Thinking Anglicans

Civil Partnerships in the Church of Ireland

Updated again Tuesday

The Church of Ireland has published Statement by the Archbishop of Armagh on Civil Partnerships and Serving Clergy.

Following media reports on the issue of civil partnerships and serving clergy, the following statement from the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, The Most Revd Alan Harper, was provided to the BBC NI ‘Talkback’ programme and the Belfast Newsletter today, 7 September 2011:

’The recent civil partnership of a serving ordained Church of Ireland clergyman presents a new situation within the Church of Ireland. It is true to say that within the Church there is a range of views on same–sex relationships and there will also be a range of views and reactions to civil partnerships concerning clergy. I acknowledge that this issue has caused strong feelings and concern. While there are acknowledged differences of opinion within the Church, suggestions that it might split are, I hope, premature. In 2003 the Bishops of the Church of Ireland issued a pastoral letter on human sexuality which reflected the varied spectrum of views within the Church. The General Synod of the Church of Ireland has not made any statement or decision in addition to that. The Bishops will be addressing the matter again shortly. I trust that the Church and its bishops will continue to address this subject with mutual respect. The state has provided a right in law for same gender persons to have their partnerships recognized and specific rights conferred through civil partnership, This is not recognized as marriage by the Church of Ireland or by the civil authorities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Marriage is understood by the Church to comprise a lifelong and exclusive commitment by one man and one woman to each other. The Church has no provision or proposals for any liturgy for the blessing of civil partnerships and there are no authorized public rites of blessing for same–gender relationships.’

Some of the press reports:

Belfast Newsletter Cleric confirms gay partnership and ‘Dismay at CoI gay union’ and Gay row ‘may split church’

BBC Minister Rev Tom Gordon civil partnership ‘welcomed’

Irish Times Senior cleric in same-sex ceremony

Christian Today ‘Sorrow’ after senior Church of Ireland cleric confirms civil partnership

Friday morning updates

Changing Attitude Ireland has welcomed the news: CA Ireland congratulates Dean Tom Gordon and his civil partnership.

And this is the (later, fuller version of) the statement, jointly issued by the committees of the Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship, the Evangelical Fellowship of Irish Clergy, New Wine (Ireland) and Reform Ireland: Further joint statement by Evangelical groups in C of I.

In addition to that, Reform Ireland has published Civil partnership shame of the Church of Ireland.

Friday afternoon update

Belfast Telegraph Church of Ireland split fear over Irish cleric’s civil partnership

This story misquotes Canon Ian Ellis, editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette, as saying that the Dean had not informed his bishop beforehand, but according to the Gazette’s own report (available online only to subscribers):

The Dean said that he had told his Bishop, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows, before proceeding with the civil partnership, and confirmed that no assurances were required of him regarding a celibate lifestyle, as is required in the Church of England. However, he also said that he did not regard civil partnership as equivalent to marriage.

update Tuesday

The Belfast Telegraph has, in effect, corrected this error, see Bishop under fire over cleric’s gay marriage.


More Anglican Covenant complexities

In the previous Covenant article, mention was made of the recent analysis by Andrew Goddard.

Two developments in relation to that.

Alan Perry wrote this critique of it: Send in the Theologians

The editors of the No Anglican Covenant blog asked the ACO if what was claimed about IASCUFO working on reforms to the Instruments of Communion was correct. The answer is available here: Don’t Panic.


Next Bishop of Winchester

From the Number 10 website

Diocese of Winchester
Tuesday 6 September 2011

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Timothy John Dakin for election as Bishop of Winchester.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Timothy John Dakin, BA, MTh, General Secretary of the Church Mission Society, Associate Priest of Ruscombe and Twyford in Oxford Diocese and Honorary Canon Theologian at Coventry Cathedral, for election as Bishop of Winchester in succession to the Right Reverend Michael Charles Scott-Joynt, MA, on his resignation on the 31st May 2011.

Notes for editors

Canon Tim Dakin (aged 53) was born to missionary parents in Tanzania and grew up partly in East Africa and partly in vicarages in the UK.

He studied at the University College of Saint Mark and St John, Plymouth, and at King’s College, London, and did further research at Christ Church, Oxford. From 1993 to 2000 he was the Principal of Carlile College, Kenya (a Church Army college which includes a Theology School and a Business School), and a Curate at Nairobi Cathedral. Since 2000 he has been the General Secretary of the Church Mission Society (with the South American Mission Society since 2009), and an Associate Priest in the Parish of Ruscombe and Twyford, near Reading. Tim is an elected member of the General Synod from the Oxford Diocese. From 2001 he has been an Honorary Canon Theologian of Coventry Cathedral, taking a special interest in mission theology.

Under Tim’s leadership CMS has seen a number of changes. In 2008 the Church of England recognised CMS as a mission community; it has about 2,500 members and follows a simple rule of life. During the last ten years CMS has also been committed to establishing CMS Africa and Asia CMS within a new mission network called Interchange. Alongside this it has contributed to the mission-shaped church initiative in England and elsewhere, and to the development of pioneer ministry and training. Historically, CMS is known for its holistic world-wide mission, and was involved in planting or supporting up to two-thirds of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion. CMS currently works in over 40 countries and supports more than 200 people in full-time mission. In 2007 CMS moved to Oxford, bringing together its administration, conference centre, library and mission house.

Tim is married to Sally, who is also ordained (and a midwife), and they have two children, Anna (20) and Johnny (16). Tim’s interests include reading, walking, films and non-Western Christianity. The Dakins like to take their family holidays on a farm in Kenya.

The Diocese of Winchester has this: The next Bishop of Winchester announced.

The Church Mission Society has this: Tim Dakin to be next Bishop of Winchester.


Anglican Covenant roundup

From New Zealand come reports that two further dioceses have voted against adoption of the Anglican Covenant:

Auckland Covenant clause ‘contrary to Anglican ecclesiology’

But, for the amended text of the resolution that was passed, please see the comments below.

Waiapu The following motion was passed by a 99.5% majority:

Waiapu affirms its desire to remain a member of the Anglican Communion. We do not believe that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will enhance the life of the Communion and request that General Synod/te Hinota Whanui declines to sign the Covenant. (All three regional conferences supported this motion going to Synod.)

The No Anglican Covenant campaign has criticised the materials recently issued in the Diocese of Oxford.

Meanwhile, the Living Church has published a number of articles in support of the Covenant, to which Lionel Deimel has helpfully provided a set of links. See this page. He explains why he did this here.

One of these is by Andrew Goddard who has published an interesting article which suggests that, in the light of the Anglican Covenant’s prospective adoption, some reforms are needed to the Anglican Instruments of Unity.

This is also available from the Fulcrum website: Commitment in Word and Deed.


David Moyer leaves Good Shepherd, Rosemont

From the website of the Diocese of Pennsylvania: Judge Rules in Good Shepherd, Rosemont, Case:

On Friday, August 26, the Honorable Stanley Ott issued an Order stating that David Moyer, a Bishop in the Traditional Anglican Communion, and two other individuals no longer have any right or authority to serve as rector or on the vestry of the Church of the Good Shepherd, located in Rosemont Pennsylvania. Judge Ott determined that the Standing Committee and Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese are charged with the responsibility of deciding whether an individual may serve in the pulpit of an Episcopal Church and whether particular members of a vestry have acted in compliance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Judge Ott’s Order was effective immediately and, as of this date, neither Bishop Moyer nor the two individuals have sought a stay of the Order which, if granted, might allow Bishop Moyer to remain at Good Shepherd pending any appeal.

By way of background, the individuals who founded the Church of the Good Shepherd over a century ago included language in the deeds and in the Church’s Articles of Incorporation which provided that the parish was to be forever operated in accordance with the Canons and Constitution of the Episcopal Church. Fundamentally, of course, this required the Vestry to employ as rector a priest licensed by the Bishop to officiate in this Diocese and to undertake the same burdens and responsibilities imposed by the Episcopal Church and the Diocese on all of the parishes in this Diocese. Bishop Moyer has not been licensed by the Bishop to officiate in this Diocese since 2002; the Vestry has employed a series of assistant rectors at Good Shepherd which likewise had not been licensed and had otherwise failed to comply with the requirements of the Diocesan Canons and Canons of the Episcopal Church…

The judge’s order can be read in full from here (PDF).

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this: Defrocked Episcopal priest loses bid to retain Montco parish.

The statement from the vestry of the parish can be found here.

A farewell address by David Moyer is on the parish website.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As Tuesday’s Vestry email stated, I respect and submit to Judge Ott’s Decree. This means that my ministry as Rector has ended.

I am now engaged in what is required to move out of my office, and in informing the Vestry what the specific areas are that have been my responsibility for the past twenty-one years, and the areas I assumed beyond set and expected responsibilities.

I want to repeat what I have said previously. I know that as individuals and as families, whatever choices are made (and they may change in the future), I love you all, and will never let different choices break the bonds of affection and care I have for all of you…


more guidance from Charity Commission on Equality Act

Third Sector reports: Charity Commission publishes further guidance on the Equality Act.

Equality Law has Charity Commission issues new Equality Act guidance.

New guidance has been issued by the Charity Commission which sets out its views on the application of the new charities exception in the Equality Act and the circumstances in which a charity may restrict its benefits to a group defined by reference to a protected characteristic.

The Charity Commission advice is here: Equality Act guidance for charities: Restricting who can benefit from charities .

This may be of interest to those who have been following the case of Catholic Care.


Archbishop Williams to visit Zimbabwe

The Church Times reports: Williams to visit Zimbabwe as harassment continues.

And Ekklesia has a report from ENInews headlined Anglican leader to seek meeting with Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

An earlier Church Times report said: Kunonga looks over the border as evictions bite.

And there was this ACNS report: Zimbabwe Anglican Church fights to reclaim its properties and end attacks.

The Church of England Newspaper has Mugabe meeting for Archbishop Williams and earlier Anglican clergy under siege in Harare.


correcting misapprehensions…

Colin Coward has penned four notes to correct various claims made by Anglican Mainstream recently.

Misapprehensions by Anglican Mainstream – 1

On August 17th, 2011 Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream, responded to the open letter from Rev Benny Hazlehurst (writing on behalf of the LGBT Anglican Coalition) about conversations with the two groups of bishops appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, one broadly conservative, the other broadly liberal.

The first issue I want to address is whether or not the broadly liberal group, then convened by John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln and now by Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells, had engaged in conversations with Changing Attitude or any of the other LGBT groups…

Misapprehensions by Anglican Mainstream – 2: What happened at Lambeth 1998

Misapprehensions by Anglican Mainstream – 3: The Listening Process

Misapprehensions by Anglican Mainstream 4: The Listening Process will change the Church



Riazat Butt continues her reports on travelling through Afghanistan with army chaplains for The Guardian.
Gurkhas’ Hindu temple in Lashkar Gah is only one of its kind
Khan’s kitchen: the difficult life of an Afghan interpreter for the British military
At shura, elders of Chah-e-Mirza deal with concrete and divine

Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio writes for The Guardian Don’t rely on governments, we all have a responsibility towards the less well-off.
“The more we earn, the greater our duty of care to our poorer neighbours.”

Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about A man stoned for gathering sticks.