Thinking Anglicans

What is the future for Anglican conservatives? (part 3)

Graham Kings has written a response to the Cif belief Question of the Week. Go here and here for earlier responses.

See People must come first.

Also available on Fulcrum.

…Are Anglican conservatives in the Anglican Communion turning their attention away from issues of sexuality to the threat of Islam? From reading articles and comments and taking part in various private discussions, this seems to me too simplistic an analysis. Perceptions on both these subjects may interweave and are likely to feature in future comment and campaign.

Anglican conservatives are no more a monolithic block than are Anglican liberals. Some, sadly, are so caught up in the combat of the single issue of sexuality that their words appear to many to be blinkered and splintered. Others, while remaining conservative on sexual issues, may have friends and relatives who are gay and join in with long term private conversations and organized discussions on the subject. Oliver O’Donovan has recently published A Conversation Waiting to Begin: the Churches and the Gay Controversy (SCM Press, 2009), which originated as a series of articles on Fulcrum. And there are many who are betwixt and between these general positions…

The series on Fulcrum to which reference is made, The Church of England and Islam: Hospitality and Embassy starts here.


The business of bishoping

Last week’s Church Times has an article by Bishop Kenneth Stevenson which was titled Rootless, isolated, and churched out.

This was edited from his farewell address to the Portsmouth diocesan synod which can be found in full at THE BUSINESS OF BISHOPING – A BOTTOM UP THEOLOGY.

WHEN I went to my first meeting of the House of Bishops as a member in October 1995, I sat at the back (like a good Anglican) and watched.

This provoked me into playing two games. The first, an easy one, was to identify who were the prefects and who were the rogues. I soon came to the conclusion that the system — the Church — produced too many of the former, and too few of the latter.

The second game was to spot the defining job that someone held be­fore he became a bishop, and how this affected the way he was ap­proaching the discussion. Some bishops are manifestly former parish priests; others were theological teachers; some were involved in lay training; others worked a great deal with ordinands. Some ran cath­edrals, often giving them a convinc­ing civic awareness, while others were arch­deacons, who seemed to know the ropes better than the others…


Ian Hislop and Rowan Williams

Ruth Gledhill has the details of this event, which happened in Canterbury Cathedral last Friday. See Archbishop of Canterbury laments loss of Christian knowledge.

There is a transcript, and links to a complete audio recording on Ruth’s blog.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has blamed education and pluralism for Britain’s loss of Christian culture. He said the Church does still have its foot in the door but the foot is being ‘squashed very painfully’. Writers in the past such as PG Wodehouse could assume knowledge in the reader of the Bible and Hymns Ancient & Modern. No longer. ‘It’s all gone, gone because of shifting patterns of education not just religious education, it’s gone because of a much more anxious awareness of a plural society and not wanting to privilege one religious tradition over another. What to do about it? I’m not sure I have a quick answer. The good side of it is that if not everybody knows it the story isn’t necessarily boringly familiar.’

The Archbishop was speaking at a Christian ‘gathering’, a new form of community meeting that seems to be gaining ascendancy. There was one such last Friday at Canterbury, where the sell-out event was Private Eye editor Ian Hislop in conversation with Dr Williams…

The Church Times also has a report, Door is closing on Church’s foot, says Williams by Ed Beavan.

“THE FOOT is still in the door, even if it is being squashed very painfully,” the Archbishop of Canterbury said last weekend when he was asked about the Church’s participation in public debate. He did not think that the Church had yet “dropped off the radar”.

Dr Williams was in dialogue with Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye and panellist on the BBC’s Have I Got News for You, at an event during “The Gathering”, a series of activities for all ages at Canterbury Cathedral.

Mr Hislop described the difficulty that Dr Williams faced with the media when people called for a moral lead from the Church. “When the Archbishop of Canterbury says anything, they say, ‘Shut up,’” he suggested.

Dr Williams responded that “the leadership thing is a problem.” It was “a matter of trying to remember that when you’re speaking from the Church you’re trying to give some sort of critical perspective to try and show some­thing”. The Archbishop admitted that he was “not brilliant at sound-bites”…


Stockholm election confirmed

TA reported earlier that a new bishop had been elected for the (Swedish Lutheran) Diocese of Stockholm.

Some procedural objections were raised, but earlier this week the election review board decided to reject these appeals.

At its meeting on Monday the Board received six complaints about the handling of the elections last April. It was argued that the election results, in which Eva Brunne got the most votes, were not accurate because of an ambiguity in the notice of the election which was not implemented uniformly across the diocese. But the Election Review Board says in summary that “the errors committed in connection with the election on April 21, 2009 are not reasonably likely to have affected the outcome of the elections”. They thus rejected the appeals, while criticising some parts of the electoral process.

Eva Brunne will now be consecrated as a bishop in Uppsala Cathedral on 8 November.


What is the future for Anglican conservatives? (cont.)

Two further contributions to this week’s Guardian Question series.

Julian Mann wrote Nazir-Ali is right.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali has been of one of the well-informed voices that has exploded the myth that the Qu’ran really belongs to moderate liberal Muslims and not to the militants who ex animo believe it.

But I would respectfully argue that Nazir-Ali would be better placed to counteract the persecution of Christians by Muslims as a diocesan bishop than he is in the peripatetic role he is anticipating for himself. It is difficult to see how an ex-bishop hopping on and off airplanes can influence foreign governments, such as Pakistan’s, to provide proper protection for their Christian minorities.

Apart from a newspaper editor, who is more “ex” than a diocesan bishop?

Jim Naughton wrote The right gains ground.

The Anglican Covenant may never come to pass. Or its doctrinal statements may be so unobjectionable, and its enforcement mechanisms so weak, that every church in the communion will hastily sign on. Or the gay-friendly churches threatened with diminished status may realise that they will always have more opportunities than resources for mission within the communion, and happily agree to run their trains on track number two.

Yet if Rowan Williams succeeds in his misguided effort to establish a single-issue magisterium that determines a church’s influence within the communion, a significant risk remains. That risk is run not by the Anglican left, which has nothing practical to lose, nor by the Anglican right, whose leaders embarrass less easily than Donald Trump and don’t fear public opprobrium. Rather, the parties at risk are the Church of England and the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, which may find themselves at the head of a communion synonymous with the agenda of the American right…


more writing about the covenant

Updated again Thursday evening

Not content with their recent magnum opus the Anglican Communion Institute has published another (shorter) essay, titled Communion Partner Dioceses and The Anglican Covenant.

We address below issues related to the capacity of CP dioceses to sign the Anglican Covenant. We consider the text of Section 4 of the Ridley Cambridge draft, ACC Resolution 14.11, the unique polity of TEC and the ACC constitution and membership schedule. Although the final wording of Section 4 has not yet been agreed, the principles discussed below, particularly the constitutional integrity of member churches, are fundamental to Anglicanism and not in dispute…

Pluralist has already responded.

Updates Mark Harris has now also responded with Why bother, #1

Why bother with the in house realignment crowd (the Communion Partners Bishops, the Anglican Communion Institute, the Covenant-Communion writers.) The logic chopping is so bad in some of their essays that the noise of it turns the brain to Wheatena.

Here is example #1…

And later, with Why bother, #2

The Covenant-Communion article, subject of my first “Why bother?” post, was published just the day after the seven bishops who visited with the Archbishop of Canterbury published their report.

The “realignment-from-within” Bishops, the RFW Bishops aka the Communion Bishops, have produced a somewhat odd report, as if jet lag had not yet left them able to work at full speed…

Mark Harris has also written The Anglican Covenant: A tempting but wormy apple.

The notion of an Anglican Covenant is as tempting for some as the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The promise is that the Anglican Covenant would make it clear to ourselves and to all the world just who we were and what we stood for and how we would comport ourselves as a Christian fellowship. Many Anglicans can just taste it! A sense of self esteem when we are compared to other world wide churches and a sense of religious order when we look at our own community. The Anglican Covenant would make us one of, you know, THEM, world wide Churches that have real apostolic heft, with bishops and all.

The Anglican Covenant promised a lot, but preliminary taste tests seem to indicate that the fruit is wormy. The apple, it seems, is a bit rotten in places…

Further criticism of the earlier ACI document comes from Tobias Haller who has written The Heterosectual Communion.

The soi-disant Anglican Communion Institute has a knack for inverting the old Latin tag, “the mountains labored and bore a mouse.” In this case the gang of three, augmented by an attorney and a bishop, have given birth to a mountain of verbiage which in the long run, fundamentally flawed as it is, amounts to less than a mole-hill…


an imagined community

Episcopal Café has published an essay by Frank M. Turner The imagined community of the Anglican Communion.

One of the most fertile political concepts to emerge in the past quarter-century is Benedict Anderson’s “imagined community.” Anderson, now a retired Cornell professor of international studies, government, and Asian studies, contended that the emergence of modern nationalism involved the creation among various groups living in their own localities with no direct interaction between or among themselves of the idea of an imagined community with other people on the basis of supposed common histories, customs, language, and ethnic identity. The reality of the community resided in the imagination of those drawn to these ideas that circulated in the print media of the day.

Over the past twenty years proponents of what is called “The Anglican Communion” have sought to establish a similar imagined ecclesiastical community among various provinces around the world whose churches derived in some fashion from the Church of England. In the case of the Episcopal Church the derivation of Episcopal orders was not direct but through the Scottish Episcopal Church and its character was strongly influenced by its eighteenth century American setting. The so-called Anglican Communion exemplifies a religious version of Anderson’s “imagined community.” At its most banal, the Communion exists to justify bishops traveling about the world on funds contributed by the baptized. At its worst, it has come to represent an imagined community several of whose Episcopal spokespeople now seek to persecute and degrade or relegate into a second track churches who have opened themselves, their process of ordination, and their episcopate to gay and lesbian people. In this respect, it this ecclesiastical imagined community replicates in its drive to exclusion the persecution that ethnic minorities have experienced at the hands of dominant nationalist groups from the early nineteenth century to the present day…


Statement from "Communion Partner" bishops

Updated Wednesday morning

The seven “Communion Partner” American bishops who recently visited Lambeth Palace have issued a statement.

The full text of their statement was first published at Cotton Country Anglican and is reproduced here below the fold.

It includes a recommendation to urge the adoption of the Anglican Covenant by the US General Convention. This would appear to be at odds with the views expressed recently by the ACI and the Bishop of Durham.

ENS now has a comprehensive report by Mary Frances Schjonberg at Seven Episcopal bishops urge covenant endorsement at all church levels.



perspectives on civil partnerships

Recently the Quakers made news on this topic. See for example, this report in The Times by Ruth Gledhill Quakers back gay marriage and call for reform:

The Quakers sanctioned gay marriages yesterday and called on the Government to give same-sex couples who marry in their ceremonies the same standing as heterosexual people.

Other Christian churches and religious denominations have approved blessings for same-sex civil partnerships but the Quakers are Britain’s first mainstream religious group to approve marriages for homosexuals…

Some background to this decision may be found in one of the papers from The Interfaith Legal Advisers Network meeting in June 2008:

At the second meeting, Network Members shared their experiences on how their own religious traditions interact with the law on marriage, including divorce, re-marriage, interfaith marriages and civil partnerships.

The papers are available as PDF files:

The concluding paragraphs of Mark Hill’s paper make interesting reading:

Thus we find ourselves in the curious position whereby Church of England clergy (i) are under a legally enforceable duty to solemnise the matrimony of atheists, non-believers and adherents of other faiths; (ii) have a statutory discretion to refuse to marry divorcées, transgendered and certain others exercisable in accordance with their conscience irrespective of the religious beliefs and affiliations of the couple; and (iii) are canonically prohibited from conducting a service of blessing following the registration of a civil partnership. Ironically, devout Christians in the latter category are denied the ministrations of the Church by way of a blessing whereas Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews and non-believer couples can compel the use Church of England rites and liturgy and the ministrations of its clergy. The pastoral damage which might result from this mixed message cannot be adequately explained away as an anomaly of the historic accident of establishment in a plural society.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 is one of a number of pieces of legislation that have had an impact upon religious communities and individuals. The Act creates a newly recognised legal relationship which cannot be entered into on religious premises, at which no religious service can be used, and the blessing of which is expressly forbidden by the Church of England. Moreover despite political and judicial rhetoric that civil partnerships are different and distinct from marriage, the exact differences have yet to be fully explored and clearly articulated by the domestic judiciary or by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Although the Act defines the relationship a being for two individuals of the same gender, physical intimacy, still less sexual fidelity, do not feature in the provisions of the Act. This means that the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement is wholly consistent with the letter of the legislation; whether it accords with popular perceptions of the legislation is another matter. Future judicial interpretation of the Act may pose challenges for the clergy of the Established Church. The implications for Church of England clergy who are commonly understood to be under a legal duty to solemnise the marriage of parishioners creates what can at best be styled a pastoral anomaly. Whether promoted by accident or design, the effects of the Civil Partnership Act on the nature of Establishment in times of changing social mores are far from insignificant and not yet fully understood.

(See PDF for omitted footnotes.)


CofE guidance on the Equality Act 2006

Here’s a document I should have linked over two years ago, but I only discovered its existence today.

The Church of England Archbishops’ Council published this guidance on the Equality Act 2006, prepared by the Legal Office at Church House (.rtf format), in May 2007.

As the CofE website page says:

Equality Act 2006

The Equality Act 2006 – relating to religion and belief, and sexual orientation – came into force on 30 April 2007. Guidance on this legislation has been issued by the Archbishops’ Council and is available here. The guidance is intended as a basic guide for dioceses, parishes and incumbents and should not be treated as a substitute for specific legal advice.


law and religion

The Law and Religion Scholars Network has published a database of recent cases dealing with religion and law.

The database can be found here. (hat tip Neil Addison).


What is the future for Anglican conservatives?

The Guardian’s website Comment is free Belief has a weekly Question. This week it is
What is the future for Anglican conservatives?

Has the long Anglican civil war ended in defeat for both sides? Within the church, the liberals have been outmanoeuvred and may be excluded from the communion’s decision-making bodies. But the cost of this has been to establish the conservatives as anti-gay, and in the wider culture that is a great defeat for them, too. So will they abandon that fight, and move to others? Will attitudes to Islam be the next great struggle within Christianity?

The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, returned last week to devote himself to the care of persecuted Christians; and it is Muslims, he thinks, who are doing the persecuting. In countries like Pakistan, this is clearly true. But will conservative Christians be able to construct a narrative against Islam in Europe and America? Should they be trying to do so? Does it really threaten the future of Christianity?

The first contribution comes from Savi Hensman who has written ‘Conservatives’ who want to reshape the communion.

Ordinarily, being conservative is about favouring the old over the new, conserving what has been passed down from previous generations and being cautious about change. The more extreme Anglican so-called conservatives however have been so keen to “purify” the communion of what they see as undesirable that they have pushed for radical reform. Largely in response to their demands, the Archbishop of Canterbury is calling for stricter limits to the freedom of member churches, though this proposal has met with strong objections from many in the Church of England and beyond.

These Anglican “conservatives” are perhaps best-known for their hostility to same-sex partnerships. Yet some are also passionately anti-Islamic. Archbishop Peter Akinola, for instance, as well as being vocally anti-gay, appears to believe that, in the Muslim-Christian conflict in Nigeria, communal violence can sometimes be justified…


Marmite Man

Richard Burridge recently reviewed two books for the Church Times. The review was headlined Dissecting the thinking of Marmite Man.

The primary reference is to Paul the Apostle, as Burridge explains:

ST PAUL is, to use a current phrase, a “Marmite Man” — which means that you either hate him or love him. For some, Paul is the great Christian hero, the first theologian of the Church, and the proponent of justification by faith. According to this view, the rediscovery of this through the atoning death of Christ drove the Reformation, and has given Christianity its distinct em­phasis ever since, especially in the Evangelical traditions.

For others, however, Paul is the bad guy: a convert to Christianity, even an apostate from his own Jewish faith, and a reactionary bigot whose letters have oppressed many groups down through history, notably women and, more recently, homosexuals.

But, one of the two books reviewed is Justification: God’s plan and Paul’s vision by Tom Wright. Burridge continues:

The Bishop of Durham is also a Marmite Man, who has legions of devotees. His talks sometimes generate an atmosphere akin to a pop concert or political rally, while the internet is awash with webpages about his work, complete with videos across YouTube. The books pouring from his pen are bought in such quantities that he has single­handedly kept SPCK afloat in difficult times for publishers.

Yet, like Paul, he is not without detractors. Many in the liberal tradition, especially in the Episcopal Church in the United States, view him as an inquisitor, sent to bring them to heel through the Windsor Process and the Anglican Covenant.

What is perhaps less well known among Church Times readers is that Bishop Tom is also viewed with grave suspicion by the conservative tradition, especially the ultra-Reformed, who want to preserve the emphasis on personal justification by faith derived by Luther from Paul. This is because he is the best-known exponent of the “new perspective on Paul” — indeed, he invented that phrase in his Tyndale lecture back in 1978!

Burridge goes on to explain further about the “new perspective” and to discuss the other book under review, and then concludes:

Love him or hate him, Tom Wright is a crucial figure in New Testament scholarship and the life of the Church today. Even more important, however, similarly loved or loathed, Paul remains the tower­ing figure at the centre of attempts to grasp what God has achieved for the whole human race through Jesus Christ.

Both these books help us under­stand our contemporary arguments as well as the eternal Plan. To assist further, however, we “wait with eager expectation” for Bishop Tom to put aside these wrangles, and complete the promised fourth volume of his magnum opus, devoted to Paul — with or without Marmite.


more legal moves in Fort Worth

The Diocese of Fort Worth has issued this press release:
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth files motion for a partial summary judgment in effort to recover property and assets of the Episcopal Church.

Attorneys for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, and the Episcopal Church have on Sept. 3, 2009 filed a motion for a partial summary judgment in the 141st District Court of Tarrant County, Texas as a step to recover property and assets of the Episcopal Church.

The defendants are former members of the Diocesan Corporation’s board of trustees and the former bishop of the diocese, all of whom have left the Episcopal Church and its Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth but continue to control significant Episcopal Church assets…

Follow the link above to find numerous related legal documents.

Earlier, the diocese had also filed a response to motions filed by attorneys for former bishop Jack L. Iker and former members of the corporation’s board. See this press release of 28 August:
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth responds to motions filed by former leadership.

The following excerpt is interesting:

As do many of those who have left the Episcopal Church, Bishop Iker continues to make inconsistent arguments about the hierarchical nature of the Episcopal Church. Just seven years ago, in 2002, he joined in challenging Bishop Jane Dixon’s authority as a bishop in a dispute in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. Then he represented in a “friend of the court” brief he and former Bishop Duncan authorized to be filed in the U.S. Appellate [Court] that

1. Bishops in the Episcopal Church have limited authority,
2. General Convention leads the church,
3. Dioceses are subordinate to the General Convention,
4. The Episcopal Church is not merely a loose federation of independent dioceses, and
5. That diocesan canons cannot be inconsistent with national Church canons.

Bishop Jane Dixon prevailed, and the court, in their decision, clearly determined that the Episcopal Church was hierarchical.

All these are opposite of the positions he and others take now.


opinions for today

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times about The Crucifixion and atrocities of the killing fields.

Christopher Rowland writes in the Guardian about Gerrard Winstanley, a 17th century religious reformer.

Earlier in the week, David Walker wrote on Cif belief about A galaxy away from Deep Thought. This was part of the Question of the Week series, see Why can’t computers think?

Alan Wilson wrote yesterday about an old Islamic folk tale, see Mercy seasons justice?

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times: Dump RE and see God as radical. (RE is an abbreviation for Religious Education.)

Last week, in the Church Times Phil Lucas wrote about the Quakers’ support of same-sex marriage. See This is one way to talk about gay partnerships.


ACI writes about the Anglican Covenant

Updated Saturday afternoon

The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc. has published a long (27 US-sized pages) paper, titled The Anglican Covenant: Shared Discernment Recognized By All.

A full footnoted text is also available for download here (.pdf)

The authors listed are:

The Reverend Canon Professor Christopher Seitz
The Reverend Dr. Philip Turner
The Reverend Dr. Ephraim Radner
Mark McCall, Esq.
The Rt. Reverend Dr. N. T. Wright Bishop of Durham

The document has also been published by Fulcrum over here.

Some extracts from the document:

The approved text of the Anglican Covenant is already serving as a lens through which individual Anglican churches are inevitably and accurately being measured in terms of their character as “Communion churches.” Thus, in ways not yet properly noted by all, the text endorsed by the Anglican Consultative Council, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Joint Standing Committee in May 2009 has already raised and to a large extent provisionally answered the question “who can adopt this Covenant?” It is the purpose of this paper to explain why and how this is so, and to do this in relation particularly to The Episcopal Church, although it should be noted that the Covenant’s defining substance can be applied analogously to other Anglican churches as well…

…On the other hand, The Episcopal Church professes to continue to consider the Anglican Covenant, resolving to “study and comment” on the approved text of the Covenant (and “any successive drafts”) and requesting a report with “draft legislation concerning this Church’s response to an Anglican Covenant” at the next General Convention. It should be noted that as originally moved this resolution called on The Episcopal Church to “make a provisional commitment to abide by the terms of the Anglican Covenant,” but the clause calling for a provisional commitment was removed.

That the actions of General Convention constitute instead a provisional rejection of the Anglican Covenant is manifest. This paper will support this conclusion in detail:

  • We begin by considering the substantial and well-developed body of Anglican thought utilized in expressing the commitments in the Covenant text. This body of precedent includes the articulation of several foundational concepts used in the Covenant, including “shared discernment,” “accountability,” “autonomy,” and the comprehensive term “Communion with autonomy and accountability.”
  • We then examine the specific commitments in the first three sections of the Anglican Covenant and show that they require (i) that there be Communion-wide decisions (“shared discernment”) on issues affecting the unity of the Communion and (ii) that all covenanting churches then recognize the decision reached by the Communion’s shared discernment.
  • We will then show that the shared discernment of the Communion on the issue of human sexuality is unequivocal. All four Instruments of Communion have spoken with one voice for over a decade, both in terms of general teaching and through specific recommendations.
  • We will conclude with a discussion of the function of Section 4 in the Covenant as a whole. On one level, Section 4 is not necessary, as some seem to think, to introduce meaningful consequences into the Covenant. Profound consequences are already entailed by the first three sections. Rather, a robust Section 4 is necessary in order to provide agreed procedures that all churches can trust. Without effective procedures in Section 4, others will emerge but they will not be ones that have been accepted in advance by all.

In this light, the actions of General Convention repudiating the teaching of the Communion on human sexuality can only be seen as the repudiation of the Covenant itself. The Communion and its shared discernment cannot be separated…


An Anglican church cannot simultaneously commit itself through the Anglican Covenant to shared discernment and reject that discernment; to interdependence and then act independently; to accountability and remain determined to be unaccountable. If the battle over homosexuality in The Episcopal Church is truly over, then so is the battle over the Anglican Covenant in The Episcopal Church, at least provisionally. As Christians, we live in hope that The Episcopal Church will at some future General Convention reverse the course to which it has committed itself, but we acknowledge the decisions that already have been taken. These decisions and actions run counter to the shared discernment of the Communion and the recommendations of the Instruments of Communion implementing this discernment. They are, therefore, also incompatible with the express substance, meaning, and committed direction of the first three Sections of the proposed Anglican Covenant. As a consequence, only a formal overturning by The Episcopal Church of these decisions and actions could place the church in a position capable of truly assuming the Covenant’s already articulated commitments. Until such time, The Episcopal Church has rejected the Covenant commitments openly and concretely, and her members and other Anglican churches within the Communion must take this into account. This conclusion is reached not on the basis of animus or prejudice, but on a straightforward and careful reading of the Covenant’s language and its meaning within the history of the Anglican Communion’s well-articulated life.

Two reactions to this paper:

Jim Naughton at Episcopal Café has written ACI says: we write the rules

…It is of course impossible to believe that anything these guys write is not motivated by animus of prejudice toward the Episcopal Church and its leadership. (If you doubt that have a look at the rantings of Christopher Seitz about Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in those errant emails.) But it is their presumptuousness here—in attempting to dictate to the Communion who can sign the covenant—that would be astonishing were it not predictable.

The document represents an effort here to do with the Covenant what was done with the Windsor Report. In the way the Wright set himself up as the sole surviving member of the panel that drafted the former document, the priests are trying to set Ephraim Radner up as the only drafter of the covenant to survive the great fire that swept through their meeting room just as the final gathering adjourned.

If, someday, the first things unchurched people think of when they hear the word Anglican is homophobe, Rowan Williams and these fellows will be the reason why. Their efforts to make the Communion safe for the most vicious sort of anti-gay bigots, and unwelcoming to those who make even timid moves toward full inclusion of GLBT Christians may be clumsy and transparently self-aggrandizing, but that doesn’t mean they may not succeed…

Adrian Worsfold has written Anglican Old School Sixth Form

Down in the Anglican Old School sixth form a message circulates that the Head of the sixth form wishes to speak to Christopher Sheitz, Philip Headturner, Fred Frame Righter, Davina McCall (who is male) and Newt S. Temperament. Also outside is the Head Boy of the Sixth Form, Roman Williams, who is waiting to go in after them…


news from American dioceses

In Fort Worth, ENS reports Breakaway bishop seeks challenge to authority of Episcopal bishop, others.

Attorneys for Jack Iker have asked a Texas court for permission to challenge the authority of Provisional Bishop Ted Gulick Jr. and the standing committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Iker, who left The Episcopal Church in 2008 but refused to relinquish church property or assets, is responding to a pending lawsuit filed by The Episcopal Church and the continuing Diocese of Fort Worth in April to establish the authority of the new diocesan leadership and to recover diocesan assets, according to chancellor Kathleen Wells…

In Pittsburgh, the Post-Gazette reports Episcopal bishop from Ohio nominated for Pittsburgh job.

Bishop Kenneth L. Price Jr. has been nominated to serve as a full-time interim bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that remained in the Episcopal Church after last year’s diocesan convention voted to secede…

The diocese that Bishop Price has been nominated to serve has 9,833 members in 28 parishes. It is governed by a standing committee of clergy and laity, with the part-time assistance of retired Bishop Robert H. Johnson, who commutes from North Carolina.

If elected at the Oct. 17 diocesan convention, Bishop Price will be a “provisional” bishop, with the authority of a diocesan bishop. He will serve a few years until a permanent bishop is elected…

See diocesan press release, and three letters.

In San Joaquin ENS reports Breakaway diocese asks California appeals court to review ruling.

Representatives for the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin have asked a California appellate court to review a July lower court decision affirming Bishop Jerry Lamb as the leader of the Episcopal Church in the Central California Valley diocese.

Bishop Jerry Lamb of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and the Episcopal Church will have until September 15 to respond to the petition filed by John-David Schofield and others.

Mike Glass, chancellor for the Episcopal diocese, said he had just received notice that the petition had been filed with the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno. After the diocese responds, Schofield will have until October 5 to submit a reply. The court will then decide whether or not to grant the review…


American bishops visit Lambeth

ENS has a report about the visit of seven bishops of the Episcopal Church USA visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury. Read Canterbury hosts seven Episcopal bishops for private meeting.

The bishops attending the meeting were Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, Gary Lillibridge of West Texas, Edward Little of Northern Indiana, Bill Love of Albany, Michael Smith of North Dakota, James Stanton of Dallas, and Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana.

A spokesperson in the Lambeth Palace press office confirmed that Williams had hosted the seven Episcopal bishops, but said that the meeting was private.

When asked for his reflections on the meeting, MacPherson told ENS that the bishops will have “something forthcoming soon.”

The Living Church reported recently that two additional bishops had signed the Anaheim Statement to which reference is made in the ENS story. See Anaheim Statement Continues to Gain Supporters.

The Rt. Rev. Charles E. Jenkins, III, Bishop of Louisiana, and the Rt. Rev. Harry W. Shipps, retired Bishop of Georgia, have endorsed the letter affirming their loyalty to the Anglican Communion in the wake of the adoption of resolutions C056 and D025 ending the moratoria forbidding the consecration of partnered gay clergy as bishops and the authorization of rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

However, Bishop Jenkins also was one of the bishops who voted against D025 but in favor of C056. He later said he voted for C056 because his colleagues had responded well to his plea for graciousness. “I felt I was honor-bound to vote for it because these bishops had done what I had asked them to do,” he said. ” I felt that the process was a ray of hope for The Episcopal Church.”

For the earlier list of 34 signatures, see here.

For the text of the statement, see here.

Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina recently made a lengthy address to his diocesan clergy about the stance towards TEC that he believes his diocese should now take. You can read that in full here.


more from Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

Updated Thursday afternoon

Martin Beckford has written further in the Telegraph about his interview with the (now former) Bishop of Rochester.

See The Bishop of Rochester farewell interview.

The earlier report was linked here.

At Cif belief Andrew Brown has commented about this, see The Anglican right at the crossroads.

As Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali retires, are conservative Anglicans beginning to see Islam as the main threat to their values?


bishops in the House of Lords

Two items from by Alex Stevenson:

Church fights on as bishop threat grows

The Church of England has rejected suggestions from Jack Straw it will give up its seats in the House of Lords without a fight.

Ending the association would be a “retrograde step”, a spokesman told, after heavy hints from the justice secretary yesterday that bishops may no longer be welcome.

Mr Straw told an Unlock Democracy seminar the exclusive presence of the Church of England among Britain’s religions in parliament was “anomalous” but refused to indicate whether he believed, in a predominantly elected House of Lords, their historic place should be protected.

He said he hopes a transition to an elected House of Lords will take place over three parliamentary cycles, meaning the decision on whether to go to an 80 per cent or 100 per cent elected chamber will not have to be taken for some years…

Analysis: Should bishops remain in the Lords?

One of the most distinctive features of the ‘mother of all parliaments’ is the institutionalised guarantee of seats for the Church of England’s top cloth. Twenty-six bishops are allowed to sit in the Lords by virtue of their ecclesiastical position as the ‘lords spiritual’.

It was the case half a millennium ago. It is the case today. It may not be the case in ten years’ time.

Up for grabs is the entire makeup of parliament’s second chamber – the extent of its powers, how it will be chosen, even its name. Jack Straw revealed yesterday his preference is for the Lords to be renamed the Senate. That gives a flavour of the extent of the changes afoot…