Thinking Anglicans

Presiding Bishop writes on process, canons

Updated Thursday evening

Episcopal News Service has published a letter written to the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. In this letter she reviews and comments on process related to deposition, inhibition, renunciation and resignation of bishops.

The full text of the letter is at Presiding Bishop writes to House of Bishops on process, canons.

The Living Church has published an article by George Conger headlined Memorandum Concludes Presiding Bishop is Subverting Constitution and Canons.

Thursday evening update
The Anglican Communion Institute has published the “Presentment Memorandum” mentioned in the above report, read the full text here.


respect for the Archbishop of Canterbury

Updated again Friday evening

The Lead has published Williams won’t allow Robinson to function as priest in England in which it is said that:

…the Archbishop of Canterbury has refused to grant Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the right to preach or preside at the eucharist in England. Robinson received the news in an email yesterday morning.

Sources familiar with the email say Williams cites the Windsor Report and recent statements from the Primates Meeting in refusing to grant Robinson permission to exercise his priestly functions during his current trip to England, or during the trip he plans during the Lambeth Conference in July and August…

In the Church of England, the legal position on preaching is not the same as the position on “exercising priestly functions” and it appears that an overseas bishop would not necessarily need permission from anybody but the incumbent of the parish in order to simply preach there.

Nevertheless Bishop Robinson is respecting the wishes of the archbishop and is declining all invitations to preach in England.

Such respect is not to be found everywhere. The Lead continues:

Sources familiar with the email, which came to Robinson through a Lambeth official, say Williams believes that giving Robinson permission to preach and preside at the Eucharist would be construed as an acceptance of the ministry of a controversial figure within the Communion.

Williams has not denied permission to preach and preside to Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who gave his support to a failed legislative attempt to limit the rights of Nigerian gays and their supporters to speak, assemble and worship God collectively. Akinola has yet to respond to an Atlantic magazine article which suggests he may have had prior knowledge of plans for retributive violence against Muslims in his country that resulted in the massacre of more than 650 people in Yelwa, Nigeria.

Williams has not denied permission to preach and preside to Bishop Bernard Malango, the retired primate of Central Africa and one of the authors of the Windsor Report. Malango dismissed without reason the ecclesiastical court convened to try pro-Mugabe Bishop Nolbert Kunonga for incitement to murder and other charges.

Williams has not denied permission to preach and preside to Bishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Southern Cone, who has now claimed as his own, churches in three others provinces in the Anglican Communion (Brazil, Canada and the United States). Nor has he denied permission to preach and preside to Archbishops Henry Orombi of Uganda, Emanuel Kolini of Rwanda, or Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, all of whom have ignored the Windsor Report’s plea not to claim churches within other provinces of the Communion.

Ruth Gledhill has elaborated on the “banning” question in Bishop Gene ‘banned’.

The Living Church has an article about this also, No Pulpit Ban for Bishop Robinson by George Conger.

Episcopal Café has a quibble about this.

The Guardian had an item about it also, see here.


Gene Robinson in England

The Bishop of New Hampshire is currently in England for the UK launch of his book, In the Eye of the Storm.

There has been extensive press and broadcast coverage:

BBC Williams criticised by gay bishop

The Hardtalk interview can be viewed here but only for a week after transmission date.

He was also interviewed on the Sunday radio programme:

Gene Robinson
The issue of homosexuality continues to tear the Anglican Communion apart in the build-up to the 2008 Lambeth Conference. In June the conservatives who oppose the ordination of gay priests will meet in Jerusalem, in what some see as an alternative conference. Many of these will refuse to go on to Canterbury for the main meeting in July.

Meanwhile the gay Bishop, Gene Robinson, whose consecration brought this dispute to a head, shows no sign of backing out of the limelight. His latest book In the Eye of the Storm is published this week by the Canterbury Press. He explained why he wrote it.

Listen here (7 minutes).

Guardian Riazat Butt Williams disappoints God in not taking a stand, says gay bishop

The Times Gay rites; New Hampshire’s Bishop Gene Robinson is about to enter into a civil union

Daily Telegraph Gene Robinson: ‘It is a sin to treat me this way’

And the Church Times blog is following the story, here, and again in Can Lambeth bar Gene Robinson from preaching in England?

Bishop Robinson did speak in London, in a church, in 2005. It caused a fuss then, see here. And was reported fully in the Church Times as shown here.

About the book:

Read the preface by Desmond Tutu here.

Read three quotes printed on the back cover here.


Better coverage of the Manchester report

In the Daily Telegraph George Pitcher has written an article headlined Rowan Williams will not be driven out of office which is in fact about the Manchester report. It also rather debunks most earlier reports. (And it is not written by the newly appointed religion specialist.)

…As ever, the truth is somewhat different. Deeply considered (and, I might say, deeply boring) documentation has been published at Church House, morsels are torn from its body and partially digested, and those with corners to fight duly back into them, barking.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, as chair of the numbingly named Legislative Drafting Group, has offered up a typically chewy tome.

In it, far from proposing a church like a Victorian playground, with gates marked in stone for Boys and Girls, he offers three approaches to the introduction of women bishops: a simple change in the law with no alternative arrangements for those who demur; legislation that would make some special arrangements for those “unable to receive the ministry of women bishops”; and, finally, legislation that would create structures for these conscientious objectors.

The group is at pains to say that it’s not offering a recommendation, but analysing the pros and cons of each approach.

To infer from this that the church is set to split itself along gender lines is, at best, ambitious. But what is important is the difference between what is said in this report, which is dull, and what is perceived to have been said…

The Times has some letters.

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Jefferts Schori writes to Venables

Updated Wednesday evening

ENS reports Fort Worth visit an ‘unwarranted invasion,’ Presiding Bishop tells Southern Cone primate:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has advised Southern Cone Presiding Bishop Gregory J. Venables in an April 29 letter that his planned May 2-3 visit to address a special convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth “with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province.”

The ENS report contains the full text of her letter. It also goes on to report on the formation of Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians. You can read more about that body at this post by Katie Sherrod at Desert’s Child.

Wednesday evening update

The Bishop of Fort Worth has published a letter written in response to the Presiding Bishop’s letter. It is contained in this PDF file or there is an html copy here. He also wrote a blog comment about the letter which is reproduced here.

Following up on the report above concerning Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, there is this report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Episcopal group against Fort Worth diocese’s secession which includes this paragraph:

Fort Worth Diocese Bishop Jack Iker said in a statement Tuesday that the steering committee is “a self-selected vigilante group whose only stated purpose is ‘to remain in The Episcopal Church’ no matter what — and regardless of what TEC believes or practices. They espouse a blind institutional loyalty that borders on institutional idolatry.”

Then, there is this from the Living Church Presiding Bishop in Dallas: “Have You Been Watching San Joaquin?” which includes the following:

Clergy and laity from the Diocese of Fort Worth comprised a little less than half of those attending the reception. Their questions dominated, with some pleading with the Presiding Bishop for “help to get us out of the wilderness we now find ourselves in.” Fort Worth is one of several dioceses that are likely to consider leaving The Episcopal Church when their conventions are held this fall.

Bishop Jefferts Schori assured her questioners that a plan similar to the one employed in San Joaquin has already been prepared. When the Fort Worth delegation declared that they have been forgotten in this battle, the Presiding Bishop replied, “Have you been watching San Joaquin? They were not forgotten and now show dynamic signs of new life. You will not be forgotten, either.”

Throughout much of the question-and-answer session retired Bishop Sam B. Hulsey of Northwest Texas stood in the back of the parish hall. Last January Bishop Hulsey held an organizational meeting for clergy from the Diocese of Fort Worth, offering continuing care to those who wish to remain with The Episcopal Church, an action to which Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Fort Worth objected. Since then Bishop Hulsey has visited a handful of Fort Worth congregations.

See also Katie Sherrod’s blog comments here.

Meanwhile, Mark Harris reports in detail on The Plans of Fort Worth as revealed in the documents he has made available here, which comprise a draft of “The Fort Worth Plan” and of an associated “Canon 41”.


Brazilian response to Covenant

Brazilian Bishops respond to the St Andrews’s Draft of the Covenant

During its last meeting in Curitiba, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil generated an official response to the Anglican Covenant – St. Andrew’s Draft. Such draft was sent to all Anglican Communion provinces, so they would examine it and send suggestions to it.

The document, entitled “Life in Communion and the Communion of Life” reiterates that there are aready instruments that define how Anglican provinces interact with eath other, and concludes that there is no need for a new covenant which would be more restrictive than what we already possess.

Read the text here.

It is also available as a PDF file here.


Report on Women as Bishops

Updated again on 25 May

The Report of the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group is now available online.

Unfortunately, it is provided only as a series of separate, mostly .doc files. Perhaps the situation will improve later.
Update on this
An html copy of Chapters 1 to 6 can now be found here.
And Annex G the spreadsheet containing the January 2008 count of “Resolutions parishes” can be found here.

Additional html files now available:

Annex B, Measure 1 – Draft Bishops (Consecration of Women) Measure (No.1)

Annex D – Illustration of ‘Statutory Code of Practice’ option

Annex D, Measure 2 – Draft Bishops (Consecration of Women) Measure (No 2)

Annex E, Measure 3 – Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (No. 3)

There is a press release which summarises the report, which can be found at Women in the Episcopate – Manchester Report published.

First reaction to this from Forward in Faith UK is here. Second reaction is here.

First reaction from WATCH is here.

First press reports:

Press Association Church faces ‘serious decisions’ on women bishops

Associated Press Church of England panel calls for decision on structures for including women as bishops

Daily Mail Church of England delays consecration of first woman bishop by four years

The Times Report sets out roadmap for women bishops and later ‘Gender havens’ to avert split in Church

Daily Telegraph Church plans ‘men only’ breakaway dioceses


More reports from Canada

Following the visit of Bishop Gregory Venables to Canada, there are news reports:

The Vancouver Sun had Argentine Anglican deplores infighting and also Influential evangelical theologian latest to split with Anglican Church.

The Canadian Press had Dissident Anglicans look to South America, Africa for guidance.

Reports of the conference on the Anglican Network in Canada site are here and also here.

The sermon preached is available here.

Chris Sugden also spoke to the gathering.


opinions at Rogationtide

The Church Times has a leader about human rights: So, how safe are human rights? This refers to the recent address by Pope Benedict to the UN General Assembly, which is here.

And at Ekklesia Savi Hensman writes about Developing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Giles Fraser in the Church Times focuses more narrowly in Take these Nigerian taunts more seriously.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about suicide bombers in A human bomb does not distinguish.

David Lunan Moderator-designate of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland writes in The Times about The words and the beliefs that determine our lives.

Jonathan Romain writes about faith schools in Face to Faith in the Guardian.

And Andrew Brown wrote last week in the Church Times about what happened at the Daily Telegraph, in Victim of the Telegraph cull.


lawsuits and letters in San Joaquin

Updated Sunday morning

The Diocese of San Joaquin has issued this press release (PDF):

Michael O. Glass, Esq., Chancellor to the Diocese of San Joaquin has provided notice that on April 24, 2008, the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Episcopal Church filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in Fresno County Superior Court to reclaim possession of the real and personal property belonging to the Diocese. Glass said, “The primary defendant is John-David Schofield, the former bishop of the Diocese who was recently deposed from the episcopate by the Episcopal Church on March 12, 2008 as a result of his attempts to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church. Such actions are contrary to the Canons and Constitution of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese.”

Mr. Glass added that prior to the filing of the Complaint, the current Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, attempted to secure Mr. Schofield’s timely turnover of Diocesan assets and property. “Mr. Schofield did not agree to this request,” said Glass.

Bishop Lamb has emphasized that the Diocesan leadership and the Episcopal Church have a canonical, fiduciary and moral duty to protect the assets and property of the Church for the Church’s mission. Lamb said, “While it is regrettable that legal action is necessary, the Diocese and the Episcopal Church have no other viable option but to seek the intervention of the Court to recover the property and assets of the Diocese.”

“Regardless of the necessity of proceeding with the litigation,” Bishop Lamb continued, “the diocesan leadership and I remain committed to reconciliation with clergy and parishes that are still trying to understand their relationship with the Episcopal Church.”

The Bishop has recently sent letters to all clergy in the diocese inviting them to meet and enter into dialogue with him directly on these issues. The Diocese is also preparing for a three day faith-based reconciliation seminar in June and further programming regarding rebuilding and reconciliation in its October diocesan convention.

For further information please contact Michael O. Glass, Esq., Chancellor to the Diocese of San Joaquin at, or the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb, Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin at or 209.952.0006. For information about the Diocese of San Joaquin, see its website

The Complaint document can be found here (PDF).

Also, Bishop Jerry Lamb has sent a letter of complaint to the Primate of the Southern Cone, Bishop Greg Venables. The PDF of the letter is here. The body of the letter reads as follows:

Peace be to you in the Risen Christ.

I have been informed of your intention to visit the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on April 29, 2008. I understand you will be preaching and celebrating the Eucharist at St James Cathedral in Fresno, California.

As you know the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church deposed John-David
Schofield on March 12, 2008. I was nominated, selected and installed as the Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on March 29, 2008.

I strongly protest your visit to this Diocese without my invitation or permission. Your
visit would violate the traditions of the ancient church as understood in the Anglican
Communion. It also violates the Windsor Report and statements from subsequent meetings of the Primates since the Windsor Report.

I strongly urge that you cancel your meeting in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
scheduled for April 29, 2008. I also strongly urge you to refrain from interjecting yourself into the internal affairs of the Episcopal Church, the only Anglican Church in the United States.

The Anglican Communion Network issued a press release (not found on this website) titled Realignment Complete, San Joaquin Refocuses on Mission and Ministry.

Episcopal News Service has a report: San Joaquin diocese, Episcopal Church file suit to regain property.

Sunday morning update

Bishop Schofield has issued this statement:

To the clergy and parishioners of San Joaquin –

We recognize that the news of a lawsuit from the Presiding Bishop and the representatives of Remain Episcopal in Stockton, may be unsettling. However, please be assured that we have been expecting this litigation and the contents contain no surprises. Please know that our legal team has been at work for some time. They are optimistic and remain unperturbed by The Episcopal Church’s most recent action. What our legal counsel has accomplished on our behalf is already proving most helpful in defense of property and assets despite the fact that this preparatory work had to be done without the benefit of seeing what the Episcopal Church intended to do.

Furthermore, I want to remind you that in spite of the claims by The Episcopal Church, nothing in their current Constitution and Canons prohibits a diocese from leaving one province and moving to another. Also, just as we stood together for the sake of our witness to the Gospel at our Convention in December, so now will we continue to stand together for that same witness. I will continue to respond to those who disagree with us in a Christian and charitable manner and I trust that you will, as well.

Thank you for the trust that you have placed in me as your bishop and senior pastor, and know that I will continue to honor that trust with God’s help.

Faithfully, yours in Christ,



protecting the poorest

The Archbishop of Canterbury appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme Today before giving a speech in the House of Lords.

The Lambeth Palace website has:

Interview with Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme on credit, debt & inequality including a full transcript and an audio recording of the interview with John Humphrys.

Archbishop – Protect the Poorest From the Effects of Economic Downturn a press release about the House of Lords speech.

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Amici Curiae brief filed in Virginia

The Diocese of Virginia announces that National Hierarchical Churches Support the Diocese of Virginia in Opposing Virginia Law Section 57-9 . The press release starts out:

A number of national hierarchical churches have filed an Amici Curiae arguing that §57-9 division statute of the Virginia Code “cannot withstand constitutional challenge.” The constitutionality of this statute is being examined in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s case to preserve Episcopal Church property. The brief, filed on April 24 in support of the Diocese’s position, calls §57-9 “hopelessly infused with religious concepts” and demonstrates how this section of Virginia Code ignores the theologically-based structures of hierarchical churches throughout the Commonwealth in violation of the U.S. and Virginia constitutions.

When the Court ruled on April 4 that the 57-9 statute allowed for the CANA congregations to file their claims to take Episcopal Church property, the Court explicitly acknowledged that constitutional issues remain and scheduled a hearing on those issues on May 28, 2008.

At issue is the government’s ability to intrude into the freedom of the Episcopal Church and every other church in Virginia to organize and govern themselves according to their faith and doctrine. The implications of the Court’s ruling reach beyond the Episcopal Church, as evidenced by the number of denominations signing on to the Amici filing.

The Diocese of Virginia welcomes the filing of the Amici Brief from:

1. United Methodist Church
2. African Methodist Episcopal Church
3. African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
4. Worldwide Church of God
5. The Rt. Rev. Charlene Kammerer, Bishop of the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
6. W. Clark Williams, Chancellor of the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

Read the full text of the brief as a PDF file here.


Melbourne to have female bishop

The press release from the Diocese of Melbourne is titled First woman bishop appointed in Victoria.

The Herald Sun reports it as Canon Barbara Darling to become Victoria’s first female bishop.

The ABC has Congratulations Darling! Female vicar becomes bishop.

A somewhat misleading headline on this story in the Herald Sun Another historic woman bishop for Church of England.

Note to Herald Sun from here:

When did the Church of England become the Anglican Church of Australia?

The Anglican Church of Australia has been known by this name since 24 August 1981.


a Kenyan voice

Anglican Mainstream has KENYA: Bishop Says GAFCON not LAMBETH is Anglican Province’s Choice.

When the Rt. Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, from Bungoma in Western Kenya, was asked why he was going to GAFCON, but not to the Lambeth Conference in July, he told a congregation of Kenyans in his diocese that you don’t go to a place where men marry men.

“For us it is not just a theological issue, it is a practical issue. We don’t go to a meeting where men marry each other. That is not the way of God. It is not the way of the Lord or Scripture. This is the Sensus Fidelium. It is what the people of God believe, accept, and reject.”

The bishop said it was a “hard agonizing decision to make choosing not to go to Lambeth. The question then was what do we do? It became clear to us that we had to go to GAFCON.

“GAFCON was never conceived as an alternative to Lambeth. We cannot go there (Lambeth) so what is the alternative then? We need to recover accountability in the church. We need to re-establish confidence in the church. While we believe dialogue has ended over sexuality issues not all the orthodox believe that dialogue with Lambeth has ended. Many believe it has ended and we are among them. Some orthodox want to continue to talk and dialogue. We are in a period of discernment for the orthodox, but we cannot do that by going to Lambeth, it would compromise us…


another follow-up to the attack story

Nigeria: Archbishop Denies Attack On Homosexuals

[ Linked via AllAfrica. The original of this story was at this URL but has now gone.]

Leadership (Abuja)
23 April 2008
Posted to the web 23 April 2008

Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, of the Jos province, (Anglican Communion), has denied allegations that the leader of a group representing “Anglican” homosexuals in the country was attacked.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja, Kwashi rebuffed a statement credited to the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC) on the alleged attack.

Kwashi was reacting to an allegation by Mr Davis Mac-Iyalla, leader of Changing Attitude Nigeria, that homosexuals were being physically assaulted in the country.

Iyalla had requested the intervention of the ABC as the ‘spiritual leader’ of the global Anglican Communion.

According to Kwashi, the ABC criticised the alleged assaults on gay Anglicans in Nigeria , describing it as ” latest round of unchristian bullying .”

However, the Jos archbishop said: “I have personally tried to discover the place or nature of the attacks and threats without success.

“It is wrong for Canterbury and a group of English Bishops to accuse the Church of Nigeria of being the perpetrator of a physical attack on the streets.

“If a Nigerian Bishop or church leader was mugged in England would the Archbishop of Canterbury or even the Church of England in general be blamed for this?”

He maintained that “the Church of Nigeria would not be bullied and was committed to the human rights of all people”.

“We will not condone violence against people even though they behave in a way that is not acceptable to us.

“And none of us wishes to be responsible (either directly or indirectly) for murder or violence perpetrated by another person, ” he added.

The arguments in the Anglican Church over homosexuality came to the fore in 2003 with the ordination of a gay Bishop, Rt. Rev Gene Robins of USA.

Since then the Church has been sharply divided between conservative Anglicans who were adamant that ordaining gay clergy or blessing in the church is a sin.

However, the liberals insist on tolerance and inclusion of homosexual people. Kwashi, is the Coordinating Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria would do all in its power to maintain the unity of the Body of Christ. “But we shall not compromise or “dilute” the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.


American news catchup

TA has not reported any stories from the USA for two whole weeks. Time to catch up on some items from there.

Gregory Venables will be visiting Fresno, on 29 April, see details here.

And then he will be visiting Fort Worth, see details here.

Meanwhile the Living Church reports San Joaquin Incorporation Likely Faces Court Test. It also reports that there will be No Pre-Lambeth Meeting for House of Bishops.

The Bishops in the State of Ohio have taken a public stand on state legislation that seeks to secure equal access to housing and employment opportunities for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. See Bishops Support Legislation Protecting Civil Rights of Gay and Lesbian Persons.

New lawsuits have arisen in Ohio and in Central New York.


Zimbabwe: Canterbury and York issue joint statement

Updated Thursday evening

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today issued a joint statement in support of the strong voice of fellow bishops in Zimbabwe.

Read the Lambeth Palace press release and full text of the statement here.

The statement itself reads as follows:

Those of us who witness the events in Zimbabwe from a distance are bound to approach this crisis with a degree of foreboding and sorrow. Independent Zimbabwe promised much and was a beacon of hope and representative democracy in post-colonial Africa. But as members of the Body of Christ we also know what the Lord requires of us in terms of doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God in all times and in all places. So it is with this in mind that we as Primates and Bishops of the Church of England speak now in solidarity with our brother bishops in Zimbabwe and fellow bishops and other church leaders of the region. The ecumenical calls for action from within Zimbabwe in recent days must be heard and it is these voices we seek to support.

They rightly praise the bravery and endurance of the people of Zimbabwe throughout its protracted suffering and its quest for representative democracy and peaceful national political life; they call for true election results to be published and they speak of a dreadful fear of political violence possibly escalating to the horrific levels seen elsewhere on the African continent. They call for immediate, concerted and effective action by the government of South Africa, SADC and other regional organs and the UN to mediate and intervene as needed. Continuing political violence and drift could unleash spiralling communal violence, as has been seen elsewhere in the Continent where early warning systems or the international community failed to act in time.
Faithful men, women and young people who seek better governance in either political or church affairs continue to be beaten, intimidated or oppressed as was the recent Mothers’ Union gathering in Mbare. Anglicans can not worship in their Cathedral in Harare and Mothers’ Union groups can not now gather without fear of violence or intimidation against them as in Mbare.

We join in particular the call from the heads of Christian denominations in Zimbabwe and our brother Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, for the government of South Africa, the SADC region and the United Nations to act effectively. There must be an immediate arms embargo and any ships carrying arms must be recalled.

A year ago we committed ourselves, with the Anglican Archbishop of the province, to work with the bishops of Zimbabwe to support those who spoke on behalf of the poor and marginalised in that country and to denounce those that would not leave ministers of the gospel free to serve them. As we have just heard one bishop say, “It is Zimbabweans who are suffering at the hands of Zimbabweans. The political parties must protect the people who are voting.”

The current climate of political intimidation, violence, vote rigging and delay has left the presidential election process without credibility. Now the people of Zimbabwe are left even more vulnerable to conflict heaped upon poverty and the threat of national disintegration. It is therefore crucial that the international community act in support of regional efforts to bring a mediated settlement to this political crisis so that the social and economic and spiritual crisis of the country can be addressed. We commend the efforts of governments and agencies actively seeking to end the crisis and pray that those whose efforts have seemed lacklustre to renew their commitment as fellow Christians, Africans and members of the human family and international community.

Churches across England have been praying for Zimbabwe before, during and after the polls. Agencies and dioceses from the UK have worked ably to support partners and parishes. We join with those now calling for an international day of prayer for Zimbabwe this Sunday (April 27) as part of a search for increased solidarity and justice for the people of Zimbabwe at home and in the UK. Ecumenically, and as part of a broad based coalition, we must work to build a civil society movement that both creates political will and gives voice to those who demand an end to the mayhem that grows out of injustice, poverty, exclusion and violence.

Thursday evening update

Video: Archbishop – Pray for Zimbabwe

Thursday 24 April 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, after giving joint interviews with the Archbishop of York, reflects on the issues surrounding Zimbabwe and calls for a day of prayer on Sunday, 27 April 2008.

Watch the video and read the full transcript here.

Also Desmond Tutu has issued a statement about Zimbabwe, read it in full here.


Divisive or Reconciling?

A conference was convened in New York City by the General Theological Seminary at the Desmond Tutu Center, April 10-12, 2008 and sponsored by the seminaries of the Episcopal Church and the seminaries of the Anglican Church of Canada. The title was An Anglican Covenant: Divisive or Reconciling?

News reports on this:

Church Times Covenant will protect male power, says critic
Episcopal News Service Anglican covenant conference draws international group, elicits varied viewpoints

Photographs are here.

Audio and Full Texts of Conference Papers
PDF files and MP3 files of the sessions can be found in this archive.

Go there for the links, but here is a list of the speakers to whet your appetite:

First Keynote Address:

  • The Case for an Anglican Covenant the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies.

First Panel:

  • The Kenotic Role of Leadership in a Covenanted Relationship, the Very Rev. Joseph Britton, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.
  • The Covenant as a Sign of Problems with Authority, The Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.
  • A Fine Thing, but is it Anglican?, The Rev. Canon Dr. David Neelands , Trinity College, University of Toronto.
  • Whose Covenant? The Anglican Covenant, the People of God and History from Below, Dr. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Second Keynote Address:

  • cov-e-nant n 1. a solemn agreement . . . A ‘global south’ perspective on Anglicans, solemnity and agreement, Canon Dr. Jenny Plane Te Paa, St. John’s Theological College, Auckland.

Second Panel:

  • St. Andrew’s Covenant: A Conversation in Process, The Rev. Dr. A. Katharine Grieb, Virginia Theological Seminary.
  • The Proposed Anglican Covenant: Instrument of Oppression and Exclusion or Instrument of Inclusion and Justice?, The Rev. Dr. Leander Harding, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry.
  • The Covenant, the Quadrilateral, and Balance, The Rev. Dr. Robert Hughes, School of Theology, University of the South.
  • The Consitutionality of an Anglican Covenant, The Rt. Rev. Joe Morris Doss, President, At the Threshold.

Third Panel:

  • The Lambeth Conference 2008 and the Anglican Covenant: Juridical or Missiological Imperatives?, The Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas, Episcopal Divinity School.
  • Communion, Federation, or Sect?, The Very Rev. Dr. John Kevern, Bexley Hall.
  • Vernacular Particularity vs. Global Universalism: A Pivotal Issue for the Anglican Covenant, The Rev. Dr. Richard Leggett, Vancouver School of Theology.
  • The Covenant and Ecumenical Opportunity, The Rev. Canon Dr. J. Robert Wright, read by the Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan, Chaplain, General Theological Seminary.

Fourth Panel:

  • Forbearance and Reconciliation: An Anglican Covenant in a Season of Judgment, The Rev. Dr. Christopher Seitz, Wycliffe College.
  • Covenant: Ecclesiological Implications of a Latent Metaphor, The Rev. Canon Dr. Paul Jennings, Montreal Diocesan Theological College.
  • The Fullness of the Stature of Christ: The Anglican Covenant in Ecumenical Ecclesiological Perspective, Dr. Nathan Jennings, Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest.
  • Mission and Reconciliation in the Anglican Covenant, The Rev. Dr. Titus L. Presler, General Theological Seminary.

Third Keynote Address:

  • Boundaries Old and Boundaries New: Views from the Edge of the Anglican Communion, the Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Rowan Williams on video about Lambeth

The Anglican Communion News Service press release is headed Archbishop of Canterbury: Better Bishops for the sake of a better Church:

The Archbishop of Canterbury today set out his hopes for this year’s Lambeth Conference in a video message addressed to Bishops and Dioceses across the worldwide communion…

The Lambeth Palace website has Video: Lambeth Conference ‘08

The Archbishop reflects on the forthcoming Conference in July ‘08 in an exclusive video message. The decennial event ‘has been a place where Bishops come to pray together, to read the Bible together and quite simply to help one another to be Bishops’.

Both pages lead to the video and to a transcript of the video.

If you have a problem linking to the video from those pages, try here.


Hiltz corresponds with Venables

Updated Tuesday evening

The Anglican Church of Canada has published the text of a letter from Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of Canada to the Primate of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables asking him to cancel a planned, unauthorized visit to Canada: Primate asks Venables to cancel visit. He includes this snippet:

I would also add that in a letter earlier this year to one of our Diocesan Bishops Archbishop Rowan Williams stated, “I am quite content to repeat that I do not endorse any cross-provincial transfers of allegiance, and that this office and that of the Anglican Communion recognize one ecclesial body in Canada as a constitutive member of the Communion, the Anglican Church of Canada.”

The Anglican Journal reports that South American prelate rejects Canadian church’s request to cancel visit.

Canadian news reports on this in the Globe and Mail Anglican primate blasts South American rival and in the National Post Anglican leader pulls rival’s welcome mat.

Episcopal Café has the key quotes here.

The Diocese of New Westminster has published this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes only Anglican Church of Canada.

Earlier, the Anglican Journal had published this: Bishops decline request from network for national talks.

Tuesday evening update

Vancouver Sun Anglican cleric against gay unions ignores plea to stay out of Canada

And, in related news:

Anglican Network in Canada Anglican Clergy deny charges and Statement by nine Anglican Network in Canada clergy to Bishop Michael Ingham