Thinking Anglicans

Los Angeles consecrations

updated again Monday morning

Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Douglas Glasspool were consecrated bishops suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles yesterday.

Pat McCaughan reports this for Episcopal Life Online: Diane Bruce, Mary Glasspool consecrated bishops in joyous celebration in Los Angeles diocese.

Here are other reports, some reporting on the service and others previewing it.

Mitchell Landsberg in the Los Angeles Times L.A. region’s first two female Episcopal bishops are ordained
Arthur Hirsch in The Baltimore Sun Beyond the label
Gay Episcopal bishop-elect prepares for historic move to Los Angeles
Reuters U.S. Episcopal Church consecrates lesbian bishop
CNN Episcopal Church consecrates first openly lesbian bishop
Associated Press Episcopal church ordains its 2nd openly gay bishop
BBC US Church ordains lesbian bishop Mary Glasspool
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph First lesbian bishop to be consecrated by Anglican church in America
Jonathan Wynne-Jones comments in the Telegraph that Lesbian bishop proves that liberals have won the battle over gay clergy.


Giles Whittell and Ruth Gledhill in the Times Anglican rift deepens over Episcopalian ordination of lesbian bishop

Ruth Gledhill also has a Commentary article, For the sake of God, Anglican Church must put aside its differences.


Women bishops – GRAS response

GRAS (the Group for the Rescinding of the Act of Synod) have issued this press release.

GRAS For women as bishops, against discrimination

GRAS welcomes the May 2010 report of the Revision Committee mandated by the General Synod to set out the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England.

The vast majority of Anglo-Catholic priests and lay people in the Church of England (as well as the rest of the Church) support women becoming bishops with the many gifts they will bring. However as a general rule there is no future in trying to keep people in an organisation which they are threatening to leave, so GRAS hopes that the eventual principal Code of Practice will follow a vision of a Church which is fair to all who have decided to remain in it, whatever their views, making provision for conscience where necessary, but preventing any discrimination. A two-tier episcopacy would be totally unacceptable.

While GRAS, at first reading of the report from the Revision Committee, is content with the proposals, it is hoped that Bishops will not dilute the principal Code of Practice to include in their diocesan Codes of Practice anything which has been previously turned down by the synod, or rejected by the Revision Committee. It is very important that women are appointed as bishops on exactly the same terms as men with no impediment to their episcopal role.

Furthermore any rights given should be reciprocal – available equally to those who ask for women’s ministry in areas where this is not being offered as much as to those who oppose the ordination of women

GRAS believes that to give credibility to the proposed Code of Practice it is vital that the committee or group appointed to prepare the guidelines should draw at least one third of its members from among senior women in the Church.


mid-May opinion

John Cornwell in the Times explains Why Cardinal Newman is no saint. The Catholic Church plans to make Cardinal Newman a saint when the Pope comes to Britain. A private Vatican document supposedly proves he was responsible for a miracle of healing. It shows no such thing.

Roderick Strange, also in the Times, writes that John Henry Newman’s fidelity to his calling should inspire us all.

Earlier this month the Archbishop of Canterbury gave a sermon at an ecumenical service held at Charterhouse, London, to commemorate the 475th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of St John Houghton and his companions.
Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon to commemorate Carthusian Martyrs
This week he delivered a lecture entitled “Enriching the arguments: the refugee contribution to British life”.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times: Blowing on the embers of society.

Stephen Tomkins writes in The Guardian that Christian parties take a hammering. Christians in this country want real politicians, not the amateurs who lead the pitiful ‘Christian parties’.

Michael Nazir-Ali, also in The Guardian, writes that It’s not just the economy, stupid. Amid pressure to slash budgets, the new government must not leave the spiritual and moral agenda out of its plans.


New Zealand and the Covenant

The Anglican Communion Institute has published has published a paper Asking The Wrong Question: New Zealand and The Covenant. The paper is also available on the Fulcrum website.

The paper refers to Monday’s debate on the Anglican Covenant at the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia that we linked to earlier.


Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library Exhibition

Updated Saturday morning

Lambeth Palace Library is one of the earliest public libraries in England, founded in 1610 under the will of Archbishop Richard Bancroft. In celebration of its 400th anniversary in 2010, the Library is opening a fascinating exhibition to the public in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace.

The exhibition will run from 17 May – 23 July 2010. Find out more and buy tickets at Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library Exhibition: Summer 2010

There are several press previews, some with pictures.
Stephen Bates in The Guardian Lambeth Palace to exhibit 400 years of religious and royal treasures
Chris Smyth in the Times Palace unveils historic hoard of a sticky-fingered prelate
Paul Harris in the Mail Palace of treasures: Archbishop of Canterbury’s exhibition tells Britain’s story
London SE1 community website See Lambeth Palace Library treasures at 400th anniversary show
Press Association Royal and religious documents shown

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph A tortoise and the hair of the prophet


Women bishops – Church Times report

Paul Handley has a detailed article in the Church Times today about the report of the revision committee on the legislation to enable women to be bishops in the Church of England: Resolutions A, B, and C to go under draft women Measure.


Church of Ireland General Synod

The Church of Ireland held its annual General Synod in Christ Church Cathedral Dublin from Thursday 6 to Saturday 8 May, 2010. There is an official Synod 2010 website with links to reports, news items and photographs.

One debate included some discussion of the proposed Anglican Covenant:
Inter-Anglican and Ecumenical Relations Highlighted in Standing Committee Debate

Here is the Anglican Communion section of the Standing Committee report.


In June 2009, the Standing Committee appointed the Anglican Covenant Working Group to examine Section 4 of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant and to recommend a response.

In September 2009, the Standing Committee adopted the report of the Anglican Covenant Working Group (Appendix B on page 233) as the official response to Section 4 of the Ridley Cambridge draft of the Anglican Covenant from the Standing Committee of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland. This response was then forwarded to the Anglican Communion Office.

The final text of the Anglican Covenant (Appendix C on page 234) was submitted to the Standing Committee in January 2010. The Committee agreed to refer the final text of the Anglican Covenant to the Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue to enable the Commission to make a recommendation concerning appropriate action in relation to the Covenant at the General Synod 2011.


Having considered Section 4 of the Draft Anglican Covenant very carefully, and bearing in mind a full range of points of view, we believe that the text of Section 4 as it stands commends itself in the current circumstances. The term ‘Joint Standing Committee’ clearly needs to be updated following its re-styling at ACC-14. We appreciate the work of the former Covenant Design Group, not least in taking into account the Church of Ireland’s views, and encourage the Archbishop of Canterbury and his new group under the chairmanship of the Archbishop of Dublin as they seek to conclude the work on the text of the Covenant.


New Zealand General Synod

The meeting of the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has come to an end. We have already linked to reports of Monday’s debate on the Anglican Covenant, and some other business. Here for the record are reports of the remaining business.

Major reform for St John’s College
Synod votes to take action on Te Aute
Talking and tackling poverty
Educational milestone for Pasefika

Social justice comes under scrutiny
“Give us your best” – the mission challenge
Winston Halapua becomes our third Archbishop
Commission to look into resource sharing

Environment in the spotlight
An end to “hair curling” questions?
Synod to lobby Govt on family care
Journey over for Waikato and Taranaki
Synod seeks cuts in liquor advertising

Concern over growth of Sunday options


Church of England finances

Updated Wednesday afternoon

The report is available for download from Mazars, who carried out the study.
Church of England diocesan benchmarking study
Ruth Gledhill writes about it on her blog: One quarter of CofE dioceses ‘in the red’, new study shows

There are stories in today’s papers about a report on diocesan finances commissioned by the Church of England.

Ruth Gledhill and Alexandra Frean in the Times Church of England clergy asked to cut costs as recession takes toll

Alastair Jamieson in the Telegraph : Church of England ‘should prepare for staff cuts to deal with deficits’. One quarter of Church of England dioceses are running deficits, according to a report that suggests parishes prepare for staff cuts that could affect pastoral care and worship.

The Times offers this case study: Bath and Wells diocese sells family silver to tackle £2.5m deficit.


BBC – CofE views

The Church of England has responded to the BBC’s proposals for the future strategy of the corporation. Their press release, Church calls for BBC to go back to the future in its public service mission, is copied below the fold. The full response is online here.

Mark Sweney writes in The Guardian that Church of England voices fears over BBC cutbacks. Corporation’s strategy review could result in fewer religious programmes and less content online, says C of E.


1 Comment

Affirming Catholicism response to Report of the Women Bishops Revision Committee

Affirming Catholicism has issued this response to the proposals of the Report on Women Bishops published on Saturday.


Affirming Catholicism welcomes the Report of the Women Bishops Revision Committee which was published on Saturday 8th May 2010 (see Our gratitude and thanks are due to all those who served on the Revision and Steering Committees which have enabled the Church to come to this point. Now is the time to move forward, in line with the proposals, so that women can take their full place within the Church of England’s ministry.

As the Report says, the legislation proposed “will, for the first time, enable women to be admitted to all orders of ministry. By preserving intact the authority of the diocesan bishop it will avoid any changes in the historic understanding of that office and of the episcopate more generally. And by making statutory arrangements for those with theological difficulties it will endeavour to preserve that broad and comprehensive character of the Church of England that is one of its defining and most attractive features.” (para. 459)

The Chair of Affirming Catholicism, Rev’d Jonathan Clark, said, “The Report bears witness to the careful exploration of the many and complex issues surrounding this legislation, and to the desire of all the members of the Church to retain the highest possible degree of unity. We recognise with sadness that many traditionalist Catholics do not believe that the provision for those who disagree is adequate to their needs. For those many Catholics in the Church of England who affirm the ordained ministry of women, though, this is good news – and we encourage the General Synod to move forward in working with these proposals.”

Affirming Catholicism has always stated its desire both to see women admitted to the episcopate, and also to include within the Church those who oppose that decision. We continue to affirm that the Church cannot remain as one body if it is divided into two parts, one of which does not recognise the ministry of the other. We are encouraged that the proposed legislation preserves the Church’s integrity, and thus serves its mission.


Women bishops – more responses

Updated Tuesday afternoon

We linked to the announcement of the publication of the report of the revision committee on the legislation to enable women to be bishops in the Church of England on Saturday.

The Church Mouse has some comments from Pete Broadbent, one of the members of the committee: Bishop Pete Broadbent on the draft measures to allow women bishops

Mouse draws our attention to two statements issued by Forward in Faith UK.
FiF reacts to Revision Committee Report
Further reaction to Revision Committee Report
The second of these is from three members of the revision committee.

We have already posted the views of WATCH and some early press reports.

Reform has said that Report on Women in the Episcopate “provides no adequate framework” and sent a letter to every bishop.


New Zealand General Synod – Monday

The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia debated the proposed Anglican Covenant today (Monday). Anglican Taonga has a number of reports of the debate.

‘Fear not’ says Bishop Victoria
Covenant section seen as ‘punitive and unAnglican’
Covenant wins partial approval

The text of the Covenant is online here.

There are also these reports of weekend events at Synod.

Mission means mobilizing for justice, say Archbishops
Octopus or hammerhead? The Synod sermon
Archbishop Jabez gets pride of place at powhiri

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Women bishops – press reports

Martha Linden of the Press Association via The Independent Church faces fresh turmoil over women bishops

Christian Today CofE gears up for debate on women bishops at July Synod

Ruth Gledhill and Jack Grimston in the Times Draft law opens way for first women bishops by 2014

Jonathan Wynne-Jones in the Telegraph Church faces turmoil over plans for women bishops


WATCH response to Report of the Women Bishops Revision Committee

WATCH (Women and the Church) has issued this initial response to the proposals of the Report on Women Bishops published today.

WATCH encouraged by draft legislation on Women Bishops

WATCH is very encouraged by the Report of the Women Bishops Revision Committee which was published today, Saturday 8th May (see It proposes that women should be consecrated as bishops on the same basis as men. WATCH has argued for this for the last fifteen years, as there are sound theological reasons for it as well as scriptural warrant: the first chapter of Genesis says we are all made in the image of God, both male and female, and St Paul says that in Christ there is no male or female.

WATCH will be studying the details of the Report carefully over the coming days and will give a fuller response in due course. Our initial reaction is that we hope that the draft legislation will be approved by General Synod substantially as it stands in July and then be sent out to the 44 dioceses of the Church of England for them to debate and approve; which is the next stage in the legislative process.

A major concern of the Revision Committee has been how to draft legislation that does not create second-class bishops and yet enables those opposed to women bishops to remain in the Church. We are pleased that the Revision Committee has found a way forward that acknowledges their position, because it has never been the aim of WATCH to exclude those with a differing conscience. However, it is now right for the Church of England as a whole to accept women and men as equal before God in all parts of its ministry.


LGBT Anglican Coalition Rejoices at Los Angeles Consecrations

The LGBT Anglican Coalition has issued this press release welcoming the forthcoming consecration of Diane Bruce and Mary Glasspool as bishops in Los Angeles.

LGBT Anglican Coalition Rejoices at Los Angeles Consecrations

The LGBT Anglican Coalition rejoices that Diane Bruce and Mary Glasspool will be consecrated as bishops in Los Angeles on the 15th May.

The Revd Diane Bruce and the Revd Mary Glasspool were each elected by large majorities of the laity, clergy and bishops of the Diocese of Los Angeles. Subsequently, their elections were confirmed by clear majorities, both of the bishops with jurisdiction in The Episcopal Church of the United States and of the standing committees of that church’s dioceses.

We rejoice that two more women will become bishops in the Anglican Communion. We send them our congratulations and welcome them as bishops with the many gifts that each will bring to the church.

We are deeply sorry that the reaction from some within the Church of England to the election of Mary Glasspool has been negative.

A great many people within the Church of England are unequivocally supportive of The Episcopal Church in being open to the election of bishops without regard to gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We pray that the Communion at large will grow in confidence and maturity, so that it can learn to celebrate both those things which hold us together and those things over which we disagree.

We agree with the Chicago Consultation that:

“As a bishop, she is no threat to the work of God, or to Jesus’ commandment that we love our neighbour as ourselves.”

Honouring the relationships and ministries of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians, is, in the end, the only way in which the Anglican Communion can be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We hope that the whole Anglican Communion will come to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity we have among us.

We endorse the recent words of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori addressed to the primates of the Anglican Communion concerning Mary Glasspool’s election and confirmation:

“It represents a prayerful and thoughtful decision, made in good faith that this Church is ‘working out its salvation in fear and trembling, believing that God is at work in us’ (Philippians 2:12-13).”

The LGBT Anglican Coalition is “here to provide UK-based Christian LGBT organisations with opportunities to create resources for the Anglican community and to develop a shared voice for the full acceptance of LGBT people in the Anglican Communion”.

The Coalition members are:
Accepting Evangelicals
Changing Attitude
The Clergy Consultation
The Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians
Inclusive Church
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement
The Sibyls


post-election opinion

updated Saturday lunchtime to add Colin Slee’s article

Colin Slee writes a Face to faith article for The Guardian: A haven from crisis. Disillusioned Catholics can find solace in a church that combines tradition and modernity.

This week’s question at The Guardian’s Comment is Free belief is Is intelligent design bad theology?
Here are the responses.
Steve Fuller Science in God’s image The greatest scientific advances presuppose something that looks very like the mind of God.
Michael Ruse Intelligent design is an oxymoron Intelligent Design theory is a mountain of waffle resting on analogy. Neither scientists nor believers should touch it.
Mark Vernon Bad science, bad theology, and blasphemy ID is indeed bad theology. It implies that God is one more thing along with all the other things in the universe.

Geoffrey Rowell writes in a Credo column for the Times about Encountering divine love in the desert and in Norwich. The mystic Julian of Norwich discovered the depth of God’s love during sixteen divine apparitions.

Also in the Times Ruth Gledhill writes about Church factions in theological battle for soul of Cardinal Newman.

Christopher Howse looks at the history of rented seats in the UK’s churches in a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph: Renting the best seats in church.

Giles Fraser wrote this for the Church Times before Thursday’s general election: It’s time to prepare for lean years. But this is only available to subscribers. This might be a mistake so look again on Monday after the Church Times office opens.


Women Bishops legislation

The General Synod revision committee on the legislation to enable women to be bishops has completed its work and their report is published today, together with a draft measure and canon. The report will be debated at the July meeting of General Synod.

Here is the official press release.

Stage set for key July debates on legislation to enable women to be bishops
8 May 2010

The Church of England has today published the 142-page report of the Revision Committee that has been considering in detail the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England. Also published is an amended version of the draft, eleven clause Measure and associated draft Amending Canon.

The Committee has met on 16 occasions over the past 12 months and considered 114 submissions from members of the General Synod and a further 183 submissions from others. After much discussion the Committee rejected proposals aimed at fundamentally changing the approach of the legislation, whether by converting it into the simplest possible draft Measure or by creating more developed arrangements – whether through additional dioceses, a statutorily recognised society or some transfer of jurisdiction – for those unable to receive the ministry of female bishops.

As indicated to the General Synod in February 2010 (scroll to p6), the draft legislation continues to provide special arrangements for those with conscientious difficulties by way of delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory Code of Practice. The legislation has been amended in a number of detailed respects. Provision for statutory declarations by bishops unable to take part in the consecration of women as bishops or their ordination as priests has been removed as has an obligation on the Archbishops to nominate particular suffragan sees to be occupied by those who do not consecrate or ordain women.

Added to the Measure are new provisions requiring each diocesan bishop to draw up a scheme in his or her diocese that takes account of the national Code of Practice and provides local arrangements for the performance of certain episcopal functions in relation to parishes with conscientious difficulties. A further new provision allows such parishes to request, when there is a vacancy, that only a male incumbent or priest-in-charge be appointed.

It is expected that much of the July group of sessions of the General Synod in York (9-13 July) will be devoted to debating the Revision Committee’s report and conducting the Revision Stage of the legislation. This is the moment (equivalent to a parliamentary Report Stage) when all 470 members of the Synod have the opportunity to consider the draft legislation clause by clause and to vote on proposed amendments. Proposals rejected by the Revision Committee can be debated afresh at the Revision Stage.

Once the Revision Stage has been completed – and provided the Synod does not decide that further work is necessary in Revision Committee – the draft legislation will have to be referred to diocesan synods and cannot come back to the General Synod for final approval unless a majority of diocesan synods approve it.

The earliest that the legislation could achieve final approval in Synod (when two-thirds majorities in each of the Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity will be required) is 2012, following which parliamentary approval and the Royal Assent would be needed. 2014 remains the earliest realistic date when the first women might be consecrated as bishops.

There are some notes attached to the press release, and these are copied below the fold.



GS primates on the Covenant

The Christian Post has published a very lengthy article titled New Power Brokers Discuss Future of Anglicanism.

Paul Bagshaw has written about it, in a blog article No clear view of the Covenant from the South. He begins:

Singapore based The Christian Post has kindly set out the views of the Primates at the recent Global South Encounter concerning the Covenant in an article by Edmond Chua entitled New Power Brokers Discuss Future of Anglicanism.

I make the vote:
Yes 1
No 0
Depends on the Covenant / still negotiate 3
No clear statement 5 and (based on the tone of comments) probably no 2, probably yes 3

It was clear that the Global South leaders do not agree on the matter, despite a statement prior to the meeting that 20 Provinces would be expected to endorse the Covenant…

Related to these views, Anglican Mainstream has published the views of Chris Sugden from the May issue of Evanglicals Now. This is in an article headed The Covenant, Canterbury and Persecution. The latter is a reference to Nigeria. His comments include this:

…The UK website group Fulcrum have now recognized that TEC was dishonest from the beginning. But they are still blinded by the belief that Canterbury remains the key to the unity of the Communion and the integrity of orthodox faith in the Communion.

The real issue is not the Covenant, but the Archbishop of Canterbury. His track record in protecting and including TEC is obvious – namely reneging on the agreements at Dromantine (so that TEC was present at the ACC in Nottingham), inviting the consecrators of Gene Robinson to Lambeth ( in advance of the conclusion of the Dar-es-Salaam timetable), and undermining the debate at the ACC in Jamaica which would have mandated a covenant with sanctions…


New Zealand General Synod

The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia will meet from 8 to 13 May.

Anglican Taonga, the “communications arm of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia” has two news items about the meeting.
Synod primed for covenant debate
New archbishop likely to be named at General Synod

But that appears to be all that is officially available online. In particular, none of the papers are available. This does not please everybody and Bosco Peters says put General Synod online.