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General Synod – February 2012 – questions and answers

The full set of questions and answers from last months’ Church of England General Synod is now available.

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Church services after a Civil Partnership

Updated 26 March

There has been some correspondence recently in the Church Times about this, following a mention by Giles Fraser in his 10 February column of the legal opinion of the Chancellor of the Diocese of London, Nigel Seed. See this letter on 17 February from Gavin Foster, then this letter from Nigel Seed on 2 March, and a further letter from Gavin Foster on 16 March. Most of this is now subscriber-only again. No doubt there will be more to come… What is described as a final letter from Nigel Seed is now here (scroll to bottom):

…Mr Foster has come up with something entirely different because he has not approached the matter with an open and independent mind. He has started from what he believes the Statement was intended to say and has then interpreted what he says he thinks the Statement means, even though that is not what the words actually say…

The chancellor’s legal opinion referred to is now available in full at Inclusive Church: see Church Services after Civil Partnerships – advice for clergy.

Mr Foster has also written at Fulcrum: Church Services after a Civil Partnership Registration: What is and is not permitted?


Church of Nigeria reacts to Archbishop of Canterbury's Resignation

from the website of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

Church of Nigeria reacts to Archbishop of Canterbury’s Resignation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized, with issues of revisionist interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and human sexuality as stumbling blocks to oneness, evangelism and mission all around the Anglican world.

It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”. The lowest ebb of this degeneration came in 2008, when there were, so to say, two “Lambeth” Conferences one in the UK, and an alternative one, GAFCON in Jerusalem. The trend continued recently when many Global South Primates decided not to attend the last Primates’ meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Since Dr. Rowan Williams did not resign in 2008, over the split Lambeth Conference, one would have expected him to stay on in office, and work assiduously to ‘mend the net’ or repair the breach, before bowing out of office. The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed”.

For us, the announcement does not present any opportunity for excitement. It is not good news here, until whoever comes as the next leader pulls back the Communion from the edge of total destruction. To this end, we commit our Church, the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to serious fasting and prayers that God will do “a new thing”, in the Communion.

Nevertheless, we join others to continue in prayer for Dr. Rowan Williams and his family for a more fruitful endeavour in their post – Canterbury life.

+Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria


Retirement age for archbishops and other clergy

Discussion of who might become the next Archbishop of Canterbury has included the question of how long potential candidates could serve before they had to retire. It seems helpful to set out the law on this matter.

In the Church of England there is a compulsory retirement age of 70 for all clergy (with just a few exceptions, none relevant to archbishops or bishops) in the following categories:

  • Archbishop
  • Diocesan Bishop
  • Suffragan bishop
  • Dean of a cathedral church
  • Residentiary canon in a cathedral church
  • Archdeacon
  • Incumbent of a benefice
  • Vicar in a team ministry
  • Vicar of a guild church

This is set out in section 1 of the Ecclesiastical Offices (Age Limit) Measure 1975, and the schedule to the measure.

However in certain circumstances such clergy may continue to serve for a limited period past 70. For archbishops this is for a maximum of one year, provided that the Queen considers it desirable and authorises it. This is set out in section 2 of the measure.

2 Archbishop may continue in office for certain period after attaining retiring age at discretion of Her Majesty.

Where Her Majesty considers that there are special circumstances which make it desirable that a person holding the office of archbishop should continue in that office after the date on which he would otherwise retire in accordance with the foregoing section, She may authorise the continuance in office of that person after that date for such period, not exceeding one year, as She may in her discretion determine.

I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that Her Majesty would, as usual, exercise her powers under the measure on the advice of her prime minister. The British constitutional convention is that she always accepts that advice, as for example she does when appointing bishops and archbishops.

Similarly diocesan bishops can be given a year’s extension by their archbishop. For example, the current Bishop of Manchester has been given such an extension and will retire on his 71st birthday. A diocesan bishop can give a two year extension to parish clergy and a one year extension to other clergy in his diocese. Details are in section 3 of the measure.

There are further provision relating to the retirement of archbishops and bishops in the Bishops (Retirement) Measure 1986, but these relate only to the process, and not to the principle of a maximum retirement age.


Bishop of Liverpool on the Anglican Covenant


The Diocese of Liverpool voted yesterday to reject the Anglican Covenant. The presidential address to the diocesan synod by the Right Reverend James Jones can be found in full as a PDF file here.

Update the full address can now be seen on video here.

A press release about it from the diocese: The Anglican Covenant will undermine not save the Communion.

In his Presidential Address to the synod of the Diocese of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones readdresses his longstanding concerns about the creation of the Covenant. The Bishop will tell synod “far from being the salvation of the Communion the Anglican Covenant would undermine it”.

Bishop James set out six key concerns over the Covenant.

  • That in a litigious world where the religious dimension makes this more fraught the Covenant with “its explicit threats of ‘relational consequences’ will be making our Communion more vulnerable to those forces that propel people forward in litigation.”
  • That the Communion will become increasingly absorbed by internal order which will take time money and energy – he will state “my heartache here is that those precious gifts of time, money and energy should be directed to the mission of God”.
  • That the church “has been born for mission” and the Covenant can introduce a dynamic the makes the communion resistant to change. As he says “instead of setting us free to engage with a changing world it freezes us at a given point in our formation, holding us back and making us nervous about going beyond the boundaries and reaching out into God’s world.” The Bishop argues that the “church must be free to go into all the world and to engage with new cultures enabling us all to learn Christ”.
  • Pointing to the Diocese of Liverpool’s relationship with the Diocese of Akure and the Diocese of Virginia he will say “the beauty of the Communion is that it allows for such ad hoc partnerships to spring up all over the world” and that “we learn most about the Gospel form those who differ from us”. The quasi legal nature of the Covenant will threaten that dynamic.
  • That through the Bible, the Creeds, the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, the 39 Articles and Book of Common Prayer we have sufficient credentials for our common life.
  • Bishop James also talked about the act of grace that it is to be in Christ stating “when we are in Christ, we are in Christ with everybody else who is in Christ, whether we like it or not- or them or not…”

The Bishop’s address continues his long stated contribution around how we should relate to those with whom we have differing theological or political viewpoints. From “Making space for truth and grace” to his speeches on the environment; relationships with other faiths and on the Ordination of women to the Episcopate the Bishop has urged a greater understanding of the opinions of those with whom we disagree. This is an approach the Bishop himself has taken within the Diocese of Liverpool as the diocese works together to pursue the mission of God in our region.

As Bishop James concludes “The Church of England and the Anglican Communion have over the centuries developed a generous embrace allowing seekers to taste and see the goodness of God. Within our borders there is a generous orthodoxy. There is space for the seeker to breathe, to enquire, to ask questions, to doubt and to grope towards faith and to find God. That I believe is a space within the Body of Christ worth preserving.”


opinion for St Patrick's day

Greg Tobin asks in The Huffington Post Who Was the Real Saint Patrick?

Also in The Huffington Post Pierre Whalon writes about Human Rights and Religion: The Highest Possible Stakes.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Unleashing the power of viral video.

Deirdre Good and Julian Sheffield write for the Daily Episcopalian that Lent is for our sake, not Jesus’.

Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about Devotional high noon at St Paul’s.


Anglican Covenant: this Saturday's votes

This Saturday another five diocesan synods voted on the Anglican Covenant motion: Chester, Ely, Liverpool, Norwich and St Albans. The motion passed in Chester and Norwich, and was defeated in Ely, Liverpool and St Albans.

Chester: covenant accepted

Bishops: 3 for / 0 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy: 22 for / 14 against / 5 abstentions
Laity: 26 for / 23 against / 5 abstentions

Ely: covenant defeated

Bishops: 1 for / 0 against / 1 abstention
Clergy: 16 for / 23 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 19 for / 19 against / 0 abstentions

Liverpool: covenant defeated

Bishops: 0 for / 2 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy: 10 for / 26 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 8 for / 28 against / 5 abstentions

Norwich: covenant accepted

Bishops: 3 for / 0 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy: 26 for / 10 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 19 for / 15 against / 1 abstention

St Albans: covenant defeated

Bishops: 2 for / 0 against
Clergy: 21 for / 31 against
Laity: 17 for / 44 against

With today’s results, the current count of diocesan votes is 12 in favour and 20 against. 22 Noes would mean that the Covenant would not come back to the General Synod for approval.


Rowan Williams announces his retirement

Lambeth Palace press release: Archbishop of Canterbury to be Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge

Archbishop Rowan Williams has today announced his acceptance of the position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge with effect from January 2013. He will therefore be stepping down from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December 2012.

Dr Williams’ intentions have been conveyed to The Queen, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and who formally appoints the Archbishop of Canterbury…

Bishopthorpe Palace press release: Statement Regarding Archbishop of Canterbury Stepping Down

Following the announcement this morning that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will be stepping down from his present office at the end of December, The Archbishop of York has released the following statement:

“It is with great sadness that I received the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury will be stepping down at the end of this year.

Our partnership in the gospel over the past six years has been the most creative period of my ministry. It has been life-giving to have led missions together, gone on retreats and prayed together. In his company I have drunk deeply from the wells of God’s mercy and love and it has all been joyful. He is a real brother to me in Christ…

General Synod members have been sent a copy of a note from the Secretary General (GS Misc 1019) to which is attached “Outline Of Procedures For The Appointment Of An Archbishop Of Canterbury”. We have made this available as a web page. Most of this GS Misc paper is also available here.

The Anglican Communion Office issued this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury announces he is stepping down at the end of the year.

Magdalene College Cambridge has issued this press release.

10 Downing Street issued PM Statement on resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lambeth Palace Archbishop’s interview with Press Association


Church of Ireland conference on human sexuality

Updated Sunday

As previously announced, a major conference was held last week at the Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.

There have been two official press releases about this event:

Update From Bishops’ Conference, ‘Human Sexuality In The Context Of Christian Belief’ (This includes summaries of the main presentations to conference seminars.)

Conference Statement By Archbishop Of Armagh And Archbishop Of Dublin

The Church of Ireland Gazette this week carries this front page news article: Slieve Russell conference showed Church of Ireland’s ‘instinct for unity’, says Archbishop of Armagh and scroll down on that page for a separate editorial comment on the conference.

Other press reports:

Irish Times Archbishop upbeat on same-sex forum
Gay Christians (editorial)

Belfast Telegraph
Respect key in gay ‘marriage’ debate (editorial)
Church of Ireland bishops back ‘traditional marriage’

Belfast Newsletter
Archbishop Alan Harper Human sexuality in the context of Christian belief

Another Belfast Newsletter item: Church hails ‘relaxed’ talks on homosexuality

A letter to the editor of the Irish Times from Gerry Lynch Church of Ireland gay conference and a longer blog article by the same author: Reflections on the Church of Ireland homosexuality conference, and praise for Archbishop Harper.

A statement by Changing Attitude Ireland is reproduced below the fold.



Equal civil marriage consultation

The government’s long-promised consultation has been published.
Equal civil marriage consultation

This consultation sets out the government’s proposals to enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage.

The key proposals of the consultation are:

  • to enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage i.e. only civil ceremonies in a register office or approved premises (like a hotel)
  • to make no changes to religious marriages. This will continue to only be legally possible between a man and a woman
  • to retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples and allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert this into a marriage
  • civil partnership registrations on religious premises will continue as is currently possible i.e. on a voluntary basis for faith groups and with no religious content
  • individuals will, for the first time, be able legally to change their gender without having to end their marriage

Current legislation allows same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, but not civil marriage.

The full details of the consultation are included in the pdf version of the consultation document.

The Church of England has published its initial response to this:

Initial response to Government consultation on same-sex marriage

The Church of England/Archbishops’ Council will study the Government’s consultation on whether to redefine marriage to accommodate those of the same sex and respond in detail in due course. The following summary of the Church of England’s position has been posted at

“The Church of England is committed to the traditional understanding of the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“The Church of England supports the way civil partnerships offer same-sex couples equal rights and responsibilities to married heterosexual couples. Opening marriage to same-sex couples would confer few if any new legal rights on the part of those already in a civil partnership, yet would require multiple changes to law, with the definition of marriage having to change for everyone.

“The issue of whether marriage should be redefined to include those of the same-sex is a more complicated picture than has been painted. Arguments that suggest ‘religious marriage’ is separate and different from ‘civil marriage’, and will not be affected by the proposed redefinition, misunderstand the legal nature of marriage in this country. They mistake the form of the ceremony for the institution itself.

“Currently, the legal institution of marriage into which people enter is the same whether they marry using a civil or a religious form of ceremony. Arguments that seek to treat ‘religious marriage’ as being a different institution fail to recognise the enduring place of the established church in providing marriages that have full state recognition. The Church of England will continue to argue against changing the definition of marriage, which has supported society for so long.”


The summary of the Church of England’s position, and a selection of recent comments by bishops, can be read at:,-family-and-sexuality-issues/same-sex-marriage.aspx


Religious views about proposed changes to marriage law

First, Cardinal Keith O’Brien wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that We cannot afford to indulge this madness.

There were many articles in response, but Cardinal O’Brien jumps the shark by Nelson Jones covers most of the ground. And for more detail there is Gay Marriage, the Universal Declaration and a Cardinal by (h/t Adam Wagner).

Last Friday the Church Times had this report: Clergy speak out in support of proposal for gay marriage.

Meanwhile the Tablet had Can marriage ever change? Homosexuality and the Church Timothy Radcliffe, Martin Pendergast & Tina Beattie.

On Sunday morning, the Archbishop of York appeared on the Andrew Marr TV programme, see BBC Archbishop Sentamu: Don’t change gay marriage law.

And the following letter was read in all RC parish churches in England and Wales: Archbishops Vincent Nichols and Peter Smith Pastoral Letter on marriage.

Fulcrum has published Should we Redefine Marriage? by Andrew Goddard.

John Milbank has written Gay Marriage and the Future of Human Sexuality.

Here’s the list of serving Church of England diocesan bishops, who have signed the Coalition for Marriage petition, as of Wednesday evening, 14 March:

Rt Revd Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester
Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, Bishop of Hereford
Rt Revd Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter
Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry
Rt Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough
Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham
Rt Revd Timothy Dakin, Bishop of Winchester
Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield


The Times interviews the Dean of St Albans

Yesterday The Times published an interview with the Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John.
The original report is behind the Times paywall, but the URL for subscribers is here: Church is the last bastion of prejudice, says gay priest by Ruth Gledhill.

The full text of the Dean’s answers to Ruth Gledhill’s questions is reproduced below the fold.



Who is at cross purposes?

Updated Wednesday

There has been a deluge of comment about the Eweida and Chaplin cases.

First, David Barrett at the Telegraph wrote that Christians have no right to wear cross at work, says Government. Well, not really first, as this whole story had been reported in the Mail on Sunday last December by Jonathan Petre in Ministers won’t back cross-ban Christians: Ex-archbishop condemns ‘illiberal’ assault on faith.

Then, John Bingham in the Telegraph wrote: Archbishop of Canterbury: wearing a cross just decoration, says Dr Rowan Williams.

And Boris Johnson wrote, also in the Telegraph that It’s a huge mistake to forbid a tiny act of Christian worship.

Confused? Well, several people will explain it for you:

Nelson Jones at the New Statesman explains Why the government is opposing the right of two workers to wear crosses at work in Cross Purposes?

Andrew Brown at Cif belief has Cross purposes? Nadia Eweida and the meaning of religious symbols.

And Nick Baines has Cross words (again).


Here is the Statement of Facts about these two cases, as submitted to the Strasbourg court.

According to this BBC report from April 2010,

The NHS trust’s uniform and dress code prohibits front-line staff from wearing any type of necklace in case patients try to grab them.

It offered Mrs Chaplin the compromise of wearing her cross pinned inside a uniform lapel or pocket, but she said being asked to hide her faith was “disrespectful”.

She said the hospital had rejected any of the compromises she had suggested, such as wearing a shorter chain.


Archbishop prays with the Pope

Anglican Communion News Service reports: Roman vespers unite Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury in prayer.

Anglicans and Roman Catholics share a somewhat turbulent history, but differences were brushed aside March 10 when Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI prayed together during an ecumenical vespers service at San Gregorio Magna al Celio in Rome.

The service marked the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Italy’s Camaldoli monastic community, which includes a presence at San Gregorio, a site of major significance to the origins of the Church of England.

Both Christian leaders, who held a private meeting earlier in the day to discuss human rights issues and concerns for the Holy Land, delivered a homily during the vespers and lit candles together in the chapel of St. Gregory…

Lambeth Palace has these texts:

Archbishop’s homily at Papal Vespers, San Gregorio Magno al Celio

Monastic Virtues and Ecumenical Hopes – Archbishop’s address at San Gregorio Magno

Archbishop’s sermon at St Paul’s Within the Walls, Rome

Monks and Mission: a perspective from England address at the Abbey of Monte Cassino

Episcopal News Service has Video: Archbishop of Canterbury preaches at Rome’s Episcopal church

Vatican Radio has these:

Full text: Pope Benedict XVI at ecumenical Vespers

Pope and Archbishop Williams discuss human rights, evangelisation and Middle East

And there is a transcript of the Vatican Radio interview here.


Anglican Covenant: today's Sunday programme interview

On today’s BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme, there was a short item about the Anglican Covenant. Edward Stourton interviewed Diarmaid MacCulloch and Graham Kings.

The Diocese of Salisbury website carries a complete transcript of it: Transcript BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme 11 Mar 12. Discussion on the Anglican Communion

The BBC page for that programme is here. The audio is available as a podcast, as well as on iPlayer. The relevant section is also available here.


Further critiques of the Anglican Covenant

Updated Monday

Paul Bagshaw has analysed the text of the video made on Monday of this week by the Archbishop of Canterbury. His article is titled Archbishop, I beg to differ.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is clearly anxious that the Covenant project is endangered in England. There is still a long way to go and neither side can be confident of victory for a few more weeks.

So, to shore up support, Rowan Williams has had to put out an appeal on YouTube. He has also sent it to those Dioceses which have yet to vote on the Covenant and asked diocesan officers to circulate it…

Andrew Davison has revised his earlier article to include some comments arising from the video, and the revised version is available here.

…In a statement on the Anglican Covenant of 5 March 2012, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote that the legal, fourth part of the Covenant does not erect a disciplinary system to force anyone to do anything. That is accurate, unfortunately, only in the most technical sense. The law of England does not force me not to steal or murder. However, it would impose punishments if I did, and that would be quite a disincentive, were I so tempted. Similarly, the Covenant does not force any Province to act one way or another, in that technical sense. It is, all the same, coercive and punitive: it is difficult to understand the exclusion of Provinces from full membership of the Communion as anything but a threat and a punishment…

And Malcolm French has written this: There was no YouTube in 1867.

…At the end of the day, only 76 of 144 bishops attended the first Lambeth Conference. Archbishop Longley’s assurance that the conference would neither have nor claim the status of a Pan-Anglican synod failed to reassure either Archbishop Thomson or Dean Stanley. Thomson and most of the bishops from the northern province refused to attend. Stanley refused to allow Westminster Abbey to be used for any part of the event. Bishop John Colenso of Natal, prefiguring the eventual unpersoning of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson in 2007, was simply not invited.

Of course, Longley won the immediate skirmish. The conference did not claim any synodical authority, and its resolutions were not binding on Anglicans at home or abroad.

But here’s what didn’t happen.

  • The Archbishop of Canterbury didn’t put out a YouTube video essentially calling Archbishop Thomson’s and Dean Stanley’s views “completely misleading and false” – and not only because there was no YouTube in 1867.
  • The Bishop of St. Asaph didn’t bleat on to The Times that critics of the conference idea were fascists – and not only because the term “fascist” hadn’t been invented yet.
  • The Bishop of Sherborne didn’t wander about the country claiming that anyone who didn’t support the conference idea was being disloyal to Archbishop Longley – and not only because the bishopric of Sherborne didn’t exist…

Alan Perry has published Of Archbishops and Videos.

…But the biggest problem, as the Archbishop sees it, is not any quibbles obscure Canadians like me might have with sections 1-3. No, there is apparently some false propaganda circulating. As the Archbishop puts it:

one of the greatest misunderstandings around concerning the Covenant is that it’s some sort of centralising proposal creating an absolute authority which has the right to punish people for stepping out of line. I have to say I think this is completely misleading and false.

I would be more convinced if he were to demonstrate, citing the actual Covenant text of course, precisely why these concerns are “misleading and false.” Without doing so, he engages in unsupported assertions and even verges on ad hominem attacks.

The fact is, as I have already demonstrated, that the so-called dispute-settling process in section 4 of the proposed Covenant is vague, arbitrary and intrinsically unfair by design. And it is designed to determine winners and losers. Either an action by a Church is compatible or incompatible with the Covenant. And the decision is final, with no mechanism for further discussion or appeal.

Oh, says the Archbishop, “what the Covenant proposes is not a set of punishments, but a way of thinking through what the consequences are of decisions people freely and in good conscience make.” Given the vagueness of the process, it’s not much of a way of thinking through anything. We don’t even know how to start the process. It’s that unclear. I challenge the Archbishop to demonstrate where the Covenant text says how a question is to be raised, as it quaintly puts what elsewhere would be called lodging a complaint. It’s simply not there in the text…


Anglican Covenant: more diocesan votes

Today the Anglican Covenant motion comes to another six diocesan synods: Carlisle, Ripon & Leeds, Bath & Wells, Coventry, Southwark and Worcester.

Ripon & Leeds, Southwark and Worcester have each rejected the Covenant. Modern Church gives the voting as follows

In Ripon & Leeds the voting was :

Bishops: 2 for, 0 against
Clergy: 12 for, 22 against
Laity: 8 for, 17 against

In Southwark the voting was:

Bishops: 1 for, 0 against, 1 abstention
Clergy: 10 for, 27 against, 2 abstentions
Laity 21 for, 32 against

In Worcester the voting was:

Bishops: 2 for, 0 against
Clergy: 5 for, 19 against
Laity: 6 for, 22 against

Those three results take the running total to 16 dioceses against and 8 in favour. Rejection by 22 diocesan synods means that the Covenant will not come back to the General Synod, and can’t be approved by the Church of England.

Further update on Monday to correct numbers of abstentions at Bath & Wells

The remaining three results took the running total to 17 against and 10 in favour.

In Carlisle the voting was:

Bishops: 2 for, 0 against
Clergy: 19 for, 13 against, 2 abstentions
Laity: 33 for, 17 against

In Bath & Wells the voting was:

Bishops: 0 for, 1 against, 1 abstention
Clergy: 17 for, 22 against, 0 abstentions
Laity: 18 for, 23 against, 4 abstentions

In Coventry the voting was:

Bishops 2 for, 0 against
Clergy: 22 for, 7 against
Laity: 26 for, 2 against



Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times writes Beyond two dimensions: fail better.

Nick Baines has preached a sermon about The Spread of Truth.

Alicia Jo Rabins writes in The Huffington Post about Esther, Vashti And Other Badass Women In The Bible.

Also in The Huffington Post Matthew L Skinner asks John 2:13-22: Where Can God Be Found?


Anglican Covenant: following motion from diocesan synods

Updated Monday

A following motion is being proposed in a number of diocesan synods where the Anglican Covenant is being debated. The latest wording of this is as follows:

A following motion to the Article 8 reference of the Anglican Covenant

Version five:

‘This Diocesan Synod, following the reference from the General Synod of the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant, requests the General Synod to debate the following motion:

“That this Synod:

(a) rejoice in the fellowship of the world-wide Anglican Communion, which is rooted in our shared worship and held together by bonds of affection and our common appeal to Scripture, tradition and reason;

(b) thank the Archbishop of Canterbury for his tireless efforts throughout the Communion to sustain and strengthen unity in difficult times; and

(c) call on the House of Bishops:

(i) to find ways to maintain and reinforce strong links across the world-wide Anglican Communion and to deepen the Church of England’s involvement with the existing Communion ministries and networks (especially the continuing Indaba process);
(ii) to publicise and promote this work within the dioceses of the Church of England in order to broaden understanding of, and enthusiasm for, the Anglican Communion; and
(iii) to encourage a wide understanding of, and support for, the next Lambeth Conference.” ’


So far this motion has been passed in Bath & Wells, Chelmsford, Worcester, and with some amendments, also in Southwark.

It is scheduled for debate in St Albans, Chester, Oxford, Guildford, Exeter, and London.