There have been a number of articles commenting on the murder of David Kato, and what the primates said about it.
ENS has published Albert Ogle David Kato’s Anglican funeral: A tale of two churches
Chicago Consultation Chicago Consultation Thanks Primates for Decrying Anti-Gay Violence
Changing Attitude England Primates’ statement on David Kato’s murder brings them closer to the moment of truth
Walking with Integrity Mixed Messages from ABofC Dangerous for LGBT in Uganda
Benny’s Blog Today I am ashamed to be an Anglican.24 Comments
ACNS reported yesterday on this. See The Church in the Province of the West Indies adopts the Anglican Communion Covenant.
The Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies has announced that his Province has adopted the Anglican Communion Covenant. It is the third to do so officially, the others being the Anglican Church of Mexico and The Church of the Province of Myanmar…
Was there some previous announcement about Myanmar?1 Comment
The results for the election of two members of the General Synod’s House of Clergy to serve on the Archbishops’ Council were announced today; the successful candidates were the Revd Canon Robert Cotton and the Revd Mark Ireland. This completes the current round of elections to the Council.
Also announced today was the election of the Revd Canon Timothy Dakin to fill the vacancy on the Crown Nominations Commission caused by the death of Colin Slee.
The detailed voting figures for both elections can be downloaded from here.
The full membership of the Council and the CNC can be found on my website here.0 Comments
Updated Tuesday morning
RTE has two video reports which are linked from this report: Anglican leader in warning over homophobia.
Associated/Canadian Press has Anglican leader says reuniting communion will be a lengthy task, but work will continue.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, reacted strongly to media questions in Dublin yesterday which queried the role of the Anglican primate of Uganda, Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi, in fomenting a climate in which gay activist David Kato was murdered there last Wednesday.
Bishop Orombi was one of seven Anglican Church leaders who boycotted the Anglican Primates Meeting in Dublin which concluded yesterday, because Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the US Episcopal Church, was attending it.
The absent primates do not approve of the US church’s ordination of actively gay bishops or its same-sex blessings.
Defending Bishop Orombi, Archbishop Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, emphasised that, as with other relevant Anglican primates, Bishop Orombi’s position concerned “exclusion from ministry on grounds of behaviour, not orientation”.
Belfast Telegraph Top cleric warns against demonising gay people
Guardian Riazat Butt Anglican leaders condemn victimisation of gays and lesbians
At a press conference, held at the Emmaus Centre, Dublin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, reminded journalists that Orombi had signed an earlier pledge “deploring and condemning all violence and language about homosexual persons” while also warning that homophobic language had consequences – as illustrated by Kato’s murder.
Williams acknowledged there was “a critical situation” in the communion.
“The division is very real. The question is how we cope with it. Whether we are able to stay in the same room and argue the case.”
Church Times Ed Beavan has further reports, at Primates’ Meeting, Dublin: updated reports (new material is at the top of the page).
Dr Williams said that there were a “significant number of absentees for a number of reasons”, but in particular the absence of the Global South Primates “was felt and noted every day”, with their names placed on empty chairs in the meeting room and candles lit for them.
“There is a critical situation in the Communion, no one would deny that,” he said. But they would not be “closing the doors on those who are not with us”. He planned to engage in bridge-building visits to some of the absent provinces, such as South-East Asia, and had recently met the Archbishop of Kenya, who did not attend the meeting, engaging in ”a very long and detailed conversation on a variety of matters”.
Such diplomatic endeavours would be a “long task”, he admitted, and trying to keep the diverse Communion together was “difficult”; but “the task we’ve been given and part of the cross we carry.” He said he hoped the standing committee of the Primates’ Meeting, whose role was discussed in Dublin, could also be part of the process to help “re-establish local and regional relationships”.
Asked if he and the Primates would take any disciplinary action against the US Episcopal Church if it continued to ordain gay bishops, he said did not know: “he did not have a crystal ball about the future,” and that he had “no idea” if the boycotting Primates would attend the next Primates’ Meeting.
ENI via Christian Century Anglican archbishops end meeting on a quiet note
Christian Post Anglican Head: Nobody Denies Division26 Comments
ENS has now published a video recording of the press conference. See here.
ACNS has published Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #5.
This links to a series of other statements, available currently only as PDFs:
The release concludes with:
…Private letters that the Primates all agreed to send included one to Pakistan’s leaders on the blasphemy laws, a letter of support for Archbishop of Sudan the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul, a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the Bishop of Jerusalem the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, a letter to the heads of the six-nation talks on the situation in Korea, and a letter of support to both Archbishop Mouneer Anis and Pope Shenouda III.
In the afternoon session, the Primates nominated and elected their five members and five alternate members for the Primates’ Standing Committee. When all the Primates of the Anglican Communion have been informed who the new members are, the names will be posted on the Anglican Communion website. Documents on the scope and purpose of the Primates’ Meeting and of the Primates’ Standing Committee were also agreed.
Immediately following the press conference, the Primates attended a final Eucharist, presided over by the Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Alan Harper. The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams gave the homily. This service marked the end of the meeting.
There was also a press conference, see Podcast of the Press Conference from the Primates Meeting 2011.
At todays press conference the panel comprised of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of the Province of Burundi & Bishop of Matana, The Most Revd Dr John Walder Dunlop Holder, Archbishop, Church in the Province of the West Indies & Bishop of Barbados and The Most Revd David Robert Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church & Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane. They were welcomed by The Most Revd Alan Edwin Thomas Harper, Primate of All Ireland & Archbishop of Armagh.
Dr Rowan Williams said the outcomes of the Primates Meeting had met his “Chief hopes” for the week. He explained that among other letters and statements agreed by the Primates there were two outlining the scope and purpose of the Primates Meeting and its Standing Committee. His address was followed by a question and answer session with members of the media.
And a further press release is titled Renewed clarity on Primates’ Meeting meets Archbishop of Canterbury’s “chief hope”. It includes:
Acknowledging the “significant number of absentees” at the meeting he [the Archbishop of Canterbury] said that the fact remained that two thirds of the body of Primates was present and three quarters expressed their willingness to attend but were unable to do so. “That means that two thirds of the Communion at least wish to meet and wish to continue the conversations they have begun.”
He said, however, that the absences of fellow Primates were felt and noticed every day, and that the documents agreed by the Primates emphasised building relationships across the whole body of Primates. He added he had had, and would be having meetings with those Primates who had not attended.
Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Burundi the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi stressed that those from Africa who had decided not to attend had “not withdrawn from the life of the Anglican Communion.”
“Not attending physically does not mean you are not participating in the life of the Communion,” he said. “I personally believe whether they are here they or not in Dublin, their hearts and aspirations are to see that the Anglican Communion develops positively and works together for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.”
There are reports today that Frank Field MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons.
Telegraph Church must make women bishops, say MPs
Press Association Government urged over women bishops
The full text of the motion is published here:
WOMEN BISHOPS 27.01.2011
That this House welcomes the current moves by the General Synod of the Church of England to pass legislation permitting women to be bishops; notes that the Synod is currently engaged in consulting the Dioceses on the Women in the Episcopate: draft bishops and priests (consecration and ordination of women) Measure; further notes that General Synod expects to debate the final approval stage of the Measure in July 2012; encourages the House of Bishops to commend the Measure as currently drafted; and calls on Her Majesty’s Government to remove any exemptions pertaining to gender under existing equality legislation, in the event that the Measure has overwhelming support in the dioceses but fails through a technicality to receive final approval in General Synod.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church preached this morning at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
“We’re challenged in this very body to ‘show up,’ to present ourselves ready, willing, and able to help heal this broken world,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on Jan. 30 during her sermon at the 9 a.m. Sung Eucharist service at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland.
Highlighting sobering statistics of child mortality rates in some parts of the world – like Angola, where nearly 20 percent of children die before their first birthday – Jefferts Schori said the healing of the world “needs the participation and leadership of all parts of the body of Christ. It starts with urgent voices, and changed hearts, our own conversion, and our challenge to systems that perpetuate all kinds of sickness and death around the world.”
Jefferts Schori noted the brutal murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato, who was bludgeoned to death in his home community on Jan. 26.
Kato “has been a strong voice for the basic human rights of gay and lesbian people,” Jefferts Schori said. “His voice has been silenced. We can pray that others will continue that work, or be challenged by the brutality of his death into some conversion of heart. Will we challenge the world to respect the dignity of every single human being?”
The full text of the sermon is available here.
Link to video recording of sermon.11 Comments
Changing Attitude Ireland press release
Anglican priest, Canon Giles Goddard – chair of Inclusive Church England – said in a sermon today (Sunday 30 January) in Trinity College Dublin:
“You may have heard that a Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death in his home in Uganda. His funeral was on Friday. At his funeral, the officiant – who was an Anglican lay reader – ranted against homosexuality. And at the end of the service the villagers refused to bury his coffin. I think it’s important to be clear about this; homophobia kills and any church that preaches intolerance is contributing to the very real and deadly consequences of homophobia.”
He went on to say that:
“Two things need to happen to ensure the continued health of the Anglican Communion. First, that we need to be clear about the implications of the refusal by some conservative provinces to engage with Communion processes; this Primates Meeting and the Anglican Covenant. The implication is that the processes set in place in an attempt to placate them – the moratoria– are to all intents and purposes defunct, and should be quietly forgotten. Which is not surprising, because they were legalistic responses to a legalistic approach to the Gospel.
Secondly, having done that we need to find a way out of the absurd stalemate we are in over human sexuality. We need as a Communion to find a way to recognise that there are a great many Anglican and Episcopalian Christians whose faith and life, and the faith and life of those around them, is deeply enriched by their same-sex relationships. That these relationships are undoubtedly blessed and hallowed in the sight of God. A way which recognises differences of opinion; which does not force those who disagree to abandon their beliefs; but which recognises and celebrates the ways in which the love of Jesus is expressed in the world. Here we are in Ireland, close to a living example of what’s possible in extremely complicated issues with flexibility and care. I do not believe that something similar isn’t possible within the Anglican Communion. It’s time to find that way.”
The full text of this sermon can be found at this page.7 Comments
Here’s the official bulletin: Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #4.
Today’s meeting moved from the work of reflecting on the exercise of primacy and the purpose and nature of the Primates’ Meeting, to considering the role, purpose and composition of the Standing Committee of the Primates. In addition to attending the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the Standing Committee, other roles suggested for the committee by Primates included “holding” the life, vision and spirit of the meeting between the Primates’ Meetings; helping to shape their future meetings; and acting as a consultative group for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Several groups also suggested that the Primates’ Standing Committee might have an ongoing bridging role between the Primate’s Meeting and the regions from where the Primates come…
There are some pictures posted, which you can reach via here (and then top left).
Titus Presler asks some Questions about Anglican primates’ day on theology/ecumenism/covenant.
And there is more from Ed Beavan here.10 Comments
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 7: The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “Genesis raises some thorny questions about God’s morality, but to view them entirely through our own lens is disrespectful.”
Giles Fraser’s column in this week’s Church Times is Woods: it’s all about the scale.
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian that American Anglicans made me change my mind on church. “Disillusioned with the C of E’s ambivalent attitude to liberalism, the US Episcopal church was like a breath of fresh air.”
Christopher Howse asks in The Telegraph: What’s that thing round your neck? He “was surprised by religious medals being called ‘charms’.”
In last week’s opinion article I linked to a lecture about Islamophobia by Baroness Warsi, and some responses to it. This week The Question at Comment is free belief follows this up with Is hatred of Islam now respectable? with replies from Nesrine Malik, Tehmina Kazi and Jenny Taylor.16 Comments
CHICAGO CONSULTATION HOPES ARCHBISHOP’S STATEMENT SIGNALS NEW COURSE ON LGBT ISSUES
Asks other Anglican primates to condemn violence
CHICAGO, IL, January 28, 2011—The Chicago Consultation issued this statement today from its co-convener, the Rev. Lowell Grisham:
“The Chicago Consultation applauds the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams for his statements condemning the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato. We hope the archbishop’s statement signals a willingness to speak out against the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people more directly and forcefully than he has in the past.
“It is essential that the other primates of the Anglican Communion join Dr. Williams and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, in condemning the cultivation of hatred and violence against LGBT people. The primates who boycotted the current meeting in Dublin over theological differences with gay-friendly churches have a particular responsibility to affirm the dignity of every human being, and the right of LGBT people to live without fear of violence, degradation or criminal prosecution. We would welcome similar clarity from the Anglican Church in North America, which maintains close relationships with these primates.
“Heartened as we were by the archbishop’s statement, we believe that he is speaking aspirationally when he claims that the worldwide Anglican Communion has condemned violence against LGBT people. Occasional references to the dignity of gays and lesbians in voluminous communiqués cannot mask the fact that a number of Anglican provinces have been active or complicit in encouraging state-sponsored persecution of gays and lesbians, including the notorious anti-gay legislation still under consideration by the Ugandan parliament.
“Dr. Williams’ advocacy would be more credible were his handling of LGBT issues within the Anglican Communion more evenhanded. He has made it clear that the Episcopal Church may face consequences for consecrating gay and lesbian bishops. Yet primates such as Archbishop Henry Orombi in Kato’s own country of Uganda support laws that would imprison same-sex couples for simple acts of physical affection, but risk no such reprisals. The tortured ecclesiological rationale offered for this double standard makes little sense outside the cocoon of Communion bureaucracy, and it compromises the archbishop’s ability to be the forceful and effective advocate for human rights that this statement indicates he wants to be.”
The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit www.chicagoconsultation.org.51 Comments
Ed Beavan has filed further reports (and photos) for the Church Times from Dublin: Primates’ Meeting, Dublin: updated reports. (Scroll down for his earlier report.)
The Guardian’s Riazat Butt has reported the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement: Archbishop urges government to protect gay asylum seekers.
The Presiding Bishop of TEC has issued a statement, see PB statement on David Kato’s murder.
The official briefing from ACNS is Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #3
For reference, here is the Church of Uganda’s official statement of its position on the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill of 2009.
ENS also had a report: Episcopalians condemn murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato.3 Comments
Friday 28 January 2011
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who is currently in Dublin for the Primates’ meeting, has made the following statement regarding the murder of the gay human rights activist David Kato Kisulle in Uganda:
“The brutal murder of David Kato Kisule, a gay human rights activist, is profoundly shocking. Our prayers and deep sympathy go out for his family and friends – and for all who live in fear for their lives. Whatever the precise circumstances of his death, which have yet to be determined, we know that David Kato Kisule lived under the threat of violence and death. No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities.”
The official bulletin for Thursday: Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #2.
The Church Times has Ed Beavan on the scene, and his first report is Primates depleted as Dublin summit kicks off.
The Church of England Newspaper has a report by George Conger 15 Archbishops skip Dublin primates meeting.
Patsy McGarry reports in the Irish Times: Church of Ireland group urges that Ugandan ‘homophobia’ be confronted.
THE CHURCH of Ireland Changing Attitude group has called on the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, and international Anglican primates meeting in Dublin “to confront the problem of homophobia in Uganda”.
It follows the murder there last Wednesday of gay rights campaigner David Kato.
The group said that in recent years “anti-gay feeling in Uganda has been stirred up by religious leaders, a group of USA evangelicals and politicians”.
Senior bishops from Anglican churches worldwide are in Dublin and “needed to assume their responsibilities in tackling homophobia and the churches collusion in it”.
The Anglican primate of the Church of the Province of Uganda, Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi, is among seven primates of the Anglican Communion who have boycotted the Primates Meeting now under way at the Emmaus Centre near Swords, Co Dublin…
Some background to this:
The Kampala-based Daily Monitor carries this editorial comment today: Can we talk honestly about homosexuality? . It concludes:
People like David Kato and others who might be gay are Ugandans and enjoy the same rights and protections of the law as heterosexuals. We cannot send them into exile neither, lock them away, or hang them.
We need to have an honest discussion about how to ensure that their rights are upheld without violating the rights of other Ugandans.
Peaceful and stable societies only emerge when we understand and try to accommodate those who are different from us, or who disagree with us – not by ostracising or killing them.
Box Turtle Bulletin comments on this editorial here, and says:
What makes this editorial remarkable is that it is being printed in Uganda’s largest and most influential independent newspaper, and it expresses the need to ensure the rights of LGBT people are upheld in a nation whose leadership refuses to recognize gay people as humans beings deserving of human rights. That’s remarkable, and a most welcome addition to the debate.
ACNS has the official report of yesterday: Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #1.
Changing Attitude Ireland has issued a call for the primates to consider the issue of Christian-backed persecution of gay persons. See Call to confront Homophobia at Anglican Primates’ Meeting. (See also this BBC news article.)
The Institute for Religion and Democracy has issued its opinion: Global Conservative Anglican Leaders Duck Worldwide Meeting
“This strife within the third largest family of Christian churches worldwide will not conclude in decisive schism. Instead, liberal and conservative Anglicans will continue to realize a de-facto separation over time. The Dublin primate’s [sic] meeting exemplifies this evolving separation.”
As Episcopal Café points out, this amounts to a change of position: IRD revises forecast for the Communion.
If you came late to this party, you can read about what IRD did to bankroll the Anglican schism in Following the Money. Or you can read This Schism Is Brought to You by the IRD and Power, Money, Control . . . It’s the Church!14 Comments
TitusOneNine has published a complete transcript of the recent address made by the Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Mouneer Anis. See Recovering the Word of God for the Anglican Communion. Bishop Anis is not attending the meeting in Dublin.
Fulcrum, which argued previously that the Presiding Bishop of TEC should not be invited to attend the Dublin meeting of the Anglican Primates has published an article by Andrew Goddard titled Actions and consequences: Reflections on the state of the Anglican Communion.
Summary: Reflecting on Fulcrum’s call not to invite the Presiding Bishop to the Primates’ Meeting in Ireland, the consequences of inviting her are highlighted: the widespread principled absence of many Global South primates. As it is still unclear why the Presiding Bishop was invited after the breach of the moratorium and the Pentecost Letter, three possible scenarios are outlined in the hope that the rationale for this decision may be made clear. Then, drawing on past Primates’ statements and statements from TEC, three justifications for non-invitation and grounds for non-attendance are outlined: developments in TEC are now indisputably a breach of the moratoria, TEC has displayed a lack of integrity in its dealings with the Communion and its own stance reveals a lack of coherence in teaching and practice while increasingly signalling a determination to re-define the Christian doctrine of marriage. After exploring some of the challenges of holding a meeting to address key issues in the Communion but with the leaders of most of the world’s Anglicans not present, possible future paths for the Communion are outlined in relation to both the need for serious theological discussion about sexuality and the need to reform the Instruments, all of which have seen their authority eroded through this crisis. The conclusion notes that various actions and inactions in recent years have had serious damaging consequences and highlights the need to pray that, while nothing said or done this week can be painless, the actions of this gathering of Primates may have positive consequences for the Communion’s future unity…
The Anglican Communion News Service has issued a press release listing exactly who is not coming, and why not.
24 are currently expected. Only 22 of them are real live Primates of their Provinces. The other two are the Archbishop of York (representing the CofE), and the Dean of the Province of Central Africa (primatial office is vacant).
Absentees include 7 who cite the presence of The Episcopal Church as the reason, and a total of 8 who cite other reasons. Total absentees 15.
The attendance list from the press release is copied below the fold.19 Comments
Here are media reports this morning:
At least seven archbishops who oppose the ordination of gay and lesbian bishops will boycott a meeting of the world’s Anglican leadership, which begins in Dublin today…
A meeting of Anglican leaders in Dublin is expected to be boycotted by up to a third of those invited.
At least seven of the leaders representing 38 Anglican provinces worldwide will not attend a key meeting in Dublin from 25-30 January. Their absence comes at a time when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is under mounting pressure from two wings of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion on the subject of human sexuality.
…But according to the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, at least seven primates have indicated they will not be attending the meeting at the Emmaus Retreat & Conference Centre because of Jefferts Schori’s presence and recent developments concerning human sexuality issues in the Episcopal Church.
Christian Today Anglican Primates meeting in Dublin despite absences
…The Primates of the Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, the Southern Cone of Latin America, and South East Asia are all boycotting the meeting in protest against the attendance of Katharine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the US.
Christian Post Anglican Primates Meeting to Take Place Despite Boycott
…As many as ten of the leaders of the Communion’s 38 provinces will not attend the meeting because of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori, who represents the Episcopal Church and a supporter of gay bishops and same-sex marriage.
Episcopal Café has a statement from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.14 Comments
GS MISC 979 is now available as a PDF from the Church of England website. The cover page says:
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ORDINARIATE OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM
SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON THE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
I attach for the information of Synod members some Questions and Answers on legal issues relating to the implications for the Church of England of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham which has been established within the Roman Catholic Church by the Pope.
They have been prepared by the Legal Office and Provincial Registrars and circulated to diocesan bishops, chancellors and registrars.
THE SOCIETY OF ST HILDA & ST WILFRID (sic)
FOR IMMEDIATE USE
Monday 24 January 2011
Provision to Remain
Anglican Bishops issue Pastoral Letter
Twelve Church of England bishops who seek to both maintain and promote its Catholic heritage have written a Pastoral Letter to clergy and laity suggesting that despite recent decisions by the General Synod concerning provision for those opposed to the ordination of women bishops and priests “even at this late hour we are seeking a way forward that would enable us with integrity to retain membership of the Church of England”.
Referring to those who have already left the Church of England the bishops write: “We genuinely wish them Godspeed as, heeding the call of conscience, they embark on a new episode in their Christian discipleship. We, too, in similar obedience to conscience, seek, if at all possible, to remain faithful members of the Church of England and undertake to support all who seek to do likewise.”
The bishops state: “We are passionate in our commitment to the mission of the Church of England and urgently seek a settlement through which we would be free to play our part to the fullest measure.”
One of the ways of achieving this, they believe, is through the setting up of a new Society under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and St Hilda.
The bishops write: “We believe this could be done by the formation of a society within the Church of England, overseen by bishops committed to our viewpoint. Such bishops would need, of course, the necessary ordinary jurisdiction that would enable them to be the true pastors of their people and to be guarantors of the sacramental assurance on which we all depend for our authentic sharing within the Body of Christ. Given that our parishes are also constituent parts of local dioceses we also understand that some way would have to be identified for sharing jurisdiction with the diocesan bishop.
They add: “We understand it to be something of this nature that our archbishops were trying to achieve in their ill-fated amendment at the July meeting of the General Synod. That amendment, though narrowly defeated in the House of Clergy, was widely supported elsewhere in the Synod and, indeed, a majority of members supported it. It might well be that a revisiting of the archbishops’ proposals, with some further development of them, could still help our Church to find a way forward that enabled us all to remain faithful members of it.”
The bishops are continuing to meet regularly and to listen to the views of many different people as they add substance to a draft constitution for The Society.
Many have already enrolled as prospective members of The Society and the bishops have encouraged others to do so.
In an appeal to the wider church to listen to their concerns the bishops write:
“We do not want to build up false hopes. Every attempt we have made so far to persuade the Church of England to make the kind of provision that would enable us in good conscience to remain within its fellowship has been thwarted. We feel, nevertheless, duty bound, once again to seek a way out of the impasse that otherwise would make it impossible for many of us to remain faithful members of our Church. We recognise the huge change of heart that would need to happen for us to succeed.”
+ Nicholas Blackburn
+ John Cicestr
+ Geoffrey Gibraltar
The full text of the Pastoral Letter appears below the fold.44 Comments