Thinking Anglicans

reactions to Rowan on Thursday

Stephen Bates at Cif belief Anglicanism’s one-track mind

The Anglican church is once again mired in a debate about sexuality. Why does it remain such an obsession?

Bishop Tom Wright at Anglican Communion Institute (in partnership with Fulcrum and now also available there) Rowan’s Reflections: Unpacking the Archbishop’s Statement

In the two days since the Archbishop released his ‘Reflections’ on TEC’s General Convention, they have already generated widely differing responses. We always knew, say some conservatives, that the ABC was a hopeless liberal, and this has confirmed it. Not so, declare many horrified radicals: he has obviously sold out to the conservatives. Some have warmly welcomed the statement and hailed it as paving the way forward. Cautious voices in between are trying to discern strengths and weaknesses. In my view, there is much to welcome, and much whose implications need further unpacking. The two main sections of this paper deal with these two aspects…

Changing Attitude Changing Attitude response to Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future

The Church of England is already a church which incorporates the ministry of partnered lesbian and gay lay people, priests and bishops. Hundreds of LGBT people in the ordained ministry, including the episcopate, act in a representative role in apparent contravention of the Church’s teaching…


another batch of reactions to Rowan

Updated Thursday

Andrew Brown writes at Cif belief Rowan’s road to schism

Has Rowan Williams just set the Church of England on the road to disestablishment? Or does he envision it as standing outside the central body of Anglicanism that he is trying now to erect? I have just read carefully through his response to the American Church’s recognition of equal gay rights, and there are two things that are really striking about it…

From IT writing at Friends of Jake Rowan Williams then and now

…He argued that scriptural prohibitions were addressed to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety. He wrote: “I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.” Dr Williams described his view as his “definitive conclusion” reached after 20 years of study and prayer… the end of the 1980s he had “definitely come to the conclusion” that the Bible did not denounce faithful relationships between people who happened to be gay…

From Thanksgiving in all Things Christopher writes of Analyzing Rowan Williams’ Rhetoric About LGBT Persons

In his body of theological work, Mark D. Jordan reminds us repeatedly to pay attention to rhetoric, especially the rhetoric of Christian leaders about lgbt persons.

In his most recent letter, Williams weaves a story of willful choice on the part of lgbt Christians. And we are to get what we deserve in consequence…

Update And the previous day, had also written The Fundamental Problems with Archbishop Williams’ Ecclesiology and Many Who Wring Their Hands About Catholicity

The fundamental problem with the working ecclesiology of the Covenant, of Archbishop Williams, and of the anxieties that somehow we hold together Christ’s Body is that it is a “pipeline theory of grace” rather than an eschatology of Christ’s Presence present to us in every age, and time, and place, wherever we call upon the Name of Jesus, proclaim His Person and work, celebrate the Dominical Sacraments, and go forth to serve the world’s needs. Ironically, such a supposed “catholic” approach to Christ or the apostles’ ministry is memorialist of sorts, always harkening to the past rather than to His Presence, or becomes Pelagian as we try to do it ourselves, rather than rely on Christ…


Chicago Consultation responds to Rowan


CHICAGO, IL., July 28, 2009 — The Chicago Consultation released this statement from its co-convener, Ruth Meyers, in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflections on the Episcopal Church’s General Convention. Meyers is the Hodges Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific:

During General Convention, the Episcopal Church was pleased to welcome many international visitors, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. We are glad that he felt generously welcomed and are grateful that he experienced first-hand the Episcopal Church’s deep and abiding commitment to the worldwide Anglican Communion.

In his statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to the entire Communion, including provinces in parts of the world where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people face serious criminal penalties and even death. We hope and pray that the Archbishop’s strong condemnation of prejudice against GLBT people, and his call to penitence for our inconsistencies on these issues, will embolden Anglicans across the world to stand against hatred and discrimination when they encounter it in their midst.

We also urge all Anglicans, including the Archbishop, to regard the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the body of Christ as nothing less than a Gospel mandate and a requirement of our baptismal vows. To understand this issue as simply one of civil liberties or human rights — to which the Gospel also calls us — does grave injustice to our sisters and brothers in Christ and our fundamental understanding of baptismal theology.

The Archbishop raises important questions about how the Anglican Communion can best structure itself and continue to develop Anglican doctrine. The Episcopal Church has a long, albeit imperfect, history of developing theology and doctrine to support fully including women, people of color, and GLBT people in the life of the church. We can contribute this valuable experience to the Communion, and we look forward to working together with our fellow Anglicans around the globe as we continue discerning God’s call for our common life and mission.

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. We believe that our baptismal covenant requires this.

The Chicago Consultation believes that, like the church’s historic discrimination against people of color and women, excluding GLBT people from the sacramental life of the church is a sin. Through study, prayer and conversation, we seek to provide clergy and laypeople across The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion with biblical and theological perspectives that will rid the church of this sin.


more reactions to Rowan

Updated Tuesday evening

From blogs:

Changing Attitude Archbishop’s Reflections impossible for Changing Attitude supporters to accept

Integrity Integrity Responds to Archbishop of Canterbury’s post-GC2009 Statement

A. S. Haley Ex Cathedra

The Anglican Scotist Archbishop Williams’ Latest Missive

Tuesday evening update

Nick Knisely What is Rowan Williams thinking?

Savitri Hensman at Cif belief The archbishop’s response falls short

Sam Candler The Notion of “Choice” in Anglican Communion Matters

And Episcopal Café has a roundup including several more worth reading.


reactions to Rowan's Reflections

Updated Tuesday morning

Media coverage:

The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishop of Canterbury attempts to paper over Church schism and also on her blog: Archbishop Rowan and TEC: Two-track communion the way forward.

Guardian Riazat Butt Archbishop warns ordination of gay clergy could lead to two-tier church

Telegraph Matthew Moore Archbishop of Canterbury foresees ‘two-track’ church to avoid gay schism

ENS Canterbury reflects on General Convention

Associated Press Meera Selva Anglican Church may have ‘two track’ structure

Blog coverage:

Episcopal Café Reactions to +Rowan’s essay vary

Adrian Worsfold The Real Archbishop of Anglicanism

Jared Cramer The Blindspots in Archbishop Rowan’s Perspective

Scott Gunn Parsing Rowan: Catholic, Covenant, and “chosen lifestyles”

Tuesday morning update

Los Angeles Times Duke Helfand Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams speaks of ‘two-tier’ church

Washington Times Julia Duin Anglican leader foresees two paths

Christianity Today Timothy C. Morgan Just Shy of Schism, Anglicans May Sub-Divide

Religion News Service Daniel Burke Williams Suggests Secondary Role for Rebel Episcopal Church

Living Church Archbishop: Two-Track Communion Possible

USA Today Cathy Lynn Grossman Restructuring, not schism, ahead for Anglicans

New York Times Alan Cowell Archbishop Sees ‘Two-Track’ Anglican Church


Canterbury reflects on General Convention

From Lambeth Palace comes Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future.

Reflections on the Episcopal Church’s 2009 General Convention from the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion.


yet more reflections on General Convention

The Bishop of Rochester wrote about it, in the Washington Times, a rather odd place for a CofE bishop to write, you might think. His article is titled Episcopal gay moves risk schism.

(This provoked Adrian Worsfold into a spoof version.)

A much more useful article, by somebody who was actually there, can by found at Anglicans Online. See Pierre Whalon What Didn’t Happen at General Convention 2009—and What Did?


Niagara and civil marriage blessings

The Diocese of Niagara in the Anglican Church of Canada is in the news.

See Anglican Journal Marites N. Sison Deep divide over sexuality continues, and earlier, Diocese of Niagara to offer same-sex blessings.

And Religious Intelligence George Conger Bishop authorizes same-sex blessings.

From the diocesan website:

Niagara Rite of Blessing of Civil Marriage

The Niagara Rite is intended for the voluntary use of priests who wish to offer a sacrament of blessing regardless of the gender of the civilly married persons who wish to receive the blessing of the church and wish to affirm their life commitment to each other before God in the community of the church.

As such it does not imply nor is it intended to suggest that those who do or do not make use of this rite are excluded from the economy of God’s salvation. The rite is a means for the church to extend affirmation, support, and commitment to those who present themselves seeking a sign of God’s love in response to the love and commitment they express for each other and have already affirmed in a civil ceremony.

It is designed for the blessing of any couple who have been civilly married. It may also be used for the blessing or renewing of marriage vows for a couple celebrating a significant moment in their married life together.

Effective September 1, 2009, permission will be granted by Bishop Michael Bird for the use of the Niagara Rite as outlined in the protocols that are included.

And there are links from that page to other documentation.


opinions in late July

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times We must guard love in this world of easy pleasures.

Michael Wright writes in the Guardian about becoming a Quaker.

Diana Butler Bass writes at Beliefnet about The Real Decline of Churches.

Robin Gill wrote in last week’s Church Times about Turning from the slippery slope.

Giles Fraser writes in this week’ s Church Times If I have to push, I shall push.


more reflections after Gen Con

The Church Times press column this week was written by Rebecca Wilson and is titled Rare moment of cake.

In the news pages, Pat Ashworth summed up developments in US decision triggers postal activity.

Doug LeBlanc wrote for the Living Church that Bishops Discuss Paradoxical Votes on Consecrations, Blessings.

Adrian Worsfold wrote “Rowan Williams’s game is up” for Episcopal Café.

The Anglican Communion Institute wrote Resolutions and the Windsor Moratoria.

Religion Dispatches published Episcopal Church Walks with American Clergy on Gay and Lesbian Equality.


court ruling for San Joaquin

The Diocese of San Joaquin has reported Court Determines that Bishop Lamb is the Bishop of the Diocese.

On July 23, 2009, the Diocese received an order issued by the Superior Court of Fresno County, California, sustaining the position of the Church and the Diocese that the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb is the Bishop of the Diocese and the officeholder of the Diocesan corporations, and that former Bishop John-David Schofield is no longer the Bishop and has no claim to any of the corporate or ecclesiastical offices of the Diocese…

The Court Order is here as a PDF file.

The Diocese of Fort Worth has also reported this case, and in greater detail, see Superior Court of California grants summary adjudication to the continuing Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.


‘untainted’ bread?

Not only is the Church of England responding to the swine flu epidemic by denying the chalice to its congregations, now Blackburn Cathedral is reported to be providing ‘untainted bread’. Read on…

Ruth Gledhill in The Times reports that Worshippers who oppose women priests receive ‘untainted’ bread.

Worshippers at a Church of England cathedral are being offered a two-track Communion service with a separate supply of “untainted” Communion bread for those who object to its being consecrated by a woman priest.

A special container, for the hosts — unleavened bread representing the body of Christ — which have been previously consecrated by a male priest, is brought out during Sunday morning services at Blackburn Cathedral if a woman priest is presiding.

The special arrangements, which have been condemned by supporters of women priests, were introduced because of the recent installation of Dr Sue Penfold as one of three residentiary canons. Even though she is legitimately ordained and employed, it means that when she is celebrating the eucharist those who dispute the validity of her orders can make sure they receive “untainted” sacrament consecrated earlier by a man…


General Synod – detailed Church Times reports

The detailed reports of this month’s General Synod published in last week’s Church Times are now generally available online.

Senior clergy: Synod rejects numbers game on bishops
Synod agenda
Stewardship: ‘Let’s talk about wallets, not willies’
Church Commissioners
Spending priorities: Spend on children and local ministry, members urge
Draft budget
Clergy discipline: will bishops wear a mitre or a judge’s wig?
Terms of service
Anglican Communion: Dr Williams regrets US move
Representation rules
Weekday lectionary: Popular readings queried
Pension rules
Farewells: Tributes to bishops ‘who aren’t retiring’
Archbishops’ Council
Boards and councils: Revolt against central streamlining
Urban life: Committed to uncomfortable Britain
Clergy pensions
Learning disabilities: ‘If they’re missing, the whole Church is disabled’
Good childhood: Motion tells children God is the answer
Church fees: Waiving with impunity


swine flu

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today written to Bishops in the Church of England recommending the suspension of the sharing of the chalice at communion.

The Archbishops’ letter follows advice from the Department of Health not to share “common vessels” for food or drink.

For those who wish still to offer both bread and wine, the Archbishops have recommended use of “personal intinction by the presiding minister” allowing the priest to dip communion wafers in the chalice before handing them out to communicants.

The full text of the letter is here, or over here, and also here.

More detailed advice from the Church of England is here.

The text of the Sacrament Act 1547 can be found here.


another college inspection report

The Church of England has published the inspection report on the Oxford Partnership for Theological Education and Training (OPTET), the body that enables the ministerial training colleges in Oxford to co-ordinate their activity and to relate to the University of Oxford.

The Oxford Partnership for Theological Education and Training (OPTET) was formed following the demise of the Church of England’s General Ministerial Examination (GME) in 1992. The three Anglican Theological Colleges in Oxford, Ripon College Cuddesdon, St Stephen’s House and Wycliffe Hall with the cognizance of the Theology Faculty of Oxford University collaborated to produce the Oxford Diploma of Ministry (ODM) course that was then validated by the participating colleges. Mansfield (United Reformed Church) and Regent’s Park (Baptist) joined in to form OPTET which was established in 1994. Since then other colleges have opted into the partnership…

Find the full report via this page.


Presiding Bishop writes to TEC

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued a letter to the church about General Convention, which was held July 8-17 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.

The full text is available here, and is also below the fold.


1 Comment

Archbishop writes to the Communion

Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America has written An Open Letter to the Anglican Communion (PDF).

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) has issued a press release: Archbishop Duncan Writes Open Letter to Anglican Communion.

The letter is also to be found on the site of the Anglican Church in North America.

Or, see below the fold.



Communion Partners write to Lambeth

A letter has been published, signed on behalf of a substantial number of clergy, in support of the “Anaheim Statement”.

Letter from the Communion Partners to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The full text of this letter is copied below the fold. For the list of signatures to the attached Communion Partners Rectors’ Statement, follow the link above, or there is another copy at the Anglican Communion Institute site.



General Convention: another letter to Lambeth Palace

First, there was the letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury concerning Resolution D025.

Now, ENS reports in Presiding officers write Canterbury explaining same-gender unions resolution that a further letter has been sent concerning Resolution C056.

The letter is here as a PDF. The full text is now available below the fold.

The official press release reads:

Following its passage in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson sent a letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams discussing Resolution C056 at the recently completed 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. (Text of letter is at the end.)

Additionally, the Presiding Bishop forwarded the letter to the 38 Primates and clergy and lay leaders of the Anglican Communion. (Text of letter is at the end.)

In the letter, the Presiding Officers noted, “While the Resolution honors the diversity of theological perspectives within The Episcopal Church, it does not authorize public liturgical rites for the blessing of same-gender unions. The Book of Common Prayer remains unchanged, the marriage rites are unaltered and the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer define marriage as a “solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God.”

It also explained, “It is now left to each bishop to determine what such a generous pastoral response might mean in her or his diocesan context. This Resolution neither forces nor demands any bishop, diocesan convention, congregation or clergy to take any action it considers contrary to its will. The Resolution honors and acknowledges this Church’s continuing commitment to and honoring of theological diversity and the inclusion of a variety of points of view on matters of human sexuality.”

General Convention 2009 was held July 8 to July 17 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California (Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles).

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention, held every three years, is the bicameral governing body of the church. General Convention, the second largest legislative body in the world, is comprised of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 members, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay representatives from the 110 dioceses, at over 850 members.

The Episcopal Church, with 110 dioceses in 16 nations, is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.



how many Anaheim statement signatories?

According to Anaheim Statement Attracts More Support in the Living Church there are now 34 signatories.

That’s five more than the 29 that were reported in this earlier article, Dissenting Bishops Issue ‘Anaheim Statement’.

But that listed only 27 names. So we are still missing two names.

And, several of these names are of bishops who voted in favour of one or more of the resolutions which provoked the statement. According to this tally, at least nine of the original 27.


George Conger has kindly supplied a complete list of the names. Here it is:

The Rt. Rev’d James Adams, Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev’d Lloyd Allen, Honduras
The Rt. Rev’d David Alvarez, Puerto Rico FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d John Bauerschmidt, Tennessee
The Rt. Rev’d Peter Beckwith, Springfield
The Rt. Rev’d Frank Brookhart, Montana FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Andrew Doyle, Texas
The Rt. Rev’d Philip Duncan, Central Gulf Coast
The Rt. Rev’d Dan Edwards, Nevada
The Rt. Rev’d William Frey, Rio Grande
The Rt. Rev’d Dena Harrison, Texas, Suffragan
The Rt. Rev’d Dorsey Henderson, Upper South Carolina FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Julio Holguin, Dominican Republic
The Rt. Rev’d John Howe, Central Florida
The Rt. Rev’d Russell Jacobus, Fond du Lac
The Rt. Rev’d Don Johnson, West Tennessee FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Paul Lambert, Dallas Suffragan
The Rt. Rev’d Mark Lawrence, South Carolina
The Rt. Rev’d Gary Lillibridge, West Texas
The Rt. Rev’d Edward Little, Northern Indiana
The Rt. Rev’d William Love, Albany
The Rt. Rev’d Bruce MacPherson, Western Louisiana
The Rt. Rev’d Alfredo Morante, Litoral Ecuador FOR C056
The Rt. Rev’d Henry Parsley, Alabama FOR C056
The Rt. Rev’d David Reed, West Texas Suffragan
The Rt. Rev’d Sylvestre Romero, El Camino Real assisting in New Jersey FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Jeffrey Rowthorn, Europe
The Rt. Rev’d William Skilton, Dominican Republic
The Rt. Rev’d John Sloan, Alabama Suffragan FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt. Rev’d Dabney Smith, Southwest Florida
The Rt. Rev’d Michael Smith, North Dakota
The Rt. Rev’d James Stanton, Dallas
The Rt. Rev’d Pierre Whalon, Europe FOR C056 FOR D025
The Rt.Rev. Don Wimberly, Texas retired

I have annotated the list (George is not responsible for my annotations):
italics denotes retired
Voted FOR C056 and/or FOR D025