Thinking Anglicans

California Proposition Eight

The Episcopal Bishops of the six dioceses in the state of California have issued a joint statement calling for defeat of Proposition Eight, a ballot initiative approved for inclusion in the November 4 election that would amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Read the ENS report: California bishops call for defeat of proposition that would ban same-sex marriage which includes the full text of the joint statement. Here is an extract:

The group statement, signed by bishops of the dioceses of Northern California, California, El Camino Real, San Joaquin, Los Angeles and San Diego, said, “We do not believe that marriage of heterosexuals is threatened by same-sex marriage. Rather, the Christian values of monogamy, commitment, love, mutual respect and witness of monogamy are enhanced for all by providing this right to gay and straight alike. Society is strengthened when two people who love each other choose to enter into marriage, engaged in a lifetime of disciplined relationship building that serves as a witness to the importance of love and commitment.”

The bishops acknowledged that the Church is not of one mind on the blessing of same-sex unions, but said they are “adamant that justice demands that same-sex civil marriage continue in our state,” and noted that a resolution passed at the 2006 General Convention opposed any civil initiative that would make same-sex marriage unconstitutional on a state or national level.

The Los Angeles press conference is available online here. The Los Angeles Times report is here.


more stories about the Southern Cone

Updated yet again Saturday evening

First, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he has requested Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to facilitate a meeting between him, the primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, U.S. presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the primate of Brazil, Mauricio de Andrade, to discuss cross-border interventions.

See the report by Marites Sison in the Anglican Journal Canadian bishops to ponder implications of ‘next steps’ after Lambeth.

The three primates – Archbishop Hiltz, Archbishop de Andrade, and Bishop Jefferts Schori – have repeatedly asked Archbishop Venables to stop meddling in the internal affairs of their provinces. Archbishop Venables has, on his own accord, been providing episcopal oversight to churches that are in serious theological dispute with their respective provinces over the issue of sexuality. Archbishop Williams has said he will do his best to facilitate the request.

There is some more detail on the background, with links, in Canadian primate asks Archbishop of Canterbury to convene interventions meeting from ENS.

Second, the Diocese of Fort Worth issued a Third Report from the Bishop and Standing Committee concerning The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. There is a note which says:

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008, the Executive Council of the diocese adopted and endorsed – with only one dissenting vote – the following report and recommendation of the Bishop and Standing Committee.

Third, Episcopal News Service reports that Presiding Bishop removes MacBurney’s inhibition after retired bishop apologizes. This is related to confirmations on behalf of the Southern Cone that Bishop MacBurney performed in San Diego.

Thursday evening update

The Toronto Star has Breakaway faction has switched allegiance to S. American bishop which includes this (h/t to the Café):

Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, however, says he would find it “difficult” to attend such a meeting.

“We had been talking about a private meeting, and it rather surprises me that it is now public,” Venables told the Star in an interview from Buenos Aires.

“This makes it even more difficult for me to attend.”

Venables said he would make his formal response about the proposed meeting to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican church, who was asked by Hiltz to organize the meeting.

Friday morning update

I should have included earlier this Open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion by Bishop Don Harvey

5 September, 2008

After consulting with my Primate, Archbishop Gregory Venables, I report with great sadness that two Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) churches under my jurisdiction – St Matthews (Abbotsford, BC) and St Matthias and St Luke’s (Vancouver, BC) – received letters on 26 August 2008, informing them that the Bishop of New Westminster had taken action on 10 July 2008 to seize control of those parish properties. The letters also notified the wardens, trustees and parish councils that Bishop Michael Ingham had dismissed and replaced them and ordered the clergy to vacate the church buildings by mid-September. It is clear that our other two ANiC parishes in Vancouver, St. John’s Shaughnessy and Church of the Good Shepherd, will receive the same action in the near future…

Saturday evening update

The Living Church has an interview headlined Bishop Venables: Canadian Primate’s Proposal a ‘Publicity Stunt’.

“I talked to Fred about this at Lambeth, but it never occurred to me that a private discussion would become public without us both agreeing first,” Bishop Venables told The Living Church. “It looks more like a publicity stunt than a serious desire for dialogue.

“What more is there to discuss? I told him why I was doing this and he told me how he felt about it,” Bishop Venables said. “Boundary crossing is not the primary issue. It is a secondary issue resulting from the communion-splitting action of blessing sexual sin by the U.S. and Canadian churches.”


Brewers and Bookshops

Updated Friday morning

A month ago, we provided a brief update here on the SPCK bookshops saga.

Recently, the bankruptcy petition filed in Houston was rejected.

Today, there are further developments:

A Motion For Sanctions Against J. Mark Brewer and the Law Firm of Brewer & Pritchard, P.C. has been filed. Read the full text of it here.

Matt Wardman has written about this in US Court Motion for Sanctions against Mark Brewer: Is the dam breaking at last?

Another recent post shows how the bookshops have not had the SPCK logo removed.

By an extraordinary coincidence, a meeting is being held today between ex-SPCK staff and suppliers, see agenda here.

Friday morning update

The Church Times has a detailed report by Pat Ashworth Bookshop employees will air grievances at tribunal:

THIRTY former employees of SPCK Book shops are taking their case to an employment tribunal, in a legal process that begins in Bury St Edmunds next Thursday.

Their represen tatives from USDAW, the shopworkers’ union, will meet the tribunal chairman at an admin istrative hearing that is the first stage in grievance proceedings against the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (SSG) and its directors, Mark and Phil Brewer.

In the light of the bankruptcy proceedings (see panel, below), USDAW’s legal office said on Tuesday that one key and complex task at the hearing would be to work out who was the employer at the time of dismissal, and whether appropriate responses had been made to the claims…

The article also includes a timeline of events.


more developments in Pittsburgh

First, see this earlier report about a legal action in which Calvary Church asked a court to appoint a monitor to “inventory and oversee property held or administered by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.”.

Today, there was a news report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal Diocese prepares for secession vote.

In response to a lawsuit led by one of its parishes, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has agreed to have a court-appointed neutral party inventory all of its property and assets as it prepares for a final vote on seceding from the Episcopal Church.

The agreement between representatives of the diocese and Calvary Episcopal Church, Shadyside, came after a hearing yesterday before Joseph M. James, president judge of Common Pleas Court. In 2005, he oversaw a settlement after Calvary sued the diocese to prevent the transfer of property from the denomination to individual parishes…

The diocese will pursue “a fair and equitable distribution of property” if the realignment resolutions pass, said its spokesman, the Rev. Peter Frank.

The diocese also agreed yesterday to permit parishes that oppose secession to divert diocesan support payments to escrow accounts that would remain in the Episcopal Church.

The agreement assumes that new leaders affiliated with the church will be elected for Pittsburgh if Bishop Duncan secedes.

“It is highly likely that Bishop Duncan and the other leadership of the diocese will purport to separate from the Episcopal Church, and it is our position that the court order of Oct. 14, 2005, addresses what will happen in that regard,” said Walter DeForest, attorney for Calvary.

“It is certainly the position of Calvary that the new leadership of the diocese will be in charge of those assets.”

And later in the day, a press release was issued by the Diocese of Pittsburgh: Statement on the Sept. 8 Court Hearing.

“On Sept. 8, there was a hearing before Judge James in the Calvary litigation. Calvary took the position that the Realignment vote will violate the 2005 Stipulation and that Calvary was entitled to the appointment of a “monitor” to take over the financial affairs of the Diocese. Calvary first initiated this request in a July 2008 filing. Since July, we have documented with the Court the Diocese’s strong opposition to Calvary’s position, and the fact that Diocese has consistently complied with the Stipulation since it was signed, and will continue to comply with the Stipulation after the Realignment vote. The Diocese always has been, and remains committed to administering Diocesan assets for the beneficial use of all parishes and institutions of the Diocese, regardless of any parish’s position on Realignment.

“The relief Calvary sought — a court-appointed monitor who would effectively run the financial affairs of the Diocese — was not what was done yesterday. To the contrary, we proposed the appointment of an independent third-party (called a “Special Master”), who will have no role regarding the operation of the Diocese. Rather, the Special Master will review all Diocesan financial records and make recommendations to the Court regarding which property is covered by which provisions in the 2005 Stipulation (i.e., what is Diocesan property and what is parish property). The appointment of a Special Master has no impact on whether TEC or its representatives can make any claim to any property. These issues will be addressed at a later date. We have clearly stated our position that the minority who oppose Realignment are not entitled to seize the assets of the Diocese. If necessary, we will vigorously pursue this position in litigation…

Second, this press release GROUP ANNOUNCES PANEL TO ARGUE CASE FOR STAYING WITH EPISCOPAL CHURCH was issued by Across the Aisle. See this earlier report on that group.

One of the speakers on that panel,The Rev. Bruce Robison, Rector, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park, has written this Reflection on San Joaquin and Pittsburgh.


faith schools: more views

Madeleine Bunting wrote an article on Comment is free headed Faith schools can best generate the common purpose that pupils need.

Theo Hobson has written another article there, headed Throw open the doors which responds to her, noting that:

More recently, Madeleine Bunting wrote an excellent piece in support of Oasis, a Christian charity that runs new academy schools. It renounces the right to use selection by church attendance, and is thus in accord with Accord.

I agree with Bunting that this is the way forward. Unlike church schools in general, this organisation has grasped the crucial point: it is only possible for Christians to do good in the field of education if they reject a system that privileges the pushy and rewards hypocrisy. If Oasis changes the churches’ mind, it could be a real breakthrough in our broken education system. It will take courage and humility for the Church of England to admit that it has erred, and to recommend that all its schools open their admissions policies. There’s nothing stopping it, but pride and love of power.

Hobson also responds to the article by John Hall, Dean of Westminster, linked earlier, saying:

What is perhaps most objectionable about Hall’s article is the implication that a positive ethos is unlikely to be found in a non-faith school:

“Ethos in a school context is about the values the school espouses and the behaviour that results. A school built on the conviction that every member of its community is an individual made and loved by God and with an eternal destiny in God’s purposes will be one in which people treat each other with mutual respect and regard”.

I would like to invite Hall to an assembly at my children’s community primary school in Harlesden, where children of all faiths and none celebrate what they have in common, and are taught “mutual respect and regard” by dedicated staff (some of whom are religious believers – this is not about atheists v believers). The school community is no organic idyll – there’s lots of people with different cultural baggage coming into tentative contact with each other. But it’s here that real community is difficultly born.


GAFCON: an Irish view

The Church of Ireland Gazette published an editorial article last week titled THE GAFCON PRIMATESCOMMUNIQUÉ.

…The fact of the matter, however, is that the traditionalist point of view in relation to same-sex relationships – and that, after all, is the real presenting issue leading to all of this confusion – is eminently reasonable and, indeed, eminently traditional and scriptural, but it is unfortunate that the GAFCON Primates use somewhat emotive language in their communiqué (e.g. “sinful practices”), however justifiable they may consider such terminology to be. Yet the 1998 Lambeth I.10 resolution did call for sensitivity, and effectively calling good people sinners is not a sensitive approach. That, however, is not the core issue. The core issue for Anglicans is that the consecration of bishops and the ordination of clergy in active same-sex relationships and public rites of blessing of same-sex relationships are all simply so lacking in consensus within Anglicanism that we have come to this very sorry pass, which has witnessed a Lambeth Conference boycotted by one-fifth to onequarter of those bishops invited. Unity-indiversity just cannot cope in this case.

The GAFCON Primates have invited applications for membership of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. While individual lay people, clergy and bishops will rightly decide their own response to this invitation, it is to be hoped that as an option it will be resisted by parishes and dioceses within the Church of Ireland. To have FCA parishes and FCA dioceses and non-FCA parishes and non-FCA dioceses would be sadly divisive, not least because within parishes and dioceses there are varying opinions about the presenting issue. Other parts of the Communion must work out their approach, but we do not need such division. The 1997 report of the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission, The Virginia Report, raised the allied issues of ‘discernment and reception’ in recognising truth. The commission stated: “In the matter of discussing the mind of Christ for the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, discernment, conciliar debate and decision making followed by a process of reception each have a part to play. It is not a matter of weakness that the Church is unable to make instant decisions in relation to the complex matters of faith, order and morals which come before it, but the way it lives in the process of discernment, decision making and reception may give profound witness and provide a model for other communities.” (Ch. 4, IV, 5.26). Unfortunately, Anglicanism is not presenting a very helpful “witness” or instructive “model” at the moment, although the Archbishop of Canterbury is doing his level best. Decision making is followed by reception. In that way, decisions have provisionality and those who feel badly done by can be reassured that there is always room, in proper proportion, for more discussion, more debate and more discernment. But experience has surely shown that within the Anglican Communion there is currently no positive, general reception for the consecration of bishops and the ordination of clergy in active same-sex relationships and public rites of blessing of same-sex relationships.

On the contrary, the issue has led to quite possibly the deepest acrimony known in the Church and has brought us to the realms of schism. Certainly, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, being autonomous, can proceed as they wish without let or hindrance, but the GAFCON Primates’ communiqué illustrates a very stark consequence.


My time of abstinence

This week’s View from Fleet Street in the Church of England Newspaper is by Riazat Butt. Reproduced here by permission.

My time of abstinence

Ramadan is upon us and, taking my cue from Tower Hamlets council, I’m asking you to be sensitive to my needs during this 30-day period of abstinence and restraint by refraining from publishing stories about gay bishops during the hours of sunrise and sunset.

In the month of fasting I can think of no better example to set than a complete avoidance of phrases such as openly gay and Anglican Communion in the same sentence, especially when ever one is stuffed to the gills already with stories of schism. A little bit of perspective and reflection is required here. There are 80m Anglicans in the world. There are more than 800m Hindus, more than 300m Buddhists and more than 1bn Catholics. The Anglican Communion is, much like Springfield, Illinois, a one-horse town.

I was minded of how bizarre the obsession with gay sex must look to the outside world when I spotted the excellent Stonewall poster — “Some people are gay. Get over it” — on the westbound District line service to Blackfriars. I am thinking of bulk ordering these t-shirts for my Fleet Street colleagues, bishops and archbishops. I am so over gay sex. Alas, the combination of gay bishops and journalists is a bit like competitive dieting. You see other people doing it, so you have to as well. Nobody wants to be the fat one in the photo.

But I would much rather write about other religions, about other stories, which is why I am launching this Ramadan appeal — to go on a gay fast — and I am encouraging others to join me. This month could prove to be one of Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Quakers instead. Don’t get me wrong — I love gay bishops and I think there should be more of them — I just don’t want to have to write about them all the time. There will be a day when someone’s sexual orientation won’t matter in a recruitment or selection process — just as it is in almost every employment field except religion — and homosexuality will be as normalised and wallpaper-like as hair colour or eye colour and will be greeted with, if anything, a shrug of the shoulders.

At this point someone — probably a conservative evangelical — will think that a homosexual imam would be stoned to death and wouldn’t make it past the initial telephone interview let alone have the top job at a mosque so why the constant mud-slinging at Anglicans?

Undercover Mosque, shown earlier this week on Channel 4, exposed the situation perfectly. I agree that attitudes need a complete overhaul, the way our mosques are funded and run needs serious scrutiny, the way Islam is taught at schools, in the homes, needs to be re-examined and that there needs to be greater involvement from women and young people in the day-to-day activities in places of worship and community centres. There also needs to be less reliance on government money and more independence.

Islam in Britain is not — as some bishops would have you believe — as established as the Christian identity. Nor is it as structured, prevalent or fixed. It is relatively young and fluid. There are Muslim communities — notably in Liverpool and Cardiff — that have been around for longer than the ones in Bradford and Manchester. There are only 2m Muslims. We are not taking over Britain — even if we are taking over the Premier League. Does the Manchester City buyout mean that the only good Muslims are the rich ones?

Attacking Muslims is easy because there is over whelming evidence to support the popular notion that Muslims are mad, bad and dangerous. It is harder to see beyond the bigotry and engage with flesh and blood individuals — the ones who get parking tickets, or take their kids to the park or like Coronation Street — because that would require moving beyond the conventional narrative and talking to someone who has everything in common with you and nothing. Somewhere in there, there is a lesson for us all.

Riazat Butt is the religion correspondent for The Guardian.


faith schools: debate continues

The Church Times carried two items this week:

A news report by Margaret Holness Faith groups slam ‘ignorance’ of new schools campaign and a comment article by Paul Vallely Beware the erosion of faith schools.

The Guardian had a leader column earlier in the week, which I failed to list previously, Testing faith.

Others writing there were: Savitri Hensman in support of the Accord position in Schooled to be neighbours and in support of the status quo, Henry Grunwald Have faith in our schools.

Two pieces of research which Accord cites in support of its position are:

National Foundation for Educational Research The impact of specialist and faith schools on performance

London School of Economics London faith secondary schools cater for affluent pupils


opinions this weekend

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times about writing your own obituary, Providence takes us back to the history of the future.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about how Bees are eating Lichfield Cathedral.

And Craig Brown writes that Pop memorabilia are the holy relics of our time.

Also, George Pitcher comments on No women with top Church of England jobs.

At the Guardian David Bradnack argues that The Christian creed is full of bad science that makes it a religion of deception.

And Sue Blackmore writes about the teaching of science in Opening minds.

Giles Fraser’s Church Times column is about Joining the New Orleans resurrection.


Lambeth followup

Bill Bowder in the Church Times reports Lambeth absentees press on as letters wait to be sent out:

A MONTH after the Lambeth Conference, the 230 or so absent Anglican bishops have not yet been contacted in order to “build bridges” with them. In the mean time, their leaders have stated that they have heard nothing from Lambeth to give them pause as they seek to form a new North American province.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Canon Kenneth Kearon, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, committed themselves at the Lambeth Conference to ensuring that the absent bishops were kept fully informed of what had taken place, and of the process expected to lead to the Anglican Covenant…

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports Archbishop accused of marginalising homosexuals and republishes the article by Bishop John Chane to which this refers under the title Scapegoats of the Anglican communion.

Archbishop Peter Jensen wrote this: Trusting God at GAFCON.


more on faith schools

Updated Thursday evening

Continuing the report from Monday:

Andrew Brown wrote on Comment is free taking issue with Simon Barrow, in Faith schools: is there really a better option?

Simon Barrow has now replied at Wardman Wire with Faithfully schooled for debate?

The Church of England Newspaper has published an editorial headlined Religious schools: open up or call time? That URL will only be valid for a week, but Ekklesia has reproduced the full text over here.

This mentions the Cantle report of 2001. You can find that as a PDF here. And the Church of England press release in response here.


Jonathan Romain also wrote at Comment is free under the title I’m for faith, not faith schools.

The Dean of Westminster, formerly the Church of England’s chief education officer, replied to him, see Schooling for tolerance.

And the Economist weighed in with Religious rights and wrongs.


Pittsburgh: decision time approaches

Ann Rogers has written Episcopalians weigh options as secession vote draws near in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

As a final vote approaches on whether the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh should secede from the national church, local Episcopalians who want to remain part of the New York-based denomination are meeting to plan for their future.

“A Hopeful Future for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh: An Alternative Solution” will present reasons for opting to stay in the Episcopal Church.

It will also present what may happen with property, a new diocesan government and other issues if Bishop Robert Duncan and most local Episcopalians change their allegiance to the theologically conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which covers six nations in southernmost South America…

You can read more about this event here, or read the whole press release here.

More from the newspaper report:

…Across the Aisle has made a deliberate effort to include theologically conservative, moderate and liberal members. Another steering committee member is the Rev. James Simons, rector of St. Michael of the Valley, Ligonier, who was a staunch supporter of Bishop Duncan on all issues except the decision to leave the Episcopal Church.

Although Mr. Simons shares Bishop Duncan’s belief that many Episcopal leaders no longer uphold classic Christian doctrines or sexual ethics, he has said that he does not consider secession a good way to address problems in the church.

“We have reached ‘across the aisle’ in peace to those who are committed to Jesus Christ but who have different interpretations of scripture and events and who wish to remain part of one church,” Mr. Simons said.

Peter Frank, a spokesman for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said that “people are free to meet to discuss their future … If they wish to no longer be part of the diocese [after a vote to realign], we will do our best to make that as painless and charitable as possible.”

More background information here.

Update Even more background information is at Episcopal Life Online here.


Lambeth: Canadian perspectives

The Anglican Journal has published a number of articles on this.

Marites Sison has written:
Canadian church is ‘frustrated’
Dialogue, compromise highlight Communion’s Lambeth Conference
It is impossible to go back, bishops say of moratoria

And then there are two other pieces:
Theological Reflection: Stepping back from full inclusion by Walter Deller
Theological Reflection: Commitments of the mind and heart: Will the centre hold? by George R Sumner


Lambeth: more American perspectives

The Bishop of Washington has some critical comments: The Lambeth Conference: The turning point that wasn’t.

The bishops of the Diocese of Dallas liked it a lot: Lambeth: Interview with the bishops.

The Presiding Bishop listened: Hearing the call.

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more on Welsh elections

Updated Thursday evening

First, apologies for the break in service yesterday and today.

Now, further reports on the Bangor election.

Stephen Bates weighed in at Comment is free with a very detailed background report on earlier events, titled Diocesan machinations.

However, more recent reports show official spokespersons are suggesting that earlier reports may have been overstating the case:

Christian Today Jennifer Gold Church plays down speculation of gay cleric as next Bishop of Bangor

Wales Today Darren Devine Gay cleric’s bid to be bishop in Wales

…a spokeswoman for the Church in Wales yesterday refused to comment on whether Dr John was in the running, saying nominations are not made until an electoral college of the church convenes to make the appointment. And she suggested the appointment was unlikely as the Church in Wales is subject to a moratorium – agreed at a recent conference in Lambeth – on the appointment of gay bishops that covers Anglican churches worldwide…

The spokeswoman for the Church in Wales said the bench of bishops here wanted to uphold the Lambeth moratorium and the electoral college would be mindful of their advice.

But the six bishops on the bench do not make up a majority on the college and other members are not bound by their views.

“The bishops of the Church in Wales are mindful that the recent Lambeth conference called for a moratorium on the ordination of bishops in single-sex partnerships and they take that conference very seriously,” said the spokesperson. But she acknowledged that as a popular cleric fluent in Welsh, Dr John was “absolutely” qualified for the post.

St Albans Observer Alexandra Barham Will dean become a bishop?

CLAIMS that St Albans Dean Jeffrey John could be on the verge of moving to Wales to take on the role of Bishop of Bangor have been condemned as speculation.

Reports in national newspapers that the clergyman, who celebrated a civil partnership ceremony with another priest two years ago, has been nominated for the Bangor post in North Wales were denied by St Albans Abbey spokeswoman spokesman Arun Kataria…

Daily Post Eryl Crump Gay clergyman may be in line as Bishop of Bangor

Dave Walker has some useful links to Church Times reports of earlier events in Jeffrey John and the Bangor post.

Ruth Gledhill republished her interview with Jeffrey John, first published in Thursday 19 June 2003, see Is Wales ready for a gay bishop?

Damian Thompson at the Telegraph had If Dean Jeffrey John becomes a bishop, the floodgates will open.

Thursday evening update

Ruth Gledhill reports in The Times that there is a Resignation threat over gay bishop appointment.

This was first reported in the Western Mail this morning.

The Herts Advertiser also had a report Dean Of St Albans Tipped As New Bishop Of Bangor.


Welsh episcopal elections

First, New Bishop of St David’s named.

THE new Bishop of St David’s has this evening been named as the Very Rev Wyn Evans, the current Dean of St David’s…

and the BBC has Dean named as St David’s bishop.

Second, Ruth Gledhill at The Times reports Gay priest Dr Jeffrey John could become a bishop in Wales and also comments New fears of schism in Anglican Church.

On Saturday, there was Bishop warns that Wales is set to appoint a gay bishop at Religious Intelligence and the letter from Bishop David Anderson was published by Anglican Mainstream.

Earlier today there was Gay man may be selected as Anglican bishop at PinkNews.

Also, Martin Beckford has Gay cleric Jeffrey John could become Britain’s first openly homosexual bishop in the Telegraph.


faith schools: changing the agenda

A new coalition was launched today, which aims to change the agenda on faith schools in Britain. The Accord website is here. The group’s aims are stated as follows:

We believe all state-funded schools should:

1. Operate admissions policies that take no account of pupils’ – or their parents’ – religion or beliefs.

2. Operate recruitment and employment policies that do not discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief.

3. Follow an objective, fair and balanced syllabus for education about religious and non-religious beliefs – whether determined by their local authority or by any future national syllabus or curriculum for RE.

4. Be made accountable under a single inspection regime for RE, Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship.

5. Provide their pupils with inclusive, inspiring and stimulating assemblies in place of compulsory acts of worship.

Advance press coverage of this, see for example New pressure over faith schools at the BBC and Faith schools accused on employment from the Press Association and Campaigners fight to stop schools recruiting staff based on religion in the Guardian produced some strong reactions, notably Melanie McDonagh: Faith schools work. Until you take the faith away at the Independent.

A counter-coalition called the Faith Schools’ Providers Group issued a press release reported in Mainstream religious leaders unite to defend faith schools.

And the Catholic Education Service also issued its own press statement: Catholic Education Service rejects ‘spurious’ claims of group opposing faith schools.

Today, Simon Barrow has written repeatedly about what Accord is really seeking:

Ekklesia A Christian case for Accord

Open Democracy Changing the agenda on faith schools

Comment is free Changing the faith schools’ agenda