Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The ridiculous ban on crucifixes will have Italians falling out of love with Europe

[...] The crucifix in the classroom risks provoking a rupture with a European bureaucracy my compatriots have come to see as invasive and intolerant.The government is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn its judgement last year that religious symbols in schools are an infringement of human rights. The crucifix, that symbol of a supreme self-sacrifice, is supposedly unacceptable in a European culture that allows schoolchildren to download homophobic rap lyrics, watch sexist (and in Italy, semi-pornographic) TV programmes, indulge in crass consumerist competitions over designer trainers, sunglasses and iPhones.

Even the most hedonistic Italians realise that tolerance for porn but not for a crucifix is wrong. The government’s appeal today sticks up two fingers to a court of so-called human rights that does not recognise the right to religious expression. Italians reject the anti-Christian culture that has infiltrated this court, and beyond it, the EU. Read more

Chelmsford FCA Steering Group meets

The Chelmsford FCA steering group met yesterday (29th June) to consider our future aims and programme.

Feedback from the launch meeting on the 16th June suggested that many of those who attended wanted to see more attention given to the question of Anglican ‘identity’ — what the things are that ought to define the Church of England, its membership and its ministry.

The consensus of the group was that our focus should be on the ‘big picture’ of Anglican orthodoxy, rather than always on ‘firefighting’ with regard to particular issues. At the same time, those special issues do need to be addressed, and there are many areas in which there is a need for action and mutual support.

The hope was expressed that the Fellowship could therefore operate on two levels — developing our understanding of ‘Confessional’ Anglicanism today, and supporting one another within the diocese as and when appropriate.

An initial gathering to look at the nature of Anglicanism is being considered for November this year, under the title "Anglican — by accident or design?"

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Outing of Anti-Gay Pastor Draws Criticism

The reaction was swift when Lavender Magazine, a biweekly for Minneapolis’s gay and lesbian community, reported in its current issue that an outspokenly anti-homosexual local pastor attended a support group for people who want to remain chaste despite same-sex attraction.

The pastor, Tom Brock, was put on leave from North Minneapolis’ Hope Lutheran, pending an investigation. The magazine, meanwhile is embroiled in a journalism ethics debate for sending its reporter undercover into the confidential support group. Read more

Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell will be Installed as Bishop of Chelmsford on 27 November 2010

The new Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, will be Installed in Chelmsford Cathedral on November 27 at 12 noon.

The Confirmation of Election of Bishop Stephen by the Archbishop of Canterbury will be held on October 6 (not September 2 as previously notified to the Diocese). The Confirmation will take place at St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, London EC2 at 4.30pm.

Bishop Stephen’s Homage, when he will be welcomed by Her Majesty The Queen, will be on 11 November.

Admission to the Installation Service will be by invitation only.


Saturday, 26 June 2010

Anglican Church League protests Katharine Jefferts Schori’s visit to Australia

The President of the Anglican Church League, the Rev Dr Mark Thompson, has issued this statement on behalf of the ACL’s Council:

We note with profound sadness that the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, has been invited to preach in a Brisbane church in early July. This invitation shows an appalling lack of judgment and contempt for those who have suffered at the hands of the revisionists in The Episcopal Church.

The Presiding Bishop has defied the vast majority of the Anglican Communion, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, by pursuing a program of moral and doctrinal revision, endorsing homosexual behaviour and approving the appointment of a lesbian bishop. Her actions have been taken in full awareness of the widespread international concern which has led to an official call for a moratorium on any such measures.

Read more

Friday, 25 June 2010

It is still not too late: the evangelical option

[...] The omens are not good, and we may have to look for viable alternatives. The Roman Catholic Ordinariate, so generously offered by Pope Benedict, may provide a welcome home for some, but I suspect that many others will not be able to bring themselves to deny the validity of their previous ministries by submitting themselves to reordination at the hands of a Church that has serious problems of its own to face. In addition, many Catholics will not want to be part of a Church that inevitably rules out a place for Evangelicals.

Evangelical umbrella

However, there is now another show in town that may commend itself more naturally to many of us. The GAFCON bishops, who represent a majority of the world’s Anglicans, as well as its most rapidly growing provinces, have a goodly number of Catholics as well as Evangelicals among their number. The Ghanaian bench spring readily to mind. Most GAFCON bishops do not ordain women to the priesthood and even among those who do, there is no appetite for consecrating women as bishops.

An understanding with GAFCON could provide us with an unambiguously Anglican future, but it would also link us organically to fellow Christians notable for their faith, orthodoxy, bravery and optimism. For us here in Britain, both Catholic and Evangelical, GAFCON could also reunite us in the Book of Common Prayer, which has been placed at the heart of this new global movement.

This would provide us with a genuine opportunity to flourish together in a Church that has renewed its focus on Word and Sacrament, which is, at it has always been, Anglicanism at its very best.

It is high time for us to place the GAFCON option alongside the Roman Ordinariate, and give each of them the careful and detailed consideration that they deserve. Read more

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Manchester Cathedral celebrates LGBT heritage of the city

The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, last night welcomed the city's LGBT community to Manchester Cathedral for a service to celebrate their heritage in the city. This was the second such service to take place, the first being in 2008.

Bishop McCulloch, along with the Dean of Manchester, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender, welcomed a large gathering of people all ages, including a man who had campaigned for gay equality in 1946 and teenagers still fighting prejudice in the city today. Read more

The St Barnabas Blog: Where do we go from here?

[...] This time last year I was utterly depressed when facing the future. What hope was there? All I could do, not wanting to abandon you, was pray that God would somehow open a door where Synod is busy slamming one in our faces. And in my wildest dreams I was not prepared for what happened next….

Despairing at modern Anglicanism and hearing our cries for help the Roman Catholics have done something historic. They have offered to create a new space for us within their own church. And whilst the Roman church is far from perfect it has retained the faith and it can guarantee sacramental assurance. How amazing this is! The lie is exposed- it is not those who have deliberately labelled us as intolerant bigots who are invited into communion with the largest Church on earth- it is us! The holy father is saying ‘look at those Christians there- the Anglo-Catholics- they are the ones being faithful. They are the ones I am happy to do business with!’

And what business they hope to do! The Catholics are showing incredible generosity allowing us to retain an Anglican patrimony. That is to say we need not be simply be subsumed into the RC church becoming RCs as we understand them today- no we are valuable enough to be left as we are. We will be allowed to live as a distinctly Anglican body with our own space and rules. We will be allowed married clergy, not just now but in the future. We will be allowed to keep our services as they are at the moment. We will be encouraged to carry on as we are just so long as we each agree to teach the Catechism. Which we always done here in any case.

This offer, and we will examine the practicalities and details in our next session, has changed our options forever. We are not being asked to swim the Tiber, instead a bridge has been erected. Rome is sending lifeboats to what it perceives is a sinking ship. Do we quibble about the colour, choose to go down with the vessel or hop on with thanksgiving? Thankful that by joining with Rome we are assured of a future that allows us to retain our history and culture?

Because make no mistake there are only three choices now, and one is a red-herring! Read more

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Archbishops' Intervention on Women Bishops

Draft Legislation on Women in the Episcopate

Amendment to be proposed to the draft Women in the Episcopate legislation by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

1. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Revision Committee for their dedicated and painstaking work. We wish, however — after much consideration, and after discussion in the House of Bishops — to offer legislative amendments to the Draft Measure which we believe might provide a way forward for the Church of England. We want as many people as possible to feel that there is good news for them in this process, and we hope that what we are suggesting may help secure the broadest degree of support for the legislation without further delaying the process of scrutiny and decision.

2. Successive General Synod debates have produced clear majorities in favour of admitting women to the episcopate in the Church of England. At the same time, a number of motions have also shown a widespread desire to proceed in a way that will maintain the highest possible degree of communion within the Church of England between those who differ on the substantive point, reflecting the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution that “those who dissent from as well as those who assent to the ordination of women to the Priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans”.

3. The issue that has proved most difficult to resolve in securing these two objectives has been that of “jurisdiction”. Once women become bishops, it will be possible to maintain something like the present “mixed economy” in the Church of England only if there is provision for someone other than the diocesan bishop to provide episcopal oversight for those who are unable to accept the new situation. The need for such provision is widely accepted. But what is still much debated is what should be the basis in law for the authority exercised by a bishop in this kind of ministry.

4. The various approaches so far explored have all taken for granted that there is a simple choice between either deriving this authority from the diocesan by way of delegation or removing some part of the diocesan’s jurisdiction so as to confer it on a bishop who then exercises authority (“ordinary jurisdiction”) in his own right.

5. The amendments we intend to propose involve neither delegation nor depriving a diocesan of any part of his or her jurisdiction. Instead we seek to give effect to the idea of a “co-ordinate” jurisdiction.

6. What this would mean is that:

* the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop — whether male or female — remains intact; he or she would remain the bishop of the whole area of the diocese and would be legally entitled to exercise any episcopal function in any parish of the diocese;

* where a parish had requested arrangements, by issuing a Letter of Request, the diocesan would in practice refrain from exercising certain of his or her functions in such a parish, and would leave the nominated bishop to exercise those functions in the parish in question;

*the legal authority of the nominated bishop to minister in this way would derive from the Measure itself — and would not, therefore, be conferred by way of delegation; but the identity of such a bishop and the scope of his functions would be defined by the scheme made by the diocesan for his or her diocese, in the light of the provisions contained in the national statutory Code of Practice drawn up by the House of Bishops and agreed by General Synod;

*thus both the diocesan and the nominated bishop would possess “ordinary jurisdiction”; the diocesan would retain the complete jurisdiction of a diocesan in law, and the nominated bishop would have jurisdiction by virtue of the Measure to the extent provided for in the diocesan scheme — in effect holding jurisdiction by the decision of the Church as a whole, as expressed in the Measure;

*in respect of the aspects of episcopal ministry for which the diocesan scheme made provision, the diocesan and the nominated bishop would be “co-ordinaries”, and to that extent, their jurisdiction could be described as co-ordinate — that is to say, each would have an ordinary jurisdiction in relation to those matters; and

*the Code of Practice would contain guidelines for effective co-ordination of episcopal functions so as to avoid duplication or conflict in the exercise of episcopal ministry.

7. The amendments needed to achieve all this will be brief and will not involve a radical rewriting of the draft legislation. They are likely to be confined to Clauses 2 and 5 of the Draft Measure and are consistent with its overall structure. They would not require a further Revision Committee stage.

8. Thus if they were passed — and subject to decisions reached by General Synod on amendments tabled by other members — the way would still be clear to refer the legislation to diocesan synods if the Revision Stage is successfully completed in July. As the recent statement from the House of Bishops makes clear, the Archbishops and most of the House are persuaded that delay would not be wise or helpful.

9. Since the amendments would not divest the diocesan bishop of any jurisdiction, they would involve no change in the Church of England’s understanding of the episcopate. But for those seeking ministry under this provision from a nominated male bishop, there would no longer be the difficulty that this authority was derived in law from an act of delegation by an individual diocesan.

10. An arrangement whereby two people have jurisdiction in relation to the same subject matter would not be unique. For example, the High Court and the Charity Commission each has jurisdiction to make schemes for the reorganisation of charities. Many courts and other bodies have overlapping jurisdictions.

11. Such situations are often described as “concurrent” jurisdiction — though this should not be understood in the sense of two different courts acting at the same time in relation to the same things, simply as meaning two authorities possessing jurisdictions that exist side by side. We prefer the term “co-ordinate” as less likely to give rise to confusion.

12. Where there are cases of concurrent jurisdiction in the law, procedural rules and rules of practice have had to be developed to avoid two authorities acting at the same time on the same matters. Similarly, our amendments will require the Code of Practice to give guidance on arrangements for co-ordinating the exercise of ministry as between the diocesan bishop and the nominated bishop under the diocesan scheme. The diocesan retains the freedom to amend the diocesan scheme from time to time after consultation with the diocesan synod.

13. Since 1994, the Church of England has managed to operate a practical polity that reflects continuing differences over the question of the priestly ministry of women. This has been possible not only because of the framework created by General Synod through the 1993 Measure and the Act of Synod but also because a great many people on all sides have wanted to make it work.

14. We are convinced that the small but significant changes we are proposing will make it easier for the statutory framework and Code of Practice emerging from the legislative process to create a climate in which mutual trust and common flourishing across the Church of England can be nourished, in a situation where for the first time, all orders of ordained ministry are open to women and men alike.

15. We believe that the amendments secure two crucial things:

* that women ordained to the episcopate will enjoy exactly the same legal rights as men within the structures of the Church of England and that there will be no derogation of the rights of any diocesan bishop, male or female; and

* that those who request oversight from a nominated bishop under a diocesan scheme will be able to recognise in them an episcopal authority received from the whole Church rather than through delegation or transfer from an individual diocesan.

16. It will be for General Synod to reach a view on these proposals, as on each of the many amendments offered by Synod members. We commend our suggestions to you for prayer and reflection, in the hope that we may emerge from the July Group of Sessions with a sense that the full diversity of voices in the Church of England has been duly heard and attended to.

+Rowan Cantuar:
+Sentamu Ebor:
20 June 2010

Monday, 21 June 2010

Ed Tomlinson's Blog: York and Canterbury rally!?

It is no secret that many bishops are in a bit of a panic about this summer’s debate over women bishops and fear the loss of many traditionalists. According to reports in the Daily Mail both the Archbishop of York and the Archbishop of Canterbury now plan to intervene in the forthcoming debate over women bishops by demanding greater provision for opponents whose needs will not be met if the conclusions of the revision committee come into force. Quite what the Archbishops will propose is not made clear and nor is there any guarantee that synod will listen to their plea but at least it shows that they understand the plight of those being forced into the fringes of ecclesial life.

What is the English Anglo-Catholic to make of this latest twist in a very long saga? Most importantly what will the impact of this public support be on the emerging Ordinariate? The answer depends on which of three camps an individual occupies at present. Perhaps it helps us to name them: Read more

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Dean of Southwark Cathedral preaches on Presiding Bishop's controversial visit

[...] It seems to me that love must, by its essential nature, be always unconditional. We welcome Katharine Jefferts Schori to this pulpit because we love our sisters and brothers in the Episcopal Church of the United States; not because she is female, or a woman bishop ahead of us, or has permitted a practising lesbian to become a bishop (As it happens she couldn’t have stopped it after all the legal and proper canonical electoral processes resulted in the election and nomination), we welcome her because she is our sister in Christ.

The lesson from the Hebrew Scriptures is enormously topical. Disaffected Anglicans have been threatening to ‘walk separate ways’ for many months. Abram and Lot travel together and their herdsmen bicker and fight, in modern translation there is 'strife' between them. They reach agreement to take separate paths and settle down and so their mutual belonging as members of one family is secured. [...]

It may be that some Anglicans will decide to walk a separate path. I believe the Chapter and congregation of this church will walk the same path as the Episcopal Church of America, the links are deep in our history, especially here. Their actions in recent months have been entirely in accord with the Anglican ways of generosity and breadth. They have tried to ensure everyone is recognised as a child of God. They have behaved entirely in accord with their canon laws and their freedom as an independent Province of the Church, not imposing or interfering with others with whom they disagree but proceeding steadily and openly themselves. Read more