Thinking Anglicans

Duncan Dormor to be next USPG chief executive

USPG has announced that:

The Revd Duncan Dormor, Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge, will be the next CEO of USPG.

He succeeds Janette O’Neill, who retires after six years in post.

Commenting on his appointment Duncan Dormor (pictured) said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be offered this opportunity to lead USPG as it works with partner churches across the Anglican Communion in seeking to transform the lives of individuals and communities through the power of the gospel.

‘Faithful to its history, radical in its proclamation, I have long admired the way in which USPG acts in solidarity to empower local churches across the globe in ways that respect their autonomy and culture.

‘Having spent many years in ministry with young people I know first-hand of USPG’s thirst to engage with the pressing global challenges of injustice and poverty that scar our world and I would seek to harness such vision to deepen and renew the life of the church across the world through USPG.

Canon Chris Chivers, Chair of Trustees, added: ‘I am thrilled with this appointment.

‘Duncan Dormor brings energy and passion, dynamic communication skills and a proven track-record in enabling organisational change to this important post.

‘His deep faith in Jesus Christ, his significant international experience in relation to St John’s College and Cambridge University, his global vision, alertness to the perspective of younger generations, concern for justice and reconciliation, and inspiring work as writer and speaker, make him well-placed to lead the team who will shape the next phase for USPG in new and exciting ways.’

Prof Chris Dobson, Master of St John’s College, said: ‘Duncan has been an absolutely outstanding Dean of Chapel at St John’s and has been a valued member of the college for almost 20 years.

‘In that time he has also made huge contributions to the pastoral, musical and academic life of the College. We shall miss him very much indeed, but I know that he relishes the prospect of using his energy, experience and passion for justice in this exciting new role.’

The Cambridge Faculty of Divinity website has this: The Revd Duncan Dormor Appointed CEO at Anglican mission agency USPG

St John’s College Cambridge has: St John’s Dean of Chapel to lead Anglican mission agency which gives more detail on his previous role.

1 Comment

British Anglicans meet to plan ‘faithful ecclesial future’

An open letter has been published on Anglican Mainstream by a number of clergy and laity. The full text and list of signatures is copied below the fold.

(more…)

116 Comments

GAFCON consecrates a Bishop for Europe

Updated again Monday morning (scroll down for new links)

See earlier announcement, which we reported here.

This event will take place today in Wheaton, Illinois. First some background articles.

GAFCON UK has published GAFCON UK Statement on the announcement of the Gafcon /ACNA Missionary Bishop to Europe.

There is also an article titled The Gafcon Missionary Bishop for Scotland and Europe which describes itself as:

Some helpful recent blogs and articles which explain and comment on the response of Gafcon and ACNA to the decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church to change their Canons on marriage…

GAFCON has published its Chairman’s June 2017 letter by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria. He writes:

…On Thursday 8th June, the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) changed its teaching to allow men to be married to men and women to women. It followed the path already taken by the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

This attempt to redefine marriage is not a secondary issue about which we can agree to disagree and continue to walk together. It means that Jesus was mistaken when he taught that marriage was between a man and a woman and that sex outside of such a marriage is a sin. It is a radical rejection of the authority of Scripture. The Church claims that it can consecrate behaviour that God’s Word clearly teaches to be sinful. According to the Bible, this behaviour, without repentance, separates those who practice it from his kingdom.

Athanasius consecrated orthodox bishops in dioceses led by Arians because he knew that the apostolic faith itself was at stake. This was the principle guiding the interventions which led to the formation of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009 and it was affirmed by over three hundred bishops in assembly at Gafcon 2013 in Nairobi. It was therefore very appropriate that on the same day that the Scottish Episcopal Church formally turned aside from the historic Christian faith, Gafcon announced that Canon Andy Lines, already an internationally recognised missionary statesman, will be consecrated later this month as a Gafcon missionary bishop for Europe.

This is not a step we have taken lightly, but from the beginning Gafcon has been committed to standing with the marginalised. Requests for help from Scottish orthodox leaders to the Archbishop of Canterbury were turned down. Indeed, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church told his General Synod last year that the Archbishop of Canterbury, had assured him that he would welcome the Scottish Church to the 2020 Lambeth Conference even if it chose to change its marriage canon to include same sex unions.

So now Gafcon stands ready to recognise and support orthodox Anglicans in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe as the drift away from apostolic faith and order continues. For reasons of mission and conscience, we can expect to find a growing number of orthodox Anglican congregations needing oversight outside traditional structures, as is already the case with the Anglican Mission in England.

The creation of a missionary bishop for Europe is an historic moment. It is a recognition that the era of European Christendom has passed and that in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, a new start is being made by building global partnerships for mission.

They also published The Gafcon Missionary Bishop for Scotland and Europe.

And this: C of E bishop responds to Scottish vote on same-sex marriage.

Two bishops from Australia, the Archbishop of Sydney and the Bishop of Tasmania are both planning to participate in today’s service. See below for the letters that they wrote to their Australian colleagues.

Updates

The Anglican Mission in England has published CONSECRATION OF CANON ANDY LINES AS A MISSIONARY BISHOP.

A video recording of the entire consecration service is available here.

The Primate of Australia has written this letter: To the bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

You will have received correspondence from Archbishop Glenn Davies and Bishop Richard Condie advising of their intention to participate in the consecration of a bishop for Europe in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a church that is not a member of the Anglican Communion and is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia. That ordination will by now have taken place.

Each of our colleagues, according to their conscience, declares their intended participation to be an act of solidarity ‘with those who will act to protect the gospel of Christ’ or ‘who contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ – an issue as to the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of our National Constitution (ss 1- 6). As you will have seen from that correspondence, I advised both bishops against this course of action…

I recommend reading this letter in full.

There are also within that letter links to these:

Letter from Archbishop Glenn Davies

Letter from Bishop Richard Condie

ACNA has published this: The Consecration of a Missionary Bishop for Europe.

GAFCON has published this: The consecration of a Missionary Bishop for Europe.

28 Comments

Archbishop of Canterbury criticises cross-border interventions

Updated Monday afternoon

Jonathan Petre reports in the Mail on Sunday that Welby goes to war over ‘anti-gay’ bishop plot by traditionalists after historic marriage vote in Scotland. Here’s an extract, but do read the whole article:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has hit out at traditionalists who are planting a ‘missionary’ bishop in the UK after last week’s historic vote by Scottish Anglicans to approve gay marriage.

The rebuke from Justin Welby is his latest attempt to avert a damaging permanent split in the worldwide Anglican Communion over homosexuality…

…Now, in a confidential letter to fellow Anglican leaders, seen by The Mail on Sunday, Archbishop Welby has warned the African archbishops against creating ‘disturbance and discords’ by intervening in Britain. He accused them bluntly of a ‘cross-border’ intervention’ that would ‘carry no weight in the Church of England’.

Welby said in his letter to Anglican leaders across the 80 million-strong worldwide Communion that there was no need for a missionary bishop in the Church of England because worshippers could already express a range of views.

He said there had been strong opposition to ‘cross-border interventions’ for centuries, and quoted the ‘uncompromising’ verdict of the early Church’s First Council of Nicea in 325 AD, which condemned the ‘great disturbances and discords that occur’ when bishops ministered in this way.

The full text of this letter has appeared at VirtueOnline. Copied below the line.

(more…)

27 Comments

GAFCON announces its "missionary bishop"

GAFCON press release: Missionary Bishop introduced by Archbishop Foley Beach

This includes the following:

Statement on Gafcon Missionary Bishop by Archbishop Foley Beach

Good afternoon. Thank you for being here today. I plan to make a brief statement. Canon Andy Lines will make a brief statement. Rev. David McCarthy will make a brief statement. And then we will have a time for questions.

I speak to you today as the Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America, and as a sitting primate on the Gafcon Primates Council. On behalf of the Chairman of Gafcon, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of All Nigeria, the Assistant Chairman, The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, and the Gafcon Primates Council: Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

We continue to have a crisis in the Anglican Communion as the virus of revisionist theology and practice continues to spread to various Provinces. Rather than correcting and disciplining those who have departed from the biblical faith and practice which has been handed down to us from the Apostles, some church leaders are embracing false teaching, and then going even further by promoting it around the world.

The Nairobi Communiqué from the Gafcon meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013 clearly stated that the Gafcon leadership would not ignore the pleas of the faithful who are trapped in places where false doctrine and practice occur. We promised that we would provide pastoral care and oversight for those who remain faithful to Jesus’ teaching on marriage.

At our April meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, the Gafcon Primates decided to provide a missionary bishop for Europe with the initial focus on those in Scotland and those faithful Anglicans in England outside the Church of England. Today’s decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change the biblical and historic definition of marriage has highlighted the need to respond to the cries and pleas of those Scots who today have been marginalized by their leaders. The attempt to redefine marriage is not one that a faithful Christian can support.

The Gafcon Primates have asked our Province, the Anglican Church in North America, to take on the task of providing a missionary bishop for Scotland. Our Province was formed at the direction of Gafcon 2008 after many of the Provinces of Gafcon had provided the same kind of oversight for clergy and congregations in North America. They have asked us to consecrate Canon Andy Lines.

Our College of Bishops discussed and decided to accept this responsibility. Following the Canons of our Province, the Executive Committee of the Province was not only consulted, but also voted unanimously to support this endeavor. We also appointed an oversight Committee of Bishops to provide guidance and accountability for Canon Lines as he walks through our consecration process and to support him after he is consecrated a bishop. Archbishop Robert Duncan is chair of the committee which consists of three diocesan bishops: The Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, The Rt. Rev. Charlie Master, and The Rt. Rev. David Hicks.

Canon Andy Lines is now canonically resident in the Diocese of the South as a “priest in good standing” after having been transferred from the Province of South America as a priest in good standing.

The Consecration will take place on the morning of 30 June in Wheaton, Illinois and the service will include Primates, Archbishops, and bishops from all over the world. Although the Anglican Church in North America is the consecrating Province, this is an initiative of the wider Anglican Communion…

The Press Pack contains several further items:

Scottish Anglican Network press statement: Fellowship impaired by Scottish vote

Biographical Information on Press Conference Speakers

Anglican Church in North America GAFCON MISSIONARY BISHOP FOR EUROPE
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About Samuel Seabury

36 Comments

Reactions to the Scottish vote on same-sex marriage

Updated again Saturday

The Church of England issued this:

Statement on marriage in Scottish Episcopal Church

08 June 2017
Following the vote by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to change to its canon on marriage to include same-sex couples, a spokesperson for the Church of England said:

“We note the decision of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to amend its canon on marriage.

“This is a matter for the Scottish Episcopal Church.

“The Church of England is unable by law to marry couples of the same sex and the teaching of the Church of England remains unchanged.

“However this is a matter on which there is real and profound disagreement in the Church of England.

“We are seeking to find ways forward rooted in scripture and the Christian faith as we have received it and which values everyone, without exception, not as a ‘problem’ or an ‘issue’, but as a person loved and made in the image of God.”

Statement from the Anglican Communion Office from here.

…Following the vote, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon issued the following statement:

“The churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous and free to make their own decisions on canon law. The Scottish Episcopal Church is one of 38, soon to be 39, provinces covering more than 165 countries around the world.

“Today’s decision by the SEC to approve changes to canon law on marriage is not a surprise, given the outcome of the vote at its Synod a year ago. There are differing views about same-sex marriage within the Anglican Communion but this puts the Scottish Episcopal Church at odds with the majority stance that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. This is a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage. The Anglican Communion’s position on human sexuality is set out very clearly in Resolution 1.10 agreed at the Lambeth conference of 1998 and will remain so unless it is revoked.

“As Secretary General, I want the churches within the Anglican Communion to remain committed to walking together in the love of Christ and to working out how we can maintain our unity and uphold the value of every individual in spite of deeply-held differences. It is important to stress the Communion’s strong opposition to the criminalisation of LGBTIQ+ people.

“The primates of the Communion will be meeting in Canterbury in October. I am sure today’s decision will be among the topics which will be prayerfully discussed. There will be no formal response to the SEC’s vote until the primates have met.”

And from this source, additional material:

Some Questions and Answers

Q: What does the change in canon law mean?
A: It removes the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Q: When will the changes come into force?
A: The changes come into force 40 days after the end of General Synod – in late July.

Q: Who will be affected?
A: This applies only to marriage within the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Church of Scotland – which is a separate entity – is also considering changing its laws on marriage but has not done so yet.

Q: What about the rest of the UK?
A: The Church of England, the Church in Wales and the Church of Ireland are the other Anglican churches within the UK. The canon law on marriage in all three is unchanged: none is able by [canon] law to marry couples of the same sex and their teaching is the same as before.

Q: Will any measures be taken against the Scottish Episcopal Church now?
A: The primates’ meeting in Canterbury in October will consider how the Anglican Communion should respond. No action will be taken before then.

Q: Isn’t this is a further sign that the Anglican Communion is bound to split?
A: There is a very strong desire within the Communion to remain together – there is so much that we hold in common. The Task Group, which was set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury last year, is dedicated to maintaining conversation between us and restoring relationships and trust where they have been damaged. That work will continue.

Q: What do you think of Gafcon’s plan to appoint a missionary bishop for Scotland
A: We note the planned appointment. We will not be commenting on it at this stage.

Update
The Primus has responded to the ACO statement: Unity in diversity

In response to a statement from Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion (which can be read here), The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says:

“The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has issued a statement commenting on Thursday’s decision by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to amend its Canons to permit same-sex marriage. The statement recognises that the Provinces of the Anglican Communion can each take these decisions within their own life. But I think it is important that I should comment on some other aspects of what the statement says and their implications for the continuing life of the Anglican Communion.

“The classic understanding of the position of Provinces of the Anglican Communion is that they do indeed have autonomy. But that autonomy is exercised in tension with a balancing sensitivity to the interdependence of provinces within the Communion. We, in common with other provinces, did not feel that the Anglican Covenant could successfully meet this need. The statement implies that the Primates’ Meeting will now fulfil this role. But such a role is not within their remit or authority. For the Primates’ Meeting was called together originally by Archbishop Coggan for ‘leisurely thought, deep prayer and consultation’.

“Archbishop Josiah, who leads the Anglican Communion Secretariat, speaks of the ‘majority stance’ of the Communion. We are deeply aware that yesterday’s vote puts us at one end of a spectrum in the Communion. But many other provinces are in their own way and in their own time considering a variety of responses to issues of human sexuality. The Communion expresses a growing spectrum of diversity. In that context, reference to a ‘majority stance’ seems misplaced. It is part of the genius of the Anglican way that we express unity in diversity – as we have tried to do this week in Scotland.

“We of course also respect Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998. But it cannot be elevated into a binding statement of Communion policy. Lambeth Conference resolutions do not have that force. The view of marriage set out in Resolution 1.10 was passionately expressed in our Synod’s debate on Thursday. It is one of the views of marriage which we uphold and carry forward in our diversity.

“The Scottish Episcopal Church carries in its heart a deep commitment to the Anglican Communion. We have been enriched by our Communion membership and we have in return made a significant contribution to its life. I understand that some will feel that the decision which we have taken stresses the life of the Communion. The question is how best the unity of the Communion can be sustained. We look forward to being part of measured discussion within the Communion about how that can be achieved.”

14 Comments

Jesmond's episcopal consecration: more links

Updated Saturday evening

The Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of S.A. has issued this Statement on the Jesmond Consecration.

The Anglican Church League has issued this statement: The Jesmond Consecration and Mark Thompson of _Moore Theological College in Sydney has written thjs about The Jesmond Consecration.

Andy Walton has written: Why now? The deeply strange timing of the renegade conservative Anglicans.

Ian Paul wrote: Should evangelicals be embarrassed by Newcastle?

Philip Jones writes about A Rogue Bishop. He thinks that the Monarch has to be involved to create a bishop in England.

The local newspaper the Newcastle Chronicle has a report: Newcastle priest could start split in Church of England over issue of homosexuality.

Harry Farley reports that: Justin Welby is a heretic, say breakaway conservative Anglicans.

Update
Andrew Goddard has published a detailed analysis of this event, which is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand what has being going on. Strongly recommended. “Order! Order!”: Reflections on The Jesmond Consecration.

24 Comments

GAFCON communiqué mentions missionary bishop

Updated again Tuesday evening

This communiqué from the GAFCON primates, meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, has been issued. Here’s an extract:

A Missionary Bishop
During our meeting, we considered how best to respond to the voice of faithful Anglicans in some parts of the Global North who are in need of biblically faithful episcopal leadership. Of immediate concern is the reality that on 8th June 2017 the Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to formalize their rejection of Jesus’ teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care. In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE). These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership. Therefore, we have decided to consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.

A Word of Encouragement to Faithful Anglicans within European Provinces
We wish to reassure all faithful Anglicans in European provinces that they also have our prayers and our support. We are aware that some Christians within these provinces who are contending for the faith may at first perceive the news of a missionary bishop as a threat to their hopes for reform from within.

We believe that the complexity of the current situation in Europe does not admit of a single solution. Faithful Christians may be called to different courses of action. We bless those whose context and conscience have led them to remain and contend for the faith within the current structures. If you are successful, you will not need a missionary bishop; if you are not successful, an alternative is at hand. The only true failure would be to waste time through inaction.

We also pray for those who are not yet clear about what faithfulness requires. May God give you the wisdom and courage of the Reformers to stand firm wherever the Lord calls you to stand…

GAFCON UK has issued this statement in response to the [GAFCON] Primates’ Communique. Again, here’s an extract:

… The Primates go on to talk about the challenges in the Global North, “the increasing influence of materialism, secularism, and the loss of moral foundations” which are “spiritually dangerous”. We recognize the need to repent of our participation in a weak version of the Christian faith which has too often failed to point out these dangers or even made accommodation with them.

This accommodation and ‘cultural captivity’ is seen in the failure by many Anglican leaders in the UK to hold to the key principles of Holy Scripture as speaking clearly to God’s will for human flourishing, and of requiring unequivocal obedience whatever the cost. It is shown, for example, in unwillingness to be clear about the uniqueness of Jesus and the authority of the Bible, and rejection of clear biblical teaching God’s gift of sex and marriage, and of celibate singleness.

This has contributed to the increasing concern that many faithful clergy and lay people in the Church of England, the Episcopal Church of Scotland and the Church in Wales feel about the revisionist trajectory of these churches. As the Communique points out clearly, some Anglicans are already outside of these structures and need Episcopal oversight; others may do so soon.

So we warmly welcome the decision of the Primates to consecrate a missionary Bishop who will fulfil this function. We appreciate the way GAFCON has recognized that this intervention is giving global support to one of a number of initiatives being taken by biblically orthodox Anglicans in Britain; others include the work being done to strengthen the Free Church of England. Meanwhile the Primates have generously expressed respect for and continued warm fellowship with those who for the moment are choosing to remain within the official structures and contend for orthodox biblical faith there, while warning that inaction in the face of revisionist pressure is not a faithful option.

We understand that more will be revealed about the plans for the consecration in due course. We commit ourselves to prayer about this and invite all who hold to the historic and trustworthy teaching of our faith to join us.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, David Chillingworth has responded, as follows:

“In June, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church will reach the final stage of consideration of changes which would make possible same-sex marriage in our churches. The news that GAFCON intends to send a missionary bishop to Britain is regrettable. The Anglican Communion functions as a global communion on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity of each province. This move is a breach of that understanding.

“The outcome of the synodical process which will take place in June is not a foregone conclusion. The voices of clergy and lay people from across Scotland will be heard both in debate and in the voting process. The Scottish Episcopal Church is working closely with those who find this proposal difficult to accept. Whatever the outcome may be, it is our intention to be and to remain a church which honours diversity.”

The former archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has been interviewed by Premier Radio. Read about the interview and listen to it in full here: ‘This isn’t an attempt to storm Lambeth Palace’: GAFCON not looking for split in Church.

35 Comments

GAFCON threatens to plant a bishop in Britain

Updated again Wednesday morning

Jonathan Petre reports in the Mail on Sunday that African and Asian church leaders threaten to ‘plant’ a bishop in Britain to defy Welby on gay Christians:

Conservative Anglican archbishops from Africa and Asia are plotting to create a new ‘missionary’ bishop to lead traditionalists in the UK – after warning that the Church of England is becoming too liberal on homosexuality.

The rebel archbishops are set to give the green light to the controversial plan at a crucial meeting in Africa this week in defiance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Insiders said the move was the ‘nuclear option’ as it would represent a highly provocative intervention into the Church of England by foreign archbishops and a direct challenge to the authority of Archbishop Welby, who is nominal head of Anglicans worldwide…

Anglican Mainstream which has close ties to GAFCON reports that:

Anglican Mainstream understands from Gafcon UK that this article is only partially correct, and that Gafcon UK will be issuing a comment later.

We will update this article when the latter occurs.

The Church of Nigeria has this notice of the meeting.

Updates

GAFCON UK has issued the following clarification, according to Anglican Ink

“The situation in the UK is not uniform. Within England there is troubling ambiguity from diocese to diocese in their teaching and pastoral practice as it pertains to human sexuality and biblical church order. However, the situation in the Scottish Episcopal Church is of immediate concern. There has been a clear rejection of biblical truth by the Scottish Episcopal Church, and they are expected to finalise this rejection of Anglican teaching and apostolic order in the upcoming June meeting of their Synod. Alternative structures and oversight will need to be in place should that unfortunate reality come to pass. At their meeting this week, the Gafcon Primates will be considering a range of options for how to care for those who remain faithful to Jesus’ teaching on marriage.”

This page from GAFCON UK lists items from the Church of England that are troubling to GAFCON: Radical inclusion after Synod: a briefing (updated).

The Church Times has this report: GAFCON contemplates missionary bishop to support UK malcontents. It includes this quote from GAFCON UK:

…In a response clarifying a report in the Mail on Sunday, GAFCON UK, a conservative Evangelical grouping, said that some of the language in the report was misleading. GAFCON Primates were not “plotting” to create such a bishop: “This implies subterfuge and deceit, and that foreign church leaders plan to impose a solution on British Anglican churches, which is not the case.”

Discussions were taking place “in response to requests from Anglicans in the UK”.

The statement, provided by the Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream, on behalf of GAFCON UK, explained: “The GAFCON Primates recognise the existence in England, Scotland and Wales of faithful Anglicans who are already distanced from their local structures because of revisionist teaching and practice in the Church of England leadership, and they are ready to provide assistance. One option is to consecrate a missionary Bishop to give oversight if necessary.

“That the GAFCON Primates are considering consecrating a bishop with particular responsibility for these Islands is not a secret and should not come as a surprise. . . Many of the world’s senior Anglican leaders, including the Archbishops who lead the GAFCON movement, have for some time been concerned about the Church of England’s drift from orthodox, Biblical Christianity.”

50 Comments

Anglicans for Decriminalization

The Living Reconciliation website has published: Anglicans are for the Decriminalization of LGBT People Worldwide.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of consensual same-gender intimacy in England and Wales, and the Church of England played a significant role in that historic achievement.

Maurice Tomlinson writes:

It was a 1955 Church committee report that proposed ending criminal sanctions for same-sex conduct, and this contributed to the government-appointed Wolfenden Committee (largely comprised of Anglicans) recommending decriminalization in 1959.

However, anti-gay laws still exist across the Commonwealth, and 38 of 53 countries maintain these archaic relics of British colonization. Church teaching inspired these dreadful statutes, but our beloved Church also called for their repeal, acting according to guiding tenets of Scripture. Consensus on decriminalization has proven difficult amongst independent Provinces because some senior clerics have argued that anti-sodomy laws are critical bulwarks against marriage-equality.

Yet a significant breakthrough occurred last year when the Primates met at Lambeth. The 38 Province heads agreed to the following statement against criminalization:

The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.

The Global Anglican Communion opposes criminal sanctions against LGBTI people. [1]

Archbishop Justin Welby stressed that the unanimous view of the Primates is that ‘the criminalization of LGBTIQ people is entirely wrong’ when he confronted President Mugabe of Zimbabwe of on this very issue.

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, says that for African Anglicans decriminalization is ‘the single most pressing issue around human sexuality’ and went on to say that:

The struggle for the legal, social, spiritual and physical safety of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is our issue in Nigeria and other places in Africa. The prophetic task for African Anglicans is to denounce violence and civil disabilities that are supported by members of our own communities and leadership.

He rightly says that African Anglicans must take a lead in this urgent task…

[footnote 1]The Primates of the Anglican Communion have consistently condemned ‘the victimisation and diminishment’ of any person due to their sexuality and in 2007 they supported the Don’t Throw Stones Statement. This was endorsed by the ACC in Jamaica in 2009 and confirmed by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion later that year. The time has come to put these fine words into action. The Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in 2011 condemned the homophobic murder of David Kato in Uganda.
The Primate of Wales was unable to attend and the Primate of Uganda had left before the communiqué was issued.

Do read the whole article, which contains a lot more information.

26 Comments

Scottish Primus to retire

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, is to retire at the end of July. He became a bishop in 2005 and has been Primus since 2009.

The official announcement can be read here on the SEC website.

With the recent retirement of the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, there will soon be two new Anglican primates in the British Isles.

15 Comments

Anglican Mission Agencies united against US immigration changes

ACNS press release:

Several Anglican mission agencies have put out a joint statement expressing “profound concern” at President Trump’s executive order on immigration – barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and blocking all refugees from Syria.

A coalition of seven mission agencies within the Church of England said: “We understand President Trump’s desire to protect America from extremism but we do not accept that it is ever right to discriminate against people simply on the basis of their ethnicity, religion or country of origin. We call on the British and other governments not only to seek exceptions for its own citizens but justice for all. We call on the US Government to reverse its current policy and to renew its commitment to freedom for all.”

The statement follows criticism of the immigration measures from church leaders.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, issued a statement expressing shock at the new restrictions: “It is extraordinary that any civilised country should stigmatise and ban citizens of other nations in the matter of providing humanitarian protection. In Christ, we are called to welcome the stranger especially when in desperate need,” he said.

In the United States there have been statements from a number of Episcopal dioceses. In Massachusetts, a joint letter from 17 church leaders, opposing the executive action, received the backing of three Episcopal Bishops : “We grieve this decision to limit refugees, as it will cause further suffering, not just to our fellow Christians escaping persecution, but all refugees fleeing violence.”

In a statement, Bishop Marc Handley Andrus of California said: “We must honour the contributions of immigrants who are here to seek peace and stability for their families. Please join me in praying for our nation and for a change of heart for President Trump and his administration.”

Bishop James Mathes of San Diego wrote : “the last nine days have been a disquieting and dizzying display of presidential action in Mr Trump’s first days in office. The executive order is an affront to our sense of fairness and equity…President Trump’s actions are unacceptable and un-American. They do not represent who we are as a people. We must recover our senses. It is time to speak out in the name of all faiths and our national identity as a people united in our diversity. That is our gift to the world.”

In Washington, Bishop Mariann Budde wrote: “The list of alarming actions and statements from President Trump’s first week in office takes our collective breath away.”

Bishop Robert Hirschfeld of the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire said: “The Executive Order tightly restricting immigration and refugee resettlement based on religious identity has done very little but intensify global tensions while worsening human suffering among those who honour and admire this nation. What is called for is competent diplomacy, informed statesmanship and a clear commitment to the biblically informed ideals of hospitality to the stranger and the oppressed. That these values are being so cavalierly rejected in favour of rash and fear-based edicts not only violates the dignity of those immediately affected, but also damages our own reputation.”

2 Comments

Archbishop of Canterbury sets out vision for 2017 Primates Meeting

Updated Thursday evening

The Episcopal Church has issued the following notice:

Statement from the Episcopal Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council
As the Episcopal Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council, we were dismayed to read in today’s Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) an article that claims we did not vote on matters of doctrine or polity at the most recent meeting of the ACC, known as ACC-16, held in Lusaka, Zambia in April 2016. This report is wrong.
Each of us attended the entire ACC-16 meeting and voted on every resolution that came before the body, including a number that concerned the doctrine and polity of the Anglican Communion. As the duly elected ACC members of a province of the Anglican Communion, this was our responsibility and we fulfilled it.
It could be inferred from today’s ACNS story that we did not fulfill our voting responsibilities at ACC-16 to comply with a communique issued by the primates of the Anglican Communion in January 2016. The communique sought to impose consequences on the Episcopal Church for its adoption of marriage equality at our 2015 General Convention. Such an inference would be incorrect.
At the beginning of ACC-16, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion issued a statement saying that it had “considered the Communiqué from the Primates and affirmed the relational links between the Instruments of Communion in which each Instrument, including the Anglican Consultative Council, forms its own views and has its own responsibilities.” After ACC-16 had concluded, six outgoing members of the Standing Committee released a letter reasserting that “ACC16 neither endorsed nor affirmed the consequences contained in the Primates’ Communiqué.”
As members of the Anglican Consultative Council, we thank God for the time we have spent with sisters and brothers in Christ from across the globe, and for the breadth and diversity of our global Anglican family. We are firmly committed to the Episcopal Church’s full participation in the Anglican Communion, and we hope that, in the future, our participation will be reported accurately by the Anglican Communion News Service.
Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine
Ian T. Douglas
Gay Clark Jennings
Episcopal Church members of the 16th Anglican Consultative Council, Lusaka, Zambia

In response to this, the ACNS report was modified on the website and the following note added at the end:

This article was updated on 2 February to make clear that no formal votes were held on issues of doctrine and polity at ACC-16. None was necessary because all such matters were agreed by consensus.

The copy of the article that appears below is the original unaltered. The revised version is here. You can see the differences for yourself.

This press release has appeared: Archbishop of Canterbury sets out vision for 2017 Primates Meeting. The actual text of the letter which this refers to has not been published yet. A significant part of this press release refers to the recently published document from the House of Bishops on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships.

[ACNS] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to every primate in the Anglican Communion to set out his hopes for the next Primates’ Meeting, which will take place in Canterbury in October. He also gave details of last week’s report by the Church of England’s House of Bishops on human sexuality. In the letter, Archbishop Justin sets out his vision for the meeting in Canterbury as an opportunity for relaxed fellowship and mutual consultation. He invites the primates to submit items for the agenda and says he’s aware of the pressures under which many of them live.

“I certainly feel the need to be with you, to share our experience and in prayer and fellowship, to support one another and seek how best we can serve the call to preach the gospel, serve the poor and proclaim the Kingdom of God,” he says.

The Archbishop goes on to unpack the declaration on human sexuality which was published last week before a debate at the Church of England’s General Synod later this month.

He describes as a “key outcome” the recommendation that the Church of England’s teaching on marriage should remain unchanged, meaning there can be no same-sex weddings in the Church of England. But he adds that the current advice on pastoral provision for same-sex couples needs clarification and notes the Bishops’ acknowledgment that the Church needs to repent of the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke.

Last week’s report has also been welcomed by the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who said: “The issue of same-sex marriage is highly emotive within the church. I understand the depth of passion on each side of the debate and I understand that any decision will leave some feeling disappointed and wounded by the outcome.

“I support the Bishops’ declaration that doctrine on marriage should not change – that marriage should be a lifelong commitment between a man and woman. The Anglican Communion position is set out in Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That is our lodestar.

“But it is right that we acknowledge that some of our brothers and sisters do have same-sex attraction and I support the move for a ‘fresh tone’ in the way the issues are debated. Anglicans are called to love all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation. We are committed to welcoming and loving people with same-sex attraction. More than that, we need to fight against homophobia and anything that criminalises LGBTQ people.”

Preparations for the Primates Meeting are well underway. Archbishop Justin’s invitation has been sent to the primates of the other 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion. It will be the first time the group has formally assembled since the gathering and meeting in January 2016, although many were in Rome last October at the invitation of the Anglican Centre there as it celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The 2016 Primates’ gathering drew worldwide attention. It concluded with a communiqué which set out consequences for the US-based Episcopal Church (TEC) following its decision to change its canon on same-sex marriage. As a result, members of TEC have stepped down from IASCUFO – the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order – and also from the IRAD ecumenical dialogue. Members of TEC participated in ACC-16 in Lusaka, but none voted on issues of doctrine and polity – another stipulation of the Primates’ communiqué.

The January 2016 meeting also called for the setting up of a Task Group to explore differences and seek ways to restore relationship and rebuild trust. The Task Group, which draws members from across the Anglican Communion, subsequently met in September last year and is due to meet again during 2017.

59 Comments

Sexuality and Anglican Identities

The University of Chester is engaged in a two-year project, Sexuality and Anglican Identities.

This seeks to engage the Academy, Chaplaincy and Church in conversation about current issues relating to sexuality within the contemporary Anglican context. A particular focus will be on how articulation of various positions on these matters, contribute to competing claims to Anglican identity. The project is funded by the Church Universities Fund.

The first of two open forums at Chester Cathedral, The Past, Present and Future of Christian Marriage, was held on Saturday 22 October, 2016. The second open forum, New Directions in Sexualities and Christianity, will be held from 1 pm to 3 pm on Saturday 11 February. The speakers will be

– Professor Adrian Thatcher, University of Exeter

– Dr Susannah Cornwall, University of Exeter

– The Rev Dr Mark Vasey-Saunders

– Dr David Hilborn, St John’s School of Mission

On Saturday 6 May there will be a day conference, for which there is a call for papers. Proposals of not more than 300 words to be with Dr Jessica Keady (j.keady@chester.ac.uk) by 28 February.

More information is on a public Facebook page here.

6 Comments

Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion

There will be a day conference on this subject, held on Friday 24 February, at Whitelands College of the University of Roehampton.

Further details of the conference are available here, including a draft programme. Speakers include:

– Questioning Church Growth and Decline in the Anglican Communion: David
Goodhew (Cranmer Hall, St Johns College, Durham University)
– Nigeria: Dr Richard Burgess (University of Roehampton)
USA: Dr Jeremy Bonner (Durham University)

– South America (Rt Revd Maurice Sinclair)
– Congo (Dr Emma Wildwood, Cambridge University)
– South Africa (Dr Barbara Bompani, University of Edinburgh)
– Ghana (Rev Dr Daniel Eshun, University of Roehampton)

– South America (Rt Revd Maurice Sinclair, retired)
– Congo (Dr Emma Wildwood, Cambridge University)
– South Africa (Dr Barbara Bompani, University of Edinburgh)
– Ghana (Rev Dr Daniel Eshun, University of Roehampton)

– England: Professor David Voas (University College, London)
– Theology, Growth and Decline: the Rt Revd Graham Kings (Mission Theologian,
Anglican Communion)

The conference is based upon a recently published book of the same title, edited by Professor David Goodhew, details of which – including a full table of contents – are shown on the publisher’s website here.

2 Comments

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

57 Comments

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon interviewed by CoI Gazette

Ian Ellis, editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette, recently interviewed Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General at the Anglican Communion Office. The full interview lasts 45 minutes, and the recordings can be found here.

There is a report in the Church Times today: Idowu-Fearon: US conservatives manipulating African Anglicans.

THE importance that African church leaders attach to the ques­tion of same-sex relationships is the result of interference by conserva­tives in the United States, the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has said.

In an interview with The Church of Ireland Gazette, published last week, Dr Idowu-Fearon said that Anglican leaders in Africa seemed “to be so much taken in” by the issue, not be­cause of concerns about the impact on relations with Mus­lims, but as a result of “very strong min­ority conservatives” in the US.

“The very strong minority conservatives, not in the UK but in America, they have found a footing amongst some of the leaders in Africa,” he said. “They are the ones that sort of pumped this thing into the leaders, and the leaders decided to make it an African thing. It is not an African thing. There are homo­sexuals everywhere — even in my diocese.”

He denied that African leaders were anxious about relation­ships with Muslims: “It’s not true. It has not stopped church growth in my part of Nigeria. . . Nobody talks about it.”

Another report of the interview has been published here: Are the Leaders of Africa’s Anglican Churches “Despotic”?

32 Comments

Communiqué from Iarccum Summit

ACNS has published New steps on an ancient pilgrimage: Together from Canterbury to Rome

30 September – 7 October 2016

IARCCUM 2016 has been an extraordinary, historic summit, rich in symbolism and significance for the Anglican Communion and Catholic Church.

It brought together 36 bishops from around the world for a week in Canterbury and Rome to celebrate the deepening relationship between the two traditions over the past 50 years – and to find practical ways to work together to demonstrate that unity to the world and address its social and pastoral issues.

The highlight was the mandating of the bishops by Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at a service they jointly led at the chapel of San Gregorio al Celio. The service also saw the Pope and Archbishop exchange gifts as a sign of friendship – echoing the moment in 1966 when Pope Paul VI presented his papal ring to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey – a moment that ushered in a new era of dialogue.

The days in Rome also saw the formal presentation of a document detailing 20 years of work on reconciling the two traditions by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. And the bishops attended a symposium on current relations between the churches and the possibilities of future co-operation and dialogue.

The time in Canterbury was also rich in symbolism. The Suffragan Bishop in Europe, David Hamid, gave the homily at a Catholic Vigil Mass in the undercroft of the Cathedral. The following day, the Archbishop-elect of Regna, Donald Bolen, preached the sermon at the Sung Eucharist.

Bishop David – who co-chairs IARCCUM with Archbishop Don – said the summit had been an historic time in the history of our official dialogue, and deeply valuable.

“This has been an immensely rich occasion, full of significance for our two traditions. It has been a source of deep joy to all the bishops gathered from all over the world, who have shared their experiences, their challenges and their wisdom. It was a profound time of collegiality and communion, and they are inspired now to go out into the world and work together for unity and common mission.”

Archbishop Don said it had been an incredible time and he was excited about the future.

“The bishops engaged in everything in a way that was beautiful to see. Strong friendships have formed. In our discussions, we did not shy away from the difficulties we sometimes face. But the possibilities for our two traditions working together in a needy world are abundant and promising.”

One of the bishops, Archbishop Paul Nabil El Sayah from Beirut said the summit had been a joyful occasion that would yield practical results.

“The atmosphere has been very positive,” he said. “You can feel there is deep, sincere fellowship and a willingness to bring new things forward. I am completely sold on practical ecumenism. I see lots of potential. This is not about looking inwards but about coming to the outside world together. The more we come together, the more our message has credibility.”

Bishop Alwin Samuel, from Sialkot in Pakistan, has been working alongside Archbishop Sebastian Shaw from Lahore during the summit. Bishop Alwin said he was looking forward to collaborating more with the Catholics at home.

“We have been looking at how we can take concrete steps towards unity. One example is where we have existing projects of our own. We looked at how we could begin to work together on them. For example, in areas such as health, especially women’s health, where one church might provide the resources and the other would deliver them.”

51 Comments

Global South Conference: detailed reports

There are links to many of the presentations and reports, and also to photographs, available on this page.

The official Global South Anglican website also has materials.

5 Comments

Global South and GAFCON express views on same-sex unions

A lengthy communiqué been published from the 6th Global South Conference:

Communiqué from the 6th Global South Conference, Cairo 2016

which includes this statement:

We received with thanks the joint statement by the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council on same-sex union/marriage (6th October 2016) that was presented to the Conference.

Statement from the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council Concerning Same-sex Unions

The full text of the latter is copied below the fold.

The former document includes this:

30. We are deeply saddened that the Provinces of Scotland, Canada and Wales have recently made moves to change their Canon, teaching and practice in relation to same-sex union. These have been done against the Primates Gathering Communiqué of 16th January 2016 (Addendum A, paragraph 2).

31. The Church of England (COE) has a unique role in the life of the Communion, which means that decisions it makes on fundamental matters impact the Communion more deeply than those made elsewhere. This is because both of its historical role and the particular role of Archbishop of Canterbury as first among equal amongst the Primates. We are deeply concerned that there appears to be a potential move towards the acceptance of blessing of same-sex union by COE. This would have serious implications for us should it occur.

32. The present and potentially escalating crisis poses challenges to the Global South in the shepherding of her people. We recognise the need for our enhanced ecclesial responsibility. We need to strengthen our doctrinal teaching, our ecclesiastical ordering of our collective life as a global fellowship and the flourishing of our gifts in the one another-ness of our mission.

33. The Global South Primates will therefore form a task force to recommend how these needs can be effectively addressed.

According to this report, several Church of England bishops were present at this meeting.

(more…)

36 Comments