Thinking Anglicans

abolishing the blasphemy law

Updated Friday morning

According to the Daily Telegraph in Church ‘accepts end of blasphemy law’:

The Church of England has signalled that it is prepared to see the abolition of blasphemy offences after the Government announced a review of the ancient law…

… The principle of blasphemy laws dates back to ancient times, but the present common law offence of “blasphemous libel” is based on 19th century court rulings.

In 1838, it was limited to cover only the “tenets and beliefs of the Church of England”.

Yesterday, the Church signalled it could accept abolition. “We are open to the possibility of a review,” said a Church spokesman, urging a “cautious” approach.

It is understood that Church leaders could be willing to back the abolition of blasphemy offences if new laws banning the incitement of religious hatred can provide significant protection for Anglicanism…

The Guardian report on this Ministerial compromise averts backbench revolt over repeal of blasphemy offence says:

…A Church of England spokesman said last night it became clear last year during the debates on the crime of incitement to racial and religious hatred that the church was open to the idea of the blasphemy law being abolished. “But first there has to be adequate time to assess the impact of the new legislation,” he added…

And the Guardian has a leader: An offensive law.

The BBC had Blasphemy law ‘may be abolished’.

Update Friday morning

Rachel Harden has a report in the Church Times Blasphemy report might be repealed.


Archbishop Hiltz writes to all Primates

Anglican Journal reports:

Archbishop Hiltz clarifies Canadian situation for fellow primates by Solange De Santis and Marites N Sison

Saying that he hoped to “dispel rumour or misunderstanding,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has written to his fellow leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion explaining the developments around the blessing of same-sex unions, which has embroiled Canadian Anglicans in conflict.

In his four-page letter, which was sent to the other 34 Anglican primates and four moderators of the Anglican Communion’s United Churches on Jan. 9, Archbishop Hiltz, who is the national archbishop, underscored that the Anglican Church of Canada has not yet agreed upon a definitive position on the issue. “It is important to note that the Anglican Church of Canada has not altered its doctrine of marriage as outlined in our prayer books and canons (church laws).”

However, he put the situation in context: Canadian Anglicans, he noted, “do live in a country where the federal government in 2005 approved legislation that allows the marriage of same-gender couples.”

Archbishop Hiltz also reaffirmed the Canadian church’s “commitment to full membership and participation in the life, witness and structures of the Anglican Communion.” He also called on Anglican leaders to respect each other’s boundaries and desist from intervening in the affairs of provinces other than their own…

The full text of his letter can be found here.

At the foot of the letter, there are hyperlinks to all the key Canadian statements.

  • Shared Episcopal Ministry – Addendum to the Primate’s Task Force report on Alternative Episcopal Oversight – Nov. 3, 2004

San Joaquin development

Remain Episcopal carries news of this:

Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin Listening Tour

The Rev. Canon Bob Moore, appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as an interim pastoral presence in the Diocese of San Joaquin, will make a 5-day “Listening Tour” of the central valley.

From January 21st through the 25th, Canon Bob will travel the valley meeting with both clergy and laity who wish to remain in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of San Joaquin. At stops in Stockton, Lodi, Fresno, Hanford, Bakersfield, and other towns in between, Canon Bob will listen to the stories, concerns and hopes of the Episcopal faithful in San Joaquin. To assure that your parish, clergy or laity group is included in the Listening Tour, please contact us at…

…At the conclusion of the Listening Tour, the Rev. Canon Bob Moore, interim pastoral presence in San Joaquin appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, will keynote a day-long gathering at the Church of the Saviour in Hanford on Saturday, January 26th, 2008. Canon Bob will be joined by special guest Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church. This will be Bonnie’s second visit to San Joaquin following an event in Lodi held in February, 2007. Both Canon Bob and Bonnie will address those gathered and have additional time set aside to take questions.

There was also a report on Episcopal News Service In San Joaquin, Episcopal Church ‘alive and well’.


Wycliffe Hall admits unfair dismissal

Updated again Thursday morning

There are reports in both the Daily Telegraph and The Times about this.

Jonathan Petre writing in the Daily Telegraph under the headline Leading theologian sues bishop over ‘bullying’ reports:

One of the Church of England’s best-known theologians is suing the Bishop of Liverpool following a row at an Oxford theological college.

Dr Elaine Storkey, a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day slot, told an employment tribunal in Reading yesterday she had been bullied while a senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall.

She accepted around £20,000 from the trustees of the college after they acknowledged that she had been unfairly dismissed from the post. But the 64-year-old is still seeking a ruling of religious discrimination against the president of the 130-year-old college, Bishop James Jones, over the row…

And Fran Yeoman in The Times adds some further information:

…Bruce Carr, representing the trustees of Wycliffe Hall, acknowledged this version of events, adding: “The respondent accepts that the dismissal of the claimant was unfair.”

Charles Crow, representing Dr Storkey, then turned to the issue of alleged religious discrimination. “Within Christian evangelism there are two strands; conservative evangelism and an open and more liberal evangelism,” he said. “As an open and clear proponent of one of those strands, [Dr Storkey] has been discriminated against.”

Mr Carr rejected that, saying Dr Storkey could not allege discrimination against people of the same faith as her. “She is not saying, ‘I’m being discriminated against because of my Christianity’,” he said. “She is saying, ‘I have a particular type of Christian evangelism.’ To paraphrase, she is the wrong type of evangelical.”

The tribunal has scheduled a further hearing for 10 June, but:

urged both parties to reach an agreement before the full hearing, pointing out the difficulties in attempting to resolve a theological dispute in an employment tribunal.

The Liverpool Echo has picked up this story but has a misleading headline, Bishop of Liverpool sued by BBC (the headline has now changed to: Bishop of Liverpool James Jones caught up in bullying row)

…The case has now been adjourned until June, at which point the three members of an employment tribunal will have to decide whether the Doctor’s evangelical stance constitutes a religion as compared with other evangelists.

Their decision could have far-reaching implications within religious circles.

Dr Storkey has named Bishop James as chairman of Wycliffe Hall’s trustees in her legal action along with and Andrew Dalton, the Hall’s treasurer…

…Today Charles Crow, representing Dr Storkey, said of the outstanding claim. He said: “Within Christian evangelism there are two determinate strands; conservative evangelism and an open and more liberal evangelism.

“Those are open and definable strands and as an open and clear proponent of one of those strands, Dr Storkey has been discriminated against.”

Yesterday (Mon) Bruce Carr, representing the trustees, accepted her dismissal was unfair but claimed Dr Storkey could not allege discrimination against people of the same faith as her…

And Education Guardian has Unfairly sacked Oxford college theologian sues bishop.

Tuesday evening

Ruth Gledhill has blogged about this, see Elaine Storkey: ‘Don’t shoot the heretics.’ Ruth has talked to Elaine, part of what she says is this:

…She told me this afternoon: ‘For me, this never started out as a battle between conservatives and open evangelicals. For me, this was trying to draw attention to the fact that we were unhappy with the style of management at Wycliffe Hall. But as time evolved, it started to feel more theological.

‘I am alarmed at the way big walls between people and groups have started to emerge in the way they did not before. People had nuances and differences, but we all worked well together. From the Fulcrum point of view [Elaine is chairman of Fulcrum], it is not what we are wanting. We want to work with everybody rather than create a new camp.

‘I am alarmed at the belligerence of the conservative camp, where they are seemingly going out of their way to make life as difficult as possible for the Archbishop of Canterbury. I cannot imagine what the reasons are. They are being destructive rather than constructive, finding something to argue about rather than working together to find a fruitful outcome…

Wednesday morning

Oxford Mail Ex-don settles dismissal claim

Independent Fire and brimstone! College principal says we’re all going to hell

Guardian College denies theological vendetta

Thursday morning

Ekklesia has a report, Tearfund president accused of double standards over religious discrimination.

Cambridge Evening News has Presenter in a battle of faith.


Nazir-Ali: further reactions

Updated again Wednesday morning

The Lancashire Telegraph which is based in Blackburn has Mixed reaction to Bishop’s no-go zone comments.

The BBC has Blears rejects ‘no go’ area claim. On that same page, there is an audio report broadcast on the World at One radio news programme at lunchtime today. This includes an interview by Christopher Landau with the Bishop of Rochester. The relevant government minister Hazel Blears and Bishop Stephen Lowe are also interviewed by Martha Kearney.

At Comment is free there are two articles:

Inayat Bunglawala Don’t go there

By accusing Muslims of creating ‘no-go’ zones in the UK for non-Muslims, the Bishop of Rochester is stirring up racial hatred, pure and simple.


Andrew Brown A narrow church

The Church of England has lost its traditional social framework. It may yet come to stand for an England that is, above all, not a Muslim country.

Tuesday morning update

Bradford Telegraph & Argus No-go area suggestion ‘scaremongering’:

Bradford community leaders have accused an Anglican Bishop of “scaremongering” after he claimed certain areas across the UK had become no-go areas for non-Muslims…

…The Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend David James, said: “I was dismayed to read the inflammatory headline in a Sunday newspaper claiming that Islamic extremists have created no go areas across Britain where it is too dangerous for non Muslims to enter’. We certainly do not recognise this supposed reality in Bradford.

“Of course, we are aware that there are difficulties arising from a significant measure of residential and cultural separation across communities, especially in the inner city. However, this has generated a range of imaginative initiatives such as the nationally-recognised Linking Schools Project, and the University’s Programme for a Peaceful City – to name but a few.”

And the Daily Telegraph has a leader, Bishop of Rochester leads the way.

Wednesday morning

Jonathan Petre Daily Telegraph Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali stands by his views:

…speaking from India, where he is attending a conference, the bishop claimed successive governments had failed to foster an “integrating vision” for Britain.

He said he was echoing concerns voiced by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality Commission, and those in the 2001 Cantle Report on the race riots in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley…


reactions to the Nazir-Ali article

Updated Monday morning

Press Association Fury over bishop’s comments

Reuters Bishop says extremism creates “no-go areas”

Ekklesia Bishop causes uproar with attack on Islamism and ‘Christian nation’ fears

BBC Profile: Michael Nazir-Ali

The BBC’s Sunday radio programme had an item about this, too. Listen to the item here (4.5 minutes).

Monday morning update

Daily Telegraph Muslims call for ‘no-go’ CoE bishop to resign and Muslim women recruited to stop extremists and Multiculturalism is breeding intolerance

The Times British imams ‘failing young Muslims’ (reference to bishop only at very end of article)

Guardian Bishop under fire for attack on Muslim ‘no-go areas’

Independent Muslim anger at bishop’s ‘ghettoes’ attack and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: No-go areas that are all in the bishop’s mind

Daily Mail Islamic extremism creating ‘no-go’ areas for non-Muslims in Britain, says Bishop of Rochester and Why the Bishop of Rochester is right about ‘no-go’ areas for non-muslims in Britain and No tolerance for no-go areas



reviews of 2007

First, here is George Conger’s review in the Church of England Newspaper: A year of turmoil but the Communion is still intact.

Second, here is the Church Times review of the news of 2007.

The Church Times also had additional reviews, for example here is Andrew Brown on the Press.

If you want to read the others, go to Issue 7554 of the archive.


some survey information

The Church of England Newspaper trumpeted a new survey on its front page last Friday (you can see this partially on their website front page this week only):

THE GOVERNMENT is failing to defend the place of religion in public life, the results of the inaugural Church of England Newspaper survey of General Synod members has shown.
More than half of Synod members who took part in the poll, 57 per cent, said the government was currently unsuccessful in upholding the place of Christianity in the UK today, with another 23 per cent of respondents saying it was ‘not particularly successful’.
The results come as another blow to Gordon Brown’s Government, already reeling from the lost data fiasco and questions over donations…

And so on and so on. And finally:

The survey, carried out by, canvassed a total of 102 members of General Synod between December 7-17, 2007, representing a response rate of 21 per cent, and included clergy, laity and bishops.

This was the same survey which The Times reported as follows:

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been named “Anglican of the Year” by members of the Church of England…

…In the survey, 29 per cent of Synod members named Dr Sentamu in response to the question: “Which Anglican figure do you think has done most to help the Church in 2007?”

Dr Williams was nominated by 24 per cent, Archbishop Tutu by 12 per cent, Dr Nazir-Ali by 6 per cent and Dr Akinola by 3 per cent.

More than half those surveyed, 57 per cent, said the Government was unsuccessful in upholding the place of Christianity in Britain today, with a further 23 per cent saying the Government was “not particularly successful”.

For the exact wording of the survey, see below in the Comments.


"no-go" areas across Britain?

Updated Sunday morning

The Sunday Telegraph has an article by the Bishop of Rochester which is headlined Extremism flourished as UK lost Christianity.

There is also a news report by Jonathan Wynne-Jones headlined Bishop warns of no-go zones for non-Muslims.

Here’s another bit of what Bishop Nazir-Ali says in his article:

It is now less possible for Christianity to be the public faith in Britain.

The existence of chapels and chaplaincies in places such as hospitals, prisons and institutions of further and higher education is in jeopardy either because of financial cuts or because the authorities want “multifaith” provision, without regard to the distinctively Christian character of the nation’s laws, values, customs and culture.

Not only locally, but at the national level also the establishment of the Church of England is being eroded. My fear is, in the end, nothing will be left but the smile of the Cheshire Cat.

In the past, I have supported the establishment of the Church, but now I have to ask if it is only the forms that are left and the substance rapidly disappearing. If such is the case, is it worth persevering with the trappings of establishment?

I published this article before the Sunday Telegraph leader had appeared: Britain has changed but its values must endure. This includes the sentence:

Bishop Nazir-Ali’s concern that the rapidity and scale of immigration, together with the policy of multiculturalism, threaten Britain’s Christian heritage are echoed by the Church of England General Synod, a majority of which worries that large-scale immigration is “diluting the Christian nature of Britain”.

Is that a majority of the synod, or is that a majority of those who responded? Anyway, according to the Telegraph’s own news report (my emphasis added):

In the Synod survey, to be published this week, bishops, senior clergy and influential churchgoers said that an increasingly multi-faith society threatens the country’s Christian heritage and blamed the divisions on the Government’s failure to integrate immigrants into their communities.

It found that more than one in three believe that a mass influx of people of other faiths is diluting the Christian nature of Britain and only a quarter feel that they have been integrated into society.

The overwhelming majority – 80 per cent – said that the Government has not upheld the place of religion in public life and up to 63 per cent fear that the Church will be disestablished within a generation, breaking a bond that has existed between the Church and State since the Reformation.

Meanwhile, the bishop’s remarks are getting huge attention via the news agencies:

Press Association ‘UK Islamists creating no-go areas’
Associated Press UK Bishop Denounces Islamic Extremism
Agence France-Press ‘No-go’ zones in some Muslim areas: British bishop

and the BBC Bishop warns of ‘Islamic areas’


opinions before Epiphany

The Church Times leader this week is Wisdom from the East?

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about why Christianity needs to ditch Plato.

Christopher Howse tells us in the Daily Telegraph What Hrabanus Maurus says about doves.

As Christians celebrate the Epiphany, it’s the people not the presents that matter, argues Chris Chivers in the Guardian’s Face to Faith.

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that you should Count your blessings and begin to change your life.

And from before Christmas, there is this interesting article in The Times by Alan Franks in which Terry Eagleton explains why a Marxist critic has written about Jesus Christ and the Gospels.


more on Draft Covenant responses

Updated midday

The Church Times reports on this:
C of E told it cannot cede power to Primates by Pat Ashworth

For convenience, here are links to recent responses from various provinces:

Church of England

Church of Ireland (PDF)

Episcopal Church, USA

Anglican Church of Canada

There is also comment on the English response by Church Society see here.

Religious Intelligence has Articles are ‘too much’ by Nick Mackenzie.


Canadian update

The Anglican Journal updates on the border crossings there:

Foreign province makes bid for Canadian churches:

…The network has about 500 individual members and 16 member parishes, said Canon Charles Masters, national director of the network. The Anglican Church of Canada has about 2,800 congregations and 641,000 on parish rolls…

Proposed structure of the Anglican Network in Canada

The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America

Countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay
Members: 22,490

Canada calls on Canterbury to intervene:

Canadian church leaders have appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury to address moves by dissidents to join a South American church and minister illegitimately in Canada.

In a pastoral statement dated Nov. 29, a week after the Anglican Network met, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate (national bishop) of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he deplored “recent actions on the part of the primate and General Synod of the Province of the Southern Cone to extend its jurisdiction in Canada.” The statement was also signed by the church’s four metropolitans, or regional archbishops.

Referring to Bishop Don Harvey and Bishop Malcolm Harding’s intent to minister to disaffected churches in Canada, Archbishop Hiltz said such ministry is “inappropriate, unwelcome and invalid.”


More on GAFCON

Updated again Friday midday

The Australian press has caught up with their local angle on this story. See

Melbourne Age Barney Zwartz Anglican archbishop spurs opposition to gays:

OUTSPOKEN Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen is galvanising opposition to homosexuality in the church, in the lead-up to an unofficial meeting of conservative bishops in Jerusalem.

As rifts in the worldwide Anglican Church threaten to become a schism, the Sydney Archbishop said American Anglicans had become missionaries for homosexuality in defiance of the Bible and Anglican teaching…

The Australian David King Jensen leads separate force:

THE conservative Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has emerged as a leader of a “provocative” breakaway summit for bishops opposed to gay clergy.

Peter Jensen confirmed yesterday he was part of the leadership group of the Global Anglican Future Conference, an international meeting of bishops and churchmen in Israel, to take place in June, just weeks before the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Conference.

He said the GAFC meeting would address “the current reality of a Communion in disarray over fundamental issues of the gospel and biblical authority”.

Andrew Brown has this comment article on Comment is free Dither on, Williams:

Over the last few years, Dr Rowan Williams has sometimes looked criminally innocent (“The trouble with Rowan is that he’s too damn Christian,”) as one of his colleagues remarked; sometimes merely well-meaning but powerless; very occasionally he has looked as if he is working to an angelically cunning plan. This week has been a good week for the cunning plan interpretation. It is not that he has done anything – but his rigorous policy of inaction and delay has given his opponents an opportunity to fall apart which they have exploited to the full…

The Jerusalem Post has a further report by George Conger Regional Anglicans fear Jerusalem conference could ‘inflame tensions’.

Arab Anglican leaders have called for the cancellation of a June gathering of Anglicans in Jerusalem, claiming it could exacerbate Christian-Muslim tensions in the Palestinian territories…

Friday updates

The Church Times has this report by Pat Ashworth Conservatives plan alternative meeting before Lambeth.

The Church of England Newspaper has this report Archbishop defends letter by George Conger which is mostly about the Advent Letter, but continues:

…Global South primates contacted by The Church of England Newspaper said they were mulling over Dr. Williams words, with some stating they would be sending him private responses, while others expected a public statement of some sort to be prepared sometime after Christmas…


Archbishop Jensen on capital punishment

The Archbishop of Sydney is quoted in the Australian press on this topic:

Australian religious leaders were yesterday divided over the death penalty. Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen said official church doctrine in the 39 Articles of 1662 endorsed it: “The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences.”

Dr Jensen said Christians were concerned about the abuse of capital punishment for crimes that did not merit death. “But I cannot absolutely rule out capital punishment in all circumstances, since the Bible itself allows it.”

See Death row pleas for citizens only in the Melbourne Age.


San Joaquin letter of support

This letter with 31 signatures on it has been posted at the website of the former Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

The list includes a number of Church of England bishops:

The Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Matthias Medadues-Badohu, Bishop of Ho
The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester
The Rt. Rev. Gerard Mpango, Bishop of Western Tanganyika
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Ross Davies, Bishop of The Murray
The Rt. Rev. Keith L Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. A. Ewin Ratteray, Bishop of Bermuda
The Rt. Rev. Michael Hough, Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley*
The Rt. Rev. John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley
The Rt. Rev. Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough*
The Rt. Rev. Robert Forsyth, Bishop of South Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet*
The Rt. Rev. Lindsay Urwin, Bishop of Horsham
The Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes
The Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, Province of Kenya
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. David Anderson, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. John Gaisford, lately Bishop of Beverley RETIRED*
The Rt. Rev. Edward MacBurney, lately Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Roger Jupp, lately Bishop of Popondota
The Rt. Rev. David Silk, lately Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. Nöel Jones, lately Bishop of Sodor and Man RETIRED
The Rt. Rev. Edwin Barnes, lately Bishop of Richborough RETIRED*
The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, lately Bishop of Eau Claire
The Rt. Rev. Donald Parsons, lately Bishop of Quincy

Among the Church of England bishops, one is a diocesan bishop, the others are either suffragans, or retired bishops, and several are current or former Provincial Episcopal Visitors.


recent British media reports on CofE

The BBC reports on the CofE response to the Draft Anglican Covenant: Church comments on Anglican rows:

The Church of England has made clear its disapproval of Anglican provinces which intervene in the affairs of other churches without authorisation.

In a document it said such interventions should not take place except as part of “properly authorised schemes of pastoral oversight”.

It is a response to attempts in the draft Anglican Covenant to commit the Communion to practices to resolve rows…

Riazat Butt’s online report on Tuesday also made it into the Guardian on Wednesday: Anglican rift on gay clergy leads to breakaway summit.

Jonathan Petre at the Daily Telegraph had his own story on Wednesday about the Bishop of Manchester and the Lambeth Conference. See Bishops ‘must face gay clergy debate’:

A Church of England bishop has criticised the Lambeth Conference, which starts in July, for shying away from the issue of homosexuality.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said it would be “odd” and “irresponsible” for the meeting to sweep the controversy “under the carpet”.

…Bishop McCulloch criticised conservative bishops who are threatening a boycott because the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has invited American liberals…

Here’s the full text of the bishop’s remarks as provided by the diocese:

This is the year of the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference. It is always an important occasion. I was among the first bishops to respond affirmatively to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation. I am sorry that some bishops are still threatening to stay away.

The Anglican Communion is a family. The Christian pattern for family life – for which the church and especially its bishops should be a model – is that, however deep family arguments and differences are, we (of all people) ought to be following the New Testament pattern of meeting together to pray, to learn, to eat and to share.

That said, I do have sympathy with bishops who feel the agenda ought to contain more than simply the currently planned episcopal in-service training. The first Lambeth Conference was called in the wake of controversy; and it would be exceedingly odd – even irresponsible – for the bishops to avoid, and appear to sweep under the carpet, the very issues that are currently inhibiting our common witness to Christ across the world.

Incidentally, would clergy please observe the convention of checking with me before inviting any bishop/archbishop to minister? Such courtesies avoid unwelcome problems – most of which can thereby be overcome.

And earlier, there was a bizarre piece of reporting in The Times by Dominic Kennedy headlined Bishop left in dark over secret gay service. For a better report on this matter try the Evening Standard ARCHBISHOP SPARKS ROW AFTER HOLDING SECRET COMMUNION FOR GAY CLERGY. Note the comment there from the Bishop of London’s spokesperson:

“The extent to which the Bishop of London is annoyed has been exaggerated – he’s not annoyed in fact and canon law was not broken. The whole thing seems to have been blown out of proportion.”


Jerusalem speaks on GAFCON

Updated Wednesday evening

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani has issued a press release:

Re: Global Anglican Future Conference planned for the Holy Land in June 2008

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Bishop Suheil Dawani, has expressed his concern about the Global Anglican Future Conference planned for the Holy Land in June this year.

“Regrettably, I have not been consulted about this planned conference,” said Bishop Suheil. “The first I learned of it was through a press release.

“I am aware that the post-Christmas announcement that this conference is to be held here has excited considerable interest around the Anglican Communion, and has become the subject of online discussion. Yet we Anglicans who minister here have been left out in the cold.

“I also note that the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who appears to be one of the organisers, is encouraging clergy and lay people from his diocese to attend the conference with him and his bishops. He speaks of the meeting taking place because the Anglican Communion is, he says, ‘in disarray over fundamental issues of the gospel and biblical authority’.

“I am deeply troubled that this meeting, of which we had no prior knowledge, will import inter-Anglican conflict into our diocese, which seeks to be a place of welcome for all Anglicans.

“It could also have serious consequences for our ongoing ministry of reconciliation in this divided land. Indeed, it could further inflame tensions here. We who minister here know only too well what happens when two sides cease talking to each other. We do not want to see any further dividing walls!

“I believe our Primate, Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis,is also concerned about this event. His advice to the organizers that this was not the right time or place for such a meeting was ignored.”

“I urge the organizers to reconsider this conference urgently.”

Further reports on this:

Religious Intelligence has this by George Conger Warning over Anglican conference. It includes this:

The leadership team of GAFCON contacted ReligiousIntelligence.Com to say that a letter was sent to Bishop Suheil Dawani on December 24, two days prior to the press announcement. Two of the leadership team, Archbishop Peter Akinola and Archbishop Peter Jensen, had already reqested a meeting with him to discuss his concerns with him in the next two weeks.

Episcopal News Service has this by Matthew Davies Jerusalem bishop objects to conservative Anglicans’ planned Holy Land pilgrimage.


CofE response to Draft Anglican Covenant

Updated Wednesday evening

Press Release Church responds to draft Anglican Covenant

Church responds to draft Anglican Covenant

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, as Presidents of the General Synod, have submitted a Church of England Response to the draft Anglican Covenant published last year for discussion around the Anglican Communion.

All Anglican Provinces were invited to comment on the text prepared by the Covenant Design Group chaired by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez. The Church of England’s response follows a General Synod debate on the principle of an Anglican Covenant in July 2007, when the following motion was carried.

‘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.’

The text of the response has been overseen by the House of Bishops’ Theological Group and builds on the earlier work of the Faith and Order Advisory Group. The draft response was discussed by the House of Bishops in October and by the Archbishops’ Council in November.

The Covenant Design Group will be meeting at the end of January to consider all Provincial responses. A ‘take note’ debate on the Church of England response to the Anglican Covenant is planned for the General Synod in February 2008.

The text of the response can be found here, as an RTF file.

An html version of the entire document can now be found here.


BBC interviews Presiding Bishop

Updated Wednesday morning

Christopher Landau interviewed Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the BBC Radio 4 programme PM today, Tuesday.

Hear the interview here, go forward 45 minutes into the recording. This link will only work for one week.

Update Here is another place to listen to the interview, which should be more permanent, and doesn’t require going forward first.

Read the related news report: US Anglican head in sexuality row:

The head of the Anglicans in the United States has accused other churches, including the Church of England, of double standards over sexuality.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the BBC her church is paying the price for its honesty over sexuality…


The Associated Press reported this story as Episcopal Leader Defends Gay Bishops and the report has therefore appeared on hundreds of US newspaper and other websites (including the Guardian) overnight.

It’s not yet reported in any of the London newspapers.

There’s a partial transcript of the interview in the comments of this thread at T19.


update on GAFCON

Updated Tuesday afternoon

Reactions to the GAFCON announcement continue to appear.

George Conger had an article in the Jerusalem Post Anglicans choose Jerusalem for key June conference.

Changing Attitude issued a press release: Changing Attitude responds to the GAFCON announcement.

And there is a report on Sydney Anglicans titled Future Anglicans Unite.

Bishop David Anderson of CANA and the AAC, had this to say about it in his weekly email:

Orthodox Primates with other leading bishops from across the globe are inviting fellow Bishops, senior clergy and laity from every province of the Anglican Communion to a unique eight-day event in Jerusalem, to be known as the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) 2008. This GAFCON event, which was agreed upon at a meeting of Primates in Nairobi a few weeks ago, will give the orthodox Anglicans from around the world the opportunity to gather, to learn, to take counsel together and to go forward equipped to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to a world sitting in the shadow of unbelief. The gathering will be in the form of a pilgrimage back to the roots of the Church’s faith: thus this journey begins with a pilgrimage.

The first thing that springs to my mind is the planning necessary to accommodate all the people who will want to come. I remember the summer of 2003 when Canon David Roseberry and I had planned a small gathering of church leaders at his church near Dallas, to take place after the General Convention in Minneapolis and to be jointly hosted by Christ Church, Plano, and the American Anglican Council. As people heard of the gathering, more wanted to come, so we upped our estimated attendance several times. Finally, as a number of unfaithful and unholy decisions were made by the General Convention of TEC, the rallying cry of the orthodox became, “See you in Plano,” and David Roseberry and I had to begin to think really big. Hurting people who wanted to be hopeful came, bishops, priests and deacons and laity came, over 2000 in all. Over 800 clergy were vested in the great procession in the Eucharist. A note of encouragement from Cardinal Ratzinger, later to become Pope Benedict, was read by Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh. Plano became a term and Plano II and Plano West happened as people took the hope and enthusiasm back home to their areas. The relentless grinding down of the orthodox members by the Episcopal Church, the subsequent departures and planned departures, the law suits and litigation, the depositions and deceit of TEC have all taken their toll, and many of our faithful Anglicans in North America are hungry and hopeful.

Could Jerusalem 08 (GAFCON) be more than a simple gathering of the faithful? Might this meeting be on a global scale what Plano was in the USA: the crystallization of the future; the future taking form and substance in our midst, and bringing us forward into a reality shaped and formed by the Holy Spirit of God? What might God do with Jerusalem 08 and GAFCON?

Tuesday afternoon update
Riazat Butt has published an article on the Guardian website Conservative Anglicans plan rebel summit.