Thinking Anglicans

chinese whispers on the covenant response

Updated

The Sunday Telegraph has a report by Jonathan Wynne-Jones headlined C of E to empower foreign bishops.

The Church of England is set to allow foreign archbishops to intervene in its affairs, secret papers reveal.

Under controversial plans being drawn up by the Church’s bishops, leaders from Africa and South America would be able to take over the care of parishes in this country.

They threaten to end the historic power of bishops to have ultimate control over their dioceses because parishes could ask for overseas prelates to carry out important duties, such as leading ordination services.

The proposals are part of a covenant or rule book of beliefs that has been endorsed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as a last ditch attempt to prevent the Anglican Church from splitting over gay clergy…

Episcopal Café has reported on this as Let’s see who salutes while epiScope has Telegraph plays telephone…?

Watch for clarifications to emerge…

Reminder: at the CofE General Synod in July the covenant draft was discussed with this outcome, and further reports are linked here.

Update
For clarification, see both the comment by Pete Broadbent below, and his comment here on Fulcrum.

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Tom Allen
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Tom Allen

I am sure that in a strict journalistic sense the sources are there – but as usual with The (Sunday) Telegraph the interpretation is awry – in reality the permission of the Diocesan would be needed – the “Bishop” involved in the Southwark case was not from an Anglican Diocese – it doesn’t seem to connect with the Chelmsford case either which was a fairly straightforward “set-up” rather than a fundamental traditionalist matter of conscience.

Will Prynne
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Will Prynne

Very good news: Dr Williams has realised that the Bible believing churches must be catered for! I thought this would happen after Williams moved in favour of Coekin. Finally liberalism is being rolled back, and clerics that repudiate the Bible held to account. Note that “those who have erred” will be “brought to repentance, healing and restoration”, and “those who refuse to abide by the rule book will be effectively expelled from the communion.” A shame though that righteous bishops cannot be found within England to do the oversight. But it will be good to have Godly voices like +Jenson… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

It hardly needs saying that such a set of papers of a proposal, if true, would fly in the face of the advice to Bishop John Howe, which caused so much controversy – that the bishop is prince in the diocese and after that it’s the Anglican Communion and Windsor process compliance of everyone agreeing to keep together (the Covenant’s intentions). My guess is that there is nothing in this whatsoever, because if there was then the mess (the Windsor process, Covenant and TEC and all that) that became chaos (the National Churches were abstract) that became confusion (a limited… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

This isn’t the language of the House of Bishops, only maybe of a few in it:

The House of Bishops paper, which is responding to the idea of an Anglican Covenant for the worldwide Church, also emphasised the need for a means to discipline provinces that refuse to toe the line.

This would ensure that “those who have erred are brought to repentance, healing and restoration”, but adds that those who refuse to abide by the rule book will be effectively expelled from the communion.

badman
Guest
badman

“The proposals have been drawn up by the Church’s Theological Group, chaired by the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, as its response to the Anglican Covenant.”

Who put the arsonists in charge of the fire brigade?

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

ST – “The Church of England is set to allow foreign archbishops to intervene in its affairs, secret papers reveal.” Papers so secret that the Sunday Telegraph knows what’s in them! So not very secret then, eh? Anyone remember the adage about one person knowing something, it’s a secret; more than one knowing it, “sure t’aint a secret no more.” Seriously though, this sounds like a lot of wishful thinking (and spoiling) on the part of the Puritans (oops, sorry, Reform). I can’t see such a scheme ever getting past General Synod. Come to think of it, Parliament might have… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I’ve done my own comment. Hope you can tell who the cartoon suggests.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/10/fragile-times-telegraph.html

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

To do this proposal justice, it makes just about the same demands of the Church of England that the Dar es Salaam Primates’ Communique made of The Episcopal Church. That Communique wished to legitimize North American bishoprics with multiple, overlapping jurisdictions within the same geographical territory, many of which would report to overseas Archbishops. Assuming that ++Rowan has no problem imposing this sort of structure on the Americans, could he possibly have a problem imposing it on the Church of England? Thus ++Rowan could have no problem if Bishop Nazir-Ali, for example, were to remain in the See of Rochester,… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

But I forgot the great bit from “Yes, Prime Minister” (Paul Eddington got to do this one–)

“…The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country;
The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it already is.”

So is the Sunday Telegraph read by people who think the Church of England ought to be run by another country? Or by people who think it already is?

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

You can guarantee that such a paper exists. There is no reason to believe that those who have moved so radically into the TEC’s territory would not be doing scenario planning for every territory. There are some who are probably ticking that they “control” their diocese or nation, so don’t need intervention. Other territories where they control the numbers or where ignorance has enabled misinformation and misrepresentation to keep the waters muddied and confused so souls will cling to the status quo. Other areas have thought through the theology more carefully, and those areas will obviously require “surgery”. The big… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

It seems there would be a few carrying torches and pitchforks who would latch onto this proposed perversion of Christianity as a reason to start the English version of the Spanish Inquisition.

Therefore, I very much doubt that it will succeed in a land that has soundly rejected the Puritans before.

Dream on, Brother Prynne.

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

All is not, of course, as it seems. It’s a House of Bishops document from October, discussing how we frame a response to the Covenant, and what content needs to be in any such response. It comes from the HOB theological group, who always work on this sort of stuff for the House. As one of 32 comments on the text, the HoB document says that we need to ensure that the final version of the Covenant addresses intervention throughout the Communion [of course, it has to do so]. It suggests an insertion which broadly runs with the Windsor understanding,… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Bishop Pete Broadbent’s comment on Fulcrum is worth reading, showing just how a journalist can make a story out of quotations out of context.

Does anyone believe ANYTHING printed in the Torygraph?

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Now Big ++Pete, ++Henry Luke and ++Emmanuel will be running amok in England, too. What else does it take to upset the apple cart, i.e., the Henrician settlement? A Welshman at Lambeth Palace and a Scot at 10 Downing Street?

Pluralist
Guest

Here is unofficial comment, which shows that there is a document, it is preparing for the Covenant, but the stress (while considering foreign intervention) is that foreign intervention would have to be authorised by the instruments of Communion. I’m sure any so affected national Church would tell such an intervening Communion where to put itself.

http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/forum/thread.cfm?thread=4819

Meanwhile Reform will be so disappointed all over again.

Ashpenaz
Guest
Ashpenaz

If we’re going to let foreign bishops have jurisdiction, does that mean we can ask the Pope to take over the English Church again? Since Henry VIII’s whole point was that the Pope had no power in England, should we take that back and let the Pope in? After all, he’s a validly consecrated bishop–what would stop him or other Roman Catholics from taking over English, Canadian, or American parishes? Particularly if those parishes don’t ordain women–why couldn’t they just become Anglican/Roman Catholic?

Curtis
Guest
Curtis

No way, it just doesn’t fit. Why would the ABC refuse invitations to irregularly installed bishops in the US and then turn around and give assent to basically the same strategy over there. Did someone mention a machiavellian scheme? That’s my guess too. It’s an unbelievable, intimidation tactic.

NP
Guest
NP

Another brilliant piece of art from the talented painter Pluralist…..you should send +Michael a print, sure he would love it. Rumours….not worth worrying too much about them. We are nearly at the end of October so the big news is that we are going to hear the results of the ABC’s tele-polling of the Primates……….has he been able to see JSC fudge or not? We know the chaps in Ireland and Wales are buyers….but what of CAPA (37m Anglicans) and even Australia (where +Jenses has 40% of the country’s Anglicans in Sydney diocese….) Rumours matter nothing compared to what the… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Will Prynne: you do seem to be on planet Puritania Minora rather than Anglicana Felix. Dividing everyone up into the righteous bible-believers and the unrighteous liberals isn’t very wise, is it? Did you listen to the Gospel reading in church yesterday – the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector? Which of the two does Jesus ask us to emulate?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Rumours….not worth worrying too much about them.” Unless of course they are rumours of smoe great liberal scheme to take over TEC and destroy the Church. Unless it’s rumours about the pious righteous ones being silenced and marginalized by aforesaid liberals. Then it would appear you worry about them very much. But such rumours feed your persecution complex. And, Fr. Mark, “Dividing everyone up into the righteous bible-believers and the unrighteous liberals isn’t very wise, is it?” It is actually very wise. As Evangelicals once told us in repsonse to an invitation to an ecumenical event, “we don’t associate with… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Somewhat elaborate denial from Bishop Broadbent, automatic denial from NP calling people “chaps”.

Together, they can’t be right!

Chris
Guest
Chris

Very true Fr Mark. We should emulate the man who was doctrinally correct in his understanding of sin and the need for personal salvation.

Pluralist
Guest

There are two issues crossing over here, one potentially compatible with what the Archbishop said, and one not. The compatible one, potentially, would be a bishop in the diocese who decides to change allegiance to an outside foreign Church. The clarification from the Archbishop about “unity of canon law” might frustrate that. It is not very likely; the national Church would declare the diocese vacant. The other is a sitting bishop who finds another bishop from abroad doing the overseeing for some of the congregations. This goes against what the Archbishop said, though it is what the House of Bishops… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Fr Mark

Those of us who recognised ‘Bible Sunday’ had Jesus opening the scroll of Isaiah …

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“We should emulate the man who was doctrinally correct in his understanding of sin and the need for personal salvation” But, from where I sit, it’s those who so loudly trumpet the conservative line who are the people who do NOT do this. Sorry, but the claims to holiness of the Right sound very much like the Pharisee to me. So does TEC’s fervent claims of “prophetic” knowledge, by the way. Emulation of the Publican acknowledges our own brokenness, not repeated condemnations of everyone else’s. And what’s “personal salvation” anyway? In so far as Christ died for the redemption of… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – I am quite consistent in not wasting time on rumours…..

Anyway, unless Rowan can pull yet another delaying rabbit from his mitre and keep us all waiting for yet another year while some committee or other meets, we will soon know, God willing, that most Primates of the AC have said that TEC HOB NO statement was exactly that….TECUSA has said “no” to the Primates and remains in impaired communion with many of us in the AC……maybe we will get closer to the sort of fellowship we can read about in 1John1 following.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Mark Bennet

Thanks for letting me know. Could it be then, one wonders, that Bible Sunday is in fact an elaborate ploy dreamt up for the express purpose of preventing Conservative Evangelicals from ever hearing the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector…?

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Thanks Pete for referring us to the actual text proposed text: “we commit ourselves to refrain from intervening in the life of other Anglican churches except in extraordinary circumstances where such intervention has been specifically authorised by the relevant instruments of Communion.” The problem is not in the text, but who is intending to wield the scroll and what they intend to do with it. I’ve spent a lot of the last few days thinking about puritan theology and decided that it is not puritanism that I have a problem with. I am ridiculously fond of the Amish and passionate… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Fr Mark I can’t answer for others, but conspiracy theorists will no doubt note that (a) both readings could have been avoided by transferring St Simon and St Jude to Sunday (b) ‘Bible Sunday’ in BCP was/is 2nd Sunday in Advent and goes with Luke 21.25-33, while Luke 18.9-14 in BCP Sunday Lectionary comes at 11 After Trinity. I was fortunate enough to be conducting a baptism and referred to both Scripture and Prayer as treasures of the Christian Tradition and resources for the Christian life – and spoke a little about the right use of these resources. But then… Read more »

Dennis
Guest

This opens the doors to us poaching progressive parishes and dioceses for the Episcopal Church. If Nigeria can have the rightwingers, then we get the sane progressives. Because as soon as the doors are open for fundamentalist bishops to exercise authority in England then, for the sake of the faithful remnant, we need to put progressive oversight into place in England, too.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Can’t stand conspiracy theories.

But one way to dumb down theology is to have a mouse in wheel theology program that covers every Sunday. That way you never have to deal with uncomfortable biblical passages that might contradict accusatory or violence condoning theology.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Mark Bennet:

Ah well, another ecclesiastical conspiracy theory bites the dust… only a few thousand more to go. I’m surprised we haven’t got a group of fanatical schismatic Old Lectionarists on here somewhere.

daithi
Guest
daithi

Why is NP so hung up about the attitude of Wales and Ireland? Being among the most ancient parts of the Anglican Communion seems to rankle with the “new-comers”?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

I’m sure there’s an elaborate way of showing that “my brother” doesn’t mean everyone, just as there are some people who aren’t “my neighbour”.

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Mark Bennet wrote: both readings could have been avoided by transferring St Simon and St Jude to Sunday.

Surely, Mark, that should have read, “both readings could have been avoided by NOT transferring St Simon and St Jude TO Monday.”

P.S. Sounded like a good sermon for SM’s.

NP
Guest
NP

daithi – no, I just find it hard to be lectured by people who represent so few….

A few thousand in the diocese of NH elect someone…..and the Anglican Communion is brought to the brink of schism…..this does not make sensen – the tail seems to wag the dog too often in the AC

Maybe this is why a Covenant is on the table….to make the AC function more properly and not be at the mercy of the decisions of small groups.

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

The references to the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector remind me that once, visiting a somewhat low church, I actually heard the preacher (the curate) say we should be glad that we know we are sinners, like the tax collector, and not full of a sense of righteousness like the Pharisee.

He was not being ironical.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

“a group of fanatical schismatic Old Lectionarists”

someone call?:-)

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I am quite consistent in not wasting time on rumours”

Mary, please! Sorry to get all gay on you, but really! One of the pillars of your entire position is the RUMOUR that TEC is controlled by a bunch of faithless heathens who are plotting the destruction of the Church! You have no evidence for this other than the shrill Jeremiads of those you consider good leaders, and whose talent seems to be in distorting the truth for their own ends. You spend all your time on rumours.

John robison
Guest
John robison

NP-
I’ve looked around and not seen too much on the HoB statment one way or the other. Many seem to accept it on it’s face, others do not. Neither group make up a majority.
I would also counsel you to be careful, the last Primates comunique was written to keep ONE Primate happy. Even for that it is full of qualifiers.
Now, shall we finaly get down to discussing the Lollardy in Australia or the rampant Evangelical donatism and docetism? Those may be less “fun” but are far more toxic to the Church than a gay bishop.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I just find it hard to be lectured by people who represent so few” And who, other than here in response to your antagonism, is lecturing you about anything? And why is it that the majority gets to rule? You can find lots of places in history, even just in Church history, where the majority were wrong. Even now Protestants are a minority in Christianity. At the Reformation there were far fewer. The Reformers represented few. Why do you not find it hard to be lectured to by them? I imagine the Popes of those days found it hard to… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

The interesting thing about the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is that, the instant we identify ourselves with one of the characters, we take on the characteristics of the other. If we see ourselves as the vain and boasting Pharisee, we are penitent like the Publican. If we perceive ourselves as truly penitent, we have assumed the vainglorious boasting of the Pharisee. Here Jesus commends the outcast and condemns the respectable person. So, seeking to model my life on that best exemplar, do I stand with those who would cast out others, or with those who would be… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Cryptogram: you seem surprised that a preacher suggested we should be glad to be like the tax collector rather than the Pharisee. I thought that was the point: the humble sinning tax collector is the one described as justified by Jesus, and not the law-abiding self-righteous Pharisee. NP: I wouldn’t go on about numbers all the time, if I were you. The vast majority of English Anglicans are liberal on the gay issue. The Bishops do not reflect the views of the 25 million people in England who describe themselves as Anglican at all when it comes to sexual orientation:… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“A few thousand in the diocese of NH elect someone…..and the Anglican Communion is brought to the brink of schism…..this does not make sensen – the tail seems to wag the dog too often in the AC…” Don’t you mean, rather, that the AC is brought to schism because certain people are under the belief that the actions of a few thousand in the diocese of NH–in choosing a leader through its established polity and presumably the working of the Spirit–somehow threatens their time-honored and cherished belief that the Spirit shares their abhorrence of a particular class of people based… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

RPNewark

Do I know you? If so a mutual friend Margaret keeps me up to date with the news, and I owe you a phone call.

I’d hang my head in shame alone, if I hadn’t noticed today that the 2008 Parson’s Pocket Book has failed to flag Ash Wednesday – maybe I’ve got a rogue one!

NP
Guest
NP

Mark – so the CofE must run itself to please 25m who call themselves Anglican but never turn up? The CofE does not represent 25m……less than 10% of that no turn up each week so the CofE actually represents less than 3% of the UK population (still, better than TEC at 0.9/301=0.3% of the US population come each week…) Do you think the ABC would have got J John to stand down if he could have avoided that…..and he would have avoided that if he had the support you imagine there is for a particular agenda. Ford/Pat….again and again, you… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

NP You raise a very interesting question about numbers, which goes back a long way. In the history of Synodical Government of the Church, when there were debates about involving the laity in church government and the Church Assembly there was a big debate about whether the Electoral Roll should be based on regular membership and confirmation, or on Baptism and residence. As you probably realise, the wide franchise won the day – and the general population have rights in relation to the church, as well as the church having duties in respect of the populus. (Rights to marry in… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

NP: on Jeffrey John – I was in Oxford Diocese at the time, and only a VERY small minority of parishes disapproved of his appointment (the parish priests of only 3 out 13 Oxford Deanery patishes, for example). Those 3 vicars caused a lot of anger and frustration to the others, straining good relations by their bolshiness. The very angry very loud Conservative Evangelicals are trying to exert an influence way beyond their numbers simply by shouting at everyone all the time. If you’re going to be obsessed with counting numbers, you need to take into account the irregularly attending… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Fr Mark
By now I hope you will have read Fr Malcolm’s post, immediately above your own.

NP
Guest
NP

Mark Bennet – thanks for your reply. I think nos matter because I think God blesses his word being preached faithfully….so in the CofE we have seen decades of stong growth in evangelical (conservative, charismatic) churches. When I see decades of decline in “liberal” churches and some of their leaders asking the AC to depart from scripture, I am not convinced it is wise ot depart from scripture…. as I want to see more, not fewer, reached for the gospel. Mark – so if it was a small minority which opposed J John, why did +Harries and the ABC go… Read more »