Thinking Anglicans

A selection of bishops' Christmas Messages

Updated 28 December

You are not expected to read/view/listen to these at one sitting!

Most Revd Philip Richardson, Co-archbishop, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Most Revd Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of the Church of Australia

Most Revd Francisco de Assis da Silva, Primate of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil)

Most Revd Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Most Revd John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford
Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, and Rt Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow
Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester
Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool [subtitled version]
Rt Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle
Rt Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford
Rt Revd Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro
Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester

Most Revd Paul Kwong, Primate of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui and chair of the Anglican Consultative Council

Most Revd Ian Ernest, Primate of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean, and Cardinal Maurice E Piat, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Port-Louis
[in French with a link to a computerised translation into English]

Archbishops of Armagh, The Most Revd Richard Clarke & The Most Revd Eamon Martin
Rt Revd John McDowell, Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, and Mgr Joseph McGuinness, Diocesan Administrator of Clogher
Rt Revd Ken Good, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe

Patriarchs and Heads of local churches in Jerusalem (including the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Most Revd Suheil Dawani)

Most Revd Samuel Azariah, Primate of the united Church of Pakistan

Most Revd David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Rt Revd Gregor Duncan, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway

Most Revd Moon Hing, Primate of South East Asia

Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, Primate of Uganda

Most Revd Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States

Most Revd Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph
Rt Revd John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon

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Susannah Clark
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Regarding the article you linked to: http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2016/12/primates-christmas-message-archbishop-stanley-ntagali.aspx I think there may be a case for the Anglican Consultative Council, as the UK-based Registrant of the domain http://www.anglicannews.org, registered at 157 Waterloo Road, London, to be challenged for publishing the homophobic remarks of Stanley Ngatali, when he writes that families are “facing deliberate attack by different evil forces” and then lists as illustration “domestic violence, child sacrifice, drunkenness, drug abuse, sodomy and homosexuality… and other evils which target the family directly” I believe this is unacceptable language to be promoted and published by a UK publication. It may be one thing… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Couldn’t agree more that Ntagali’s poisonous rant is homophobic and has no place in the church, but would, reluctantly, defend his right to say it. (Season of goodwill’s really something for other people, ain’t it, Archbishop? Bet you didn’t run your mouth like this when you were at Oxford, either.) English law bans “threatening words or behaviour” delivered with the intent to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, but the only conviction I can find was for some nasty leaflets threatening gay people with hanging, pushed through their front door. Given the wide free speech defense available… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Good luck, Susannah.

Power doesn’t care about righteousness.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Susannah, hard when he is merely expressing views which match those of the Church of England.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

I met ++Ntagali soon after he was made Bishop of the new diocese of Masinde-Kitari (?) and quite liked him but he is obsessed with sex. I even sent him some money. But he needs to listen to the new Secretary of the AC. However, although I completely agree with Susannah, the more biblically illiterate rubbish comes from this part of the Communion the less Lambeth needs to take them seriously.

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

Absolutely Susannah, any correspondents to this site with sound advice on how to proceed?

Meanwhile, can I say how much I enjoyed the Bishop of Worcester’s message – and his amazing display of Christmas trees!

Barry
Guest
Barry

How about sending ++Ntagali and our other leaders the briefest of quotations from Dorothy L. Sayers:

“Those who deify the family, in disregard of Christ’s reiterated warnings (e.g. Mt 12.47-50; Mt 10.37; Lk 9.59-60), are from the Christian point of view equally in error with those who deify sex, or power, or pleasure.”

All these are guilty of giving excessive devotion to things which are not of first importance. The quotation is found in the introduction to her translation of Dante’s Purgatory.

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

The issue is not about the law. It’s about how long the Church of England should maintain the false show of unity with him and within itself, given that, as already stated, many share his views. Time to move to a much looser model of federation or non federation. LibCathAccEvExit perhaps?

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

A Google entry for Stanley Ngatali indicates that he was educated at the University of Oxford. But according to Wikipedia, he studied at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, which is located in Oxford, but is not a part of Oxford University. It is an independent Christian charity, and its degrees are validated by the University of Middlesex.

Pam
Guest
Pam

I agree with ExRevd that the Bishop of Worcester’s message, including those wonderful Christmas trees, was lovely. I’ve changed my mind about Christmas trees in churches!

Susannah, I’m sorry that a message of such negativity was expressed by Bishop Ntagali.

S Cooper
Guest
S Cooper

You think Welby will care more about the message from Wales / Liverpool than those from Nigeria / Ghana / Sudan? The only sensible solution is a new, properly liberal communion.

Peter Owen
Guest

The reference to Archbishop Ntagali being educated at the University of Oxford is clearly a mistake. The Ugandan provincial website confirms that he studied at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

http://churchofuganda.org/about/provincial-secretariat/the-archbishop-2

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet!

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Yes, I noticed the potentially conflicting accounts of Ntagali’s alma mater before I posted, but since I couldn’t get a definitive answer quickly (and he could’ve studied at both), left it vague. Whatever the case, he was resident in England for a time, likely met LGBT people, and is certainly aware of Welby’s promises to end homophobic language. Regardless of his traditional beliefs, Ntagali has no excuse for this Westboro-esque bile. I fully expect that the English hierarchy’s devotion to realpolitik will ensure silence or fudge, but open evangelicals who, regardless of their scriptural beliefs, aren’t personally homophobic, should make… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“How does the publication of such statements conform with the claims of people like Justin Welby that the Church should challenge and combat homophobia?”

The only difference between Welby and Ngatali is that Ngatali is honest about wishing ill to my friends and family, whereas Welby doesn’t like admitting to it.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

This Ugandan bile (hasn’t Uganda been here before?) inter alia will attract a significant number of questions at the February Group of Sessions of the General Synod, made even more poignant by the presence of the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, who has been invited to make a speech.

american piskie
Guest
american piskie

I did have to chuckle at this on the ACNS website. And it would be marvellous to hear how the trustees of the Anglican Consultative Council justify the publication of the Ugandan rant given the very restricted Objects shown on the Charity Commission website. “Avoiding harm and offence We balance our duty to act as a communication channel of the whole Anglican Communion with our responsibility to protect the vulnerable from harm and avoid unjustifiable offence. While we endeavour to publish any relevant content sent by Member Churches, we reserve the right not to post anything that would put people… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

In the spirit of the OT prophets, I have sent the following message to Lambeth Palace:- = = = His Grace in his Christmas Message said this: “The measure of a Christ-like community is the extent to which it holds the vulnerable and marginalised of the world at the centre of its life.” LGBT people are among the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in this country and around the world, particularly those changing gender and lesbian couples. Why then are we not held at the centre of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion? Why does the Church of… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

I have sent a complaint to the Anglican News Service and to the Anglican Communion itself as follows. Don’t suppose I will be popular in some quarters but Jesus calls us to stand up for the oppressed. I don’t think they will publish an apology but if people complain maybe in future they will think twice before publishing clearly homophobic material. At the least, complaints may cause them to think again about the personal impact of the material they publish. The Archbishop has an absolute right of free speech but that doesn’t mean a right to use the Anglican Communion… Read more »

american piskie
Guest
american piskie

Well done, Kate!

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Less than 12 months later, the Anglican Communion’s own news service has published a message which is clearly prejudiced against homosexual people, likens homosexuality to criminal acts, manifestly gives the impression that homosexuals are not loved by the Church and will obviously cause deep hurt.”

Matthew 7:15. Don’t listen to what Anglican Leadership says, look at what they do. They say that they “condem[…] homophobic prejudice”, apart from the bit where they condemn homophobic prejudice.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I noted particularly the message of Australia’s Anglican Primate, Archbishop Philip Freier, who articulates what is a reality at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and is made so evident in the different degrees of tolerance and openness to ALL people in different parts of the Anglican Communion: “The Christmas message of God’s love and generosity stands in stark contrast to one of the great problems of human nature, our tendency to tribalism. As humans, we easily identify with our in-group, whether defined by nation, race, religion or some other source of identity. This is a problem because it excludes… Read more »

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

Kate—if any of the relevant bodies are regulated by the Charity Commission, then you could consider making a complaint to them too.

Clive Sweeting
Guest
Clive Sweeting

Comments appear to be one-sided. From thinking people there ssems no sympathy for Ntagali who has suffered a recent bereavement.
Empathy also is lacking: a failure to recognize that the founding Martyrs of Uganda (collectively canonized whether Catholic or Anglican by Pope Paul VI) suffered for refusing to submit to sodomy on the part of the ruling Kabaka.
Other issues also might have drawn attention, e.g. child sacrifice.
I am sure that your contributors can do better than this

Anne Lee
Guest
Anne Lee

Kate: Well done for making a complaint to the ACNS. Please will you post any response you get on TA so the rest of us are kept up to date.
Interesting idea from Turbulent Priest re a potential complaint to the Charity Commission. Are you thinking of doing this, too?

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

I’m sorry for Ntagali’s loss: it’s irrelevant to his homophobic language, and offers no mitigation.

The murder of a 19th century king’s pages for refusing rape is, likewise, irrelevant to LGBT people and equal rights.

Anything pertinent to add?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“From thinking people there seems no sympathy for Ntagali who has suffered a recent bereavement.” Does bereavement makes people into homophobic bigots who lack agency for their bigotry? How does that work? “the founding Martyrs of Uganda (collectively canonized whether Catholic or Anglican by Pope Paul VI) suffered for refusing to submit to sodomy” Quite a lot of Catholics suffered at the hands of Protestant English monarchs, and vice versa. That’s not normally advanced as a reason, still less a justification, for sectarian bigotry. Indeed, vile behaviour at Old Firm matches is usually roundly condemned. “Other issues also might have… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

I had no idea bereavement brings on homophobia.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Clive, if you read my post – the first one in the thread – you will note that my criticism is not directed at Archbishop Ntagali, but at a UK-based publication for a UK-based charity, registered as a charity with the benefits and responsibilities that involves, uncritically publishing unacceptable language associating gay relationships with activities like child sacrifice, and implying they are one of the “evil forces” which “target the family directly”. This kind of language is discriminatory, and incompatible with the duties and benefits associated with a UK charity. I also challenged Justin Welby as the President of this… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“I had no idea bereavement brings on homophobia.”

Trauma doesn’t make people do things they abhor. It does, however, sometimes remove the filter they use to mask their real self. As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

Kate
Guest
Kate

To answer a few questions… I have said that the Archbishop has freedom of speech. I don’t like what he said but, as with Susannah, my complaint was not directed against him. I can’t see grounds for a complaint to the Charity Commission and as a Christian would be highly reluctant to complain about the Anglican Communion to an external body anyway. I have (I feel) a legitimate complaint but I still would not want any sanctions imposed by the Charity Commission. (There would be grounds for a complaint if this material had been published by a non-religious charity, but… Read more »

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

The home page of ACNS indicates that it recognises the need not to post material which might cause harm or offence. Stanley Ngatali’s message comes into this category, and either the Director for Communications or the Editor ought to have seen that it is not suitable for publication.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“I think, like Kate, I have really had enough of patience and toleration of UK organisations thinking they can spread this bile, just because they are ‘religious’ and somehow exempt from basic decency and respect towards minority groups. The publication of this material – with no critique of it whatsoever – is so obviously advertising and promulgating insidious discrimination that the article should be removed and an apology published straight away.” There is an interim editor in post and I wouldn’t rush to judgement on the Anglican Communion just yet. This might be an error by one individual. How they… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Remember: The Anglican Communion has become an instrument of oppression.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Hoping 2017 will bring good things for the poor and marginalised…..

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“I wouldn’t rush to judgement on the Anglican Communion just yet”

Again: “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

Kate
Guest
Kate

@Interested Observer

Christ forgave Peter although he denied Christ three times. We need them to do better but part of that is showing that Christians – we LGBTI Christians – can reach across the divide and still love those who abuse us. It is hard. I fail far more often than I succeed, but I know what I should do.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

Would the ACNS – or other Anglican news organs – accept for publication conflation of child-sacrifice and homosexuality if it came from a layperson?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Would the ACNS – or other Anglican news organs – accept for publication conflation of child-sacrifice and homosexuality if it came from a layperson?”

Would they accept it from a European bishop?

S Cooper
Guest
S Cooper

There’ll be nothing official disagreeing with Ntagali. There’ll be no change in the official position of the Church of England. The English bishops love their global role….haven’t they shown that many times? No change is coming.

Time for a new, liberal, global communion…. or more years will be wasted compromising for institutional unity

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

“Would the ACNS – or other Anglican news organs – accept for publication conflation of child-sacrifice and homosexuality if it came from a layperson?”

Would they accept it from a European bishop?

uh..good point. and, I think, even the pope wouldn’t care for it very much.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

As far as I can make out the ACNS have merely reported what the primates Christmas message said. So also has this site. Ntagali’s message is available elsewhere on the web so ACNS have done nothing more than report the news that an archbishop has issued a message. I don’t see this is the same as accepting an article. He lists several disparate issues including drunkenness, joblessness, poverty, child sacrifice and homosexuality. There is no suggestion these are on a par. To say that he has conflated homosexuality with child sacrifice (or drunkenness) seems to misconstrue this, however offensive it… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

It’s the racism of low expectations: violent bigotry is accepted from African bishops because they are assumed to be incapable of better, whereas a European bishop who wrote like that would be (rightly) dismissed as an ignorant bigot.

Some misguided people think that they are being progressive by holding African bishops to lower standards. They aren’t: they’re just being racist.

Daniel Berry. NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry. NYC

@ T Pott–your argument would cut some ice with me if I didn’t already know what I know about what Stanley says about gay people. But I do so it doesn’t.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I got a reply from Lambeth Palace: “Archbishop Justin is on leave after Christmas and the New Year and so I am writing on his behalf to thank you for your message. He will of course recognise your point of view and the strength of feeling that supports it. I am afraid though that in this country is it against the law for Church of England clergy to solemnise marriage between two people of the same sex. The Archbishop is under no illusions about the challenge posed for the Church and the Communion by the wide range of views held… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“For an Archbishop of Canterbury to use the excuse of secular law…”.

The position of Parliament is not one forced upon the Church of England–a là some analogy to Becket–but one that the Church of England argued for and secured. Indeed, in the spirit of Becket, it argued for this on the ground of church independence to articulate its own definition of Christian marriage. Becket is hardly your ally here.

Malcolm Halliday
Guest
Malcolm Halliday

Re Lambeth’s reply to Kate. It was possible for the Archbishop to get Parliament to speedily change the law re women bishops to sit in the House of Lords. So how about action to change this secular law?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“So how about action to change this secular law?”

Welby demanded that clause, and no-one cared enough to oppose it. The Church of England has no-one to blame but itself for that clause having been put in. If members of the Church of England don’t like it, blame the leadership, not the legislature.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

The Church of England’s wedding ‘Ceremony Planner’ on its website states “The law prevents ministers of the Church of England from carrying out same-sex marriages.”

As Interested Observer points out, this prevention is only there because the Church of England demanded it. To imply that if it weren’t for ‘the law’, the Church would be only to happy to marry same-sex couples is disingenuous, to put it charitably.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

The situation is slightly more complex than this. Whether or not the Church of England demanded this or not (there is a suggestion that the Government pre-empted the Church – even wrong-footed it), the SSM Act had to prevent the marriage of same-sex couples in Church as otherwise the Act would have been in conflict with Canon Law, a constitutional impossibility. Of course the easy answer to that would have been to change Canon Law, but of all the changes many of us are urging that is the most far-reaching and most difficult to achieve any time soon.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Anthony, I am with Lawrence. It is quite common for statutes to include provisions which aren’t brought into effect immediately. The SSM Act could have easily deferred the question of SSM to Canon law.