Posted by The_Elves

It's been a busy season for news from the Church of England. Below are just a few of the recent important stories about the CoE General Synod, the Women's Bishop vote, the Assisted Dying debate, the new Baptismal liturgy, and more..

You can find all CoE posts using the Church of England category link.
For more on Assisted Dying, check out the life ethics category or the ethics/moral theology category..
For more on women bishops, use the CoE bishops category

Links below are from the period July 7 - July 21. Some earlier stories of note may be found in our July 8: Other recent featured entries post.

Featured Entries:
July 18: Russian Orthodox Church Statement on Unilateral CofE Women Bishops Decision
July 14: May I Vote or Should I Go? Transcript CofE Synod Friday Afternoon Women Bishops
July 11: CofE General Synod 11th to 15th July 2014 Links
July 10: Papers for Business at Church of England General Synod which Begins Tomorrow

Assisted Dying:
([A Terrifying] Economist Leader) Most Western people favour assisted suicide, change the law
The assisted dying debate has been dominated by Christian voices – sadly in disagreement
Latest: House of Lords allows Assisted Dying Bill to proceed
Archbishop John Sentamu Speaks Against Assisted Dying bill today
(Guardian) Legalising assisted suicide is a mistake I learned from my wife’s death says Bishop Inge
(Telegraph) Follow the Assisted dying debate in the House of Lords—live
“Assisted Dying”: Archbp Welby signs faith leaders’ statement against Lord Falconer’s Bill
(Telegraph) Michael Nazir-Ali—Lord Carey’s judgment on assisted dying is un-Christian
Jeffrey Bishop—The Hard Work of Dying: Refusing the False Logic of Physician-Assisted Death
(Observer) Desmond Tutu: a dignified death is our right – I am in favour of assisted dying
(BBC) Assisted dying: The Church of England seeks inquiry
Peter Saunders—Why Lord Carey is so desperately wrong about legalising assisted suicide
(Bishop of Leeds) Nick Baines—Dying matters
(Church Times) Archbishop Welby and Lord Carey part ways on assisted dying
George Carey-Why I’ve changed my mind on assisted dying says a former Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop Justin Welby writes for The (London) Times arguing against the Assisted Dying Bill
A Pastoral Letter on the Assisted Dying Bill from the Bishop of Shrewsbury (Mark Davies)
(C of E) Malcolm Brown on Assisted Suicide—Is the choice to be killed the same as choosing a car ?
(Telegraph) Charles Moore—If ‘dying with dignity’ is legalised, soon it will be expected

Women Bishops
(The Tablet) Ruth Gledhill on the Women Bishops Vote in General Synod
Rod Thomas writes Reform members in response to the York General Synod
Statement by Forward in Faith North America
Interfax: Russian Church chagrined by Church of England vote allowing women to be bishops
(Church Times) General Synod delivers a confident vote for women bishops
Albert Mohler: ‘Get with the Program’ — The Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops
[WATCH] We will behave like our hero the TEC Presiding Bishop - CofE women bishop hopefuls
(Ephraim Radner) What Women Bishops Mean For Christian Unity
A Pastoral Letter from the Council of Bishops of The Society on the Women Bishops Vote
(TLC) Key Moments in C of E Synod’s Debate on Women Bishops
(RC Church in Eng. and Wales) A Statement on Women Bishops and the C. of England
(Lambeth Palace PR) C of E approves women bishops
(BBC) Church of England General Synod backs women bishops
NCR: Church of England’s Impending Ordination of Women Bishops Poses Ecumenical Challenge
[John Bingham] Women Bishops: What are the issues?

Other Stories:
(CEN) Yes to new Baptismal service
Church Times’ Paul Handley talks to TEC’s Katharine Jefferts Schori, the only woman Primate
Bishop of Sheffield orders Welby Facilitated Conversations on Sexual Immorality in Communion/CofE
Lee Gatiss: What does ‘flourishing’ actually mean?
(RNS) Church of England kicks the devil out of baptism rite
Archbishop Justin Welby at Synod, speaking on the common good
Church of England Church Commissioners confirm Wonga exit
(Church Times) A Chaplain is blocked from new post after same-sex marriage

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Culture-WatchLife Ethics* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 21, 2014 at 5:43 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Statement by Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations regarding the decision of the Church of England to allow women to serve as bishops

At the session that took place on the 14th of July 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England made a decision allowing women to serve as bishops. The Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations is authorized to make the following statement in this regard:
The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the 19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association, sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”

The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.

Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.
In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established by Eternal and Immutable God.

The Russian Orthodox Church regrets to state that the decision allowing the elevation of women to episcopal dignity impedes considerably the dialogue between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, which has developed for many decades, and contributes for further deepening of divisions in the Christian world as a whole.

Read it all and also this and you can find the response of the Catholic Church in England and Wales here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:03 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A priest tasked with leading one church which accepts women bishops and another which refuses them had to be blessed by two bishops, all in one service.

The Reverend Carl Peters’ new job will see him take charge of St John’s Church in Brandon, County Durham, which supports female priests and bishops, and St Luke’s in nearby Ushaw Moor, which rejects both.

Hence, he had to be formally licensed both by the Right Revered Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow, and the Rt Rev Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverley, whose job includes providing pastoral care for opponents of women bishops within the Durham diocese.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted July 22, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new legislation is simpler and based on Christian understandings of trust. Crucially, it includes a commitment for diocesan bishops to abide by five guiding principles, to take proper care of and provide oversight for dissenters, with recourse to an independent reviewer, or ombudsman, to resolve disputes. This was a concept introduced to steering-group discussions by Dr Philip Giddings, the leading conservative Evangelical, who specialised in politics and the work of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. His speech to synod, where he committed himself to vote in favour, coming as it did early in the debate, was influential in securing the result.

Even the Catholic group seemed happy, relatively speaking, with the result. Canon Simon Killwick, the chairman, remained deeply concerned for the wider unity of the whole Church but “pleased that the spirit of reconciliation continued to be displayed during the debate”. Archbishop Bernard Longley, chairman of dialogue and unity for the Catholic bishops, reiterated the goal of full ecclesial communion and acknowledged that the decision “sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us”. He affirmed the progress made in recent decades.

Whatever the theological and ecclesiological disagreements that remain, for the established Church to have once again rejected women bishops could well have spelled disaster for Christian mission in Britain. The signals from Rome and Canterbury give every ­appearance of grace in action – surely a prophecy of interesting times to come.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted July 21, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last Tuesday, on the front page of The Daily Telegraph of London, which I buy like thousands of other dementia-fearers because of the kindly crossword, I saw the face of a young woman at the General Synod at York with a bright teardrop sliding down her cheek. I thought, Oh dear! More misery. Newspapers now are only frigates of misery.

But the gleaming teardrop was not for sorrow; it was for joy! This girl, in an ecclesiastical, once exclusively male, dog collar, was weeping for joy because the synod, which governs the Church of England, had at last decided to allow women to become bishops.

Not that there are not some tough preliminaries. The dog collar has to be earned. And more. But starting next year, if all goes well, a female Anglican priest will be able to become even an archbishop should she believe she is called to do the job.

And she doesn’t even have to look like a male bishop.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted July 21, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You will have been saddened, but probably not surprised, by the General Synod’s vote last Monday on women bishops. This was the logical outcome of the decision in 1993 to enable women to be ordained to the presbyterate in the Church of England. That decision prompted the formation of Reform and since then we have actively sought to urge the Church to reform herself under the authority of the Word of God.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted July 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

In the light of recent events within the Church of England, and reports regarding Forward in Faith (U.K.), the officers of Forward in Faith North America (FiFNA) hereby issues the following statement.

First, it is with deep sorrow that FiFNA acknowledges the vote by the General Synod of the Church of England to proceed with the “consecration” of women to the episcopate. This action heightens the level of difficulty for Anglicans during this period of reception, by placing more barriers before those who are seeking to live under and promote the historic priesthood and episcopate. Sadly, the autonomy of the local church, albeit provinces, has usurped the authority and unity of Ecumenical consensus and the Church catholic, exposing yet again the ecclesial deficit of our Communion that can only be addressed through the historic tools of Conciliar discernment.

For our brothers and sisters in the Church of England who maintain the worldwide majority position of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church regarding Holy Orders, we pledge our prayerful support, love, and respect
...................................
We also reaffirm the position which FiFNA published previously concerning human sexuality, the importance of which, in many current challenges in Church life, cannot be overstated: “Under the authority of holy scripture and the tradition of the church, we affirm that sexual activity can only properly take place within the context of holy matrimony between a man and a woman. We affirm that any other type of sexual relationship is sinful regardless of context or degree of fidelity, and that the church cannot bless any type of sexual relationship outside of holy matrimony between a man and a woman. We affirm Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference as the standard for Christian sexual behavior.”

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Moscow, July 17, Interfax - A senior Russian Orthodox bishop slammed Monday's vote at the Church of England General Synod that allowed women to become bishops.
"The Orthodox Church takes a negative stance on so-called female priesthood and female episcopacy. We see this process as representing the diversion of the Anglican Church and a whole range of Protestant denominations from the initial church order and as following modern liberal trends. We regret that such decisions have been made," Metroplitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion.

Moves like this do not bring various Christian communities closer to unity "that is still proclaimed at inter-Christian meetings as the aim of such meetings," he said. "The space for dialogue is narrowing down at the fault of our partners, and it is with great regret that we have to state this."

"The presence of women in the episcopate shuts for us the door to any discussion on the issue of succession in the Anglican episcopate," he said, but added that the Russian Church would continue to maintain dialogue with the Anglicans in the hope of its voice being heard.

The Russian Orthodox Church began a dialogue with the Anglican Church immediately after the latter came into being in the 16th century. Since then, the Church of England has repeatedly made various attempts to come closer to the Russian Church but has never sought to resolve their disputes over dogma.

Via its missions in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, the Russian Church also maintained close contacts in the 19th century with the U.S. Episcopal Church, the U.S.-based part of the world Anglican Communion.

Relations between the Russian Church and the world Anglican Communion soured in the second half of the 20th century and remain strained.

The first irritant was the U.S. Episcopal Church's decision in 1976 to ordain women as priests. In the late 80s, the Episcopal Church started consecrating women as bishops. In the early 2000s, it consecrated open homosexual Gene Robinson bishop in a move strongly condemned by the Moscow Patriarchate.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many, including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, argue that it would have been the “compassionate” and “caring” thing to do. How difficult it would have been for Denise to argue with me if she was made to feel that she was a “burden” to myself and others. Had assisted dying been legal, I daresay the medics might have agreed with me, and the pressure on her, though subtle, would have been unbearable.

That is one of the many reasons I believe Lord Carey’s arguments to be so profoundly misguided and dangerous. He quotes a dying woman parishioner of his who whispered in his ear before she died that, “It is quality of life that counts, not length of days”. Well, maybe – but who is to decide, when, and on what grounds?

Denise’s quality of life at the time of her prognosis and following it was poor by any standards. However, against the odds the chemo did have an effect and the tumour shrank for a while. Had assisted dying been legal, we might never have had the opportunity to enjoy the precious months together that we were given as the more debilitating effects of the treatment wore off. The despair of the moment would have determined our actions. What a tragedy that would have been.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As if they needed reminding, given the cameras trained on them, General Synod members were told on Monday morning that there were "many eyes and ears which are attentive to what we say and do".

Eighteen months after the collapse of the previous women-bishops draft Measure, a new creation was awaiting approval, gestated during hours of negotiations led by a diplomat with reconciliation in Northern Ireland under his belt. There was a mood of trepidation.

Introducing the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, was clear: "While we may be aware of those others, we are here today to do what we believe under God to be right."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Writing about the age of John Milton, the British author A. N. Wilson once tried to explain to modern secular readers that there had once been a time when bishops of the Church of England were titanic figures of conviction who were ready to stand against the culture. “It needs an act of supreme historical imagination to be able to recapture an atmosphere in which Anglican bishops might be taken seriously,” he wrote, “still more, one in which they might be thought threatening.”

Keep that in mind as you read the news that the General Synod of the Church of England voted yesterday to approve the consecration of women as bishops of the church.

The votes came less than two years after a similar measure failed to gain the necessary two-thirds vote before the same synod. The election of women as bishops had sailed through the bishops and the clergy, but opposition from lay members of the synod had blocked the measure late in 2012.

What few even in the British media are now mentioning is the massive pressure brought upon the church by the larger British culture and, most specifically, from the British government.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gender is really not an issue, she said in a phone conversation a fortnight ago, just before travelling to the UK to preach at the annual pilgrimage in St Albans. "It's been a very minor theme. When I was first elected, there was profound objection from a couple of bishops who did not think that women should be ordained. We've long ago gotten past that: they decided they didn't want to be part of the Episcopal Church.

"My gender is really beside the point. I think it was more significant for the Episcopal Church that I was the first scientifically trained Presiding Bishop, and the first Presiding Bishop who was elected from the Western part of the US; and I'm probably the first one who was elected not having spent one's whole adult life in the Church as a primary vocation."
....
"There is a long history of disagreement in the Episcopal Church. At heart, it's about how people read scripture. Some people argue for the primacy of scripture, and won't accept that there are other sources of authority."

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori


Posted July 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pivotal votes of a small num­ber of members of the General Synod who helped to defeat the women-bishops Measure in Novem­ber 2012 have swung to the Yes camp.

The earlier Measure was lost by six votes in the House of Laity. Instrumental to the defeat were a handful of members who, despite being in favour of the consecration of women as bishops, voted against the Measure, prompted by a concern that it did not offer enough provision for those who were opposed on principle.

Five of these members told the Church Times this week that they now planned to vote in favour.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

There are days when words cease, when the only possible response to what we see is to stand and weep for joy. Concelebrating at the Eucharist in one of England’s ancient cathedrals in the company of a female Bishop was for me one of those times.
....
The Presiding Bishop made time in a packed day to accept an invitation from the St Albans branch of WATCH to meet with members and women in lay and ordained ministry in the Diocese. Christina Rees chaired a Q and A for us, as Bishop Katharine generously shared something of her experience and ministry
....
In her sermon, Bishop Katharine talked about heroes, and I think I have found a new one. A woman who has been prepared to take on headship, vulnerably exposing herself to all that has meant. A woman who is wise, passionate and measured. A Bishop who defines herself as a bridge builder. We give thanks to God for raising up Presiding Bishop Katharine, and pray that it might not be long before we see another female bishop in an ancient English Cathedral, an inheritor of the legacy of all who have paved the way.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

6 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yet the approval of women bishops reflects the fact that ecumenical “consensus” is an empty slogan at best. If women in the episcopate are not considered worth such consensus, one must ask, “what is?” And, when the time comes, will there be the means to achieve it? My own concerns mostly lie here: Even if most Anglicans consider this a secondary issue of Christian “truth” or moral imperative, should we not have worked much harder to implement the means of open discussion, debate, and accommodation with our Christian sister churches, if only to fulfill our calling to such a work on its own terms?

Having said that, one decision can never be said to have foreclosed an ecumenical future. I remember well the witness of the late Rev. Dr. Susan Cole-King, one of the Church of England’s first ordained women. She was one of those who were willing to return to England (from the US) and work as a deacon before her orders were recognized there. Cole-King was the daughter of Bp. Leonard Wilson, the Singapore bishop who was tortured by the Japanese during World War II. In 1998, just a couple of years before her untimely death, she spoke at a Lambeth Conference eucharist that had followed a recent statement of repentance by Japanese Anglicans, many years in the making. She referred to her father’s divine gift of forgiveness of his torturers, including one who later became a Christian and whom he personally confirmed. Her father, she said, could forgive in the power of Christ; but true reconciliation, she went on to say, required an “acknowledgement of wrongs done,” “the truth faced,” and “painful self-examination [that] leads to confession and apology.”

Without knowing how it will be parsed out, I can say that there is much of this acknowledgement, truth-facing, examination, and confession still to come among Anglicans and their brethren on the matter of women’s ordination and consecration to the episcopate. As on much else. Our work now is to determine how this will happen.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen* TheologyEcclesiology

1 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Sometimes it can be right to alienate one's own supporters if an important issue of Christ's truth is at stake, but Forward in Faith [UK] appears to be increasingly alienating its supporters for the wrong reason.

Cranmer's Curate had noticed some rather disturbing equivocations on the received biblical teaching of the Church on human sexuality in the FiF magazine New Directions in recent months, but a very incisive piece by a blogger with the priceless name of Balaam's Ass, posted by Anglican Mainstream - Gay Pride, Sex Discrimination and Anglo-Catholic Incoherence - has crystallised the issue.

Since losing some of its best and brightest leaders to the Ordinariate, the FiF high command has started openly flirting with the LGBT agenda, and this is causing consternation among Anglo-Catholic Christians in local churches.

The implications of this spiritual and moral drift in the FiF leadership are serious for conservative evangelical co-belligerency with Anglo-Catholics against the revisionist agenda in the Church of England. There has certainly been evidence of late that the Anglo-Catholics are proving unreliable allies.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

1 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 12:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Pilling Report, published in November 2013, recommended that the church’s internal dialogue on the subject of human sexuality might best be addressed through a process of conversations across the church and involving others in the Anglican Communion. This recommendation was endorsed by the College of Bishops in January. The outlines of the process were agreed by the House of Bishops in May.
.....
Under the direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, Canon David Porter, a team of around 20 trained facilitators will support a process of conversations across the Church of England. They will bring the skills necessary to ensure that the process provides a safe place for all viewpoints to be expressed and to keep the conversations to the objective of seeking understanding rather than having any predetermined trajectory.
.....
Following the meeting of the College of Bishops, the process will then extend across the dioceses, with dioceses working in “clusters” to enable 12 regional conversations, each involving around 60 participants, to experience the process....
....
Dioceses will look at ways to use their relationships with their companion links to involve participants from elsewhere in the Anglican Communion.
+Steven Sheffield
26 June 2014

Read it all [pdf]
________________________
The previous appeals and warnings given to the Church of England Bishops not to compromise their position in the Anglican Communion include:

Statement of the Global South Primates
The Global South considers forward movement on the Pilling Report’s recommendations as equal to what the North American churches did ten years ago which caused much confusion in the Communion.
....
After more than 10 years of listening and conversation, we do not see a value of endless conversations and indabas.

We are clear on what the Bible teaches about sexual relationships outside of the marriage of one man and one woman, and the need for pastoral care for those who find themselves in relationships outside of this. The dissenting view written by the Bishop of Birkenhead captures well our position. For us in the Global South, his view is the majority view, and we hope the Church of England Bishops will recognize this. The Church of England needs to be cautious in taking decisions that will compromise faith and the position of the Church of England within the Anglican Communion as well as the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury more

and from the GAFCON Chairman, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala
If this report is accepted I have no doubt that the Church of England, the Mother Church of the Communion, will have made a fateful decision. It will have chosen the same path as The Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada with all the heartbreak and division that will bring.

The problem is not simply that the Report proposes that parish churches should be free to hold public services for the blessing of homosexual relationships, but the way it justifies this proposal. Against the principle of Anglican teaching, right up to and beyond the Lambeth Conference of 1998, it questions the possibility that the Church can speak confidently on the basis of biblical authority and sees its teaching as essentially provisional. So Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth conference, which affirmed that homosexual practice was ‘incompatible with Scripture’ and said it could ‘not advise the legitimisation or blessing of same sex relationships’, is undermined both in practice and in principle.

The proposal to allow public services for the blessing of same sex relationships is seen as a provisional measure and the Report recommends a two-year process of ‘facilitated conversation’ throughout the Church of England which is likened to the ‘Continuing Indaba’ project. This should be a warning to us because it highlights that the unspoken assumption of Anglican Indaba is that the voice of Scripture is not clear. This amounts to a rejection of the conviction expressed in the Thirty-nine Articles that the Bible as ‘God’s Word written’ is a clear and effective standard for faith and conduct.

We should pray earnestly that the English House of Bishops steps back from endorsing this Report, but the developing situation in the Church of England, the historic Mother Church of the Communion, underlines the need for our Global Fellowship to build on the success of GAFCON 2013 and implement our commitments. As we noted in the Nairobi Communiqué, the GFCA is becoming an ‘ important and effective instrument of Communion during a period in which other instruments of Communion have failed both to uphold gospel priorities in the Church, and to heal the divisions among us

other appeals and warnings here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* AdminFeatured (Sticky)

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The mood of the Church of England's General Synod in York was set by a key intervention by a leading conservative evangelical early on in the debate.

Dr Philip Giddings, chairman of the House of Laity, said a better way had been found than November 2012, when the last package failed by six votes, but the package still did not meet the needs of everyone in the Church. He said: "The key for me is that this package is adequate."

This was because of the new House of Bishops' guidelines, which bishops and clergy will be disciplined if they fail to adhere to and which pledge proper oversight for those opposed to women bishops.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

9 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

In this article from the latest edition of Crossway, Lee Gatiss has a question for the General Synod as it considers the provision to be made for complementarians, those who do not believe we should have women bishops.
In the last edition of Crossway and a recent edition of The Church of England Newspaper, I suggested that there is something of a credibility crisis in the Church of England. We are officially told by the House of Bishops that they want us ‘to flourish’. Some, no doubt, voted in the dioceses to progress the women bishops legislation because they believed such fine sounding words.

But it does not feel very much like flourishing when a constituency of our size and significance is never represented at the episcopal level. Despite over half a dozen appointments being made since my articles, nothing has changed.

We are compelled therefore to ask what exactly ‘flourishing in the life and structures of the Church’ means, if we will never again see a single complementarian evangelical serving as a diocesan bishop, as some have suggested.

As General Synod approached, the Archbishops confessed (in GS Misc 1079), that the current process of appointments has in a sense failed and cannot deliver on the aspiration to have ‘at least one’ complementarian evangelical bishop.

They respond directly to my consistent campaigning on this and make it clear that even though Synod in 2007 approved by 297 to 1 a report calling explicitly for conservative evangelicals to be included on the Preferment List, this has been conveniently forgotten for seven years...

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

0 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The approval of the Women Bishops legislation brings to an end a decade of debate about what provision should be made for those who are unable, for theological reasons, to receive the ministry of women as priests and bishops.

In the earlier stages of that debate we offered the Church of England a vision of how provision could be made with full ecclesiological integrity not just for us but also for the Church of England as a whole. It is now clear that the reality will be shaped differently, and will fall short of our ideal.

None the less, we believe that we can have confidence in our future as catholics who are called to live out our Christian vocation in the Church of England, maintaining a distinctive witness to the quest for the unity of the Church. The House of Bishops’ Declaration embodies a commitment to enabling us to flourish within the Church of England’s life and structures. It does so because our theological convictions about ministry and ordination remain within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition. As Resolution III.2 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference stated, ‘those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans’.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Paula Gooder, a theologian who voted in favor of the change both times, was devastated when it did not pass in 2012. On BBC television she said of the debate then versus now, “The tone in the synod chamber last time was really difficult and very angry and hard to experience, whereas this time was much more welcoming and accepting.”

The change of tone was in large part due to the addition of compromises to the legislation. The measure that passed on Monday contained concessions for traditionalists unwilling to serve under a woman bishop, giving them the right to ask for a male alternative and to take disputes to an independent arbitrator. Though some in favor of the change worry that this may undermine female bishops’ authority, most were willing to take that risk in order to see the legislation pass.

Though the added concessions played a key role in changing the outcome of the vote, some voters also reported experiencing a change of heart with regard to the issue over the last 18 months. Among those who voted differently today than in 2012, is the bishop of Dorchester, Colin Fletcher. Addressing the synod prior to the vote, Fletcher explained that he used to believe, as most who oppose the legislation do, the Bible teaches that male leadership of the church is God's will. He said that he interprets scripture differently now.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby--Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen

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Posted July 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some observers think a speech in the final stages of the 2012 vote tipped balance and led to defeat of the measure. This time the final speaker, a blind member who is an evangelical from Bristol, the Rev. John Spence, seemed to tip it the other way.

Directing comments to evangelical opponents, he said: “Your faith is my faith, is all of our faith, and every one of us has a vital role to ensure that the searing vision of the risen Christ is taken out into this country. … I am confident that we can walk hand in hand, and return the risen Christ to his rightful place at the centre of this country, its conscience, and its culture.” Spence won a standing ovation.

In greeting the result the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases, disagreeing. The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement.”

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Posted July 16, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Catholic Church remains fully committed to its dialogue with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the Catholic Church, the goal of ecumenical dialogue continues to be full visible ecclesial communion.

Such full ecclesial communion embraces full communion in the episcopal office. The decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate therefore sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us. Nevertheless we are committed to continuing our ecumenical dialogue, seeking deeper mutual understanding and practical cooperation wherever possible.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted July 16, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I yield to no one in my respect for Lord Carey and for the good things he has said and done, but I am simply amazed at his arguments (or lack of them) in support of Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill for the terminally ill. Lord Carey says that he has changed his mind after encountering the cases of Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb, who had severe paralysis but were not terminally ill. In what way do these cases support a Bill specifically for those with a life expectancy of six months or less?

The majority of those who are terminally ill want what Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, calls “assisted living” rather than “assisted dying”. This is what the Christian-inspired hospice movement seeks to do, enabling those nearing the end of their lives to prepare for a peaceful and good death. The fact that good hospice care is based on a postcode lottery is what should shame us, rather than not having our own answer to Dignitas in Switzerland.

Instead of concocting expensive ways of getting rid of those at their most vulnerable, I strongly believe we should be making sure that good hospice care is evenly available across the length and breadth of the country.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today's result. Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing.

"The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow.

"My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together.“

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted July 14, 2014 at 11:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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Posted July 14, 2014 at 10:52 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

You can listen to the debate on the Audio file here from from 1hr:19mins:40secs in until1hr:53mins:27secs in

[Note: Monday's debate on the womens bishops legislation has taken place and the legislation has been passed by Synod - see the Synod links post below for more]
Pete Spiers: Liverpool 147
...when it comes to Monday, let’s not forget that we have three choices as to how we should vote. We can vote for; we can vote against; or we can abstain. Contrary to perceived wisdom I would like to suggest that abstention is not a wasted vote. People who abstain are those who say ‘we recognise that this legislation if it were to fail would be catastrophic for the Church of England, we recognise that every single diocese and synod has voted in favour by a huge majority, but we can’t vote for it because in principle we can’t agree with it.’...abstention by those opposed would demonstrate their appreciation that all the discussions that had been held to bring this back so quickly were not in vain, and would also affirm the 5 guiding principles which respects everyone’s integrity and conscience and which I think have been unanimously welcomed....Abstention would I believe be the best way for opponents to signal that they and we are determined as a church to walk together into the new and exciting future that God has planned for us...

Mrs Susannah Leafe: Susie Leafe Truro Diocese 416: I’m not going to make a big speech. I’d just like to draw your attention to something that worries me. In all this talk about ‘Flourishing’ and now a demand that perhaps we should abstain rather than vote against, I would like to draw your attention to the figures in 3 dioceses: Norwich, Oxford and Guildford where there was just about the same number of people voting in favour this time as last time, but where the ‘No’ vote disappeared entirely. They didn’t move from a ‘No’ vote to a ‘Yes’ vote, or even to an abstention. They just appear to have disappeared.

If you want us to ‘Flourish’, please let us come to your diocesan synods and speak our mind. If you want us to flourish, please let us vote ‘No’ if that’s what our theological convictions make us need us to do. If you want us to flourish, please don’t make us disappear

Tim Allen, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich 393:
...It would be wonderful if those of us who previously voted ‘No’ could bring themselves to be generous enough to abstain, so that following the example of Suffolk, no one votes against. In that way the Church of England and the Synod can move on to more fruitful work than quarrelling about the role of women.

Revd Christopher Hobbes, London 153: Conservative evangelical Christians are asking for what was agreed when women vicars were introduced in the 1990’s – provision not to have female clergy over them in accordance with their understanding of the Bible. It was said then that the provision would continue for as long as necessary. If the Church of England is big enough to allow different types of robes, or not, different translations of the Bible, different liturgies, different songs, different accompaniments, why is it not big enough to allow to flourish even more, some in the church who hold what the majority of the Christian churches around the world hold: that God has ordained men to be bishops in the church? I personally am prepared to say women can be bishops, but I am not prepared to say that holding women cannot be bishops is unchristian. The legislation before us in my view is still unbalanced against conservatives. If there was any intention of letting conservative evangelicals flourish in the Church, surely we would have had a conservative evangelical appointed a bishop somewhere in the last 16 years, or even with 6 or 7 appointments this year [Madam Chair rings bell] – there are competent candidates in the Diocese of London, conservative evangelicals [Madam Chair interrupts notwithstanding the generosity given to the previous speaker]

Madam Chair: – excuse me I am going to interrupt you just for a moment and hope that you very quickly bring this speech to reference the report under consideration

Revd Christopher Hobbes: Yes – I was wondering whether I would abstain but I don’t think that signals enough that the legislation is unfair concerning the swearing of oaths, regarding the rights of individual clergy rather than whole PCCs, so in the end, with a heavy heart, I will not be voting for it.

Canon Sue Booys responding: ...Pete Spiers, thank you for your comments on voting. It is perhaps worth just commenting that there is a fourth alternative as it’s possible not to press the button. You can abstain by pressing the button, but you can fail to press the button and register your vote at all and that will have the same effect as an abstention...

Professor Richard Burridge on Point of Order: 452, Dean of King’s College: Could I invite the Chair of the Business Committee just to clarify, it may be that I misheard, but she said not pressing the button would have the same effect as registering your abstention. I understood the point to be there are 4 things you can do: press the button to say Yes; press the button to say No; press the button to have your abstention registered; and not to vote at all. Could that be clarified please because Sue said it would have the same effect?

Canon Sue Booys: I am advised, that if you do not press the button you do not formally record any kind of vote at all, and so for example your name will not appear on any lists but not pressing the button will have the same effect to the whole vote as abstaining.
[murmering]
...…
Madam Chair: Please bear with us for just one moment

Canon Sue Booys: I may, I may have worded that slightly poorly. The two thirds majority has nothing to do with either abstentions or votes not cast. I see nods. Is everyone happy with that response? Thank you.

Madam Chair: Good afternoon Synod. We now come to item 501. We come to the first item of business at this group of sessions relating to the draft legislation to allow women to be consecrated to the episcopate. It’s focus is the Report of the Business Committee on the reference of the draft legislation to the dioceses under Article 8 of the Synod’s Constitution.

Members will accordingly need that report which is GS1951. The form of the debate is very straightforward being a take note debate on the Report. I would remind members that they should confine their comments to matters addressed in the report under debate. I shall be ready to call them to order if they do not do so.

I now call on the Chair of the Business Committee, the Re. Canon Sue Booys to move Item 501. You may speak for up to 10 minutes.

Canon Sue Booys, Chair of the Business Committee, 175 Oxford - I beg to move ‘that the Synod do take note of this Report’ and I don’t think that I will be taking as much as 5 minutes of your time.

The Business Committee Report GS 1951 outlines the results of the Article 8 reference to the dioceses on the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and Draft Amending Canon No. 33. Our Debate on this report is the first step in what is potentially quite a complicated sequence at this Group of Sessions before we get to Monday, so as well as offering a few comments on the diocesan reference I’d like to say something about that sequence.

I want to begin by acknowledging the very large amount of work that this exercise has entailed for the dioceses. This is particularly due to the fact that Synod voted in February to shorten the reference period from the usual six months to three months in order to expedite this process. I realise that this put considerable pressure on diocesan synods to meet and to organise the votes. Nevertheless, all save the Diocese in Europe was able to do so by the deadline of midnight on the 22nd of May, albeit in Manchester’s case by only a few hours.

Given all these pressures, the Business Committee is hugely appreciative of the effort that was made by dioceses to turn this round in such a short period, and particularly to the staff of diocesan offices; to those who oversaw the circulation of the relevant material; to those who planned Synod timetables and agendas; and to those who contributed to debates in diocesan and deanery synods. This kind of exercise does not happen without considerable preparation and care.

Our debate today is not the moment for airing wider issues that will be more properly for other discussions over the next few days. I simply want to summarise briefly the information that is given in the report. First, it is notable, as the table in Annex A shows, that all 43 dioceses that voted did so in favour of the motion: the motion ‘That this Synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and draft Amending Canon No 33.’

Secondly, a total of 3,799 people voted and a 114 abstained. Of those who voted
91% voted in favour and 9% against. Not counting abstentions, the level of support was 96% amongst the bishops, 92% in diocesan houses of laity and 90% in diocesan houses of clergy. If you add in the number of abstentions the breakdown in the dioceses is as follows: 88% in favour across all three Houses, 9% against and 3% of members abstaining.

It is perhaps worth comparing this with the vote on the Article 8 reference on the previous Women in the Episcopate legislation on which my predecessor the Venerable Julian Henderson (now the Bishop of Blackburn) reported back to Synod in February 2012. On that occasion, 42 of the 44 dioceses voted in favour of the legislation and two against. Back then, looking at the individual numbers of votes, Julian noted that just over three quarters of diocesan synod members voted in favour and just under one-quarter did not. Well, it is for you to draw your own conclusion from that. The role of the Chair of the Business Committee is simply to try and facilitate an orderly process.

So in conclusion let me say a little bit about what happens next. Assuming that you are content to take note of our report, we shall move immediately to the final drafting stage when I shall hand over to the Bishop of Rochester as Chair of the Steering Committee. Given the nature of that report I doubt whether this will detain us for very long.

The business will then stand committed to the House of Bishops under Article 7. They are due to meet, lucky them, at breakfast time tomorrow and it is for them to decide whether the Measure and Amending Canon be submitted to the Synod, in the form they will take after Final Drafting and for final approval. At the same time they will deal with the Article 7 reference to the Act of Synod which Synod considered in February which proposes to rescind the 1993 Act of Synod

Immediately after that the Clerk to the Synod will consult the relevant officers of the House of Laity and the Convocations to see whether they are going to claim Article 7 references. If they do, as I have said in another place, those references will take place after lunch on Sunday. And if not, we have scheduled other business for that time.

Then, we come to Monday, when all being well we will come to the final approval debate to the legislation and, if the votes are in favour, the final approval of the Act of Synod.

For the avoidance of doubt I should make clear that it is only the draft measure that requires the two thirds majorities in each House. Sometimes amending canons also require that level of support but I am assured that on this occasion, it doesn’t.

And so I have pleasure in commending our report to the Synod and look forward to hearing any responses you may have.

Madam Chair. Synod, this item is now open for debate. I call on Mrs Margaret Condick, followed by Mrs Anneliese Barrell

Mrs Margaret Condick: Thank you Chair, Margaret Condick, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich 394 – And St Edmundsbury and Ipswich was the first diocese where no one voted against this legislation. We had a 100% majority. Along with 3 other dioceses on the 1st of March we began the process, a wonderful start. Since then as we all know other dioceses have voted either 100% or overwhelmingly giving a complete endorsement of this package. Our vote at diocesan synod reflected the views I hear at deanery synods and locally. People say things like: ‘When on earth are you going to get this done?’ ‘Why is it taking so long?’ ‘What’s the problem?’ It’s incomprehensible to most people.

Someone I know and respect from an evangelical church said to me after the November 2012 debate: ‘Oh that was rubbish what happened then.’ He and others, General Synod, are completely switched off, General Synod, by the whole process. That vote brought us into disrepute. The wider church and the whole country are beginning to treat us with contempt. We have not so far reflected the views back home. I have had, for instance, people saying to me: ‘Can our next Bishop be a woman?’ – Answer: ‘No, because even if we pass this now, the process won’t be finished before we in St Edmundsbury and Ipswich appoint. But others will have the chance. Please listen to the view expressed by your diocesan synod. Please, let’s not have to go back to the deaneries and apologise yet again. Let’s vote as our church members are asking us. Thank you.

Madam Chair: Anneliese Barrell followed by Canon Pete Spiers please.

Mrs Anneliese Barrell, Exeter 309: Members of Synod, I believe that the point at which we have all arrived is nothing short of a miracle. To achieve this miracle, we have to give very grateful thanks to both our Archbishops, David Porter, the Bishop of Rochester, the hard-working Steering Committee, and not forgetting those in our deaneries, our dioceses, and us here.

The vision of a united and trusting Synod seemed impossible to achieve in November 2012, but thanks to the foresight of our Archbishops and the advent of the Facilitated Discussion Groups, we now talk amicably to each other outside our defined groups. We’ve learned to trust each other, to talk to each other, not at each other. We listen, and try to understand, and to prayerfully value the views and beliefs of those with whom we differ.

And surprise, surprise [and this was echoed throughout the dioceses] many of us have found that there is much more that we agree about, than which we disagree about. We actually smile and speak to each other as we pass in the corridors of Church House, or on the campus here at York. What a difference, and how welcome.

This friendly atmosphere of trust was certainly evident in my own diocesan debate on this Article 8 business. The reference to the dioceses is always a final check on what is being decided at General Synod, and this time the green light shines even more brightly.

Despite having said that, I regret I cannot vote for in the final debate. If I do so, I will, with my fellow Catholics be denying our theological convictions and beliefs, and make a mockery of all we have been saying during the past years. The measure before us which we have, is not entirely acceptable to the Catholic Group. But what it represents is an exciting possibility – one that would engender a very harmonious and diverse Church of England, and we are extremely grateful for the comments made by the Archbishop of York and his clear recognition of our position – that is one of conviction.

But I do however promise, and so do my fellows, that we will do our very best as the measure is passed, to continue to work in close and prayerful cooperation with all God’s chosen ministers to promote His Kingdom. Thank you.

Madam Chair: Pete Spiers, followed by the lady right at the back – yes you madam.

Pete Spiers: Liverpool 147 – In Acts Chapter 15 we hear how when the early church faced difficulty and division, they held a council in Jerusalem. And as a result of that Council, they wrote a letter in which they used the following phrase: ‘It seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit.’ There was no hint of a two thirds or a simple majority there.

So what is the Holy Spirit saying to us about these voting figures in the dioceses? Some would say there is massive support for this current legislation. Others might say that it simply shows that there is biblical illiteracy alive and well in the Church of England, or that the Church of England is intent on furthering divisions in the Church. I hope no one would say that the current legislation has not been worked out carefully and conscientiously. You will know that I have often spoken about how adversarial Synod seems to be.

So when it comes to Monday, let’s not forget that we have three choices as to how we should vote. We can vote for; we can vote against; or we can abstain. Contrary to perceived wisdom I would like to suggest that abstention is not a wasted vote. People who abstain are those who say ‘we recognise that this legislation if it were to fail would be catastrophic for the Church of England, we recognise that every single diocese and synod has voted in favour by a huge majority, but we can’t vote for it because in principle we can’t agree with it.’

One of the things most often said by supporters of this legislation is why should we accommodate opponents when they will vote against anyway at the end of it? So abstention by those opposed would demonstrate their appreciation that all the discussions that had been held to bring this back so quickly were not in vain, and would also affirm the 5 guiding principles which respects everyone’s integrity and conscience and which I think have been unanimously welcomed.

It may be that there are those that think that there are enough people in favour for a two thirds majority to be achieved, in which case voting against is actually a wasted vote. It would be great if this legislation could be passed by as few against votes as possible. The people who read the letter from the Council of Jerusalem were glad for its encouraging message. So I hope and pray that by the end of Monday this Synod will be able to send out a similar message that will make people glad. Abstention would I believe be the best way for opponents to signal that they and we are determined as a church to walk together into the new and exciting future that God has planned for us.

Madam Chair: Susie Leaf followed by Tim Allen. Speech limit is still 5 minutes.

Mrs Susannah Leafe: Susie Leafe Truro Diocese 416: I’m not going to make a big speech. I’d just like to draw your attention to something that worries me. In all this talk about ‘Flourishing’ and now a demand that perhaps we should abstain rather than vote against, I would like to draw your attention to the figures in 3 dioceses: Norwich, Oxford and Guildford where there was just about the same number of people voting in favour this time as last time, but where the ‘No’ vote disappeared entirely. They didn’t move from a ‘No’ vote to a ‘Yes’ vote, or even to an abstention. They just appear to have disappeared.

If you want us to ‘Flourish’, please let us come to your diocesan synods and speak our mind. If you want us to flourish, please let us vote ‘No’ if that’s what our theological convictions make us need us to do. If you want us to flourish, please don’t make us disappear.

Madam Chair: Tim Allen, followed by Christopher Hobbs and then I would welcome a motion to test the mind of Synod on closure.

Tim Allen, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich 393: Madam Chair, like my friend Margaret Condick, I have a brief and clear message from Suffolk to the General Synod. According to the list on page 3 of the Business Committee Report, there were just 4 dioceses where there was no objection at all in diocesan synod to these proposals to allow women to be bishops. St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, that’s Suffolk was one of these. Our sole acting bishop [since both the diocesan and suffragan sees are sadly vacant] voted yes, 48 of the clergy voted yes, 62 of the laity voted yes, no one voted against and 3 people in all abstained.

There could not Madam Chair, be a clearer message from Suffolk to this Synod: for heaven’s sake give a resounding yes to the present package of allowing women into the episcopate, and giving generous protection for those at either extreme of the Church of England who find it difficult to accept them.

Historically, Suffolk has swung from one pole to the other in terms of churchmanship. In the Middle Ages, the county’s marked devotion to the church led to it being called Silly Suffolk, that is Holy Suffolk. During and after the Reformation, Suffolk became for a time violently Protestant – witness the iconoclasm led by William Dowsing which smashed so much of the architectural and artistic beauty created in the Medieval period.

Happily Suffolk is now calmer and really rather normal. In present day Suffolk manifestations to the spirit of Dowsing are rare and diluted; though I should say that as DAC Chair I sometimes catch a glimpse. Well the DBF chair would I think affirm that there is all too little residue of the generous devotion of our Medieval ancestors who sacrificially paid for so many wonderful parish churches. But being normal now, I think the reason Suffolk stands out as one of the only 4 dioceses where the diocesan synod registered no objection whatsoever, is probably because in Suffolk we have had extensive and happy experience of excellent women in leadership positions, headship positions I might say, within the Church. Our cathedral which celebrates its centenary this year flourishes under an inspiring female dean, Frances Ward. Our bishops have been well served by two female chaplains in succession. Though we no longer have a female archdeacon, nearly half of our rural deans are women, 7 out of 18 to be precise, and very many of our parish priests are women too.

Many of those who voted ‘Yes’ in the diocesan synod will be disappointed for the timing of our Crown Nomination Commission meetings in September and October will be tantalisingly just too early for Suffolk to secure a women diocesan in place of Bishop Nigel who was so prematurely plucked from among us to assist at Lambeth, and many will hope that his necessarily male successor as diocesan will commit himself to select one of the excellent senior women to be his suffragan as Bishop of Dunwich. But that depends, Madam Chair, on the General Synod accepting the clear signal from all the diocesan synods to give overwhelming final approval to the measure.

It would be wonderful if those of us who previously voted ‘No’ could bring themselves to be generous enough to abstain, so that following the example of Suffolk, no one votes against. In that way the Church of England and the Synod can move on to more fruitful work than quarrelling about the role of women. Thank you Chair.

Madam Chair: Christopher Hobbes

Revd Christopher Hobbes, London 153: Conservative evangelical Christians are asking for what was agreed when women vicars were introduced in the 1990’s – provision not to have female clergy over them in accordance with their understanding of the Bible. It was said then that the provision would continue for as long as necessary. If the Church of England is big enough to allow different types of robes, or not, different translations of the Bible, different liturgies, different songs, different accompaniments, why is it not big enough to allow to flourish even more, some in the church who hold what the majority of the Christian churches around the world hold: that God has ordained men to be bishops in the church? I personally am prepared to say women can be bishops, but I am not prepared to say that holding women cannot be bishops is unchristian. The legislation before us in my view is still unbalanced against conservatives. If there was any intention of letting conservative evangelicals flourish in the Church, surely we would have had a conservative evangelical appointed a bishop somewhere in the last 16 years, or even with 6 or 7 appointments this year [Madam Chair rings bell] – there are competent candidates in the Diocese of London, conservative evangelicals [Madam Chair interrupts notwithstanding the generosity given to the previous speaker]

Madam Chair: – excuse me I am going to interrupt you just for a moment and hope that you very quickly bring this speech to reference the report under consideration

Revd Christopher Hobbes: Yes – I was wondering whether I would abstain but I don’t think that signals enough that the legislation is unfair concerning the swearing of oaths, regarding the rights of individual clergy rather than whole PCCs, so in the end, with a heavy heart, I will not be voting for it.

Madam Chair: I see no one standing, and therefore I ask Canon Sue Booys to reply to the debate. You have up to 5 minutes.

Canon Sue Booys: Madam Chair I want to begin with an apology to Synod members. No one has picked me up on this but some of you may be aware, this is an apology that would be deemed very rare in my own house. I prepared too far in advance of this meeting, and you may have noticed that my speech actually contained an error, and so I will read to you the correction which appears on the Fifth Notice Paper with regard to the two thirds majority:

A two thirds majority in each house of the Synod is required for the final approval of both the draft Measure and the draft Amending Canon. It is the final approval of the draft Act of Synod that requires no special majority. As I say my husband would be highly amused at my preparing too far in advance.

There is a practical outworking of this in terms of Monday afternoon that it’s very important that you stay in the chamber for the entire outworking of the business.

Can I continue by responding to the debate to thank Margaret Condick, Anneliese Barrell and Tim Allen for their messages from their dioceses and reflection on those debates. Also Anneliese Barrell to share her thanks for all those who were involved in the conversations that have brought us to this point, everyone involved in the conversations as well of course as our Archbishops and David Porter.

Pete Spiers, thank you for your comments on voting. It is perhaps worth just commenting that there is a fourth alternative as it’s possible not to press the button. You can abstain by pressing the button, but you can fail to press the button and register your vote at all and that will have the same effect as an abstention.

Christopher Hobbes and Suzy Leafe, I don’t want anyone to disappear, but I did reflect as I listened, that I chaired the debate in the Oxford Diocese, and it was clear in our diocese that people who had voted no had not disappeared but they had changed their minds. So people are not being spirited away, there was a real change of mind and heart there. Nevertheless, its clear to me that we don’t want people to disappear. We hope you’ll stay, and we hope that everyone will be here on Monday to vote. Thank you very much indeed.

Madam Chair: Point of order – Professor Burridge

Professor Richard Burridge: 452, Dean of King’s College: Could I invite the Chair of the Business Committee just to clarify, it may be that I misheard, but she said not pressing the button would have the same effect as registering your abstention. I understood the point to be there are 4 things you can do: press the button to say Yes; press the button to say No; press the button to have your abstention registered; and not to vote at all. Could that be clarified please because Sue said it would have the same effect?

Madam Chair: I will just take advice Professor Burridge.
…..
The Chair of the Business Committee will clarify that point:

Canon Sue Booys: I am advised, that if you do not press the button you do not formally record any kind of vote at all, and so for example your name will not appear on any lists but not pressing the button will have the same effect to the whole vote as abstaining.
[murmering]

Madam Chair: Could you please direct your remarks through the Chair

Canon Sue Booys: I will just clarify absolutely

Madam Chair: Please bear with us for just one moment

Canon Sue Booys: I may, I may have worded that slightly poorly. The two thirds majority has nothing to do with either abstentions or votes not cast. I see nods. Is everyone happy with that response? Thank you.

Madam Chair: With that clarification I now put item 501 to the vote. All those in favour of Item 501 please show...thank you. Those against 501 please show…. Item 501 is clearly carried. Thank you.
[1:49:24]

Review of Legislation by Synod: Item 502
Madam Chair: We now move swiftly on to Item 502, the draft Amending Canon, No. 33. For the final drafting stage, members will need the draft Measure [GS 1925B] the draft Amending Canon [GS1926B] and the Steering Committee’s Report [GS 1925-6Z]

This is again a take note debate, this time on the Steering Committee’s Report. Members will see from the report that the Steering Committee is not proposing any amendments to the Measure and is only proposing drafting amendments to the Amending Canon. Those drafting amendments will not be moved, but will under Standing Order 59C be deemed to have been made if the take note motion is passed.

I again remind members that they should confine their comments to matters addressed in the Report of the Steering Committee and should not stray into wider matters.

I call on the Chair, the Bishop of Rochester to move Item 502. You may speak for up to 10 minutes.

Rt Revd James Langstaff, Rochester 34: Tempting as it might be to speak for 10 minutes I’m not going to speak for 10 minutes. I don’t necessarily make the same promise in regard to Monday. The main paper you need before you is really the Steering Committee’s Report which has already been referred to [GS1925-6Z] and not least the annex to that report on Page 3.

During some legislative processes this final drafting stage is an important opportunity for some necessary tidying up of the form in which the legislation is presented, and as has already been hinted at, some steering committees go beyond simple technical drafting changes to offer what are known as special amendments.

On this occasion your Steering Committee has been exceedingly restrained. We have no special amendments to bring to you and even the drafting amendments are not about words, but as you will see from the Annex to our Report, simply about some clarificatory renumbering of paragraphs. So it is simply about that sort of clarification – nothing I think which touches upon content or wording at all. I think therefore that our report speaks for itself and I need to detain the Synod no longer. I beg to move the Item at 502 ‘That the Synod do take note of this report.’

Madam Chair: this item is now open for debate. I see no one standing. I therefore put Item 502 to the vote. Those in favour of 502 please show…thank you. Those against please show….That Item 502 is clearly carried.

The motion having been passed, the drafting amendments referred to in the Steering Committee’s Report are deemed to have been made. That completes this item of business. Thank you

to [1:53:27]

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* AdminFeatured (Sticky)

17 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 4:47 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was hopeful that the Church of England's governing body would approve women bishops when it votes on the issue this week.

Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans, said the general public would find it "almost incomprehensible" should the General Synod fail to support the move on Monday.

The long-running debate pits reformers, keen to project a more modern and egalitarian image of the church as it struggles with falling congregations in many increasingly secular countries, against a minority of conservatives who see the change as contradicting the Bible.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

1 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

During his tenure as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper commented in 2006 that such a move would “call into question what was recognized by the Second Vatican Council (Unitatis Redintegratio, 13), that the Anglican Communion occupied ‘a special place’ among churches and ecclesial communities of the West.” Cardinal Kasper warned that “restoration of full church communion … would realistically no longer exist following the introduction of the ordination of women to episcopal office.”

Speaking to the Register, Father Tony Currer, secretary to the Anglican and Methodist dialogues at the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that while the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) has made great strides in addressing theological differences, two issues have emerged “which make progress towards full visible unity extremely difficult.”

“The first concerns the ordination of women; the second is that of human sexuality and ethical teaching,” he commented. “It has to be admitted that it is extremely difficult to see a way forward on these issues at the moment.”

Father Currer added that the Church’s dialogue is with the whole Anglican Communion, not only the Church of England. Many elements of that communion are acting similarly to the Church of England on these issues, he said, “which constitutes a very significant obstacle to the full visible unity that we continue to seek.”

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

0 Comments
Posted July 12, 2014 at 11:43 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dorothy’s words — ‘It is quality of life that counts, not number of days’ — ring in my ears.

The current law fails to address the fundamental question of why we should force terminally ill patients to go on in unbearable pain and with little quality of life.

It is the magnitude of their suffering that has been preying on my mind as the discussion over the right to die has intensified.

The fact is that I have changed my mind. The old philosophical certainties have collapsed in the face of the reality of needless suffering.

It was the case of Tony Nicklinson that exerted the deepest influence on me. Here was a dignified man making a simple appeal for mercy, begging that the law allow him to die in peace, supported by his family.

Read it all from the Daily Mail.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted July 12, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

If the Church of England General Synod votes to approve women bishops it will end one of its longest-running rows. Why has it proved so difficult?...

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

0 Comments
Posted July 11, 2014 at 10:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and click on the links in which you are interested.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted July 10, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The fact is that the last package of legislation was not just imperfect, it was a complete and utter mess. It left no meaningful provision for conservatives and traditionalists and the fact that a code of practice was unwritten at the time of the vote made the acceptance of the legislation a complete non-starter. The House of Laity was roundly condemned for the fact that it voted down the legislation. Yet they were absolutely right to do so. There may be other reasons why a wholesale reform of General Synod and its electoral system is necessary but on that fateful day in November 2012 those six members in the House of Laity acted wisely and justly. We now have legislation that is widely supported and which will make women feel valued in their new ministry and traditionalists secure in their conscience.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

0 Comments
Posted July 8, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Pritchard, who as chair of the Church of England’s Board of Education is responsible for the teaching of around a million children in Anglican schools, as well as speaking for the Church on education in the Lords, said a change in the law could be “liberating” for schools and churches alike.

“I think in the 1940s when all of this was put together it was possible to say that collective worship represented the mood of the nation but I don’t think that is where we are now,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“There is a sense in which a compulsion about religion does a disservice to that which I think is most important which is keeping the good news of the Christian faith alive in our culture.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted July 8, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has consecrated the new bishops of Whitby and Selby in a ceremony at at York Minster.

The Ven Paul Ferguson becomes the Bishop of Whitby and the Rev Canon Dr John Thomson takes the role in Selby.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted July 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the General Synod of the Church of England faces the vote on women bishops, its most important decision in recent decades, the Archbishop of Canterbury's head of reconciliation has outlined the keystones of his path to peace.

Canon David Porter, who has been working for month behind the scenes in the Church of England to broker new relationships between the factions divided over the consecration of women, told an international audience of church leaders that bad religion too easily triumphs over good, and that reconciliation is elusive.

Canon Porter, a leading peacemaker behind the scenes during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, made six "pertinent and provocative" observations of his experience of being a "religious peacemaker" in a situation of conflict where religion has often been said to be the cause and part of the problem rather than the solution.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 5, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new Bishop of Basingstoke has been announced as the Reverend Canon David Williams.

The current vicar of Christ Church Winchester will be consecrated at Winchester Cathedral on 19 September.

The 53-year-old succeeds the Right Reverend Peter Hancock, who is now the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Canon Williams said he and his wife Helen were "looking forward to this new chapter in our lives" in north Hampshire.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The appointment of a Church of England bishop who holds a conservative Evangelical view of "headship" could take place within months, if the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are successful in their efforts to ensure that this "aspiration" is met.

They say that they are consulting with a view to this, because they recognise that such an appointment is "important for sustaining the necessary climate of trust" around the new package of draft legislation and other provision for the consecration of women bishops in the C of E, and the safeguarding of the consciences of church people who are opposed to the change.

A note (GS Misc 1079) from the Archbishops on women in the episcopate was released at Friday's media briefing in Church House, Westminster, before the final-approval vote that is on the agenda for next month's General Synod meeting. For this vote to be carried, a two-thirds majority is required in every House of the Synod. The previous draft legislation for women bishops was lost when it narrowly failed to achieve two-thirds in the House of Laity in November 2012....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted June 22, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last week, the Bishop of London and the General Secretary of the Diocese, Andy Brookes, joined young would-be clergy from across the Diocese of London in the Wren Suite of St Paul's Cathedral, to promote young vocations. Young people from a number of vocational schemes around the Diocese, including the North London, Kensington and Stepney Schemes, attended the event.

These schemes offer one- or two-year programmes of theological teaching, practical experience, vocational discernment and personal development for young people exploring their calling and considering future ministry in the church. As part of these schemes, regular sessions are run for the pastoral assistants, offering a programme of Christian formation as well as specific support for those who are at different stages on the journey to test a call to ordained ministry.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted June 20, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My Lords, I want to take the opportunity of this debate to raise some questions about the balance of power between London and the regions in our country today. The gracious Speech emphasised the new financial powers to be implemented for the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. While this is welcome, it highlights even more acutely the need for urgent action to address the very different environment for local government in England, in spite of what the Minister briefly said to us about resourcing local economic partnerships.

It is surely now vital that more power should be devolved from the overly centralist and siloed Whitehall closer to communities that have a stake in the success of places and to where a real link between politicians and positive action can be formed, as the report of the noble Lord, Lord Heseltine, recommended. My conversations in the east Midlands point to a clear consensus that the balance of power between local and central government is not right. Councils are now placed in the impossible position of taking responsibility for abolishing front-line services that are both wanted and needed by local communities. One of the clear messages of the recent elections is surely that a large part of the population has begun to lose confidence in our political processes and that trust has dangerously eroded between the electorate and its representatives.

Read it all (scroll down to 5 jun 2014 11:52 a.m.)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 16, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now, the word “marriage,” for thousands of years and cross-culturally has meant man and woman. Sometimes it’s been one man and more than one woman. Occasionally it’s been one woman and more than one man. There is polyandry as well as polygamy in some societies in some parts of history, but it’s always been male plus female. Simply to say that you can have a woman-plus-woman marriage or a man-plus-man marriage is radically to change that because of the givenness of maleness and femaleness. I would say that without any particular Christian presuppositions at all, just cross-culturally, that’s so.

With Christian or Jewish presuppositions, or indeed Muslim, then if you believe in what it says in Genesis 1 about God making heaven and earth—and the binaries in Genesis are so important—that heaven and earth, and sea and dry land, and so on and so on, and you end up with male and female. It’s all about God making complementary pairs which are meant to work together. The last scene in the Bible is the new heaven and the new earth, and the symbol for that is the marriage of Christ and his church. It’s not just one or two verses here and there which say this or that. It’s an entire narrative which works with this complementarity so that a male-plus-female marriage is a signpost or a signal about the goodness of the original creation and God’s intention for the eventual new heavens and new earth.

If you say that marriage now means something which would allow other such configurations, what you’re saying is actually that when we marry a man and a woman we’re not actually doing any of that stuff. This is just a convenient social arrangement and sexual arrangement and there it is . . . get on with it. It isn’t that that is the downgrading of marriage, it’s something that clearly has gone on for some time which is now poking it’s head above the parapet. If that’s what you thought marriage meant, then clearly we haven’t done a very good job in society as a whole and in the church in particular in teaching about just what a wonderful mystery marriage is supposed to be. Simply at that level, I think it’s a nonsense. It’s like a government voting that black should be white. Sorry, you can vote that if you like, you can pass it by a total majority, but it isn’t actually going to change the reality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & FamilyMenReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted June 12, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pause on Ascension for a moment. The Ascension, frustratingly, is often radically misunderstood. The Ascension is not about Jesus going away and encouraging his followers to look forward to the time when they, too, will leave this sad old earth and follow him to heaven. The angels do not say to the watching disciples, ‘This same Jesus, whom you have seen going into heaven, will look forward to welcoming you when you go to join him there,’ but ‘this same Jesus, whom you have seen going into heaven, will come again in the same way as you saw him go into heaven’. And the point of that so-called ‘second coming’, or ‘reappearance’ as several New Testament writers put it, is not that he will then scoop us up and take us away from earth to heaven, but that he will celebrate the great party, the great banquet, the marriage of heaven and earth, establishing once and for all his rescuing, ransoming, restoring sovereignty over the whole creation. ‘The kingdom of this world,’ says John the Seer, ‘has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he shall reign for ever and ever.’ Amen, we say at the Ascension. This is the real Feast of Christ the King, and the sooner we abolish the fake one that has recently been inserted into our calendar in late November the more likely we shall be to get our political theology sorted out. And, boy, do we need to sort it out right now. If at a time like this we cannot think and speak and act Christianly and wisely and clearly and sharply into the mess and muddle of the rulers of the world we really should be ashamed of ourselves. Jesus is already reigning, is already in charge of this world. ‘All authority,’ he says at the end of Matthew’s gospel, ‘has been given to me in heaven and on earth.’ When he returns he will complete that work of transformative, restorative justice; but it has already begun, despite the sneers of the sceptics and the scorn of the powerful, and we celebrate it with every Eucharist but especially today at Pentecost.

Why especially today? Because at Pentecost we discover, as in last week’s Collect, that the Holy Spirit comes to strengthen or comfort us and exalt us to the same place where our saviour Christ has gone before. In other words, the Spirit is the power of heaven come to earth, or to put it the other way the Spirit is the power that enables surprised earthlings to share in the life of heaven. And, to say it once more, the point about heaven is that heaven is the control room for earth. The claim of Pentecost, from Acts 2 and Ephesians 4 and Romans 8 and all those other great Spirit-texts in the New Testament, especially John 13—16, is precisely that the rule which the ascended Lord Jesus exercises on earth is exercised through his Spirit-filled people. No doubt we do need ‘comforting’ in the modern sense of that word, cheering up when we’re sad. But we need, far more do we need, ‘comforting’ in the older sense of ‘strengthening’, strengthening-by-coming-alongside. Just as, in human ‘comfort’, a strange thing happens, that the sheer presence, even the silent presence, alongside us of a friend gives us fresh courage and hope, how much more will the presence alongside us and within us of the Spirit of Jesus himself give us courage and hope not simply to cheer up in ourselves but to be strong to witness to his Lordship, his sovereign rule, over the world where human rulers mess it up and ignorant armies clash by night.

So being ‘exalted to the place where Jesus has gone before’ is precisely not about being snatched away from this wicked world and its concerns. On the contrary, it is to be taken in the power of the Spirit to the place from which the world is run.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologySacramental TheologyBaptismEucharistTheology: Salvation (Soteriology)Theology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted June 8, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Clergy who are members of either the British National Party or the National Front could be subject to disciplinary measures, the House of Bishops has said.

The declaration by the Bishops on Tuesday means that any member of the clergy who is a member of either party, or "promotes or expresses or solicits support" for them, could face misconduct proceedings under the Clergy Discipline Measure of 2003.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 6, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So what did I not speak out about, which I can do now?

The main issue I failed to address was the question of beauty. Please bear with me, because when I talk about beauty I am not talking about the overly self-conscious and preening opinions of art critics. They write for a very limited audience. The kind of beauty that I want to talk about is much larger and much more profound than that.

When I refer to beauty I am referring to the absolute, ineffable, ultimately inexpressible beauty of the Divine, of God, of the Almighty…

There is a delicious and troubling irony here: going to churches throughout Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire as I did, gazing out from our house across to St Albans Abbey as I did, I did not often reflect on the stunning loveliness of our church buildings. I loved them, I worked in them, I preached in them, but I did not stop to consider the relationship between the beauty of those buildings and the beauty of God. Let me not confine myself to Herts and Beds. Think of any of the countless thousands of our churches in these islands: the medieval glass in Fairford, the soaring perpendicular of Patrington in Holderness, the grace of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol, the racy, provocative carving at Kilpeck in Herefordshire, the strange carvings on the font at Melbury Bubb (what a glorious name for a village in Dorset), and whilst still in Dorset, the windows etched by Lawrence Whistler at Moreton, or more prosaically, the graffiti at Ashwell in Hertfordshire concerning the Plague and a design for old St Paul’s.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchArchitectureArtHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

2 Comments
Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

RNS: Fair enough. Then how does your view of scripture inform the sexuality debates today? Would your approach to the Bible allow, for example, the blessing of monogamous, lifelong same-sex relationships?

NTW: Monogamous, lifelong same-sex relationships were known in the ancient world as well as in the modern—there is plenty of evidence, despite what people sometimes say. When Jesus reaffirms the traditional Jewish standards of sexual behavior (he was talking in a Jews-only context where people would know what his shorthand sayings meant), and when Paul, speaking in a largely Gentile context, spells out a bit more clearly what is and what isn’t part of the new-creation lifestyle for those “in Christ,” this way of life was always counter-intuitive in that world, as it is again today.

But it’s important that we do not reduce the Bible to a collection of true doctrines and right ethics. There are plenty of true doctrines and right ethics there, of course, but they come within the larger thing, which is the story of how the Creator is rescuing and restoring the whole creation, with his rescue and restoration of humans at the heart of it. In other words, it isn’t about “do we allow this or that?” To ask the question that way is already to admit defeat, to think in terms of behavior as a set of quasi-arbitrary, and hence negotiable, rules.

We must ask, with Paul, “This new creation God has launched in Jesus—what does it look like, and how can we live well as genuine humans, as both a sign and a means of that renewal?” We need to remind ourselves that the entire biblical sexual ethic is deeply counter-intuitive. All human beings some of the time, and some human beings most of the time, have deep heartfelt longings for kinds of sexual intimacy or gratification (multiple partners, pornography, whatever) which do not reflect the creator’s best intentions for his human creatures, intentions through which new wisdom and flourishing will come to birth. Sexual restraint is mandatory for all, difficult for most, extremely challenging for some. God is gracious and merciful but this never means “so his creational standards don’t really matter after all.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & CultureScience & TechnologySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyApologeticsChristologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

RNS: No matter where a Christian falls on the spectrum, you’ll find something in this book to love and something to ruffle your feathers. Why did you decide to pen a book that touches on so many contentious issues? Do you expect pushback?

NTW: The book emerged from many different situations over a period of a few years. I didn’t set out to ruffle feathers, but to try to bring some biblical clarity to areas in which many Christians today, in the UK as well as the USA, are genuinely confused. So much of what people take to be “Christianity” is in fact an odd combination of things that really are in the Bible with things that are part of western culture from the last two or three hundred years. Figuring out which is which and how it all works is bound to be puzzling to some people if they’ve been firmly taught something else.

A lifetime of working in some very different churches has taught me that people come with all kinds of odd ideas and that a little clear biblical teaching goes a long way, and also that sometimes people resist it nervously because “it’s not what they said in Sunday School.” I’m all for Sunday schools, but there is a time for people to grow up and see things differently.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England may dismiss clergy if they back political parties promoting the "sin of racism", its bishops agreed on Tuesday in an unprecedented move by the mother church of the world's 80 million Anglicans.

William Fittall, secretary general of the Church's General Synod, said they would be disciplined if they joined or sought support for the British National Party or National Front, whose views the Church considers incompatible with its teachings.

It was the first time Church of England clergy have been banned from joining a political party.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 4, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The House of Bishops of the Church of England have voted to make membership or support of the British National Party (BNP) or National Front (NF) a potential disciplinary offence for its clergy.

The formal declarations by the House of Bishops mean that a complaint of misconduct can be made under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 against any cleric of the Church of England who is a member of, or promotes or expresses or solicits support for, the BNP or NF.

The declarations will be laid before the General Synod of the Church at its July meeting in York and will come into force at 5.30pm on 11 July 2014 unless 25 members of the General Synod give notice that they wish a declaration to be debated. If such notice is given, the expectation is that the declaration would be debated at the Synod's July group of sessions in York, and it could not come into force unless approved by the Synod.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 3, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Diocese of Gloucester has stepped in to help support the two remaining credit unions in Gloucestershire.

The diocese has given struggling Gloucestershire Credit Union £4,000 and is helping another to "grow capacity".

It follows the launch of the Church of England scheme to promote the use of credit unions over payday lenders.

Read it all.

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Posted May 31, 2014 at 12:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In response to almost the last of Cole [Moreton]’s questions I remembered Simpson’s experience and reflected that mine had been the reverse: facing my own mortality and possible death I discovered just how deep the well of hope is within me. Whether I lived or died that hope could not be disappointed.

If the gospel is truly the good news we proclaim it to be, then it is during times of adversity that it will be especially true. Our hope in Christ does not confer immunity from suffering, grief and loss but has the capacity to transform our experience of them. Going through difficult times – financially, relationally, or on the health front – effectively act as a refining process reminding us, sometimes painfully, where our security and confidence ultimately lie.

No one in their right mind would wish themselves to have cancer yet paradoxically I have found my journey with lymphoma to be a season of blessing and spiritual growth.

Becoming aware of my own mortality has proved to be a gift and caused me to perceive life through a more richly coloured lens
- See more at: http://www.bristol.anglican.org/2014/being-an-evangelist-when-the-going-gets-tough/#sthash.tXwM9BGg.dpufRead it all.


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Posted May 29, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the phrases quoted a good deal in relation to this conference – including on this programme yesterday – was Jesus's remark in what we often call 'The Sermon on the Mount': “You cannot serve both God and Mammon.” But, it seems to me that Jesus is polarising to make a point. In fact, he precedes this statement with: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

This is a very powerful way of putting the question raised earlier: who is money for? If you love people – and not just in a generic way, but in the detail of the real people who come uninvited across your path (think Good Samaritan, for example) – then money is a means of enabling people to thrive … or, maybe in the short term, just survive. But, what if you assume that money and wealth exist for their own sake – and for the sole good of the person who accumulates both? It is not hard to see what sort of an economist Jesus might have been…

Undoubtedly, the system we have grown in the last century has brought massive benefits. But, we are now responsible for how we hand this on to our grandchildren. So, we are still left with the question that the conference began with yesterday: does the economy serve people or do people serve the economy? The answer will tell us what sort of people we have chosen to be.

Read it all and the BBC link is there.

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Posted May 29, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two complaints have been lodged against the Bishop of Winchester over how he dealt with the Anglican Church in Jersey, the BBC understands.

The Channel Islands split from the Diocese of Winchester in January after relations broke down between Bishop Tim Dakin and Jersey's Dean, the Very Reverend Robert Key.

It stemmed from a dispute how abuse complaints were handled.

Read it all.

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Posted May 25, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

THE Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth unveiled a new £60,000 outdoor learning area for children in Rowlands Castle.

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster formally opened the worship circle at St John’s Primary School.

The area is just one part of an outdoor facility at the school, which will ultimately include an outdoor amphitheatre, art traversing wall and learning hut.

The worship circle – which has been named the Garden of Peace by the children – is a quiet reflective area.

Read it all.

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Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Did Jesus die for us and if he did, did he die in our stead? This is called substitutionary atonement and has been one of the main ways of understanding the death of Jesus. It is echoed in many of our hymns: ‘There is a green hill far away’’… He died that we might be forgiven, he died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven, saved by his precious blood’.

But many scholars have considered this immoral. God is not a God of wrath who needs appeasement. How could he demand the death of his only begotten son? The doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement has therefore been regarded with suspicion and rejected by many. But it strong biblical support in Paul’s writings: ‘I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me’.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God’

He himself bore our sins on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness’. 1 Peter.

The only way to avoid the suggestion that Jesus on the cross appeased an angry God is to realize that the work of atonement was not Christ’s alone but that ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself’. If we see God suffering for us in Christ, the harshness of penal substitution is avoided.

Read it all.

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Posted May 23, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If it isn’t one thing it’s another. Education is always throwing up news stories.

Recently we have seen a playground fight between Coalition partners over the funding of free schools and free school meals. Eventually everyone made up and went back into the classroom.

We have had more leaks about the Trojan Horse enquiry and the threat of "extremist takeovers" in some Birmingham schools. The exact nature of the Horse is still unclear.

Read it all.

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Posted May 22, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The House also discussed the next steps in the process for conversations around Human Sexuality. In its discussion the House noted that the process of shared conversations needed to demonstrate primarily how the Church of England could model living together with issues of tension, where members took opposing views whilst remaining committed to one another as disciples of Jesus Christ - members of one church in both unity and diversity. The House agreed to a proposed process and timescale for the conversations with regional discussions taking place over the next two years. The House also authorised its Standing Committee to sign off the final arrangements and materials.

The House concluded its meeting with a discussion of the place of the Church of England and its Bishops in public debate. The House heard presentations which emphasised the need for the Church develop its confidence arising from its well-developed and sustained levels of service to communities across the country. The House also heard of the importance of sustaining the place of Bishops and faith based organisations in the public square at a time when confidence in the wider political process was being eroded and the place of faith based values was being challenged. The House heard how the work of Bishops and the wider church in its provision of foodbanks, partnerships with civic society, chairing economic and policy reviews, living wage and credit union work demonstrated the role of the Church of England at both a delivery and strategic level in areas of civic engagement, community cohesion and social justice.

Read it all.

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Posted May 21, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My final comment in the interview on Radio Nottingham was that cases like Jeremy Pemberton’s are forcing the collapse of the two realities at a pace no-one is ready for—so I think all sides would prefer that such cases do not arise. But the immediate question for the House of Bishops now is: do their statements actually mean anything? I hope they do, for many reasons, and I cannot see that it is in anyone’s interests for the bishops to be told (possibly by lawyers) that they are powerless to enforce Canon Law.

Prayer needed for all sides…

Read it all.

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1 Comments
Posted May 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The proposed law allowing women to be made bishops has received a boost with a vote in favour by the Church of England's London diocese.

In the key House of Laity the diocesan synod backed the law by 43 votes to 17.

The vote does not directly affect the final decision on the proposal by the Church's general synod in July.

Read it all and you can read a diocese of London article here as well.

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Posted May 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

David (55) has been vicar of Cromer, Norfolk, for the past 11 years, is Rural Dean of Repps and is an honorary Canon of Norwich Cathedral.

Born in Norwich, he attended the local comprehensive school near his home on the Heartsease estate in the city. He studied electro-chemistry at the University of Southampton, conducting research into the structure and medicinal opportunities of sugar, achieving a PhD. While at university, he was introduced to the Church, and soon made a commitment to a life as a Christian. He became a chemistry and physics teacher at a rural comprehensive school in Oundle, Northamptonshire.

It was while teaching in Northamptonshire, and living in Peterborough, that he wascalled to the ministry though his parish church, and at the age of 29, began studying at Oak Hill Theological College in London.

Read it all.

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Posted May 9, 2014 at 6:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the analysis above is accepted then the situation seems to be as follows. Those clergy who marry someone of the same sex believe they should live in accordance with canon C26 and that they are doing so and that their problem is simply with canon B30. However, the general category of “according to the doctrine of Christ” in C26 has within the canons one very clear specification – the definition of marriage in B30. This is the canon that, in a form of conscientious ecclesial disobedience, they are not only questioning and asking the church to reconsider but actively contradicting by their actions. I think this raises three key questions.

First, can the clergy concerned (and those supportive of them) recognise that given this situation they have a responsibility to seek an urgent change to canon B30?

A clergyperson’s decision to enter a same-sex marriage is, in effect, a demand that canon B30 be amended. The logic of their actions, whether consciously or not, is that they are attempting to bring about a change in that canon’s definition of marriage. At its weakest this would involve removing the claim of dominical authority for the definition of marriage (arguably allowing those who disregard it to put themselves on the same footing as those who disregard other canons). More likely it would entail a new definition or a removal of any definition of marriage.

What is interesting, and of concern, is that despite this being the logical implication of the actions there has, as far as I am aware, been no serious attempt to change the canon by due process and very little sustained theological critique or development of an alternative wording.

Read it all.


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Posted May 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Paul was introduced to the city at St Andrews Clubmoor where he toured the Foodbank meeting staff, clients and local clergy. He continues his day by travelling to Wigan, receiving Communion at Wigan Parish Church before visiting the Deanery High School for a question and answer session with a group of pupils. The Bishop then returns to Liverpool to meet diocesan staff at St James House before visiting Liverpool Cathedral. He concludes his day by attending Evening Prayer at the cathedral.

Bishop Paul said “This is a great city and a great region with great people. It deserves a great church. I’m beginning to learn just how much the people of our Diocese, alongside our friends and colleagues from other Christian traditions, contribute to this fantastic community. It’s a huge privilege to be invited to come among them, to learn from them, and to work with the team here to give some guidance and leadership for the future. No new bishop should stand alone, and I’m very grateful for the quality of the leaders of the Diocese. Bishop Richard and Archdeacons Ricky and Peter, supported by many others, are sustaining and carrying forward the vision of the Diocese in a way that’s very impressive. I support that vision for growth and I’m looking forward to carrying it forward.

Read it all.

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Posted May 7, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all (about 9 minutes).

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Posted May 6, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out.

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Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“My own view is that what is needed in the Church at present is gracious restraint. We need a cool and calm period in which to explore the issues. To those among clergy and ordinands contemplating entering a same-sex marriage I would say, “Might you hold back while the Church reflects?” Gracious restraint. To those who might make a complaint against a priest who, despite that, does enter such a marriage I would say, “Might you hold back while the Church reflects?” Gracious restraint. To those who contemplate leaving the Church of England because of its perceived position I would say, “Might you hold back while the Church reflects?” Gracious restraint. To those who condemn the Church of England from other parts of the Anglican Communion I would say, “Might you hold back while the Church of England reflects?” Gracious restraint to give us space.

“The next steps for the Church of England are to have facilitated conversations at a national and diocesan level. This should involve profound reflection on the interpretation and application of Scripture. The outcomes that are hoped for, certainly what I will pray for are of two sorts.

“One sort is that we seek to listen together with sufficient commitment that we lift the issue out of its present situation where people of entrenched views fail to hear one another or respect one another’s integrity. We need to listen very carefully to the beliefs and opinions that come out of a profound change of attitudes in our society to gender, sexuality and marriage. We need to listen very carefully to the experience of gay and lesbian people, both those who are celibate and those who are in sexual relationships, including gay and lesbian clergy. We need to listen, in some cases, to their pain, and we need also to listen to their sense of joy, love and blessing in a faithful partnership. We need to listen very carefully to what the world and medicine and science can tell us about homosexuality. We need to listen very carefully to those who believe we are sitting light to the teaching of Jesus and the authority of the scriptures. We need to listen to one another and we need to listen to what the Spirit may be saying to the churches. And each and every one of us needs to participate in that listening with a humility that recognises that we have things to learn and may be some opinions to revise and that the Church’s teaching in this area of life may need to be expressed in a new language. I say “may”, for we must also allow for the possibility that what emerges, at the end of profound reflection, is a clear restatement of a traditional view.

Read it all.

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14 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Downing Street has announced today four new Suffragan bishops in the Dioceses of York and Chelmsford. John Thomson (Selby), Paul Ferguson (Whitby), Roger Morris (Colchester), and Peter Hill (Barking), have been confirmed to become Suffragan bishops after their nomination was approved by the Queen.

Please follow the links provided to read more.

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Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church of England officials are facing humiliation after controversial plans to stop a bishop living in the medieval palace occupied by his predecessors for centuries were overturned.

The Rt Rev Peter Hancock, who will be formally enthroned as the 79th Bishop of Bath and Wells next month, had been told he would not live in the 13th Century palace because it was not “conducive to ministry” and a more normal family home would be found.

The medieval complex doubles as diocesan headquarters and a tourist attraction and the Church Commissioners, the Church of England’s property and financial arm, argued that it lacked privacy for the bishop and his family.

Read it all.


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Posted May 1, 2014 at 2:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church Commissioners for England and the Diocese of Bath and Wells have today issued a joint statement following the publication of the decision of the committee of the Archbishops' Council.

"We thank the Archbishops' Council for their consideration of the objections made by the Diocese to the Church Commissioners decision to house the next Bishop of Bath and Wells outside of the Palace.

"We appreciate the thoroughness of the Council's consideration and the swiftness with which the decision has been reached.

"This outcome enables all concerned to look to the future, to celebrate the arrival of the new Bishop and to welcome Bishop Peter and his wife Jane when they arrive in June."

Read it all.


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Posted May 1, 2014 at 11:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

The focus of my sermon this evening is what it means to say those words and what it is to set those words at the heart of ministry.

Some of us have the immense privilege as priests of summoning a whole community to lift up their hearts in the Eucharist. But others are called no less to invite God’s people to lift up their hearts in different ways: in the ministry of the word and in the prayers, in pastoral care, in evangelism, as we lead worship or work with children or young people. This call and invitation goes right to the heart of our understanding of every kind of ministry. So what does it mean?

The words have a long and wide pedigree. They go back to the earliest descriptions of the Eucharist in the third century. They are present in the rites of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches and all the churches of the Reformation as well as our own Church of England. What does it mean to say “Lift up your hearts”?

Read it all.

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Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The marriage of canon Jeremy Pemberton and Laurence Cunnington, the first gay clergy wedding in England, looks like a decisive test of strength within the Church of England between liberals and conservatives. But it may just shift the trenches a few hundred yards. The tangles of employment law and church law make it almost impossible for either side to get all they want.

It looks as if it should be easy for the bishop of Lincoln, in whose diocese the canon works, to discipline Pemberton if he wants to. But Pemberton is not in fact a vicar. He is a hospital chaplain, which means he is employed by the local NHS trust. They are not going to sack him for contracting a perfectly legal marriage. The bishop has no power to get him sacked even if he wanted to.

But this is the Church of England; things are seldom simple....

Read it all (my emphasis).

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4 Comments
Posted April 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A priest has become the first in Britain to defy the Church of England’s ban on gay clergy marrying.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton, 58, a divorced hospital chaplain, wed his long-term partner Laurence Cunnington, 51, on Saturday afternoon.

Campaigners expressed delight that the couple had taken advantage of Britain’s newly-introduced gay marriage laws and urged bishops to “bless” their partnership. They predict he will be the first of many gay clergy to marry.

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I had hoped that Church of England liturgy would come to include provisions for church blessing of civil partnerships. I fear that the precipitate and profoundly undemocratic way in which the Marriage Bill was hustled into law has set obstacles in the way of persuasive change. The Church of England will now have extreme difficulty in relating to the law on marriage.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church's real problem, however, is not the hypocrisy of closeted prelates. It's that so many priests are perfectly content to solemnise homosexual marriages in church and will indeed be "creative" in finding ways to do so.

How will Archbishop Justin Welby respond? "I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it's the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being," he told the Guardian in best Rev J C Flannel mode. Uh-huh. Oh, and there will be "structured conversations" to help resolve the problem.

Here's my prediction. As of today, pro-gay clergy will begin to unpick Cameron's "triple lock" banning parishes from holding gay weddings; during the next Parliament it will cease to exist. Priests who want to marry same-sex couples, or indeed marry their own gay lovers, will just do it. Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical parishes that reject the whole notion won't be forced to host such ceremonies, but both these wings of the C of E are moving in a liberal direction, and in the long run demographic change will finish the job.

Read it all.

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4 Comments
Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bishop Alan Wilson]...said: “I’ve blessed lots of things, I once blessed a bucket of cement in India, it seems to me very difficult to say that you can’t bless this.

“But the official line which I have to be loyal to in my working practice is that you can pray with people pastorally but you mustn’t use the ‘b’ word.

“That technically is very interesting because if the Church of England produced a liturgy for blessing a civil partnership, for example, there would be an official line on how to do this.”

On the question of equal marriage, he said everybody has a “very basic human right” to order their life and their family and their household in a way that goes with their conscience and their faith.

Read it all (subscription required).

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0 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 6:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gay clergy should follow their conscience and defy the Church of England’s restrictions on same-sex marriage, a prominent bishop has said as the most radical change ever made to the legal definition of marriage in Britain comes into force.

The Rt Rev Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, said priests should be “creative” to get around restrictions on blessings for same-sex couples and that gay clergy who wish to marry should do so in defiance of the official line.

He also claimed that several current serving bishops are themselves in gay partnerships, and urged them to publicly acknowledge their status for the sake of “honesty and truthfulness” and even consider marrying.

Read it all.

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4 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Right Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, has congratulated same-sex couples who will be getting married from... [Saturday 29 march 2014] and assured them of his prayers.

Bishop Nicholas said:

“Tomorrow, the first same-sex civil marriages will take place in this country. This is a new reality being undertaken by people who wish their relationships to have a formal status which embodies a commitment to them being faithful, loving and lifelong. These are virtues which the Church of England wants to see maximised in society. I therefore congratulate those who are getting married, assure them of my prayers, and wish them well in all that lies ahead.”

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): What the Church of England’s policy is on priests entering a same-sex marriage; and what guidance has been given on what would happen to a priest who did so.

Sir Tony Baldry: Clergy and ordinands remain free to enter into civil partnerships. The House of Bishops in its pastoral guidance distributed on 15 February said that it was not willing for those in same-sex marriages to be ordained to any of the three orders of ministry—deacon, clergy or bishops—and that

“it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same-sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives”.

As with any alleged instance of misconduct, each case would have to be considered individually by the local diocesan bishop.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We’re walking from Amesbury to Stratford sub Castle along the Woodford Valley. Amesbury was the site of a magnificent (Augustinian?) Abbey. Stratford is sub the Castle because once it stood at the foot of the hill on which Sarum’s Castle sat. The first Salisbury Cathedral was on the hill too. So we will be visiting our forebears.

Along the way we will be going to Wilsford and Great Durnford, which has the oldest pews in the country. Evensong at Stratford around 15.45. 10 miles.

Read it all.

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1 Comments
Posted March 27, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A special commission will be set up as part of moves to repair relations between the Channel Islands and the Church of England.

The islands became the temporary responsibility of the Bishop of Dover in January after a dispute over how a complaint of abuse was handled.

The move has yet to be completed with finances still paid to the Diocese of Winchester.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

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Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby--Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

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Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Picture the scene: the Bishop's post is being opened, and among the invitations, job applications, and clerical outfitters' catalogues are three troubling pieces of correspondence.

The first is from the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, informing the Bishop that an ordinand in training, who is in the process of looking for a title post in the diocese, has entered into a same-sex marriage.

The second is a letter of complaint from a group of parishioners that the Vicar of X has just used the form of service for prayer and dedication after a civil marriage from Common Worship: Pastoral Services to bless a same-sex marriage in church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...there are a couple of underlying realities we have to acknowledge. First, as I wrote in my letter to clergy, I hope it’s common ground that we’re part of a Church that’s called to real repentance for the lack of welcome and acceptance extended to gay and lesbian people as children of God. We haven’t listened well to the quiet, hurting voices, nor to those called to celibacy, nor to clergy who have lovingly and sensitively ministered to gay couples through the years.

The second thing we need to acknowledge is that we’re part of a culture that’s chaotically confused about sex. Sex has been outrageously commodified, pornography is ordinary viewing for teenagers and an addiction for very many adults, trafficking is a global business, prostitution is commonplace, sexually explicit films and TV are far beyond anything Mary Whitehouse could have imagined in her wildest nightmare. Multiple sexual partners are wreaking havoc on relational stability, sexual infections are massively increasing, hardly anyone is a virgin on their wedding night, and so on. And in the middle of all that we’re trying steadily to work out a theologically coherent approach to same sex marriage.

But I think in a sense, we’re doing this on behalf of the nation. We’re trying to be responsible. We’re trying to grapple with a serious moral issue in a way that models openness and respect. OK, we’re messing up – badly. But we’re trying to discover how much we can agree on, and to learn how to ‘disagree well’ on what we can’t agree on. And then to decide how we can, or can’t, live with that spectrum of honest belief. The rest of society doesn’t do its moral reasoning like that. It prefers soundbites, three minutes of furious argument, and a YouGov poll.

Read it all and you may read a bit about Bishop Pritchard there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSexuality* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 22, 2014 at 10:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We’re beginning the season of ‘giving up’ things – a tradition of Lent. So what to give up? For us Christians, it is about self-denial, yes, and making time for deeper prayer and repentance too.

But Lent isn’t simply about giving up something for a while, just to start it again when Easter arrives. We certainly shouldn’t be giving up good service to our neighbours, though we may wish to postpone excessive meetings about that work.

We certainly don’t give up meeting together to worship and study God’s Word. Repentance is about ‘doing sorry’ – turning away from wrong (sin) and in Lent we can take extra time to think about whether we’re living as God would have us live – or, as the first of our themes puts it, discovering the heart of God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* TheologyChristologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gay clergy have this week been describing the ramifications of the pastoral guidance on same-sex marriage, issued by the House of Bishops last month. Bishops have begun meeting gay clergy, at least five of whom are reported to be planning to marry.

The Vicar of St Mary with All Souls', Kilburn, and St James's, West Hampstead, the Revd Andrew Cain, said on Tuesday that speaking publicly about his plans to marry his partner of 14 years ( News, 21 February) had resulted in an "uncomfortable" meeting with his bishop, the Rt Revd Peter Wheatley, on Wednesday last week.

"It was very uncomfortable for both of us," he said. "He was with HR, and I was with a union rep. That would not be normal for a meeting between a bishop and a priest. I could not honestly say it was particularly pastoral. It was awkward."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

5 Comments
Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The referendum will have done nothing to have diminished the risk of inter-ethnic violence.

Against this uncertain and volatile background, the Christian churches of Europe, through the Conference of European Churches, have been in contact with the All Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations, a body that includes Jewish and Muslim representatives as well as Christian churches. A letter signed by the present CEC president, known to many Members of your Lordships’ House as the recently retired Bishop of Guildford, expresses solidarity and support, urges an end to further polarisation in Ukrainian society and assures them that churches elsewhere in Europe are urging a democratic and diplomatic solution to the problems facing Ukraine. I know that Bishop Christopher Hill will be talking later this week to other European church leaders about how this solidarity and support can be given more tangible shape through the Conference of European Churches.

Even if this crisis has cast a Cold War shadow over Europe, it is important that we remain in dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church. That is not always an easy task given the Russian orthodox world view. I am encouraged that only last month the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London met representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church to discuss the theological education of students from the Russian Orthodox Church here in the UK. However this crisis plays out, and I pray as I am sure many of us do for a speedy and peaceful resolution, it is important that we do not sanction measures that put such dialogue at risk.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeRussiaUkraine* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

2 Comments
Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Richard Charles Jackson, MA (Oxon) MSc, Diocesan Advisor for Mission and Renewal, in the Diocese of Chichester, to the Suffragan See of Lewes, in the Diocese of Chichester, in succession to the Right Reverend Wallace Parke Benn, BA, on his resignation on 31 August 2012.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

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Posted March 17, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishops of Newcastle and Winchester have championed the importance of excellent teachers for pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. They were involved in a debate in the House of Lords about the role of schools in improving social mobility on the 13th March.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture

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Posted March 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New Zealand Anglicanism shifted from a firmly-held “marriage cannot be dissolved” to “a couple when getting married should intend to stay together”. ALL references to Marriage-is-like-Christ-and-His-church imagery were completely removed from the three different rites available for getting married in the 1989 New Zealand Prayer Book. Even the Church of England’s own Common Worship rite has removed all but the tiniest single vestigial allusion (quoted above) to what was clearly once a dominant biblical paradigm for marriage.

What once again is clear when those who say the debates are not sourced in prejudice about homosexuality, but are about integrity to scripture and tradition, is that whilst a sea change has occurred in the understanding of marriage, they have only begun to register an issue when the direction heads towards committed same-sex couples.

In the discussion about whether gender difference is essential to marriage it is clear where the inner logic of the trajectory of Christian marriage changes leads, and that the Church of England bishops’ statement is on the wrong side of that trajectory.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and PolynesiaChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 was designed to deal with a range of disciplinary issues concerning the clergy in the Church of England – but to the exclusion of matters of doctrine or ritual.

The 1963 Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure (one of whose chief architects was the late +Eric Kemp) retained the jurisdiction inherited from the Victorian era, and ultimately from the middle ages, expressly as a criminal jurisdiction, modelled on the former Assize Courts.

This meant among other things that the procedures of the consistory court when sitting under the EJM were those of a criminal trial, that prosecutors had to achieve a criminal standard of proof – beyond all reasonable doubt – in persuading the court to convict – and that the court’s sentences were effectively criminal convictions for what in some cases were relatively trivial offences. Its proceedings were open to the public and to the media.

The CDM was designed to be a civil tribunal and to operate without the full glare of publicity brought by EJM proceedings. The world’s press turned up for the trial of the Dean of Lincoln, Brandon Jackson, and the false evidence against him was published on the front pages of national newspapers. He was acquitted.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The focus on analysis has led to (or perhaps is because of?) paralysis among church leaders with traditional beliefs. Typically, there is no urgency. Marriage has been redefined with huge implications for the spiritual and moral health of the nation, and yet many otherwise biblically orthodox clergy are not sure there is a problem – especially since the Bishops have at least for the moment appeared to hold the line. There is little prayer, because of the influence of secularism which teaches us to rely on our management techniques rather than on God, because of the upsetting nature of the topic, and because of a lack of understanding about spiritual realities. “Oh yes, I will pray in general for the nation”, I have been told, “but not specifically about gay marriage”. There is no courage. Clergy tell me privately that they believe in what the Bible says about sex, but their priority is for hassle-free pastoral care, for unity in the congregation, and ultimately for their own livelihood. As a result there is a lack of good teaching in the congregations on this topic, and no action at local or national levels or support for others taking such action.

Of course not all churches in England have capitulated. Many are wanting to stand firm – and this brings division. The church is now irredeemably divided over homosexuality. The Gospel should be truth lived out in experience, but today ‘my story’ is ranged against propositional truth and right principles. Churches which should be based on the Word and oriented towards their communities are now choosing ‘community’ over against the Word. ‘Witness’ seen as cutting the cost of discipleship to get people into church is increasingly opposed to bearing witness to Christ at any cost. Words such as sin, the need for repentance and transformation are now applied more to people who do not approve of same gender sexual relationships, than to people in those relationships.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sad reality is that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Although it is reported that only one bishop voted against the guidance, it is also being claimed that a significant number, even a majority, are not personally happy with it. The reactions to the guidance make clear just how extensive the divisions are in the wider church and thus how difficult the environment for the facilitated conversations is going to be. They also perhaps highlight two areas where the conversations need to focus their attention but which were largely unaddressed by the Pilling Report:

(1) What doctrine of marriage should the Church have and how should it then bear faithful witness to that in ordering its own life and in mission in a wider society which recognises same-sex marriage? and

(2) What is to be done, what new church structures may be needed, so that those who find themselves unable to accept the conclusions on the doctrine of marriage and its practical implications can faithfully bear witness to their understanding of marriage without undermining the mind of the majority or condemning the Church of England to continuing destructive conflict over this issue?

Read it all and Pt I is here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


Well, you could knock me down with a feather duster. The Pope is looking into the subject of gay marriage. According to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Holy Father said to him that "rather than quickly condemn them, let's just ask the questions as to why that has appealed to certain people". OK, it's hardly a new Vatican policy. But language matters. And in the week of the first anniversary of Francis's appointment as pope, it is worth recognising how far the language has come.

But things are going to change even faster for the Church of England over the next few weeks. With gay marriage becoming a legal reality on 29 March, it is certain that a number of clergy will be looking to get hitched, in direct defiance of the wishes of their bishops who have vaguely warned of disciplinary action if they do. But the truth is that the bishops can actually do very little about it. The following is slightly nerdish stuff, but for the likes of north London vicar Reverend Andrew Cain, now preparing for his nuptials, it is crucial. Writing on my Facebook page last night, the Bishop of Buckingham explained the clergy discipline measure:

"Its Section 7 lays down that matters of doctrine and worship are not justiciable under the measure, but must be tried under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963. Insomniacs may remember that around 10 years ago there was a proposal to have a Clergy Discipline Measure type measure for doctrine and worship cases but it failed. The legal trail leads from here to section 39 of the EJM63. The maximum penalty it lays down for a first offence is a rude letter telling you not to do it again – which hopefully people getting married won't."

Of course, the bishops could pretend that clergy getting married is not a matter of doctrine, but this would be a bit of a problem given that they have been going round telling everyone that it is.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

7 Comments
Posted March 11, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Church of England bishop has accused the Government of penalising stay-at-home mothers and carers by discriminating against families in the tax and benefits system.

The criticism came after an inquiry by a Christian charity to be launched on Tuesday found that that married couples with only one earner keep less of every extra pound they earn in the UK than in any other country in the developed world.

Last month, church leaders including 27 Anglican bishops condemned the Coalition’s welfare policies for causing hardship and hunger, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said its benefit cuts were “a disgrace". Now the Government is under attack for being “anti-family” in a study carried out by the charity Christian Action Research and Education (CARE).

Read it all from the Independent.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted March 10, 2014 at 5:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...We are all over stimulated. Blessed Lent, the sad springtime of the Church's year is the time when we support each other as believers in simplifying our lives; removing fuel from the fires of rage and fear; facing a little more of the shadow world within by laying aside some of our usual comforters...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

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Posted March 5, 2014 at 7:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Channel Islands churches could stop paying money to the Diocese of Winchester and instead pay it into a shared fund.

Lay members of the Anglican Church in Jersey have brought forward the plan.

Bruce Willing, a lay member, says paying the money into a shared fund will help if they decide to become a separate diocese.

The Channel Islands split from Winchester in January after a dispute over how abuse complaints were handled.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

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Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Leicester, Rt. Revd. Tim Stevens and the Bishop of Birmingham, Rt. Revd. David Urquhart, have released a joint statement today in response to the draft child poverty strategy issued by the government.

The Bishops said: "We welcome the Government's firm commitment to ending child poverty by 2020. The measures announced in this paper are a step in the right direction, though much more will need to be done to enable us to come close to achieving this very ambitious target. As the economy recovers we encourage the Government to pursue policies to ensure that the proceeds of growth will be shared by low income families with children, and by other groups that have been most adversely affected by the recession."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has described the House of Bishops' pastoral statement on same-sex marriage, which he signed a fortnight ago, as "Anglican fudge".

The Bishops have also been challenged over the accuracy of their guidance, issued on 15 February. In it, they reiterated the ban on same-sex marriages in church, and stated that clergy may not enter into gay marriages... Several priests have publicly declared their intention to defy the Bishops.

Dr Sentamu, speaking at a meeting of Jewish and Christian students in Durham in the middle of last week, said that the Church of England's position was that "a clergy person has a right, an expectation, to live within the teaching of the Church, but for lay people and others they should be welcomed into the Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 28, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop's Palace at Wells was discussed by the Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners at its meeting last Tuesday (25th February). This was the first meeting of the Board since it made its decision at the end of November last year.

At the meeting the Commissioners were given an opportunity to read the correspondence received and examine the petition recently presented to the Secretary to the Commissioners. They were also provided with a report of the public meeting attended by Sir Tony Baldry MP.

During their discussion the Commissioners discussed the views of those opposed to their decision and acknowledged the strong feelings that the decision had aroused within the diocese. It was noted that there were also voices of support for the decision.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted February 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Prime Minister David Cameron enters into tortuous negotiations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the future shape of Europe; and as Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson threatens to resign over certain secret assurances given to Irish Republican terrorists classified as "On The Run"; and as the Ukraine descends into a bloody civil war about historic matters of ethnicity, identity, religion, and whether or not Russia is more Christian and free than the EU; and as Syria (remember that?) pours out a vast sea of destitute and diseased humanity, where Christians are beheaded and mothers die in childbirth; spare a thought for Church of England as it continues to agonise over the House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is trying to move on (with an ecumenical focus on social action projects), but the Bishop of Oxford has written a letter to his clergy in which he pours out his anguish and sorrow over the House of Bishops' statement, and explains his personal torment and the torture deep within his soul over the limbo caused by the statement. For Bishop John, civil partnership is not and can never be the same thing as marriage, and he has long trodden a narrow path which has pleased neither wing of the sexuality divide. It is not so much a question of sheep and goats, as which pasture is most conducive for spiritual grazing and where the theological grass is greener. But the inadequacy, ambiguity, obfuscation and internal contradictions contained in the Bishops' Dog's Breakfast Pastoral Guidance would do Sir Humphrey proud. For some, it comes as a great relief; for others, it is cruel and absurd. God reveals Himself in His Word, which requires exegesis, interpretation and a grasp of its fundamental Sitz im Leben. But the Bishops cloak Him in shadowy puzzlement and shroud the Word in smog. Doing theology in this context is nigh impossible.

This guidance permits the Church of England to begin the facilitated conversations that were advocated in the Pilling Report. There is no predetermined outcome, but the distrust and suspicion on both sides clouds understanding, makes prayer a profound spiritual struggle, and fellowship a depressing hassle.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted February 27, 2014 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The impression is that if only poor people would organise their lives more effectively, work harder at work or at finding work, and help each other out a little more, the problems would disappear.

This is not just a comforting fantasy for the comfortably-off, it’s a dangerous delusion. It ignores the huge structural changes affecting the British economy, thanks to technology, international competition and immigration. The top 1 per cent have seen their share of earnings increase from 7 to 10 per cent in two decades, but median pay has been static or falling for ten years. The decline is sharpest for those at the bottom of the scale.

Poor people are getting poorer because full-time jobs are disappearing or wage rates are being cut. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that the income of those in the bottom tenth of the income range peaked in 2004 and has been falling ever since. At the same time there have been above-inflation rises in essential costs. Since 2008 gas and electricity prices have risen by almost two thirds, food by a third, transport by a quarter. The result is that incomes and wealth are being squeezed as never before. Half of all families on average to low incomes have no savings whatsoever.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionGlobalizationPovertyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 27, 2014 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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