Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON, NEAC and an alternative province

Two pieces recently on Daily Episcopalian.

Adrian Worsfold wrote Taking over the Church of England.

…Why is GAFCON like Militant? Because a core group maintains control as a reaction to the failure of other Evangelicals to get their way in the wider Western Churches. It then infiltrates to force its agenda. Even at the Conference itself, that jumble of oddities called the Jerusalem Declaration was born in a back room – it was leaked even before the assembled could give it the rubber stamp. GAFCON itself was planned by annoying the local Anglicans in Jerusalem because of their opposition to its divisiveness.

In Britain came the entryism into one of the theological colleges and the scattering of much of its evangelical staff, replaced by hardliners and the agreeable. The same man, Chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has chaired the recent National Evangelical Anglican Consultation, in which, without notice, and without a right to amend, a pro-GAFCON motion was put to the meeting. The assembled would not have it, and refused to give it a vote. The result is that the CEEC will vote for it anyway on the spurious basis that it represents Evangelicals. Perhaps the CEEC once did, but as ever the hardliners continued to attend when others dropped away – it is how the entryists work…

George Clifford wrote An “alternative” province? Why not?

Until two weeks ago, I strongly advocated the Anglican Communion refusing to establish a new province in North America and mandating that provinces cease violating provincial boundaries by conducting ministries or establishing congregations within the Episcopal Church’s jurisdiction.

Then I read that the Episcopal Church had spent in excess of $1.9 million in 2008 on lawsuits connected to the departure of parishes and dioceses from this Church. Daily I read about critical needs for healthcare, food, sanitation, and shelter in the United States and abroad. I see the spiritual illness and death that afflict so many. I remember that Anglicans have wisely never claimed to be the only branch of the Christian Church.

I started to wonder, Was I wrong? Why not another North American province?

Also, Jonathan Wynne-Jones wrote at the Telegraph Squabbling evangelicals need to find a united voice.

…Now it’s the evangelicals who are fighting amongst themselves.

In truth, the unity that was central to their success in forcing the gay cleric, Jeffrey John, to stand down as Bishop of Reading has long gone.

With hindsight this may be viewed as something of a pyrrhic victory as it led to a splintering in the evangelical movement: Anglican Mainstream and Fulcrum emerged from the 2003 row to represent the conservative and more ‘open’ factions.

The simmering tensions spilt over at the recent meeting, held at All Souls Langham Place – the church which was home to the evangelical doyen John Stott for 30 years.

Lacking such an inspirational and unifying figure, they have been reduced to bickering and squabbling.

Richard Turnbull, the chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council, was heckled by a group led by Graham Kings – a leading member of Fulcrum, and his opposite number as it were.

While some there found this childish and inappropriate – more befitting the floor of the Commons than a church, it is nevertheless easy to appreciate their frustration…


opinions at Advent Sunday

The Church Times has a leader, The right way to spend Advent.

Roderick Strange writes in The Times that Advent teaches us the deeper lessons of waiting.

The Church of England has an Advent calendar. See related press release here.

Stephen Plant reviews a new book about Methodism in The Times at All the world can still be John Wesley’s parish.

In the Guardian The hajj is the perfect opportunity for Muslims to put our anger behind us, says Kia Abdullah.

At Cif belief the question this week is: How can we talk about God online? There are responses from Mark Vernon, Theo Hobson, and Stephen Tomkins.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Auctioning off the bishop’s bequest.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Bonhoeffer went to Bradford.


GAFCON/FCA and the new province

Over at Fulcrum Graham Kings has highlighted a recent comment made here at Thinking Anglicans in response to the article Church Times on NEAC.

See Rallying Point of Jerusalem Declaration, Diocesan Funds and FCA.

Today, the Church Times has an article on the proposed new province, see Province plan to be unveiled by Pat Ashworth.

The site described as “the new Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) web site set up by Anglican Mainstream South Africa” can be found here.


Standing Committee meeting in London

Updated again Thursday evening

ACNS announces that the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) Meeting is being held in London this week.

The report lists those who are attending and includes a picture of them.

Ruth Gledhill reports for The Times that Conservative Anglicans face “punishment” for helping US rebels.

And there is more on her blog under the heading Southern Cone heading south.

Looks like action is about to be taken against Greg Venables and the Southern Cone for sheltering no fewer than four TEC conservative bishops and their flocks, the latest being Jack Iker and Forth Worth. See our news report summing up the latest. I understand that the Joint Standing Committee meeting in London this week, from which significantly Egypt’s Mouneer Anis and Uganda’s Henry Orombi are absent, is to discuss suspending Southern Cone’s voting rights from the upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Jamaica next May. As long-standing readers will recall, this is what happened to TEC, then Ecusa, at the last ACC meeting in Nottingham in 2005. This is not so much a ‘booting out’ but should be regarded as a punishment, I am told. Meanwhile, it seems highly probable that TEC and Canada are to be rewarded for their restraint by being given a full seat back at the table again in May.

Episcopal Café notes these reports with a question: Southern Cone “suspension”: Sabre rattling? Trial balloon?

Wednesday evening update

Matt Davies of Episcopal News Service reports on the meeting, in Joint Standing Committee plans for 2009 ACC meeting.

The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has devoted much of its November 24-26 meeting to discussing budgetary issues and planning the next meeting of the ACC — the communion’s main policy-making body — set for May 1-12, 2009 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among those attending the JSC meeting, which was held behind closed doors at the Anglican Communion Office and Lambeth Palace in London. She noted that a November 26 report in The Times of London newspaper, that suggested the JSC had discussed plans to discipline the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone for its recent incursions into other provinces, was untrue. “The subject has not come up,” she told Episcopal News Service…

Thursday evening update

The Living Church has an article by George Conger titled Analysis: Recognition of Third Province Likely to Take Years, and there is a longer version of this piece over here.


more on that alternative province

There is an announcement about the meeting on 3 December, which is being billed as “historic”.

A Reuters report by Michael Conlon Episcopal Church dissidents aim for new church seems to have upset absolutely everybody.

On the one hand Baby Blue considers that the lead contains an offensive phrase. On the other hand, Episcopal Café thinks the numbers quoted are quite wrong.

George Conger wrote for the Church of England Newspaper about the province, see Lambeth faces Chicago test.

Mark Harris comments at The Third Province, the Anglican Church in North America, and other plots and plans.


Bishop Iker inhibited

Updated again Tuesday

Bishop Jack Iker has been inhibited by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

You can read the official notice here (PDF).

It probably won’t get announced on the website of the diocese.

The Steering Committee of North Texas Episcopalians has issued a statement which you can read here.

Monday evening update

I was wrong in my prediction about the diocesan website. It now carries the following: Press Release in response to attempted inhibition which includes both a statement by the bishop and a statement by the standing committee.

Episcopal News Service has published a very detailed report by Mary Frances Schjonberg headed Presiding Bishop inhibits Fort Worth bishop. This includes links to the certificate issued by the Title IV Review Committee, and to the documentation, here, and here, and also here, which was submitted to the committee.

Religious Intelligence has published a report by George Conger Fort Worth Bishop inhibited.

Tuesday update

The Living Church also has a report Bishop Iker Describes Inhibition by PB as ‘Irrelevant’.


further NEAC reports

Another of the presentations has been published, this one by Michael Ovey. And this Bible Study.

Still no sign of the one by Christina Baxter.

Other presentations are linked here.

A Church of England Newspaper report of the meeting by Toby Cohen is at present only available here.

And another Church of England Newspaper article about it is A foot in many camps – a reply to Stephen Kuhrt by Chris Sugden.


The historical identity of the Church of England

Christopher Howse writes today in the Telegraph about Anglicans who’ve lost their memory.

Like an unwatched pan of milk, readers of the Church Times have seethed up and boiled over in response to an analysis of the Church of England by the ever-controversial historian Jonathan Clark…

Here are the links to the Church Times pages where this debate has proceeded:

First, Jonathan Clark wrote an article The C of E needs a strong story.

The next week, there were several letters in response, under the headline The new historiography: is an Anglican via media still defensible? from Jeremy Morris, Simon Heans and Andrew Burnham.

The following week, there was a further letter from Christopher Scargill and a response from Jonathan Clark, at The Church of England’s historical identity.


weekend columns

PewForum has an interesting report on How the News Media Covered Religion in the [US] General Election.

Stewart Dakers writes in the Guardian about how Faith and science need a collective reformation to celebrate the power of love.

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times about Fashioning the world anew with winged thoughts.

Ekklesia has republished an article by Christopher Rowland on A kingdom, but not as we know it.

Giles Fraser talked on the BBC’s Thought for the Day last Wednesday.

Elaine Sciolino wrote in the New York Times about how Britain Grapples With Role for Islamic Justice.


Church Times on NEAC

Three items in today’s Church Times relating to the NEAC event last Saturday.

NEAC5 closes in acrimony after claims of ‘set-up’ by Pat Ashworth

Evangelicals cannot serve two masters by Giles Fraser

Leader column, Church parties within parties.


cost of the Lambeth Conference

Peter Owen made reference yesterday to the Q and A concerning the cost of the Lambeth Conference. The full text of the relevant Questions and Answers is below the fold.



from the archives

Bill Fleener Jr has drawn attention on his blog Est Anima Legis to some earlier cases which are of interest now in connection with two dioceses which have recently voted to leave The Episcopal Church.

Fort Worth moves from Devious to Hypocrisy

Quincy Hypocrisy just like Fort Worth


General Synod Answers to Questions

Answers to written Questions have been posted on the Church of England website.
See press release Synod members put questions to church bodies.

The original PDF file is here.

TA has provided an html copy of the file here.

Here are some particularly interesting questions and answers. In addition the answers to questions 19 and 24-26 have interesting information on the contributions of the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners to the cost of the Lambeth Conference.

Mr Justin Brett (Oxford) to ask the Secretary General:

Q2. What research has been undertaken to establish the effect of the Church of England’s participation in an Anglican Communion Covenant upon the relationship between the Church of England and the Crown, given the Queen’s position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and the consequent tension between her prerogative and the potential demands of a disciplinary process within the proposed Covenant?

Mr William Fittall to reply as Secretary General:

A. The Church of England response of 19 December 2007 to the initial draft Covenant noted on page 13 that ‘it would be unlawful for the General Synod to delegate its decision making powers to the primates, and that this therefore means that it could not sign up to a Covenant which purported to give the primates of the Communion the ability to give ‘direction’ about the course of action that the Church of England should take.’ The same would be true in relation to delegation to any other body of the Anglican Communion. Since as a matter of law the Church of England could not submit itself to any such external power of direction, any separate possible difficulties in relation to the Royal Prerogative could not in practice arise.

Mr Andrew Presland (Peterborough) to ask the Chairman of the Clergy Discipline Commission:

Q12. What are the current best estimates of the total costs incurred in carrying out each of the tribunal hearings that have taken place so far under the Clergy Discipline Measure?

His Honour Judge John Bullimore to reply as Deputy Chairman of the Clergy Discipline Commission:

A. Seven cases so far have had full tribunal hearings. The current best estimate of the total costs for those cases from referral to the tribunal to final determination is approximately £194,000. Within that total, costs vary from case to case depending on a number of different factors. The lowest cost total for a tribunal case is estimated to be £8,300, and the highest cost total was £66,087. There has been one appeal; the total additional cost for that appeal is estimated to be £11,400.

The Revd Hugh Lee (Oxford) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:

Q27. Will the House of Bishops assure the General Synod that neither it nor the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group is seeking to go back on any part of the motion passed in the General Synod in July 2008 and that they are not questioning the manner of the debate, the use of electronic voting, the results of the votes on each of the amendments and the final motion, or the competence of General Synod to decide upon having women as bishops?

The Bishop of Manchester to reply as Chairman of the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group:

A. The Group has met a number of times since the Synod debate in July. The motion required consultation with the House: it considered material from the Group in October and will do so again in December. The Group will complete its work later that month. The draft Measure, amending canon and code of practice will therefore be available for Synod to debate in February and to commit to a Revision Committee. Both the Group and the House will continue to work consistently with the mandate given by Synod.


more about the proposed new province

Updated again Tuesday evening

Three reports that relate to the announcement made yesterday:

Living Church Primates Hold Key to New Province’s Recognition

Anglican Journal Anglican Network in Canada pushes for creation of North American province

Stand Firm Archbishops Anis, Nzimbi, Akrofi: We Will Recognize the New North American Province

Tuesday evening updates

Three more reports on this:

Covenant A New “Province” in North America: Neither the Only Nor the Right Answer for the Communion by Ephraim Radner

Washington Times Breakaway Episcopalians to unveil constitution by Julia Duin

Episcopal Café A new province: who makes the call? by Jim Naughton

Late Tuesday evening update

Anglican Journal Plans to create a conservative province ‘disturbing,’ says primate


plans for a new North American province

Updated Monday afternoon

The Living Church reports in Convention Planned to Form New Anglican Province by Steve Waring that:

When the Diocese of Fort Worth voted Nov. 15 to become the fourth American diocese to leave The Episcopal Church, the leadership of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) scheduled a constitutional convention in the Chicago area Dec. 3 to form a new North American Anglican province. The event will be followed by “a province-by-province visitation and appeal for recognition of the separate ecclesiastical structure in North America.”

Significant details about the plan were revealed in a short AnglicanTV internet video clip containing remarks delivered by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and Bishop Bill Murdoch, a missionary bishop to the U.S. consecrated by the Anglican Church of Kenya…

The video clip can be found here.

Monday afternoon update

And now, here comes the press release, Anglican Leaders seek to unite North American Churches.

Draft Constitution to be Unveiled, Jerusalem Declaration Signed at Dec. 3 Chicago Gathering

WHEATON, IL, Nov. 14 — Leaders of the Common Cause Partnership, a federation of more than 100,000 Anglican Christians in North America, will release to the public on the evening of Dec. 3 the draft constitution of an emerging Anglican C–hurch in North America, formally subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and affirm the GAFCON Statement on the Global Anglican Future at an evening worship celebration in suburban Chicago.

This historic event comes in the wake of GAFCON held in Israel last June with leaders from more than one-half of the world’s 77 million Anglicans. At the close of that gathering, Anglican leaders released the Jerusalem Declaration and the GAFCON Statement on the Global Anglican Future, which outlined their Christian beliefs and goals to reform, heal and revitalize the Anglican Communion worldwide…

Mark Harris writes about NIGPNA here with some coloured maps.


still more reports on Fort Worth

Updated twice Monday afternoon

Bishop Jack Iker issued this statement to be read in parishes yesterday.

Katie Sherrod has detailed comments on it here.

The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone issued this statement of greeting to Fort Worth.

The official report of the convention voting results is here.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has another news report, After Fort Worth Diocese breakaway, area Episcopalians were back in church Sunday by Terry Lee Goodrich.

Monday afternoon updates
George Conger reports for Religious Intelligence Fort Worth votes to secede from Episcopal Church.

Mark Harris has some analysis of the press conference, at Bishop Iker asks some questions, doesn’t answer others.


more reports of NEAC

Updated Monday afternoon

The resolution considered at NEAC is given in this report. See also this thread on Fulcrum for more about the procedural aspects.


Keith Sinclair

Pete Broadbent

Chris Sugden

The presentation by Christina Baxter is awaited.

Meanwhile, Graham Kings has written an analysis, which appears on Comment is free as What would Wilberforce do? and also on Fulcrum where it is titled The Restoration of Evangelicalism: Differences without Division.


reports of NEAC

Jonathan Wynne-Jones reported for the Telegraph that Anglican Church lacks leadership, say bishops.

In a speech to conservative evangelicals, who debated proposals for a new “church within a church”, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali said that there has been a lack of discipline.
Traditionalists have been upset that the Episcopal Church escaped punishment despite consecrating Gene Robinson as Anglicanism’s first openly gay bishop.
The Bishop of Rochester told clergy that the new movement was equivalent to the Reformation in the sixteenth century, which led to the establishment of the Church of England…

And Agence France-Presse has a report Church of England Evangelicals dodge homosexuality vote.

Church of England Evangelicals meeting on Saturday refused to vote to establish their position on homosexuality — an issue that has caused deep splits within the worldwide Anglican communion.

The Church of England Evangelical Council met in central London but the 300 attendees declined an opportunity to vote.

“The opinions expressed were a wide range of opinions,” said The Reverend Doctor Richard Turnbull, chairman of the Church of England Evangelical Council.

“People decided that they didn’t actually want to vote on a resolution. The disadvantage of that is you then don’t exactly know what people think.”

The council meets again on December 4…

There is further information about the meeting at Fulcrum see here, and also here.

And now there is also a report there, by Wim Houtman, NEAC 2008: a Evangelical Dutch Report.


more reports on Fort Worth

Updated Sunday evening

The New York Times has Diocese in Texas Leaves Episcopal Church by Gretel C Kovach.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese votes to dissociate from national church by Terry Lee Goodrich.

Associated Press has Fort Worth is 4th Episcopal diocese to break away by Rachel Zoll.

And the Dallas Morning News has a later version of its report, Fort Worth Diocese splits from Episcopal Church.

For earlier news reports see previous article.

A statement by The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians can be found here.

A statement by Fort Worth Via Media can be found here.

Sunday evening update

There is a transcript of the press conference here.


Fort Worth decides

Updated again later Saturday evening

Quite a bit of press coverage in advance of today’s voting by the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Earlier reports here.

Agenda information here.

Houston Chronicle Fort Worth Episcopals set to leave national church

Dallas News Fort Worth Diocese to officially split from Episcopal Church today over social issues

Wichita Falls Times Record News Episcopalian realignment vote will affect local church properties

Religious Intelligence Fort Worth on verge of secession

Saturday evening update

Associated Press Fort Worth Is 4th Episcopal Diocese to Break Away

Dallas Morning News Fort Worth Diocese officially breaks away from Episcopal Church

The bishop’s address is published in full here.

Statement of delegates who will remain in TEC

The detailed results of the voting on the various resolutions are available from Katie Sherrod, see here.

Later Updates

Statement by the Presiding Bishop

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese votes to leave mother church

Living Church Fort Worth Convention Joins the Southern Cone

Episcopal News Service Fort Worth delegates vote to leave Episcopal Church, realign with Southern Cone
This report by Pat McCaughan is comprehensive.

And there is an earlier version with other detail, here.

Locations of those who are not leaving The Episcopal Church are listed here and here.