Thinking Anglicans

Preparing for Women as Bishops (cont.)

The series of papers from WATCH was first reported here.

More papers are now available as PDF files from here:

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Canadian resolution on Uganda

The full text of the resolution passed by the Canadian Council of General Synod on Uganda last weekend is as follows:


This Council of General Synod expresses its dismay and concern over the draft proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently before the Parliament of Uganda.

The proposed Bill would severely impede the human rights of Ugandan citizens both at home and abroad by infringing freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, freedom of organization, and legitimate advocacy of civil rights. It would impose excessive and cruel penalties on persons who experience same-sex attraction as well as those who counsel, support, and advise them, including family members and clergy.

We affirm that our baptismal covenant requires us to “respect the dignity of every human being” and to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbour as ourselves.” We further note that 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 called upon the Church to reject the irrational fear of homosexual persons and to create opportunities to listen to the voice and experience of homosexual Christians. We recall that the Primates Meeting in Dromantine, Ireland 2005 condemned all persecution and violence towards homosexual persons. Clearly, the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill fails to meet these standards.

We therefore call upon the Church of the Province of Uganda to oppose this Private Member’s Bill: and we call upon our own Government of Canada, through the Minister of External Affairs, to convey to the Government of Uganda a deep sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights and, through diplomatic channels, to press for its withdrawal; and we ask the Primate to send this message to the appropriate bodies.

Moved by: Bishop Michael Ingham

Seconded by: Mr. Robert Falby QC


back to Uganda's legislative proposal


Very little progress appears to have been made in obtaining any public statement by Anglican leaders anywhere against the proposed legislation. But see update below.

Meanwhile the latest news report is Museveni warns against homosexuality.

The latest Church Times report is Ugandans clarify view on gay Bill by Pat Ashworth.

Warren Throckmorton now reports Exodus opposes Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009: Open letter to the President of Uganda.

Earlier, he had written How the Anti-Homosexuality Bill could impair AIDS progress in Uganda.

Dr Throckmorton and Andrew Marin have organised a Uganda World Prayer Day.


The Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod has passed the following resolution (scroll to the very bottom of the page):


COGS passed a resolution that expressed its dismay and concern over the draft proposed anti-homosexuality bill currently before the parliament of Uganda. COGS resolved to call upon the church of the province of Uganda to oppose this private member’s bill, and called upon the Government of Canada, through the Minister of External Affairs, to convey to the government of Uganda a deep sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights and through diplomatic channels, to press for its withdrawal; and asked the Primate to send this message to the appropriate bodies.


Reform on the Revision Committee

Reform has issued a press release:

The decision of the General Synod’s Revision Committee to back away from proposals to give opponents of women bishops a way of staying in the Church of England has “overturned the will of Synod, created the spectre of confrontation, and risks extending the controversy for another five years,” according to the chairman of Reform, the Rev’d Rod Thomas.

Responding to the announcement made on Saturday 14th November that the Revision Committee had failed to approve the transfer of jurisdiction from female to male bishops where parishes could not accept their oversight, Rod Thomas said:

“At last February’s General Synod there was a clear desire to provide legislative safeguards for those who could not, in conscience, accept the oversight of women bishops. This has now been overturned by the Revision Committee. Whereas there was a prospect of agreement, the Revision Committee has now set the General Synod on a course of confrontation. It has served the Church badly.

“There has been much speculation about Anglo-Catholics leaving the Church of England for Rome. What has been overlooked is the number of large evangelical churches which the Church of England now risks losing – not to Rome, but to independence or alternative Anglican affiliations.

“Within the General Synod there will be many who will be deeply unhappy at the bullying tactics being used to dismiss opponents of the proposed new legislation. Some evangelicals who do support the introduction of women bishops will nevertheless vote against proposals which have the effect of excluding other evangelicals. This means that by the time the proposals have finished their tortuous progress through the General Synod, they will be likely to fail, since they will be unable to garner the two thirds majority support needed.

“It may be that in the providence of God, the result of the Revision Committee’s decision may be the reverse of what they intend: that this unbiblical move to put women in positions of headship in the church will fail. Reform will now renew its commitment to work towards this outcome.”


MCU on the Revision Committee

The Modern Churchpeople’s Union has written about Women Bishops and the Revision Committee:

MCU has published a paper that welcomes the Revision Committee’s change of policy. However, it questions the emphasis on seeking to satisfy the opponents of women bishops while showing no comparable concern for the majority appalled by the continuing gender discrimination.

The paper argues

  • that the proposed proliferation of different classes of bishops (women, men consecrated or not consecrated by women, men who do or do not ordain women, etc) should be resisted;
  • that church leaders should resist the influence of magical views of the sacraments, treating priests and bishops as if the value of their ministry depended on whether their appointment followed precise rules;
  • that the ‘theology of taint’ – the idea that a bishop who has once ordained a woman priest is no longer an acceptable bishop – is not acceptable and no allowance should be made for it;
  • that resistance to change, while characteristic of many reactionary religious campaigns, is unrealistic since churches do, and need to, make changes;
  • that the increasing appeal to the individual conscience as though it were a basic unchanging fact, rather than an expression of what the individual currently believes to be true, should be resisted;
  • and that the current reactionary mood among church leaders is in danger of being made permanent by the proposed Anglican Covenant.

Read the whole paper, either on the web, or in a PDF file.


JCHR report on Equality Bill


The Joint Committee on Human Rights has published its report Legislative Scrutiny: Equality Bill.

The web version of this report starts here. A PDF version is also available from here.

The portions of the report relating to Religion are interesting.

Go here for the section headed EMPLOYMENT BY ORGANISATIONS BASED UPON RELIGION OR BELIEF. This starts at paragraph 164, and should be read in full. The evidence given to another committee by the CofE and Roman Catholic Church representatives is considered. Evidence given to this committee by the Church of England can be found starting at page Ev 114 of the PDF. That is page 250 of 344! A third memorandum from the Board of Education and the National Society is at page Ev 190 (322 of the PDF).

There are direct links to each of the Church of England memoranda:

The JCHR conclusions include these paragraphs:

174. We welcome the clarification in Schedule 9(2) and 9(3) of the circumstances in which occupational requirements linked to a religious belief or ethos can be imposed by faith-based organisations and organised religious groups. We accept that some limitations on non-discrimination on grounds of religion or belief may be justified and appropriate in relation to religious organisations and that the exemption in Schedule 9(2) fulfils that role. We also consider that in general the provisions of Schedule 9(2) and 9(3) strike the correct balance between the right to equality and non-discrimination and the rights to freedom of religion or belief and association, especially if interpreted in line with the approach set out in Amicus v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, which emphasised the need for such exceptions to the general prohibition on direct discrimination to be “construed strictly” on the basis that they are “a derogation from the principle of equal treatment”.

175. We consider that substantial grounds exist for doubting whether the “religious ethos” exception provided for in Schedule 9(3) permits organisations with a religious ethos to impose wide-ranging requirements on employees to adhere to religious doctrine in their lifestyles and personal relationships, by for example requiring employees to manifest their religious beliefs by refraining from homosexual acts. We agree with the Government that it is “very difficult to see how in practice beliefs in lifestyles or personal relationships could constitute a religious belief which is a requirement for a job, other than ministers of religion” (which is covered by a different exception). This should put beyond doubt the position that the exemption in Schedule 9(3) cannot be used to discriminate on the basis of sexual conduct linked to sexual orientation. We support this view and recommend that this be made clear in the Bill.

176. We are concerned about the status of employees of organisations delivering public services who find themselves as employees of organisations with a religious ethos who have been contracted to provide the public service. They have a right not to be subjected to religious discrimination on the basis of the ethos of the contracting organisation if they are otherwise performing their job satisfactorily. We are concerned that the widespread use of the “religious ethos” exception set out in Schedule 9(3) by organisations based on a particular religion or belief who are contracted to deliver services on behalf of public authorities could result in public functions being discharged by organisations in receipt of public funds who are nevertheless perceived to discriminate on the basis of religion or belief.


opinions in mid-November

Roderick Strange writes in The Times ‘In Heaven we shall see each other as we really are’.

Earlier in the week, Libby Purves wrote The key to rubbing along in perfect harmony.

Last week in the Church Times Richard Harries wrote Gangmasters need tighter controls.

Michael Reiss wrote The case of Adam’s navel.

And The Revd Professor Alison Milbank was interviewed by Terence Handley MacMath. (Best line: Fresh Expressions is a brand of cat litter in America.)

Over at Cif belief Mark Dowd wrote All aboard the ARC.

And the speech by Rowan Williams on New Perspectives on Faith and Development, was reproduced at Cif belief under the title Relating intelligently to religion. Here’s the short version:

Presenting a broader agenda for development, which seeks to define human flourishing as more than just material well-being, Dr Williams suggests that all engaged in the process would benefit by rediscovering their own humanity in the humanity of the other. This would lead, he suggests, to a ‘proper distribution of dignity’. Dr Williams acknowledges the challenges to collaboration in the perceptions secular development agencies and faith communities have of each other, but emphasises the overwhelming benefits, indeed the imperative, of both to commit to mutual learning in order to collaborate for the well-being of humanity and the planet.


Women Bishops – more from the revision committee

Updated again Saturday evening

The Church of England issued the press release below this morning.

The essential parts are the third and fourth paragraphs.

Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate
14 November 2009

The Revision Committee met for its third scheduled meeting yesterday (13 November) since 8 October (see earlier statement). It concluded a substantial exploration of ways in which the draft legislation could be amended to enable certain functions to be vested by statute in bishops who would provide oversight for those unable to receive the episcopal and/or priestly ministry of women.

After much discussion, the members of the Committee were unable to identify a basis for specifying particular functions for vesting which commanded sufficient support both from those in favour of the ordination of women as bishops and those unable to support that development. As a result all of the proposals for vesting particular functions by statute were defeated.

The effect of the Committee’s decision is therefore that such arrangements as are made for those unable to receive the episcopal ministry of women will need to be by way of delegation from the diocesan bishop rather than vesting.

There remain important issues for the Committee to determine at its forthcoming meetings over the shape of the proposed legislation in the light of this decision, in particular whether to retain a statutory code of practice or adopt the simplest possible legislation.

The work of a Revision Committee in scrutinising draft legislation, and in considering submissions to amend it, is only part of a longer legislative process. The Revision Committee on this draft legislation will report to the full General Synod at the conclusion of its work and the Synod will debate its proposals and have its own opportunity to support, amend or invite further reconsideration of the legislation by the Revision Committee. Further stages in the legislative process would require consideration of any legislation by the Diocesan Synods of the Church of England, final approval by the General Synod, Parliamentary approval and the Royal Assent.


Bishop David Thomson has published some very interesting additional material, see here. A copy of it is also here, below the fold.

WATCH has already published a press release.

Saturday, 14th November 2009 – for immediate release


WATCH is delighted to hear that the Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate has decided that legislation for women bishops will no longer include proposals for the mandatory transfer of authority – the vesting of particular functions by law – in bishops who would provide oversight for those unable to receive the Episcopal and/or priestly ministry of women.

WATCH commends the recent work of the Revision Committee, which met yesterday to explore how the previous proposed arrangements could be made to work. WATCH is aware of the huge outcry from members of General Synod and from other Church members to the earlier announcement of the Revision Committee to make changes in law that would have resulted in a two-tier episcopate.

WATCH Chair, Christina Rees said: “This is a real breakthrough. I am delighted that now we can look forward to having women as bishops on the same terms that men are bishops. Women will bring valuable different perspectives and ways of doing things and will also bring a sorely needed wholeness to the Episcopal leadership of our Church. The House of Bishops will cease to be the ‘men only’ club it has been and will be more representative of the people whom the Church exists to serve. Now the Church will be able to draw on the experience and wisdom of many gifted women. We know from 15 years of having women as priests that they are often able to reach people and approach situations in ways that are creative and empowering for many others.”

WATCH is pleased with the outcome on two counts: first, and most importantly, the new proposals express the theological understanding of the Church about the status of baptised Christians and about the relationship between men and women and God. Secondly, the Revision Committee has shown that it has heeded the will of General Synod to draft legislation that would not have arrangements in law that would differentiate between male and female bishops.

WATCH continues to urge to Revision Committee to bring proposals to General Synod in February 2010 which adopt the simplest possible legislation, so that the Church of England can proceed to opening the Episcopate to women in such a way that the nature of the Episcopate is retained and the Church can best communicate its belief that women and men are equal in the eyes of God.

Ed Tomlinson has blogged about this, see Church of England’s response is forming….

Bishop Alan Wilson has written, Revision Committee: Tough Salami.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones writes for the Sunday Telegraph about a Snub to traditionalists over women bishops.



church press covers Anglicanorum Coetibus

The Church Times has Vatican publishes text of Anglicanorum Coetibus

and a Leader, Checkpoint Charlie for Anglicans.

The Tablet has Vatican issues constitution for Anglicans by Robert Mickens

and What were they thinking of? by Nicholas Lash (2 more articles are subscriber-only for another week)

and an Editorial, The other path to Rome.

In response to a request from a regular commenter, here also are two items from the Catholic Herald:

Rome opens arms to world’s Anglicans by Anna Arco

and an Editorial, Pope Benedict has called the Anglicans’ bluff.


more on Peterborough


We previously reported the appointment of a new Bishop of Peterborough.

This got noticed in the Diary column of the Guardian.

The Church Times has a news report today, but that is subscriber-only for another week. However, the appointment is also discussed by Giles Fraser in his column, Liberals on the front line.

…All of this is why I had my head in my hands when I read the words of the new Bishop of Peterborough, the Ven. Donald Allister, currently Archdeacon of Chester. “Liberalism is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against the Church,” he wrote a few years back.

To be fair, at the press conference to announce his episcopate he did what all new bishops do and said that he found labels “unhelpful”. But that cannot have been his view when he wrote: “I am very happy to work with Anglo-Catholics in fight­ing battles against liberalism, but the day must come when we need to fight against the ritualism and sacra­mentalism which they have intro­duced into the Church of England.”

Why do people so consistently fail to understand the idea of liberal­ism? Liberalism is not a wishy-washy style of biblical interpre­tation, or an indifference to biblical truth — although the Bishop’s advice here is pretty amazing: “If in doubt what a passage means or how it applies we will believe it literally and obey it absolutely.” What about Psalm 137 verse 9?

No, liberalism is a commitment to human freedom and a hatred of authoritarianism. That is why many of us celebrate the Reforma­tion as an emancipation from the abuses of Roman authority. To describe liberalism as satanic is to align oneself with flag-burning ayatollahs who chant against the United States as the “great Satan” and against Israel as the “little Satan”…

Source for the quotes is this PDF file at Church Society.

More writing by the new bishop can be found in this series on the Thirty-nine Articles.

And there is also a paper on Lay presidency at the Lord’s Table on the Reform website.


Earlier there were two posts about this by John Richardson see
The new Bishop of Peterborough said what?
and also
The Bishop of Peterborough said what else?
(h/t Toby)


UK government accepts Waddington amendment

For the background to this, see previous posts:
Waddington amendment upheld in Lords July 2009
bishops oppose repeal of Waddington amendment May 2009
Anglican and Roman church bodies comment jointly November 2007
incitement extension proposed October 2007

Today, the UK government finally accepted, with reluctance, the amendment supported repeatedly, by the House of Lords and rejected, also repeatedly, by the House of Commons.

See today’s news reports:

The Bishop of Winchester spoke in one of the debates, and you can read what he said here.


debate in Uganda

Updated again Friday evening

GayUganda reports Dialogue?

The Makerere University Human Rights and Peace Center

present a public dialogue on The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009

Time: 1pm-5 pm
Venue: Faculty of Law Auditorium


  • Hon. David Bahati, MP Ndorwa East and Sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
  • Assoc. Prof. Sylvia Tamale, Coordinator, Law, Gender & Sexuality Research Project, Faculty of Law.
  • Rev. Canon. Aaron Mwesigye, Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church of Uganda
  • Maj. Rubaramira Ruranga, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS Activist


Warren Throckmorton has Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill discussed on Premier Christian Radio.

Friday evening update

Ekklesia reports Archbishop of York intends to say silent on Ugandan anti-gay bill.

The Archbishop of York, who grew up in rural Uganda, has said that he intends to stay silent about proposed legislation in the country which would introduce the death penalty for certain consensual homosexual acts.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) attempted to contact both Archbishop John Sentamu and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, hoping they would speak out unequivocally against the proposed laws.

The Archbishop of York’s office told LGCM that Archbishop Sentamu “will not be making a statement on this issue”. The Archbishop of Canterbury has not responded…


records of House of Commons debate

The Hansard record of the adjournment debate on “The Application of the Sex Discrimination Legislation to Religious Organisations” is now available, starting here.

TheyWorkForYou version is now also available here.

Video of the debate is available at BBC Democracy Live, over here.


Riazat Butt has written a report, now on the Guardian website, The church of England: above the law?


reports of the Swedish consecrations

There are now a number of English language reports available:

The Local Sweden’s first lesbian bishop consecrated in Uppsala

Episcopal News Service SWEDEN: Lesbian priest ordained as Lutheran bishop of Stockholm

Canadian Press Sweden’s Lutheran church ordains first openly lesbian bishop

Bishop David Hamid’s blog, Eurobishop New Bishop of Stockholm Consecrated (Church of Sweden)

Earlier reports here.


more Ugandan reports

Updated again Wednesday morning

IPS has RIGHTS-UGANDA: “You Cannot Tell Me You Will Kill Me Because I’m Gay”. This includes quotes from Canon Aaron Mwesigye Kafundizeki, the Church of Uganda provincial secretary:

“It is an important law, but the provision related to the death penalty may prevent this law from being passed, because death should not be accepted as a punishment. Therefore propose another form of punishment instead of death.”

Kafundizeki said pushing for extra territorial jurisdiction would be counter-productive.

“The Church of Uganda is saying we need to limit ourselves to the Ugandan territory, instead of extra territorial jurisdiction, because the Ugandan constitution is very clear on protocols and ratifications. Going beyond the borders will be counter-productive,” he says.

Compare this with the CofU official statement here.

Warren Throckmorton has written at Crosswalk Adding D to ABC: How a Proposed Ban on Homosexuality in Uganda Will Undo AIDS Progress.

Box Turtle Bulletin has further reports:
Uganda’s “Kill Gays” bill is “Providing Leadership to the World”
More American Evangelical Ties To Uganda’s Anti-Gay Politicians
The “Biblical” Worldwide Anglican Communion

Changing Attitude has further reports from “Gug”, a gay Ugandan, here, and here, and also here.

LGCM has issued a press release, Lesbian and Gay Christians speak out against Uganda’s proposed “Anti-Homosexuality” Bill.

Cif belief has published Unite to condemn homophobic laws by Davis Mac-Iyalla.

An open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and primates of the Anglican Communion on Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill

To the Archbishop of Canterbury and primates of the Anglican Communion,

I am writing to you to call on the Church of England and the wider Anglican community to condemn Uganda’s proposed anti-homosexuality bill, which will make gay relations between disabled people and those under 18 a capital offence. “Carnal knowledge against the order of nature” – as homosexuality is termed in Ugandan law – is already punishable with life imprisonment. However, if passed, the new bill will widen the scope, including promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house “for purposes of homosexuality”. This means that the relatives and friends of gay couples could face execution if they allow them to stay in their homes…

Warren Throckmorton has a further posting, The future is now, part two – Ugandan want ad.


media coverage of the apostolic constitution

Updated Wednesday

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter has published Vatican releases rules for ex-Anglicans, insists ‘no change’ on celibacy.

Graham Kings has published at Cif belief The pope’s Anglican division. Also published in a longer version as the November Fulcrum newsletter.

Another article actually written before the publication of the texts today, but definitely worth reading, is Ordinary Anglicans? by Bosco Peters.

Andrew Brown has written at Cif belief about The Vatican’s small print for Anglicans.

Episcopal Life Online has Vatican’s Apostolic Constitution explained by Bill Franklin.

Ruth Gledhill has written at The Times Vatican holds line on celibacy for Anglican rebels. Headline later changed to Vatican opens its doors to married Anglican clergy.

Telegraph Nick Pisa Pope ‘is not trying to lure Anglicans into the Catholic Church’

BBC Robert Pigott Anglicans welcome offer from Rome

Daily Mail Steve Doughty Pope allows married Anglicans to become Catholic priests in bid to tempt them to defect

Living Church Responses Varied as Vatican Offers Plan Details

Ruth Gledhill has a video interview with Archbishop Vincent Nichols here. And an earlier blog entry here.


reactions to Anglicanorum coetibus

The initial official CofE response was already linked in the previous item.

After that, the first group reaction to reach TA was from Church Society. See Response from the Council of Church Society to the plans by the Church of Rome to receive disaffected Anglicans.

Note: strictly speaking this is not a response to the now published text, as it says: “The statement was agreed by the Council at its meeting on 4 November 2009.”

We will add responses from other groups as they arrive. Press responses will be in a separate article.

Forward in Faith has issued A first reaction to today’s publication of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

The Bishop of St Albans has issued this statement.

The Primate of Nigeria Archbishop Peter Akinola has issued a Statement from GAFCON/FCA Primates Council.


Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus

Updated Monday lunchtime

The Apostolic Constitution providing for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans Entering into Full Communion with the Catholic Church has been published by the Vatican today.
Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus
Complementary Norms for the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus

The Vatican has also issued this press release which includes both the above texts and an article The Significance of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus by Fr Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Damian Thompson has published the texts in the Telegraph.
Apostolic Constitution: Vatican publishes the details
Apostolic Constitution: the full text

There is a Church of England response: Apostolic Constitution – Bishop of Guildford responds


no change to advice on Swine Flu

Back on 16 September, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued an update statement to the whole College of Bishops.

In this they said they would review the policy again at the end of October. They have now issued a further statement, which once again is tucked away on the CofE website (left hand column of this page). The text of the latest statement is reproduced in full below the fold.

It again makes no change to the original policy issued in July and says the policy will be reviewed again in one month’s time.



opinions before Remembrance Sunday

Giles Fraser writes in this week’s Church Times about Onward faithful eco-warriors.

Last week, Jonathan Bartley had Thoughts on Thought for the Day in the Church Times.

And John Shelby Spong was interviewed in the Church Times by Terence Handley McMath.

Ruth Gledhill wrote in The Times about the lecture given by Jonathan Sacks. See Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks: Islam must separate religion from power. And also Chief Rabbi: fundamentalism heading our way ‘with force of hurricane’. The full text of his lecture is available from the foot of this page, as a .doc file.

The Guardian today has an article about the Religious Experience Research Centre by Roger Tagholm.

In The Times Peter Townley writes about Forty years in the wilderness in East Germany.