Thinking Anglicans

Uganda continued

Andrew Brown wrote last Thursday at Cif belief about A gay witch hunt in Uganda.

The Bishop of Bristol, Mike Hill had quite a lot to say about the Ugandan situation in his recent address to the Bristol Diocesan Synod. Read the PDF file here. The relevant portion is copied below the fold here.

I linked previously to the following item, but because it was buried in the updates at the bottom of another article, some may have missed it.

Bishop Joseph Abura of Karamoja Diocese, Province of the Anglican Church of Uganda, has written an article for Spero News. Read For some Anglicans, Vices are now Virtues. That diocese has links with Winchester rather than Bristol. Winchester diocese has made no public statement, as far as I know.

British and other politicians are now speaking up about this, at the Commonwealth conference now in progress in Trinidad:

Also, Newsweek has an article by Katie Paul Eric Goosby: No Hold on PEPFAR Funds for Uganda



Advent opinions

Gary Anderson writes in The Times that If sin creates a debt, almsgiving creates a heavenly credit.

Stephen Wang writes there also. He argues that Religious education is not brainwashing.

Mark Vernon writes in the Guardian about Galileo’s dependence on John Philoponus. Read Face to Faith.

Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief Who are the creationists?

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that [Parkour is] No way to overcome urban ennui.

Last week, Chris Chivers wrote in the Church Times about multiculturalism. See No model and no checks.

And Richard Parrish wrote about church schools. See Call us what we are: of the Church.


revised advice on swine flu

26 November 2009

Dear Bishop,

In July, during the first wave of the Swine Flu pandemic we issued national advice with regard to the administration of Holy Communion.
This advice was based on information and guidance received from the Department of Health which was geared to the situation at that time and the projected levels of risk suggested by the potential course of the pandemic. Since then the scientific understanding of the Swine Flu virus has advanced, further experience of the course of the epidemic has been gained, and the first stage of a vaccination programme, targeted at those most at risk from the virus, is nearing completion.

Throughout this period, our advice has been driven by the interests of public health, particularly for the protection of the vulnerable.
In the light of continuing consultation with the Department of Health, and with updated information on the course of the Swine Flu pandemic, we believe that we can now advise that the normal administration of Holy Communion ought to resume. This recommendation is subject to the guidelines issued in June ( which sets out good hygiene practice for public worship and which allows for local discretion in the event of outbreaks of pandemic flu in particular centres of population. We shall also continue to monitor the situation.

We wish to thank you for your patience and cooperation during this challenging period for both Church and Community and we are thankful that the pandemic has so far proved less severe than was feared.

Please pass this on to your colleagues in the diocese.

With every blessing,

+Rowan Cantuar +Sentamu Ebor


New Westminster court decision

Updated Friday

The Vancouver Sun reports Anglican diocese retains ownership of four disputed church properties.

The Anglican diocese of the Lower Mainland will be able to retain ownership of four disputed parish properties worth more than $20 million, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled today.

Justice Stephen Kelleher decided against conservative Anglican dissidents who went to court claiming they deserve to have legal control of St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver — one of the largest Anglican congregations in Canada — as well as three other Lower Mainland church properties…

The Diocese of New Westminster issued a press release, and also published the full text of the judgment as a PDF file.

See A Statement from the Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.

Reasons for Judgment is a PDF of Justice Kelleher’s decision.

The Anglican Network in Canada also isssued a press release, titled BC Supreme Court issues mixed decision in church property dispute.


Bishop Michael Ingham has issued a pastoral letter. It includes this paragraph:

…I intend to invite these congregations to remain in the buildings where they worship and to move forward together with us in the Diocese as one people under God. I intend to appoint new clergy who will respect and continue the worshipping style of the congregations, who will also work cooperatively with me and the Diocese…


another Ugandan update

Updated again Thursday morning

First, this article by Savi Hensman is more general, but nevertheless relevant to the Uganda issue.

Second, these articles by Colin Coward are specific:

The Guardian interview by Stephen Moss is at Archbishop John Sentamu: ‘Mammon has been given a pasting’.


The United Reformed Church (URC) has become the first major Christian denomination in the UK to issue a statement condemning Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

See URC breaks silence of UK churches over Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill.

And, from the USA, news via Episcopal Café of The Family’s role in the Ugandan anti-gay bill.

Warren Throckmorton also reports on this, see Author links sponsors of Anti-Homosexuality Bill to The Family.

The transcript of the radio programme to which these articles refer can be found here.


Bishop Joseph Abura of Karamoja Diocese, Province of the Anglican Church of Uganda, has written an article for Spero News. Read For some Anglicans, Vices are now Virtues.

Colin Coward notes here that this diocese is linked with the Deanery of Alton, in the Diocese of Winchester. As Colin says, the bishop’s views deserve to be read in full.

And as Episcopal Café notes here, ACNA Bishop John Guernsey serves under Abura.

See also More on American ties to Uganda.


letter to Uppsala and Canterbury

An Open letter from the LGBT Anglican Coalition* to the Archbishops of Uppsala and Canterbury has been published.

As Anglican clergy and lay people, we were dismayed to see that there was no official representation from the Church of England or any other Anglican Church from the British Isles at the service of consecration of Bishop Eva Brunne of Stockholm and Bishop Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund of Härnösand.

We do understand that, as the Church of England has not yet finalised plans for the ordination of women as bishops – though we hope and pray that will happen soon – it might not have been possible for an Anglican bishop to have laid hands on the ordinands as part of the consecration. But that should not have prevented a bishop from attending and representing the Archbishop of Canterbury at the consecration on November 8th in Uppsala…

Read the whole letter here.

*The LGBT Anglican Coalition is a new network of groups working for the full and equal inclusion of LGBT Christians within and beyond the Church of England.


Church Leaders in Liverpool condemn homophobia

Updated Friday 27 November

Church Leaders in Liverpool have issued a joint statement condemning homophobia. The statement has come from the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, United Reformed and Baptist Churches and the Society of Friends (Quakers).

So far the statement has only been reported by Pink News, having apparently been overlooked or ignored by the local and national press.

Church leaders in Liverpool release ‘groundbreaking’ condemnation of homophobia

Here is the statement as quoted by Pink News.

The church leaders condemn this latest homophobic attack and extend their sympathy to James Parkes’ family.

We are concerned by the number of homophobic incidents on Merseyside.

The leaders of the churches in Liverpool believe it is wrong for anyone in the community of which we are all part to be victimised, or threatened with victimisation, on account of their race, creed, colour or sexual orientation.

We affirm our commitment to work with others to build a community where all can have their place of belonging, feel welcome and live in safety.

As church leaders, we represent a rich variety of Christian traditions, with different perspectives on some issues, but we stand together in condemning the use of violence and other forms of intimidation against minority groups who are especially vulnerable.

The city of Liverpool has a long tradition of welcoming people of difference. In the past we have discovered, sometimes painfully, the importance of learning to live peacefully together. This lesson we must never forget.

The Liverpool church leaders include the Rt Revd James Jones (Bishop of Liverpool, Anglican), the Most Revd Patrick Kelly (Archbishop of Liverpool, Roman Catholic), the Revd Jim Booth (Methodist), the Revd Howard Sharp (URC) and the Revd Phil Jump (Baptist).

Update The statement is now online at the Diocese of Liverpool’s website: Statement from the Church Leaders in Liverpool. This makes it clear that the statement came from the Presidents of Churches Together in the Merseyside Region, ie the five church leaders listed above plus the local Salvation Commander, Major Michael Highton.


Ugandan update


Episcopal Life Online has published a report, Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill causes concern and caution.

The Chicago Consultation published a press release, Chicago Consultation Asks Anglican Leaders to Oppose Ugandan Anti-Gay Legislation.

The New Statesman published an article, Uganda is sanctioning gay genocide by Sigrid Rausing

And it got a mention on the Guardian website, Activists denounce Uganda’s homosexuality bill.

Warren Throckmorton has published further articles:

Ugandan university hosts dialogue; Exodus letter plays a role

College of Prayer, the Ugandan Parliament and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

The full text of Professor Sylvia Tamale’s address can be found here.


There’s a further ELO news release, Executive Council members call for special meeting on Uganda legislation.


Equality Bill: Opt In vs Opt Out


An announcement from the Cutting Edge Consortium:

Cutting Edge Consortium marks its launch by inviting you to continue the debates of the Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia & Human Rights Conferences 2007 & 2009


An open meeting to discuss religious exemptions to the legislation on sexuality and gender identity in the Equality Bill

Hosted by Clare Short MP, speakers will include:

  • Sarah Bourke (Tooks Chambers)
  • Andrew Copson (British Humanist Association)
  • Maleiha Malik (Muslim Women’s Network)
  • Michael Rubenstein (Equal Opportunities Review)

Date/Time: 1900-2100, Tuesday 24th November

Venue: Committee Room 5, House of Commons

The Cutting Edge Consortium includes the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement, Interfaith Alliance UK, British Humanist Association, Muslim Education Centre Oxford, Liberal Judaism, Trades Union Congress, and A:Gender, Centre for the Study of Christianity & Sexuality, Ekklesia, Inclusive Church, LGBT Consortium of Voluntary & Community Organisations.

Contact email:

Ekklesia has a report of the meeting, see Religious and secular groups unite to launch anti-discrimination coalition.


EU objections to UK equality legislation

Jamie Doward reports in today’s Observer:

The government is being forced by the European commission to rip up controversial exemptions that allow church bodies to refuse to employ homosexual staff.

It has emerged that the commission wrote to the government last week raising concerns that the UK had incorrectly implemented an EU directive prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of a person’s sexual orientation.

The ruling follows a complaint from the National Secular Society, which argued that the opt-outs went further than was permitted under the directive and had created “illegal discrimination against homosexuals”.

The commission agreed. A “reasoned opinion” by its lawyers informs the government that its “exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for religious employers are broader than that permitted by the directive”.

The highly unusual move means that the government now has no choice but to redraft anti-discrimination laws, which is likely to prompt a furore among church groups.

Read Brussels says churches must lift ban on employing homosexuals.

According to an EU press release, found via

Employment equality rules: reasoned opinion to the UK; case closed for Slovakia

The European Commission has today sent a reasoned opinion to the United Kingdom for incorrectly implementing EU rules prohibiting discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in employment and occupation (Directive 2000/78/EC, see also MEMO/08/69 ). It has also decided to close infringement proceedings concerning the same Directive against Slovakia as their national legislation has been brought into line with EU requirements.

“Tackling all forms of discrimination – especially at work – has been a priority for this Commission and for me personally. Our legal action has led to better protection against discrimination in workplaces across the EU,” said Equal Opportunities Commissioner Vladimír Špidla. “We call on the UK Government to make the necessary changes to its anti-discrimination legislation as soon as possible so as to fully comply with the EU rules. In this context, we welcome the proposed Equality Bill and hope that it will come into force quickly,” he added.

In the reasoned opinion sent to the United Kingdom, the Commission pointed out that:

  • there is no clear ban on ‘instruction to discriminate’ in national law and no clear appeals procedure in the case of disabled people;
  • exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for religious employers are broader than that permitted by the directive.

There’s a response to this news item at Cranmer EU forces Government to put gay equality over Christian conscience.


Rowan's Roman visit (2)

Updated Sunday lunchtime

Media reports following the meeting:

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope to ‘seek closer ties’ and

Robert Pigott Anglicans and Catholics attempt to bridge divide

New York Times Rachel Donadio Anglican Leader and Pope Hold ‘Cordial’ Talks

Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones Archbishop of Canterbury tells Pope that Catholic row left him feeling ‘awkward’

Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre Rowan Williams confronts the Pope over ‘poaching’ of clergy

A very useful commentary by Austen Ivereigh in America +Rowan and Pope Benedict ‘mend fences’


Observer John Hooper Williams faces pope over Vatican call for converts and also

Leader comment: A subtle champion of the faith

Ruth Gledhill has Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome: In giving we receive

The BBC radio programme Sunday has a segment starting about 32 minutes in. It includes a brief audio interview with Rowan Williams.

Bishop David Hamid has a useful blog entry, see Anglican-Roman Catholic Relations.


Rowan's Roman visit

Today The Times has a leader, Ecumenism rebuffed.

It includes this:

…In the interests of his own authority and the integrity of the Anglican tradition, he should give the pontiff two clear messages.

First, the Anglican Communion is not an arrangement of convenience among disparate parties. In creating the new structure, known as an apostolic constitution, the Vatican acted precipitately. Second, there is an impeccable case for the Church to welcome women priests and homosexual clergy. On these issues that have sharply divided Anglicans, Dr Williams is clearly liberal by temperament. Stating that position openly, regardless of its effect on Anglican-Catholic relations, is overdue…

The Independent also has a leader, Heavy hand of Rome. It says:

…Last month saw one of the most divisive acts by the Catholic Church in decades. The Pope unveiled an “apostolic constitution” which would allow practising Anglicans to join the Catholic Church. Under the new arrangement, Rome would even admit married Church of England clergy and allow entire congregations to continue using their traditional liturgy and prayer book. The Archbishop has been quietly criticising the Catholic move in recent days. But behind closed doors he ought to be more direct…

In the same paper:

It is the best and worst of times for Anglo-Catholic relations by Paul Woolley

A warm welcome from the Pope sows Anglican unease by Simon Caldwell

The Church Times website has an update to the printed version, Archbishop takes the argument to Rome by Paul Handley.

Andrew Brown wrote Graphic confusion in Rome at Cif belief yesterday. He links to this helpful flow chart from The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley.

A detailed critical analysis of Anglicanorum coetibus comes from Australia, where Charles Sherlock has written Pope skips language of love in Anglicans manifesto.


opinions for this weekend

Judith Maltby writes in the Guardian about the Creation Museum.

Madeleine Bunting writes at Cif belief about The rabbi’s moral muddle.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Checks and balances in the City.

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that The lesson of Noah’s Ark is that wolves can lie down with lambs.

Rowan Williams spoke to a TUC conference this week, on the topic Economics is ‘housekeeping’ for humanity. Short version here.

At Ekklesia Walter Altmann writes that Liberation theology is still alive and well.

And the Church Times has a take on the film Twilight. Read Stories with bite.


Equality Bill and the CofE

Today’s Church Times carries a report, written by me, about the CofE and the Equality Bill.

See Committee rejects C of E proposal on Equality Bill.

THE parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) disagreed strongly with the Archbishops’ Council over a proposal to modify the Equality Bill, it emerged this week. The Bill awaits the Report stage before its Third Reading in the House of Commons…

Links to the various documents mentioned can all be found at this earlier TA article JCHR report on Equality Bill.

Those coming late to the Equality Bill can catch up by reading the House of Commons Library Research Paper, Equality Bill Committee Stage Report, just published, and available here as a PDF file. This summarises all the activity of recent months, and explains what amendments have, and have not, been made to the bill as originally published.


Statement on Congo violence

Updated Friday morning

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Congo and the Bishop of Winchester today voiced their concerns over the continuing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read the Statement on DRC violence from Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of Congo and Bishop of Winchester.


The Bishop of Winchester spoke in the House of Lords on this subject. You can read what he said here.


Rowan Williams in Rome

Updated Friday morning

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave an address today, in Rome. He was the guest of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The address was part of a symposium being held at the Gregorian University, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Cardinal Willebrands, the first president of the Council.

You can read the full text of the address here.

Reporting of this event by the media:

Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury claims differences between Anglicans and Roman Catholics are not that great by Martin Beckford and Nick Squires

Guardian Rowan Williams urges Rome to rethink position on female bishops by Riazat Butt and John Hooper

The Times Archbishop of Canterbury tells Pope: no turning back on women priests by Ruth Gledhill and Richard Owen

Associated Press Struggling Anglican leader in Rome for papal talks by Nicole Wingfield

Reuters Anglican head challenges Vatican over women clergy

Agence France Presse Anglican leader urges ‘convergence’ with Catholics

Reporting on the blogs:

Alan Wilson What kind of Unity? and of Church?

Ruth Gledhill Rowan in Rome: The Fightback Begins


US Conservatives, African Churches and Homophobia

Political Research Associates has published a major report entitled Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia.

The report is written by The Revd Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia.

From the press release:

Groundbreaking PRA Investigation Exposes Influence of U.S. Religious Conservatives in Promoting Homophobia in Africa

U.S. Christian Right also mobilizes African clerics in U.S. “culture war” over ordination of LGBT clergy

Sexual minorities in Africa have become collateral damage to our domestic conflicts and culture wars as U.S. conservative evangelicals and those opposing gay pastors and bishops within mainline Protestant denominations woo Africans in their American fight, a groundbreaking investigation by Political Research Associates (PRA) discovered.

Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia, a new report by PRA Project Director Reverend Kapya Kaoma, exposes the U.S. Right’s promotion of an agenda in Africa that aims to criminalize homosexuality and otherwise infringe upon the human rights of LGBT people while also mobilizing African clerics in U.S. culture war battles. U.S. social conservatives who are in the minority in mainline churches depend on African religious leaders to legitimize their positions as their growing numbers makes African Christians more influential globally. These partnerships have succeeded in slowing the mainline Protestant churches’ recognition of the full equality of LGBT people. It’s working despite the real movement toward full equality within deonominations because of the sensitivity of liberals to the question of colonialism. Are we being insensitive to the realities of Africa? But, Kaoma argues, although U.S. conservatives have organized African religious leaders as a visible force opposing LGBT equality, it is not true that all of Africa takes this stand…


more comments on the Revision Committee

David Phillips, General Secretary of Church Society has written Women Bishops – what sort of provision?

Fulcrum has published a statement ‘Making way for Women Bishops’.


more on Anglicanorum Coetibus

From the USA, Bishop Christopher Epting comments on the Vatican’s Apostolic Constitution.

From Nigeria, the Sun has Pope Benedict’s revolutionary offer to Anglicans.

From England, Andrew Brown has written Backlash at Cif belief.

And from Rome via the USA, Cardinal Kasper on ‘Anglicanorum Coetibus’.


petition about Uganda

Ekklesia is spearheading a petition, Christian leaders must condemn Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Read more about this:

Williams under pressure as Christians condemn Ugandan anti-gay bill

The Archbishop and the anti-gay bill

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