Thinking Anglicans

Canadian response to Draft Covenant

At its recent meeting, the Council of General Synod approved the following initial response to the draft Anglican Communion Covenant and asked that it be forwarded to the Communion offices.

Read it all at A Preliminary Response to the Draft Covenant by the Anglican Church of Canada.

Reference is made in that to the 2007 Canadian response to the Windsor Report.


reports of the Clergy Consultation event

Updated Friday morning

The Lesbian and Gay Clergy Consultation organised a service today, at which, according to Ruth Gledhill, the Archbishop of Canterbury presided and preached.

Her blog report is headlined Rowan celebrates ‘secret’ gay communion service, although pretty obviously it wasn’t a secret that it was happening.

Her online newspaper story however is headlined Archbishop presides over ‘gay’ Eucharist.

Some other websites are temporarily unavailable, but I will add further links as soon as I am able.

However babyblue has noted in a comment at StandFirm that Martyn Minns preached at an Integrity eucharist in November 2001. A report of that event can be found in this PDF document.

StandFirm articles with comments about this event are here and also here. And now also this one. My, my they are excited. Meanwhile over at T19 comments on this topic have to be submitted by email.

Changing Attitude has this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury meets LGBT members of the Consultation.

And the paper version of The Times has this version of Ruth Gledhill’s story: Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, at ‘secret’ gay ceremony. The scare quotes in the headline have moved over one word!


Canadian Pastoral Statement

November 29, 2007 — The following pastoral statement is released to the Church by the Primate and the Metropolitan Archbishops of each of the four ecclesiastical provinces.

A Pastoral Statement from the Primate and Metropolitans of the Anglican Church of Canada

Greetings in the name of the One who was, who is, and who is to come — our Lord Jesus Christ

The Mission Statement of the Anglican Church of Canada opens with these statements: “As a partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion and in the universal Church, we proclaim and celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ in worship and in action. We value our heritage of Biblical faith, reason, liturgy, tradition, bishops and synods and the rich variety of our life in community.”

It is fundamental to the values and mission of our Church that we welcome and respect freedom of individual conscience and the theological convictions of a diverse membership. Our General Synods have consistently strived to honour every voice as the Church works through contentious and difficult issues before it. This is particularly true in the way the Church has endeavoured to address matters of human sexuality including the blessing of same-sex unions.

The report of the Primate’s Theological Commission commonly known as the St. Michael Report has described this issue as matter of doctrine but not core doctrine. General Synod concurred with this opinion last June. The St. Michael Report also declared that the matter need not be a Communion-breaking issue.

It is in this context that we deplore recent actions on the part of the Primate and General Synod of the Province of the Southern Cone to extend its jurisdiction into Canada through the Essentials Network Conference. This action breaks fellowship within the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Communion.

We affirm the statement unanimously agreed to by the Council of General Synod which appeals to the Archbishop of Canterbury “to make clear that such actions are not a valid expression of Anglicanism.” We too appeal to him in his capacity as one of the instruments of communion and as chair of the Primates’ Meeting to address the very serious issues raised by this intervention.

The actions by the Primate of the Southern Cone are not necessary. Our bishops have made adequate and appropriate provision for the pastoral care and episcopal support of all members of the Anglican Church of Canada, including those who find themselves in conscientious disagreement with the view of their bishop and synod over the blessing of same-sex unions. These provisions, contained in the document known as Shared Episcopal Ministry, were adopted by the House of Bishops and commended by the panel of reference appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The actions by the Primate of the Southern Cone are also inappropriate. They contravene ancient canons of the Church going as far back as the 4th century, as well as statements of the Lambeth Conference, the Windsor report and the Communiqué from the Primates’ Meeting earlier this year. Furthermore these actions violate Canon XVII of the Anglican Church of Canada which states that “No Bishop priest or deacon shall exercise ordained ministry in a diocese without the license or temporary permission of the Diocesan Bishop.”

Any ministry exercised in Canada by those received into the Province of the Southern Cone after voluntarily relinquishing the exercise of their ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada is inappropriate, unwelcome and invalid. We are aware that some bishops have, or will be making statements to that effect in their own dioceses.

In the meantime we rejoice in this season of Advent in which we once again begin that great journey of tracing the steps of our Lord’s most holy life through the liturgy of a new year.

We rejoice in the gift of word and sacrament. We rejoice in the gift of our baptism and in the great gift of the Eucharist. We rejoice in the gift of the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth and empowers us to proclaim the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in word and action.

We respect the diversity of opinion in our Church over many issues. We respect the manner in which we take counsel together and honour the intention of all those who even in the midst of struggle desire to remain within the fellowship of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Let us renew our trust in the One who holds us together in the embrace of His love and peace.

We call all Anglicans to a renewed emphasis on mission and prayer for faithful witness in the service of the gospel within our parishes and across the world.

In him whose Advent sets us free.

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Archbishop and Primate
The Most Rev. Terry Buckle, Archbishop and Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon
The Most Rev. John Clarke, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Rupert’s Land
The Most Rev. Caleb Lawrence, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Ontario
The Most Rev. Bruce Stavert, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Canada


Download this document in PDF format
St. Michael Report
Shared Episcopal Ministry


Irish draft of an Anglican Covenant

The Church of Ireland has issued this press release:

A Response To The Consultation On Draft Anglican Covenant

Church of Ireland General Synod’s Standing Committee agrees response to Consultation on Draft Anglican Covenant.

The Primates of the Anglican Communion have called on member churches to agree a Covenant which will recognise their common bond. Each church is being given an opportunity to contribute to the process.

The Standing Committee of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland, at its meeting on Tuesday 20th November, agreed a response to the Consultation on a Draft Anglican Covenant. The response includes an alternative form of wording for the Covenant, which the Standing Committee hopes might encapsulate an approach that would be acceptable across the Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

The text of the response is posted on the Church of Ireland website at the request of the Honorary Secretaries, and may be accessed by clicking here [PDF].

An html copy of the proposed covenant text (not including the covering explanation) can be found here.

The introduction is copied here, below the fold.



From Calvary to Lambeth

This widely-trailed radio programme is available on the web for one week, under the BBC’s Listen Again system.

Go here to listen to it (40 minutes long). BBC blurb:

Michael Buerk reports on the divide over homosexuality in the worldwide Anglican Church. He talks to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who expresses his feelings of shame over homophobia.


who is loyal to the Anglican Communion?

Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream gave an address ‘An International Overview’ [of the Anglican Communion] at the Anglican Network in Canada conference, Burlington, Ontario, 23 November 2007.

You can read his remarks in full here (PDF file). He makes the following assumption:

There are currently three groups of people in the current debate.

Some think that the approach of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada is the way ahead for the Anglican Communion. These would include the Archbishops of Wales and Scotland, and since they are welcoming Gene Robinson to visit, the Primates of Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia and Melanesia.

Some do not agree with The Episcopal Church in its teachings on doctrine and ethics. Bishop Jonathan Gledhill of Lichfield said he believed that 95% of the Anglican Communion would hold this view.

Of the second group, some no longer trust the Archbishop of Canterbury to deal adequately with the problem. Others still trust that the Archbishop of Canterbury is willing to address the problem as one charged with contending for the faith once delivered to the saints…

See also his earlier article in Evangelicals Now (September 2007) Not schism but revolution which you can read here.

Graham Kings of Fulcrum has commented on these remarks, you can read his comments in full here (comment timed at 11.49 on 28 November), but the key point made is this:

… It seems clear from the rest of the address that Chris Sugden aligns himself (and Anglican Mainstream as a whole?) with the second group, which presumably also would include CANA, AMiA, Anglican Communion Network and Common Cause.

Fulcrum, the Anglican Communion Institute and Covenant would be part of group three.

This ‘no longer trusting in the Archbishop of Canterbury’ matches Chris Sugden’s earlier article, ‘Not Schism but Revolution’, in Evangelicals Now (September 2007), where he stated, after a quotation from Bishop Bob Duncan:

In other words, since the Archbishop of Canterbury has not provided for the safe oversight of the orthodox in the United States, he has forfeited his role as the one who gathers the Communion.

The irony of this, is that the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Greg Venables, has been at pains to point out that he consulted with the Archbishop of Canterbury in September concerning the current events. At least he continues, it seems, to treat the Archbishop of Canterbury as one ‘who gathers the Communion’.

The consequential question resulting from Chris Sugden’s view concerning the Archbishop of Canterbury is: ‘Then who does gather the Communion?’ His view leaves a vacuum. It also means that the Primates’ Meeting can’t be gathered, since Canterbury presides at those meetings. It also means the Lambeth Conference can’t meet. Of the Four Instruments of Communion, that leaves only the Anglican Consultative Council and that is not seen as respresentative by him.


Anglican and Roman church bodies comment jointly

The Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council and the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have issued a joint statement.

This statement has been issued with a press release titled Churches comment on Government’s incitement to hatred plans which starts:

The Church of England and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have commented on the Government’s proposed amendment to the Public Order Act 1986 to create a new offence of incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation….

Scroll down from the press release to read the full text of the Memorandum to the Public Bill Committee on the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill.


Time for closure in Anglican crisis?

Riazat Butt who is the Religious Affairs correspondent at the Guardian wrote a column for the Church of England Newspaper which has now appeared on Religious Intelligence.

See Time for closure in Anglican crisis?

…Talking is something that Anglicans are good at. But I kind of wish they’d do something else. For at least four years the threat of a schism has been hanging over the communion and people write about walking apart and falling off fences but the key word here is threat. Unless I’m deaf I’ve not heard the crack of a rupture so it leaves me thinking that this much-hyped schism, which by all accounts should have happened months ago, is the longest and slowest break-up in history…


Drenched in Grace: final press release


Inclusive Church supporters are drenched in grace and ready to embrace “costly unity”

Issued 26th November 2007

Last week, 180 people gathered in Derbyshire, England for “Drenched in Grace”, Inclusive Church’s first residential conference.

We met as Anglicans, committed to our church. We met as evangelicals and charismatics, as catholics, liberals and conservatives. We met at the Lord’s table – the unifying core of the conference. We reclaimed with confidence the orthodoxy of the inclusive Gospel we celebrate in the Anglican Communion.

We offered a model of engagement to the Communion at large. In our disagreements we acknowledged the primacy of God’s love in which we are all held together, but we did not keep silent about our differences.

Dr Jenny Te Paa (St John’s College, Auckland NZ) opened the conference. In a strong speech, Te Paa reminded us “how pervasive the reach of enmity has become amongst us.” She urged us “not so much to focus too intently and singularly on the bad behaviour of the few, but rather to focus anew on the very good behaviour of the many.”

Revd Dr Sharon Moughtin-Mumby in her talk “Out of the Silence” said “I believe it is vital for us to …. refuse to skip over the difficult and challenging or awkward passages of the Bible, just as in Inclusive Church we are committed to refusing to skip over those who can be made to feel like the difficult, challenging or awkward members of the people of God.”

Revd Dr Louis Weil (Berkeley, California) spoke about the central place baptism holds in our ecclesial understanding. Speaking of the sacraments of baptism and communion, he said “our obsession with validity has weakened the boldness of the sacramental signs. This creates a low level of expectation and weakens our understanding of mission.” We are in communion with one another by God’s grace, not by any human action. “I am in communion with Peter Akinola (the Archbishop of Nigeria)” he said. “I will remain in communion with Peter Akinola until we are both on the other side.”

Canon Lucy Winkett (St Paul’s Cathedral) spoke of the need to “forge relationships on the anvil of profound disagreement.” “The worry that we have as Anglicans is that our faith can be so driven by fear that our liturgy is tedious and our public pronouncements shrill and irrelevant.” In a powerful and wide ranging address she called for engagement with others across the theological spectrum.

Mark Russell, the Chief Executive of Church Army, sent us out into the world, calling passionately for the church to unite. “Unity is not saying that we will always agree with each other, unity is a deeper spiritual concept. Unity allows me to love my brothers and sisters even when I don’t always agree with them. Love allows me to hold difference and diversity.” He challenged us to “go from here, with a renewed vision to pursue a costly unity, and a vision to bring a gospel of hope to all.”

Many present are increasingly alienated and distanced from the church which they see as home. They are being rendered spiritually homeless. A common question was – why are our episcopal friends, who value and support classical Anglican comprehensiveness, so silent? Why do they, with few exceptions, leave the field clear to those who continually seek to undermine the Communion and deny its profound unity?

We have a Gospel to proclaim in a world disenchanted by the actions of those who proclaim a message which excludes. We invite them to meet with us, so that we can together move into the world with a vision of costly unity and hope for all in Jesus Christ.


Rowan Williams on US foreign policy

Updated Monday morning

The Archbishop of Canterbury has given an interview to a British Muslim magazine, Emel.

The Sunday Times has a news report on this, US is‘worst’ imperialist: archbishop by Abul Taher and has also published the full text of the interview as a PDF file, which you can read here. The interview is more balanced than the newspaper report of it.

Other British newspapers reported on this:

Stephen Bates Guardian Archbishop thrown into row over US Middle East policy

Auslan Cramb Daily Telegraph Archbishop’s assault on US foreign policy

Ruth Gledhill The Times Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, gets political blessing for his attack on America’s foreign policy

And the BBC reported it as Archbishop attacks ‘violent’ US


weekend columns

Giles Fraser writes from Pittsburgh for the Church Times that I believe the new puritans will fail.

Paul Woolley writes for The Times about how Religion holds its own in the forum of public debate.

Christopher Howse explains in the Daily Telegraph Why Gladstone had God up his sleeve.

Christopher Rowland writes in the Guardian about Blake’s creative engagement with the Bible.


Drenched in Grace: more links

The full text of the concluding keynote address by Mark Russell, Chief Executive of the Church Army, can now be found at Go into the world.

And the welcoming remarks by Giles Goddard at the conference opening can be found here.

For the other talks, see entries below.


letter supporting Bishop Iker

Updated Friday evening

TA readers will recall the recent letter from the UK supporting Bishop Duncan.

Pat Ashworth in the Church Times reports that The Catholic Group on the General Synod has initiated a letter of support for the Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Revd Jack Iker.

Read Catholics write to back Iker.

The full list of names is not yet available but the report says that 34 of the 51 names are common to the earlier letter.
Thr full text and list of signatures is now available on the Fort Worth site here.

And is reproduced below the fold.



more on From Calvary to Lambeth

See here for earlier report.

Pat Ashworth has more information in the Church Times in Dr Tutu is ‘ashamed’ of his ‘homophobic’ Communion.

…Dr Tutu told Lord Carey that he was ashamed of Anglicanism as long ago as the Lambeth Conference of 1998, over which Lord Carey presided as Archbishop of Canterbury. Lord Carey is heard drawing a distinction between tolerance and approval of homosexuality — in a manner that the programme’s producer, David Coomes, described on Tuesday as “nuanced”. “There was a report in The Sunday Telegraph saying Lord Carey and Tutu were at odds. There’s an element of truth in that, but not the total truth,” he said.

Whereas Dr Tutu sees the Bible as “a useful guide rather than a repository of unqualified truth”, says Michael Buerk, conservatives such as Stephen Green regard it as “divinely inspired to such an extent that he would like to see its strictures incorporated into British law”.

Ann Widdecombe, he explains, “thinks Tutu is blurring all the edges . . . between the sinner and the sin, between orientation and action — above all, between right and wrong”; and that “Tutu’s idea of what Christ is about is too simple by half.” Bishop Duncan “appears to think Tutu, now 76, has lost it — if he ever had it”, says Mr Buerk…

From Calvary to Lambeth is broadcast on Radio 4 on Tuesday 27 November at 8 p.m., and repeated on Sunday 2 December at 5 p.m.


more from Drenched in Grace

Here are links to audio recordings of two of today’s keynote talks.

Both of these presentations were outstanding and I strongly recommend listening to it all.

Louis Weil on When Signs Signify

Lucy Winkett on Our sound is our wound

(Text versions of these will also be available later.)

Meanwhile the full text of two other talks are already available:

Each of us was given grace: an address by Dr Jenny Plane Te Paa (audio linked here previously).

Out of the silence: an address by the Revd Dr Sharon Moughtin-Mumby

(Dr Moughtin-Mumby was unable to be present but her address was read by the Revd Canon Giles Goddard, chair of Inclusive Church.)


Primates responses to New Orleans

From the Anglican Communion Office:

ACC/Primates Consultation following the New Orleans meeting of the TEC House of Bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to Anglican Communion Primates and members of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) with a summary of their individual responses to the outcome of September House of Bishops meeting of the Episcopal Church (USA). He made it clear that he was not at this stage advancing his own interpretation of these responses.

He would include his own reflections in his (annual) Advent Letter to the Primates in the coming weeks .

A summary of responses to the consultation on the House of Bishops’ response to the request for certain clarifications in respect of the Windsor Process, and the subsequent report of the Joint Standing Committe of the Primates and the ACC, is posted here.

The Report is also available as a PDF Document here.


Drenched in Grace opens

The InclusiveChurch conference Drenched in Grace opened with a keynote speech by Jenny Te Paa.


Jenny Te Paa condemns “the reach of enmity” among Anglicans The first Inclusive Church conference opened today at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire, England with an address by Dr Jenny Plane Te Paa. In a strong speech, Te Paa reminded us “how pervasive the reach of enmity has become amongst us.” She urged us “not to notice the bad behaviour of the few, but the good behaviour of the many.” Calling to mind the great humanitarian needs of the world, Te Paa lamented our obsession with drawing lines that exclude, which is distracting us from the enormous suffering so many people face. We must not “fret and fight” while people are literally dying.

Te Paa is a Principal of the College of St John the Evangelist in Auckland, New Zealand, was a member of the 2003 Lambeth Commission, and assisted in the St Augustine’s Seminar responsible for planning the detailed content for the forthcoming Lambeth Conference 2008.

The Revd Canon Giles Goddard, chair of Inclusive Church, said, “We are not a pressure group of the like-minded.” He added, “We are ordinary Anglicans who love our church, and we are deeply concerned by the way in which the effort to exclude is overtaking the calling to live the Gospel.”

180 people have gathered here at a time in which many people are concerned that the generous tolerance which has characterized Anglicanism is under serious threat from those who wish to divide the church. The conference includes participants from all parts of Great Britain and throughout the Anglican Communion.

Information for Editors: IC is a growing network of Anglicans from across the Anglican Communion working to celebrate the traditional diversity of Anglicanism.

For further information contact Revd Canon Giles Goddard – 07762 373 674 or
Revd. Philip Chester – 07515 815710

Savi Hensman has written a little more about the session on the IC blog at Each of us was given grace.

And you can listen to the entire speech by going to Audio from Jenny Te Paa address.


Southern Cone reaches for the Arctic

Reports from Canada about the Southern Cone are piling up:

Conservative Anglicans shun Canada for S. America Reuters

Bishop gives Anglicans new option National Post

The Anglican Network in Canada is organising a conference shortly

And the Anglican Journal reports that Bishop protests unauthorized ordinations.

Michael Valpy has ‘Full-blown schism’ in church, Anglican bishop says in the Toronto Globe and Mail


American news reports

Updated again Wednesday evening

Several reports on the Virginia lawsuit:
Trial Begins in Clash Over Va. Church Property by Michelle Boorstein in the Washington Post
Former Episcopal leaders reminded of vows by Julia Duin in the Washington Times
Judge Overrules Objections During Virginia Testimony by Elizabeth Hudgins in the Living Church
Episcopal trial weighs concept of division Washington Times
Phase 1 of Church Property Trial Ends, 1st Amendment Issues Next Falls Church News-Press
Episcopal suit testimony ends Washington Times
Trial Portion of Virginia Case Ends Early Living Church

A report from California:
Episcopal leader seeks to mend church rift by Rebecca Trounson in the Los Angeles Times

A further report on the Fort Worth convention:
Fort Worth Passes Major Changes at Convention by Steve Waring in the Living Church

And another lawsuit in Georgia:
Diocese files petition to regain Christ Church, Savannah property in Episcopal News Service

1 Comment

Making decisions


Andrew Brown has written on comment is free that Rowan Williams and the Church of England can no longer remain aloof from convulsions threatening to tear the Anglican communion apart.

Read Falling off the fence.

Jonathan Petre reports in the Daily Telegraph Dr Rowan Williams to target pro-gay bishops which is not the action that Andrew had in mind. Nor what Desmond Tutu thinks, see Williams should tackle Anglican homophobia, says Desmond Tutu on Ekklesia.

Andrew’s link to Rowan’s 1998 Address at Lambeth Plenary on making moral decisions is a useful reminder.

Colin Coward asks Is the Archbishop of Canterbury proposing to withhold Lambeth invitations from English bishops?