on Monday, 13 February 2023 at 11.03 am by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Anglican Communion, News
ACC-18 is meeting in Accra, Ghana from 12 to 19 February. Full coverage is available from here, including videos. I will link only selected items here. Do visit the ACC-18 site for more material.
Archbishop of Canterbury addresses concern over global Anglican structures
Anglican Communion Office rebuts misleading claims about Church of England General Synod
ACC-18 Opening Press Conference (video)
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Address at ACC-18
Anglican Consultative Council welcomes new group to explore “structure and decision-making” to “address our differences in the Anglican Communion”
Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (report)
Excellent and timely presidential address. We are in a new day.
Surely, dear Reverend! May I to call it sort of a spiritual testament from ++Justin? It seems he’s very aware that his time may be over ASAP. Sure: We’re in a new day; and I can understand where ++Justin is calling the problems in: Most of those so called Global South countries where the Church has what for many (most?) of us in the west can to see as fundamentalist positions (not only on human sexuality, but far beyond that) are not your regular democracies. In some of those countries gay activities for example can to be punished with the… Read more »
“can’t wait a little more” “silent for some more time”
If not now, when? It never seems the right time.
Justin talks about being “threatened” by MPs. There are different degrees of threat. The real people under ‘threat’ when it comes to the gay marriage issue – and especially so in some Anglican Communion countries – are LGBT people themselves. If Justin asked *them* rather than the primates, I suspect LGBT people would be glad for their relationships to be authorised as holy in any province willing to do so. This past week, Justin has used the threat to LGBT people in the Communion as a pretext to keep banning gay marriage in the church in England. To be plain,… Read more »
++Canterbury appears to’ve forgotten that he’s primate of a state church. Establishment = King-in-Parliament decides doctrine at its pleasure. It currently pleases it to devolve that power to General Synod, but power devolved is power retained. British M.P.s can no more “threaten” him than the brain can threaten the hand: what they say, goes.
That said, the thought of modern non-Jurors does have a certain antiquarian charm.
Parliament does not decide the doctrine of the church. Not even Establishment goes that far.
The Church of England is an episcopal church by constitution and practice. Doctrine is decided by the Bishops
But of course Parliament has previously forced change as to (i) marrying divorced people and (ii) ordaining women as bishops.
Marriage equality would be a logical item (iii) in that sequence.
Regardless of whether any of these changes is doctrinal or not.
“The Church of England is an episcopal church by constitution and practice. Doctrine is decided by the Bishops”
Who are put in place by a process that includes Parliamentary approval (through the office of the Prime Minister). That could change at any time by a vote of Parliament.
You do not understand the British Constitution. The Prime Minister is the first minister of the Sovereign. the PM is invited by the Sovereign to form a government. Otherwise known as His Majesty’s Government. The legislature (Parliament) is separate and distinct from the Government which has the PM as it’s first minister. Parliament cannot “change at any time” the workings of the constitution including the functions of the PM. We have an independent judiciary and a Supreme Court. You will now give me some version of “but Parliament is Sovereign”. A general principle may be true, but not when taken… Read more »
I’m not familiar with British Constitutional Conventions. But I recall reading a paragraph of Bertrand Russell where reference is made of a University position wich was reserved for christians. One candidate didn’t believe (publicly) in hell and was so rejected. Parliament intervened and decided hell not essential to Cristian Faith. Russell concludes “In England, the content of Anglican Christian Faith is defined by Parliament”. Of course, this was before the 1909 Act. But what Parliament gives, Parliament can take back. Parliament’s sovereignity is the cornerstone of British Constitution (formally, the-Crown-in-Parliament). Is this a good thing? As a continental – no.… Read more »
Russell was not a constitutional historian. I wish you well but your analysis is very confused.
If you are interested in the British Constitution I would suggest you go back to the basics and get a clear grasp of the rudiments
Pat, I’m going to ask you to desist for now from further comments on how the Church of England and the UK Government interact. Other people here, who are well informed, have already explained this. It’s distracting from the original purpose of this thread.
I will abide by your request.
Perhaps so, but the Government/Crown could just refuse to nominate any further conservative bishops’ for offices until there is sufficient weight of numbers to change doctrine. And that the Government definitely has the authority to do.
It would be challenged in court.
Its curious how little attention is paid in the discussion to common law rights. The government/parliament have no role whatsoever in common law rights. They are defined and administered by the judiciary.
They cannot even be permanently extinguished by statute because judges can and do develop new common law rights as they judge necessary.
The whole “parliament/MPs can and will step in to…” claim is a monumental rabbit hole.
Honestly, Kate, it really is.
I agree it is unlikely to happen but this is a Government using a s35 order to try to prevent a democratic decision of the Scottish Assembly so I think you are being unduly optimistic if you think that this Government would hesitate from overruling the Church of England if it wished.
I have no idea why you assume I am placing any confidence in the government (or Parliament).
I do have confidence in the judiciary. They are fearless in their protection of civil society against the state.
They will not allow conservative evangelicals to be driven from their churches by the state.
The government/parliament have no role whatsoever in common law rights. They are defined and administered by the judiciary.
That’s a common belief in some quarters, but it simply isn’t true. Common law can be, and often is, overridden by statute law. For example, the Equality Act 2010 which has been much discussed here, explicitly abolished the rule of common law that a husband must maintain his wife (section 198).
Judges today are quite active in declaring acts of the executive or legislature contrary to human rights legislation, but that’s quite a different matter.
You are partially quoting me.
I make it clear in my comment that statute can impact on common law, but it cannot extinguish common law prerogatives.
Judges are free to develop the common law as they see fit. Parliament cannot permanently restrain judicial discretion.
Common law is simply the law developed through judicial action in case law.
The Statute you quote cannot prevent the development of new case law in relation to marriage and such case law would reflect the facts, the pleadings, and the judge in addition to statute
“Parliament cannot permanently restrain judicial discretion.”
Extremely incorrect. Statutes often restrain judicial discretion.
Do you have any legal training at all?
You ignored the word “permanently” and the category distinction that is the basis of the comment. The distinction between case law and statute. The judiciary are independent in this country. I’m afraid I am entirely correct in saying the discretion of individual judges to reach their own conclusions on the basis of the facts and the pleadings of a case before them is outside the reach of MPs. You are also ignoring the context. The discussion is based around an entirely mangled notion that MPs can determine the doctrine of the church. On your final point: play the ball, not… Read more »
At present you’re absolutely right, Parliament doesn’t decide doctrine, since it devolved those powers to various synods, which are episcopally led.
Historically, however, it set doctrine from the reformation onwards (Acts of supremacy, the various prayer books, Uniformity, Test Acts, Toleration etc), and exercised its reserve powers in the 1920s to veto the replacement of the 1662 BCP. Although it’s unlikely that it’d exercise those powers, it remains the ultimate arbiter.
I think I would take issue with you somewhat. The issue of church government is surely the subject of the matters to which you refer.
Doctrine is a different category of ordinance. I will not quote the BCP at you, but I suggest it leaves no room for doubt at all that the ultimate arbiter is the Bible and not Parliament.
And yet the BCP is the creation of parliament. It was parliament that forced the SEC for two centuries to include prayers for the monarch and the 39 Articles in its prayer book. Doctrine in Anglican churches lives in the liturgy, for all that the liturgy springs forth from the Bible and the tradition of the church. Lex orandi lex credendi is a truism – the words and ideas underpinning our worship inform our beliefs. The Bible itself cannot be an arbiter, it cannot make decisions and can only be applied to current circumstance by interpretation, so it is the… Read more »
I suggest Cranmer was the creator of the BCP
Cranmer authored much of the text, but the status of the BCP comes from the approval of the Crown-in-Parliament.
I suggest you read articles 20 and 21.
And who approved the articles?
Their meaning obviously contradicts your inference.
In any event, I entirely agree that the King, as Supreme Governor, is the Defender of Faith.
The mangled reasoning I have objected to is the claim that MPs have authority over the Doctrine of the Church.
The moderators are quite rightly unhappy about unrelenting exchanges and as I courtesy to them this is my final comment
Excellent response, Susannah! I positively loathe “Love the sinner, hate the sin” (“LTSHTS”). It reeks of condescension: “I love you as a person, even though I think you’re a vile sinner. Aren’t I grand?” And I have never seen LTSHTS used anywhere except against GLBT people. “We seek to welcome sinners” reminds me of the time that a president of the United States was asked by a reporter at a press conference in the early 2000s what he thought of same-sex civil marriage, and his response was “We have all sinned and fallen short in the eyes of God.” It… Read more »
Reposting given the request that we put ACC-18 material here…
Did the Archbishop of Canterbury just throw the entire United Kingdom under a theological bus?
Yes. And the whole northern hemisphere which he characterises as ‘godless’ (wonder if he wonders why?). I was very shocked to read this (I don’t shock easy). Welby’s natural comfort zone is with the African church – his conversion took place on that continent after all. Perhaps we are meant to feel sorry for him having to give way over same-sex blessings owing to secular pressures. It becomes much easier to see why he recused himself from ever using them.
On the main item of significance, I think these are the takeaway words from Justin: “When times change, so must the instruments of communion… The role of the Archbishop is a historic one… The instruments must change with the times. I will not cling to place or position. I hold it very lightly, provided that the other instruments of communion choose the new shape.” One outcome (but not at all inevitable) is that a representative of a very conservative province might claim the new leadership, then introduce a kind of ‘Anglican Covenant’ approach, with a Theological Commission of some kind… Read more »
I’m intrigued by what the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to be up to. Over the past 2 weeks he has, in two separate contexts, urged disestablishment of one kind or another. First, in a meeting with parliamentarians he apparently said he’d rather the Church of England were disestablished “than risk losing conservative groups within the global Anglican church.” [The Guardian never uses the word “Communion,” for reasons that I cannot fathom, and thus gives its readers the impression that there is a “global Anglican Church.” Which of course does not actually exist. But I digress.] Second, Welby has just told… Read more »
I hope there will some honest debate at ACC-18 in Accra this week. There has already been some proper acknowledgement of provincial autonomy in the Anglican Communion. The archbishop, in his often flippant way, has already said that only the Church of England can spend two days talking about [same-sex marriage] and, with 31 amendments rejected out of 32, “not having decided anything.” [opening press conference video at approx 37:46]. That might have been designed to lower the temperature and relax participants, were it not for the incontrovertible fact that General Synod did decide something. It moved the Church of England, albeit… Read more »
“The revised arrangements for the Canterbury CNC might look rather out of place as a result.”
Correct. For if Canterbury has no automatic Communion role, then what role or right do other provinces have in selecting Canterbury?
Due to the fecklessness of Synod, power to select the Archbishop of Canterbury has been given away to those who should have no voice at all in that process.
The revised Canterbury CNC arrangements are a dis-service to the Church of England and the people of the Canterbury province.
Anglican Ink, in its typical style, is reporting that the Archbishop has already said he will cease to be one of the instruments of communion. It is important to read what he actually said. “I will not cling to place or position as an Instrument of Communion provided the other Instruments choose a new way.” The word provided does a lot of important work there. Not least because the Lambeth Conference does not meet for another ten years and there will be a new Archbishop with completely different ideas by then. So I suspect there is a little bit of… Read more »
I think your clutching at straws, Andrew.
Justin Welby’s AC position cannot possibly survive Kigali in April.
Part of the difficulty in all of this is that the role of the ABoC as an “instrument” of the Communion lies in his underlying relation to the independent national and provincial churches. After all, the office of the ABoC has been around much longer than any of the other instruments, and one of them (Lambeth) meets at his invitation. Prior to the confection of these later entities, the Anglican Communion was understood solely in terms of connexion with Canterbury to one degree or another. To give just one example, the Episcopal Church (US) defines its own membership in the… Read more »
That is a helpful analysis of the sub-structure and how it is likely to unfold – perhaps unravel would be nearer the mark. Keyboard commentators such as myself always have a weakness for windy and thunderous statements about the future – invariably wrong, and when they are right it is still just a coincidence. Having said all that, you need truly epic level of optimism to think Kigali will be anything other than the end of the road for Justin Welby. I say that with sincere sadness. He is a complex and difficult man who has made terrible misjudgements. Yet,… Read more »
“Having said all that, you need truly epic level of optimism to think Kigali will be anything other than the end of the road for Justin Welby. “ Peter, Kigali is a meeting of GAFCON. It was Rowan Williams who said of GAFCON that its meeting “would not have any official status as far as the Communion is concerned”. That’s still true. What GAFCON can do is start some parallel organisation. Fine. They have done that in North America. Best of luck to them. I’m afraid you will have to do a lot of work to persuade the majority of the… Read more »
I am completely mystified by your comment.
The acronym is irrelevant. The people at the meeting speak for a major part of the Communion.
Are you suggesting Welby will leave the meeting saying “it’s just a flesh wound” and that’s that.
Are you actually reading the public statements from around the world.
“Are you suggesting Welby will leave the meeting saying “it’s just a flesh wound” and that’s that.”
Why would Justin Welby even be at a meeting of GAFCON? The point about GAFCON is that it is already distinct from Canterbury. GAFCON is not the GSFA. As Philip Groves remarks further down this thread, GFSA is not entirely of one mind yet, despite public pronouncements.
The Anglican Communion is a friendship group not a larger version of a cricket club. It has no legal standing and no constitution. (Please accept the general point here. I am not saying there are no bits of paper with things written down). It exists only because the parties choose to be in Communion with one another. If the people who gather in Kigali (under whatever banner) declare themselves to be no longer in Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury that ends his effectiveness as an Instrument of Unity. That is what is going to happen. Something else will then… Read more »
Peter I admire your persistence here but I am afraid I am not convinced by anything you have yet said. Quite a number of those within GAFCON are already not in communion with the Canterbury. Foley Beach and the whole of the ACNA will be there. They have no part in the Anglican Communion. They have never been in communion with Canterbury. GAFCON can declare whatever it likes. They are free to start some new structure, as they already have done. They can call themselves the real Anglican Communion, and they probably will. But it doesn’t actually alter the fact… Read more »
I think we are at cross purposes, Andrew.
I am saying the life of the Anglican Communion which you and I have known for many decades has ended.
You are of course right that the structural remains can and probably will persist.
GAFCON is also no longer a stand-alone entity but has joined with the 20 province+ GSFA.
I don’t really understand the progressive narrative of “nothing to see here – move along please” in regard to the AC.
It is so obviously not true. I can see the argument that it does not matter – though I think it’s wrong.
I rather rudely posted an initial somewhat impertinent response to your comment. There is too much at stake to be causing such offence. Hence this apology and follow up.
I take your point about jurisdiction but surely this is not about process and procedure. I think Justin Welby has made some terrible decisions, but is a humble and servant hearted man. Gafcon will reject him. His office is an instrument of unity.
It’s just impossible, Andrew. I give you my word, I weep for him and us. There is no part of this that is not awful
Kigali is a meeting of GAFCON
No, it isn’t. ACC is a structure of the Anglican Communion. Members of GAFCON are likely to be present, even prominent, at the meeting, of course.
ACC is not meeting in Kigali but in Accra, Ghana. Now.
The meeting in Kigali will be this one
My mistake, thanks for the correction.
JW wasn’t “elected” to fix CEMG (Church of England Mess on Gays), but to reverse (minimum: slow down) CEF (Church of England Fading).
On CEMG, his bet was ambiguity; on CEF, corporate-like management. Ambiguity has reached the end of road; CFE speeds up.
Failure on both game tables.
Possibly. The other instruments are the ACC, the Primates’ Meeting, and the Lambeth Conference. The last will not meet for another 7 years at least.
That Presidential Address is grossly offensive.
It implies, while being very careful to avoid saying it directly, that same sex relationships are sinful.
It completely undercuts LLF by dismissively refering to a campaign for ‘equal marriage’ which he tries to portray as a secular movement not one which for many of us is a profoundly spiritual attempt to love our neighbours as commanded by Jesus.
An unbelievably crass speech.
a campaign for ‘equal marriage’ which he tries to portray as a secular movement
Perhaps that portrait is coloured by the number of people advocating, here and elsewhere, for “equal marriage” in secular terms, for example basing their argument on human rights, the secular legal definition, and so on. But arguing for same-sex marriage in terms of its spiritual position, in opposition to a secular definition, opens the way to the bishops’ distinction between civil/secular marriage and Holy Matrimony.
Don’t you think one might argue that the concept of human rights stems from the Judeo-Christian ethical tradition? If so, then it is not “secular,” surely?
I think it is not generally accurate to speak in terms of spiritual and secular definitions of marriage anyway. Nuns, for example, for centuries have been “spiritually” married to Christ, but I doubt that many Conservative Evangelicals would argue that makes them “real” marriages!
I think today sees another terrible set of developments, and Justin Welby has much to answer for in regard to the debacle last week. However, in regard to ACC-18, I think some degree of charity towards him is needed.
We are now seeing the beginning of a re-ordering of the denomination at every level in this Country and also at the international level around the world. It will be awful.
The one thing that will reduce the harm done is for leaders to co-operate with change. To his credit, Justin Welby is doing that in regard to the Anglican Communion.
It is the next natural step so far as the Anglican Communion. You are surely correct above that Welby has grasped the reality. The GSFA made clear their position. He is kindly acknowledging the fact that things need to change. What that will look like will depend upon his primatial colleagues.
As for the situation inside the CofE, his comment re MPs has a provocative edge and he must be calculating its effect. It wasn’t for local consumption only.
As I said earlier: It was sort of a “Spiritual Testament”, perhaps with some internal political stretch to it. Come King Charles Coronation and he’ll be likely over.
Surprisingly; or not so much; this ++Justin’s piece is quite similar to late Pope Benedict’s “Spiritual Testament”. Let us to be the guardians of the true (puritan) Faith elsewhere, once in Germany (Benedict’s land) they are turning against it and let the world go on! Similar statement, replace Germany with the UK and you’ll get the figure under Benedict’s text compared to ++Justin’s one!…
“his comment re MPs has a provocative edge and he must be calculating its effect.” Akin to that of waving a red cape in front of a bull? But let’s be honest. Parliamentary intervention would solve a lot of problems for Welby. It would allow him to distance himself from equal marriage in England and to claim that it was “imposed” by the “politicians.” In this way he can continue to spout conservative rhetoric and indeed to claim “persecution” at the hands of godless English modernity. Parliamentary intervention would also give him a good excuse to announce his resignation. The… Read more »
If of interest, the Episcopal Church (USA) magazine “The Living Church” has this
The current Archbishop of Canterbury will be 70 in January 2026. His predecessor ++Rowan relinquished the role in 2012 after 10 years when he was aged 62. ++s Runcie and Carey survived similar lengths of time and retired at similar ages. ++Justin has done 10 years as ABC. I wonder whether he might be considering his position? He appears to be already recognising where he stands in relation to the Anglican Communion and has observed that he also does not set the business of General Synod. The coronation of HM the King is scheduled for 6 May, three months time,… Read more »
He is doing a stellar job. His ACC address is deeply impressive, not least when you realise he has travelled from the context of driving peace in South Sudan, to helping the General Synod wrestle with its disagreements over same-sex relationships. Whatever he himself thinks, he is calling out the reality of where the Church is, both in England and across the Communion, while inviting everyone to return to the basics: living the gospel, as evidenced in the 5 marks of mission. I really hope he can stay another 3 years to see through some of the changes he has… Read more »
God ‘elp us all writes “I feel for him” (JW). Over recent DAYS he has been in South Sudan, Westminster, and Accra,. Think of the journeys, airports, hassle, sea of faces, dietary considerations, disturbed sleep patterns and intellectual consequences. I did a fair bit of travelling in my younger days in another context and found it difficult. I doubt I could inhabit the texts of so many speeches in such a short time in such varied environments about such differing issues as he must have to. I was a good deal younger then than JW is now but I found the… Read more »
Apparently there is an unwritten rule that the Archbishop of Canterbury should alternate between catholic and evangelical (liberals don’t count !). With Welby in post for such a long time doesn’t this alter the balance in the Church of England (I wonder why there are so very many evangelical bishops) ? Perhaps time for a fixed tenure (surely 8 years is quite long enough ?).
It depends how the words evangelical, catholic, and liberal are interpreted and by who. There are those who would say Rowan Williams is liberal. Evangelicals who once might have counted Justin Welby amongst their number would possibly question that now.
As far as the House of Bishops is concerned are there many evangelicals? Many people would suggest not. Some would suggest there are probably more liberals than any other single group.
With regard to the See of Canterbury it might be suggested that Michael Ramsey was catholic, Donald Coggan evangelical, and Robert Runcie liberal.
He said last summer he would go on until he was 70 (in January 2026)
Justin Welby: I’ll lead the church until I retire — if I’m healthy and people are happy with me | News | The Times
Child: “I don’t want any more dinner.” Parent: “Shush and finish your plate, there are children starving in (pick (sub)continent known for high levels of “food insufficiency” (what used to be called “starvation”)).” A modern equivalent of which is: GLBT members of the CofE and those straight members/clergy/bishops advocating with them: “We want equal marriage!” ABC Welby: “Shush! You’ll disturb the African primates and bishops, who may then countenance the persecution and murder of GLBT people.” I don’t know if the current Archbishop of Canterbury serves out his (one day, her) tenure until he chooses to retire or God chooses… Read more »
I am glad that you have mentioned the economic problems of Africa: Ghana, Malawi and Zambia have recently defaulted. A number of other countries are at risk of doing so: https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/dsa/dsalist.pdf In the 1980s Synod was greatly vexed by the debt crisis, and the issue ran a close second or third to womens’ ordination and apartheid. We are now in the throes (albeit the early throes) of another major debt crisis, thanks to the relative strength of the dollar and the Powell Fed raising rates in order to suppress the domestic inflation caused chiefly by the same Powell Fed’s policies… Read more »
The ABCs address needs careful consideration. He demonstrates just how far we have gone away from the dreadful ‘Covenant’ which sought to elevate structure over faith and action. In the ‘Covenant’ the Instruments of Communion were God given and the basis of unity. Here Justin establishes that unity is based on faith (not only the Chicago/Lambeth Quadrilateral, but also that essential faith of Abraham and Paul – Grace and Gift) and action – particularly the 5 Marks of Mission. What binds us is not structure, but faith and mission. The Instruments of Communion would have been enshrined and unchangeable under… Read more »
All true at present, but if leadership passes to particular primates (for example in GFSA) then don’t expect the mentality behind ‘The Covenant’ to be dormant for long.
They could press for a top-down ‘Covenant-style’ ‘Faith and Order’ body for members of the Anglican Communion to comply with. This is the direction of travel:
“A COVENANTAL STRUCTURE for THE GLOBAL SOUTH FELLOWSHIP OF ANGLICAN CHURCHES (GSFA)”
‘Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition’…
The GSFA does not have the strength it says it has. Very few provinces have even discussed the covenantal structure and there is little enthusiasm for it.
An established church should not discriminate and I think this should be the way forward for Parliament. A heavy-handed interference by parliament in the affairs of the Church of England would be counterproductive and would enable the church to portray itself as the victim of political interference. There is a better way. Remove the exemption of the established church from equalities legislation. If the Church of England (or the Church of Scotland) wishes to be our state church it should serve all British citizens equally irrespective of their gender, sexual orientation, colour of their skin and disability. I do not… Read more »
I think you misunderstand Establishment. You characterise it in transactional terms:
The Church gets establishment benefits and should therefore be willing to pay a price – as you put it – by going along with secular values created by the secular state.
That is not the basis of Establishment, which is a historic dispensation.
It arose for many reasons but it is a fair observation to say it was a matter of mutuality. It was certainly not a privilege bestowed on the church by Parliament.
I suppose I am being pedantic if I point out, for the umpteenth time, that there is no specific exemption of the C of E in the Equality Act 2010. There has been an amazing amount of loose talk about this supposed exemption. The C of E is on an equal footing with all other religions and beliefs – the latter including non-beliefs. Your suggestion, if I understand correctly, would be to remove that equality solely in relation to the C of E (which of course extends to the man and woman in the pew – never mentioned or considered… Read more »
The Church of England is not on a equal footing with other religious bodies. No other church sends bishops to parliament, no other church crowns our head of state. If the Church of England wishes to be exempt from equalities legislation them it should ask to be disestablished and then of course it would continue to be exempt.
You seen to think the features you describe are perks given to the church. That is the very opposite of the truth.
They are the means of blessing to the nation.
Yet, I would guess that a large percentage of the population–possibly even a majority–do not perceive them that way.
Your point being what exactly ?
That the alleged “blessing” is not held as such by the whole population that is supposed to be served by this national church.
I agree with you that most people are unaware of the true role of the Church of England
Speaking personally, very much this. The presidential address gave a nasty view into Welby’s mindset and what he thinks is “moral”, and that is certainly not a person I can support holding an unelected position in parliament. As a woman, a church led by a person who depicts “personal control over our bodies” as a moral negative seems to me not a blessing, but a danger to the nation. I know what this kind of language is code for, and it isn’t human rights. The speech betrays Welby as a man of a fundamentally privileged and authoritarian outlook desirous of… Read more »
I doubt the English people feels blessed by CofE (or any other Faith group). Less so LGBTQ folks.
And even lesser so, those moderate ones whom only desire to partake on his faith group in Peace, while following the other on Prayers and good will for the entire community both in UK and elsewhere without those “embarrassments” from the leadership!… We all know what is currently on the press over our own RCC here in Portugal since the independent commission on Church abuses report from Monday onward, and the horrendous pedophilia case and all the mismanagement over all those things. Forgive me Thinking Anglicans, but I need to add something to give you a perspective of the state… Read more »
We know, because the Archbishop has told us, that there have been at least 2 private meetings among parliamentarians, who have heard from (among others) the former Second Church Estates Commissioner as to possible reforms.
So I think that some “proper and mature consideration” is taking place.
Not in the public eye–not yet.
I think that all the talk of the exemption from the Equality Act is really shorthand for the specific religious exemption to same-sex marriage in Schedule 6A of that Act and Section 2 of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013.
Given that, since May 2021, the registration of marriages is solely a civil matter in that marriage certificates will only be issued by the local authority registrar, I can see some sense in requiring that anyone overseeing a marriage must oversee all marriages in the same way that a registrar must.
Thank you. As to your first paragraph, I have already said exactly this on earlier threads. I’m heartened to read Jeremy’s response and vehemently disagree with David Hawkins, but feel I should spare TA three separate comments to say this. I repeat my point, also made by Peter, that these are matters requiring mature consideration not ‘off the cuff’ thoughts.
We are probably into semantics, certainly pedantry (!), but what I think David Hawkins is suggesting (as very many are) is that the quadruple lock in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (the SSM Act) is removed. No organisation or person is *exempt* from the Equality Act 2010 (the Equality Act), but there are a catalogue of *exceptions*. The Equality Act runs to 239 pages. One important aspect of the SSM Act was that it amended the Equality Act to make clear that it is not unlawful discrimination for a religious organisation or representative to refuse to marry a… Read more »
As an addendum, I suppose if the quadruple lock became the triple lock, then a disestablished CofE could do as it pleased with SSM. But I wager if it ever came to that, Parliament would look afresh at any religious organisation having the right (duty) to act as marriage registrars. It might still do that now. But this is speculation some way into the future.
There are many countries, even in Europe, where the churches cannot “legally” marry people. And some of my Nonconformist colleagues (not many, I grant you) don’t perform “legal” marriages as they don’t wish to be thought of as an arm of the State.
That would of course be a less drastic course than disestablishment, namely, moving CofE marriages to the same legal basis as all other denominations.
Thank you. All of the background you quote, and the interaction of ‘the quadruple lock’, I have dealt with on previous threads carefully distinguishing the various legislation. But one of the problems of TA is the multiplicity of comments on any one topic appearing in so many places and at different times, and I suppose it’s inevitable that some aren’t read or are soon forgotten, or can be misunderstood however carefully points are made and the detail set out. In the interests of total clarity, I am opposed to disestablishment and hasty ill-thought-out changes. Fully accepting that others are entitled… Read more »
The Church of England (by law Established) could, of course, be designated a public body within the terms of the Equality Act 2010, which would certainly place a much stronger duty on it in terms of promoting equality. Having only a layman’s (in both senses of the word) understanding of the legislation I can only speculate on what the consequences of that might be.
Well proposed and well argued, David Hawkins. It’s very disappointing that the Archbishop doesn’t seem able to make his points without knocking his predecessor but one by name. Not to mention disparaging the very large part of the UK population [especially younger people] who may not profess any particular religious faith but nevertheless show plenty of evidence of caring for one another, humanity as a whole, the future of the planet. (Or, let us say, no less evidence than those who feel they identify with a faith.); portraying himself as some sort of victim of a bullying parliament; and using… Read more »
We really do need to rise above throwing all our toys out of the pram, which seems to be fast becoming the prevailing sentiment.
We are all in despair about what happened last week. It was an utter shambles.
However, searching for a lever to end a four hundred year dispensation cannot possibly be the mature response.
Peter I’m not myself in despair about last week. And I know quite a number of other people who are not. What I am seriously puzzled about is *why* you (and apparently many others) believe that some kind of structural change within the Church of England will remove your despair. Perhaps you could bear gently with those of us who don’t understand this, and explain what kind of “differentiation” you think would achieve this end. I sense that it is not as simple as an additional Provincial Episcopal Visitor for those evangelicals who oppose same-sex blessings but do not espouse… Read more »
Thank you Simon. These are exactly the questions that have been in my mind at Peter’s and others repeated postings that a ‘settlement’ is the way that everyone now wishes to go. That is wishful thinking at best …
Hi Simon, Forgive me, my saying we are “all in despair” is hyperbole. (There are clearly leading progressives such as Helen King who is far from happy about last week, but I think her position is we need to pull something positive from last week and build on it). My dear mother was a Roman Catholic. I believe Heaven will be full of those who believed they were Roman Catholics before they arrived. If I was talking to such a person and the issue came up, I would say I do not believe the bible teaches e.g that Mary was… Read more »
What I understand you to be saying Peter is that you need some separation as Conservative Evangelicals from the liberal wing of Anglicanism.
So the question is: why not the Anglican Mission in England? Or the Free Church of England. The structures for what you want are there, and I’m certain you would be welcomed with open arms?
I take it your argument is if conservatives want something new they can find it easily elsewhere.
Can you not see the irony in your suggestion ?
My argument is quite different. It is: if conservatives want something *separate*, there are structures already in place. No need to create new structures.
I do not accept your premise, which is that you need to be convinced that what conservatives are seeking is necessary.
The relationship between liberals (progressives, if you prefer) and conservatives is over. We are going to walk apart and want to conduct generous-spirited discussions about how that is achieved.
The time is past for asking people, on either side of the divide, to justify themselves.
Synod last week was not a success for anybody, Andrew. The appeal is to consider another approach.
Peter I’m under no illusion about your appeal – which some others have also voiced. But I have not heard anyone voice it in a way which isn’t actually just shouting it in to the air. Structural change happens because people in the structures agree to such change. What I think you and others are describing is a coup. I simply don’t think that will happen.
But I am quite capable of being proved wrong.
I think two separate potential structural changes are in danger of getting confused here.
One is a change in how the Anglican Communion is organised.
The other is in how the Church of England is organised.
My understanding of Peter’s arguments is that he wants change in the CofE.
The current ACC discussions relate to the Communion as a whole. I’m not sure any such changes would affect Peter’s requests.
Simon is correct and gives a helpful clarification
“Coup” is a very odd word to use !
I am saying please can we have some bishops back. (There will then be a monumental wrangle over money. I’m not trying to be obtuse).
However, the outcome would be the exact opposite of a coup.
Progressives would be free to follow their own consciences
But being more specific, what might that look like?
For example, do you see both streams having the joys and burdens of being The Church of England, with bishops in the Lords and a presence in every community?
If there is a negotiation it will get nowhere if people take a view on what the other party should or should not get.
Progressives will have their views on what they need. They will not be asking me for my opinions on their aims.
For the conservatives, we need conservative bishops.
I’m not being evasive. This is a really serious moment. I am entitled to cry out for bishops to care for us.
It’s just silly for my to start explaining my vision for the Church of England. Nobody will listen, and nor should they.
Peter what you still don’t answer is why not the Anglican Mission in England or the Free Church of England. There are conservative bishops and a conservative structure already in place. Why would those not satisfy your need for those things?
Because the Church of England is as much my church as anybody else’s church.
I love my Country which has been blessed for four centuries through the Church of England. I love my neighbours who are blessed through the parochial mission and ministry. I love my local fellowship of faith who work and serve in their church.
Forgive me Andrew, you do ask me some good questions – but the “why do you not just leave” question really has no force at all.
I don’t think I envisage you leaving. I envisage a future where these breakaway churches might be reunited and the breadth of the CofE might be embraced once more.
I agree with you, though you will bear with me when I say my view is in symmetry with yours.
I’m which case, why not throw your weight behind negotiations ?
There are already bishops who could fulfil this are there not – the Provincial Episcopal Visitors (who already minister to lots of conservative churches). Is the trouble that another PEV is needed to minister to those who don’t mind women priests but have trouble with blessing gays?
That category of bishop was and remains a suffragan who serves only at the discretion of a Diocesan.
In terms of ecclesiology, the role of the Diocesan is effectively indistinguishable regardless of the presence or absence of a PEV.
Wonderful post, congrats!…
The “mature response” also is probably not to suggest that anyone is “throwing all our toys out of the pram.”
Fair point, Jeremy. I apologise.
In my country, Portugal, RCC was by Law established for more than a millenium (but religion freedom since 1822). When Church and State parted ways, 1911, there were no ifs, no buts, no whims, not a solitary tear. And legally a piece of cake. I know english are different, but I wonder if they are not overemphasizing the consequences and the difficulties of distablishment. And from englishness, not from christiansm.
In your country, Senhor Ribeiro, the 1911 separation was a consequence of the violent revolution of 1910 and involved the suppression of religious orders, banning cassocks, exiling of bishops and much more. Portugal does not provide an obvious example of separation of church and state being a piece of cake.
All of the following have been stated. No one in the CofE cares about the AC The See of Canterbury is the membership office of the AC Welby should focus solely on the CofE The See is not Welby himself but ‘above him’ and crucial for the identity of the AC Each province is fully autonomous and Canterbury is an historical symbol at best The Parliament dictates what Welby can do Welby is ‘waving red flags’ at Parliament Gafcon and GSFW are the same thing The Instruments of Communion are a latter fiction (in spite of what Welby avers) There… Read more »
“No one in the CofE cares about the AC”
That is not true
Of course not. It was a statement that has been made, however.
I am simply listing the impossible-to-square comments that get made.
Grace and peace to you.
Forgive me. I misunderstood you
No need to apologise. The polity of the AC (such as it was) is timing out. A parallel though distinct timing out is happening inside the CofE. You have spoken charitably about this fact.
Grace and peace.
“It was a statement that has been made, however.”
Where, exactly? In the comments here, on this post?
Ctrl-F for “care” brings up nothing of the sort.
I feel for him – whatever he does will be wrong for somebody or other. You cannot run with the hare and simultaneously hunt with the hounds, yet that is effectively what he is having to try and do.
No. It is his choice to try to have it both ways. And that choice, naturally, makes his job far more difficult and self-contradictory.
The easiest solution to a conflict of interest is simple to decide where your loyalties really ought to lie, and to make that decision clear to everyone.
There are some fascinating issues being developed here, about which we will hear much more in coming months and years. Provincial autonomy in the Anglican Communion is one of them. It seems that there is a view that all provinces are autonomous, but some are more autonomous than others. Bottom of the pile in the autonomy stakes is the Church of England because of its perceived historic role, and with the Archbishop of Canterbury (for the time being at least) as one of the four Instruments of Communion. The failed Windsor process had much to say about autonomy, developing the principle of ‘autonomy-in-communion,’… Read more »
Thank you Anthony for your acute observation that the C of E is at the bottom of the pile in terms of autonomy. I am not sure that it is “inexorably moving towards a revisionist view on marriage.” I think it is inexorably moving towards a very untidy split on this issue, with no certainty where it will end up. The LLF process was supposed to keep the ship in one piece but it seems to have failed to do so. That of course makes matters actually worse for the future ABC, because the C of E being pulled very… Read more »
Thank you Anthony for these helpful comments. The people in the CofE who care about the Anglican Communion are those who sit on Synods etc. for the remaining 95% there is little interest. Of those 95% I suspect 1% could name the instruments of Communion. What a member of a local church relates to is their own parish/benefice and their diocese. And they probably assume their diocese isn’t hugely important in the life of their local church. These are facts rather than judgments. GAFCON is a side show to all of this. Whilst some Primates will take it seriously, I… Read more »
Andrew, you make a fair point about the English Bishops.
Progressives need a House of Laity to support their plans.
We all have a problem.
With regard to provincial autonomy, the Church of England is, of course, not one province but two.
Really an anachronism. Yes, two provinces forming the Church of England, but only one Primate officially attends Primates’ Meetings, which has been an issue in the past!
But Cantuar is primus inter pares: hence the distinction, Primate of All England.
Of course, but when the present Cantuar was appointed, ++Sentamu was Ebor. In the minds of some, the Church of England ended up with the correct two Primates, but in the wrong places. Both had a major contribution to make to the Anglican Communion, but the Church of England also needed (and still needs) fixing. For the avoidance of any TA speculation, I was not a member of the last Canterbury CNC.
I was referring to the structure, not the present office holder.
Noted. Actually Cantuar is not primus inter pares. He and Ebor may both be primates, but they are not equal.
I hadn’t anticipated an intellectual debate from my short response to T Pott. Whilst I think I understand where you are coming from, they are certainly equals for the purposes of the CDM: either may ‘judge’ the other! I’m sure there could be other scenarios, but the CDM will suffice.
Two internal provinces. Nigeria has 11 or 12 ecclesiastic provinces (I can’t keep up). Australia has 5 (one for each state).
I have found posting on this site over the last few weeks really helpful because I think I understand the progressive perspective a little better. This is an entirely genuine question.
Is the progressive view that it is far too early – even after last week – to be considering relinquishing assets in exchange for a settlement ?
If that is the case I assume you will (quite reasonably) sit tight and wait for a more progressive Synod to eventually turn up
I have learned much from observing your posts, Peter, thank you. The multiple trust structures under which church property is held in the Church of England makes it highly unlikely that there will be any relinquishing of assets. I think you’re assuming a centrality of ownership that is not entirely reflective of reality. And even if your idea was workable, the question is not about who owns assets. It’s who has the right to manage and benefit from those assets. Froghole is an inexhaustible source of analysis of the historic working out of that question, and how it might be… Read more »
Hi Kieran, I was using shorthand which is generally a mistake.
The issue is bishops really. There is a clear CEEC video statement now out which explains our position.
I have gone down (and dug) a few rabbit holes in these comments recently. Don’t get me started on the constitution again !
You make some good points about assets, but I don’t think that’s the key issue at the moment
“You make some good points about assets…”
But Peter, you raised it first. It’s clearly an issue, and now you don’t think it’s the issue?
Excuse me while I go and clear out the gaslight.
That is really unnecessary.
I was using “asset” as a short hand for anything of value. That is all. Bishops are an asset.
You are obviously looking for an argument. I will not oblige you
May I come in from the outside again? I believe Kieran to have said most of it, thanks. May I just to add another stretch? I believe that liberals do sense the sympathy from both the Parliament and from most of the global society. Maybe the resistance from conservatives in this context may be big because they outnumber their numbers on CofE relating to global society? Whatever else; there is a larger problem: While conservatives do have a largest contingent of structures to where they can to come in, including the RCC (it is curious that we’re not hearing nothing… Read more »
Peter, I am very grateful for your consistently thoughtful and constructive contributions to this website. I don’t have an answer to your question, not least because I am a member of the SEC bit of the Anglican communion, but I suspect that it is too soon to be too prescriptive about what happens next. Before I came north I was an active high anglican in England, in a very mixed deanery. I think that knowing what will work at parish level (and surely that is what matters) is vaguer and more unpredictable than much of what is propounded on this… Read more »
I agree with you entirely, Alison
I do not think asking for some bishops back is being prescriptive, but you are certainly right this is not the time to be wrangling over every last detail
Progressives tend to believe that people should be allowed to exercise their conscience. So non-affirming priests wouldn’t be forced to do same-sex marriages but affirming priests would be allowed. In that scheme, there’s absolutely no need to relinquish assets. The freedom of conscience model is how we do it in TEC, and I believe it’s the same in Canada and Scotland. With this model, there isn’t a lot of motivation for “differentiation,” unless it’s the only way to finally get marriage equality.
We all believe people are free to exercise their conscience
Actually we don’t, or only within fairly narrow limits. That goes equally for “progressives” and “conservatives”. I dislike these labels.
What an odd comment.
People are free to exercise their conscience with or without the agreement of others.
If you’re saying people can be obstructed or coerced in regard to action and belief, that is true but hardly a statement of moral value.
The recent Florida bishop’s election seems to show how hard it is to maintain a freedom of conscience model. An emerging issue is ‘Do all TEC bishops have to be progressive?’
The election for the bishop of the Diocese of Florida is a whole lot more complicated than that. There were objections filed from the result of the first election of Charlie Holt to TEC’s Court of Review (broadly) on the grounds that election rules were uncanonically changed at the last minute. The Court of Review found the election had multiple deficiencies. Holt withdrew his acceptance of the first election and the diocese held a second election. Holt was again elected. Objections were again filed from this result to the Court of Review, again on procedural grounds. The Court of Review… Read more »
I am not an historian or a trained theologian. I am a retired parish priest who trained for the ministry on as two-year nonresidential part-time course who also has 40 years liturgical experience from having been an organist in churches of most traditions. So please can someone explain to this simple soul how it is that the bishops and GS are backing a policy that is contrary to the gold standard of the CoE—the BCP. If there is to be a change, should it not begin with revision of the BCP or canons or whatever?.Given this, the calls for conevos… Read more »