Thinking Anglicans

Covenant: a response to the IC/MC advert

Fulcrum has published an article by Andrew Goddard entitled Framing the Anglican Covenant: Trick or Treat? A Response to Inclusive Church and Modern Church.

The propaganda on the Anglican covenant produced by Inclusive Church (IC) and Modern Church (previously MCU) and published in the church press reveals a most frightening development in contemporary Anglicanism. Two of the Church of England groups most associated with an appeal to reason have demonstrated themselves to be incapable of reasoned argument. They have also revealed themselves so hermeneutically challenged when faced with a relatively simple and short text whose contemporary context is well known that, did I not know some of the groups’ leaders, I would conclude they were deliberately misrepresenting the situation and framing false charges just in order to rally their troops and engender fear in those relatively uninformed of the covenant’s background and content…


Foster parenting case reaches High Court

Two Church of England diocesan bishops and two retired Church of England bishops have written to the Telegraph Councils should not discriminate against Christian carers. The full text of the letter is reproduced below the fold.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones had earlier reported the letter in the Telegraph news columns, Christians’ freedom to express beliefs is at risk, warn bishops.

This case has been running for a while. Rachel Harden reported on it for the Church Times in February 2008, see ‘Unsuitable’ foster-parents to appeal.


It may be helpful, as suggested in the Comments below, to provide a link to the earlier McFarlane case in which Lord Carey intervened. The full text of the main judgement was linked from here.

The full text of Lord Carey’s own witness statement was published by Ruth Gledhill on her blog, but is no longer available; however comment on it from the Church Times is still available here. Update Now available in .doc format here.



Covenant: the articles continue

Malcolm French who blogs at Simple Massing Priest has written about Aesop on the Anglican Covenant.

Paul Bagshaw at Not the same stream has written The legal fiction at the heart of the Covenant and earlier he also wrote How to mount a successful coup in Anglicanism, and even earlier there was Two conversations not talking to one another.

Lesley’s Blog has some thoughts from Jonathan Clatworthy at Is the Anglican Covenant Innocuous or a Serious Threat?

Earlier Lesley herself wrote What to write about the covenant?

And there is media coverage of the IC/MC advert:

Guardian Liberal Anglicans challenge ‘dogmatic’ Church of England covenant

ENS ENGLAND: Church groups campaign against Anglican Covenant

Ekklesia Campaign launched in C of E against ‘backward-looking’ Anglican Covenant


opinion for the end of summer time

Summer Time (daylight saving time) ends in the UK tomorrow.

Jeremy Fletcher is Giving up Football.

Huw Thomas writes in the Church Times Suffer little children — don’t fob them off. “Something is wrong when children are given distractions to occupy them in church rather than being involved.” [now available to non-subscribers]

Riazat Butt writes in The Guardian that Team Rowan goes off-message. “George Pitcher isn’t like previous members of the archbishop of Canterbury’s staff. Is Lambeth fully prepared?”

Toby Cohen writes at the Church of England Newspaper that In the beginning were the blogs.

Suem asks on her Significant Truths blog How Anglican is the Anglican Covenant?

Savi Hensman writes this essay for Ekklesia: Thinking theologically: Bible, tradition, reason and experience.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Humanism fails to face the horror.

And finally Meanwhile back on planet earth…


Latest Church Statistics – press comments

Updated Sunday

We noted yesterday’s publication of the latest Church of England statistics. These included statistics on ordination of women resolutions and petitions at 1 January 2010, which for the convenience of readers I have extracted and published here.

Two papers have picked up these particular figures.

Tim Ross in the Telegraph: More parishes reject Church of England bishops who ordain women priests.

Ed Beavan in the Church Times: Statistics show parishes opposed to women priests.

Despite what is stated in these articles, these statistics have occasionally been published before, but not as part of the annual statistical round-up. For example, the February 2006 General Synod paper GS 1605 (House Of Bishops’ Women Bishops Group: Report To The General Synod From A Working Group Chaired By The Bishop Of Guildford) contained the figures for 31 March 2004 in an appendix.


The Church Mouse has a rather more considered look at these statistics: Latest Church statistics – good news!


Church Groups Unite Against Anglican Covenant

Press Release from Modern Church and Inclusive Church

Thursday 28 October 2010

Church Groups Unite Against Anglican Covenant

Two major Church of England groups, Inclusive Church and Modern Church (formerly MCU) have joined together to campaign against the proposed Anglican Covenant.

In November the Church of England’s General Synod will be asked to approve the Anglican Covenant. Many Synod members do not realise it, but it could be the biggest change to the Church since the Reformation.

Each of the 38 Provinces in the Anglican Communion is being asked to sign it. By signing, it undertakes not to introduce any new development if another Anglican province anywhere in the world opposes it – unless granted prior permission from a new international body, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.

The campaign opens tomorrow Friday, when full-page advertisements appear in both the Church of England Newspaper and the Church Times. It will continue during the weeks leading up to the General Synod debate scheduled for Wednesday 24 November, and if the draft is not rejected, but referred to the dioceses, it will continue throughout 2011.

The full text of the Church Times advert is available as a PDF file here.


Newman and the Pope

Graham Kings Bishop of Sherborne has written a Fulcrum newsletter. The full title is:
The Ambiguous Legacy of John Henry Newman: Reflections on the Papal Visit 2010.

Beguiling and virulent, holy and vituperative, quicksilver and splenetic, charming and cantankerous: there are many sides to the character of John Henry Newman, brought out variously and vicariously in their biographies by Ian Ker (Oxford, 1988 – Catholic, scholarly and positive) and Frank M Turner (New Haven, 2002 – Protestant, scholarly and iconoclastic).

The severely critical review by Ker of Turner’s book in the Times Literary Supplement (6 Dec 2002), and consequent response from Turner, who noted that Ker was active in the campaign for Newman’s sainthood (20 Dec 2002), and then the answer of Ker, who complained of Turner ‘impugning [his] integrity’ (3 Jan 2003), intriguingly echo aspects of Newman’s own polemical interaction with Charles Kingsley, which produced his Apologia Pro Vita Sua (London, 1864). Ian Ker did not include Frank M Turner as an author in the book he edited recently, Cambridge Companion to John Henry Newman (Cambridge, 2009) but John Cornwell does draw carefully on both Turner and Ker in his Newman’s Unquiet Grave: the Reluctant Saint (London, 2010).

Newman’s beatification was the centrepiece, culmination and raison d’être of the papal visit to Britain in September 2010. His attraction and trajectory to Rome were the key part of the planning of the visit. But how would the visit be followed up? In parish or university missions, the follow up of people who come to a commitment of faith is vital and keenly arranged. What of the papal visit? Let us consider first John Henry Newman, second some aspects of the papal visit and finally the follow up to the visit…


Synod elections: understanding the results


Two articles appeared today which relate to this subject.

First, Peter Ould wrote about the problems of discovering the full election details from the dioceses. See Through a Glass Darkly.

I thought it would be interesting (with my psephological hat on) to have a look at the full returns from the recent General Synod elections, to see whether I could pick up any interesting insights on the voting patterns. The full returns are the rather long pieces of paper (handily normally produced on a spreadsheet for easy consumption) that help explain all the transfers and quotas that are used in the STV election system that the Church of England utilises for its elections. For a worked example, see here on the fabulously wonderful Elections Ireland website…

Update Peter has now published the (not quite complete) results that he has collected. See (Almost) Full General Synod Election Results. If you can help him complete the task, please respond to him.

Second, Elaine Storkey has written at Fulcrum about Who won the General Synod elections and what hope for women bishops?

As the Church House machinery grinds into action, mailing out a truckload of papers for November’s inauguration of the new General Synod, it is interesting to reflect on how this new Synod will respond to some of the issues it inherits from the old. At the centre of these is, of course, the draft legislation on women bishops. Canon Simon Kilwick, chairman of the Catholic Group cautions against any tacit assumption that this will go through in 2012, since there has been a ‘shift in the landscape’ of Synod. However, there is always a shift in the landscape of synod, as change occurs after every election: older members retire, some leave for many different reasons, and others are not re-elected. What this current ‘shift’ actually represents needs therefore to be carefully interpreted…


Bishops' Office and Working Costs

The Church of England has announced the publication of Bishops’ office and working costs for 2009.

Bishops’ office and working costs published
28 October 2010

The 2009 office and working costs of bishops in the Church of England are published today. Figures for individual bishops were first published, for the year 2000, in December 2001. Bishops’ office and working costs were previously published as a total figure.

Bishops’ office and working costs for the year ended 31 December 2009 are published on the Church of England website.


The report includes a full description of the important role played by bishops locally, regionally and nationally.

The 113 diocesan and suffragan bishops of the Church of England institute and support the ministry of all clergy and lay ministers in their dioceses, as well as providing pastoral support to them. Each diocesan bishop has ultimate oversight of several hundred clergy, Readers and lay workers and of a diocesan budget and portfolio of assets. In addition to diocesan responsibilities, such as ordinations and diocesan festivals, and engaging with the communities which they serve, bishops often chair or serve on national and international Church boards and councils, as well as large charities, special commissions or public inquiries. They are involved in the growing work towards visible unity with other denominations both nationally and internationally and in work with other faiths.

Twenty-six diocesan bishops sit in the House of Lords: at least one is present every day and others will attend according to the subjects under debate that day. The Bishop of Sodor & Man sits in the Tynwald.

The webpage also includes links to costs for previous years back to 2000.


Latest Church Statistics

The Church of England has announced the publication of its latest finance and ministry statistics with the following press release.

Church of England publishes latest statistics on web
28 October 2010

The Church of England has today published its latest information about parish income and expenditure and trends in ministry numbers in Church Statistics 2008/9. The attendance statistics included were published in February 2010.

This year’s statistics include additional information on current areas of interest reflecting the contemporary life of the Church. Information on children and young people’s involvement with the church outside worship has been collected for the second time, so that trends can be identified in future years as more data is collected. Data on numbers of parishes theologically opposed to the ordination of women provide factual information for future debates.

Parish income

Despite the difficult economic times, parishioners’ tax-efficient planned giving continued to increase in 2008, reaching an average of £9.77 a week, while the total income of parishes exceeded £900 million for the first time at £925 million. Total voluntary income rose to £505 million or £8.31 per electoral roll member per week. At the same time, total parish expenditure rose to £874 million, with nearly £52 million of this being donations made by parishes to external charities.

Dr John Preston, the Church’s National Stewardship and Resources Officer, said:

“Whilst recent figures for giving to the wider charity sector have shown a dip, giving to parishes in 2008 saw a further increase to record levels, a sign of the high level of commitment that so many have to supporting the mission and ministry of their local parish church. Legacy giving has also bucked the national trend – reaching the highest ever level of £48.1 million.”

Ordination candidates

Another 491 candidates were accepted to train as future clergy in 2009, making a total of 1338 in training. In total, 564 new clergy were ordained in 2009, 10 less than in 2008 and 77 more than in 2006 (the lowest in recent years). Of those, 309 were entering full-time paid ministry, compared with 321 in 2008 and 226 in 2006.

While the numbers of people being training for ordination remained buoyant across 2009, number of retirements also remained high. Revd Preb Lynda Barley, Head of Research & Statistics for the Archbishops’ Council, comments: “It is encouraging that the Church is responding confidently to the challenge that the changing age profile of our nation brings, with one in six of those in training being under 30 years of age.” Taking retirements and other losses into account, there was a net loss of 128 full-time paid clergy, compared with 182 in 2006.

At the end of 2009, there were some 28,000 licensed and authorised ministers, ordained and lay, active in the Church of England.

The three new tables in this year’s Church of England statistics are: Ordination of Women Resolutions and Petitions; Children at Church-Related Activities 2008; and Young People at Church-Related Activities 2007.

The latest statistics have been added to the Church of England website, alongside attendance statistics published in February.

There are links to statistics for earlier years here.


Faith, Justice, City

Faith, Justice, City is a series of talks accompanied by Shadows of the Wanderer, an artwork installation by the renowned sculptor Ana Maria Pacheco at St John’s Church, Waterloo, from 29th October to 23rd December 2010.

Faith, Justice, City is a series of sermons and addresses for Advent focusing on London’s diverse resident and transient communities and the issues of faith, justice, equality and civil interaction that impact on all. Speakers include Loretta Minghella (Chief Executive, Christian Aid), Jehangir Malik (Director, Islamic Relief UK), Neil MacGregor, (Director, British Museum), Kate Hoey MP, and Rt Revd Richard Cheetham (Bishop of Kingston) . All the addresses will be given during the Sunday morning service at St John’s Waterloo at 10.30 a.m.

Accompanying this series of thought provoking sermons and addresses will be a major sculpture installation that is being shown in London for the first time, Shadows of the Wanderer, by Ana Maria Pacheco.

For more details see here about the talks, and over here about the art exhibit and associated events.


Church Commissioners Questions

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry, MP for Banbury) answered questions on behalf of the Church Commissioners in the House of Commons yesterday.

first batch
second batch
written answer

Here are two of the questions and answers.

Appointment of Bishops

1. Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire) (Lab): What recent representations the Church Commissioners have received on the criteria for the appointment of bishops in the Church of England; and if he will make a statement.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry): The canons require that anyone to be considered and consecrated as a bishop at present has to be male and over 30.

Natascha Engel: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that answer. The Archbishop of Canterbury has recently written a newspaper article saying that it is okay to be a gay bishop as long as one is celibate. Where does the Church of England stand on people in civil partnerships? If they are celibate, are they okay to be bishops too?

Tony Baldry: There is no Church of England rule that prevents a celibate person in a civil partnership from being considered for appointment as a bishop. The issue is whether someone in that position could act as a focus for unity in a diocese. That would have to be considered by those responsible for making any episcopal appointment.

Partners of Vicars

8. Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) (LD): What training and support the Church of England provides to those who become partners of Church of England vicars after their ordination.

Tony Baldry: When undertaking parish ministry, a curate and their family are able to access support from a number of people, including their bishop and their director of curate training.

Dr Huppert: Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a massive asymmetry between the treatment of those who become partners pre-ordination and post-ordination? If the Church expects such partners to play an active role, it should try to ensure that those who join their partner post-ordination get at least equivalent training.

Tony Baldry: I think everyone recognises that being a vicar is not an easy job. Betjeman succinctly observed:

“When things go wrong it’s rather tame
To find we are ourselves to blame.
It gets the trouble over quicker
To go and blame things on the Vicar.”

Every clergyman deserves our full support for what they do in the community, and their spouses – whether pre-ordination or post-ordination – deserve our support, because they are often on the front line of helping parishioners in the community. I very much hope that if any clergy spouse does not feel that she is getting full support, she will get in touch with me and I will make jolly sure that her diocesan bishops and others ensure that she gets the support that she deserves.

Other questions were about gift aid, ethical criteria for investments, VAT on church repairs, and heritage grants for churches


two more Covenant articles

Bishop Alan Wilson asks an important question: Anglican Covenant: a Tool for…?

I am slightly bemused when I am told some big signature project is perfectly safe because it won’t make any critical difference. If not, why bother? Is there anything worth doing instead that might make a difference? But a new General Synod is about to sign the C of E up to the Anglican Covenant, pretty much on auto-pilot, some say as much out of fear of giving offence as positive endorsement for its supposed virtues. Everyone else can then back-pedal, ignore it, even, depending on where they stand in the culture wars,

* because they fear it will spank TEC
* because they fear it won’t,

The Covenant then joins a select number of other magnificenti in the lumber room, like the Kikuyu declaration, and life carries on. But, inquiring minds will wonder, what kind of a tool is it? What for? Whose benefit? How?

There’s a scale for assessing tools, that runs from Swiss Army Knife to Turkey Turners…

There is also provision in the article for voting on your choice of tool.

And the second article is from Paul Bagshaw who compares this issue to that of the Church of England (Worship and Doctrine) Measure 1974. The article is titled And always keep a-hold of Nurse …. He concludes:

And the relevance of this to a Covenant is:

(a) because the CofE is a State Church it has no ecclesiology – it has had no capacity to think for itself what kind of church it is and should and could be,

(b) the CofE has had centuries of training in the arts of being subordinate and acting as though it was autonomous – it exists through a sophisticated systemic exercise of willful blindness and realpolitik.

(c) The point at which it acquired the power to determine its own doctrine was too late for it to exercise such power. From the mid-1980s ecumenical agreements and the changing shape of the Anglican Communion meant that in practice it could only make definitive doctrinal statements in concert (if not uniformly) with other churches and the rest of the Communion – see, for example, the statement on Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry.

So to adopt the Covenant for the CofE would simply be to accept a new overlordship while continuing to pretend it is superior to it. It will make sure its officers are embedded in the operation of the Covenant so that nothing potentially embarrassing comes to the light of public debate. And thus it will ensure it still doesn’t have to think about its ecclesiology – what principles – actually and ideally – underlie, predispose and can be used to judge the words, structures and action of the Church of England?


CofE news roundup on Sunday morning

The BBC Sunday radio programme has an interview with Bishop John Broadhurst. It starts about 25.5 minutes into the programme and lasts about 6 minutes. Link to it from here.

In the Observer Riazat Butt has a good summary of the overall situation on the Ordinariate and women bishops, in Exodus over women bishops: what will Rowan Williams do next?

News that fewer than 50 Anglicans are converting to Roman Catholicism has set cassocks twitching, leading to talk of an exodus and an earthquake in the Church of England and what the ramifications are for the archbishop of Canterbury, who is only ever described as besieged, beleaguered, embattled or all three…

Meanwhile, over at the Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre has moved on to what might be the next big story, in Facing the axe: Diocese that has twice as many Muslim worshippers as Anglicans.

A historic Church of England diocese where Muslim worshippers outnumber Anglican churchgoers by two to one is set to be scrapped.

According to sources, the Dioceses Commission is drawing up proposals to axe the cash-strapped Diocese of Bradford in Yorkshire and merge it with neighbouring Ripon and Leeds…


opinion for Bible Sunday

Susan Elkin writes in The Independent Restoring holy order: Is the King James Bible the only version we should celebrate? “It is a cornerstone of Western literature and culture. But as the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible approaches, the authors of two new studies argue that its significance may have been overstated.”

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about the Charterhouse in central London: Sacred mysteries: London’s hidden medieval priory.

Andrew Brown asks in The Guardian Do human rights exist?

Alan Wilson writes in his blog about Why new media matter in Church.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about The three options for diversity.

Nicholas Reade (the Bishop of Blackburn) writes in The Guardian that Our most vulnerable have been ‘handicapped’ by this spending review. “If the level of civilisation of our society is judged by its treatment of disabled people, we don’t seem to have got very far.”

Alex Wright writes in The Guardian about Holy faces from the past. “Early frescoes in a Norfolk village remind us of our medieval churches’ more lively past.”

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about What the Pope’s visit changed a month on from Pope Benedict’s welcome to Britain.


Anglican Covenant: more criticism

The General Synod of the Church of England will debate the proposed Anglican Covenant on Wednesday 24 November.

Paul Bagshaw has recently written several articles about this on his blog, Not the same stream.

First, there was A dishonest Covenant.

In July 2007 I wrote a paper called Bouncing the Covenant through the Anglican Communion (here) which looked at the way the Covenant was to be pushed through.

In retrospect I was wrong about one thing – I had calculated that the majority of Provinces would have endorsed the Covenant by this year, 2010, so that the Church of England would be faced with a fait accompli. In fact the majority of Provinces still have to decide whether or not to accept the Covenant…

That was followed by English and Welsh Bishops.

About the English ones, he writes:

…There is a mix of loyalty (and not wanting to seem publicly disloyal) with a generation of bishops trained into the collective mould (both senses) by having individuality trained out of them: mini-princes in their own domains and courtiers on the larger stage. I’m not sure that government by nineteenth-century unaccountable autocrats was any better (and there was a different structure of checks and balances in place). However, the result today is that the bishops have become like a one-party state: divisions are kept within the club, the public face must be united. (Unless, of course, you retire to Rome, but that’s a different story.)

However that’s assuming there has been structured debate in which differences of episcopal opinion have even been aired. There was, of course, discussion at the Lambeth Conference. I’m not at all sure what debate has been had within the English college of bishops – not that I would know, you understand, one way or the other. But I am led to believe that the new Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council – the other half of implementing the Covenant – went through on the nod.

In A richer Covenant, he discusses in detail the South African approach to the subject. He says:

The sadness from my perspective is that Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has a rich understanding of covenant and its potential, a vision I would delight in – but unfortunately it’s a vision I don’t see in the Anglican Covenant on offer today.

And finally (for the moment) he is critical of Kenneth Kearon’s action in disciplining the Southern Cone. See Utterly negative.

For background, see these pages, starting with A very un-Anglican Covenant.

1 Comment

Catholic press on Ordinariate and Societies

On the one hand, The Tablet has a feature article by Abigail Frymann headed The journey begins – Ordinariates and the Church of England.

A flying bishop and a small parish in Rowan Williams’ own diocese are the first of the Church of England rebels ready to turn their backs on Canterbury and make for Rome via the special structure of an ordinariate. But could progress be stymied by salaries, pensions and buildings?

On the other hand, the Catholic Herald has Catholic Anglicans: don’t be taken in by this incoherent scheme to undermine the Ordinariate by William Oddie.

You may not have noticed it (I had hardly noticed it myself) but the C of E (having with deliberation decided not to make any “special provision” for those opposed to women bishops) is currently mounting a last-minute attempt to undermine the Ordinariate for Catholic Anglicans which is expected to be erected in the New Year. This scheme (which I have absolutely no doubt has the discreet backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury) would be laughable if there were not a real possibility that it might persuade some Catholic Anglicans who are seriously considering coming into communion with the Bishop of Rome to stay where they are. They should be warned: have nothing to do with this scheme. It seems to me to be dishonest, deceitful and both morally and intellectually bankrupt.

The name of the disreputable organisation which hopes to inveigle those Anglicans seriously considering the provisions of Anglicanorum coetibus into staying exactly where they are is the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda. This was set up last month with the backing of 10 bishops claiming to be of Catholic mind; I can only say that I know some of these men of old and the ones I do know are about as “Catholic” in any real sense as a clockwork banana…


Church Times on Ordinariate and Societies

Updated Saturday evening

There are several reports in today’s Church Times:

Churchwardens to ask Dr Williams to discuss Ordinariate

…The Priest-in-Charge of St Peter’s, the Revd Stephen Bould, said: “It is not a vote to join the Ordinariate; the PCC can’t make that decision.”

He said that “lots” of people in St Peter’s were interested in joining the Ordinariate, but “lots are not in­terested.” Conversations needed to take place about how to “deliver the minimum pain and maximum gain when going along two parallel tracks comes about”.

And scroll down that same link for Reform’s new plan.

…Mr [Rod] Thomas said from the conference on Tuesday that a new society would have its own bishops to oversee those who could not accept the ministry of women bishops. “If we can work out the details of such a society, and how it fits in with the rest of the Church of England, there would be a mechan­ism readily available for the bishops to get through this dilemma.”

Synod fight to go on, though FiF wooed by Rome (scroll down for main story).

THE chairman of the council of For­ward in Faith (FiF) UK, the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Revd John Broad­hurst, told its National Assembly that he intended to offer the Queen his resignation before the end of the year. He was resigning, not retiring.

At the meeting last weekend in Westminster, Bishop Broadhurst said: “That is to facilitate my replace­ment. There will be complications after January for any suffragan bishop. I have spoken to the Bishop of London. He intends to replace me.”

He said that he expected to enter the Ordinariate when it was estab­lished, but had not resigned as chair­man of FiF. “This is not a Church of England organisation.” But later, if it was thought appropri­ate that he should stand down, there could be a postal ballot after “measured dis­cussion”.

And this:

…It was quite possible, Prebend­ary David Houlding said, that a “blocking third” could be obtained in the House of Laity.

“If we must defeat it, defeat it we will,” he said. “We have no choice. We may not be successful, but in con­science we have no other choice.” It was likely that following motions would be suggested.

He did not want to claim too much for the new Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda (News, 1 October). “It will be no use at all if it doesn’t have jurisdiction at its heart. That undoubtedly will be where the battle is. The House of Bishops is changing. The question, therefore, remains: will they recognise such a grouping of clergy in the life of the Church?”

Sacramental assurance would not be the icing on the cake, but the cake itself. The society idea might be able to guarantee it for a while if the legislation was passed. “Will the bishops who seek to lead in this society be prepared to break the rules when needed, to consecrate further bishops? If not, this society will come to its natural conclusion.”


Another article which appears in the Church Times this week is not available to non-subscribers til next Friday, but it is available from another source:

Paul Vallely They have to swim the Channel before they swim the Tiber.

Many Roman Catholics like me look slightly askance at the prospect of disenchanted Anglican traditionalists flooding across the Tiber, and not because they will be swimming with one hand and holding their ornate thuribles aloft in the other to keep them dry.

No, it is what they say they want to leave behind which makes us wonder about what they are bringing with them. Not to mention what it is they hope to find when they get to their promised land.

Take the Bishop of Fulham’s valedictory description of the church he seems determined to quit. The keynote address of the Rt Rev John Broadhurst to the Forward in Faith assembly – despite the ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ tone in which it was delivered – contained some extraordinarily violent language. He characterised the Anglican Communion as a place of ‘lies’, deceit’ and described it at one point as ‘an evil institution’. He called it ‘myopic’ and bemoaned its ‘lack of consultation’. Later he was quoted as calling it ‘vindictive’, ‘vicious’ and ‘fascist in its behaviour’…


Church Times on General Synod elections

Today’s Church Times has two reports:

Traditionalists glimpse hope in Synod election results and scroll down the same link for Winners and losers in tougher vote.

…Canon Simon Killwick, chairman of the Catholic Group on the General Synod, said he was “cautiously op­timistic” that a solution could be reached to accommodate the trad­itionalists. There had been a “shift in the landscape” of the make-up of Synod. “We’re not looking to try and block things, but for some significant amendments in the legis­lation to make better provision for those who can’t accept women bishops.

“It seems there has been some­thing of a shift in the membership of Synod, particularly in the House of Clergy, who blocked the Arch­bishops’ amendment in July, and one might speculate that the current membership would have blocked the legislation.”

He said that the creation of the new Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda (News, 1 October) could be a “vehicle for accommodating those who can’t accept women bishops”. The idea of a society was rejected by the revision committee, but Canon Killwick said that it would not be a statutory body, but would have its own constitution, recognised by the General Synod…


Reform plans a Religious Society

Press Release from Reform
from here
October 21, 2010

Reform members have voted to back the creation of a religious society within the Church of England for conservative evangelicals who want to promote the church’s mission but are opposed to the consecration of women as bishops.

Speaking at the network’s annual conference yesterday, attended by over 170 members, Revd Rod Thomas, the Reform chairman, said: “This is a very positive move not just for us, but for the wider church. The creation of a society can both provide a model of how the church can change to become more focused on mission, not maintenance, and a way forward through the dilemma it faces over women bishops.

“Reform members are involved in innovative ways of reaching into local communities with the good news of Jesus Christ. Many are in churches with a good number of younger men and women being trained for future gospel work. We have a mission-focus which brings health and life that is good for the wider church, and a religious society would enable us to continue that focus.

“In light of the recent results of elections to General Synod, our proposal takes on even greater weight,” he added.

Revd Thomas revealed to the conference that analysis of the election results showed that over one third of the house of laity and just one member short of a third of the house of clergy would now vote against women bishops unless changes were made to the draft legislation. These figures are critical, as the legislation requires a two-thirds majority across all three voting houses (bishops, clergy, laity). If such a majority is not achieved in just one of the three houses, then the whole legislation would fail and have to be re-visited.

Revd Thomas said: “The recent elections provided the first real opportunity for grass-roots members of the Church of England to have their say on women bishops. There are many who remain firmly opposed to the idea, because the Bible says that there should be different roles for men and women both in the family and the church. For them the current proposals provide no firm guarantees, and therefore are completely inadequate. So there is now a real incentive to find a way of making appropriate provision, otherwise the whole legislation could fail. A religious society with a clear statutory role has not been fully considered, and could provide a way through.”

Although some senior figures within the church are known to be broadly supportive of the creation of a religious society, Revd Thomas said that there is “a lot of detail to be worked out” as to the exact way such a society would operate, but reckoned that within 6-12 months the framework could be clear.

– Ends –

Editors note:

Evangelical and Catholic groups on General Synod have swapped lists of candidates and analysed the results. The analysis shows that in the House of Clergy, 66 Clergy would block the current legislation being sent down to the diocese, (i.e.32.10%) and 77 laity would block the current legislation being sent down to the diocese (35.46%). Only 34% is needed to block the legislation when it returns from the dioceses. So in the house of laity a blocking minority already exists and in the house of clergy only a further 1.81% is needed, just one person.

Reform has over 1,700 members, of whom more than 350 are ordained clergy.

For further information contact:
Revd Paul Dawson, 07791 495824