The GAFCON/FCA Primates Council recently met in Oxford. Today they have issued this press release: Oxford Statement of the Primates’ Council November 2010 AD.
The statement includes this paragraph [emphasis added].
5. For the sake of Christ and of His Gospel we can no longer maintain the illusion of normalcy and so we join with other Primates from the Global South in declaring that we will not be present at the next Primates’ meeting to be held in Ireland. And while we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate.
updated Wednesday afternoon
is debating debated the Anglican Communion Synod this (Wednesday) morning. We will update updated this article as the debate proceeds proceeded.
The Bishop of Bristol (The Rt Revd Michael Hill) moved
504 ‘That the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant be considered.’
After much debate Mrs Mary Johnston (London) proposed that the debate be adjourned to July 2011. The proposal was defeated on a show of hands. Synod then immediately agreed to close the debate and move to a vote. The voting was by houses and motion 504 was carried in all three houses with the voting figures below.
Bishops 39 for 0 against 1 abstention
Clergy 145 for 32 against 11 abstentions
Laity 147 for 25 against 8 abstentions
Mr Justin Brett (Chichester) moved as an amendment [to the draft Act of Synod]:
505 In recital (1) after “the Anglican Covenant” insert —
“, subject to the exception referred to below,”; and
After “GS Misc 966” in paragraph 1, insert —
“, with the exception of section 4.2,”; and
Before “solemnly covenants” insert —
“subject to that exception”.
Item 505 was defeated on a show of hands.
Dr Brian Walker (Winchester) moved as an amendment [to the draft Act of Synod]:
506 Insert as new recital (3) —
“The Church of England understands the Anglican Communion Covenant as a means for maintaining continuous inclusive relationships between all covenanting Churches.”; and
At the beginning of paragraph 1, insert —
“Subject to paragraph 2.”; and
After paragraph 1. insert
“2. The Church of England will not participate in or support any limitations or suspensions of the kind provided for in Section 4.2.5 or sanctions effected under Section 4.2.7.”.
This amendment lapsed, since fewer than 40 members stood to ask for debate to continue.
The Revd Canon Robert Cotton (Guildford) moved a following motion.
507 That this Synod, recognising and affirming the difficult issues addressed by the Anglican Communion Covenant:
(a) request that the date determined by the Presidents for the reference of the draft Act of Synod to the dioceses under Article 8 should be no earlier than November 2011;
(b) direct the Business Committee to ensure that the documents circulated to diocesan synods for the purposes of the Article 8 reference include a range of briefing material, properly reflecting the diversity of views on the Covenant within the Church of England; and
(c) invite the House of Bishops to encourage in the dioceses a process of widespread education about, and engagement with, the substance and text of the Covenant.
The motion 507 was defeated on a show of hands.
Here is the official summary of the morning’s business: General Synod – Summary of business conducted on Wednesday 24th November 2010 AM.14 Comments
There are numerous reports in the media of the action taken by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres today in disciplining the Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent.
Here is the actual text of the statement from the Bishop of London (emphasis added):
The Bishop of London has issued a statement regarding the Bishop of Willesden.
“I was appalled by the Bishop of Willesden’s comments about the forthcoming royal marriage. In common with most of the country I share the joy which the news of the engagement has brought.
“I have now had an opportunity to discuss with Bishop Peter how his comments came to be made and I have noted his unreserved apology. Nevertheless, I have asked him to withdraw from public ministry until further notice. I have also been in touch with St James’s Palace to express my own dismay on behalf of the Church.
“Arrangements will need to be made in Bishop Peter’s absence and further details will be given in due course.
“With thanks for your partnership in the Gospel.”
The term “suspension” is not used, although many media reports have used that word. For a suspension to occur, the Clergy Discipline Measure would have to be invoked, and this has not happened.
Earlier, Bishop Broadbent had issued a public apology for his remarks about the forthcoming Royal wedding, which he had made on Facebook.41 Comments
Jim Naughton wrote about it at Episcopal Café in The Anglican Covenant: a tool for the strong to oppress the weak.
So many points have been made against the proposed Anglican Covenant, which will be voted on this week by the Church of England’s General Synod, that one risks redundancy in expressing one’s own reservations. Mine have to do primarily with how the covenant would operate if approved. It is a dangerous document which takes John Adams’ famous formulation—“a government of laws and not of men”—and stands it on its head. The covenant is a document that sets forth a system for adjudicating disputes based on criteria that are almost entirely subjective and ad hoc.
In this peculiar system, one can do nothing that offends another province in the Communion, and anything that does not. Offense is judged not by analyzing the act, but in analyzing the response to the act. This is governance by hurt feelings, a system in which power flows to those who complain the loudest and the most frequently. The covenant lacks any of the safeguards, contained in most civil codes, to protect the accused from frivolous accusations. Hence there is no cost and much potential benefit in lodging complaints simply to keep one’s theological adversaries on the defensive. There is great incentive for them to behave in similar fashion.
One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to notice that the covenant contains no standards of evidence, and provides for nothing resembling due process, The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion can investigate complaints in whatever manner it sees fit. Perhaps this is unsurprising. If the only fact at issue is whether a party has given offense, the only evidence necessary is the offended party’s assertion that they are, indeed offended. Having conducted an investigation under standards of its own devising, the Standing Committee can then respond in whatever manner it chooses including the imposition of “relational consequences…”
Andrew Goddard has written yet again, this latest is titled The Anglican Covenant: Why a ‘Yes’ Vote is Significant.
As General Synod approaches its crucial vote on the Anglican covenant, recent discussions have revealed that there are at least three significant perspectives at work in the debate on the covenant and that there are some important differences between them which have not been explicitly articulated. Broadly speaking there are (1) those who, though unhappy with elements of the final text, are supportive of the covenant, (2) those who are against it and whose views are represented on the left by Inclusive Church and Modern Church and (3) those who are against it (though appear to be proposing to abstain in the Synod vote) on the right from a more conservative/GAFCON perspective. What are the reasons for the differences?
There is also an article by Benjamin Guyer at Fulcrum titled In Praise of Rhetoric? Anti-Covenantal Myths of Puritanism and Anglicanism (Part Two Richard Hooker)
Meanwhile, today the No Anglican Covenant Coalition issued a further press release, the full text of which appears below the fold.8 Comments
Updated Wednesday morning
Three articles in The Guardian:
Riazat Butt Religious do not have monopoly on virtue, Queen tells synod
Stephen Bates Reassuring presence at General Synod of the Church of England
Stephen Bates and Riazat Butt Anglican church faces ‘piece by piece dissolution’, warns archbishop
Press Association Queen warns of ‘painful’ times ahead for Church
Matthew Davies at Episcopal Life Online: The Queen inaugurates new General Synod, underscores need to communicate the gospel7 Comments
We will update this page during the day.
Updated Tuesday evening
Official summary of the morning’s inauguration: General Synod – Summary of business conducted on Tuesday 23rd November 2010 – Inauguration
Official summary of the afternoon’s business: General Synod – Summary of business conducted on Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PM
Both official summaries include links to audio recordings of the sessions.
Archbishop’s Presidential Address – General Synod November 2010. This includes the full text.5 Comments
The newly elected General Synod of the Church of England meets for the first time today and tomorrow. Here are a few press reviews.
Riazat Butt in The Guardian The Queen set to open General Synod
Robert Pigott at the BBC Queen opens Church General Synod amid signs of change
The BBC also has Queen to open Church of England general synod
Christian Today Church of England General Synod to be formally opened by Queen
Press Association Queen to open Church of England general synod2 Comments
Bishop Alan Wilson has written My fluttering Pelagiometer.
The Anglican Covenant may well not end up accomplishing as much bad or good as it is cracked up for, but the discussion around it has been worthwhile and fascinating, and at last something of a broader debate seems to be starting up, for example Andrew Goddard and Jonathan Clatworthy, here and here. People are still, however, often picking over the bones rather than addressing the big questions around having such a thing in the first place, and it seems to me those are where the action is. Many thanks to all who have offered comment on this blog for their clarity, honesty, and will to try and understand the whole picture.
If Christians are alienated from each other, culturally, sociologically and psychologically, how high a formal fence should they erect between themselves? Enough, surely to give reflective space to both and a chance to relate their partial interests in the whole gospel picture whilst they live in tension and await, in joyful hope, a new heaven and a new earth. But temporary fencing, as low and light as possible, has to offer the best way forward if it’s relationships that count…
Episcopal Café had a useful roundup of some of yesterday’s media coverage.
In case anybody still thinks this Covenant is acceptable to conservatives, this FCA blog entry makes the position clear.
The recently retired Chancellor of the Anglican Church of Canada has written about the Covenant. See Canadian judge questions lack of clarity in Covenant language.
And for some light relief, see UFO Mission to Rescue the Archbishop.5 Comments
Bishop Pierre Whalon, who is Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, has written an article which is published at Anglicans Online.
You can read it at Covet a covenant?
…The Covenant Design Group tried their best to satisfy the demands of those who wanted to restrain local provinces from actions that would disturb, as well as those who insisted on maintaining complete independence. In that sense, the document is interesting, and I maintain that the process of discussing its proposals throughout the Communion is healthy for us all.
However one frames it, the Covenant does provide a mechanism for eventually determining who is “in” and who is “out.” Do I want, say, the Diocese of Sydney “in” or “out”? Based on what? Their peculiar ecclesiology, which lies well outside the usual range of Anglican options? Their desire to have lay people presiding at the Eucharist under certain conditions? That it often seems to be too much of a family affair? What benefit would there be to them and the rest of us in ostracizing them? Or any Anglican church you think has placed itself outside the pale?
We decided it was a two-letter night. Like to read about the Covenant, to be voted on this week by the Church of England? See the left side.
If you’ve had quite enough of the Covenant, have a look at the right side.
The Church of England General Synod will be debating the “Big Society” on Tuesday afternoon this week. As background material to this debate the Mission and Public Affairs Division has produced a report: GS1804 “The Big Society” and the Church of England. There is also a summary of this report: GS1804A. The debate will undoubtedly extend to the government’s cuts in public expenditure.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones writes in today’s Telegraph: Bishops warn David Cameron’s Big Society will be undermined by welfare cuts
Today’s Diary of a civil servant column in The Observer is Welcome to the ever-diminishing world of the ‘big society’.
The Common Wealth (Christians for Economic and Social Justice) network has been launched with Christians say cuts-based Big Society is ‘a Big Lie’. The network has issued a statement with this abstract.
In the face of sweeping public spending cuts and a UK government economic strategy which targets the poor to pay for a crisis produced by the wealthy, a group of Christians in public life (activists, ministers and theologians) have issued this statement calling for Christian unity with others in the movement to resist the cuts in public and welfare provision. It urges the churches to be wary about being co-opted into the Big Society initiative – which it calls ‘a big lie’ in economic terms. The document articulates a radical theological critique of government policies and the social and economic order they seek to maintain. It is rooted in an alternative vision based on strong Christian roots and wide solidarities, arguing for a Common Wealth that expresses the central dynamics of the Gospel message. The statement is also a call to form a network of discernment, resistance and creativity in the generation of fresh approaches to the shared life of people and planet.
Savi Hensman has written for Ekklesia about Cuts that divide and devalue
The Church in Wales has issued this press release: Count the human cost of the cuts – Bishop responds to Draft Budget.
And there is this from The Church of Scotland: Kirk challenges Chancellor to meet the poor.
Church Action On Poverty has published Churches challenge Government over poverty and welfare.6 Comments
Ruth Gledhill has interviewed Gene Robinson, the bishop of New Hampshire. The full interview is behind the Times paywall but there are two extracts on YouTube.
Gene Robinson Part One: the Anglican crisis
This week I [Ruth Gledhill] went to New York to interview Gene Robinson. “I have clergy friends in England who literally studied at Archbishop Williams’s feet when he was teaching and who have said to me it is almost as if aliens have come and taken Rowan away from us and they have left something here that looks like him but we don’t recognise him any more,” Bishop Robinson said. Giving his first interview since announcing that he will retire in two years, Bishop Robinson said that Dr Williams was a wonderful human being and a faithful Christian.
But he added: “I’m not at all sure that his attempts to hold us together as a communion at all costs is the kind of leadership that this time calls for. I pray for him every day.
Gene Robinson Part Two: A Boy Named Vicki Gene
Gene Robinson talks to Ruth Gledhill in New York: His parents, poor tenant farmers, were told he would certainly die. Before his birth, they had come up with a girl’s name, Vicky Jean, after his father, Victor and his mother, Imogene. “In his distress he just changed the spelling and thought it wouldn’t matter on a tombstone. So that’s the name on my birth certificate.”
Jonathan Clatworthy has written a response to this recent article by Andrew Goddard.
Read it in full at Reply to Andrew Goddard.
Andrew Goddard has now provided a lengthy defence of the Anglican Covenant against the arguments in PDF our advertisement of 29 October. At over 15,000 words it bears witness to Dr Goddard’s commitment. It is not light bedtime reading, and a point by point reply would not be either. In any case our views are already available. Although he does not refer to it, at the bottom of the advertisement we printed a website address (www.modernchurch.org.uk/anglicancovenant) for further details, where we had already provided much of the further information he asks for. Since then a huge amount of additional material has been placed on websites. There is a list in the resources section at www.noanglicancovenant.org, of which notthesamestream.blogspot.com is particularly worthy of note.
Nevertheless it may be helpful to respond to the substance of his points…
Note: the reply is only 3,700 words long.5 Comments
Andrew Goddard has now turned his attention to this article.
On reading Truth or Conviction: questions over the Anglican Communion Covenant by Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden I did not know whether to laugh or to cry. Part of me wanted to laugh, having just spent some time responding to IC & MCU. In part, that response sought to show that the covenant was not the punitive brainchild of neo-Puritans which ruled out dialogue and which if accepted automatically entailed the expulsion of North American church from the Communion. Here were two leading spokesmen often portrayed as those supporting the covenant because it is punitive and exclusionary making clear that they were far from happy with it because it did not do what IC & MCU claimed it did. But most of me wanted to cry. Here are two distinguished fellow evangelicals and friends not just taking a view with which I disagree but doing so in a manner which had so many of the hallmarks of those they are fighting – no reference to the text of the covenant, making unsubstantiated claims and even some clear falsehoods to raise doubts and fears in their constituency, and approaching the covenant seemingly driven by a wider agenda in pursuit of which the covenant could be distorted and dismissed but with no serious alternative on offer…
Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel have responded to Andrew Goddard.4 Comments
Lord Blair of Boughton, the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and a practising Anglican, delivered the 2010 Theos Annual Lecture this week: The image of religion must change. Andrew Brown had this comment at The Guardian: Faith and policing.
A writer in the Irish Times says that the Simple message of Jesus has been complicated and twisted.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Misery is not a spectacle.
The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the Annual Isaiah Berlin Lecture this week, with the title Faith and Enlightenment: Friends or Foes?
Bishop Paul Butler writes about Sanitising the Bible for Children; he’s not in favour.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about The tomb of Jesus in central London.9 Comments
The Church of Ireland Gazette gave this topic some space, see:
and this editorial comment.
Alan Perry wrote Does the Anglican Covenant really mean what it says?0 Comments
There has been a flurry of interest around the references to what Archbishop Drexel Gomez (now retired) said in 2008. Here is the original report of those remarks.
Christian Challenge ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ: Need For Covenant Grows More Urgent by Robert England.
Leader Sees Good Chance That Final Covenant Will Go To Provinces Next Year; Expresses Openness To Possibility Of New North American Province
The process of finalizing an Anglican covenant needs to move forward more quickly if the Anglican Communion is to be preserved.
That was the message delivered Saturday (September 13) by West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the chairman of the group charged with formulating the pact intended to help ensure unity in basic beliefs, settle disputes, and administer discipline among historically autonomous Anglican provinces…
Another copy is over here.8 Comments
Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel have written an article for this week’s Church of England Newspaper entitled Truth or Conviction: questions over the Anglican Communion Covenant. Here’s how it starts:
Many primates have indicated that they cannot support the Covenant in its present form. The African Primates said in Entebbe in August : “We realise the need for further improvement of the Covenant in order to be an effective tool for unity and mutual accountability.”
In April the Global South meeting said: “We are currently reviewing the proposed Covenant to find ways to strengthen it in order for it to fulfill its purpose. For example, we believe that all those who adopt the Covenant must be in compliance with Lambeth 1.10. Meanwhile we recognize that the Primates Meeting, being responsible for Faith and Order, should be the body to oversee the Covenant in its implementation, not the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.”
Why the reticence?
And the article concludes:
The current Covenant process interminably delays judgement and leaves little hope of discipline and thus of consistency. We are left in a permanent state of dialogue and conversation. This has practical implications at parish level when churches have to decide how to relate to same-sex couples requesting blessing and bringing surrogate children for baptism. If the covenant process in the Communion becomes the state of affairs in the Church of England, its practices could be so contradictory that chaos would result. Endless appeal could be made to conviction, openness, listening and time while practices and actions continue which go against the teaching of the church whether in a parish or whole diocese.
The above argument could therefore suggest abstention in the vote in General Synod next week for the following reasons:
The Communion needs recognition of orthodox teaching and for proper and appropriate boundaries. The Covenant does not achieve that purpose but substitutes conviction for truth. Some wish to travel further in the direction in which the Covenant is supposed to point, but do not wish to support the very weak approach of the current Covenant. Where the current Anglican Communion process is going today could be used to allow for English Dioceses to move in TEC’s direction tomorrow on the grounds that this is accepted Anglican practice.
This press statement has been issued following a meeting of the RC Bishops of England and Wales.
Implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus
The Establishment of a Personal Ordinariate in England and Wales
Full text appears below the fold.
The Church Times has a report from today’s press conference on its website, see Ed Thornton We have no designs on your churches, says Archbishop Nichols
Last week, I linked to a news article by George Conger that appeared in the Church of England Newspaper.
This week, both the Church of England Newspaper and the Church Times have further reports on the matter.
In the former, George Conger’s story is headlined No plans to cancel Dublin Primates’ Meeting, ACC says.
There are no plans to cancel the Dublin primates meeting, ACC secretary general Canon Kenneth Kearon has declared.
In a statement released via Twitter on Nov 11 in response to a story last week in the Church of England Newspaper about the Jan 25-31 meeting, ACC spokesman Jan Butter wrote: “Am afraid this story is not accurate. Communion Sec. Gen. Canon Kearon adamant: never any plans to cancel Primates’ Mtg.”
…The report in the CEN, however, did not claim the archbishop’s Oct 7 letter called for the cancellation of the primates meeting.
In response to a request for clarification, the spokesman for the ACC stated there had been a “slip of the pen”’ in the Twitter message in saying there were never any plans to “cancel” the meeting. “The point I was trying to get across was that there have never been any plans to suspend the upcoming Primates’ Meeting in Dublin next January,” Mr. Butter wrote.
However, behind the scenes conversations between Dr. Williams and the primates remain on-going, CEN has been told. While reservations and supplies have been laid on by the ACC staff for the 38 primates and the Archbishop of York to meet at the Emmaus Conference Centre outside of Dublin, it is not clear how many primates will attend the gathering…
The Church Times news report on this is only available to paid subscribers until next week, but the story does quote Canon Kearon as saying there is:
“a suggestion that this be a different kind of Primates’ Meeting, driven by the need for discernment and dialogue around issues affecting the life of the Communion”.
“The proposal is that it begins with a number of different conversations taking place simultaneously at first. This is to provide a safe space where dialogue can begin and progress together in a spirit of discernment.”
Cif belief has published an article, written by me, on the Covenant.
Everyone agrees the Anglican Communion is in a mess, but increasing the power of a central committee won’t fix it.
Gregory Cameron, Andrew Goddard, and Graham Kings have all criticised attacks on the covenant as misinformation and scaremongering. But strikingly none of them has explained what benefit to the Church of England comes from endorsing the covenant. There’s a very simple reason for this: none exists…