The original Word document that was at the centre of this story last week was published on the web five days ago. The publication of this original file does not seem to have attracted much notice.
Go here and scroll down to find it. If you have the software to read an MS Word file, you can see the Martyn Minns and Chris Sugden entries for yourself.
George Conger has written about this story for the Church of England Newspaper under the heading Archbishop Rebuffs Claim of Re-Written Pastoral Letter.
Ruth Gledhill has more on her blog about this: Speculation over whether Atwood et al to come to Lambeth
The Times had this report from Rob Crilly in Nairobi US congregations defect to Africa as schism over gay priests widens
Andrew Carey has published his CEN column, Anglican chaos.
Anglican Mainstream reports English General Synod members send congratulations on African consecrations. Those listed include the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali.
At Fulcrum Graham Kings expresses his reservations, see this discussion thread.
And the Associated Press reports US priests getting ordained in Kenya say American church has lost its way
Both sides of the argument say the issue goes deeper than simple acceptance of homosexuality. Liberal Anglicans say the Bible’s message of tolerance means there should be a place for everyone in church, but conservatives say that is bending the word of God to fit fashion.
“American males who are homosexually active have a life span that is three decades shorter than the norm,” Atwood said Wednesday. “How can a church say, ‘You are precious, we care about you, we love you, we want the best for you and now we want to bless behaviors that cause you to die three decades early’?”
See here for comment on the source of this claim.
Episcopal News Service has KENYA: Two former Episcopal priests consecrated as bishops for North America
The BBC’s Alex Kirby has written Kenya consecration deepens Anglican rift.
..So when one bishop (in this case Dr Nzimbi) acts in a way that undercuts the authority of another bishop, it is the clearest possible way of emphasising the church’s disunity.
What Dr Nzimbi is saying, in effect, is that he knows better than the US bishops about the pastoral needs of their people.
The two new bishops promised to “serve the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, to serve clergy and congregations in North America under the Kenyan jurisdiction”.
It is a formula which ignores the fact that none of the Anglican Communion’s member churches has any international interests of its own.
All are – in theory – united in working for the interests of the Communion itself.
And the claim that there are North American Anglicans “under the Kenyan jurisdiction” is breathtaking in the way it opens the door to ecclesiastical anarchy.
No doubt Dr Nzimbi believes the consecrations are in the best interests of Kenyan Anglicans, and of their fellow believers elsewhere in Africa.
In fact they look very unlikely to be anything of the sort…
Boston Globe Consecration in Kenya widens a religious rift
Voice of America Kenya’s Anglican Church Ordains American Bishops34 Comments
William Atwood and William Murdoch were today ordained bishops by Kenya’s Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi (and, one assumes, at least two other bishops).
Ruth Gledhill in The Times US priests become Kenyan bishops in gay protest
BBC US Anglicans join Kenyan Church
Reuters Kenya consecrates conservative U.S. clerics as bishops
The New York Times reprints the Reuters article but with different pictures.
USA Today also reprints the Reuters article with another selction of pcitures.
Global South Anglican has this picture of the consecration with many of the participating archbishops and bishops identified.
The Living Church Foundation in Bishops Atwood, Murdoch Consecrated in Kenya names several of those present.
As reported previously, the Province of Uganda will consecrate one American bishop on Sunday 2 September.
In addition to the links from that report, here is the full text of a letter from Archbishop Orombi to the Rectors, Clergy, and Lay Leaders of Ugandan Churches in America. A biography of John Guernsey is available here. A further report in the Church of England Newspaper is available here.
A second bishop will also serve: see this further press release about Bishop Andrew Fairfield.83 Comments
The consecration of two American bishops by the Anglican Church of Kenya is scheduled for next Thursday. The latest Kenyan press reports on this:
The Nation Anglicans plan to send clergy to America.
East African Standard Nzimbi to Consecrate Two American Priests
And from America:
Reuters Africans woo conservative U.S. Anglicans in gay row
TWO BISHOPS FOR NORTH AMERICA
The ACK Province now provides Episcopal oversight to several dozen congregations in the USA through a number of Kenyan Bishops. By a unanimous vote of the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of Kenya endorsed the selection of The Revd Canon Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese (Nairobi) to serve the international interests of the ACK including taking responsibility for care for the congregations and clergy in the USA under Kenyan jurisdiction. The Synod also unanimously approved the consecration of The Revd Bill Murdoch as Suffragan Bishop of All Saints’ Cathedral Diocese to work with Revd Bill Atwood in providing that oversight and Episcopal care. Consecrations are scheduled for August 30th in Nairobi. They will collaborate with others in the Common Cause network, chaired by The Rt. Revd Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh) to provide Orthodox Episcopal care and oversight, strategically uniting a broad conservative coalition that shares historic Anglican faith and practice. (end)
More about William Murdoch:
Diocese, Congregation Announce Amicable Separation in Massachusetts from the Living Church. And the Anglican Communion Network has this short biography.
Another Reuters article Africa gives refuge to rebel U.S. Anglicans
…Benjamin Nzimbi told Reuters on Monday he would consecrate dissident U.S. clerics Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch as bishops on Thursday at a ceremony in Nairobi. Uganda’s Henry Orombi is due to consecrate John Guernsey next week.
“Since the talk about gay marriage started, many congregations in America have been looking for oversight from overseas,” Nzimbi said.
In Africa, gay relationships are denounced as immoral and are outlawed in many countries.
The 77 million-strong Anglican Church has been split since 2003 when its 2.4 million member U.S. branch consecrated Gene Robinson as its first openly gay bishop.
The move enraged conservative Anglicans, who accuse the Episcopal church of flouting Biblical commandments. Nzimbi said Kenya had been approached by more then 30 congregations from across the United States asking for leadership since then.
“REPENTANCE IS KEY”
Liberals, who support a looser interpretation of scripture, say the African clergy are violating church rules by creating conservative outposts in the United States and deepening a crisis that threatens to split the Anglican communion — a worldwide federation of 38 churches.
“We are not invading other people’s territory as such but preaching the gospel, the way it was brought to us, the way it is written,” Nzimbi said.
And he said the only way to bridge the schism was for the liberal churches to repent: “The way we can have one understanding is through repentance, that is the key word.”
Rachel Boulding reports it in the Church Times headlined Be united and let Jesus smile again, begs Dr Tutu and Matthew Davies reports it in Episcopal News Service under Tutu urges full Lambeth participation.
THE ARCHBISHOP Emeritus of Cape Town, Dr Desmond Tutu, has made an emotional appeal to the Primates of the Anglican Communion to accept one another, and agree to disagree.
In the open letter sent last week to his successor as Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane, he asks all the Primates to put aside their differences in order to deal with the world’s troubles.
He describes how, on a recent retreat: “I felt under considerable divine pressure to address this appeal to you and your fellow Primates.” Referring to Luke 15 and its parables of the lost sheep and the prodigal son, he writes: “We are most like this God and God’s Son when we are welcoming and inclusive. It is almost a defining characteristic of God to draw together, to unite. . . Sin, on the contrary, always divides. It is centrifugal by nature. It alienates, separates, like apartheid.”
After referring to unity and fellowship as “a gift from God”, he writes of the “bewildering diversity” of God’s creation: “None is self-sufficient, but all are made for interdependence, each making up what is lacking in the other. In a world where difference has led to alienation and even bloody conflict, the Church is God’s agent to demonstrate that unity in diversity is in fact the law of life.”
Dr Tutu admits: “I am not telling you anything new.” He continues: “Our Communion has always been characterised by its comprehensiveness, its inclusiveness, its catholicity
. . . We have been known to embrace within this one family those whose views were almost diametrically opposed. We said: ‘I disagree with you but we belong together.’”
He then addresses the Archbishop of Canterbury directly: “Please invite [to the Lambeth Conference] ALL those in Episcopal orders who are not retired, even those irregularly consecrated or actively gay; please, now I appeal to you all, do not excommunicate one another seemingly so easily. Be welcoming and inclusive of one another. Commune with one another and with our Lord, sacramentally and in other ways.”
Dr Tutu ends dramatically: “Our Lord is weeping to see our Communion tearing itself apart on the issue of human sexuality, when the world for which he died is ravaged by poverty, disease, war and corruption. We are one of God’s agents to deal with these scourges. God has no one but us. Please, I beg you all in our Lord’s name, agree to disagree, argue, debate; disagree, but do all this as members of one family. Accept one another as God accepts us, however we are, in Christ.
“Wipe the tears from our Lord’s eyes; put the smile back on God’s face. I beg you all on bended knee.”
In The Times Stephen Plant asks How can there can be forgiveness without remorse?
Glynn Cardy writes in the Guardian about the model of the church as a ship in Face to Faith.
The surprise of thatched churches is discussed in the Daily Telegraph by Christopher Howse.
And another article from last week’s Church Times: Robin Gill writes about the state of the Anglican Communion: Keeping it in the family.
This week’s Tablet has an interview by Theo Hobson of Metropolitan John D. Zizioulas. Read An eye for the other.21 Comments
Updated Friday afternoon
The Church Times has a report by Pat Ashworth headed Software suggests Minns rewrote Akinola’s letter.
A BISHOP in the United States has been revealed as the principal author of a seminal letter to the Church of Nigeria from its Archbishop, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, which was published on Sunday.
The letter includes a suggestion that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s status as a focus of unity is “highly questionable”. It also refers to a “moment of decision” for the Anglican Communion, which is on the “brink of destruction”.
The document, “A Most Agonising Journey towards Lambeth 2008”, appears to express to Nigerian synods the personal anguish of Archbishop Akinola over his attendance at the Lambeth Conference.
But computer tracking software suggests that the letter was extensively edited and revised over a four-day period by the Rt Revd Martyn Minns, who was consecrated last year by Archbishop Akinola to lead the secessionist Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) (News, 11 August 2006). Bishop Minns, along with the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, has not been invited to Lambeth (News, 25 May).
Close examination of the document, tracing the authorship, editing history, and timing of changes, reveals about 600 insertions made by Bishop Minns, including whole new sections amounting to two-thirds of the final text. There is also a sprinkling of minor amendments made by Canon Chris Sugden of the conservative group Anglican Mainstream…
This picture and its caption seems an appropriate summary.
Tunde Popoola has published a press release on the official Church of Nigeria website: PRESS RELEASE– Re: Church Times on Abp. Akinola’s letter (and the same material also appears in the comments below).
It is very insulting and racist to infer that the Primate of All Nigeria is being dictated to. Is this in continuation of the ‘jamming’ of people opposing the agenda?
I would have believed the ‘computer software’ story were it not for the allegation of ‘minor amendments’ by the Canon Chris Sugden who had nothing to do with the document.
Abp. Akinola informed his senior staff and the Episcopal Secretary the need to highlight efforts at maintaining unity and the intransigence of the revisionists so that the Nigerian community is left in no doubt about who is ‘walking apart’
Along with his PA in Abuja, work started on the gathering of materials and relevant documents on 6th August, 2007. We used in addition to existing statements and my internet searches, Nigerian Episcopal meeting documents and TECUSA resolutions supplied respectively by our Episcopal Secretary, the Rt. Rev. Friday Imaekhia and a CANA priest, the Rev. Canon David Anderson. The draft of the statement was ready for correction by the primate on 9th August, 2007 who was however unable to correct it as he was about to travel.
Abp. Akinola was in the US and Bahamas between 10th and 22nd August 2007. I sent the draft to him through the Rt. Rev Minns with a request for assistance in getting some online references which I could not easily locate.
I fail to see any issue if amendments are then made on Bp. Minns’ computer. Apart from the fact that they were together during the period of the amendment, the Archbishop like many effective leaders who spend little time glued to a desk often phones me and other staffs to write certain things. Such remain his idea and anyone who knows Abp. Peter Akinola knows you can not make him say what he does not mean.
The publication doubting authenticity is another attempt to divert attention away from the carefully researched document which shows that the revisionists are directly responsible for problems confronting the Communion. Instead of chasing shadows, concerned Anglicans should consider the indisputable scenario highlighted in the document and pray for ways to save our beleaguered Communion.
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has published a document with this title. It is described thus:
Archbishop Peter Akinola writes to Nigerian Synods on the Journey towards Lambeth 2008
You can read the original copy here.
There were a number of formatting problems with that copy and so I have made another copy here. This copy now includes the paragraphs that were previously omitted by mistake from the original. For convenience of those who read the earlier version, I have placed the additions in italics.279 Comments
Changing Attitude has two further reports
This update on the Nigerian situation: Further news about the arrest of 18 gay men in Bauchi, Nigeria
And a further report: CAN members witness court appearance in Bauchi.
In the Church Times Andrew Linzey writes about animal cruelty in First hit the pets, then the people.
And last week, in the Church Times Harriet Baber wrote about gun control in How to survive in a violent world.
Andrew Clitherow writes the Guardian’s Face to Faith column about the cul-de-sac of formal religion.
Luis Rodriguez writes in The Times that We must work to discover the meaning of suffering.9 Comments
Both the Living Church and the Church of England Newspaper have stories previewing the next American House of Bishops meeting, 20-25 September in New Orleans. The Archbishop of Canterbury will attend the first two days.
Living Church U.S. Bishops Ask Archbishop of Canterbury for Clarity by Steve Waring
Bishops who have made a public commitment to support the Windsor Report have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to be clear and articulate in explaining what the consequences will be if the House of Bishops fails to give the assurances sought by the primates.
Seventeen diocesan bishops and one bishop suffragan from The Episcopal Church received an extensive briefing on the primates’ communiqué from the Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, and shared with him their hopes for the meeting in September between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops during a conference held Aug. 9-10 at Camp Allen near Houston…
Church of England Newspaper Williams ’set to be manipulated’ by George Conger
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury’s Sept 20-21 meeting with members of the US House of Bishops in New Orleans will seek to manipulate Dr Williams into giving the Episcopal Church a clean bill of health so as to preserve its place in the Communion.
Conservative American leaders claim the Episcopal Church will seek to resurrect a report presented to the February Primates’ Meeting prepared by a small group within the Joint Primates-ACC Standing Committee that said the Episcopal Church had met two of the three requests of the Windsor Report and deserve a reprieve.
The meeting will be used to “manipulate” Dr Williams, the Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Rev Jack Iker said on July 31. The leaders of the American House of Bishops believe “If we can talk to Rowan, face to face, we can convince him of the rightness of our position and that he will stand with us,” he said…
From the Falls Church News-Press
1st Court Ruling After Defections Favors Continuing Episcopalians
This week, Wycliffe Hall issued two documents: both are available here as PDF files:
The Guardian’s news article (11th August 2007) concerning Wycliffe Hall contains material inaccuracy. The report both distorts the University of Oxford’s Review of Permanent Private Halls (PPHs) and repeats previously unsubstantiated material derived from anonymous documents circulated to the media. It attributes comments to the Principal he simply did not say.
The Press Office of the University has issued a statement which states that, “the article implies that a report about PPHs generally is directed specifically at Wycliffe Hall. This is incorrect.”
The excellence of the academic standards at Wycliffe Hall are amply demonstrated by the first place achieved by the Hall in the 2007 Norrington Tables for PPHs, results which when compared to the other colleges, gave Wycliffe a higher score than several well known names such as Corpus Christi, Oriel, Exeter, St Hugh’s and St Catherine’s.
Wycliffe Hall has come in first place in the University of Oxford’s Norrington Table for Permanent Private Halls (PPHs) for 2007 just published…
Update A text has now appeared and it is not the same text. Here is the ADVA press release:Anglican District of Virginia Responds to Judge Bellows’ Decision to Dismiss Volunteers from Lawsuit
The earlier text is reproduced below the fold.74 Comments
Changing Attitude Nigeria has published this press release: Nigeria “unfit” to host 2014 Commonwealth Games.
News reports on this matter:
Church Times Delegation lobbies against Nigerian venue for games
Ekklesia Campaigners say Nigeria is unfit for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Glasgow Evening Times Call for Games rivals to be axed from 2014 bid
Reaction against it: Why the Bishop of Chelmsford should now step down from Changing Attitude.
BBC Gay Nigerians face Sharia death
Voice of America Nigerian Gays Charged With Sodomy, Could Face Death Penalty
Subsequent Changing Attitude press release: Eighteen gay men arrested and remanded for alleged sodomy.
Yet another Changing Attitude press release: Members of Changing Attitude Nigeria Jos group among the 18 arrested in Bauchi:
…The Jos leader reports that 5 of the 18 gay men arrested at the party in Bauchi last week are members of the CAN group in Jos. The leader and members of the group had been invited to the party…
Tunde Popoola has commented below:
…If someone knows any Anglican been charged before an Islamic Sharia court for ANY offence, PLEASE let me have such a person’s details and I can assure the church’s legal officer in the concerned diocese will be mandated to ensure such an injustice is prevented.
If my friend Davis is just trying to exploit the unfortunate situation to remain relevant, he should be reminded that he claims CA to be made up of Anglicans which means they are Christians naturally exempted from being charged before Islamic courts.
Updated Sunday morning
Episcopal News Service reports that Court will use Church’s Constitution and Canons in deciding property disputes.
Virginia’s Fairfax Circuit Court ruled August 10 in favor of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia in denying the claims of 11 separated congregations that the court should not consider the Church’s Constitution and Canons in deciding property disputes.
The congregations, in which a majority of members have voted to leave the Episcopal Church but continue to occupy its property, asked the court to dismiss the complaints of the Church and the diocese.
After hearing arguments by all parties, the judge overruled all but one part of the motions. The court dismissed the claims of the diocese for a judgment that the congregations had committed a trespass by holding onto the property. Such claims, the court ruled, should be pleaded separately…
Also on August 10, after hearing arguments on a motion to dismiss all the individual defendant vestry members, clergy, and trustees from the litigation, all of the parties agreed that they — together with the separated congregations — will be bound by whatever ruling the trial court makes regarding ownership of the real and personal property. Their agreement extends to any ruling on appeal.
According to the agreement, if the court rules in favor of the Episcopal Church and the diocese, an orderly transition with respect to all property would ensue. The Church and the diocese reserve the right, however, to seek an accounting of all monies spent by the departed congregations and bring the individual vestry members and clergy back into the litigation for that purpose.
There is another account of yesterday’s court session here: A Very Good Day.
A recent letter from the diocese (mentioned in the ENS report) can be found here.
Update Sunday morning:
The Diocese of Virginia now has this: Judge Overrules Motion to Dismiss Lawsuits:
Today in Fairfax Circuit Court, Judge Randy I. Bellows overruled a motion to dismiss lawsuits filed by The Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church against 11 congregations that voted last year to leave The Episcopal Church and attempt to take Episcopal Church property.
The decision to overrule the motion to dismiss came at the end of a four-hour hearing in Courtroom 4-C. In addition, two-hours into the hearing, The Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church agreed to allow individuals named in the lawsuits to be taken out of the suits on assurance that those individuals and their successors will be bound by the rulings of the court on diocesan and Church claims concerning property.
“Our only aim in including these individuals was to make sure the proper parties were before the court so that the relief and remedies we seek could be properly sought and obtained,” said Patrick Getlein, secretary of the Diocese. “The assurance to be bound by the rulings of the court achieves that objective.”
Those individuals whose names were removed today include the vestry and rector of each congregation. Trustees remain named in the suits only in their capacity as holders of title.
“We are pleased with today’s rulings and the agreement on removing the names of individuals from the suits. But by no means is the work here done,” said Mr. Getlein. “There are still individuals and congregations who have been dispossessed and literally locked out of their churches. Their exile continues.”
Peter Thompson, writing the Face to Faith column in the Guardian says that Religion is not a delusion but a quest for ‘home’.
Joel Edwards writes about being an Evangelical with a capital E in the Credo column of The Times, Ever heard the one about Jesus and the good news?
In the Church Times Giles Fraser thinks that Harry Potter is a true evangelist.38 Comments
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s National Radio programme, The Religion Report carried this interview of the Archbishop of York, conducted by Stephen Crittenden.
There are audio links on the same page if you prefer to listen to it.
But do read it all, carefully.60 Comments
Updated again Saturday
Bill Bowder has a report in today’s Church Times Oxford Halls report queries Wycliffe’s liberal principles.
…Wycliffe students are not getting “an Oxford experience in its essentials”, it says. Some young people come from Christian families who are looking for an Oxford education in a Christian context. But they are mixing mainly with older ordinands, and the educational environment is not suitable for there “full intellectual development”.
Although some of those at Wycliffe Hall told the panel that the Evangelical tradition was not exclusive, and that a range of opinions exists there, the report suggests that Wycliffe Hall needs to “make a determined effort to clarify these matters to the rest of the University if it is to achieve manifest harmony with the University’s principles of education”.
In its list of 34 recommendations, the review says that the University should have greater legal control over the Halls. The University’s “licence”, under which the Halls operate, should not be seen as givinhttp://thinkinganglicans.org.uk/mt/app?__mode=view&_type=entry&id=2561&blog_id=6
Wycliffe Hall: Oxford report comments | Entries | Thinking Anglicans | Movable Type Publishing Platformg them the right to move outside “the values to which the University holds, namely the values of liberal education conducted in a spirit of free and critical enquiry and debate”. If any Hall departs from such values, its licence should be “re-examined”.
The Halls should not be allowed to override the University’s policies on equal opportunities, harassment, and the protection of freedom of opinion and speech, the report says.
“The review panel believes that there should be a considerably greater say in the running of their institutions for the stipendiary academic staff, as in other parts of the collegiate University. In addition, it is not confident that all the Halls have the appropriate structures for the consideration of matters of academic discipline or the resolution of complaints.”
At present, many of those training for Christian ministry in the Halls do not receive Oxford qualifications, but the report recommends that Halls should award only Oxford qualifications, in order to avoid damaging the University’s reputation. It also suggests that some of the current students are not not equipped academically to take such qualifications. At Wycliffe, there has been a proposal that part of a Bachelor of Ministry (BM) degree would be taught at St Paul’s Theological Centre at Holy Trinity, Brompton.
The Principal of St Stephen’s House, Canon Dr Robin Ward, said on Tuesday that he was concerned how the ordination training and the requirements of Oxford University to give only Oxford qualifications would fit together, given that the average age of Anglican ordinands was 41, and therefore they were unlikely to do more than a two-year course. Even an Oxford certificate in theology could be too demanding for some, he said…
Update Friday afternoon
The University Press Office informs me that the full report will be published online in the Oxford University Gazette but no earlier than 20 September.
Update Saturday morning
The Guardian also has a report on this by Stephen Bates Oxford gives warning to theological college.