Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 12 December 2020

Adrian Thatcher Modern Church Living in Love and Faith

Savitri Hensman ViaMedia.News LLF: The Cost of Careless Talk and Needless Silence

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Safeguarding and the LGBTIQ+ Christian vision in the LLF process

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Smyth’s Bystanders and Enablers

Peter Collier Church Times Flawed clergy discipline is ripe for reform
“Measure to be proposed would deal with complaints regionally, and be more pragmatic and theologically sound”

Susan Gilchrist Church Times The barriers to listening need to be broken down
“The Living in Love and Faith process will work only if Anglicans pay attention to the stories of real people, not sectional viewpoints”

Siôn B E Rhys Evans Priors

Ian Paul Psephizo What is the vision and strategy of the Church of England?

John Barton Modern Church The Bible in Living in Love and Faith

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Kate
Kate
4 months ago

“Unless the connexion is made between the culture that allows and covers up sexual abuse and the culture that tolerates homophobia, transphobia and gynophobia, there will be no peace in the church. Neither should there be.” -Adrian Thatcher   I am unsure whether LLF is the key to unlocking our differences in the understanding of marriage. What does seem clear is that the CEEC and Christian Concern videos have forced safeguarding within the church for LGBTQ+ people, homophobia and transphobia to the fore. Colin Coward suggests that the Next Steps Group needs to present definitions of homophobia and transphobia. Correct,… Read more »

Kate
Kate
4 months ago

“It is not very easy to read off exactly how, for example, the Church Commissioners should be dispersing their income from the pages of the New Testament!” – Ian Paul
 
One thing I find unattractive about the evangelical position is the assertion that the Bible is definitive on sexuality but not on wealth.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Unattractive, but nothing new.
People have an infinite capacity to find things they agree with in the Bible, while ignoring those passages they find unpalatable.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

To the website editor, the “edit” function isn’t working properly. If I click on “Edit”, I do not see the comment I just wrote.

So Kate, forgive this re-write as a second comment:

People have an infinite capacity to nod approvingly at passages of the Bible that confirm their worldview (sexuality in your example), while ignoring anything that possibly contradicts their worldview (wealth).

Froghole
Froghole
4 months ago

These articles are mostly about the Church’s ongoing, Laocoon-like, struggle with the inter-related issues of sexuality, authority and decline (sex and death, if you like). It seems to me, a propos Prof. Barton’s customarily thought-provoking remarks, that there are structural reasons for the continuing friction between conservative hermeneutics and life as it is lived by a large section of the population, and that these tensions go some way to explain why the Church, and other forms of religion, are declining so rapidly in advanced economies. I have found this useful: https://blog.oup.com/2020/12/why-is-religion-suddenly-declining/. Essentially, in the days when the absence of antibiotics… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
4 months ago
Reply to  Froghole

Froghole. Im sure you are absolutely right. But I would add that the invention and widespread availability of the contraceptive pill has ensured the separation of sexual intercourse from the risk of consequential pregnancy and child bearing and transformed sexual activity into something enjoyable for its own sake. ‘Recreational sex’ if you like. This is so opposed to the Christian sacralisation of sexual activity limited only to procreation and otherwise strictly controlled and tamed by the fiction of mutual help and comfort, or the avoidance of ‘sin’ that the Church literally just doesn’t know what to do. Uncontrolled sexual activity… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
4 months ago
Reply to  Richard Ashby

The Roman Catholic Church restricts sexual intercourse to procreation – or tries to – but the Church of England does not.

Why is ‘mutual help and comfort’ in marriage a fiction?

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
4 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Sorry, badly phrased and mis- remembered. I really mean ‘remedy against sin.

Stanley Monkhouse
4 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

“The Roman Catholic Church restricts sexual intercourse to procreation”. Not really. If it did, it would restrict intercourse to the UNsafe period. It’s all ridiculous anyway, What amazes me is that some people abide by silly church rules. Delight is hard enough to come by for many people. When it does, they do well to enjoy it with as many anatomical organs as possible.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
4 months ago

Saintly, but not yet canonised, Pope John Paul I is reported to have said (of celibate priests) something along the lines of “What do we know about these matters?”.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
3 months ago

Back in the day when the the C of E frowned upon contraception a confessor in one of London’s AC shrines was reputed to say to penitents who had transgressed in this way: “For your penance, have an extra half-hour in bed.”

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
4 months ago

Re: Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Smyth’s Bystanders and Enablers “As an individual he [The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church Oxford] was subject to an expensive legal process by a group of vindictive colleagues. Having negotiated that, after being found innocent by a retired judge, he then went on to experience the weight of the Church’s core group process. Somehow his accusers had manipulated the system so that he was placed in the role of a perpetrator. Thus, over a period of two years, Martyn had to stand up to two well-funded institutions trying to crush him. Anyone looking on would quickly conclude… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Kate
Kate
4 months ago

“Extensive codes of conduct are not necessary to judge what is serious misconduct. You know it when you see it (obvious instances are sexual abuse, adultery, and theft).”
 
All very well but since many parts of the church including bishops have wildly different views on what is acceptable treatment of women and LGBTI+ people, failure to have codes would result in a postcode lottery.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
4 months ago
Reply to  Kate

TW: references to sexual crimes against children “Extensive codes of conduct are not necessary to judge what is serious misconduct. You know it when you see it (obvious instances are sexual abuse, adultery, and theft).” I agree, I think it’s more complex than that. The precise definition of what is and is not “sexual abuse” is at the heart of the Peter Ball affair: what the survivors, the police and George Carey regarded as “abuse” was wildly different. If you assume good faith on the part of Carey — which I’m not sure I do — he was essentially guilty… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Interested Observer
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
4 months ago

what the survivors, the police and George Carey regarded as “abuse” was wildly different. If you assume good faith on the part of Carey — which I’m not sure I do — he was essentially guilty of the same failing as Whoopi Goldberg, when she dismissed Roman Polanski’s crimes as not being “rape rape”.’ .As I understand it, from watching the live IICSA hearings on Peter Ball, it was not a question of Archbishop Carey, Prince Charles, Lord Lloyd and others minimising the seriousness of Ball’s abuse; they believed the accusations to be false. They were wrong and the consequences… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
4 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

“they believed the accusations to be false.”

I rather got the impression that the truth or falsehood was somewhat irrelevant to Carey; he believed that the behaviour complained of was not criminal anyway. So in Carey’s eyes either Ball had done nothing, or Ball had done something which was not criminal. I might be mis-remembering, though.

Last edited 4 months ago by Interested Observer
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
4 months ago

“I rather got the impression that the truth or falsehood was somewhat irrelevant to Carey…”

Stop peddling libelous nonsense with your vague impressions, ‘Interested Observer’. Read the relevant section of the IICSA proceedings.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
3 months ago

Indeed. I have refreshed my memory, and I refer you to 24 July 2018, Page 27. Yes, I agree. Just to qualify that particular point,10 and I quote it in my statement, and that is to do with11 that I didn’t think it was rape. I didn’t regard it as12 penetrative sex. I regarded it as more narcissistic13 relationships, rather pathetic, but still bad, still14 wrong. You’re right, I think we were misled by that to15 say it didn’t, to many of us, think — we didn’t think16 it was all that important, therefore. I think we were17 wrong about that. So which part of “truth or falsehood… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

George Carey: “I regarded it as more narcissistic relationships, rather pathetic, but still bad, still wrong”

‘Interested Observer’: “I rather got the impression that the truth or falsehood was somewhat irrelevant to Carey”

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
3 months ago

Thank you, IO. The transcript of Lord Carey’s evidence can be found here https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents/6029/view/public-hearing-transcript-24-july-2018.pdf. I have to admit I was thinking of his response to the first allegations against Ball, which he discusses on p. 24f. As for the section on the seriousness of non-penetrative sexual behaviour, Counsel herself says that a number of witness statements made the same point, and this seemed to be a common assumption in the Church at the time. In fact, I shared it myself. It wasn’t until I began my MPhil research in 1995 – coincidentally, the year the CofE first issued child protection… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
3 months ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

It’s interesting in the evidence given George Carey admits to previous action to stop someone being ordained and the lawyer makes the point there was experience and action taken to stop someone who needed to be stopped. What strikes anyone reading the full transcript is the number of people who did not pass on information/letters or who actively supported Ball and down played the seriousness of his actions, the police inquiry and the caution given. Carey is not alone – he is the one who had to give evidence. The lawyer does draw attention to the fact this is an… Read more »

Clare Amos
4 months ago

I appreciate John Barton’s comments. He has succinctly (even if deliberately slightly obliquely) drawn attention to the key issue that I believe lies behind the agony of the current Anglican debate about sexuality. A decade ago I worked for the Anglican Communion Office for a number of years in various capacities. One of my role was to coordinate the Network for Interfaith Concerns which worked in the area of interreligious dialogue. Taking interfaith dialogue and engagement seriously can also be considered problematic in some parts of the Anglican Communion. One of my colleagues in the Network once commented to me… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Clare Amos
Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
4 months ago

This morning we have learnt that Dean Jeffrey John is leaving St Albans Abbey for St George’s, Paris. A loss to the Church of England of a fine priest whom the Church has not always served well. I am sure TA will wish Jeffrey and Grant well.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
4 months ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

St George’s Paris is part of the Church of England: one of many chaplaincies of the Diocese in Europe.

ACI
ACI
4 months ago

Yes, this is the modest sized, anglo-catholic congregation in the 16th. Archdeaconry of France.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
4 months ago

Thanks, Simon. Careless of me. I should add that Jeffrey John is also respected as a NT scholar, not least by many Evangelicals.

Tim Chesterton
4 months ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

Certainly by this evangelical, who is glad to wish him and Grant well.

Froghole
Froghole
4 months ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

Many thanks! Further to ACI’s useful point, when I went there the congregation numbered a bit over thirty; it’s slightly odd, as the old church was taken down in 1973 and the new church was located in the basement of a block of flats which I assume is owned by the diocese or congregation, and whose rents hopefully sustain it. The congregation used to depend very much on the diplomatic and mercantile community, but that now seems rather less the case. Support from the British embassy has been variable: for example, I dimly recall there being an amusing scene in… Read more »

ACI
ACI
4 months ago
Reply to  Froghole

I said ‘modest sized’ so as not to be (unduly!) reproached. Your estimate is accurate. It is a bit odd for those used to stand-alone buildings to see the arrangements for St G’s (and also the ‘evangelical’ St Michael’s) housed inside otherwise dominant/principle buildings. Law of 1905. The American Church in the 7th predates that (impressive, Presbyterian roots, on Left Bank), and the TEC parish across the river. The latter is ‘modest’ in size of congregation. The former more ‘impressive’ in terms of programme and profile.

As for the Diocese in Europe given Brexit….

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

Correction. The present impressive edifice, ‘American Church’ in the 7th, on Quai d’Orsey, was completed in 1930. It was founded in the 19th century. The American Cathedral, as a structure, is older. They are both handsome self-standing properties of the kind that era erected. St George’s and St Michael’s are worship spaces inside non ecclesial edifices. The former has a kind of ‘outpost’ in Caen. The latter helped support St Luke’s in Fontainebleau at its origins but they are independent now. How Brexit will affect all this is a moving target, as one might imagine.

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

It could be said that St George’s has adopted a model which could well be appropriate for our times. A church building doesn’t have to be the stand-alone building, preferably Gothic in style, to which we have all become accustomed. Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester adopted a similar model. This provides an appropriate space and facilities for a modern church community without the vast cost of maintaining an old and cold building. Dr Seitz often comments on the small size of x church or y congregation. This is not always relevant. If a small congregation is able to create… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Daniel Lamont
ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lamont

I was trying to avoid saying ‘small’….

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
4 months ago
Reply to  Froghole

I believe there is also a Malagasy Anglican congregation who use the church.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
3 months ago
Reply to  Froghole

Intriguingly, there was a passing reference in yesterday’s sermon to St George’s numbering several French communicants among the faithful. Perhaps this mirrors the Church of Ireland making more than is needed of a few RC converts. Or am I being cynical?

Stanley Monkhouse
3 months ago
Reply to  Allan Sheath

Not cynical. I (an ex C of I layman and Rector) certainly think the C of I “bigs up” the Catholic convert propaganda. There may be a few such converts amongst the chattering moneyed classes in the posh parts of Dublin, Cork, Galway, but in the small towns and rural areas (most of the republic, so) there are next to none. As Rector of Portlaoise I was on excellent terms with the Catholics who were very supportive of me. I even had some lay catholics come to our services and study groups occasionally, but for them to have “converted” would… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
3 months ago

Ian Paul – ‘We will also need to step away from the dominance of questions of sexuality in our use of time and energy; for many at the moment, this is an indulgent concern of what looks like a metropolitan elite, when there are far more pressing questions to be dealt with’. There are, of course, many lgbti+ people in the deprived communities of this country who will also be concerned about the value and legitimacy of their place in society and the church. And there is no hierachy of oppression. ‘metroplitan elite’ – a term of abuse straight out… Read more »

Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard Ashby

Quite right to call this out for what it is. I’m neither metropolitan nor elite, yet for me what could possibly be more pressing than to see justice and righteousness prevail for all who continue to be stigmatised and abused by those who will not acknowledge the continuing scandal of the Church of England’s failure to recognise, welcome and value their legitimacy. As a lifelong Anglican it grieves me to hear or read voices such as Ian Paul’s, but then perhaps people like me grieve him? As retirement beckons I seriously wonder if I will want to remain a member… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
3 months ago
Reply to  Just Sayin'

Retirement is great. It gives one the more detatched perspective of seeing the Church as an outsider. With PTO, one is allowed to pop in when required, at the same time seeing the CofE as becoming more irrelevant and ludicrous,
making one glad to be out of it. I’m happy to help out for old time’s sake – but certainly wouldn’t join it again if I had my time over.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
3 months ago

Re-reading all the discussion here about LLF and the treatment of the LGBTQ community in the Church of England, I have come to the conclusion that ACNA and GAFCON may have done The Episcopal Church in the USA an enormous favor, without quite realizing it. By separating from us, by declaring they want nothing to do with us, they have relieved us of this discussion and allowed us to deal with the real issues for Christian life in the 21st Century: hunger, homelessness, ethnic strife, climate change (and the ecological stewardship it requires)–in other words, the necessity to love our… Read more »

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

Of course, these other anglican entities are quantitatively inferior in concrete outcomes vis-a-vis TEC. Facts?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

I’d hazard a guess that most commenters on this site are in total agreement with the inclusive form of Anglicanism propagated by TEC. Why is quantity preferable to quality, and why does ACI show such antipathy to TEC?

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

I was simply curious whether that accusation had any genuine foundation. Who said anything about size? TEC is larger than the bodies Mr O’Neill was criticizing. I await stats to back up the charge. And, I am in TEC…

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

As Father David notes, how many adherents you have is not necessarily the mark of successful Christianity.

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

And TEC has more than those you criticized for not being as effective at hunger, et al. I doubt that. It is what is called a strawman.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

I never said ACNA and GAFCON were not effective at those forms of outreach and charity. My point was that, by taking their opposition to same-sex marriage and ordination off into their own little corner, they had allowed both TEC and themselves to focus instead on the issues and crises I noted.

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

“By separating from us, by declaring they want nothing to do with us, they have relieved us of this discussion and allowed us to deal with the real issues for Christian life in the 21st Century: hunger, homelessness, ethnic strife, climate change (and the ecological stewardship it requires…”

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

Fine. Perhaps I should have said “both of us”….

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

I agree. As a ordained Priest in TEC (alongside grandfather, uncle, father, two brothers) I would struggle to identify TEC as demonstrably more engaged with the poor, homeless, racially non-White, than ACNA, much less scores of other denominations on the US landscape. The local ACNA parish near us has the best prison ministry I have seen in my long experience in the northeast, mid-atlantic and south. Merry Christmas

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

It sounds as if you’d be happier if you joined these other so-called ‘Anglican’ entities.

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

And you’d obviously be happier joining whatever Anglican “party” confirms your own species. Consumer choice. I don’t shop for anglicanisms. If it becomes clear that a CofE centered Communion no longer makes any Catholic sense, then that will be probative. And if the center collapses, it will move elsewhere. Then one will have to decide whether the historical ‘catholic’ claims have been evacuated, on the ground. That is where we are. TEC is a tiny denomination on a vast landscape of consumer choices in the USA. It will struggle. The CofE is a bit further on the struggle spectrum. It… Read more »

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

What favorable views we can concoct for ourselves, as against ‘them.’ The 19th century founder of the REC (now in ACNA) insisted that they encourage African American ordinands. Decades before the ‘elite’ PECUSA of its day. That body continues to have more African Americans than TEC by a factor of 5 or more. I had lunch the other day with Scott Hafemann, NT prof from St Andrews. He retired and moved to Savannah to take care of elderly parents. He told me he was worshiping at Christ Church (the erstwhile colonial parish in historic Savannah, which was evicted after losing… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

Christ Church Episcopal Church, Savannah is part of the Anglican Communion. It did not evict secessionists who broke away to join a sectarian group and who attempted to usurp historic property which wasn’t theirs. ACI is being economical with the truth in rehearsing this hackneyed argument. Sadly he is defending a sect which claims a putative moral superiority. That’s why they left the Anglican Communion.

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Economical with truth has your copy-right. The vast bulk of that congregation is now Christ Church Anglican (est 1773). Google is your friend. And they are serving the hungry, homeless, et al in a new location. Moral superiority was the premise of us TEC versus them ACNA that started this thread.

I see you left the REC example alone. Properly so.

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

87% of the Christ Church Savannah congregation voted to leave and did just that. They are a thriving Christ Church Anglican (est 1773). The congregation is the Body of Christ, not an historic edifice in which a small portion stayed.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

I think you mean the secessionists established themselves in 2007 when they left the Anglican Communion. Those who remained trace their foundation to 1773. Arguing which group is the most ‘Christian’ is a matter of opinion.

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Take it to court. You cannot claim that if it is not true. TEC would never allow it. The 13% in the colonial edifice would not allow it. They allow it because it is true, and because Christ Church is a congregation of Christians which is now serving God and neighbor in a new neighborhood. Thank you for calling attention to this via your comments.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

I have no idea what this comment means.

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

I do not doubt your being unable to understand.

Christ Church Anglican has on its masthead, est 1773.

You claimed (from a different continent) that was not true.

Christ Church Anglican cannot just ‘assert’ that — if they did so and it was not true, they would be legally challenged.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
3 months ago
Reply to  ACI

I could equally claim the Church of England was established in the First Century AD. This would conveniently ignore its split from the RC Church. Having a date above the door means absolutely nothing, both factually and legally. Only Christ Church Episcopal can claim an historical succession.

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

You don’t understand. This is precisely what is being litigated in SC. You cannot state that you are the historic congregation of 1773 if you are making that claim independently of the building. TEC has sued to prevent it in SC. So Christ Church Anglican has succeeded in making just that claim.

(As for the Church of England, property was simply commandeered. By force. Abbeys were looted. Read “Stripping of the Altars.” It happily took on a new name and identity. If you want to use this as an analogy be my guest).

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
3 months ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

I think it is fair to say that both sides claim a putative moral superiority, at least on the subject of same-sex relationships. ACNA and GAFCON claim it on a basis of strict adherence to literal reading of certain Biblical verses. TEC claims it on a liberal reading of Jesus’ two great commandments, specifically as applied to those who are members of the LGBTQ community.

Which is, indeed, the superior moral position I leave to each reader. I know which one I find superior.

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat O'Neill

Christian claims to ‘superiority’ are wrong tout court. I am not a member of ACNA. But I also did not claim superiority on the basis of alleged good works. Of the Uses of the Law, the second always brings us to our knees. Then we can be clothed. All that is pure gift from God the Holy Spirit

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
3 months ago

I am glad that an ACNA parish does excellent prison ministry. I suspect there are many others that do excellent prison ministry work as well. This week the Los Angeles Times had a long article about prison chaplaincies that primarily focused on an Episcopal monk (including all three pictures) whose order does outstanding prison work. I know several other people in this diocese who have done prison ministry for years and have done it well. I am quite sure there are a number of other local people and parishes doing prison ministry that I know nothing about. I’m not sure… Read more »

ACI
ACI
3 months ago
Reply to  dr.primrose

I agree. Ministry like this flows from the nail wounds of a Saviour.

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