Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 30 August 2017

Dan Ennis The Episcopal Café An Open Letter to UK Anglicans — in response to the news of ACNA’s consecration of a bishop for missionary work in the United Kingdom and Europe

Eve Poole Koomi of Smale

Tim Stratford One way of looking at things… Churches – what are they for?

St Chrysostom’s Church News and Views Bishop’s head dress – a contribution to a debate


Musicians, HTB, and the Church of St Sepulchre

There has been considerable media coverage of a developing row over the policies of the Church of St Sepulchre Holborn,in London.

The story was first reported by Olivia Rudgard in the Telegraph Proms conductor in row with musicians’ church after it bans ‘non-religious’ concerts. She reported:

…a London church has become embroiled in a row with one of Britain’s best-known composers after it announced it would close its doors to choirs and orchestras because their music was not religious.

Now part of a network founded by evangelical church Holy Trinity Brompton, St. Sepulchre Without Newgate Church, in Holborn, central London, will stop taking bookings from the classical musicians which have relied on it as a rehearsal and concert venue for many years.

The church became part of the evangelical group, which is known for its youth-friendly rock-band style of worship, in 2013.

The Church Times picked up the story and initially reported this way: Musicians feel betrayed as St Sepulchre’s ceases as a concert venue and St Sepulchre’s plan to limit hire-space upsets musicians.

The following week there was: Music luminaries protest at St Sepulchre’s plans.

And the Church Times Press Column also covered it: Andrew Brown: City church-plant resists secular overtures. Do read the whole column, but he noted that:

…So far, St Sepulchre’s has not backed down, and even if it now does so, it will have done a lasting piece of disevangelism. What makes the whole thing so completely ridiculous is that it may well have happened by accident. Perhaps no one in the leadership team has ever listened to Classic FM, let alone Radio 3, and so they all vaguely suppose that classical music is part of the old, moth-eaten musical brocade that they are tearing down to reveal the clean, authentic Ikea Christianity that lies behind it.

The church itself has published this statement:

The Parochial Church Council of St. Sepulchre’s, the National Musicians’ Church, recently took the decision to close its hiring programme from 2018. Hiring will continue as previously planned for the rest of 2017, and all existing bookings for 2018 will be honoured.

An increasingly busy programme of worship and church activities has led to ever higher demands on the church space, and the hire space is also shared with the church administration office.

Over the weekend there has been a significant response online and via social media to this decision, and we have been greatly moved by the concern expressed for the musical life of the church. We do wish to re-iterate that we remain committed to our ministry as the National Musicians’ Church. In the coming weeks we will reflect and pray, and consult with members of the musicians’ community about how best to fulfil that ministry moving forward, including particularly Dr. Andrew Earis (Director of Music at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and former Director of Music here at St. Sepulchre’s).

Finally, we are committed to our on-going programme of weekly Choral Worship, and our on-going programme of choral and organ scholarships. We will maintain and develop our excellent professional choir, which recently recorded a new album to be launched in the Autumn.


Opinion – 26 August 2017

Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Journal Good disagreement

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of the wonderful old writers; in search of the significant

Richard Blackledge of The Star interviews Pete Wilcox: The new Bishop of Sheffield on women priests, the church’s big challenges – and why his wife’s books aren’t ‘raunchy’

Stephen Croft, Bishop of Oxford, Artificial Intelligence: a guide to the key issues


Opinion – 23 August 2017

Kelvin Holdsworth Thurible To be an Episcopalian is not to be respectable

Zac Koons The Living Church Priests are not paid to do anything

Ben Witherington patheos St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Jonathan Swift
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

1 Comment

Opinion – 19 August 2017

Mark Woods Christian Today Does your church need a mission statement? Why you’re better off without one

Julian Francis Church Times Facing uncomfortable truths about race

Ruth Harley … because God is love “Jesus isn’t white” – 5 ways to make your children’s and youth ministry less racist

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of faith, speaking of inclusion


Los Angeles: coadjutor bishop says property sale to proceed

Earlier reports here and then here.

Bishop John Taylor, the Coadjutor Bishop of Los Angeles, has published this: A Letter to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Episcopal News Service explains: Los Angeles bishop coadjutor says disputed St. James property sale contract is legally binding.

This is reported in the local newspapers:

Los Angeles Times L.A. Episcopal diocese is going ahead with sale of Newport’s St. James church site

Orange County Register St. James Church will be sold after all, disappointing the Newport Beach congregation


New Zealand marriage blessing proposals

The Church Times this week carries a report on New Zealand: Priests could be authorised to offer same-sex blessings in New Zealand

Here are some links from New Zealand that contain more information:

AnglicanTaonga New way forward? Report out now

Full text of the report here.

Peter Carrell
Beautiful Anglican Accommodation – Down Under’s Way Forward

Bosco Peters
Blessing Same-Gender Couples


Opinion – 12 August 2017

Paul Bayes Huffington Post UK The Life And Death Divide Which Shames Our Nation

This refers to this research report North-South disparities in English mortality1965–2015: longitudinal population study by Iain E Buchan, Evangelos Kontopantelis, Matthew Sperrin, Tarani Chandola, Tim Doran.
Nicola Davis writes about the report for The Guardian ‘Alarming’ rise in early deaths of young adults in the north of England – study

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The growing conflict between Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience


CEEC committee writes about sexuality issues

The committee of the Church of England Evangelical Council has issued a letter to its constituency. The full text of the letter is reproduced below the fold.

There are references in it to some earlier documents. Here are links to those:

See also the coverage of this letter in Christian Today Evangelical bishop warns split may be necessary as he spearheads resistance to liberalising CofE



Opinion – 9 August 2017

Francis Young Negotiating the ‘A’ word in historical writing about the Church of England

Tiffer Robinson Psephizo Is Philip North right about the Church and the poor?

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of wealth and poverty; in praise of Philip North

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley If Clergy Ads Told the Full Story


Anglican Church of Kenya must reinstate clergy unlawfully suspended

An appeal court in Kenya has confirmed a lower court ruling that three priests who were suspended because of allegations that they were homosexuals, must be reinstated, because there was no evidence to support the allegations. Previously the Employment Court had so ruled, but the Anglican Church of Kenya had appealed against this.

Daily Nation ACK to reinstate priests in gay case after losing appeal

The Anglican Church will still have to reinstate three priests sacked over alleged homosexuality and pay them Sh6.8 million after the Court of Appeal dismissed its application to stop the execution of the orders by a lower court.

Justice Philip Waki, Justice Roselyne Nambuye and Justice Patrick Kiage threw out an application by the Registered Trustees of the Anglican Church of Kenya that sought an order to halt the enforcement of a judgment by the Employment Court in Nyeri.

Judge Byram Ongaya of the Employment Court had, on September 2016, directed the church to reinstate Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, Rev James Maina Maigua and Rev Paul Mwangi Warui so that they could perform their pastoral duties.

The court found that it was unlawful for the church to suspend the three priests from pastoral work without evidence that they were homosexuals.

Justice Ongaya also ordered the church to pay the priests all their accrued salaries from August 2015, when they were sacked.

Archdeacon Gachau was awarded Sh2,437,780, Rev Maigua Sh2,224,996 and Rev Warui Sh2,219,814.

However, the church applied to have the execution of the judgment suspended pending the determination of an appeal seeking to overturn the court orders…

Also, Anglican Church to pay clerics suspended over homosexuality

There is also a report in Christian Today Anglican priests sacked for being gay must be reinstated, Kenya court rules.


Opinion – 5 August 2017

Kelvin Holdsworth thurible Should straight people be allowed to get married – a sermon preached on 30 July 2017

Stanley Hauerwas ABC Religion and Ethics Why Bonhoeffer Matters: The Challenge for Christian Ministry at the End of Christendom

Paul Bayes The Bishop of Liverpool’s speech to marchers at Liverpool Pride last Saturday [four minute video]

Philip North Hope for the Poor – the Bishop of Burnley’s talk to the New Wine ‘United’ Conference 2017
Reports of the talk include:
Madeleine Davies Church Times There’s a future for the Church if Evangelicals put the poor first, Bishop North tells New Wine
Anglican Communion News Service Bishop says that the Church has forgotten the poor.
Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Bishop: Church ‘abandons’ the poor because clergy won’t leave middle-class areas with trendy coffee shops.

Rachel Marszalek Church Times Don’t jump off the mother ship — there’s work to do


Archbishop of Uganda to boycott next Primates Meeting


The BBC reports: Unity and division as Justin Welby visits Africa

…Throughout his visit, Mr Welby has been accompanied by the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali. On the issue of refugees, the suffering of displaced persons and the desperate plight of South Sudan, there is complete unanimity. But there are other issues that are troubling their relationship.

Mr Ntagali is a leading conservative evangelical, whose province in Uganda is continuing to grow in Christian converts.

But he was angered by the American Episcopal Church’s decision to endorse same-sex relationships and walked out of a global gathering of archbishops in Canterbury last year.

He issued a statement saying that he would not be returning until “godly order” had been restored and the Bible returned to what he said is its rightful place “as the authority for our faith and morals”.

Since then, the Canadian and Scottish Episcopal Churches have formally voted to endorse same-sex marriage.

Mr Ntagali says the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman – and that the growing Ugandan church will not remain in fellowship with those who support same-sex unions.

“This is the basis of our faith and it is founded in the Scriptures,” he explains.
It is a theological tussle that has the potential to pull the Anglican Communion apart – a communion that numbers no less than 80 million Christians in 166 countries.

The next gathering of archbishops will again take place in Canterbury, this coming October. But Mr Ntagali has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury explaining that he will not be attending.

Another detail is contained in this report: Anglican splits over sexuality as Uganda’s archbishop boycotts October’s Primates meeting.

The Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, has said that he will not attend the next gathering of Anglican Primates in October because of divisions over sexuality issues.

Archbishop Ntagali was asked by the BBC’s Martin Bashir, who is traveling with the Archbishop of Canterbury to South Sudan and Uganda, whether he would attend the next Primates conference. ‘No…I made it clear I am not attending,’ replied the archbishop, before attempting to stop the interview, which he said was supposed to be about the refugee crisis in the region…


Los Angeles bishop Jon Bruno: recommendation to suspend confirmed

We reported earlier on the draft recommendations of the disciplinary panel.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the recommendations have now been confirmed, see Panel’s final ruling maintains 3-year suspension for bishop who tried to sell Newport church.

The final version of the panel’s document is available here.

This is still subject to an appeal process. We have not yet seen any public statements from church sources about it.

Earlier, a further interim order was made by the Presiding Bishop, which took immediate effect, and inhibits any further actions being taken by Bishop Bruno in respect of the disputed property and parish of St James, during what could be a further protracted period. See Presiding Bishop removes disputed Newport Beach congregation from Bruno’s authority.

The action was welcomed by the congregation, which published this letter.

The diocese issued this: Bishop Coadjutor responds to Presiding Bishop’s transfer of jurisdiction in Newport Beach matters

The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor, bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, today responded to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s transfer to the diocesan Standing Committee and him jurisdiction over matters related to church property in Newport Beach and the congregation of St. James’ the Great. Bishop Taylor’s statement follows:

“The Presiding Bishop’s action enables the Rev. Dr. Rachel Anne Nyback, president of the Standing Committee, her fellow committee members, and me to move ahead prayerfully to promote truth, open dialogue, and reconciliation in matters that have distracted our diocese for many months and to do so without awaiting a final resolution of the charges against our Bishop, J. Jon Bruno. We pledge to do all we can to use this opportunity to achieve a just outcome for the sake of our entire diocesan community.”

The full text of the restriction is reproduced at the link above.

The Living Church has this: Coadjutor Spans Conflicts

The Rt. Rev. John Taylor, Bishop Coadjutor of Los Angeles, praised the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno on Aug. 2 as “a courageous, visionary leader” who would “acknowledge that there are things he would have done differently.”

…Here is the complete text of Taylor’s statement in response to the final order:

Bishop Bruno’s 40 years of ordained ministry and 15 years as sixth bishop of Los Angeles are not summed up by this order or the events that precipitated it. He is a courageous, visionary leader. Like every successful executive inside and outside the church, he would be the first to acknowledge that there are things he would have done differently. I look forward to continuing to learn from him and consult with him about the life of the diocesan community he has served and loves so well.

Regarding the property on Lido Island, the Standing Committee and I, at the request of the Presiding Bishop, will do everything we can to promote a just solution that takes into account the interests of all in our community (including the faithful members of the Newport Beach church) and gives us the opportunity to move forward together.

In a dispute such as this one, truth-telling, open communication, and reconciliation can be difficult for everyone involved. As this work gets underway, let us all remember St. Paul’s words (Rom. 8:28): “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”


South Carolina Supreme Court rules on church dispute

Updated Thursday evening

ENS has this report by Mary Frances Schjonberg South Carolina Supreme Court issues ruling in church property case.

In a complex ruling Aug. 2 the South Carolina Supreme Court said that most but not all the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina congregations whose leaders left the Episcopal Church could not continue to hold on to the church property.

The justices said 29 of the congregations specifically agreed to abide by the “Dennis Canon” (Canon 1.7.4), which states that a parish holds its property in trust for the diocese and the Episcopal Church. That agreement means they cannot retain church property. However, they said that eight congregations had not agreed to the canon and thus could keep those properties…

The full text of the ruling is here.

The ACNA-affiliated diocese reported the decision this way: South Carolina Supreme Court Releases Divided Opinion on Diocese of South Carolina and its Historic Property

…In a complicated ruling consisting of five separate opinions, the S.C. Supreme Court today ruled that parishes which had “acceded” to the national church’s ‘Dennis canon’ are subject to a trust interest on their property by the denomination. Eight congregations that had not so acceded were judged to have full rights to retain their property.

The dissenting justices expressed concern regarding the long term implications of this decision. Former Chief Justice Jean Toal stated that the court should have relied on “over three hundred years of settled trust and property law… I believe the effect of the majority’s decision is to strip a title owner of its property…” on the basis of actions that do not create a trust interest under South Carolina law. In concurring with Justice Toal, Justice Kittredge observed of other church properties where there is affiliation with a national organization, based on this ruling, “if you think your property ownership is secure, think again.”

This current litigation became necessary when TEC attempted to wrongly remove Bishop Lawrence, and the Diocese, in response, elected to disassociate from TEC. At that time a small group, of TEC loyalists who had been preparing for this attempted removal began an intentional campaign of using the Diocesan Seal and other service marks of the Diocese. They began to function as if they were the Diocese of South Carolina. To maintain its identity required that the Diocese defend that identity…

The bishop of the TEC-affiliated Diocese of South Carolina issued this pastoral letter:

Dear Friends in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina,

Please join me in giving thanks to God for the gift of grace given to us through the August 2 ruling of the State Supreme Court that was generally in our favor. I acknowledge the difficult work of the court justices in coming to this decision.

Many of you have worked faithfully and diligently in preparation for this day and have remained steadfast as disciples of Jesus through your many sacrifices. For every one of you I give thanks, as well as to many throughout the wider Episcopal Church who have remained in solidarity with us.

We will continue to study the decision as we prepare for the journey awaiting us, and we enter it knowing that God’s Spirit is with us and in us as the Body of Christ. I am aware that coming to this day has been painful for many, and some you of lost much along the way. In that same vein, please be aware that this decision is painful in a different way for others. I ask that you be measured in your response without undue celebration in the midst of your own gratefulness.

I call upon all of you to be in prayer for all the people of this diocese, including those in congregations who chose to align with the breakaway group. Many conversations will need to occur for which we have not yet had the opportunity, yet our God is a God of reconciliation and hope as shown forth in the living Christ. Healing is our desire, and we renew our commitment to the hard work of reconciliation in whatever form it can come. May we focus on the healing of division and the seeking of common ground for the good of all Episcopalians, but even more importantly, for the sake of the Good News of Jesus.

The TEC-affiliated diocese has published this: Diocesan leaders to review Supreme Court decision

Episcopal Church leaders from across eastern South Carolina will gather on Friday at Grace Church Cathedral to review the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling on church property and assets and consider the next steps toward resolving the division and confusion resulting from a breakaway group’s lawsuit against The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Skip Adams called the meeting on August 2, hours after the court issued the ruling. Friday’s meetings will include a joint gathering of the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, and Trustees, three bodies of clergy and non-ordained elected leaders. Bishop Adams also has called a meeting for the leaders of nine congregations that organized as mission churches since the 2012 breakup left them without buildings where they could worship as Episcopalians.

Both gatherings will give local Episcopalians an opportunity to discuss the complex, 79-page court decision, which includes separate opinions written by all five Supreme Court justices who heard the case. The decision cannot be viewed as final until all possible steps toward an appeal have been resolved…

The ACNA-affiliated Bishop of Fort Worth, Texas has issued this letter.

The Anglican Curmudgeon blog carries this: Massive Conflict of Interest Taints South Carolina Ruling. Earlier it had this analysis: BREAKING – So. Carolina Decision Is Out.


National Church Institutions Gender Pay Gap Data

The Church of England has published this document: National Church Institutions Gender Pay Gap Data.

Some press coverage of this:

The Times (behind a paywall) Church of England reveals 40% gender pay gap

Telegraph Church of England reveals 41 per cent gender pay gap in central office

Christian Today Church of England HQ has worse gender pay gap than BBC

The Sun NEED A PRAY RISE Top Church of England offices reveal whopping 40 per cent pay gap – double the national average and FOUR TIMES the BBC

We haven’t seen any press release about this, but the daily emailed media report from Church House Westminster had this comment:

Figures show that the pay difference between men and women for nearly three-quarters of staff is less than one per cent, and for half of staff there is no gap in pay. However there are significant differences in the mean and median salaries overall.

A spokesperson is quoted saying: “The data shows where we have more work to do in reducing the difference in pay between men and women in more highly paid roles, and improving the ratio of men to women in the most senior and most junior roles.”

According to the Telegraph report, the spokesperson also said:

“We are taking steps to address these issues including reviewing our job evaluation and pay methodology and making changes to our recruitment strategy to attract a greater diversity of candidates.”

The key to understanding the “gap” lies in this table: