incapable of internal resolution within provinces, and giving of guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture and in loyalty to our Anglican tradition and formularies.”

“The progressives dismiss everything that Lambeth says,” the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, said…


Pittsburgh diocese plans for change

As Steve Levin of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports today, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has launched a Web site to provide resources for parishes and individuals “in deciding how to go forward.”

Read the newspaper report here: Episcopal diocese launches Web site to chart options.

The new website is Parish Toolbox and here is the press release about it on the official diocesan website.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Pittsburgh’s speech at the Anglican Communion Network annual council meeting in Ft Worth, Texas is reported by Doug LeBlanc writing in the Living Church this way:

“The American province is lost and something will have to replace it,” said Bishop Duncan, who has served as the Network’s elected moderator for three and a half years…

Bishop Duncan expressed his disappointment that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not supported Network members in ways that he and other Network leaders had hoped.

“Never, ever has he spoken publicly in defense of the orthodox in the United States,” Bishop Duncan said of the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, adding that “the cost is his office.

“To lose that historic office is a cost of such magnitude that God must be doing a new thing,” he said.

A reporter for The Living Church asked Bishop Duncan to expand on his remarks about the cost of the archbishop’s office. “I was actually expanding on a remark that the Archbishop of Sydney made during a breakfast I had with him two weeks ago,” Bishop Duncan said, explaining that both the See of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference have been lost as instruments of communion.

“The fact is that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not led in a way that might have saved his office and might have saved Lambeth,” Bishop Duncan said.

He cited the willingness of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt to go further than the law allowed during times of national crisis.

“In this crisis, we’ve had no leader to lead,” he said. Asked if he thought that being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury was essential to being Anglican, Bishop Duncan said that being obedient to scripture is of greater importance than being recognized by Canterbury.

For the full text of what Bishop Duncan said, see here.

See also an earlier Living Church report by Steve Waring: Bishop Duncan: Fall HOB Meeting is Windsor Bishops’ ‘Last Stand’

And also, see an earlier report, with a lot more background information, by Fr Jake Pittsburgh Continues Plans to Split.


Akinola interviewed

The Guardian newspaper in Lagos, Nigeria has published this interview with Archbishop Peter Akinola: Homosexual Priests: Nigerian Anglicans Will Not Succumb To Pressure From The West, Says Akinola .


Scotsman interviews VGR

Andrew Collier has interviewed the Bishop of New Hampshire for the Scotsman. Read Millions believe this man is the Antichrist.

This is also reported in The Times by Ruth Gledhill as Without gay priests Church would be lost claims Bishop Gene and she includes the full interview transcript on her blog as CofE ‘would shut down’ without its gay clergy, says +Gene.


Saturday columns for thought

Toby Green writes about the Inquisition in Face to Faith in the Guardian.

Roderick Strange writes in The Times that True prayer begins when we find the kingdom within.

Christopher Howse in his regular Daily Telegraph column writes about A meeting with three unknown persons.

In the Tablet Alain Woodrow writes about the Church in France in No sign of a rapprochement.

The Church Times had a second leader, noting the Church of England connection of John Wolfenden, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 (scroll down to 1967 and all that).


Trial General Synod podcast

The following has appeared on the Church of England website.

General Synod podcast trial

The Church of England is currently offering a trial General Synod podcast.

This provides MP3 files available to download to your MP3 player or listen to on your computer in addition to the General Synod July 2007 sound files currently available here.

The feed address for the General Synod podcast is:

Files currently available as podcasts include the Debate of the Anglican Covenant Proposal, 7 July, and the Archbishop of York’s Presidential Address, 9 July.

How do I subscribe to a podcast?

You will need an internet connection, and a piece of podcast software or an RSS feed reader. This software can check for new episodes and automatically deliver them to your computer.

How you subscribe will vary depending on the software you use. To subscribe the first thing you need to do is add the ‘feed’ of the podcast to your software (or online reader). The feed is where the software will go to each time it wants to check for new content. provides a list of podcast software.

Further information about receiving RSS feeds is available at

As well as the two files mentioned above, the address by Archbishop Drexel Gomez is also available. The files are large (27 MB in one case) but they have the advantage that you can download them to your computer for later listening, unlike the streaming audio files that are also available.


Hereford: another view

The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship has published its opinions on the tribunal judgment.

Although it is not yet visible on the LCF website, or even on the Christian Concern for our Nation website, it can be found at Anglican Mainstream.

Further Analysis of the Bishop of Hereford case (scroll down to get to the start of the full text of the document).


Hereford: more from the Church Times

This week’s Church Times has three items about the Hereford tribunal case.

Two of them are subscriber only until next week, but for the benefit of subscribers here are the links:
Priddis loses, but sticks to his guns (this is a revision of my earlier article with new quotes from the bishop after I interviewed him last week).
Why this constitutes illegal discrimination in which I set out how the employment tribunal found against the Bishop of Hereford.

The third item is by Giles Fraser: The split of orientation and practice helps none.


Lambeth Conference: English boycott?

The Church of Ireland Gazette carries a report of an interview with the Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt: English bishops could have to consider positions over Lambeth Conference – Bishop of Winchester:

Following the debate on the Anglican covenant process at the meeting of the Church of England General Synod earlier this month in York, the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, told the Gazette that if the bishops of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States do not meet the demands of the Dar es Salaam Primates’ Meeting required by next September’s deadline, and if the bishops of the Global South decline to attend next year’s Lambeth Conference, as many as six in ten Church of England bishops could be considering their own positions about attending the ten-yearly episcopal gathering.

However, Bishop Scott-Joynt added that such bishops would feel “constrained” by their loyalty to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who personally invites the bishops.

Bishop Scott-Joynt also said that if the US bishops were not attending and the Global South bishops were, his estimated four in ten minority among the English bishops would be facing similar considerations to those of the majority in the opposite situation.

This is also reported by Ruth Gledhill for Times Online in Bishops threaten to boycott Lambeth Conference, and on her blog in ‘Six of the best’ for Rowan.


ASA adjudicates on Times advert

Some time ago, we reported on the attack by Coherent and Cohesive Voice against the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

The Advertising Standards Authority finally published its adjudication of the 51 complaints that it had received about this. It upheld 3 of the 10 distinct issues raised by the complainants.

We concluded that the ad exaggerated the effect of the proposed regulations and was likely to mislead readers of The Times. We considered that although a parliamentarian readership would be likely to be aware of the content of the proposed SORs, the claims exaggerated their effect. We concluded that the ad was likely to mislead readers.

On these points, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness).


Rewriting History

Ekklesia has published Re-writing History: the Episcopal Church struggle.

In the global intra-Anglican ‘wars’ about sexuality, biblical interpretation, authority and church polity, The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the USA has been singled out from other Anglican provinces and subjected to harsh criticism and threats of expulsion. Why is this? What are the underlying issues about the use of Scripture and other questions which explain why TEC is such a bone of contention? Can Christians learn to handle differences in more creative ways which honour the life-giving Gospel message they are supposed to exemplify?

To read this new report and analysis from Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman in PDF format go here.

For a nine point summary of the report go here.


apology for Aitken error

The Guardian has published an apology to its readers, and has removed Jonathan Aitken’s original article This isn’t the Anglican split from the website.

In a Comment article, This isn’t the Anglican split, page 28, July 5, it was stated that Dr Elaine Storkey, in a meeting of staff and students, compared the principal of Wycliffe Hall, Dr Richard Turnbull, to “one of the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg”. This was incorrect. She did not compare Dr Turnbull to the Nazi defendants or use the words quoted. We apologise for this error.

For the curious, Google has a cached copy here.

That has now also gone. But you can still read the original article via this copy.


Sentamu warns conservatives

Updated again Thursday evening

There is a further article Archbishop of York: Exclusive interview which contains more detail than the news report.

The Daily Telegraph carries a report by Jonathan Petre headlined Archbishop warns Anglican conservatives.

The Archbishop of York has warned conservative Anglican leaders that they will effectively expel themselves from the worldwide Church if they boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Dr John Sentamu pleaded with them to attend the conference despite their war with liberals over homosexuality.

But he told them that if they “voted with their feet” they risked severing their links with the Archbishop of Canterbury and with historic Anglicanism, a breach that could take centuries to heal.

“Anglicanism has its roots through Canterbury,” he said. “If you sever that link you are severing yourself from the Communion. There is no doubt about it…”

And this:

But he also warned the American bishops that Dr Williams reserved the right to withdraw their invitations if they were not prepared to engage in the decision-making processes of the Communion in the future.

Church Society is particularly concerned by the statement that:

“Dr Sentamu, a close ally of Dr Williams, said that as long as Anglican bishops did not deny the basic Christian doctrines they should all be able to remain within the same Church.
While liberal north Americans disagreed with conservatives over sexual ethics, these were not core issues, he said.”

See Telegraph reports Sentamu saying sexual ethics are not core issues.

Thursday evening Church Society has more to say about it in Archbishop Sentamu on Unity.


Hereford: BBC interviews the bishop


The radio programme Sunday contains a substantial item on the Hereford tribunal. Both Richard Kirker and Bishop Priddis are interviewed by Roger Bolton.

Bishop of Hereford and gay discrimination
Richard Kirker of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement believes the Bishop of Hereford should resign. His remark followed an employment tribunal ruling that the Bishop discriminated against John Reaney, a candidate for a position as a youth minister in his diocese, on the basis of his sexual orientation.

Reaney had held youth officer positions in Norwich and in Chester dioceses, but left his post in Chester early in 2006 [sic] after his relationship with another gay man had come to light. He told his interviewing panel in Hereford that he was gay, although now celibate, and the panel recommended to the Bishop that he should be given the job as youth minister. The Bishop was needed to give final approval, and after meeting Mr Reaney and discussing his sexuality, the Bishop refused to do so.

As a result John Reaney took the Bishop to an industrial tribunal. His claim that he had been harassed was not upheld, but his claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was. Richard Kirker and the Bishop both talked to Sunday.
Listen (8m 57s)

A transcript of the interview with Bishop Priddis can be found here.

Note: the mention of the year 2006 above is incorrect. Mr Reaney left Chester in 2002.


opinion columns for Saturday

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times about things he found in Geneva and Romania, see Science and politics can mean nothing without faith.

Christopher Howse writes about Orkney for the Daily Telegraph in A round tower in the sea.

In the Guardian the Face to Faith column is written by Gordon Lynch and criticises several modern writers on religion.

Also in the Guardian Karen Armstrong writes that An inability to tolerate Islam contradicts western values.

The Church Times had a leader this week about The Crown’s right to choose priests.

And Giles Fraser wrote about how 1950s Britain was stirred by Bond, not shaken.


Hereford case: some other reactions

LGCM issued a press release: Gay Christian Triumphs in Battle Against Bigoted Church.

Changing Attitude issued a press release: Diocese of Hereford loses discrimination case against gay Christian youth leader.

The National Secular Society issued Bigoted bishop gets egg on his face.

The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association said BISHOP OF HEREFORD SHOULD HANG HIS HEAD IN SHAME.

The Lawyers Christian Fellowship said (link to site currently broken now fixed):

“At first sight this judgment appears to be a serious affront to the freedom for churches to guarantee that their children and teenagers are being taught by people who are living according to the Bible’s clear teaching about sexual morality.”

“The law is shifting rapidly so that where there is a ‘competition of rights’ it is the homosexual’s right that trumps the Christian’s right. This is a situation that needs to be reversed. At the very least, our law should recognise conscience exemptions for Christians so that they can live according to their faith.”

The Christian Institute said:

In an astonishing judgment, an employment tribunal has ruled that an Anglican Bishop was wrong to refuse employment to a gay youth worker. It is not known whether the Bishop will appeal.


Hereford case: Church Times report

Yesterday’s Church Times carries my report on the case, but only on the website, as the paper edition went to press before the announcement was made. See Gay youth worker was discriminated against, tribunal rules.


"This is a critical time" – Global South Steering Committee

The Global South Steering Committee has issued a statement – This is a critical time – following a meeting held in London 16-18 July 2007. The membership of the steering committee is here.

Episcopal Life Online has responded with Global South Primates vow to continue violating Episcopal Church boundaries.
The Living Church Foundation has Global South Leaders Urge Emergency Primates’ Meeting.


Hereford tribunal decision: full judgment

The full judgment of the employment tribunal in the case of John Reaney v the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance has been placed online by the Diocese of Hereford. It’s a 1.2 MB pdf file made up from scans of a fax so it’s not of the highest quality, but it is legible.

Update an html copy of this can at present be found here. (This URL will likely be replaced in the next day or so.)

An amended html copy is now available here. (Many thanks to pluralist for scanning the original PDF.)


Synod Questions

The questions asked at Synod this month are now online. Also available are the answers to the questions that were not reached during the synod session. The answers that were given orally will be put on line later as part of the transcript of the synod debates.

One question was about the theological colleges and courses attended by senior clergy. The details are here as a rtf file, but readers may find this html version  more convenient.