Thinking Anglicans


Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Sunday 25 July 2010, the feast of St James. The Guardian has published the text of her sermon: The search for dignity. ‘We must challenge the human tendency to insist that dignity doesn’t apply to the poor, or to immigrants, or to women, or Muslims, or gay and lesbian people.’

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Excess is reassuring as well as attractive.

This week’s The Question in The Guardian is Do we have a right to death? with replies by George Pitcher, Joel Joffe, James Harris and Onora O’Neill.

Ekklesia has two items on religion and the media. Simon Barrow writes about The changing landscape of religion and the media.
And there is a paper by Lizzie Clifford: ‘Thought for the Day’: Beyond the god-of-the-slots. The abstract of this report is copied below the fold.

David Chillingworth is Stumped on his Thinking Aloud blog.
And if you have an answer to his “What should I say to the Pope?” question you might want to develop it into an entry for Andrew Brown’s Pope T-shirt competition at The Guardian.

Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about Afghanistan’s unjust war. ‘We must apply the just war tradition to our analysis of the conflict in Afghanistan. Otherwise, we risk disaster.’



more criticism of the Anglican Covenant

We have linked previously to articles by Paul Bagshaw of Modern Church.

See two recent items here.

Since then he has also written three articles Incompatible with the Covenant, and Incompatible with the Covenant 2 and Incompatible with the Covenant 3.

Modern Church has now issued a press release, the text of which is below the fold. The web publication mentioned in the press release is titled A very un-Anglican Covenant.



more Standing Committee information

The minutes of the previous meeting, on 15-18 December 2009, of the Anglican Consultative Council – Standing Committee have now been published, see

Minutes of Standing Committee meeting December 2009 (PDF file)
Update an html copy is available over here.

As Episcopal Café comments in Breaking: TEC still in the AC

…though these are minutes from a meeting seven months ago, it is indeed new information about the vote to keep the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion.

The entire document is worth reading, but paragraph 4, Recent Developments in the Anglican Communion, dealing with this point, is reproduced in full below the fold.

Another paragraph of interest is this:

17. Any Other Business

The Archbishop of Canterbury mentioned two things:

a) The Church of England had issued guidelines on clergy in civil partnership. He wondered if the moratoria included those clergy involved in civil partnership. Some were in celibate same sex partnerships.

In response to the above it was noted that the moratoria referred to consecration of bishops, and authorisation of formal blessing of same sex unions. The meaning of civil partnership was unclear as it could include siblings or friends simply living in the one house.

b) Pastoral Visitors

The Archbishop reported on the work of Pastoral Visitors. They had attended the first meeting of Anglican Communion in North America and Anglican Coalition in Canada. The intention was to facilitate conversations which were different from Continuing Indaba. Could we broker civilised conversations?

The Standing Committee expressed gratitude to the Archbishop of Canterbury for his work in this area.



women bishops: Parliamentary questions

The Second Church Estates Commissioner took questions in the House of Commons yesterday. The first two were about women bishops.

The verbatim Hansard reports are here and here.

Church Commissioners

The hon. Member for Banbury , representing the Church Commissioners, was asked-

Women Bishops

6. Diana R. Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): What recent representations he has received on proposals for the consecration of women as bishops. [11097]

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry): I have received numerous representations from people on all sides of the argument. I recently addressed the General Synod of the Church of England on this matter in York, and I have placed a copy of my statement in the Library.

Diana R. Johnson: Will the hon. Gentleman take a guess as to when he thinks we will have the historic first woman bishop in the Church of England? When does he think that will be?

Tony Baldry: The legislation completed its Report stage at York. It now has to go to all the 44 dioceses of the Church of England. If a majority of them agree, it will go back to General Synod, probably in 2012. If two thirds of each of the General Synod’s houses agree to it, I would then expect it to come here to the Ecclesiastical Committee and this House in 2013, and if this House agrees, we could see the appointment of the first woman bishop in 2014.

Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con): As someone who considered entering the ministry but realised I had too many vices and not enough virtues, may I commend the life and ministry of women in the Church, but also ask my hon. Friend whether he agrees that the first appointment of a female bishop, which will undoubtedly happen soon, must be on merit rather than political correctness?

Tony Baldry: I am sure that all appointments in the Church of England, including that of the Second Church Estates Commissioner, are made on merit.

Church Commissioners

The hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked-

Women Bishops

8. Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): When he expects the Church of England to consecrate its first woman bishop. [11099]

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry): I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave a few moments ago.

Chris Bryant: As one who did go into the Church ministry and then discovered that I had plenty of vices, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to be a little more impatient about the issue of women bishops? To be honest, it felt as if he was saying, “Nearer and nearer draws the time”, but will it be the time that will surely come when we have women bishops, and why on earth does this legislation have to come back to this House? Surely the Church of England should be freed from the shackles of bringing its legislation here, so that we can move forward on this issue rather faster.

Tony Baldry: If the hon. Gentleman reads what I said to the General Synod, he will see that I made it clear that many of us want this legislation to come forward as speedily as possible, but we have to get it right. The reason it comes back here is that we have an established Church, and until such time as Parliament decides that we do not, we will continue to have an established Church.

Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con): I hope my hon. Friend will ask the Synod to recognise that the House welcomed the decision it took to trust women bishops to do the right things, rather than trying to force them into being second-class bishops.

Tony Baldry: I thank my hon. Friend for that. I made it clear in York at the General Synod that I did not think I could get through this House any legislation in which there was a scintilla of a suggestion of women bishops in any way being second-class bishops.

There was also a question about Cathedral Restoration, copied here below the fold.



Rethinking the sex crises

Professor Sarah Coakley who is Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University, gave a lecture at the United Theological College, Sydney, Australia on 13 July 2010.

An edited version of the lecture is available in three parts:
Rethinking the sex crises in Catholicism and Anglicanism, Part 1
Rethinking the sex crises in Catholicism and Anglicanism, Part 2
Rethinking the sex crises in Catholicism and Anglicanism, Part 3


More from CANA/Nigeria


The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Abjua Primate of all Nigeria, addressed the fourth annual CANA Council on 23 July.

See earlier report boundary crossing in Virginia.

If you are at all confused about what CANA stands for, there’s a comprehensive reminder of its history in this post by Fr Jake.

His full remarks are available here.

Here’s an extract from what he said.

The Western Church led the world toward Christ for almost 2,000 years. But now it has cast aside its leadership and finds itself leaving Christ’s path and following its own road. The West, Nations and Church, are disinheriting their Christian inheritance. Perhaps this is the easiest road to take. But it is certainly not the right road.

This is the challenge faced in the Anglican Communion where the revisionist agenda has weakened a church, which for generations has been at the forefront of global evangelization and mission.

Given the speed with which we alter time-­honored theological positions some of our ecumenical friends now doubt our reliability, and suspect our fellowship. We are all vulnerable to temptation and sin, but Christ calls us to stand shoulder to shoulder and faithfully declare that ‘there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved’ [Acts 4:12].

We are Christians. We must affirm our faith and identity, while we make allowance for others to affirm theirs as part of the grace for a plural society. We must, as orthodox Anglicans, uphold and continue to defend the biblical understanding of the family and its moral implications. The clear intention of Scripture is that marriage is a monogamous, lifelong, covenantal relationship between one man and one woman. All other sexual relationships are a sad reflection of our brokenness, self-­centredness and continuing rebellion against the expressed will of the Almighty God for which we need repentance.

Let there be a change. As Americans you occupy the lofty height of the world’s civilization and material glory. But as a prophet, let me humbly encourage you to remind yourselves of the rise, the reign and the fall of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known, the Roman Empire. It will do you good, to avoid certain pitfalls, as you struggle to retain your enviable position as the world’s number one nation.

Savi Hensman has written at Cif belief about Archbishop Okoh’s earlier remarks. See her article at Bishop Okoh’s war on homosexuality.

At the same meeting, Bishop Martyn Minns delivered his Bishop’s Pastoral Call 2010 which is available in full as a PDF file here. Despite its length, it is worth reading for it gives a very comprehensive picture of CANA.


Mark Harris has posted two blog articles commenting on what Martyn Minns said. See
Bishop Minns accuses The Episcopal Church leadership of bribery.
The Tide of Ecclesial Pollution: Bishop Minns reads the Anglican Oil Spill.


A diocesan partnership described

The Partnership of the Dioceses of El Camino Real, Gloucester and Western Tanganyika

From the Diocese of Gloucester website:

Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Regarding the partnership of the dioceses of El Camino Real, Gloucester and Western Tanganyika
[in .doc format]

From the Diocese of El Camino Real website:

Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from our Partnership Bishops

This letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury was drafted by Bishops Mary Gray-Reeves of the Diocese of El Camino Real, Gerard Mpango of the Diocese of Western Tanganyika, and Michael Perham of the Diocese of Gloucester.

Please read it at [in pdf format]


Further Standing Committee reports

Updated again Wednesday evening

See earlier ACO reports here.

The Standing Committee Daily Bulletin – Day 2

Update 1

ENS has two reports, Standing Committee decides Episcopal Church’s ‘separation would inhibit dialogue’ and Standing Committee members celebrate commitment to transparency.

Update 2

The Standing Committee Daily Bulletin – Day 3

The Standing Committee Daily Bulletin – Day 4


Some Anglican Communion Questions

Three Questions on Communion issues were asked at the recent General Synod. All received written replies only.

Q75, The Revd Canon Giles Goddard (Southwark) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:

Q. Given that Anglican membership of ecumenical bodies no longer represents the width of opinion currently held by loyal Anglicans, will the House of Bishops review the value of the Church of England’s continued participation in such bodies or the value of any agreements that might come from them.

The Bishop of Guildford to reply as Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:

A. The agenda of the House of Bishops is set by its Standing Committee. I am not aware of any expressed intention on the part of the Standing Committee to put the Church of England’s participation in international bilateral dialogues between the Anglican Communion and other Christian world communions on the agenda of the House.



update on #mitregate

Updated Monday morning

We reported the recent incident at Southwark Cathedral, and related matters, in several previous articles:

Presiding Bishop visits the UK
Presiding Bishop at Southwark Cathedral
more from Southwark Cathedral
mitres in Gloucester
Lambeth Palace explains the Southwark episode
Church Times reports on Southwark episode

At the recent General Synod in York, two Questions were asked about this. The full text of the Q and A is given below the fold. The questions were for written reply only, and in any event the block of questions in which they came was not reached before the end of the session, so there were no supplementary answers.

Readers will recall that the letter sent from Lambeth Palace referred to “The agreed approach of the English bishops…”

Incidentally, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is preaching tomorrow at St Paul’s Cathedral, at the 11.00 Choral Eucharist.

Update ENS has a full report of the service, with photos, and links to the sermon. See Presiding bishop preaches at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.



opinion for St James the apostle

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the festival of James the apostle.
Sophia Deboick writes a Face to faith column in The Guardian about The enigma of Saint James. The identity of Saint James has been reinvented many times over two millennia, from Moor-slayer to Spaniard-killer to pilgrim.

The archbishop of Canterbury preached, in both Welsh and English, at an ecumenical service, held at Westminster Cathedral, to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Roberts. What’s the martyr’s message to our society?

Jonathan Derbyshire profiles the archbishop in the New Statesman The NS Profile: Rowan Williams.

Theo Hobson explains in The Guardian Why I won’t pay for St Paul’s. It isn’t just meanness that makes me resent having to pay an entrance fee to visit places of worship like St Paul’s Cathedral.

Adrian Pabst writes in The Guardian that The ‘big society’ needs religion. The ‘big society’ will not work unless it is informed by religious ideas of free and reciprocal giving.
Giles Fraser also writes about the big society in his Church Times column: Why the Big Society is a good thing.
And the Church Times has this leader: Big question mark.

Writing in his blog, Nick Baines has Big questions about the ‘Big Society’.

Colin Slee writes in The Guardian about Desmond Tutu, prayerful priest.

Daniel Schultz at Religion Dispatches asks Will Gender and Sexuality Rend The Anglican Communion?


Anglican Consultative Council – Standing Committee

Updated Saturday afternoon

The Anglican Communion Office has published a Q and A document about this, titled What is the Standing Committee?

This body is, as it happens, meeting right now in London. The membership is shown here.

Here is the first report from that meeting:

The Standing Committee Daily Bulletin – Day 1

And the new Articles of Association are available as a PDF file here.


Marriage equality soon?

In England, James Kirkup reported in the Telegraph that ‘Gay couples will get equal right to marry’.

Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, said that the Government will allow same-sex couples to have “civil marriage” with same legal status as marriage between a man and a woman.

His comments follow moves by a Lib Dem minister to allow homosexual couples to have religious elements to their civil partnership ceremonies.

Under current rules, same-sex couples can contract a civil partnership, which is recognised in law but not given the same status as marriage for a heterosexual couple.

Mr Hughes predicted that before the next general election, the law will be changed to give an equal right to full marriage…

In Scotland, Rebecca McQuillan in the Glasgow Herald reported on a Fresh call for gay marriages to be legalised

It might be marriage in all but name – but now campaigners want to end that final inequality in gay partnerships.

Senior churchmen and a cross-party coalition of MSPs are demanding a change in the law in Scotland to give same-sex couples full marriage rights.

Polling evidence suggests a majority of Scots would back the move…

And there was also a leader article, Same-sex couples should be afforded equality of treatment.

The following day the same reporter wrote of Roman Catholic reaction, Bishop on same-sex marriage: not now, not ever…

The Catholic Church will never celebrate same-sex unions – “not now, not in the future, not ever” – even if the law changes to allow religious celebrants to conduct gay marriages, the Bishop of Paisley, Philip Tartaglia, has told the Prime Minister…


women bishops and equality legislation

The relationship between the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordina­tion of Women) Measure and the Equality Act 2010 was considered during the recent General Synod:

The Church Times reported that

The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Tony Baldry MP, said that it would be his task to steer the legislation through the House of Commons. In his constituency, many of the senior posts in the county were held by women. “I see no reason why, when there is a vacancy, the Bishop of Dorchester or the Bishop of Oxford should not be a woman. . . Let’s do it soon.” However, the Church of England was a broad Church.

The vote on the legislation on women bishops which would be presented to Parliament would be a free vote in which the views of in­dividual MPs mattered. The equality agenda now played strongly across all parties, and there were now a record number of women MPs. The difficult task of steering through the legisla­tion would be impossible “if there is a scintilla of a suggestion that women bishops are in some way second-class bishops”.

Robert Key, the former MP, spoke later, and opposed the inclusion of Clause 7 of the Measure.

The Church Times reported as follows:

Mr Tattersall warned that the conse­quences of not agreeing to Clause 7 (Equality Act exceptions), which had been introduced in order to comply with the Equality Act, would be that the Measure could be found to be in conflict with that legislation, and so would be “legally deficient”. The Equality Act had been drawn more narrowly than the Equality Bill had originally been drawn; so the new legislation was necessary to prevent any possible conflict with the Act, the committee had been advised.

Robert Key (Salisbury) had given notice that he wanted to speak against Clause 7. He said that the Bishop of Durham was, “of course, wholly wrong: the Church of England cannot act wholly in its own interest.” God spoke not just to the Synod, but also to Parliament. The evidence he had seen was that Clause 7 was not a proportionate and reasonable approach and his view was that it would fail in the courts. The law of the land would apply to everyone except Christians.

The Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament had to ensure that the Church respected the constitutional rights of all the population.

Mr Key elaborated his position in this video interview with Ruth Gledhill: Should Church of England be exempt from Equality law?

I wrote a news article for the Church Times recently which gave some of the background on this, see Equality Law will affect church appointments.

I am going to write a further and more detailed explanation soon.


General Synod: Church Times detailed reports – 2

Here are the reports for everything else, except women bishops.

Church Commissioners: Where did the money go?

Archbishop’s Council budget


Clergy pensions: Pension age to be 68, and accrual period 41½ years

Presidential address: Sentamu: society needs work ethics

Faith and order: New commission is set up to replace three doctrine groups


Archbishop of Estonia’s address

In brief


Fresh Expressions: Council asked to seek visual resources

Lectionary etc.

Terms of service

Marriage regulations

Church of Scotland


1 Comment

General Synod: Church Times detailed reports – 1

Last week’s Church Times detailed reports of synod debates are now available to all. Here are the links to the main topic of discussion. All other reports will be linked in a second article soon.

Women bishops: Amendments fall in marathon debate

Women bishops: Pictures from the debate

Letters on the topic last week are at Incomprehension all round? Reactions to the General Synod’s voting.

Other Church Times coverage was linked earlier, see over here.

1 Comment

Women bishops legislation – voting analysis – July 2010

Updated Friday morning

I linked to the raw voting lists from this month’s General Synod earlier today.

I have now compiled tables of how each member of Synod voted (or abstained or was absent) on the main votes on the legislation to allow women to become bishops. These tables are available as a web page.

At present only the bishops and clergy are included; the laity will be added later.
The tables are now complete.

1 Comment

General Synod – electronic voting

Updated Friday

The detailed voting lists from the electronic votes at the July General Synod are now available.

We will be publishing analyses of some of these votes. [Now available here]

Women in the Episcopate legislation – major votes

item 512a – additional dioceses
item 513a – compulsory delegation
item 514 – archbishops’ amendment
item 518 – include clause 2 in the measure
Vote for recommittal – to the revision committee

Women in the Episcopate legislation – other votes

item 522 – remove the need for a two-thirds quorum at PCC meetings considering making a request
item 525 – remove a clerical veto
item 541a – require two-thirds majorities in each house for any subsequent amendment or repeal.

Other votes

item 27 – amend motion on clergy pensions
item 601 – final approval of Additional Weekday Lectionary


boundary crossing in Virginia

The Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, is in Virginia, attending the annual council of CANA.

According to Episcopal Café

Asked about whether Okoh had sought permission to be in the diocese, Henry Burt, a spokesperson for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, said “Bishop Johnston received no request from Archbishop Okoh to exercise any ministry in the Diocese of Virginia. Unfortunately, the circumstances of this visit do not aid the process commended by the Windsor Report.”

According to Breakaway Groups Prevented Anglican Split, Nigerian Primate Suggests in the Christian Post

According to Okoh, the Church of Nigeria received the same sanctions as The Episcopal Church this year, which include removal from the Anglican Communion’s ecumenical dialogues and from a body that examines issues of doctrine and authority.

“The command of Scripture is that we should go everywhere and preach and teach. So we came here to help our brothers and sisters in the Lord. But instead of getting commendation, we are getting punishment or sanction,” said Okoh, who was elected as primate in September.

Criticizing the move, he commented, “To do so, to ban us … we believe they were not properly advised. So if you ask me whether there is justification for that, I will say no.”

Sanctions were proposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, earlier this year for provinces that breach the three moratoria that leaders in the 77 million-member global body had agreed to since 2004. The moratoria include cross-border interventions, the ordination of partnered homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The legal situation in Virginia is complex. Previously, in ADV motion for rehearing has no merit, and even earlier in Anglican District of Virginia files motion of appeal Episcopal Café explained the detail. In summary now:

In a motion for rehearing to the Virginia Supreme Court the nine churches in dispute with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia over church property earlier this month reversed field and instead of claiming they are a branch of the Church of Nigeria now claim that CANA is not a branch of the Church of Nigeria…


Bishop of Richborough’s Pastoral Letter

Pastoral Letter – 16th July 2010 from the Bishop of Richborough:


The members of the General Synod have returned home; no doubt some will be preparing their addresses for the forthcoming Synod election in the autumn. For many this Synod achieved exactly what was wanted as far as the ordination of women to the episcopate is concerned but for a sizable minority it has left them feeling despondent and unwanted. When the Bishop of Manchester commended the draft legislation for revision in February 2009 he emphasised that it would be possible to make significant changes during the revision process. Despite the valiant efforts of some members of the Revision Committee what came back to the Synod this July was even less helpful than the original draft. I was not surprised. It was inevitable once the bishops decided to put the process in the hands of the Synod rather than controlling it themselves, which they had been doing until May 2008 when they sent a motion to synod recommending a Code of Practice as the best way forward. We have consistently said since then that ‘a Code of Practice will not do’ and there is no reason we should change our minds. It simply will not do – not then and not now.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York made a brave attempt to amend the legislation and while I did not think it would have been able to achieve what some hoped it would achieve it was defeated in the House of Clergy. It is not often, if ever, that two Archbishops have proposed an amendment to such a contentious piece of legislation concerning the future unity of the Church of England; to have done so and not succeeded says a great deal about the problems of our synodical structures. The Draft Measure will now go to the dioceses for further scrutiny though it is highly unlikely that it will not gain the necessary support. It will return to the Synod in 2012 when it will need to gain the necessary two thirds majorities in all three Houses of Laity, Clergy and Bishops.

If the Measure is passed -if it isn’t the issue will not go away-the landscape in the Church of England for traditional Catholics and Evangelicals will be bleak. There will be no resolutions to be passed, no Episcopal Visitors to petition for, the Act of Synod will be abolished and the episcopal ministry of the Bishops of Beverley, Ebbsfleet and Richborough will not exist. The process of reception so ably explained by Dame Mary Tanner in New Directions a few months ago has been forgotten. All the promises which were made to us in the early 1990’s about having a permanent honoured place in our Church have been ignored. No doubt many of the supporters of women’s ordination will say there has been compromise on both sides. They will point out they preferred a simple piece of legislation without a statutory Code of Practice. However, from our point of view, this legislation offers us little hope. It addresses none of the issues which are of concern to us and about which we have argued for so long. The only provision will be that a parish can request a male incumbent or the sacramental and pastoral care of a male bishop when needed. It is simply not sufficient for those for whom it is supposed to apply. Far from providing for those who have serious theological objections to the ordination of women the legislation allows parishes to discriminate against women.

I cannot overemphasise how serious this situation is for us. No amount of promises from the Archbishop Canterbury and others that there is more to be done can produce anything which would address the issues of jurisdiction, ecclesiology and sacramental assurance which we require.

Many of our priests signed an open letter before the July Synod of 2008, which began the process which has led to the present draft legislation, in which we said.

It is with sadness that we conclude that, should the Church of England indeed go ahead with the ordination of women to the episcopate, without the same time making provision which offers us real ecclesial integrity and security, many of us will be thinking very hard about the way ahead. We will inevitably be asking whether we can, in conscience, continue to minister as bishops, priests and deacons in the Church of England which has been our home.

The time for such discernment on the part of priests and laity has drawn considerably nearer since last week end. We will all have difficult questions to consider and the answers may depend as much upon our particular circumstances as on our understanding of the Church. What is essential is that we should have a period of calm reflection and prayer before any important decisions are made. Priests and people will need to have serious conversations about the future; we cannot bury our heads in the sand and hope this will go away. The priests in the Richborough Area have been invited, with other clergy from the Province of Canterbury, to a Sacred Synod on the 24th September to take counsel together.

The visit of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to our country in September will give us a good opportunity to meditate on our Lord’s call to Christian unity. The high spot of the visit will be the Beatification of John Henry Newman who himself wrestled with similar issues in his day. This may be a moment when his thoughts and writings can help us to consider the way forward.

May God bless you as you discern his will for you,

+ Keith