Thinking Anglicans

even-handed fund raising

Martyn Minns and Gene Robinson both appear to have received the same letter concerning fund raising for the Lambeth Conference.

Read George Conger Traditionalist bishop inadvertently invited to Conference.

Read Jim Naughton Dear New Hampshire, Send your money, not your bishop.


General Synod – detailed Church Times reports

The detailed Church Times reports of this month’s debates at General Synod are now available online. They are spread over two issues and are linked from these pages.

Reports in Issue 7561
Reports in Issue 7562

Or you can go directly to the individual articles.

Presidential Address: Sorry if I was clumsy — Dr Williams’s address in full
Bibles: ‘Place Bibles in every church’
Code of practice
Mary Tanner
Casinos: Synod urges fight on gambling
Ecclesiastical fees: Synod holds up fees decision
Terms of service: Synod votes down moving parsonages to dioceses

Detention of terror suspects: Case is ‘flimsy’ for extending detention
The Dioceses
Mental health: ‘Prisons are the new asylums’
Communion in LEPs: Dispensing with a C of E Easter eucharist
Children’s liturgy: Eucharistic prayers sought for children
Anglican Covenant: New Covenant draft welcomed more warmly
Crown appointments: Synod feels its way towards a greater self-determination
Relations with Rome: Spirit of gloom descends on Rome discussions


US news updates

Updated Thursday morning

The Living Church has published two items which add new information to running stories:

House of Bishops will Address ‘Bishops in Communion’ Plan updates alternative oversight in the USA. Curiously, there has not yet been any mention of this matter on Episcopal News Service.

Switch to Southern Cone by San Joaquin Appears to Violate Canons of New Province updates Southern Cone documentation.

Further to that, the Southern Cone primate is to visit the Diocese of Fort Worth. See official Fort Worth diocesan announcement: Southern Cone Primate to visit Fort Worth Diocese.

Thursday morning update

Episcopal News Service has a very detailed report on developments in California: More San Joaquin congregations opt to remain within Episcopal Church; March 29 special convention anticipated:

A growing number of Episcopalians in the Diocese of San Joaquin are opting to remain within the Episcopal Church (TEC), as the Fresno-based diocese prepares for an anticipated March 29 special convention that would elect a provisional bishop.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in a letter to be distributed via a new diocesan newspaper, notes the proposed convention date and reassures the people of the diocese that work is ongoing “to ensure that you and your fellow Episcopalians may continue to bless the communities around you well into the future.”

“I anticipate convening a Special Diocesan Convention on 29 March, at which you will elect new diocesan leaders, and begin to make provision for episcopal leadership for the next year or so,” Jefferts Schori writes. “That gathering will be an opportunity to answer questions you may have, as well as to hear about plans for the renewal of mission and ministry in the Diocese of San Joaquin…”

Read the whole article for much more information. Also see Remain Episcopal here.

A Response to the Pastoral Presence from Bishop Schofield can be found here.


Carlisle clarifies

The Bishop of Carlisle, Graham Dow has issued a statement, snappily entitled Statement from the Bishop of Carlisle clarifying remarks about the Government.

…While people are of course free to make choices, at the heart of the problem is the fact that our society is institutionalising these changes in marriage and sexual morality with legislation. In a meeting where almost all of those attending look to the Bible for moral teaching, I reminded those present of the difference attitude towards the Roman state between the Letter to the Romans and the Book of Revelation.

By way of clarification I would want to say that the Government has certainly been “God’s instrument for good” (Romans 13), for example in the promotion of the equality and in social inclusion, in its support for poorer nations and its emphasis on the environment. However in the last year or two it has been imposing its own moral agenda in a way that is contrary to long standing Christian morality and the significant voice of Christian churches…

Earlier reports about the event to which he refers can be found here.

A different view of the book which was being launched can be read here.


Electronic Voting

General Synod now uses electronic voting for some of its votes. This saves time at Synod but also means that voting lists can be made available. Those for this month’s group of sessions are now available and are linked from the agendas and papers page.

Unfortunately the lists come as pdf files containing only graphics of the voting lists, so, for example, it is not possible to search them electronically to see how a particular member voted. I have extracted the graphic files from one and fed them through my OCR program so that I could generate this html file. This is the voting list for the motion to take note of the report on the Anglican Covenant that was debated on Wednesday 13 February.


opinion columns

In the Guardian’s Face to Faith column, Alex Klaushofer says that Lebanon’s pluralism could teach the west much about religious tolerance.

In The Times Roderick Strange writes that Water can bring us death or a new life in Christ.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about Rock of Ages and the rebel pilgrims.

Stephen Brown writes at Ekklesia that Church and media need new understanding, says Lutheran bishop (German readers can learn more here).

Paul Vallely writes in the Church Times that Religion can be a solution in Kosovo.

Also, Giles Fraser explains Why I worry about moral foreign policies.


alternative oversight in the USA

Updated again Monday evening

George Conger reports on Religious Intelligence that Presiding Bishop backs US deal:

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has endorsed a programme of alternative Episcopal oversight brought to her by a group of conservative American bishops.

The “Anglican Bishops in Communion” seeks to meld the Primates’ Dar es Salaam pastoral council scheme with the “Episcopal Visitor” programme created by Bishop Schori in a bid to hold the fissiparous elements of American Anglicanism together until an Anglican Covenant is agreed.

“This is a step forward, albeit a small one,” the Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev John W Howe noted, that permits freedom of conscience for traditionalist while preserving good order in conformance to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

However, critics charge there is nothing in the plan to compel a liberal bishop to permit alternative oversight, while spokesmen for the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Fort Worth told The Church of England Newspaper they were unable to comment on the merits of the plan as they had not been consulted in its creation and were unaware of the details…

…Bishop Stanton of Dallas, working with leaders of the Anglican Communion Institute and the Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, took the Episcopal Visitor programme forward. Led by Prof Christopher Seitz, the team sought to meld the needs articulated by traditionalists with the structures suggested by the Primates and the Presiding Bishop.

On Jan 31 Dr Williams met with Archbishop Gomez, Bishop Stanton, Prof Seitz and Dr Ephraim Radner and gave his backing to the emerging “Anglican Bishops in Communion” project, agreeing to issue invitations to the primates of the West Indies, Burundi, Tanzania, the Indian Ocean and Jerusalem and the Middle East to offer primatial pastoral oversight to the Episcopal Visitors.

The Presiding Bishop was briefed by Bishops Stanton of Dallas, Smith of North Dakota, Howe of Central Florida, and Bishop Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana on Feb 21, giving her “nihil obstat” to the Communion plan, one participant reported…

There is also a report in the Daily Telegraph by Jonathan Petre Secret plan to avoid church gay split which presumably also refers to these events, albeit in less detail.

Update Saturday evening
Bishop John Howe of Central Florida has issued a further letter, which has been published earlier today on several blogs, e.g.
titusonenine Bishop John Howe responds to the Telegraph article Alleging a Secret Plan
Stand Firm Bishop John Howe responds…
Episcopal Café A new plan emerges

And also, see at ACI The Communion Partners Plan by Christopher Seitz or the copy of it at Covenant and there is also Response to Various Queries Regarding the Communion Partners Plan.

Update Monday evening
George Conger has published a further report on Religious Intelligence Bishop endorses new traditionalist programme:

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has endorsed a programme of alternative Episcopal oversight brought to her by a group of conservative American bishops.

The ‘Anglican Bishops in Communion’ seeks to merge the Primates’ Dar es Salaam pastoral council scheme with the ‘Episcopal Visitor’ programme created by Bishop Schori in a bid to hold the fissiparous elements of American Anglicanism together until an Anglican Covenant is agreed…


New Zealand elects Victoria Matthews

Updated again Monday evening

According to Stephen Bates in the Guardian’s People column:

Interesting times beckon in Antipodean Anglicanism, where the former Canadian bishop Victoria Matthews – narrowly beaten to become Canada’s primate last summer – has been elected Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, a place she has never visited. She is a theological conservative who nevertheless voted that gay partnerships do not violate core church doctrines, which should bring her into interesting relations with the arch-conservative Archbishop of Sydney across the Tasman Sea, Peter Jensen, who does not believe that women should be put in charge of anything, least of all a church. The defeated candidate for Christchurch was the combative dean of Southwark cathedral, Colin Slee, who will thus remain a thorn in the flesh of C-of-E conservatives.

Updates Sunday evening

Two further reports, from New Zealand:

Gay-supporting bishop could split Anglicans from

Canadian woman tipped to be bishop from the New Zealand Herald

Update Monday evening
Anglican Journal reports from Canada that New Zealand diocese chooses Matthews as bishop:

Canadian bishop Victoria Matthews has reportedly been chosen bishop of the diocese of Christchurch in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, according to church sources and published reports.

The news was communicated to the Anglican Journal by church sources and also reported in the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain. Bishop Matthews, who served as bishop of the diocese of Edmonton for 10 years until she stepped down last year, declined to confirm news of her selection until the New Zealand church made an official announcement.

Lloyd Ashton, the Auckland-based media officer for the province, also declined to confirm the report. “What has happened is there has been a leak to a U.K. newspaper and it is quite regrettable that confidentiality has been breached. The election is still in process.”


Hereford: Church Times report

My report published in last week’s Church Times is now available to the public: John Reaney awarded £47,000.

John Reaney awarded £47,000

by Simon Sarmiento

An Employment Tribunal in Cardiff published its final judgment last Friday, awarding John Reaney more than £47,000, but made no other recommendations. Last July, Mr Reaney won a case of unlawful discrimination against the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Anthony Priddis (News, 20 July).

The tribunal noted that: “the Respondents have accepted the need to provide equal-opportunity training to all of its individuals who are engaged in a recruitment exercise. Furthermore if a genuine occupational requirement does apply in a particular case then thought will be given by the Respondents to make that clear in any advertisement . . . we are satisfied that these matters have been taken seriously by the Respondents.”

The compensation includes £25,000 for future loss of wages, £8000 for future pension loss, £7000 damages for psychiatric injury, and £6000 for injury to feelings.
Alison Downie, Mr Reaney’s solicitor, said: “Given his comments [in the Temple lecture last week], the Archbishop of Canterbury should ensure that the Church of England and its bishops act in full and complete accordance with UK and European law now — otherwise we are likely to see more discrimination cases against the Church in the future.”

Mr Reaney said: “I remain sad that the Church fought my case even after being found to have acted unlawfully. I would much prefer to be working as a Christian within the Church to promote and develop youth work, but was stopped from doing so because I am gay.”

In a press release, the diocese of Hereford said: “We are now aware that, when making such an appointment, we must make it clear if it is a genuine occupational requirement that the post-holder should believe in and uphold the Christian belief and ideal of marriage, and that sexual relationships are confined to marriage. This is the crux of the matter, not sexual orientation.”

A spokesperson for the pressure group Stonewall responded: “The crux of the matter is that discriminating against gay people in employment is unlawful. Let’s hope this is covered in the equal-opportunities training diocesan staff will be attending.”

The LGCM paid advertising supplement to last week’s Church Times also carried an article on the subject, written earlier. PDF file here,see top of page 3 or read html copy here.


firestorm stuff from the Church Times

Here are the four articles from last week’s Church Times that are now available on the public web:

Andrew Brown behind the ‘bonkers’ headlines

Paul Vallely Listen to the electronic alarm bells

Mona Siddiqui Why sharia is so misunderstood

Grace Davie Religion will be yet more hotly debated in future


after the firestorm

Mark Rice-Oxley of the Christian Science Monitor wrote Anglican Archbishop: too intellectual to lead?

When it comes to leadership in the Church of England, the former Bishop of Norwich once reportedly said: “If you want to lead someone in this part of the world, find out where they’re going. And walk in front of them.”

Rowan Williams, who celebrates five years as Archbishop of Canterbury next week, could never be accused of doing that…

Andrew Brown wrote at Comment is free that We need the Church of England:

There’s no point now in kicking the corpse of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s career as a public intellectual. After the debacle of Rowan Williams’ speech on sharia, no one who has to make decisions will ever take seriously anything he says again. Nor will they take seriously the church he is supposed to lead. If you want to know what he is good at, there is a rather fine funeral oration online that he gave at the funeral of a Cambridge don in the middle of all the outrage. But nothing he says now matters to anyone who isn’t mourning.

It is time to look at the damage he has done to others, and not just himself; one of the things that his flameout has illuminated is just how dangerous disestablishment might prove. The last thought-provoking thing that I heard him say was at a radio award ceremony where he had to present himself, or at least his producer, with a third place prize for religious radio. He said that it was not true that religion must always lead to conflict, but almost always true that in any sufficiently serious conflict you would find religion.

I wish he had developed and made more explicit that line of thought, because it provides the beginning of a justification for the existence of the Church of England. The defenders of a place for religion in public life do not have to suppose that religious belief is true, and many of them don’t – in fact all of them suppose that most religious dogma must be false. The question is not whether irrationality is irrational; it is how it can best be managed…


WATCH on the delay over women as bishops

Women and the Church (WATCH) has issued a press release. The headline is Women bishops “highly unlikely” for another five years.

At the recent meeting of General Synod, members were told by the Chair of the
Legislative Drafting Group that it was “highly unlikely” that the vote on women
bishops would be taken by July 2010.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, chair of the group
preparing draft legislation for women bishops, outlined the process and predicted
the likely time it would take.

The bishop’s statement shocked a large number of Synod members, who met and
expressed their outrage at the length of time the process was taking…

This release also includes these remarks of Professor Anthony Berry, a member of General Synod, from Chester diocese:

The opponents of women priests and bishops argue that men and women were
created as complements to each other as a creative and creating sexual couple. But
such opponents then adduce that one of the sexes is, to borrow Orwell’s, phrase
“more equal than the other” in matters of authority. This argument surely cannot hold
in matters of the church spiritual for if it did, we Christians would have to accept that
the created order would place men or women subservient to the other.

“Further if this equal but sexually different argument is driven into matters of church
order (the church temporal) then it sexualises the whole of my male human identity
and capabilities and claims that these are in all cases superior to the sexualised
identity and capabilities of all women. I find this profoundly offensive to my
understanding of human sexuality, identities and capabilities and also to my
relations with both men and women.

“The business managers of the Church are probably right to have some sensitivity in
the run up to the Lambeth Conference, but in the Anglican covenant process it has
been legally confirmed that the Church of England has the right under the Queen in
Parliament to order its own affairs. Wisely, this ordering is done in the context of the
wider Anglican Communion, where a number of provinces do already have women

“It is inconceivable that the process of legislation to put into effect the
decision of General Synod to proceed to Women Bishops should take more
than a year and a half. Certainly the legislative process could easily be
completed by July 2010. It would be negligent of the General Synod to permit
the matter to drag on into the next decade. The business managers of Synod
should already be considering having additional meetings of Synod to ensure
that this business is accomplished.”


Canada: more departures

More Canadian churches align with South American province, reports Solange De Santis in the Anglican Journal.

Six churches in five dioceses, voting at their general meetings on the weekend of Feb. 16-17, decided to leave the Anglican Church of Canada due to disputes over theological issues, including homosexuality, and join a South American Anglican church.

A seventh congregation, which is not a member of the Canadian church, also voted to come under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone, which covers the southern part of South America. Such jurisdiction is to be administered through retired Canadian bishop Donald Harvey, leader of a breakaway group called the Anglican Network in Canada.
The congregations are: St. George’s Lowville, Ont. and St. Hilda’s, Oakville, Ont., both of the diocese of Niagara; St. Chad’s, diocese of Toronto; St. Mary’s Metchosin, Victoria, diocese of British Columbia; St. Matthew’s, Abbotsford, B.C., diocese of New Westminster; St. Alban’s, diocese of Ottawa. The seventh is Holy Cross, Abbotsford, B.C.

A local report: News from Niagara and the official diocesan press release from Niagara (PDF) and St Hilda’s Church reports the news as Episcopal oversite (sic).


GAFCON plans changed

George Conger reports on Religious Intelligence Gafcon conference ‘rearranged’:

The Gafcon organizing committee, which is arranging an alternative to the Anglican Lambeth Conference, has announced that the dates and venue of the Jerusalem conference have been changed.

Following consultations with the Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Rev Suheil Dawani, the conference will now be broken into two parts: a consultation for church leaders in Jordan from June 18-22 and a pilgrimage to Jerusalem from June 22-29.

“We are very grateful for the feedback that we have received on the many complex issues that confront us,” the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen (pictured) said on Feb 19…

For the details, see the GAFCON website: Jerusalem Pilgrimage plans for the Global Anglican Future Conference and the Pilgrimage Brochure is a PDF file here (265K).

After consultation with a number of church leaders in Jerusalem, and around the world, the pilgrimage of the Global Anglican Future Conference will now take place from June 22nd through June 29th. An important Consultation in Jordan from 18-22 June will include the conference leadership, theological resource group, those bishops serving in majority Islamic settings and other key leaders. The Jerusalem pilgrimage will focus on worship, prayer, discussions and Bible Study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land.

“We are very grateful for the feedback that we have received on the many complex issues that confront us,” said Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney and a member of the leadership team. “The emphasis of our time together will be our future in the Anglican Communion and the reformation and renewal of our common life rooted in the Holy Scriptures and our common faith in Jesus Christ.”

Participants will include bishops and their wives, key clergy and laity.

Update The Nigerian website describes this change asGAFCON repackaged.


the boycott viewed from Brazil

The Primate of Brazil, The Most Revd Maurício Andrade has written about the boycott by five Anglican Primates of the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

Read Message from the Anglican Primate of Brazil – The Most Revd Mauricio de Andrade at ACNS.

He concludes:

… I believe The Episcopal Church of the United States has been showing all of us an example of the path to unity and reconciliation, because they have met all the requests for visits that were made and answered all the questions that were posed. They have spent time, money, and energy to meet the primates’ requests, always with generosity and openness. I think we need to keep in mind that we are Anglican. We are seeing a disregard of our richness and our ethos, that is, autonomy of the Provinces.

The Anglican Province of Brazil has already spoken out against the creation of a new pact, because our way of being Anglican has already been defined in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. We are not nor do we want to be a mere federation of churches. We wish to continue in communion with Canterbury, a symbol of our unity, as full members of the Anglican Communion.

We intend to go to Lambeth open to dialogue, and to feel the presence of God guiding us as His people, breaking the bread that unites us in the Body of Christ, and expressing solidarity with the world in need of the Word of transformation and salvation. We therefore reaffirm our reply to the invitation of Archbishop Rowan Williams and deeply regret the boycott by five archbishops.


Church Society attacks Archbishop

Church Society has published this: An open letter to the Primates and faithful Anglicans of the Global South.

And also this: Overview of the teaching of Rowan Williams on Scripture and sexuality.

This item has been reported in the Guardian see today’s People column by Stephen Bates.


Sydney and GAFCON

The Australian reports this: Anglican conference ‘is wrong time, wrong place’:

WHEN the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, meets his ecumenical colleague the Bishop of Jerusalem this week for an informal afternoon tea, even lashings of cream and jam for the scones won’t be able to cover the chill in the air…

…Bishop Dawani, visiting Australia this month to speak to local congregations, was not consulted about GAFCON and believes the meeting will have a negative impact on efforts to create peace in his diocese, which covers Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan…

Archbishop Jensen spoke to his diocesan standing committee about not attending Lambeth, and the full text of his remarks is in a PDF file here. The standing committee issued this press release endorsing his decision.


more reports from Uganda

Updated Tuesday

First, we had Uganda’s Anglicans hail boycott of Lambeth meeting from Reuters on Sunday.

And the BBC Sunday programme had a segment on Uganda which you can listen to here (9 minutes audio):

Uganda shuns Lambeth Conference
The Anglican Church of Uganda has announced that its bishops will not be attending this year’s Lambeth Conference, the meeting of worldwide Anglicanism that takes place once a decade. The Ugandan bishops cited what they called the “crisis” over homosexuality. The Most Reverend Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, talked to Sunday.

Stefan Stern writes about business and management issues for the Financial Times. In a recent column he turned his attention to the challenges facing the Archbishop of Canterbury. He discussed his take on the Anglican ‘brand’.

Now, today, we have Uganda’s Anglicans threaten to secede from global church from Associated Press today.

And republishes from yesterday’s Kampala Monitor Homosexuality – COU May Secede.

This morning we also had Ugandan Anglicans in ultimatum to US church over gay marriages in the Guardian.

This afternoon, ACNS reports Church of Uganda Still a Part of Anglican Communion.


Southern Cone documentation

As the Living Church reports,

An English translation of the canons and constitution of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone has recently been completed. Translating the 20-page document from Spanish to English was accomplished by staff members from the dioceses of Fort Worth and San Joaquin.

The Diocese of Fort Worth has published the translation on its website. Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Fort Worth and the standing committee recently prepared a second report concerning the possibility of aligning with the Province of the Southern Cone. This comparative report reflects on key points of difference between the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church and those of the Southern Cone. The report concluded that affiliation with the Southern Cone would provide Fort Worth with “greater self-determination” than it currently has under The Episcopal Church…

The PDF file of the translation is here.

The report on their content is here.


Has the Covenant already sunk?

An article that I wrote recently has been included in the LGCM Anglican Matters newsletter that was also published as an advertising supplement to this week’s Church Times.

The entire supplement is available online as a PDF file here (900Kb).

The article is a summary of Anglican Communion events during the past six months or so. It was published with the title Has the Covenant already sunk? and an html copy of it is now here.