Thinking Anglicans

The Episcopal Church view of the primates statement

ENS reports Majority of primates call for temporary Episcopal Church sanctions.

There is a good deal of additional information in this lengthy article. Worth reading carefully right through. Here is what Michael Curry said:

…Before the Jan. 14 vote, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry told the primates gathering Jan. 11-15 in Canterbury, England, that the statement calling for the sanctions would be painful for many in the Episcopal Church to receive.
“Many of us have committed ourselves and our church to being ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, when all are truly welcome,” Curry said in remarks he later made available to Episcopal News Service.

“Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.

“For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain,” he said. “For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.”

Curry told the primates that he was in no sense comparing his own pain to theirs, but “I stand before you as your brother. I stand before you as a descendant of African slaves, stolen from their native land, enslaved in a bitter bondage, and then even after emancipation, segregated and excluded in church and society. And this conjures that up again, and brings pain.

“The pain for many will be real. But God is greater than anything. I love Jesus and I love the church. I am a Christian in the Anglican way. And like you, as we have said in this meeting, I am committed to ‘walking together’ with you as fellow primates in the Anglican family…”

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GAFCON statement on the 2016 primates Gathering

GAFCON statement on the 2016 primates Gathering

currently available only here
Now also available here.

The Anglican Communion is our spiritual home and the GAFCON Primates traveled to England in the hope that godly faith and order could be restored through renewed obedience to the Bible.

We are pleased that Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America has played a full part in the Canterbury meeting of Primates and that sanctions have been applied to the Episcopal Church of the United States, (TEC) recognising the need for mutual accountability on matters of doctrine within the family of the Communion.
However, this action must not be seen as an end, but as a beginning. There is much that causes us concern, especially the failure to recognise the fact that the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) has also rejected the collegial mind of the Communion by unilaterally permitting the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of those in active homosexual relationships. We fear that other provinces will do the same.

Since the beginning of the crisis in the Communion brought about by the actions of both TEC and the ACoC, the Anglican instruments of unity have been unable to guard biblical truth and restore godly order. There must therefore be doubt about the effectiveness of the sanctions that have been agreed.

In particular, it must be recognised that the continuing brokenness of the Communion is not the result simply of failed relationships, but is caused by the persistent rejection of biblical and apostolic faith as set out in Lambeth Resolution 1.10. We are therefore disappointed that the Primates’ statement makes no reference to the need for repentance.

The need for the GAFCON movement is being recognised by an ever increasing number of people and we are encouraged in our conviction that God has called us to work for an Anglican Communion which is a truly global family of Churches. We long to see a united, confident and courageous witness to God who by the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ has given us an unshakeable hope and assures us of his unfailing love.

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Official Statement from Primates 2016

Statement from Primates 2016
14 Jan 2016

Today the Primates agreed how they would walk together in the grace and love of Christ. This agreement acknowledges the significant distance that remains but confirms their unanimous commitment to walk together.

The Primates regret that it appears that this document has been leaked in advance of their communiqué tomorrow. In order to avoid speculation the document is being released in full. This agreement demonstrates the commitment of all the Primates to continue the life of the Communion with neither victor nor vanquished.

Questions and further comments will be responded to at a press conference tomorrow at 1500. Full details are available here.

The full text is as follows:

1. We gathered as Anglican Primates to pray and consider how we may preserve our unity in Christ given the ongoing deep differences that exist among us concerning our understanding of marriage.

2. Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.

3. All of us acknowledge that these developments have caused further deep pain throughout our Communion.

4. The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.

5. In keeping with the consistent position of previous Primates’ meetings such unilateral actions on a matter of doctrine without Catholic unity is considered by many of us as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion.

6. Such actions further impair our communion and create a deeper mistrust between us. This results in significant distance between us and places huge strains on the functioning of the Instruments of Communion and the ways in which we express our historic and ongoing relationships.

7. It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

8. We have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.

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Church of England safeguarding audits

Press release today from the Church of England

Publication of pilot audits on safeguarding arrangements
14 January 2016

The outcomes of four pilot independent audits into safeguarding arrangements in the Church of England have been published today.

The dioceses of Blackburn, Durham, Portsmouth and Salisbury all volunteered to be part of the House of Bishops commissioned project to take a look at current safeguarding practice. The audits will now be rolled out across all other Church of England dioceses during 2016/17.

The independent audits were carried out by The Social Care Institute for Excellence, SCIE, a charity and leading improvement support agency specialising in safeguarding. SCIE has pioneered a particular collaborative approach to conducting case reviews and audits in child and adult safeguarding called Learning Together focusing on the reasons why things go well, the cause of any problems and solutions.

The audit process in each diocese involved examination of safeguarding leadership arrangements, local policies and practice guidance, the quality of case work, recruitment and training. The auditors also looked at the progress being made in reaching nationally agreed standards informed by central House of Bishops approved policies.

The National Safeguarding Team has welcomed the pilot overview report and considerations for its future work.

The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding said: “These audits are part of our commitment to making the Church a safer place for all, ensuring that all dioceses have the best possible practice in place. I commend the four dioceses, including my own, which came forward to be pilots as it is not easy to be the first under the spotlight. We all have lessons to learn. The audits show how each diocese can improve while also commending good practice that is already in place.

“Our policies and practice must start from the place of seeking the very best for all. This includes them being survivor-informed. SCIE’s experience in safeguarding will help us to do that. We have published these pilot audits as we are committed to being open about where we have got it wrong and where we need to improve. The pilot process will also inform further improvements in the auditing process itself for the next round. The audits, both individually, and as a whole, will form an important part of our work as the National Inquiry gets underway.

We must always remember that safeguarding exists to enable the Church to ensure that the vast range of work with children, young people, the elderly, disabled and all people are the very best that they can be for everyone who wants to be involved.”

Tony Hunter, SCIE chief executive said: “SCIE commends the Church of England for taking such a proactive approach to auditing their safeguarding policies and practice. It’s so important that influential organisations – such as the Church – recognise their role in safeguarding children and adults. SCIE auditors were impressed by the openness of staff in the four pilot areas, and their willingness to share and learn. We look forward to continuing to work with the Church of England as we support rollout of their audit process across all dioceses.”

Anyone who is affected by a safeguarding issue, particularly in light of today’s reports, should feel free to come forward in confidence and they will be listened to. Details of how to report concerns and find support can be found here.

Links and contact details are below the fold.

(more…)

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Primates gathering: Thursday news reports

Updated again 4.30 pm

Some news has finally emerged…

George Conger Partial sanctions for TEC [revision of earlier article]

Update from Kevin 1:30 Canterbury Time. Several sources have told me and/or confirmed the following. Please know this is the fog of war and that first reports are usually not precise and subject to change.

My Primate sources tell me their cell phones were confiscated before each session.
TEC will be sanctioned for three years. I don’t have any information about what those sanctions are.
Canada is not going to be sanctioned.
The sanctions expire after period of three years and TEC does not need to do anything to be unsanctioned.
The sanctions are not discipline. What?
Based on statements going into this meeting this would be a huge loss for GAFCON.
Based on reaction from TEC loyalist this is a huge loss for them.
In reality this is a huge loss for the un-repaired communion.

I will task George with another full report tonight.

Ruth Gledhill US Episcopal Church could face sanctions for appointing gay bishops

However the use of the word “sanctions” has been questioned by Arun Arora who tweeted:

“Acting within the love&grace of Jesus Not about sanctions but consequences in context of unanimous commitment to walk together”

and ” In context of Primates agreeing to walk together, it’s about consequences not discipline; all governed by love & grace of Jesus.”

The Church of Uganda has issued this: Archbishop Stanley Ntagali’s Update on the Primates Gathering in Canterbury

…On the second day of the gathering, I moved a resolution that asked the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to voluntarily withdraw from the meeting and other Anglican Communion activities until they repented of their decisions that have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level. They would not agree to this request nor did it appear that the Archbishop of Canterbury and his facilitators would ensure that this matter be substantively addressed in a timely manner.

Sadly, after two long days of discussions, I was concerned that the process set up for this meeting would not permit us to address the unfinished business from the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam.

In accordance with the resolution of our Provincial Assembly, it was, therefore, necessary for me to withdraw from the meeting, which I did at the end of the second day. It seemed that I was being manipulated into participating in a long meeting with the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada without the necessary discipline being upheld. My conscience is at peace.

I have left the meeting in Canterbury, but I want to make it clear that we are not leaving the Anglican Communion. Together with our fellow GAFCON Provinces and others in the Global South, we are the Anglican Communion; the future is bright. The door is open for all those who seek communion on the basis of a common confession of our historic, Biblical faith for which the Ugandan Martyrs, Archbishop James Hannington, Archbishop Janani Luwum and many others around the world have died. We are part of a global movement of Anglicans who follow the God who “so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)…

George Conger again: Primates suspend Episcopal Church from full participation in the Anglican Communion

…The primates of the Anglican Communion have suspended the Episcopal Church from full participation in the life and work of the Anglican Communion. On 14 January 2016 a motion was presented to the gathering of archbishops and moderators gathered in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral that called for the Episcopal Church to be suspended for a period of three years.

A copy of the resolution seen by Anglican Ink calls for the Episcopal Church to lose its “vote” in meetings of pan-Anglican institutions and assemblies, but preserves its “voice”, demoting the church to observer status..

The motion asks that representatives of the Episcopal Church not be permitted to represent the Communion in interfaith and ecumenical bodies or dialogue commissions, nor serve on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, nor vote at meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council — whose next meeting is this summer in Lusaka. Unlike the recommendations of the Windsor Report, which called for the “voluntary withdrawal” of the Episcopal Church from the life of the Communion, today’s vote directs the archbishop to discipline the American church.

The Episcopal Church may not take part in the decision making process “on issues of doctrine or polity”, either, agreed the primates.

The motion further asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to “appoint a task group to maintain conversations among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of commonality, and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held in the love and grace of Christ.”

The archbishop’s task group will be tasked with implementing the dialogue and codifying what “this looks like” a source familiar with the deliberations told AI…

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Primates gathering: Wednesday reports

Updated again at 11 pm

So far this morning, there are no new news reports since those that appeared yesterday in mainstream UK media.

There is however a report from George Conger: Second day report — deadlock in Canterbury.

I will update this article, as I did with yesterday’s, during the day if new information emerges.

Meanwhile, in the absence of news, here are some more articles reflecting on the prospects for the meeting, from a variety of perspectives:

Jesse Zink On beyond Primates

Neil Dhingra has responded to the previous article in The Primates and the “reality” of the Anglican Communion

Independent Lucy Gorman Queer Christians like me deserve to pray without prejudice – so maybe it’s time for the Anglican Communion to split

Alan Wilson Take Your Protein Packs & Put your Helmets On

Andrew Symes Crisis in the Anglican Communion: recent history and potential outcomes.

And there are more pictures of that Monday Evensong available here.

Evening Update

Ruth Gledhill has written that Anglican Primates should ‘kick back and have fun’ because they’ll never agree on homosexuality, expert says.

John Bingham has written for the Telegraph Archbishops ‘treated like children’ in church gay crisis talks.

Some news comes in this report by Peter Ould of who came to Evensong today.

And there is further speculation on the outcome by George Conger: Handicapping the Primates sweepstake

34 Comments

Church of England publishes 2014 attendance statistics

Updated Tuesday evening

The Church of England has published its Statistics for Mission 2014 today with an accompanying press release, copied below. The statistics mainly cover numbers attending, but there are also figures on, for example, numbers joining and leaving (with reasons), electoral numbers, baptisms, marriages, and funerals.

The statistics can be downloaded from here as a 58 page pdf file.

Church Publishes 2014 Attendance Statistics
12 January 2016

New Church of England statistics for 2014 published today show that just under one million people attend services each week. The survey, carried out over four weeks in October 2014, found 980,000 people attending church each week, with 830,000 adults and 150,000 children.

The statistics also show that 2.4 million attended a Church of England Church at Christmas in 2014 and 1.3 million people attended a service at Easter. Additionally, 2.2 million people attended special Advent services for the congregation and local community whilst 2.6 million attended special Advent services for civic organisations and schools.

The statistics also highlight the other services carried out by the Church of England on a regular basis. In 2014 the Church carried out just under 1,000 weddings, 2,000 baptisms, and almost 3,000 funerals every week of the year. Some 12% of births during 2014 were marked by a Church of England infant baptism or thanksgiving service whilst 31% of deaths were marked by a Church of England funeral.

As a whole the figures represent a continuing trend which has shown a 12% decrease in attendance over the past decade with an average decline of just over 1% a year.

Speaking on the publication of the statistics, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt. Revd. Graham James, said:

“The 2014 figures are not in any way a surprise. Whilst the recent trend of the past decade continues, it has been anticipated and is being acted on radically.

“As part of a prayerful and considered response to these trends the Church is embarking upon the biggest renewal and reform process in over 150 years focusing our resources on prayer, evangelism, discipleship, vocations, leadership & training.

“We do not expect that trend to change imminently or immediately over the next few years due to demographics. We lose approximately 1% of our churchgoers to death each year. Given the age profile of the CofE, the next few years will continue to have downward pressure as people die or become housebound and unable to attend church.

“As a Church we are unashamedly committed to following the teachings of Jesus Christ in our worship of God, discipleship and service to the poor and the marginalised. Our confidence, resilience and service is rooted in Jesus.

“The story is not one of inevitable decline. During 2013-14 some dioceses continued to increase their attendance. In the past 12 months alone there are examples of growth and new churches across the country. In my own diocese the church of St. Thomas Norwich has grown from 50 to 450 people in the past two years. In Bournemouth, St Swithin’s – a church which started in 2014 – now sees 500 people attending every week whilst in Birmingham St Luke’s Gas Street in is already attracting hundreds of young people since its beginning in 2015. There are many others like these and each is a sign of hope.

“Attendance statistics do not tell the whole story. There are many things that churches do that are not included in these data from running homelessness services and hosting foodbanks, to educating a million children a day in our schools to providing welcome and accompaniment to the least, the last and the lost in our society.”

Update

Mark Hart looks at the figures for the diocese of London: Capital Growth or Northern Powerhouse?.

Press reports

John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England attendance plunges to record low

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England weekly attendance falls below 1m for first time

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Church of England weekly attendance falls below one million for first time

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Primates gathering: Tuesday reports

Updated again 11.00 pm

Telegraph Sally Hitchiner The schism in the Anglican Church might be a good thing

Daily Mail Steve Doughty Church split over gays not a disaster, says Welby: Archbishop makes comments ahead of meeting of senior bishops to attempt to secure a compromise

Primates 2016 Photos: Primates gather for Evensong

Vanguard (this is a Nigerian website) Primates 2016: Archbishop of Canterbury’s address

The Living Church John Martin What’s at Stake for Primates?

Christian Today Ruth Gledhill Sin, corruption and Islam: Justin Welby on the threats facing the Anglican Communion

Two letters on the GAFCON website which were published last week:
A Pastoral Message and Call to Prayer from Archbishop Stanley Ntagali
A Letter from Archbishop Beach on the Upcoming Primates Gathering

George Conger reports: First Day report on the 2016 primates gathering in Canterbury and the text of Archbishop Welby’s address linked above, and discussed by Ruth Gledhill, is reproduced here.

Telegraph Ruth Hunt Stonewall CEO: A split in the Anglican Church could be dangerous for LGBT people – religious or not

Church Times Madeleine Davies Our divisions are an obscenity, Welby tells Primates

Guardian Harriet Sherwood Anglican church risks global schism over homosexuality

Telegraph John Bingham Anglican summit: Traditionalists’ anger over Justin Welby’s federal plan

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Primates gathering: Monday news reports

Updated again 5.30 pm

Sky News Afua Hirsch Gay Division: Talks To Save Church From Split

BBC Church split over homosexuality would be a failure – Welby

Telegraph Charles Moore This is the week the Anglican church might fall apart

Telegraph John Bingham Anglican split over sexuality ‘would not be a disaster’, says Justin Welby

Independent Paul Peachey African Anglicans may trigger formal schism of Church at Canterbury meeting

Press Association via Daily Mail Archbishop of Canterbury ‘unable to stop church leaders quitting split talks’

Reuters via Daily Mail As Anglicans meet, spiritual leader says schism would be failure

Christian Today Ruth Gledhill Justin Welby: Anglican split over homosexuality would be a failure but ‘not a disaster’

Anglican Communion News Service Archbishop Welby: Schism would be a failure, but not disaster (includes transcript of BBC Radio 4 interview)

Episcopal News Service Welby urges reconciliation, not agreement, among Anglican leaders

Church Times Madeleine Davies Welby hopes to mend relations in Anglican family as Primates meet in Canterbury

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Primates gathering: various perspectives

Some articles that attempt to analyse what is happening.

Bowman Walton High Stakes, Three Facts

Andrew Goddard The Anglican Communion: Consensus, Conundrum, Consequences, Conversation and Confession

Colin Coward The Primates’ meeting – a busted flush?

Economist Why the Anglicans’ meeting matters

BBC Caroline Wyatt Anglican communion’s ‘bitter divide’ over gay rights

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Media coverage of the open letter to the archbishops

Updated Monday morning

There is a comprehensive set of links to media coverage of the letter over here.

Earlier items in previous article [scroll down]

BBC Sunday radio programme available here.
‘Last roll of the dice’ for the Anglican communion – item on Good Disagreement book from 18:25, item on Letter from 29:16

Also a short video report by Caroline Wyatt is here: Church ‘should repent’ over treatment of gay Anglicans

And a BBC World Service extended news report [starts about 5 minutes in] including comments from Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines, retired Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, and Jayne Ozanne

Guardian Harriet Sherwood Senior Anglicans call for repentance over sexual discrimination

Telegraph Patrick Foster Church must repent for ‘treating gays like second-class citizens’

Michael Sadgrove Gay Anglicans and the Primates’ Meeting: the open letter

Brother Ivo Why I signed the Letter to the Archbishops

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Open letter to the archbishops of Canterbury and York

An open letter has been sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, signed by 105 Church of England members including many senior figures.

More information, and the full list of signatories, is at this website including a press release which is also copied below the fold.

The website also provides an opportunity for anybody who wishes to do so to add their signature to the letter.

The full text of the letter is as follows.

The Rt Hon and Most Revd Justin Welby
The Rt Hon and Most Revd Dr John Sentamu

January 7th 2016

Your Graces

We the undersigned ask you, our Archbishops, to take an unequivocal message to your meeting of fellow Primates next week that the time has now come for:

  • Acknowledgement that we, the Church, have failed in our duty of care to LGBTI members of the Body of Christ around the world. We have not loved them as we should, and have treated them as a problem to be solved rather than as brothers and sisters in Christ to be embraced and celebrated. We have made them feel second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God, often abandoned and alone.
  • Repentance for accepting and promoting discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, and for the pain and rejection that this has caused. We, the Church, need to apologise for our part in perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs about LGBTI people, such as the slanderous view that homosexuals have a predisposition to prey on the young.

We understand that the Primates come from a variety of contexts with differing ways of interpreting the Scriptures, but we urge you to be prophetic in your action and Christ-like in your love towards our LGBTI sisters and brothers who have been ignored and even vilified for too long.

Please be assured of our prayers for you at this time, and that the world will know by our words and actions that everyone who is baptised into the faith is of equal value in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yours sincerely

(more…)

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More coverage of the primates gathering

Updated Saturday evening

See previous articles:
Martyn Percy calls on Archbishop Welby to issue an apology and follow up.
GAFCON prepares for the gathering of Primates
Two more articles about the primates gathering (updated earlier today)

The official website of the meeting is here.

Here is some more coverage that has recently appeared. No doubt there is a lot more to follow…

The Church Times has:

From Canada the Anglican Journal has Hiltz calls for spirit of openness at Primates’ Meeting.

UK national media coverage:

Telegraph
John Bingham
Justin Welby summit to tackle Anglican break up
‘Dire’ split looms as Anglican rivals use separate rooms at summit

Guardian
Harriet Sherwood Church of England fears gay rights talks could end global Anglican communion
and also How issue of gay rights has racked Anglican churches for decades
Andrew Brown The Anglican schism over sexuality marks the end of a global church

Economist
Resurrection?
Rowing, not rowing

Update

Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre Senior Church liberals pile pressure on Archbishop to stop the ‘vilification’ of gay Christians

Ruth Gledhill Church must repent of “second class” treatment of gays, Anglican leaders warn Primates

For further details of this letter see next article.

And there is this article at Christianity Today written by David Ison Dean of St Paul’s: Anglicans need each other despite deep split over homosexuality.

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Columba Declaration

We reported on the proposed agreement between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England set out in the Columba Declaration here and on the response of the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church here.

This week’s Church Times carries an article by Tim Wyatt on the agreement and the controversy it has provoked: Scottish Episcopalians query Columba Declaration. To this is attached an article by the Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, who was the Church of England co-chair of the study group that produced the declaration. In it he sets out the background to the study group’s report and the declaration.

Dr Forster’s article is also available on the Church of England’s blog: Growth in communion, partnership in mission.

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Opinion – 9 January 2016

John Bingham has interviewed William Nye for The Telegraph: The ‘silencing of Christians’ in the public sector.

Bob Morris The Constitution Unit ‘Living with Difference’: The Butler-Sloss Commission’s report reflects the interests of its members rather than the public interest
[also online at Law & Religion UK]

Giles Fraser The Guardian Doesn’t Bishop George Bell deserve the presumption of innocence?

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Pope Gregory and #Primates2016 – diversity, sex, and church order

Jayne Ozanne Church of England Newspaper Resolutely passionate

Hannah Cleugh Church Times No need to patronise men with toughness

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General Synod elections – chairs of house and others

Members of the new General Synod of the Church of England have been electing chairs of houses and members of various committees. There is a list of the results so far here, including these.

Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury
The Revd Canon Simon Butler (Southwark)

Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York
The Ven Cherry Vann, Archdeacon of Rochdale (Manchester)

Chair of the House of Laity
Canon Dr Jamie Harrison (Durham)

Vice-Chair of the House of Laity
Canon Elizabeth Paver (Sheffield)

There are more results to come.

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Two more articles about the primates gathering

Updated Saturday

First an article at ABC Religion and Ethics by Christopher Craig Brittain:
The Primates’s Dilemma: Game Theory and the Anglican Communion

…For a “Game of Mitres” is unfolding within and among the churches of the Communion. It is a contest over power and influence and over the future course of the international family of churches. It will determine who has the legitimacy to define the very nature of the Anglican tradition.

In essence, this is not a dispute over homosexuality, the authority of Scripture, or the uniqueness of Christ: it has become a power struggle over how the Communion is to be governed….

Second, another article by Martyn Percy:
Sexuality and the citizenship of Heaven

…But the problem we now face, as an Anglican Communion, is the eliding of ‘lazy’ labels that no longer do justice to the complexity of the issues and debates. ‘Inclusive’ has come to mean ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’; ‘exclusive’ has come to mean ‘conservative’ and ‘traditionalist’; and ‘orthodoxy’ now claimed by all. So there is no escaping the need for some serious theological work in moving the Communion forward.

It simply won’t do to try and re-organise the Communion on an ‘Orthodox’ model, in the hope that this will somehow give Anglican Provinces more space to continue to be un-resolved and un-reconciled. Such a proposal may be politically expedient in the short term. But the longer term consequences – planting churches in one another’s Provinces to promote ‘traditionalist’ or ‘progressive’ causes, for example – would spell the end for worldwide Anglicanism in all but name. Episcopal oversight – to be authentically catholic – needs to be local and provincial for the care and cure of souls. We cannot have Archbishops presiding over congregations several continents away, planting at will. It would result in an ecclesial and legal catastrophe.

In some respects, the current proposals being touted – namely loosening our ‘bonds of Communion’ – are a collapse of confidence in the internationalism of Anglicanism. The so-called ‘Orthodox’ model of polity being propositioned for the Communion represents a failure of theological vision, ecclesial comprehension and moral leadership. Adopting the proposed ‘Orthodox’ model would be a disaster of epic proportions for the church.

As such, it is has some equivalence to the Munich Agreement of 1938, where Neville Chamberlain secured an armistice, with his famous piece of paper. But this was a ‘peace at any price’ – and the fee, ultimately, too costly. Chamberlain’s championing of his ‘concord’ transpired to be a weak political fix, born out of fear. It did nothing to challenge the cruelty and coercion that stalked Europe. Chamberlain’s ‘fix’ just gave the oppressors and aggressors further licence to act with impunity…

Updates

There have been several criticisms of Martyn Percy’s writings from conservatives, including

Andrew Symes Martyn Percy on sex and the Anglican Communion: 20 holes in his argument.

Ian Paul Martyn Percy’s non-sense poetry on sexuality

Martin Davie I wouldn’t start from here – a response to Martyn Percy

Martyn has written a response to Martin Davie’s criticisms and you can read that here, below the fold.

(more…)

94 Comments

GAFCON prepares for the gathering of Primates

Jonathan Petre reports in the Mail on Sunday: Repent or we quit say bishops in gays feud: Anglican church could split in challenge to Welby’s authority

Church leaders from Africa and Asia are threatening to walk out of a crucial meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury unless American bishops drop their support for gay marriage.
Archbishop Justin Welby last year invited the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Church to the summit in Canterbury next week in a ‘make or break’ effort to avert a permanent split over homosexuality.
The row has torn the Church apart for a decade – with conservatives accusing liberals of abandoning the word of God by backing openly gay bishops and marriages for gay couples – and the Archbishop wants to broker a deal to allow both sides to co-exist peacefully.
But insiders said a hardcore of eight to 12 conservative archbishops from Africa and Asia are preparing to quit the meeting on the first morning unless the liberal Americans ‘repent’ or the Archbishop throws them out…

The GAFCON website has been very active in the past few weeks, see the following links:

And Anglican Mainstream has links to further items at Canterbury Primates’ Meeting – news and commentary

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Opinion – 2 January 2016

Peter Wehner New York Times The Christmas Revolution

Howard Jacobson BBC News Magazine A Point of View: Why the world needs more sermons

Archdruid Eileen Feast of Holy Innocents – Power Under Pressure

Sarah Coakley ABC Religion and Ethics Angels and Dreams: Second Naivete and the Christian Imagination

Andrew Brown The Guardian If Nicky Morgan wants Christianity to flourish, humanism should be taught in schools

Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message

Giles Fraser The Guardian Karl Barth taught us not to use religion to mask the stench of war

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