Thinking Anglicans

Canadian bishops issue statement

Updated Saturday morning

A post-Lambeth statement was released by the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada at the conclusion of its meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Link to it in full here.

This statement is also available as a PDF here.

The earlier document on Shared Episcopal Ministry is linked from this page.


The Anglican Journal has a report on this, by Marites Sison headed ‘Large majority’ of bishops agree to moratoria

Earlier reports:
Montreal bishop will work out rite for same-sex blessing by Harvey Shepherd
Ottawa bishop seeks approval for same-sex blessings by Art Babych
Central Interior assembly says ‘yes’ to blessings by Marites Sison

Also, see Lutheran Bishops issue statement on joint meeting.


Church Times on the Covenant

Today’s Church Times contains a news report by Bill Bowder on the recently published A Lambeth Commentary on the Saint Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Communion. See Bishops’ approval of Covenant hangs in the balance.

See also the review by the Bishop of Guildford of the book by Professor Norman Doe, An Anglican Covenant: Theological and legal considerations for a global debate. What should the Covenant actually say?

And, read the Church Times Leader: Perfection and the Anglicans.

1 Comment

Duncan writes in the CEN

Bishop Bob Duncan has written an article for this week’s Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Mainstream has reproduced it. See An Emerging North American Province.

Or, now read it at Religious Intelligence.

The twin trajectories of The Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Church of Canada away from any Communion-requested restraint on matters of moral order and legal prosecution have made permanent a widespread separation of parishes from their historic geographical dioceses in the United States and Canada. Now these alienated parishes representing the moral (and theological) mainstream of global Anglicanism are being joined (or are about to be joined) by the majorities of four former Episcopal Church dioceses: San Joaquin in California, Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Quincy in Illinois and Fort Worth in Texas. The reality of a significantly disintegrated North American Anglicanism now stretches from coast to coast and from the Arctic to the Rio Grande…


Quincy bishop announces retirement


An email was published yesterday which announces that Bishop Keith Ackerman of the Diocese of Quincy will retire, effective 1 November. That’s the day after tomorrow!

The text of the announcement can be found here, or here, or here.

The Diocesan Synod is scheduled for the following weekend, 7-8 November. The resolutions due to be considered can be found in this PDF file here.

A recent local newspaper report explains what is expected: Illinois Episcopalians face historic vote.

There is now a Living Church report titled Bishop Ackerman to Resign Saturday.

ENS now has a comprehensive report at Quincy’s Bishop Ackerman announces retirement.

Forward in Faith announces that Bishop Keith Ackerman will remain as President of Forward in Faith North America.


further reactions to the Sydney report

Dale Rye has written at Covenant under the title What’s Up Down Under?

The recent decision of the Diocesan Synod of Sydney, in the Anglican Church of Australia, to allow the administration of Holy Communion—i.e., the celebration of the Eucharist—by deacons and eventually laity seems outlandish to many overseas Anglicans. It makes considerably more sense within the context of Australian Anglicanism, which has a very different history than The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its various offshoots (I will get to that later). Australian Anglicanism is exceptionally diverse as a result of that history, and its diversity has led the Anglican Church of Australia to adopt a unique pattern of organization.

Just as some Episcopalians are frustrated when other Anglicans cannot understand TEC’s particular form of synodical governance, so I expect Australians feel when outsiders try to apply their own context to matters Down Under. I write the following as an American outsider, but one who has long been fascinated enough by the local variations on the common Anglican theme to make a study of them. (I hope that any Australians who read this will take the trouble to correct my inevitable mistakes by commenting below…)

Note: Dale Rye has added a substantial update to his original article.

Andrew McGowan who is Warden of Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, has written Power and Presiding: The Reality of “Lay Administration”.

The Diocese of Sydney’s reaffirmation, at its recent Synod, of lay presidency (or as many of its leaders prefer, “lay administration”) at the Holy Communion has had Anglicans around the world again wondering what we are putting in the (increasingly scarce!) water down here.

Sydney’s motives are quite unlike the occasional stirrings in this direction voiced on the liberal edge of US or British churches. The original theological engine driving this is the theology of Church and sacraments taught by former Moore College principal Broughton Knox, and now pursued by his students including key figures in the Sydney episcopal leadership and the present staff of Moore. Some of these, like their “Reform” counterparts in the UK, see the Reformation as an incomplete work and the Elizabethan settlement as a bit of a Laodicean compromise. The real interest in “lay administration” lies, for them, in carrying through a principled protestant disposal of catholic accretions upon a supposed New Testament model of ministry and worship.

There are links to other comments here.


more on Sydney

Episcopal Life Online has a lengthy article, with some historical background at AUSTRALIA: Sydney diocese votes for lay and diaconal presidency — again.

Bishop Alan Wilson has commented on this subject on his blog, see Lay Presidency: 2 heads better than 1.

Contradictory signals from down under, driven by gross ecclesiological revisionism about Eucharistic Lay Presidency. I’m confused, anyway, about the news from Sydney. The fatuous notion that “this will make the diaconate a real diaconate” demonstrates simple but complete ignorance of Catholic order. In those terms all the Sydney innovators’ proposals would do is make deacons, functionally, priests. This would obviously tend to obscure distinctively diaconal ministry. The C of E meets pastoral need from within a traditional understanding of Church, by authorizing Extended Communion. Cursing in fluent Kangaroo, as Dr Doolittle called it, is a non-traditional sport…


Sydney votes for deacons to preside

Updated Sunday evening

Muriel Porter reports in the Church Times that Sydney votes for diaconal and lay presidency.

SYDNEY DIOCESAN SYNOD has affirmed that deacons — including women deacons — may preside at holy communion.

In a motion moved by a Sydney regional bishop, Dr Glenn Davies, the synod accepted arguments that there was no legal impediment to deacons’ presiding, given that, under a 1985 General Synod canon, deacons are authorised to assist the priest in the administration of the sacraments.

A report accompanying the mo­tion argued that, because deacons can administer the sacrament of bap­tism “in its entirety”, and because “no hierarchy of sacraments is ex­pressed in describing the deacon’s role of assisting the presbyter,” deacons are therefore authorised to “administer the Lord’s Supper in its entirety”.

Bishop Davies told the Synod that the Archbishop could not prevent a deacon’s “administering the Lord’s Supper”. But the motion, though it also affirmed lay presidency, could not approve lay people’s presiding at Sunday services, as the Archbishop would need to license them, Bishop Davies said. “The Archbishop will not license a lay person at this time.”

This reluctance is believed to relate to Sydney’s relationship with the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) bishops…

There is also a report of this on the Sydney Anglicans website Sydney restates Lord’s Supper position.

Sydney Synod has overwhelmingly restated its principled support for lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper.

More significantly – in what supporters said is ‘a great outcome’ for women deacons – the motion also ‘accepts’ the argument that there is no longer any legal impediment to deacons officiating at Holy Communion given the wording of The Ordination Service for Deacons Canon 1985 and the repeal of the 1662 Act of Uniformity by a recent General Synod Canon.

However the motion itself does nothing to change the legal situation.

“We don’t make law or change law in a motion,” said the Bishop of North Sydney, Glenn Davies, in moving the motion “we merely express our view.”


Episcopal Church responds to recent actions

The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church passed a number of resolutions at its recent meeting relating to the issues raised by the recent and anticipated actions of some dioceses in aligning with the Southern Cone.

There is a comprehensive report Executive Council promises support, money to continuing Episcopalians by Mary Frances Schjonberg at Episcopal Life.

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council October 23 renewed its ongoing support of dioceses in which the leadership has left or plans to leave the church, and pledged the church to seek reconciliation “without precondition on our part.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told council members that she appreciated their sense that irreconcilable differences are inconsistent with the gospel. “It is profoundly unchristian and unhopeful to say that differences can be irreconcilable,” she said…

There is also a report Executive Council Wants Dialogue with Common Cause Partnership by Doug LeBlanc at the Living Church.

Executive Council has called for a reconciliation-oriented conversation with members of Common Cause Partnership, according to the two top officials of The Episcopal Church. They spoke to members of the media Oct. 23 during a brief conference call at the conclusion of the council’s four-day meeting in Helena, Mont.

The council approved a resolution from its Committee for National Concerns, said Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies. Mrs. Anderson said the resolution is based on council’s belief that talk of irreconcilable differences is a contradiction of the Christian gospel.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she was expressing nothing new when she said earlier in the week that she would “strongly discourage” General Convention from voting on a final form of the proposed Anglican Covenant in July 2009, if the final draft is released in May 2009. She said she has made the same remark for several weeks in various locations, and that she has not encountered any resistance to her plans…

Also, there is a report about: Bishop to Advise Pittsburgh Episcopalians.

The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones, the bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, has accepted an invitation from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to serve as a “consulting bishop” as it rebuilds.

Bishop Jones will provide the Pittsburgh diocesan Standing Committee, the current leadership team, with practical advice on the details of diocesan administration, clergy deployment, and support for congregations remaining in the Episcopal Church in the United States…

The Living Church report on this also mentions that:

…In a similar development, the Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey, Bishop of Northwest Texas from 1980 to 1997, confirmed that he has participated in preliminary discussions about serving as the provisional bishop of Fort Worth in the event that the majority of delegates to the annual convention on Nov. 15 votes to leave The Episcopal Church. No formal offer to serve in that capacity had been made yet, he said.

And, from San Joaquin there is a report that Realigning clergy are charged with abandonment of communion. See here for more details.

And also, the Presiding Bishop will visit Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh on Sunday 2 November. Read more details of this in their latest newsletter here (PDF).


weekend collection

Giles Fraser asks in the Church Times Why don’t humanists give value to humans?

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writes about Peter Howson’s harrowing of hell.

Theo Hobson writes in the Guardian about the sex life of Adam and Eve in Face to Faith.

Stephen Bates asks on Comment is free Who would God vote for?

John Lloyd writes in the Financial Times about Uganda’s controversial pastors.

Earlier in the week, Andrew Brown wrote about The cult of personality.

Simon Barrow wrote a column for Ekklesia titled Beware politicians and ‘God talk’.


latest Church of England statistics

updated Friday afternoon

The latest Church of England statistics, for 2006/2007, have been released. These are now only published online, although some are usually published later in the Church of England Year Book.

The official press release states Statistics show increased ordinations, vocations and giving.

Bill Bowder in the Church Times reports Clergy numbers up, but laity down.

The statistics cover a lot more than is picked up in the press release and the Church Times article, and a full list is below the fold.

Statistics for earlier years are also available.


David Walker has covered this story in his Church Times blog where he draws our attention to an analysis by David Keen: Fewer and Older: New Church of England stats on clergy, ordinations, schools and finance.



more on disestablishment


The Times carries two articles on this:

Should the Church be disestablished? Yes, says Dr Sean Gabb

Should the Church be disestablished? No, says Rt Revd Christopher Herbert

Update Saturday

There is a letter to the editor from Augur Pearce Should Church and State be kept separate?


that London church service redux

The Diocese of London website carries this Statement on the Service at St Bartholomew the Great signed by Bishop Pete Broadbent. (Hat Tip to Ruth Gledhill who has published a fuller version of Martin Dudley’s letter on her blog under the heading Dudley pulls it off! and also wrote about it under a more sedate headline on The Times website as Vicar who performed ‘wedding’ ceremony for two gay clergy expresses regret.)

The Assistant Bishop of London has issued the following statement regarding the service that took place at St Bartholomew the Great on 31 May.

Dear Colleagues,

I am contacting you all on Bishop Richard’s behalf since, as you know, he is currently away on holiday.

Earlier this year, the Bishop wrote to you regarding a service held at St Bartholomew the Great on May 31st, which had generated considerable publicity and consternation.

Since this time, under the Bishop’s instructions, the Archdeacon of London has carried out an investigation into the matter, alongside the Chancellor of the Diocese. This has involved a series of frank discussions with the Rector, Revd Dr Martin Dudley.

As a consequence, the Rector has made expressly clear his regret over what happened at St Bartholomew the Great and accepted the service should not have taken place. Bishop Richard has considered the matter and has decided to accept the Rector’s apology in full. The matter is therefore now closed.

To avoid any uncertainty over what has been said, I have enclosed below, with the Rector’s permission, his statement of apology to the Bishop:

“I can now appreciate that the service held at St Bartholomew the Great on 31 May 2008 was inconsistent with the terms of the Pastoral Statement from the House of Bishops issued in 2005. Whilst the precise status of this pastoral document within the Church of England generally and the Diocese of London in particular may be a matter of differing interpretations, I ought to have afforded it far greater weight. I regret the embarrassment caused to you by this event and by its subsequent portrayal in the media. I now recognise that I should not have responded positively to the request for this service, even though it was made by another incumbent of your Diocese, who is a colleague, neighbour and friend of us both nor should I have adopted uncritically the Order of Service prepared by him and his partner. I had not appreciated that the event would have been attended by so many nor that it would have attracted the publicity and notoriety which it did.

“I share your abhorrence of homophobia in all its forms. I am profoundly uneasy with much of the content of the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement which anecdotal evidence suggests is being widely, though discretely, disregarded in this Diocese and elsewhere. Nonetheless, I am willing to abide by its content in the future, until such time as it is rescinded or amended, and I undertake not to provide any form of blessing for same sex couples registering civil partnerships.”

As I say, following the Rector’s full and frank apology, the Bishop considers the matter now closed.

With best wishes and prayers

Pete Broadbent
Assistant Bishop of London


Lambeth Conference: George Conger's perspective

Two articles by George Conger have just been published in places you might not normally look.

The Institute on Religion & Democracy The Seinfeld Conference: A Reflection on Lambeth 2008

The Christian Challenge The Hollow Men—Lambeth 2008, What Happened And Why


Archbishop of Canterbury meets Duncan

Episcopal News Service reports:

ENGLAND: Archbishop of Canterbury, deposed Pittsburgh bishop meet at Lambeth Palace

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and deposed Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Bob Duncan met privately in London last week.

The Lambeth Palace press office confirmed that the meeting took place on October 15, but would not disclose details of the conversation between Williams and Duncan, saying it was “one of many private meetings” the archbishop hosts at his London residence…


Covenant Design Group: Lambeth Commentary

From ACNS:

The Covenant Design Group publish today the Lambeth Commentary [PDF], which sets out the responses of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference in their discussions of the St Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Covenant.

The Commentary was complied by the Covenant Design Group at their recent meeting in Singapore and also sets out some of the initial thinking of the CDG in response to the comments of the bishops.

The Commentary has already been sent out to all Provinces to assist in their discernment and response to the St Andrew’s Draft, and encourages Provinces to submit their responses to the St Andrew’s Draft, while contributing to the ongoing thinking on the development of the text.

ACNS spoke to the Chairman of the Design Group, Archbishop Drexel Gomez about the Covenant Process.The full transcript is available here.

The Anglican Covenant section of the ACO website can be found here.

The statistical report can be found here [PDF].


a politician mentions disestablishment

There has been a lot of material in The Times about this.

Alice Thomson and Rachel Sylvester interviewed Phil Woolas on 18 October. At the very end, he is reported thus:

But he also warns Christians that they need to be more accepting of other faiths. The Church of England will, in his view, be disestablished in the end. “It will probably take 50 years but a modern society is multifaith.”

Rachel Sylvester wrote There’s a God-shaped hole in Westminster. Towards the end, she said:

When Alice Thomson and I interviewed Phil Woolas last week, his comments on immigration hit the headlines – but it was his suggestion that the Anglican Church would be disestablished that got Downing Street in a jitter. The minister’s claim that the link between Church and State would be broken within 50 years because “a modern society is multi-faith” was potential dynamite, with implications for the monarchy, the armed forces and the judiciary as well as Parliament. In fact, Mr Brown has already started to break the link between Church and State – he has given up the power to appoint bishops and is considering a plan to abolish the Act of Settlement, which ensures that only a Protestant can succeed to the throne – but he had hoped to move to the point of disestablishment by stealth.

It would be wrong to suggest that Britain is any longer a Christian country in terms of the population – only 7 per cent of people regularly attend an Anglican church. Yet neither is Britain a secular State like France. Its history, culture and constitutional settlement are based on the link between Church and State. Earlier this year, Nicholas Sarkozy criticised the French republic’s obsession with secularism and called for a “blossoming” of religions. “A man who believes is a man who hopes,” he said. It is ironic that politicians in this country have abandoned belief – at the very moment that the people need hope.

Then, there was this report by Richard Ford and Ruth Gledhill that enlarges on the point. Phil Woolas contradicts government policy over position of Church of England:

Phil Woolas, the new Immigration Minister, was again at the centre of controversy last night after contradicting official government policy over the position of the Church of England.

The outcome of the Government’s attempt to reform the House of Lords would be to strip the Church of its privileges, he said. Within 50 years the Church of England would have lost the special position it has held in English life since the Reformation.

Mr Woolas told The Times: “Disestablishment – I think it will happen because it’s the way things are going. Once you open debate about reform of the House of Lords you open up debate about the make-up of the House. It will probably take 50 years, but a modern society is multifaith.”

His remarks caused consternation in Whitehall: the Government has no intention of igniting a political row over the issue, which has consequences for the monarchy…

The Times has also published a leader on this, titled Church and nation. This concludes:

…Disestablishment would in a sense allow the Church of England to be more Christian. Its concerns would be less expansive, and a more distinctive voice might thereby emerge. Whether that is the right course for the Church and for the nation is a conversation worth holding. It should, however, be conducted with an eye to posterity, if not eternity. While a national church might appear an anachronism, changing its status must not be undertaken lightly.

Above all, this is an issue on which the Church itself should deliberate. Politicians have transient authority, whereas the Church has existed for centuries. For a decision that would be irrevocable, there is no need to adopt a timetable.

A sidebar in the Ford/Gledhill article says this:

Disestablishment would put at risk

— The presence of a parish priest for every community

— The right of all, unless there is a separate legal inhibition, to be married, baptised or given a funeral at their parish church

— The Church’s central role in helping the nation to mark important events, such as royal weddings

— The role of the Church as an education provider through church schools

— The public enactment of church legislation. The laws of the Church are part of the laws of England – measures passed by General Synod also need to be passed by Parliament – and therefore the Church’s courts are part of the English legal system

— The role of the Sovereign as supreme governor of the Church

— The role of the Crown in appointing bishops and other senior clergy

— The presence of bishops in the House of Lords – they are not there to protect self-interest but to represent communities in a non-party-political way


PB says GC should not consider covenant

Episcopal News Service reports that General Convention should not consider Anglican covenant, Presiding Bishop tells Executive Council:

If a proposed Anglican covenant is released in mid-May for adoption by the Anglican Communion’s provinces, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will “strongly discourage” any effort to bring that request to the 76th General Convention in July.

Jefferts Schori briefly discussed the covenant process during her remarks to the opening plenary session October 21 on the second of the Executive Council’s four-day meeting in Helena, the seat of the Diocese of Montana.

Anglican Communion provinces have until the end of March 2009 to respond to the current version of the proposed covenant, known as the St. Andrew’s Draft. The Covenant Design Group meets in London in April 2009 and may issue another draft of a covenant. That draft is expected to be reviewed by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) during its May 1-12, 2009 meeting. The ACC could decide to release that version to the provinces for their adoption.

If the ACC decides to do that, “my sense is that the time is far too short before our General Convention for us to have a thorough discussion of it as a church and I’m therefore going to strongly discourage any move to bring it to General Convention,” Jefferts Schori told the Executive Council. “I just think it’s inappropriate to make a decision that weighty” that quickly, she added.

The 76th General Convention meets July 8-17 in Anaheim, California…


women bishops: further reports

In addition to this earlier report, Religious Intelligence has published two more items about the FiF conference, written by Michael Brown.

Traditionalists warn church of evangelism threat:

An extraordinary claim that if traditionalist Anglicans are “destroyed”, the Gospel in England “will suffer” because no one else is evangelising, was issued by the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, last weekend…

General Synod accused of ‘ignoring the wider church’:

The Church of England’s General Synod was roundly accused by a “flying bishop” last week of being determined to “go against the corporate mind of the Church Catholic”.

The accusation came from the Bishop of Beverley, the Rt Rev Martyn Jarrett, in a sermon at a Mass at St Alban’s, Holborn, for members of Forward in Faith, the traditionalist Anglican body, who were attending their annual assembly in Westminster.

The September issue of New Directions carried this article by Christina Rees titled A mutual challenge:

The result of the debate in General Synod on 7 July should have come as no surprise. The outcome was consistent with how General Synod has repeatedly voted on the subject of opening the episcopate to women. And yet for some, there was surprise, and more than that, a sense of shock, even disbelief…

The Autumn issue of Forward! Plus, available here, has an article on page 3 titled The Women Bishops Vote – An Obituary for Anglo-Catholics? and another article on page 7 which is largely a response to the New Directions article linked above.


Our RSS feeds

At Thinking Anglicans readers sometimes ask us how they can know when there are new articles or new comments. One way, of course, is to visit the site and have a look. But that is not very convenient, particularly if you are looking for new comments on an article published sometime ago (such as the one on the Church Representation Rules 2006 which is still attracting comments).

A more convenient way is to use our RSS* feeds. These feed new content from our site to, for example, a website which you can then check from time to time for updates. We have two.

for this site
for comments on this site

If you click on these links you will be taken to a list of links to recent articles or comments with some or all of the actual text. What’s most convenient though is to subscribe to our feeds with an RSS reader such as Bloglines. There’s also Live Bookmarks in the Firefox browser and the News & Blogs feature in the Thunderbird email program.

How to subscribe to our feeds
We’ve made it easy for you to subscribe to our feeds. Follow the link to one of our feeds and click on the “Subscribe Now” button at the top. By default you will be subscribed using Bloglines. Then do the same for the other feed. Then whenever you visit the Bloglines website you will be able to see our latest articles and comments.

If you want to try other readers there is a short drop-down list above our “Subscribe Now” button or a longer list here.

*You don’t need to know what RSS stands for to use the feeds, but it is “Really Simple Syndication”.


opinions and views

Roderick Strange wrote for The Times that We have been beguiled and betrayed by Mammon.

The economy may be in crisis, but there is a wealth of social capital at our disposal, says Pete Tobias in Face to Faith.

Christopher Howse wrote in the Telegraph about The survival of England’s Syon.

Giles Fraser’s column in the Church Times is about The fantasy of easy killing.

Simon Barrow wrote for Ekklesia about Seeking to build a just economy.

George Packer in the New Yorker had a very interesting article about the disaffection of Ohio’s working class. See The Working Vote. It turns out that Andrew Brown also read it, and he comments at Poverty and the sexual marketplace.