Giles Fraser wrote in the G2 section of the Guardian about his recent American travels, God moves to the left.
And he also wrote in the Church Times about Lambeth: a conference of shame.
John Wilkins writes in The Times that Divine justice is perfect and tempered with mercy.
Alec Gilmore writes in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.18 Comments
Will Woodward and Riazat Butt Williams defiant over Islamic law speech
Clare Dyer Jewish Beth Din could be archbishop’s model
Riazat Butt Forget the beheadings, and think of settling marital disputes
Andrew Brown Misjudgment that made martyrs of others
Madeleine Bunting A noble, reckless rebellion
Guardian leader: The simplicity complex
Jonathan Petre Rowan Williams faces calls to resign and Church members call on Archbishop to resign
Charles Moore Archbishop, with sharia it’s all or nothing
Simon Heffer Sharia courts? Get off your knees, archbishop
Ruth Gledhill Archbishop faces calls to quit over Sharia row
Frances Gibb Was Archbishop’s obscure phrasing and bad timing to blame for uproar? Don’t miss this one, well worth reading
Matthew Parris Williams is dangerous. He must be resisted
Times leader: A Devalued Faith
Colin Brown and Jerome Taylor Church moves to the defence of Archbishop
Deborah Orr Don’t be fooled… the archbishop wants to beat extremists at their own game
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown What he wishes on us is an abomination
Independent leader: The Archbishop has stepped into a political and intellectual minefield
The Bishop of St Albans wrote to his clergy and readers: Bishop of St Albans says Archbishop’s lecture raises major issue.
Justin Lewis-Anthony wrote The Archbishop and those who will not hear.2 Comments
Lambeth Palace has issued a statement headlined What did the Archbishop actually say?
Friday 08 February 2008
There has been a strong reaction in the media and elsewhere to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks of yesterday on civil and religious law…
…The Archbishop made no proposals for sharia in either the lecture or the interview, and certainly did not call for its introduction as some kind of parallel jurisdiction to the civil law.
Instead, in the interview, rather than proposing a parallel system of law, he observed that “as a matter of fact certain provisions of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law” . When the question was put to him that: “the application of sharia in certain circumstances – if we want to achieve this cohesion and take seriously peoples’ religion – seems unavoidable?”, he indicated his assent.
A selection of further material:
The Church Times which went to press before this story broke has now published a website article by Paul Handley Williams provokes row over sharia law.
James Behrens wrote Legal opinion on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s interview on Shariah Law.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali wrote English law and the Sharia (PDF).
Bishop Alan Wilson wrote Abdul the Bogeyman.
Frances Gibb Legal Editor of The Times reported Lawyers: Sharia can’t trump English law. Meanwhile Ruth Gledhill has Archbishop of Canterbury ‘should resign’ over Sharia row and there is Sharia in Britain: the reaction.
The Daily Telegraph has Bishop: Impossible to have sharia law in UK by Jonathan Petre, Andrew Porter and Gordon Rayner.
The Guardian has Laying down the law: ministers cool on archbishop’s sharia suggestion by Will Woodward and Riazat Butt.9 Comments
Updated Friday evening see Bindmans press release below
Here is the outcome of the Hereford tribunal case as reported by icWales:
A gay Christian who won a discrimination claim against the Church of England was awarded more than £47,000 in compensation today, the organisation backing him said.
John Reaney, a 42-year-old from North Wales, took the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance to an employment tribunal after his appointment to the role of youth worker was blocked on the grounds of his sexuality by the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis.
Stonewall, the gay equality organisation which funded the claim, said the Diocese of Hereford was today ordered to pay Mr Reaney £47,345.
A spokesman for Stonewall said this included £33,000 for loss of future earnings and £7,000 damages specifically awarded for “psychiatric injury”.
Mr Reaney said: “I’m delighted that this case is finally over. Lesbian and gay Christians working within the Church of England are entitled to be treated with humanity. I’m very grateful to Stonewall for supporting this case throughout.”
Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “We’re delighted that the tribunal has sent such a robust signal, both to the bishop and other employers.
“The substantial level of compensation sends out a very clear message. Not even a bishop is above this law.”
According to Stonewall the Bishop’s costs are estimated to be a further £50,000.
Stonewall added that the tribunal had also said it expects the Bishop to undergo equal opportunities training…
Here is the full text of the press release from the Diocese of Hereford:
Diocese of Hereford & the Employment Tribunals Service
February 08th 2008
The Employment Tribunal has issued its final judgment in the case of the diocese of Hereford and Mr. John Reaney. “We are glad we can draw a line under this unhappy situation. It has been a difficult time for all of us involved in the tribunal,” said Anni Holden, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Hereford. “It has been a long drawn out process and we are pleased that it is finally complete.”
The ‘Remedy Hearing’ of the tribunal took place in December following its decision in July 2007. The Employment Tribunal has decided that the Diocese of Hereford is to pay £47,345 to Mr John Reaney. The legal costs of the case to the Diocese are being met by an anonymous donation.
“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”, added Anni Holden. “This is the crux of the matter, not sexual orientation.”
According to this report from Hereford-based 24dash.com:
The total compensation ordered by the tribunal included £25,000 for future loss of wages, £8,000 for future pension loss, £7,000 damages for psychiatric injury, £6,000 for injury to feelings, £1,320 for counselling and £25 for costs incurred seeking work.
Other press coverage:
BBC Gay man wins £47k church payout
North Wales Daily Post Gay Christian wins £47,000 pay-out and later Church must pay out to gay Christian
The Sun Gay Christian’s £47k compo and later Rev’s £47k gay worker snub
Hereford Times Gay man wins Church payout
Daily Mail Gay Christian rejected for post by Bishop awarded almost £50,000 in damages
Daily Telegraph Bishop fined in gay discrimination case
The Times Bishop ordered to have equality training over gay discrimination
Guardian £47,000 for gay youth worker bishop rejected
Ekklesia Bishop faces equal opportunities training after discrimination award
There is a full press release from Bindmans titled Tribunal awards substantial compensation in landmark gay discrimination case against Church of England:
John Reaney wins over £50K compensation and interest
John Reaney v Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance
Cardiff Employment Tribunal
The Employment Tribunal has just awarded John Reaney over £50,000 (including interest) as compensation for unlawful discrimination against him by the Diocese and the Bishop of Hereford.
Alison Downie, of Bindman & Partners, lawyer for John Reaney said today:
“The Employment Tribunal has just ordered the Diocese of Hereford to pay substantial damages, over £50,000 including interest, to my client as compensation for the unlawful gay discrimination against him by the Bishop and Diocese of Hereford…
Update added 15 Feb: the Stonewall press release is here: Tribunal orders Bishop of Hereford to pay £47,000 to gay youth worker.22 Comments
Pat Ashworth in the Church Times has Disputed parts of Anglican Covenant redrafted.
… Just 13 of the 34 Anglican provinces submitted a formal response to the first draft of the Anglican Covenant (the Nassau Draft), something that the Covenant Design Group (CDG) suggests might be attributed to “lack of translation” or indeed “other foci in the life of Provinces”…
Scroll down the Church Times article for a summary of the Appendix: Four routes for discipline:
THE PROCESS for disciplining a Church is graded according to whether there is a threat to “the unity of the Communion or effectiveness or credibility of its mission” and how urgent this is.
Informal conversation is the first resort, Route 1. If that fails, the next step is to consult the Archbishop of Canterbury. He then has a month either to resolve the problem by issuing pastoral guidance, or to refer it to three Assessors of his choice. The Church that is getting the guidance has a month to respond. If the outcome is unsuccessful, it refers it to the Assessors. The Assessors have a month in which to choose one of four routes, depending on the perceived urgency of the dispute.
If a threat to unity is clearly involved and is considered to be a matter of real urgency, the Archbishop requests action by the Church involved. The Church has six months to consider: if it doesn’t respond after that time, it is considered to have rejected his request. The Church can appeal to the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) if it does not believe that it is threatening unity and mission. The JSC decides whether there is a threat. If the appeal is lost, the matter goes to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).
Route 2 comes into play if it is unclear whether there is a real threat to unity or not, but the matter is still considered urgent. If so, it can be referred by the Archbishop of Canterbury to another of the Instruments of Communion to decide whether there is a threat. The Instrument makes a request to the Church, and then the matter proceeds as with Route 1.
Route 3 takes a longer view. The Archbishop refers longer-term issues that “would benefit from rigorous theological study” to a commission for evaluation. He chooses the commission in consultation with the secretary general of the Anglican Communion. The commission studies it for 18 months, and then pass on its judgement to an Instrument of Communion. If rejected, it then goes to the ACC.
Route 4 provides mediation, if no threat to unity is perceived. This is a three-year process. The mediator has no decision-making authority, and cannot compel the parties to accept a settlement. The matter is declared closed after three years.
The ACC is the final arbiter over Routes 1, 2, and 3, and whether a Church’s action is compatible with the Covenant. “If the Council decides the rejection is incompatible, the Church can declare voluntarily that it relinquishes the force and meaning of the Covenant; or the Council decides it for them.”
If either declares relinquishment, the ACC must initiate “a process of restoration with the Church of the Communion and other Instruments of the Communion”.
The Church Times reports the story: Bishop Jones apologises for Reading-affair open letter.
The Guardian has a profile: Whether you think he’s gone too far or not far enough, he has made an honest, brave and thoughtful contribution by Riazat Butt.10 Comments
Riazat Butt Archbishop backs sharia law for British Muslims and later, Uproar as archbishop says sharia law inevitable in UK and
Will Woodward and Riazat Butt Laying down the law: ministers cool on archbishop’s sharia suggestion
Elizabeth Stewart Q&A: Sharia law
Andrew Brown Laws of the land
Guardian leader: Sharia and the state
Ruth Gledhill and Philip Webster Archbishop of Canterbury argues for Islamic law in Britain
Ruth Gledhill Has the Archbishop gone bonkers?
Daniel Finkelstein Why the Archbishop is wrong about Sharia
Ian Edge and Robin Griffiths-Jones Does Islam fit with our law?
Times leader: Church in a State
Jonathan Petre Archbishop Williams sparks Sharia law row and later
Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent, and Andrew Porter, Political Editor Adopt sharia law in Britain, says the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams
Christopher Howse Sharia is no law for Britain
Gordon Rayner Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Williams attacked over Sharia law comments
Daily Telegraph leader: Archbishop of Canterbury’s inept intervention
Ben Russell and Colin Brown Archbishop of Canterbury warns sharia law in Britain is inevitable
Paul Vallely Williams is snared in a trap of his own making
Press release from the MCU available here:
MCU opposes the Draft Covenant
The proposed Anglican Covenant (The St Andrew’s Draft) would only make the church more autocratic and outdated, says the Modern Churchpeople’s Union (MCU).
‘It takes the Anglican out of Anglicanism and there wouldn’t be much left’, says the MCU General Secretary, Jonathan Clatworthy. ‘Until now we have lived together respecting differences of opinion. This Covenant would mean every time there’s an objection someone will lay down the law’.
The wording of the Covenant itself is a clear improvement on previous drafts. But the sting is in the tail. An Appendix to the Draft Covenant sets out ways in which members of the Communion could be disciplined.
Members of the Anglican Communion would be asked to commit themselves to accept a ‘request’ from the Archbishop of Canterbury or the global Primate’s Meeting. If they refused the request they could ultimately be expelled from the Communion.
MCU objects to the Covenant because it would centralize decision-making and reduce the traditional autonomy of Anglican Provinces. Just one Anglican Province could object to developments elsewhere and so changes could only be made at the speed of the slowest. Churches would become increasingly out of date.
MCU believes that the threat of expulsion will impoverish Anglican church life. The short timescales envisaged are likely to stunt discussion and suppress the search for consensus. The character of the international ‘Instruments of Communion’ which currently bind the Communion together would be changed as they take on semi-judicial roles.
The practical result of the St Andrew’s Draft Covenant would be a much more centralized, authoritarian and unadventurous Communion. It is likely to magnify disputes and to turn them into judicial processes. It is likely to leave the Church less able to face the challenges of the modern world.
To read the Appendix mentioned above go here.
And for more material on the Covenant from MCU, go here.31 Comments
Updated: full text of lecture now available
The BBC reports:
The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams says the adoption of Islamic Sharia law in the UK is “unavoidable”.
Dr Williams told BBC Radio 4’s World at One that the UK has to “face up to the fact” that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.
Dr Williams argues that adopting some aspects of Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.
For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.
He says Muslims should not have to choose between “the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty”.
In an exclusive interview with BBC correspondent Christopher Landau, ahead of a lecture to lawyers in London later on Monday, Dr Williams argues this relies on Sharia law being better understood. At the moment, he says “sensational reporting of opinion polls” clouds the issue.
He stresses that “nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that’s sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states”.
His comments are likely to fuel the debate over multiculturalism in the UK…
The full text of the lecture is available here.
And here is the Lambeth Palace press release about the lecture.52 Comments
Updated Thursday morning
Anglican Communion News Service Covenant Design Group issues communique and draft
An Anglican Covenant – Draft Appendix Framework Procedures for the Resolution of Covenant Disagreements
Initial press reactions:
Tameka Lundy Bahama Journal New Try At Consensus In Anglican Church
Jonathan Petre Daily Telegraph Anglican Church sets up peacemaker court
Religious Intelligence Draft Covenant text issued
Marites N Sisson Anglican Journal Communion distributes second draft of proposed ‘covenant’
Episcopal News Service Covenant Design Group issues communiqué and second draft25 Comments
Updated again Thursday morning
Riazat Butt in the Guardian reports that Bishop of Liverpool apologises for opposing gay cleric:
One of the country’s most senior bishops has argued that the Bible sanctions same-sex relationships, using the bonds between Jesus and John the disciple, and David and Jonathan as examples.
The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, a conservative evangelical, expressed the views in a book, A Fallible Church, in which he apologised for objecting to the appointment of the gay cleric Dr Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading. He was one of nine bishops to sign a public letter criticising the proposed consecration.
The bishop also apologised for his conduct and its effect on John, who eventually withdrew his acceptance of the post after bowing to pressure…
Update The Bishop of Liverpool’s chapter in the book is now online at the Liverpool diocesan website: Making Space for Truth and Grace
Further press reports:
Liverpool Daily Post Bishop’s rethink over gay relations
Liverpool Echo Bishop is sorry for gay cleric objection
Ekklesia has by far the best report so far on this matter: Leading Evangelical bishop calls for fresh approach to sexuality row:
The Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, has called for a change of heart among Evangelicals and others in the often bitter argument about sexuality, Scripture and authority.
But Bishop Jones has not, as reports in The Guardian and the Daily Mail newspapers have suggested, directly sanctioned same-sex relationships. In a lecture delivered at the end of 2007 and published in a new book designed to build-bridges in the run-up to the Lambeth Conference, he nevertheless points out that it is possible on the basis of the Bible to recognise that people of the same gender can have deeply involved emotional and physical friendships.
The bishop, who is a senior figure on the Evangelical wing of the Church, also forthrightly apologises for the form of action he took in opposing the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John, who declared himself to be in a non-sexual gay partnership, as Bishop of Reading. He expresses sorrow and regret over its hurtful impact, but he does not state that his reasons for doing so at the time were wrong…
Updated Monday evening
…The next Lambeth Conference has been summoned for July-August 2008. The Archbishop of Canterbury is responsible for the guest list, and he has invited all except for the Bishop of New Hampshire on the one hand and some of the new bishops appointed to care for the dissidents on the other. Thus, for example the Bishop of New Westminster has been invited although his actions have caused the Reverend David Short and his congregation (which includes Dr Jim Packer) to withdraw as far as they can from the Diocese. An invitation to share the Conference under these circumstances has posed a real difficulty for many of us.
Several African Provinces have indicated that they will not be attending Lambeth, because to do so would be to acquiesce with the North American actions. They are not ending the Anglican Communion, or even dividing it. They are simply indicating that the nature of the Communion has now been altered by what has occurred. They see that since the American actions were taken in direct defiance of the previous Lambeth Conference, the Americans have irreparably damaged the standing of the Conference itself. They asked without success for the Conference to be postponed. They do not think that this Conference is what is needed now. To attend would be to overlook the importance of the issues at stake.
The Anglican Future Conference is not designed to take the place of Lambeth. Some people may well choose to go to both. Its aim is to draw Biblical Anglican Christians together for urgent consultation. It is not a consultation which can take place at Lambeth, because Lambeth has a different agenda and far wider guest list. Unlike Lambeth, the Future Conference is not for Bishops alone – the invitations will go to clergy and lay people also. It seeks to plan for a future in which Anglican Christians world-wide will increasingly be pressured to depart from the biblical norms of behaviour and belief. It gives an opportunity for many to draw together to strengthen each other over the issue of biblical authority and interpretation and gospel mission…
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the reaction of the Primate of Australia, Phillip Aspinall to Dr Jensen’s decision not to attend the Lambeth Conference:
…Dr Aspinall said in a statement that he was disappointed over the move by Dr Jensen, and urged him to reconsider.
“I find it difficult to understand the view that the Lambeth Conference is not a proper place to deal with issues facing the international Anglican Communion,” Dr Aspinall said.
“Lambeth happens once every 10 years and basically all the bishops of the international Anglican Communion are invited.
“It is a very significant gathering in which the vast majority of bishops will participate.”
He said the only way to address issues of “deep difference” in the church was to “come together, pray together, study the scriptures and speak openly with each other”.
“That some bishops seem willing to forego this important opportunity is disappointing,” Dr Aspinall said.
He said he hoped that another key conservative bishop, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, who heads the Anglican Church in the West Indies, could convince Dr Jensen to rethink his move…
Earlier Ruth Gledhill had written about the Gafcon ‘power struggle’. She reproduces the text of a lengthy note about GAFCON by an unknown hand.
There are also links there to her video interview of me, and another interview of Jim Rosenthal, made just after the Lambeth Palace press conference two weeks ago.
And today, The Times has published Ruth’s article Archbishop aims to save divided Church. It is neither Rowan Williams nor Peter Jensen but rather Drexel Gomez, who is interviewed:
The Anglican archbishop in charge of drawing up the document intended to reunite his warring Church said he believes that schism can still be averted in spite of divisions over the issue of homosexuals.
The Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev Drexel Gomez, said that a new formula had been found that would allow the disciplining of errant churches while respecting the traditional autonomy of the 38 worldwide Anglican provinces. Urging all Anglican bishops to attend the Lambeth Conference this year, he said that it would be a “tremendous tragedy” if the Church fell apart.
A new document to be published this week would form “a basic way of holding each other accountable as a Communion”, he said. But he indicated that the Episcopal Church of the United States was unlikely to face discipline or any form of exclusion from the Anglican Communion as a result of consecrating Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003…
There is more in the Sydney Morning Herald for Tuesday:
Article by Peter Jensen Lambeth boycott needed to stand by biblical view
Newspaper editorial article Absence is no argument:
THE old adage that the absent are always wrong is not necessarily true. But in matters of tactics, it remains a useful rule of thumb: you cannot win a debate by boycotting it. Yet this is precisely what Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop, Peter Jensen, and the bishops of his diocese are proposing to do by refusing to attend this year’s Lambeth Conference – a once-in-a-decade meeting of the world’s more than 800 Anglican prelates. It is the latest development in a potentially schismatic dispute over church attitudes to homosexuality between the conservative leaders of the strongly evangelical Sydney diocese and their allies, notably in Africa, on one side, and more liberal Anglicans elsewhere (including Australia)…
The previous report about the Diocese of San Joaquin was this one.
The letter from the Presiding Bishop to the remaining members of the Standing Committee, and some initial responses to that, were linked at the end of the article.
Dan Martins a former DSJ Standing Committee member, now removed to Northern Indiana, and who earlier made these comments, has recently commented about this on various other blogs and has kindly published this record of his comments elsewhere: More San Joaquin Flotsam and Jetsam.4 Comments
The following press release has been issued by the Diocese of Sydney:
Archbishop’s statement on Lambeth
Statement from Archbishop Peter Jensen – speaking after the service of ordination of 48 deacons at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney –
‘With regret, the Archbishop and Bishops of the Diocese of Sydney have decided not to attend the Lambeth Conference in July. They remain fully committed to the Anglican Communion, to which they continue to belong, but sense that attending the Conference at this time will not help heal its divisions. They continue to pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference.’
Evangelicals, beginning to voice concern for God’s earth, are critical to the US elections, says James Jones in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.
Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that Love can teach us to listen to our enduring melodies.
Christopher Howse in the Daily Telegraph has An addiction to behaving badly.
Giles Fraser, in the Church Times says that Too much religion is bad for your faith.
Rowan Williams gave an interview to Martha Linden of the Press Association which you can read in full at his site. It’s more wide-ranging than the headline, Archbishop criticises 24 hour drinking.
Simon Barrow wrote about Challenging the neo-liberal paradigm for Ekklesia.2 Comments
Updated again Sunday
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has published three documents on the Rochester diocesan website:
The Times has a news report about the bishop by Ruth Gledhill Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, faces death threats.
Ruth Gledhill also has some of the remarks made by Bishop Nazir-Ali at the Oxford Union in Rochester, Oxford and the ‘call to prayer’.
The Sunday Telegraph has Support for ‘no-go’ bishop after death threats by Jonathan Wynne-Jones.29 Comments
The Archbishops’ Council has issued a press release which contains a whole lot of detailed information about Church of England attendance, and other statistics.
See Latest figures show changing trends in church-going. It’s worth reading all the way through.
The Church Times has an article about this today, Attendance slides, but several dioceses buck the trend.
The underlying data is available in a PDF file here.
The Daily Telegraph reported this as Festive services boost CofE attendance by Jonathan Petre.
Religious Intelligence has Sunday attendance figures down, Church of England reveals.2 Comments
The Church Times has this report: UK Evangelicals ask conservative Primates to rethink:
A GROUP of Evangelical bishops in the Church of England have written to conservative Primates urging them to rethink their objections to the Lambeth Conference.
The group, seven diocesan bishops and 13 suffragans, wrote to the Primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Southern Cone of America that they “long to share with you in fellowship and in celebration at Lambeth”. To stay away, they suggest, “would inevitably split apart those who share an equally high regard for scriptures [sic] and for the historic faith of the Church”.
The letter arose from an annual gathering of Evangelical bishops. The signatories are the Bishops of Bradford, Bristol, Carlisle, Durham, Lichfield, Oxford, Southwell, Barking, Bedford, Crediton, Croydon, Doncaster, Dunwich, Lancaster, Lynn, Maidstone, Penrith, Southampton, Swindon, and Tewkesbury…