Thinking Anglicans

further reactions to Rowan

Updated Thursday morning

First, there is Tobias Haller. See Reading Rowan — Part the First and also Reading Rowan — Part the Second.

Next, thanks to Malcolm, there is Tim Chesterton. See Why This Particular Line in the Sand?

Then, there is Jeremy Pemberton’s Sermon preached last Sunday in Southwell Minster about the Archbishop’s Reflections on GC.

Maggi Dawn wrote Dying in Politeness, and then Nick Baines wrote Covenant and politeness. The latter includes:

I think it is unlikely that Maggi would find anyone who is not exhausted by all this – other than Chris Sugden (& co) who has made it his life’s work to break the Communion apart and, I think, gets energised by conflict. Yet the complexity she recognises is more complex still – hence the problem. Many of us would like to walk away from it, but that doesn’t solve anything for the world the Church is there to serve. It is the ecumenical element that most imposes itself on my own consciousness…

And finally (for the moment) Episcopal Café drew attention to the excellent article off the cuff: Homosexuality and the Anglican debate at The Immanent Frame.


(from the comments) Southwark Cathedral sermons:

Colin Slee on 19 July

Andrew Nunn on 2 August


Equality Bill: LGCM briefing

LGCM has published a briefing document on the Equality Bill.

You can find the full text of this document over here.


letter from Sweden

A little while ago, the response of the Church of England to a letter from the Church of Sweden was published in connection with General Synod Questions.

This was also reported on in the Church Times and elsewhere.

The full text of the letter from Sweden to which the reply was being made was not available at that time. But it is now, and, with the approval of the Church of Sweden, is reproduced in full below the fold.



On the Archbishop’s Reflections

On the Archbishop’s Reflections

4th August 2009

A joint statement by 13 groups working together in the Church of England

We have read and reflected upon the Archbishop’s response to the Episcopal Church of the USA “Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future” and have a number of questions about the consequences of his response. We question whether the voices of those within the Church of England who are or who walk alongside lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people have been adequately heard within the recent discussions. These discussions have gone on in various places around the Communion, and we believe it is important in this context that the LGBT faithful and those who work alongside us speak as well.

We wish to reaffirm our loyalty to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the scriptures, our commitment to the Anglican way, and our celebration of and thanksgiving for the tradition and life of the Church of England. Above all, our concern is for the mission of the Church in our world. We have no doubt that the Church of England is called to live out the Gospel values of love and justice in the whole of its life; these values are intrinsic to the calling of Jesus Christ to follow him and it is out of this context that we speak.

While we acknowledge the intention of the Archbishop of Canterbury to seek a way forward for the Anglican Communion, we have grave concerns about the implications of his reflections in “Covenant, Communion and the Anglican Future.” For example, we consider that references to same-sex unions as a “chosen life-style”, and assertions that those who have made such a commitment are analogous to “a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond” to be inconsistent with the Archbishop’s previous statements on committed and faithful same sex relationships ( and are at odds with our reading of the message of the gospel. Whilst we applaud his assertion that we are called to “become the Church God wants us to be, for the better proclamation of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ” we find no indication of how that can be achieved for those who are not heterosexual.

We acknowledge, once again, that there are and always have been many loyal, committed and faithful bishops, priests and deacons – properly selected and ordained – and many lay people who are LGBT or who work alongside LGBT people with delight and thanksgiving. We know ourselves to be part of the church of God in England and we work, together, to bring about the reign of God in this part of God’s creation. We pray earnestly that the Church of England will continue to select, train, ordain and deploy LGBT people and enable them to exercise their calling from God in the Church of England.

Together, we reaffirm our commitment to working for the full inclusion of all people at all levels of ministry. We will continue to work towards liturgical and sacramental recognition of the God-given love which enables many LGBT couples to thrive. We will seek to strengthen the bonds of affection which exist between those in all the Churches of the Anglican Communion who share our commitment to the full inclusion of all of God’s faithful. We will also continue to work closely with our brother and sister churches, especially those with whom we have mutual recognition of orders such as the Nordic churches.

We will work to ensure that if the Church of England is to sign up to the Covenant, it has potential for rapid progress on this and other issues. We find the notion of a “two track communion” flawed in the way that the Act of Synod is flawed, and we commit ourselves to continuing the effort to find ways forward through which those who disagree profoundly on this and on other issues can continue to celebrate their common membership of the Church of England and unity in Christ.

Signed by representatives of the following groups working together in the Church of England

Accepting Evangelicals

Changing Attitude

The Clergy Consultation



Evangelical Fellowship of Lesbian and Gay Anglicans

General Synod Human Sexuality Group

Group for the Rescinding of the Act of Synod

Inclusive Church

Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (Anglican Matters)

Modern Churchpeople’s Union


WATCH National Committee


reactions to Rowan on Saturday

Here are a few more items of this kind.

Malcolm at Simple Massing Priest has written If you meet the Anglican Communion on the road . . .

But I am becoming ever more convinced that Dr. Williams’s sincere attempts to save the Anglican Communion will, if allowed to come to fruition, ultimately destroy it.

There are a number of problems with the document. I’ll try to hit the main ones point by point…

Lionel Deimel has written Reflecting on the Archbishop’s Reflection.

…Episcopalians need to take a very close look at CCAF to understand better their problematic relationship to the Anglican Communion and their possibly even more problematic Anglican future. They need to recognize the ways in which the thinking of the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican leaders is dysfunctional or mistaken…

Jonathan Hagger aka MadPriest has responded to what Andrew Brown wrote with Politeness and the Death of the Church of England.

The Grand Tufti’s response to the votes taken at TEC’s general convention understandably resulted in many of my American friends saying “Well, stuff them all. We’ll go it alone.” As my main fear in this ongoing battle is that the US church will adopt an isolationist policy and leave the rest of the world’s progressives high and dry, I called them to task on this. Their reply was to ask the question, “What are English progressives doing to stop the imposition of a covenant that, if accepted by the Church of England, would lead to its complete theological stagnation for centuries to come?”

At this point I was just assuming what Andrew Brown assumes – that it would never get passed Synod. But I thought I better check before making this point on my blog…


recent RC activities on equality legislation

Three developments which though not directly related to the Church of England are relevant to the general topic of such legislation in the UK.

Third Sector reports in Charity takes gay adoption case onward to High Court that:

The Catholic adoption agency that was told by both the Charity Commission and the Charity Tribunal that it could not restrict its services to heterosexual parents will take its case to the High Court.

The tribunal granted permission for the appeal by Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) earlier this month (Third Sector Online, 8 July), but the charity was unsure at the time whether it would go ahead.

Mark Wiggin, chief executive of Catholic Care, told Third Sector the charity would pursue the appeal, but he was unable to give any details about how the case would be funded. Taking the case to the Charity Tribunal cost the charity about £75,000…

Last week in the Tablet the RC Archbishop of Cardiff, Peter Smith wrote about the Equality Bill. His article is titled Voice that must be heard.

English and Welsh Catholic bishops warn that equality legislation currently before Parliament poses a threat to religious freedom. Here the chairman of their Christian Responsibility and Citizenship Committee explains why it is so important to challenge the secular status quo.

And, the RC bishops responded formally to the UK Consultation on the European Commission Proposal for an Equal Treatment Directive. They issued a press notice, and published their response in full, as a PDF. In it they assert that:

…the Church is not seeking special provisions which exempt it from universally applicable requirements.

They do however argue that:

…in the Church’s view an additional sub-paragraph is needed confirming that differences of treatment shall not constitute discrimination where such differences are required to enable a religious body to function in accordance with its ethos. A provision of this nature would go a long way to ensure that competing rights are balanced, rather than religious sensibilities being ignored or becoming the subject of tendentious claims.


General Convention revisited

Jane Shaw wrote in last week’s Church Times about it. See Mission was behind the US vote.

MANY RESPONSES to last week’s decision by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention to allow (again) the possibility of gay bishops and same-sex blessings, have spoken of schism. Worse, some suggested that the Convention’s decisions were deliberately provocative.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As one of a number of inter­national visitors at the General Con­vention, I witnessed the care and thought with which laity, clergy, and bishops deliberated on these issues. As the dust settles, we can ask more soberly: why did the votes go the way they did?

Meanwhile, from Global South Anglican we have Statement by Province of Southeast Asia Standing Committee.


opinions as August begins

Face to Faith in the Guardian has an article by Steve Parish, a Warrington vicar, on how Westminster Abbey’s corona is not the first ‘how the other half lives’ issue to have split the church.

Justin Lewis-Anthony has responded to the Cif belief Question of the week, Do we need saints? with an article titled Closer to God.

Malcolm Evans explained in last week’s Church Times why we are witnessing not discrimination against the Church, but a move towards equality with other faiths. Read Christianity is losing its privileges.

Also, Jill Segger writes that Faith gives no right to be offensive.

John Shepherd writes in The Times that Religions are different streams leading to a single sea.

Giles Fraser asks in this week’s Church Times Are you Anglican or C of E?