Thinking Anglicans

women bishops: Inclusive Church press release

Inclusive Church Press Release
12 October 2009
The Decision of the Revision Committee

Inclusive Church is deeply disturbed by the recent announcement of the Church of England’s Revision Committee. It has moved away from the expressed will of General Synod in July 2008 – that there should be legislation to consecrate women as bishops on the same terms as men with an additional code of practice containing arrangements for those who do not accept the authority of bishops who are women.

Their decision reflects a further undermining of the Anglican understanding of the role of the Bishop as the pastor of, and focus of unity in the Diocese. If implemented it will inevitably create a two-tier institution with little prospect of long-term unity.

The impact of this on those within and outside the church will be immense. The bias shown against women in this proposal will mean that the church continues to be seen as institutionally discriminatory towards them. The impression given is of an organisation which perpetuates injustice, undermining its ability to witness to Christ in the world. It ignores the considerable gifts ordained women have to offer within the Episcopate. Men and women should be present on the same terms.

We urge the Revision Committee to reconsider its decision and prepare legislation, as it was requested, to open the Episcopate to women with a national code of practice to be drafted separately.

www.inclusivechurch2.net
Revd Canon Giles Goddard
The parish of St John with St Andrew Waterloo
Chair, Inclusive Church
Secker St
London SE1 8UF
07762 373 674

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Bishop Peter Selby to speak at WOTS

Bishop Peter Selby, the retired Bishop of Worcester and a long term supporter of Inclusive Church, is to speak at the Inclusive Church residential conference, Word on the Street. This will be held Monday 5th – Wednesday 7th October 2009.

His paper will be called “WHEN THE WORD ON THE STREET IS ‘RESIST’ – reflections on the present moment.” His offer follows the publication of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s response to the Episcopal Church – “Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future”.

For more information on this conference, see the latest newsletter here. Booking form available here.

In addition to the keynote speakers, as announced previously, the workshop leaders are:

(more…)

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On the Archbishop’s Reflections

On the Archbishop’s Reflections

4th August 2009

A joint statement by 13 groups working together in the Church of England

We have read and reflected upon the Archbishop’s response to the Episcopal Church of the USA “Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future” and have a number of questions about the consequences of his response. We question whether the voices of those within the Church of England who are or who walk alongside lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people have been adequately heard within the recent discussions. These discussions have gone on in various places around the Communion, and we believe it is important in this context that the LGBT faithful and those who work alongside us speak as well.

We wish to reaffirm our loyalty to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the scriptures, our commitment to the Anglican way, and our celebration of and thanksgiving for the tradition and life of the Church of England. Above all, our concern is for the mission of the Church in our world. We have no doubt that the Church of England is called to live out the Gospel values of love and justice in the whole of its life; these values are intrinsic to the calling of Jesus Christ to follow him and it is out of this context that we speak.

While we acknowledge the intention of the Archbishop of Canterbury to seek a way forward for the Anglican Communion, we have grave concerns about the implications of his reflections in “Covenant, Communion and the Anglican Future.” For example, we consider that references to same-sex unions as a “chosen life-style”, and assertions that those who have made such a commitment are analogous to “a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond” to be inconsistent with the Archbishop’s previous statements on committed and faithful same sex relationships (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4473814.ece) and are at odds with our reading of the message of the gospel. Whilst we applaud his assertion that we are called to “become the Church God wants us to be, for the better proclamation of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ” we find no indication of how that can be achieved for those who are not heterosexual.

We acknowledge, once again, that there are and always have been many loyal, committed and faithful bishops, priests and deacons – properly selected and ordained – and many lay people who are LGBT or who work alongside LGBT people with delight and thanksgiving. We know ourselves to be part of the church of God in England and we work, together, to bring about the reign of God in this part of God’s creation. We pray earnestly that the Church of England will continue to select, train, ordain and deploy LGBT people and enable them to exercise their calling from God in the Church of England.

Together, we reaffirm our commitment to working for the full inclusion of all people at all levels of ministry. We will continue to work towards liturgical and sacramental recognition of the God-given love which enables many LGBT couples to thrive. We will seek to strengthen the bonds of affection which exist between those in all the Churches of the Anglican Communion who share our commitment to the full inclusion of all of God’s faithful. We will also continue to work closely with our brother and sister churches, especially those with whom we have mutual recognition of orders such as the Nordic churches.

We will work to ensure that if the Church of England is to sign up to the Covenant, it has potential for rapid progress on this and other issues. We find the notion of a “two track communion” flawed in the way that the Act of Synod is flawed, and we commit ourselves to continuing the effort to find ways forward through which those who disagree profoundly on this and on other issues can continue to celebrate their common membership of the Church of England and unity in Christ.

Signed by representatives of the following groups working together in the Church of England

Accepting Evangelicals

Changing Attitude

The Clergy Consultation

Courage

Ekklesia

Evangelical Fellowship of Lesbian and Gay Anglicans

General Synod Human Sexuality Group

Group for the Rescinding of the Act of Synod

Inclusive Church

Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (Anglican Matters)

Modern Churchpeople’s Union

Sibyls

WATCH National Committee

www.inclusivechurch2.net

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The Episcopal Church's new resolutions

press release from Inclusive Church

The Episcopal Church’s new resolutions

Inclusive Church welcomes the clarity of the new resolutions passed at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA (TEC). They accurately and honestly describe the current situation, affirming that homosexual orientation should not be a bar to ordination as priest or bishop, and recognising that same sex blessings are being performed in some parishes and dioceses.

It is our wish that such honesty prevail in all current dialogues within the Anglican Communion – for example, recognising that within the Church of England there are a great many gay and lesbian clergy, single or in committed relationships, and many churches offer blessings or thanksgivings for same-sex relationships.

We equally acknowledge the costly lengths to which TEC has gone over many years to encourage the unity of the Anglican Communion, and note that the moratoria previously agreed regarding human sexuality have not been overturned.

We urge members of the Communion to consider carefully what has actually been agreed at Anaheim. The Presiding Bishop has stated in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other Primates ‘This General Convention has not repealed Resolution B033. It remains to be seen how Resolution B033 will be understood and interpreted in light of Resolution D025. Some within our Church may understand Resolution D025 to give Standing Committees (made up of elected clergy and laity) and Bishops with jurisdiction more latitude in consenting to Episcopal elections. Others, in light of Resolution B033, will not.’

Inclusive Church believes that excluding LGBT people from the sacramental life of the church is a sin similar to the historical discrimination against people of colour and women. We value Anglican diversity, and acknowledge that there is a breadth of views on questions of human sexuality. We salute the considerable efforts made to recognise and contain that breadth with TEC, and regret the attempts by others who have withdrawn to undermine the territorial integrity of local Anglican churches.

Above all we pray that the slow and often tortuous process in which the Communion is engaged over these issues will, in the end, enable all the member churches to speak more prophetically and more clearly of God’s inexhaustible love and justice for the whole world.

For further information visit www.inclusivechurch.net

Giles Goddard
Chair, Inclusive Church
07762 373 674
gileswgoddard@gmail.com

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update on Inclusive Church

First, there is a fund-raising event:

Friday 26 June • 6.00pm–9.00pm
Inclusive Church Presents…
The National Gallery. Your own private view.
with Neil MacGregor and Nicholas Holtam
followed by a reception buffet with wine at St Martin-in-the-Fields
Tickets £75

A unique opportunity to view some of the famous works hung in The National Gallery, London as well as the chance to hear Neil and Nicholas discuss some of the Gallery’s artworks. Later in the evening there will also be a opportunity to see the newly-restored St Martin’s and a very special illuminated Bible that is currently being exhibited there.

Neil MacGregor is Director of the British Museum and was, from 1987-1992, Director of the National Gallery. Nicholas Holtam is Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Further details from icevents2009@btinternet.com or download the flier with full information and booking form from here.

Second, there is additional information about the residential conference “Word on the Street – reading the Bible inclusively” on Monday 5th – Wednesday 7th October 2009. See earlier article here.

The Most Revd Dr Idris Jones, Primus of Scotland and one of IC’s Patrons will preside at the eucharist – Canon Frankie Ward from Bradford Cathedral will be our inspiring and exciting preacher, and Dr Andrew Mein from Westcott will speak on Inclusion and the Old Testament.

Download the PDF with full details of the conference and a booking form from here.

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Word on the Street

Inclusive Church is delighted to announce its next residential conference on Monday 5th – Wednesday 7th October 2009.

“Word on the Street – reading the Bible inclusively” will be a three day conference at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire to help us see how Holy Scripture does indeed:

  • call us to a faith in God which draws all people to God
  • root and ground our call on the Anglican Church to live out the promise of Jesus’ inclusive Gospel within its three-fold ministries of deacon, priest and bishop
  • celebrate the gifts of all members of the Body of Christ, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation

With Workshops, Bible studies, Worship, Plenary, Meals and Bar

The keynote speakers are:

  • Revd Prof Richard Burridge, Dean of King’s College, London
    SEX, RACE, AND INCLUSIVE READING
  • Dr Paula Gooder, Freelance writer and lecturer in Biblical Studies
    INCLUSION AND ST PAUL
  • Dr Robert Beckford, Educator, author and award-winning broadcaster
    WAS JESUS INCLUSIVE?
  • Speaker to be confirmed
    INCLUSION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
  • Canon Giles Goddard, Chair, Inclusive Church
    INCLUSION, THE WORLD AND THE CHURCH

The cost is £195. Students and those on low income £130. Residential ordinands and stipendiary curates £90.

For a flyer and booking form follow this link. Book early to avoid disappointment!

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What shall we say?

Inclusive language is a contentious issue still. Inclusive Church and WATCH (Women and the Church) jointly organised a day conference on 9th Feb 2009. The speakers were

  • Canon Lucy Winkett
  • Dr Steven Shakespeare
  • Revd June Boyce-Tillman
  • Revd Elizabeth Baxter

Links to their presentations and related materials can all be found here, or as follows:

Speak to us of liturgy – Lucy Winkett

Speak to us of prayers, by Steven Shakespeare

Elisabeth Baxter – Inclusive Language for a therapeutic church – handout (PDF)

June Boyce-Tillman – Hymns for today’s church – handout (PDF)

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Write in Support of Women as Bishops

From the latest InclusiveChurch newsletter (available as PDF here) and online here.

Write NOW in Support of Women Bishops

(There is still work to be done!)

We have heard that Archbishop Rowan is receiving huge amounts of mail from those opposed to women as bishops and to having a Code of Practice. The opponents of inclusion are still fighting and believe that they can still change or influence Synod’s decision.

Please write to the Legislative Drafting Group (who are creating the legislation to include women as Bishops in the Church of England). We should also write to Rowan as Chair of the House of Bishops making similar and related points.

We need to act quickly because the Legislative Drafting Group meets next on 14th November and the House of Bishops meets next on 12th December.

It is vital to mobilise ALL those in the Church who want to have women as bishops, and who think a Code is an acceptable way forward.

Once again, reactionary conservatives / fundamentalists have pulled out all the stops to try to shake Rowan’s confidence that going ahead is the right thing at this time and that a Code will suffice.

We need to be able to show that we speak for the vast majority of Anglicans in this country.

Some points that could be made in a letter include:

• We know that the Church is ready for and wishes to have women as bishops

• General Synod is competent to decide on having women as bishops

• General Synod in July showed some of what Synod did not want. This must not be put into the Code.

• A Code of Practice CAN work (Forward in Faith is saying it cannot work).

• There must be no separately consecrated bishops. In other words, no more ‘flying’ bishops, and those men who are currently flying bishops should be invited to become ‘proper’ assistant bishops, ministering to all in their area, not just to those who oppose women’s ordained ministries.

• Most of all, we must act in faith based on what we believe about what baptism in Christ means for all people, our mission imperative (over the past 2000 years women have been excluded from different types of ministry because of how it would affect the mission of the Church in the context of the surrounding culture. We need to be asking, what will help our mission now?), and trusting in where God has led us so far.

If you write nothing else, please reassure Rowan that there are many thousands of people in the Church who long to have women as bishops and who see this as God’s guidance and direction for the Church. He needs to be supported in his position as Archbishop of Canterbury and encouraged that the vast majority of the Church are behind him and the bishops in moving forward with consecrating women.

Letters to the Legislative Drafting Group should be sent to: The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishopscourt, Bury New Road, Manchester, M7 4LE

Letters to the House of Bishops should be sent to: Jonathan Neil-Smith, Secretary to the House of Bishops, Church House, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3NZ

With thanks to Christina Rees (Chair of WATCH)

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Alongside Lambeth

Press Release

If you are in Lambeth for a few days please consider taking part in this program for visitors, guests and volunteers. Gathering ‘alongside’ the Bishops and Spouses meetings, we will be sharing our experiences of faith through Bible studies and discussions. Everyone is welcome regardless of faith background. Alongside Lambeth is sponsored by Inclusive Church and Thinking Anglicans.

Bible Study
Meet at the café in the Marketplace at 11 am any morning except July 24 and July 27. After a brief devotional, small groups will meet for Bible Study and discussion. We’ll be paralleling the Bishop’s process by using the ‘Signs on the Way’ Bible study booklet. This is a time to set aside roles and agendas as we discover the person of Jesus together through the study of John’s Gospel.

Buzz Groups
This is a unique opportunity to meet with other Anglicans. If you want to meet with people who have similar interest to you, or if there’s something you particularly want to share, you can offer a Buzz Group. You can sign up at the Inclusive Church booth in advance or give your information to the Buzz Group coordinator before the morning’s Bible Study. Groups will normally take place at 12 noon, starting on Tuesday July 22nd. After gathering at the Marketplace Café, each group will find its own space to meet in one of the public areas of the campus.

Growing in Mission
Each afternoon at 4 pm, except July 24, there will be a talk and discussion in St Stephens Church, (down the hill from the campus) followed by Evening Prayer. A variety of speakers and panels will offer reflection on the same subjects that the Bishops are considering (not necessarily in the same order). Topics include
* Care-full listening
* Anglican Identity
* Youth and Mission
* Sexuality and mission
* Environmental stewardship
See below for confirmed speakers. Information will be available at the Inclusive Church stall as speakers are added.

Evening Prayer
Each day except July 27, Evening Prayer will be led by the clergy team of St Stephens, at St Stephens. They are also available to pray and meet with people individually as needed. For Chaplaincy services please contact the Rev. Caro Hall 0750 368 1408 or enquire at the Inclusive Church Booth.

Monday July 21st Care-full Listening
Sue Burns (New Zealand): Sissi Loftin and Janet Brocklehurst (US/UK)

Sue Burns is a priest from Aotearoa/New Zealand where she works in ministry formation and theological education. In response to the request for listening in the Anglican Communion, Sue developed a process of respectful conversations which she facilitated in dioceses in Aotearoa / New Zealand and Pasifika. Together with Janet Trisk of Grahamstown SA Sue contributed a chapter on sexuality and Identity for the book prepared for Lambeth, The Anglican Communion and Homosexuality.
Sissi Loftin and Janet Brocklehurst are training as facilitators with The Compassionate
Listening Project and have been with them a couple of times to Israel-Palestine, listening to all sides of the conflict. They have also offered Compassionate Listening in their home parish and hope to find a way to use their skills in building bridges within the Anglican Communion.

Tuesday July 22nd Communion for Creation: Co-operation for the sake of God’s Earth
Eric Beresford (Canada)

Eric Beresford was the staff person responsible for planning and putting together the Anglican Communion Environmental Network. During his time with the Anglican Communion Office he worked with the ACC to prepare and pass a motion on the Patenting of Biological and Genetic materials and the implications of this for food security. Eric has taught Environmental Ethics both at McGill University and at Atlantic School of Theology where he is the President. He will be discussing the possible impact the Anglican Communion might have on current efforts to reduce climate change.

Wednesday July 23rd Youth Inc – Why’s it so scary?
Rev Canon Dianna Gwilliam (UK)

Dianna Gwilliam worked for many years as a youth minister during her training for ordination and since then. She is currently Vicar of a parish in south-east London and Chaplain to an Educational Foundation which includes 6 schools. She is particularly interested in theological education for children and young people and says that serving a parish in which there are eight schools is ‘brilliant!’

Coming soon…
Giles Goddard (UK)
Andrew Wingate (UK)
Rowan Smith (S Africa)
Jenny TePaa (New Zealand)
A panel on Sexuality and Mission

4 Comments

Outbreak of peace?

Inclusive Church press release
Outbreak of peace?

Inclusive Church is hoping that the Lambeth Conference will witness an outbreak of peace in the Anglican Communion. IC has organised two events for the Lambeth Conference

“Strangers to Friends” – the IC Network Eucharist. 17 groups will come together to celebrate the peace we know in Christ, having worked together all year. All are welcome. Saturday 26th July: 7pm, Keynes Lecture Theatre. President – Rt Revd Carlos Touché-Porter, Archbishop of Mexico and a Primate of the Anglican Communion. Preacher – Canon Lucy Winkett, St Paul’s Cathedral.

“Inclusive Imperative – Anglican Welcome” Revd Dr Richard Burridge, Dean of King’s College London and Ms Nomfundo Walaza from Cape Town, SA will speak on “Using the New Testament now in peace-making and conflict resolution.” All are welcome. Thursday 31st July, 6.30 pm, Darwin Suite 1.

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of IC, said “The conference has been planned as a chance for people to meet and talk. That’s it. As a church we have to work out new ways of living together. It’s not a time for point scoring or arguing but for engaging and listening.”

IC welcomes the acknowledgement by the Archbishop of Wales on Sunday that he would, if agreed by the Church in Wales, consecrate a gay bishop in a relationship. The first Lambeth Conference was born out of controversy, and focused on unity as a way forward. The reality of Anglican welcome means that the issues which face us are here to stay.

For further information contact;
Revd Canon Giles Goddard: 07762 373 674 office@inclusivechurch.net
Revd Clare Herbert: 07504 577 210 herbert.clare@googlemail.com

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women bishops: two press releases

Inclusive Church has issued a press release, The vote for women bishops. A copy of the text is also below the fold.

WATCH has issued a press release. The text appears below.

WATCH Press Statement
WOMEN BISHOPS: A STEP CLOSER
9th July 2008 – for immediate release

The Church of England has been debating whether women should be ordained as deacons, priests and bishops for nearly 100 years, and today marks the beginning of what we hope is the 26th and final mile in the marathon of discussions and debates since then.

Yesterday the Church agreed to drawing up legislation for women bishops and also for a code of practice with arrangements for those who in conscience cannot accept the Episcopal ministry of a woman.

After 6¼ hours of debate, the House of Bishops Motion was passed by a substantial majority in all three houses. The Legislative Drafting Group for Women Bishops will now work on the legislation and on the contents of the code of practice, which will be debated in General Synod in February 2009.

In spite of the recent statement from the Vatican that Synod’s vote created new obstacles to unity between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, two facts remain: Rome’s official stance is still non-recognition of all Anglican orders, male and female, and the Anglican Church has had women bishops for the last 20 years. The question remains as to why the vote presents a fresh obstacle?

WATCH welcomes the outcome of the vote and rejoices that women will soon takes their place alongside men as bishops in the Church of England.

WATCH Chair and member of General Synod, Christina Rees said, “This is good news for the whole Church and for the nation we serve. Women will soon be able to bring their experience and gifts to the Episcopal leadership of our Church. We rejoice that God has led the Church to this moment.”

During the debate, Robert Key MP said that the people of England are making a judgment on us; a reference to how detached the church has become from the rest of society through refusing to make women bishops. The Bishop of Bath and Wells stressed that we need to trust each other and not have legislation.

Earlier this year, over 1,300 clergywomen signed a statement which was sent to all bishops in the Church of England, declaring that they wished the Church to proceed on a basis of trust and not law: that arrangements for those opposed to women bishops should be managed by the local diocesan bishop, be they male or female as is the case in the fifteen provinces which have already agreed to consecrate women to the episcopate. If such arrangements were enshrined in law then their response would be “thanks but no thanks”. It is to be hoped that the Statutory National Code of Practice requested by General Synod will reflect these concerns.

Contacts:
Christina Rees Chair, WATCH
Hilary Cotton Co-Vice Chair, WATCH

(more…)

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Midsummer opinions

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times that Christians read the handwritten word differently.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about The bare and desolate SPCK bookshops.

Chris Hardwick writes in the Guardian that It’s healthy for Christians to disagree, but we really must learn to ‘quarrel peacefully’.

Also in the Guardian this week:

Rowan Williams wrote about Henry Chadwick.

Riazat Butt wrote about The ‘pope’ of hope.

Giles Fraser wrote about Me and the secular police.

And over in the Church Times he wrote about Saying ‘no’ to distant government.

16 Comments

Church Services after Civil Partnerships

InclusiveChurch press release

Church Services after Civil Partnerships

20th June 2008

InclusiveChurch today publishes a paper by Revd Brian Lewis, a member of General Synod and of IC’s Executive Committee on the law in relation to services after Civil Partnerships. The paper demonstrates that under the laws of the Church of England – especially Canon B5 – clergy have far greater liberty in this area than is commonly thought. They are permitted to carry out services of prayer and dedication following a civil partnership so long as they are not deemed to be “Services of Blessing”. The paper is available here, or here as a PDF file.

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of Inclusive Church, said “We very much welcome this long overdue clarification of the law. It makes the distinction between marriages and civil partnerships and sets out what is permissible within the terms of Canon B5. We hope it will be helpful for clergy wishing to provide public services which respond prayerfully and pastorally to the needs of their congregations.”

The Revd Brian Lewis makes the comparison with the Service of Prayer and Dedication following a Civil Wedding (popularly described as a “A Church Blessing”). In these services the individuals are blessed without the service becoming “a Service of Blessing”.

3 Comments

Women, Communion and the Church

From Inclusive Church
Women, Communion and the Church

3rd April 2008

Inclusive Church (IC) is disappointed by the Church in Wales’ decision not to allow women to be bishops. But we are pleased that the Church in Wales resisted pressure for any arrangements which would have discriminated against women and which would have destroyed the unity and integrity of its episcopate.

Christina Rees, Chair of WATCH (Women and the Church) and member of IC’s Executive Committee said, “I applaud the leadership shown by Archbishop Barry Morgan and the Welsh bishops’ resolute decision not to compromise the principle of having women as bishops on the same basis as men are bishops.”

The vote on women bishops failed narrowly to get the required two-thirds majority in the house of clergy.

For IC, Revd. Dr Giles Fraser said: “People mustn’t get disheartened. This will go through. The Gospel points towards full inclusion and if that’s what the Gospel says, that’s what God wants. Therefore all will be well.”

Inclusive Church has prepared a statement celebrating the historic generosity of the Anglican Communion and calling for renewed unity among churches. Churches in agreement with the statement are asked to send an email to endorse@giftofcommunion.org listing the church’s name, parish, diocese and province.

It reads

“As Christians, we believe that all people have been made in the image of God. We believe that God loves each and every person with an infinite, never-ending, unconditional love.

As members of the body of Christ, we acknowledge each person’s unique and valuable contribution as we seek together to build up that body in love.

As members of the Anglican Communion, we celebrate the gift of our diversity and are committed to being a broad Church that accepts and welcomes difference. We acknowledge our need of God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings which harm our shared witness in the world. We believe our unity is rooted in our baptism in Christ, and we will seek to maintain that unity through the grace of the Holy Spirit who lives and works in each one of us.”

As the Lambeth Conference approaches – at a time of debate and discernment in our life together – we believe the best way forward will not include segregating or excluding those with whom we disagree.

This invitation is intended for churches, and not individuals and should have the agreement of Church Vestries or PCC’s. Questions or comments can be addressed to info@giftofcommunion.org.

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Gift of Communion

Inclusive Church has announced:

Celebrating the Gift of Communion

In advance of the Lambeth Conference we invite parishes to give thanks for the gift of the Anglican Communion, and to affirm their commitment to its historic generosity. At a time of debate and discernment in our life together we believe the best way forward will not include segregating or excluding those with whom we disagree.

If your church is in agreement with the following statement, please send an email to endorse@giftofcommunion.org listing your name, parish, diocese and province. Please make sure you have the agreement of your parish council or vestry before signing, and note that this invitation is intended for churches, and not individuals. If you have any questions or comments please address them to info@giftofcommunion.org. Please circulate this message to friends and networks.

“As Christians, we believe that all people have been made in the image of God. We believe that God loves each and every person with an infinite, never-ending, unconditional love.

As members of the body of Christ, we acknowledge each person’s unique and valuable contribution as we seek together to build up that body in love.

As members of the Anglican Communion, we celebrate the gift of our diversity and are committed to being a broad Church that accepts and welcomes difference. We acknowledge our need of God’s forgiveness for the sins and failings which harm our shared witness in the world. We believe our unity is rooted in our baptism in Christ, and we will seek to maintain that unity through the grace of the Holy Spirit who lives and works in each one of us.”

For more about this, read Scott Gunn at Seven whole days Put your congregation on record, support the gift of Communion.

For the most recent Inclusive Church newsletter, see here.

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two more items from the Chicago Consultation

The grace of communion, spelled with a small “c” is a talk given at the consultation by Dr Jenny Te Paa.

A new way in the wilderness is a sermon by the Very Revd Tracey Lind, Dean of Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, delivered upon her return from the consultation.

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more from the Chicago Consultation

Marilyn McCord Adams delivered a paper entitled “Shaking the Foundations: LGBT Bishops and Blessings in the Fullness of Time”.

Read the full text on Daily Episcopalian over here.

Read the Episcopal News Service report here.

Check at Episcopal Café for more papers soon.

97 Comments

The Chicago Consultation

Here’s the press release from: The Chicago Consultation

International Anglican group initiates “strategy of inclusion”

Chicago Consultation celebrates contributions of gay Christians, urges blessing of same-sex relationships, calls homophobia “a sin whose end time is now”.

(Evanston, Ill.) Anglicans from around the world met near Chicago last week to build international coalitions and develop a strategy for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the Church.

Meeting at Seabury-Western Seminary, Dec. 5-7, the 50-member group known as the Chicago Consultation urged leaders of the Episcopal Church to permit the blessing of same-sex relationships and to remove barriers that keep gay candidates from being elected as bishops.

“Some people call it the gay agenda, but we call it the Gospel Agenda,” said the Rev. Bonnie Perry, rector of All Saints Church, Chicago, co-convener of the Consultation. “We are asking our Church and our Communion to see what God has created and know that it is good.”

The Consultation also called upon the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, to invite Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as a full participant to the Lambeth Conference. Robinson, a member of the Consultation, is the only diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion living openly in a same-sex relationship.

“We wanted to affirm Gene,” said Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Diocese of Washington, “but we also wanted to affirm all of the anonymous gay and lesbian Christians who have graced the Church with their God-given gifts—even when the Church has been unwilling to receive them.”

Participants from Africa, England and New Zealand joined fellow Anglicans from Central, North and South America in pledging to work against schismatic leaders who have sought to gain power in the Communion by turning marginalized groups against one another.

“Homophobia is a sin whose end time is now,” said the Rev. Canon Marilyn McCord Adams, Regius Professor of Divinity at Christ Church, Oxford University, in a paper opening the consultation.

Human institutions are riddled with systemic evils, she said. “Our calling is to discern which ones are ripe for uprooting and to take the lead in eradicating them, beginning in the garden behind our own house!”

In three intensive days, punctuated by periods of silent prayer, participants heard papers by Adams, Bishop Stacy Sauls of the Diocese of Lexington, Dean Jenny Te Paa of St. John’s College, Auckland, New Zealand and the Rev. Frederick Quinn of Salt Lake City, Utah and began to develop strategies to advance the cause of full inclusion at the Lambeth Conference in July 2008, and at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim in 2009.

Te Paa also preached at a Eucharist celebrated with members of the Consultation and the seminary community.

While developing what they dubbed a “strategy of inclusion,” participants also voiced opposition to the current draft of a proposed Anglican Covenant, which would create a centralized governing body with authority over member Churches for the first time in the Communion’s history.

“There was tremendous energy in the plenary sessions, and even more in the breakout groups,” said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, academic dean at Seabury, and co-convener of the Consultation. “It was such a talented and committed group that eventually we abandoned some of the formal presentations and started identifying our priorities and making plans.”

Participants focused particular attention on building international coalitions to work against what the Rev. Mpho Tutu, executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage in Alexandria, Va., called “interlocking oppressions,” the web of economic, political and social factors that determine who has access to power, resources and social approval, and who does not.

“The issue is human suffering and the attitudes that cause it,” said Bishop Celso Franco de Oliveira of Rio de Janeiro.

Before adjourning, the group made plans to:

  • publish several of the papers it received on the Web site Episcopal Café (http://www.episcopalcafe.com/daily/)
  • establish a Web site
  • hire a part-time coordinator
  • support working groups on communications, fundraising and organizational strategy, as well as a group to identify and produce theological resources.

The consultation includes two Primates of the Anglican Communion—Archbishop Martin de Jesus Barahona of Central America and Archbishop Carlos Touche-Porter of Mexico, who was unable to attend due to illness; 12 bishops from the Episcopal Church, including 10 diocesan bishops or bishops-elect; four members of the Church’s Executive Council; numerous General Convention deputies, and representatives of groups such as Integrity, Claiming the Blessing and Inclusive Church.

Bonnie Anderson, president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, attended the consultation as an observer, and said she hopes other groups in the Church will invite her to their meetings in a similar capacity so that she can familiarize herself with their concerns.

Participants from other Churches in the Anglican Communion included the Very Rev. Victor Atta-Baffoe, dean of St. Nicholas College, Cape Coast, Ghana; Bishop Michael Ingham of the Diocese of New Westminster, Canada; Te Paa; the Rev. Jane Shaw, dean of divinity, New College, Oxford and the Rev. Giles Fraser, founder of Inclusive Church in the United Kingdom.

The steering committee was convened by Meyers and Perry and included Bishop Neil Alexander of Atlanta, who was unable to attend the meeting; Chane; the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Seabury-Western; the Rev. Gay Jennings, associate director of the CREDO Institute; Jim Naughton, canon for communications and advancement in the Diocese of Washington; Robinson and Fredrica Harris Thompsett, Mary Wolfe Professor of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School.

The consultation was supported by several grants, including one from the Arcus Foundation of Kalamazoo, Mich., which works to “achieve social justice that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race.” Following the conference, the group received a $60,000 grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Philadelphia, Pa., to support its future work.

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When signs signify

The text of the address given at the Drenched in Grace conference by the Revd Dr Louis Weil is now available at the Inclusive Church website.

Read it in full at When signs signify – the Baptismal Covenant in its sacramental context.

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Drenched in Grace: final press release

GLOBAL ANGLICANS SHARE CALL TO AN INCLUSIVE GOSPEL VISION AND MISSION

Inclusive Church supporters are drenched in grace and ready to embrace “costly unity”

Issued 26th November 2007

Last week, 180 people gathered in Derbyshire, England for “Drenched in Grace”, Inclusive Church’s first residential conference.

We met as Anglicans, committed to our church. We met as evangelicals and charismatics, as catholics, liberals and conservatives. We met at the Lord’s table – the unifying core of the conference. We reclaimed with confidence the orthodoxy of the inclusive Gospel we celebrate in the Anglican Communion.

We offered a model of engagement to the Communion at large. In our disagreements we acknowledged the primacy of God’s love in which we are all held together, but we did not keep silent about our differences.

Dr Jenny Te Paa (St John’s College, Auckland NZ) opened the conference. In a strong speech, Te Paa reminded us “how pervasive the reach of enmity has become amongst us.” She urged us “not so much to focus too intently and singularly on the bad behaviour of the few, but rather to focus anew on the very good behaviour of the many.”

Revd Dr Sharon Moughtin-Mumby in her talk “Out of the Silence” said “I believe it is vital for us to …. refuse to skip over the difficult and challenging or awkward passages of the Bible, just as in Inclusive Church we are committed to refusing to skip over those who can be made to feel like the difficult, challenging or awkward members of the people of God.”

Revd Dr Louis Weil (Berkeley, California) spoke about the central place baptism holds in our ecclesial understanding. Speaking of the sacraments of baptism and communion, he said “our obsession with validity has weakened the boldness of the sacramental signs. This creates a low level of expectation and weakens our understanding of mission.” We are in communion with one another by God’s grace, not by any human action. “I am in communion with Peter Akinola (the Archbishop of Nigeria)” he said. “I will remain in communion with Peter Akinola until we are both on the other side.”

Canon Lucy Winkett (St Paul’s Cathedral) spoke of the need to “forge relationships on the anvil of profound disagreement.” “The worry that we have as Anglicans is that our faith can be so driven by fear that our liturgy is tedious and our public pronouncements shrill and irrelevant.” In a powerful and wide ranging address she called for engagement with others across the theological spectrum.

Mark Russell, the Chief Executive of Church Army, sent us out into the world, calling passionately for the church to unite. “Unity is not saying that we will always agree with each other, unity is a deeper spiritual concept. Unity allows me to love my brothers and sisters even when I don’t always agree with them. Love allows me to hold difference and diversity.” He challenged us to “go from here, with a renewed vision to pursue a costly unity, and a vision to bring a gospel of hope to all.”

Many present are increasingly alienated and distanced from the church which they see as home. They are being rendered spiritually homeless. A common question was – why are our episcopal friends, who value and support classical Anglican comprehensiveness, so silent? Why do they, with few exceptions, leave the field clear to those who continually seek to undermine the Communion and deny its profound unity?

We have a Gospel to proclaim in a world disenchanted by the actions of those who proclaim a message which excludes. We invite them to meet with us, so that we can together move into the world with a vision of costly unity and hope for all in Jesus Christ.

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