Posted by The_Elves

the doctrinal primacy of the Bishops’ 1987 motion was subsequently announced by the Archbishop of Canterbury who had signed off the 1991 document; and that was the legal advice. Of course, the 1991 Issues in Human Sexuality, while being uneven as many such statements are, contains most helpful material. For example, Section 2.29 is a brilliant summary of the biblical teaching on sexual relationships:
“There is … in Scripture an evolving convergence on the ideal of lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual union as the setting intended by God for the proper development of men and women as sexual beings. Sexual activity of any kind outside marriage comes to be seen as sinful, and homosexual practice as especially dishonourable.”
It is a fact that every bishop and priest/presbyter in the Church of England is bound “with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s Word” (BCP Ordinal). Surely, therefore, Canon Andy Lines and the GAFCON UK Task Force should be thanked, rather than opposed, in all their efforts to help the Church at large be true to its apostolic faith, and its clergy true to their canonical duty.

Read it all

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

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Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Contrary to Bishop Holtam’s assertion, Lambeth 1.10 did not contemplate the blessing of Gay Pride parades or other activities that promoted as a moral good same-sex carnal relations. As it was explained to me by my episcopal masters, paragraph c of resolution 1.10 was crafted to make the following points: There were faithful Christians who experienced same-sex attractions. The church was called to assist these individuals and pray for their transformation. The insertion of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit was suggested by Ugandan bishops who wanted the conference to go on record as stating the power of the Holy Spirit could help transform the disordered relations of Christians who experienced same-sex attractions.

The Bishop of Dallas, seconded by Prof. Stephen Noll, (who bears the distinction of having been one of the minds behind Lambeth 1.10 and the Jerusalem Declaration) asked the condemnation of “homophobia” be removed, as in the American context those who opposed the “gay” agenda were tarred with the brush of homophobia. In its place was substituted the awkward circumlocution “irrational fear of homosexuals”.

The paragraph concluded with a statement the church would listen to those who were struggling with their desires, noting that temptation was not the same as sin, and that all faithful Christians were loved.

Paragraph c stated: [The Conference] recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God's transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;”

Bishop Holtam’s interpretation of paragraph d in his letter to the Church Times as permitting the moral normalization of homosexual acts is disingenuous....

Read it carefully and read it all.

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Posted November 26, 2016 at 8:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Secondly, “clergy and laity are entitled to argue for changes to teaching and practice”. Again, of course we have freedom of speech! But this seems to open the door to the widespread promotion of any view, even an irresponsible disregard for core doctrines, which include marriage. This provision was no doubt originally intended to allow for a free exchange of views during the ‘Shared Conversation’ process. Its effect now will be again to undermine any idea of clear universally agreed teaching in which we can have confidence.

Thirdly, the letter says “prayers of support on a pastoral basis for people in same-sex relationships” are permitted in churches. This is very misleading: in its original context (The Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance of 2014) such private prayers were clearly distinguished from public ‘prayers of blessing’ which are explicitly not permitted. Without this clear distinction, public services of celebration of same sex relationships could be carried out under the guidelines of ‘pastoral prayer’ - and indeed such services are being carried out as the GAFCON document on Lambeth I:10 violations shows.

On one hand, then, the Church of England has an official doctrine of sex and marriage based on the wonderful fruitful biblical vision of godly celibate singleness, man and woman sacrificially committed to each other exclusively for life, a family of mum, dad and kids; power for living it out, forgiveness for all (ie the 100%) who fall short. But in practice the Church is extremely diffident about explaining or commending this vision, not just because it knows that many in the ranks of its own leadership don’t believe in it, but because it is more afraid of unpopularity from the secular British establishment and Twitter mobs than it is concerned about fellowship with the worldwide church or doing what is right before God.

So rather than changing the doctrine, the Church puts it on the shelf, and allows other beliefs and practices to take hold. The church officially believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, but Bishops can argue for same sex marriage, and clergy can conduct a ceremony which looks to all intents and purposes like the blessing of a same sex relationship, and it’s ‘within the guidelines’.

Read it all.

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Posted November 25, 2016 at 2:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Contrary to popular perception, tolerance of all remains one of Britain’s most redeeming features. This is a proud Christian country which is also respectful, and appreciative, of people who hold other faiths in a multi-cultural society. The regret is this is being overshadowed by those who hold extreme positions, whether it be intolerant liberals who don’t want Christians to demonstrate their faith, or the violence meted out against Muslims, and with the most tragic of consequences on occasion. This is a proud Christian country which is also respectful, and appreciative, of people who hold other faiths in a multi-cultural society. The regret is this is being overshadowed by those who hold extreme positions, whether it be intolerant liberals who don’t want Christians to demonstrate their faith, or the violence meted out against Muslims, and with the most tragic of consequences on occasion.

Read it all.

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Posted December 3, 2016 at 12:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are Christians who worry about whether they can or cannot speak about their faith at work. This is a fact. There are Christians who worry about it. However, that is not to say that their concern is justified. Furthermore, we cannot – and should not – extrapolate from (for example) one media report of a Christian being disciplined for doing so to a judgement that all Christians are concerned. This is patent nonsense. Theresa May was following a report that said we should grow up and use common sense.

I did not use the word “scared”. I did not “slam” (as I am being reported to be doing) anyone. I also said clearly that this is not a concern for me and that we should get on with it with confidence.

The bit about secularists was simply that there is too often an assumption that there is a potential tension between the faiths and that others might be offended by Christians talking about their faith or the content of Christmas. This also is nonsense. However, there can be an illiberal element to some liberals who are tolerant only of those who consent to their understanding of liberalism or tolerance. That is true. However, it is not to say that all liberals are illiberal.

Read it all and you can find a Yorkshire post article on this there.

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Posted December 3, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...before we shout, we need to pay proper attention to the voices of those whose votes have caused this revolution, whether or not we like what we hear.

On both sides of the Atlantic, there has been an almighty cry of anger from a dispossessed and mar­­­­­­­­ginalised working class — the s­o-called “victims of globalisation”. Such people feel frozen out of the post-crash economy, their wages shrinking in real terms while the rich get ever richer. They are routinely accused of xenophobia, or worse, when they express concerns about changes imposed on their com­munities by those who live far away. In the UK, they feel abandoned by the institutions that were formed to represent them: austerity-stricken local government, the Labour Party, and the demutualised building soc­i­eties.

If the C of E was still adequately present in areas of deprivation, it would not have been surprised at the revolution in popular politics that this anger caused (Comment, 1 July). But it has become so discon­nected from many of these communities that it no longer hears what they are saying, let alone amplifies their voices to the nation. And, until the Church re-invests in urban ministry, places the best leaders in the most deprived parishes, and returns to the estates it has abandoned, these voices will continue to go un­­heard.

The Church’s agenda is being set not by the poor, but by academia, the moneyed elites, and certain sections of the secular media.

Read it all from the Church Times.

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Posted December 3, 2016 at 9:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..As I look at the Anglican Communion, and particularly those largely “Global north” and western churches that align with the values of The Episcopal Church (TEC), and increasingly the leadership of the Church of England, I can’t help but face the conviction of Isaiah 1. The Biblical, apostolic catholic and conciliar values that birthed Anglicanism are given lip service while leaders of the Anglican status quo drift increasingly into heterodoxy and the outright denial of the very essentials of our faith. They justify this with technical and legalistic appeals to the fact that the original values have not been formally or officially repealed. “No one has abandoned the Creeds or the Thirty-Nine Articles,” they will say. But they are said with fingers crossed, and presented as meaninglessly as the offerings of Israel in Isaiah 1.

What if the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishops of the Church of England are preparing for an “about face” on their teaching of marriage, as some inside leaders of the Church are suggesting. There seems to be a growing inevitability that the leadership of the Church of England will sooner than later provide liturgical blessings for same-sex partnerships, perhaps even marriages. They may say that they are remaining faithful because they have not officially repealed the Church’s teaching that marriage is a lifetime covenant between one man and one woman. But in blessing same sex unions they will be repudiating the Biblical doctrine of creation, including marriage (see Gen.2:24; Matt. 19:4-6; Eph. 5:31).

Read it all

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

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Posted December 2, 2016 at 3:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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Posted November 25, 2016 at 3:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, has issued the following response to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement:

Bishop David said: "The political turbulence of the past year and lower growth forecasts have meant the Chancellor has been given limited economic room for manoeuvre. But I welcome the emphasis in the Autumn Statement on long term stability, investment in innovation, in our national infrastructure and on supporting regional growth. To be a nation living within its means is an aspiration worth keeping, even if the revised figures for deficit reduction mean that the goal of its achievement has been moved slightly further away.

The Government is to be commended for wanting to address the situation of those who are 'just managing' and for its emphasis on work as being an important route out of poverty. The increases in the National Living Wage and a partial reversal of planned cuts to Universal Credit announced in today's Autumn Statement are welcome and will offer some help. But at a time when the cost of living is set to rise, more on the lowest incomes will still struggle to get by and they might benefit from more targeted assistance than further increases in the tax free personal allowance, which mostly benefits better off families, as the recent report by the Centre for Social Justice points out.

As the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have highlighted, the four-year freeze on working-age benefits is looking increasingly out of date, especially with rising inflation.

Read it all.

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Posted November 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

...The meeting received an update on the work of the Bishops' Reflection Group on Sexuality by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in September 2016 to assist the process of consideration.

As with the meeting of the College of Bishops in September, the considerations of the House of Bishops took place in private, with reflections due to be shared with the wider College of Bishops next month.

It is envisaged the House will prepare material to bring to the General Synod for initial consideration in February 2017.

Read it all

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

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Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..It has been suggested that the publication of the GAFCON UK list shows a lack of love and grace. GAFCON wants to affirm the church’s responsibility for pastoral care, respect and love to all people, regardless of circumstances, and also the call on Christian leaders to “guard the good deposit of the faith”, teaching the truth and exposing and resisting error. Lambeth I:10 contains elements of both. The commitment to love does not override the commitment to truth, as if ‘love’ must involve lowering or abolishing the perfect standards of God. Rather, the church remains called to commend those standards, our creator’s guidance for our flourishing, and the Gospel of forgiveness and transformation in Christ for those who fall short ie all believers, within a community in which we walk with one another, holding one another to account, and bearing each other’s burdens.

Read it all

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

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Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..The document also contains “a partial list of the violations of Lambeth I.10 in the Church of England”, many of which are accompanied by a link to reports in the media or elsewhere.

Comment

The new GAFCON document should provide few surprises: references to those cited were already in the public domain, and given its primary audience of GAFCON Primates, the tone adopted is little different from the communiqué following the 6th Global South Conference in October..

Read it all

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

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Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have seen a paper entitled, "The Church of England and Lambeth 1:10", produced by GAFCON UK and dated 13 November, which is described as a briefing to GAFCON Primates. It purports to be an account of "the situation in the Church of England regarding attitudes and teaching on sexual ethics."

The paper paints a significantly misleading picture both of the teaching and practice of the Church of England, and of Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. I am writing to correct some of the erroneous assertions.

Read it all.

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Posted November 23, 2016 at 6:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I once found myself working closely, in a cathedral fundraising campaign, with a local millionaire. He was a self-made man. When I met him he was in his 60s, at the top of his game as a businessman, and was chairing our Board of Trustees. To me, coming from the academic world, he was a nightmare to work with.

He never thought in (what seemed to me) straight lines; he would leap from one conversation to another; he would suddenly break into a discussion and ask what seemed a totally unrelated question. But after a while I learned to say to myself: Well, it must work, or he wouldn’t be where he is. And that was right. We raised the money. We probably wouldn’t have done it if I’d been running the Trust my own way.

I have something of the same feeling on re-reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. I owe Lewis a great debt. In my late teens and early twenties I read everything of his I could get my hands on, and read some of his paperbacks and essays several times over. There are sentences, and some whole passages, I know pretty much by heart.

Millions around the world have been introduced to, and nurtured within, the Christian faith through his work where their own preachers and teachers were not giving them what they needed. That was certainly true of me.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Laity* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyApologetics

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Posted November 22, 2016 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves



With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV


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

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Posted November 18, 2016 at 11:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Respected new research published this week from Wilfrid Laurier University claims to have discovered that the ‘secret ingredient’ for church growth is clergy and congregations committed to the historic truths of the Christian faith as a revealed religion, while a liberal approach to belief is consistently a predictor of decline (see Guardian Online 17th November).

This should be a great encouragement to us in the Church of England as we recognize that our core business is to bring the truth of the gospel to the nation – and is a conclusion that confirms what we see on the ground where there is a confidence in the Bible as the Word of God.

It is also a conclusion that matches the Church of England’s clear theological identity. She identifies herself as apostolic - in other words faithful to the teaching of Jesus as given through the Apostles. According to Canon A5 this teaching is ‘grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.’

So while for some this new research merely confirms the obvious, it is likely to be a major upset for those who hold to the comfortable notion that theology doesn’t much matter.

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


(Bp Tim Dakin: Diocese of Winchester photo)

My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, for securing this debate. With Malawi on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis, there is no better time to highlight the challenges facing Africa today. I declare an interest as the chair of a small charity supporting education and development in Africa.

The welfare of the east African nations is of particular importance to me. I was born in Tanzania and spent some of my teenage years in Kenya. In the 1990s, I was the principal of a small college in Nairobi—indeed, we still keep a home situated on an old coffee farm near Thika. Through this previous experience and from regular visits, I have observed the finely balanced life which Kenyan agricultural workers live. Smallholdings are a significant element in the agricultural sector of Kenya. Many city dwellers also have a smallholding upcountry. A severe drought might mean the end of their children’s education. It may also result in families being unable to afford even the most basic medicines or in workers having to resort to desperate means of generating income to support their families.

The economic partnership agreements that we discuss today may have as much of an impact on the livelihoods of east African smallholders as a bumper harvest or a deadly drought. We have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, a sample of the difficulties caused by EPAs. I want to highlight two issues which could specifically affect the smallholder in Africa.

Read it all.

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Posted November 18, 2016 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

A Letter from Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford to Adrian Hilton,
..I am quietly confident that ++Justin is softening up the hard edges of conservative evangelicalism, and is preparing the ground for a complete volte-face on human sexuality. I applaud this, of course. I can also see that the best way to keep most of the church together on this issue is for an evangelical archbishop to declare a personal change of heart, and to move the polity to something more progressive from than point. A ‘liberal’ archbishop would be castigated for this, and never forgiven, in a way that an evangelical bishop can’t be. Because they can plausibly assume the mantle of a convert to a cause within the evangelical worldview – and in a way a liberal cannot appeal.

The changes can only be a few years off, in my view. ++Justin knows that the Church of England can have no real public or media credibility as a plausible body – so can’t do mission, and can’t recruit new clergy easily – if it carries on discriminating against LGBTQ Christians. The Church of England has to change. And ++Justin is clearly a change-agent.

Read it all and the rest of the correspondence may be found here. There is also a letter from the Secretary General of the Archbishops' Council here

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

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Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Embarrassing Rainbow Elephant in the Room
..the GAFCON report is not really about the individuals named who have in various ways deliberately and defiantly broken Biblical orthodoxy and orthopraxy but actually about another list of unnamed individuals; the leaders of the Church of England who have done little publicly about this consistent and growing move to disregard Biblical Christianity. The report concludes:
To restore order and a credible Christian witness, the upcoming meetings of the House of Bishops and General Synod would need to not merely avoid going further in violating Lambeth 1.10, but it would need to take constructive steps to rectify the numerous public (and presumably private) breaches that have been strategically taken by some to undermine the teaching of the Communion.
That’s the real issue here and the rainbow elephant in the room. The GAFCON report makes clear the inaction and therefore (no doubt unintentional) complicity by conservative leadership. The Bible and our ordination/consecration vows are more than clear on what should be done in the face of false teaching and openly sinful behaviour in the church.

But this is the Church of England and if there’s one thing worse for an Englishman than making a fuss, it’s being embarassed.

Read it all

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Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

What will the recent GAFCON paper achieve?
..The new GAFCON document should provide few surprises: references to those cited were already in the public domain, and given its primary audience of GAFCON Primates, the tone adopted is little different from the communiqué following the 6th Global South Conference in October..

Read it all

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

0 Comments
Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The list on the GAFCON UK website said it was recently given as a briefing for conservative bishops around the world to highlight the state of the Church of England.

The notes described "chaos" in each Anglican province and listed a number of "violations" of the Church's ban on same-sex marriages, as laid out in the landmark Lambeth 1.10 resolution passed in 1998.
.................
The list was released as senior bishops are preparing to meet in December to discuss the next steps for the Church over its ban on gay marriage. A group of bishops will bring a recommendation to the CofE's ruling general synod in February. One possible option is some form of "pastoral accommodation" that would allow liberal clergy to celebrate same-sex unions in church without an official change in teaching.
..................
Rev James Paice, part of the GAFCON UK Taskforce, told Christian Today: "This report is shocking because it shows the extent to which revisionism has infected the the Church of England." He said CofE leaders had turned a "blind eye to blatant violations" and added more conservative Anglican leaders around the world had "concluded that the Church of England ​is​ a sinking ship"

Read it all [The Briefing 'The Church of England and Lambeth 1.10 may be found here]

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

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Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

This paper was recently presented as a briefing to the GAFCON Primates on the situation in the Church of England regarding attitudes, teaching and practice on sexual ethics, official and unofficial. It argues that the Church of England has already ‘crossed the line’ by allowing a culture to develop where violations of Lambeth Resolution 1:10 are increasingly prevalent.
...............
Some bishops have actively recruited into their diocese, those who have knowingly broken Lambeth 1.10. For example, the Diocese of Liverpool has recently made The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia an Honorary Assistant Bishop in Liverpool. Bishop Goff has actively supported The Episcopal Church’s violations of Lambeth 1.10 and been involved in litigating orthodox congregations. http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2016/05/companion-link-sees-us-bishop-takeassisting-role-in-liverpool.aspx

The Diocese of Liverpool has also recently appointed an Episcopal Diocese of Virginia priest, The Rev. Jennifer McKenzie, as an Archdeacon, thus contributing to the normalization of the false teaching of The Episcopal Church within the Diocese of Liverpool. http://www.liverpool.anglican.org/index.php?p=1549

Jeffrey John was invited to preach a sermon in support of same-sex marriage in the Liverpool Cathedral on May 29, 2016. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9421350/God-backs-gay-marriage-says-Dr- Jeffrey-John.html
...............
Conclusion

This is a partial list of the violations of Lambeth 1.10 in the Church of England. While orthodox believers certainly hope that the Church of England does not go further in violating Lambeth 1.10, the situation in England as it currently stands is already a scandal within the Anglican Communion.

To restore order and a credible Christian witness, the upcoming meetings of the House of Bishops and General Synod would need to not merely avoid going further in violating Lambeth 1.10, but it would need to take constructive steps to rectify the numerous public (and presumably private) breaches that have been strategically taken by some to undermine the teaching of the Communion.

Read it all

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

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Posted November 14, 2016 at 10:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Bayes’ article is a mixture of Christian and secular aspiration, but it is fatally flawed by his preferencing the spirit of the age and its values over Scripture and spiritual discernment.

He begins his article by encouraging change and transformation, (St Paul would agree with that) but he is unwilling or unable to make any discrimination between wholesome, holy desires- desires of the Spirit as the New Testament teaches, and desires of the flesh – the lower nature. Not all change is good.

The New Testament understands the idea of the heart’s desire he advocates, but it locates it as a Christian in a longing for God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Bishop Bayes, ditching any recognition of being single and celibate, locates it in the desire for a romantic, erotic relationship; and in the face of the whole weight of Christian experience and biblical teaching, encourages the anger that is the fruit of the frustration of not getting what you want, to be directed against the Church.

This is taking up cudgels on behalf of the flesh, not the Spirit, as not only misses but perverts the point of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Read it all.

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Posted November 2, 2016 at 3:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It has been a glorious autumn, with wonderful blue skies, pinky-red sunsets and delightfully mild temperatures. Today is All Saints Day: a major public holiday in Belgium as in many Catholic countries. So what better than to head out into the forest to see the trees in all their autumn glory....

The vocation of most clergy, at least those who work in ‘churches of the land’, is very much bound into the cycle of birth, life, maturing, dying and death. Baptisms, weddings, funerals – the ‘occasional offices’ – take up a good part of the typical clergy week. This is less so for clergy in the Diocese in Europe serving diaspora congregations with less connection to a territory and its inhabitants. Whilst clergy in typical parish churches might expect to conduct two or (many) more funerals a week – that’s less common in the Diocese in Europe.

My own life – and here I am like many of the lay people in our diocese – is lived to a considerable degree in environments far removed from the natural rhythms of the forest: offices, airports, hotels and the railway lines and roads that connect them. These environments are designed to feel comfortably the same 24 hours a day 365 days a year, with continuous lighting, constant Wi-Fi and non-stop coffee.

Living in these kinds of environments could lead us to minimise or even forget the profound cycle of change that is built into the natural environment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources* International News & CommentaryEurope

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Posted November 2, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On 2 October, he gathered with one of our diocesan curates, the Revd Doreen Cage, and about 100 parishioners at the Zoo, for a service before the penguin pool. Mother Doreen is a great animal lover, and in addition to her priestly duties runs a home for dogs in the hills above Malaga city, where is an assistant curate in St George's.

There are two remarkable things about the photo.... One is to observe Fr William engaging in an action song! The other is the penguin in the bottom left, dressed not too differently from the priests, apparently concelebrating the feast!

Read it all and make sure to enjoy the photograph.

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Posted October 28, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A bid to reduce the size of the House of Lords has been backed by the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquhart.

Giving his support to Lord Elton’s Private Member’s Bill to reduce the size of the House of Lords, the bishop reiterated the ‘consistent’ support from the Lords Spiritual in support of the reform.

He welcomed the fact that reform proposals had come from inside the House of Lords and noted that ‘taking decisive responsibility for making delicate if radical constitutional improvements’ is a ‘good way forward’ for the House.

Read it all.

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Posted October 27, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Archbishop of Canter­bury Lord Carey has been granted core-participant status at the In­­dependent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) after Professor Alexis Jay, who chairs it, ruled that he “may be subject to explicit crit­­­­ic­­ism by the Inquiry in due course”.

Core participants are entitled to legal representation at the Inquiry and to receive advance disclosure of evidence. They may also cross-examine witnesses when the public hearings begin, something that is expected to happen next year.

In his application for core parti­cipant status, lawyers for Lord Carey explained that, as a retired office-holder, he was led to be believe that he would be represented at the In­­quiry by lawyers for the Arch­bishops’ Council, which also has core-participant status. “Once the Archbishops’ Council indicated to Lord Carey that there might be some conflict between their interests and those of Lord Carey, he made contact with alternative legal repres­entatives,” Professor Jay said.

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Posted October 27, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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1 Comments
Posted October 26, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The Beauty and The Horror – searching for God in a Suffering World” spawned an interview by Piers Plowright and in deep discussion with an attentive audience Lord Harries noted on the holocaust at Auschwitz, the question was not “where is or where was God?” but “where was man?” in those very dark days of history.

Oscar Schindler was not a man of faith but he did help to save Jews. God is the source of all goodness, Lord Harries believes, and we are not in a post-religious world, with more believers in Christ, especially growing in China.

On science and medical ethics and religion:- is there a clash? He said that while science gives us results we feel confident in, people can’t feel confident in religion in the same way. Camus and the Karamazov brothers are both sources of allusions to the human condition – much of suffering is debatably made from making the wrong choices.

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Posted October 25, 2016 at 11:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jessica Foster, a curate at St Peter’s, Hall Green, Birmingham, writes about a day trip to the Calais ‘Jungle’ to deliver rucksacks and suitcases in advance of the operation to clear the camp.

Sitting in a meeting, planning what we, a group of friends from different faiths who live in south Birmingham could do to support people living in the Calais ‘jungle’ I glance at my phone. There is an appeal for suitcases and rucksacks as thousands of people prepare for an eviction.

I had no idea that two weeks later I would be sitting in a café on the camp, eating a delicious meal of Afghani eggs, spinach and chicken having delivered around 100 pieces of luggage, tents, sleeping bags and some winter clothes to a warehouse in Calais.

The aid was donated by two churches, one church where I am a curate and one free church where another member of the group, Fred, worships. The loaded minibus was lent to us by Birmingham’s Central mosque, where one of our friends, Abdullah, has many connections.

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Posted October 25, 2016 at 10:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, says, “Bishop James has served the national church, the diocese, episcopal area, his colleagues and the people of our rural communities with faithfulness and theologically informed wisdom. And as an episcopal expert on rural affairs he has helped shape the Church of England's approach to both ministry and mission across the country.

“Bishop James will retire in the knowledge that he has served diligently and faithfully, and he will leave the diocese with our gratitude, blessing and prayers. Please pray for him as he prepares to retire and move into a new form of life and ministry.”

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 24, 2016 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his Answer. Gambling-related harm is not restricted to people with problem gambling—it affects family, it affects friends, it affects even people who work in gambling shops. I recently put in a freedom of information request to the Metropolitan Police which revealed that since 2010 there has been a 68% rise in violent crime associated with betting shops across the capital. In the light of that, will the Minister tell the House what assessment the Government have made of the link between this rapid rise in violent crime associated with betting shops and the increase in the number of fixed-odds betting terminals in those shops?

Lord Ashton of Hyde: Any rise in crime figures is of course concerning, and Ministers and the Gambling Commission will look at those figures closely. One of the three licensing objectives that all operators must comply with is to prevent gambling being a source of crime. On the right reverend Prelate’s specific question about the link between fixed-odds betting terminals and the rise in crime, I hesitate at the moment to draw a causal link between them in the absence of evidence on the specific means of betting. However, this is exactly the sort of evidence that should be provided to the forthcoming triennial review.

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Posted October 21, 2016 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

7. We do not believe therefore that it is within our gift to consider human sexual relationships and what constitutes and enables our flourishing as sexual beings to be of ‘secondary importance’. What is at stake goes far beyond the immediate pastoral challenges of human bisexual and same-sex sexual behaviour: it is a choice between alternative and radically different visions of what it means to be human, to honour God in our bodies, and to order our lives in line with God’s holy will.
This is a strong rebuke to those Church leaders who want to relegate the issue of sexuality to the level of ‘adiaphora’ while focussing on institutional conformity. It is also a call to integrate our understanding of sexuality into a wider, positive vision of living as the people of God, rather than seeing it as just a pastoral issue for a minority.
8. At this crucial juncture, as our bishops pray and discern together regarding how the Church of England should walk forward at this time, we urge them not to depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted.
Of course, it could be argued that some Bishops have already departed from this inheritance! But the letter wisely does not refer to this.
9. Any further changes to practice or doctrine in these important areas will set the Church on a path of fundamental disunity. It would cause a break not only with the majority of the Anglican Communion, but with the consistent mind of the worldwide Church down many centuries. It will trigger a process of division and fragmentation among faithful Anglicans in England. Responses would vary, but the consequences for the life and mission of the Church will be far-reaching, both nationally and globally.
A serious warning which will no doubt be seen as a threat to schism. It’s significant that this letter came out just a few days after similar clear statements from the Global South and GAFCON. But it’s not saying to the Bishops “if you change, we will split”, but rather “if you change you have created a split”. There is no attempt at trying to reconcile the different views, or calls for further talks. This appears to be acknowledging that the Pilling/ Shared Conversations project, with its idea that different views and practices on sexuality can coexist in a united Church, has not succeeded.

Read it all

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Posted October 19, 2016 at 10:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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Posted October 18, 2016 at 12:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Church of England is at a crossroads in her calling to bring hope and transformation to our nation. The presenting issue is that of human sexuality, in particular whether or not the Church is able to affirm sexual relationships beyond opposite sex marriage. But the tectonic issues beneath, and driving, this specific question include what it means to be faithful to our apostolic inheritance, the Church’s relationship with wider culture, and the nature of the biblical call to holiness in the 21st Century. …

We do not believe … that it is within our gift to consider human sexual relationships and what constitutes and enables our flourishing as sexual beings to be of ‘secondary importance’. What is at stake goes far beyond the immediate pastoral challenges of human bisexual and same-sex sexual behaviour: it is a choice between alternative and radically different visions of what it means to be human, to honour God in our bodies, and to order our lives in line with God’s holy will.

At this crucial juncture, as our bishops pray and discern together regarding how the Church of England should walk forward at this time, we urge them not to depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted. …”

Read it all on Psephiso or Gafcon UK

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

4 Comments
Posted October 17, 2016 at 2:37 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The human tragedy that is the Calais ‘jungle’ camp has been a constant cause for concern and prayer in the Diocese. Being but a few miles from our own coastline, its devastating impact on those that live and volunteer there, the local French community, lorry drivers and port workers, holiday-makers and security staff, has been impossible to ignore.

Although clearly an intolerable situation, news of its imminent dismantling does little to dispel concern for everyone involved. Our prayer now is that the clearance process be carried out with humanity and in the recognition of the human dignity of each person present. We acknowledge too the need for swift and urgent protection for the many unaccompanied young people and children present in the camp who are now faced with increased danger.

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Posted October 17, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The appeal to pastoral accommodation as a way forward has now been analysed both in principle and in relation to three examples. This has shown there are major problems with appealing to pastoral accommodation to justify commonly proposed developments affirming of sexual same-sex unions without either changing the church’s teaching or demonstrating and getting agreement that the developments are in principle consistent with that teaching. This does not rule out such developments as clergy in same-sex sexual unions (including marriages) or the liturgical recognition of such unions. It does though mean that if they are to be proposed (by the bishops or anyone else) then some other justifications than simply an appeal to pastoral accommodation are needed and these other rationales will need to be developed and weighed by the church. An appeal to pastoral accommodation properly understood and as we have used it in the past simply will not work.

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Posted October 17, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Commission has been very active over the last few years and as it is anticipated that there will be fewer vacant sees in the near future, it is timely to review the way in which it works. The focus of the group will be to explore and provide the theological framework for the Commission as it discharges its responsibilities and to make any recommendations on process in the light of this. The group will be inviting a number of people to meet with it as well as receiving written submissions. It is very conscious of its responsibility to ensure that the full richness and diversity of Church voices are represented and starts its work this week.

It is anticipated that the group will make a report to the Archbishops who have commissioned the work. They have committed to sharing it with General Synod in 2018.

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Posted October 13, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rachel Treweek, the bishop of Gloucester, has said she is highlighting the issue of body image among children to challenge perceptions that physical appearance determines self-worth.

[Last week]...Treweek – the first female bishop to sit in the House of Lords – will visit All Saints Academy in Cheltenham to talk to a group of 13- to 16-year-olds in the first of a series of school visits in her constituency to discuss the issue.

It follows a report from the Children’s Society last month that found one out of three girls aged 10 to 15 was unhappy with her appearance and felt ugly or worthless.

Read it all from the Guardian.

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Posted September 26, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thirty-six IARCCUM Anglican and Catholic bishops, representing 19 different regions where Anglicans and Catholics live side by side in significant number, will meet in Canterbury and Rome for a summit meeting in October of this year. The bishops will arrive in Canterbury for the first leg of their meeting on 30th September. They will be staying at the Lodge in Canterbury Cathedral, will take part in the liturgical life of the Cathedral, and will make a pilgrim visit to the shrine of St Thomas à Becket, where Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Robert Runcie prayed together.

Read it all and follow the links.

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Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Changing Attitude have welcomed the establishment of a Reflection Group under the leadership of Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich. Whilst expressing disappointment that a group tasked with reflecting on issues of human sexuality does not appear to include any openly gay people, we recognise that this simply reflects the reality within the church’s leadership - that LGBT people are invisible, our voices often silenced, and our experiences unheard. We welcome the opportunities which have arisen as part of the Shared Conversations to included the lived experience, deep conviction and prophetic witness of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and we recognise the enormously costly nature of the contribution many people have made to that process.

The Reflection Group must now consider the Church’s steps into the future. In doing so, they will be called to listen carefully to all they have heard during the Shared Conversations. We call upon them to lead the House of Bishops towards a future that celebrates the gifts of all God's people including the LGBTI members of the Church of England and embodies the radical equality to which we are called in Christ.

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Posted September 22, 2016 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A homosexuality debate by Church of England bishops will remain private to allow views to "deepen and flourish", the new Bishop of Oxford has said.

The College of Bishops met in Oxford earlier this week to discuss attitudes towards sexuality.

The Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft told BBC Oxford talks were "constructive" and would continue through the autumn.

He said the bishops would reveal their conclusions to the General Synod in February next year.

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Posted September 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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Posted September 19, 2016 at 2:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

GAFCON UK is puzzled as to why the Church of England needs a 'Bishops' Reflection Group' on homosexuality. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference is clear, and the Bible is universally clear. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are same-sex attracted, and faithfully living according to God's revealed plan for human flourishing. As pastors, teachers, friends, and neighbours we can have no other response. The Church of England needs to have the courage of its foundational convictions, return to them, and move on to its mission of calling the nation to turn to Christ as the only Saviour and Lord.


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Posted September 19, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Terms of Reference

To assist the Bishops of the Church of England in their reflection on issues relating to human sexuality, in the light of theological, biblical, ecumenical, Anglican Communion, pastoral, missiological, historical and societal considerations bearing on these issues, and following experiences of the shared conversations held around the Church between 2014 and 2016.
To assist the House of Bishops in identifying questions in relation to human sexuality, with particular reference to same sex relationships. It will also develop possible answers to those questions for the House to consider, as a contribution to the leadership which the House provides to the Church on such issues.
To provide material to assist the House of Bishops in its reflections in November 2016, and subsequently as requested, and to assist the House in its development of any statements on these matters which it may provide to the wider Church.

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Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The College of Bishops of the Church of England met in Oxford from 12-15 September 2016.

As is the usual pattern of meetings of the College every third year the College of Bishops are joined for part of their meeting by bishops from the Scottish Episcopal Church, Church of Ireland and Church in Wales. Representatives from each of the sister churches made presentations to the college and engaged fully in discussions during the first days of the meeting.

A wide ranging agenda included presentations and discussions on Safeguarding, the Renewal and Reform programme, the post-Brexit political landscape, clergywomen in leadership, clergy wellbeing and issues of sexuality.

Read it all.

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Posted September 15, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Bishop of Rochester has rejected claims put forward by some Members of Parliament that a visit by a British delegation to Syria was ill-advised.

In a statement submitted to The Church of England Newspaper, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali said, he, Baroness Cox, Lord Hylton, the Rev Andrew Ashdown and other members of the unofficial delegation had challenged the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad over his indiscriminate use of force in that country’s civil war, which has led to tens of thousands of civilian casualties.

The group’s visit had been attacked in the press for “giving a ‘war criminal’, that is President Assad, a photo opportunity and a tool for propaganda. In fact, it was a pastoral visit to the people of Syria, especially Christians, who have suffered so much at the hands of jihadist extremists,” he wrote.

“Britain maintains relations with and encourages visits to countries like the Sudan, Iran and Zimbabwe. Why is Assad being demonised to this extent? In the Middle East, the choice is not between angels and monsters but between one kind of monster and another,” Bishop Nazir-Ali said.

Read it all.

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Posted September 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The] Rt Revd John Ball, former Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, Honorary Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Chelmsford and former General Secretary of Crosslinks has passed on to glory after a period of illness. His funeral is to be held at Holy Trinity Church, Springfield, Chelmsford (date and time yet to be arranged).

Thirty years after John started his missionary work as a youth worker in Eldoret, Kenya, whilst on a return visit there, some of John’s African friends took him into the vicarage and reminisced over the time when he covered as vicar of St Matthew’s. One said, “when you were vicar it was the first time we black people had been allowed in the vicarage here, – we just walked up and down.” Of course John would never have expected them not to come in. They were his brothers and sisters and the people God had called him to love. This desire to be, and living out of what it meant to be, inclusive, to see all people as valued and loved by God, equal and important, typifies what John stood for. It was why he was instrumental in the name change of BCMS from Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society to Crosslinks, for he believed that our christian brothers and sisters from other cultures were able to be partners in mission just as effectively and sometimes more so than we from the white west and he believed that the cross of Christ was central to that mission.

Read it all and explore the rest of the website.

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Posted September 9, 2016 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our visit to Syria has been attacked in the Press for giving a "war criminal" (that is, Bashar al-Assad) a photo opportunity and a tool for propaganda. In fact, it was a pastoral visit to the people of Syria, especially Christians, who have suffered so much at the hands of jihadist extremists.

Their ancient churches have been destroyed, they have been killed in their own homes and driven out of their ancient communities. Anna (not her real name), who still speaks the Aramaic of Jesus as her native language, told us of how the rebels (some belonging to the so- called "moderate opposition") dragged out her brother and cousin and shot them dead before her eyes for refusing to convert to Islam. They then shot and wounded her, leaving her for dead.

This is why the leadership of all the churches in Syria, including Syrian Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Armenian and Evangelical is unanimous in its opposition to the extremists and in its advocacy of peaceful change in the land.

Read it all.

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Posted September 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Asked about...[the GAFCON] statement, Dr Chamberlain said: “I read it and listened to the news. I can well understand what is being said by my brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Susie Leafe, who chairs Reform, told the BBC that she sympathised with Dr Chamberlain for having been “hounded by the secular press and forced into making a statement”: “All human beings have a range of complex desires. Who he is attracted to should not make any difference to his ability to do the job of a bishop,” she said.

The Bishop of Grimsby, Dr David Court, who trained at Oak Hill, and described himself as coming from a “more traditional part of the Church . . . who may struggle with some of the issues here”, joined the BBC Lincolnshire interview on Sunday to show support for Dr Chamblerlain. “I am here to give credence to the fact that we want to work together, and that it is possible.”

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Posted September 9, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

David Ison, the dean of St Paul’s, who was also involved in gathering signatures for the letter, said the status quo was not an option. “I believe that there’s a growing consciousness across the church that our response to lay and ordained LGBTI Christians cannot stay as it is. We need far greater honesty and transparency with one another, and to ensure that all LGBTI people are welcomed and affirmed by a church called to share the redeeming love of Christ with all.”

Responding to the letter, Nicholas Holtam, the bishop of Salisbury, said: “It is not surprising that the bishops are receiving letters from all sides in advance of our meeting next week. We are in a long process, seeking the way forward together. This letter is encouraging of that process, both in content and the number of signatories. It is a very welcome and supportive contribution.”

Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, said he was glad to receive the letter. “It was especially good to recognise the signatures of synod colleagues from many of the different traditions that make up our richly diverse church,” he said.

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Posted September 8, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We hope that this will be with the sense of urgency and sensitivity that so many of us expressed within Synod. In particular, we pray it will continue to develop the new “relational approach” that has enabled us to bridge our sometimes unhelpful “tribal divides”.

Whilst not wishing to pre-empt the work of the College of Bishops, we would ask that the steps that are proposed create greater clarity and consistency in our approach to this complex issue. In particular, we are keen that the College of Bishops is unequivocal in its acknowledgement that all, including those who identify as LGBTI, are essential to the health and future of our church and mission to the wider world.

Read it all and see the list of signatories there.

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Posted September 8, 2016 at 5:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check them all out.

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Posted September 7, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It would be good, at this time, for us traditionalists to remind ourselves that Bishop Chamberlain’s commitment to his partner most likely involves the kinds of virtues traditional Christians have long celebrated between people of the same sex: loyalty, comradeship, kindness, and a host of others. The fact that the bishop practices these virtues while experiencing himself as same-sex attracted is no proof that those virtues are thereby diminished. And it is also no proof that he is living a so-called double life.

But maybe I could also say something about what I find myself wishing Bishop Chamberlain might say publicly someday. I find myself thinking about something another Englishman, Martin Hallett, wrote several years ago:

There are probably nearly as many Christians with homosexual feelings who do not believe that homosexual sex is right for Christians as there are those who are advocating its acceptance…. A friend of mine in Sweden (Erik) is a Lutheran priest who believes in the traditional biblical teaching on sexuality and has homosexual feelings himself. He determined, from the beginning of his call to the ordained ministry, that he would be open about his sexuality at every stage…. Ultimately, as more evangelicals make such a public stand, it will seem less costly and will, I believe, have a tremendous impact for the kingdom of God…. [I want to] encourage those leaders in the church who have homosexual feelings but who believe homosexual sex is wrong to be more open. People like Erik… are not a tiny minority in terms of all homosexuals in the church…. I wish their voices could be heard saying that “We believe our homosexuality is part of our value and giftedness to the church, but homosexual sex is a sin.” What a difference this would make to the life, witness, and future of the body of Christ.

What a difference indeed.

Read it all.

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Posted September 7, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Is the idea of being in a celibate relationship possible or helpful? Jayne Ozanne argues vehemently that it is not possible to define or distinguish a sexual from a non-sexual relationships, since no-one can give here a list of things that you can and cannot do in either situation. (In fact, Sean Doherty has offered an answer to that question.) But that is a nonsense position; there is no end of situations where two people are required not to be in a sexual relationship, including a school teacher and pupil, or a professor and undergraduate student. Is it really the case that all such limitations are meaningless? This is the ethical situation of the hair and the beard: suppose (for health and safety reasons) an employee is required not to have a beard. How many whiskers are actually allowed before this constitutes a beard? If I don’t shave for a day, am I contravening this? Or two days? or three? There is no objective answer—subjective judgement is required—but this does not make the regulation meaningless.

Gavin Ashenden argues online and on the radio that Nick Chamberlain’s appointment is very unhelpful. I do like the way he starts the broadcast with a personal expression of support and sympathy for Chamberlain, and that he immediately goes on to agree that the appointment, in principle, is perfectly reasonable, and has clear historic precedent. But he then goes on to criticise Chamberlain’s use of the word ‘gay’, as buying into a sub-Christian and mistaken anthropology which defines us by our sexuality. I disagree with Gavin here, since Chamberlain says very clearly to the Guardian and his sexuality is only part of who he is, and he would much rather talk about ministry. It is notable that he makes no comment along that lines that he wants the Church to change its position.

Then of course there is the intervention by Peter Jensen from Sydney in the name of GAFCON. I don’t really understand why Jensen believes he has a brief to comment on affairs in the C of E; I have never taken it on myself to pronounce on the way he leads his diocese. The letter notes that the appointment is in line with the current position of the Church—but still thinks the appointment is a ‘major error.’ That doesn’t really make sense. What I think he intends to say is that the Church’s current position is a major error. The objection is to ‘same-sex relationships which are not sexual.’ The difficulty here is that I am in a number of same-sex relationships which are not sexual; I call them my friends, and Nick Chamberlain appears to be doing the same. It was interesting to note that, in his interview on Radio 4’s Sunday programme yesterday, he underplayed it as an ‘exclusive’ relationship, saying of his friend that ‘he, amongst many others, helps me stay sane.’

Read it all.

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Posted September 7, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr Idowu-Fearon said: “It is clear that Bishop Nicholas has abided by the guidelines set down by the Church. In fact, his lifestyle would make him acceptable to serve the church at any time in its history. I reject the suggestion that his appointment is an ‘error’.

“I do recognise that this is a sensitive area for many people whatever their convictions. It is also a difficult time for Bishop Nicholas with revelations about his private life being made public in such a dramatic way, against his will, by anonymous sources that seem to be out to make trouble.

“The Anglican Communion is a worldwide family and, like any family, we don’t agree on everything,” he added. “But we are committed to working together on difficult issues. I want to reassure the Communion of my commitment to what was set out at the Lambeth conference in 1998 – that human sexuality finds it full expression in marriage between a man and woman. But all baptised, faithful and believing people are loved by God and full members of the body of Christ regardless of their sexual orientation. The Anglican Communion has never made sexual orientation a condition of eligibility to hold office within the church and I reject the suggestion that it has.”

Read it all.

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Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since it is dated a bit now, it is wise to familiarize yourself with it again.

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Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Nicholas’ appointment was made following the recommended and established procedures for suffragan posts, and was approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury (as metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury). The archbishop, and the members of the advisory panel, were in full possession of the facts of the appointment and unanimous in their support.

A story has been published on the Guardian website this evening about sexuality and the church. The same story will appear in the newspaper tomorrow, and it includes an interview with Bishop Nicholas in which he is open about the fact that he is gay. Bishop Nicholas gave this interview willingly and after much careful thought and prayer, and he did so with the express intention of acting in the best interests of the Diocese of Lincoln and of the Church of England.

I am satisfied now, as I was at the time of his appointment, that Bishop Nicholas fully understands, and lives by, the House of Bishops’ guidance on Issues in Human Sexuality. For me, and for those who assisted in his appointment, the fact that Bishop Nicholas is gay is not, and has never been, a determining factor.

Read it all.

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Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Reverend Colin Coward, a Church of England priest and founder of Changing Attitude, a pressure group seeking to change the Anglican approach to sexuality, said the church was still a long way from accepting gay people on equal terms: “Contrary to what the Archbishop of Canterbury has said, there is a problem for those bishops who are gay and have partners — only one has felt able to come out.”

He added: “To my knowledge, there are at least 10 other bishops in the church who are gay, many of whom are in some kind of relationship. I would encourage gay bishops to be open, but I would not ‘out’ them against their will.”

Welby recently told a Christian festival that he was “consumed with horror” at the way the church had treated gay people and “can’t see the road ahead” for it on same-sex relationships.

Read it all (subscription required).

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Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are writing to you as married lesbian and gay members of the Church of England. Some of us are clergy; some of us are members of the laity. We are just a few of the many gay and lesbian people in this country who have in the past two years been able to celebrate with families, friends, and in our cases often our local Church community, the enriching and life enhancing love we have found in our wives and husbands.

We would like you to know that we will be praying for you as you meet in September as a College of Bishops.

Now that the Shared Conversations are at an end it is time for the Church of England to move forward and make clear the commitment to ‘good disagreement’ that was at their heart.

Read it all.

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Posted September 6, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

David Jenkins was an Anglican bishop who questioned some of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity.
His views on the virgin birth and the resurrection caused a storm of protest and considerable opposition to his appointment as Bishop of Durham.
His forays into the field of politics saw attacks on both Conservative and Labour administrations for what he saw was their over-reliance on market forces.
An academic theologian, rather than a parish priest, he became for many, the symbol of modernisation and liberal ideas in the established church.

Read it all.

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Posted September 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...there are aspects of this appointment which are a serious cause for concern for biblically orthodox Anglicans around the world, and therefore we believe that this appointment is a major error.

In 2003, Jeffrey John’s candidacy for the post of Bishop of Reading caused deep divisions within the Diocese of Oxford and beyond, and this news about Nicholas Chamberlain will exacerbate the same divisions within the Church of England and throughout the wider Anglican Communion.

In this case the element of secrecy in the appointment to the episcopacy of a man in a same sex relationship gives the impression that it has been arranged with the aim of presenting the church with a ‘fait accompli’, rather than engaging with possible opposition in the spirit of the ‘shared conversations’.

We remain opposed to the guidelines for clergy and Bishops, permitting them to be in same sex relationships as long as they publicly declare that the relationship is not sexual. This creates confusion in terms of the church’s teaching on the nature of sex and marriage, and it is not modelling a helpful way to live, given the reality of our humanity, and temptation to sexual sin.

Read it all.

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Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No 10 Downing Street has announced this morning that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Mark Tanner MA (Oxon), BA (Hons), MTh, Warden of Cranmer Hall and Vice-Principal of St John’s College, University of Durham, as Suffragan Bishop of Berwick in the Diocese of Newcastle.

Mark Simon Austin Tanner, 45, studied at Christ Church, Oxford, and served as a youth worker at Holy Trinity, Coventry before training for ordination at Cranmer Hall. Ordained in 1998, he was Curate at St Mary, Upton (near Birkenhead) and went on to be appointed Vicar of St Mary’s, Wheatley (Doncaster) in 2001. In 2005 he was awarded Master of Theology from Chester College, University of Liverpool, and in 2007 he left Wheatley to become Vicar of Holy Trinity, Ripon, North Yorkshire, until returning to Cranmer Hall as Warden in 2011. He became an honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral in 2015 and was elected to the Church of England’s General Synod in the same year.

Mark is married to Lindsay and they have two teenage children. He enjoys vehicles (especially motorbikes, Land Rovers, and a 1951 BSA Bantam he is rebuilding), and being a husband and dad.

Read it all.

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Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has begun a “rapid evidence assessment” as part of its investigation into the Anglican Churches in England and Wales, the Inquiry’s Counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, said this week.

Mr Emmerson made his com­ments on Wednesday at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, Lon­don, where Justice Lowell Goddard was holding a series of preliminary hearings into the Inquiry’s different strands.

He revealed that the Inquiry’s research team was sifting through information and evidence from 114 different sources. Among them was the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, which had sup­plied over 7000 items of evidence relating to the diocese of Chichester and the case of Bishop Peter Ball, which are being used as case studies by the Inquiry.

Read it all.

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Posted July 29, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"We welcome todays update on the investigation into the Anglican Church in England and Wales and the acknowledgment from the Inquiry that the material already submitted is relevant and useful. We note that the Inquiry has received a substantial amount of material from us and other core participants and the analysis of this is now underway as is the process of identifying possible witnesses....

Read it all.

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Posted July 27, 2016 at 3:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Venerable Robert Springett (aged 53), studied at Nottingham University for his BTh, and then at London University for his MA. He trained for the ministry at Lincoln Theological College. He served first as curate at Colchester in Chelmsford diocese from 1989 to 1992 before moving to be curate at Basildon from 1992 to 1994. From 1994 to 2001 he was Priest in Charge at Belhus Park and South Ockendon. He was Rural Dean at Thurrock from 1998 to 2001. From 2001 to 2010 he was Rector at Wanstead in Chelmsford diocese and was Area Dean of Redbridge from 2008 to 2010 and Honorary Canon at Chelmsford Cathedral. Since 2010 he has been Archdeacon of Cheltenham.\

Read it all.

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Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Right Reverend Robert Paterson, 67, has served the Diocese of Sodor and Man since 2008, as well as holding a seat on the island's Legislative Council.

He told Manx Radio his decision to retire on 11 November was motivated "purely by age".

Sodor and Man is the smallest diocese in the Church of England, overseeing 45 churches and 27 parishes.

Read it all.

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Posted July 24, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ahead of Monday’s Commons vote on Trident renewal, church leaders from a range of denominations have signalled their opposition to nuclear deterrents.

Speaking in the House of Lords, the Bishop of Chester said it was “not unreasonable at this time to contribute to our ongoing reflection upon why we have a nuclear deterrent at all’.

The Rt Rev Peter Forster went on: “In 1983 there was a report, The Church and the Bomb, in which it toyed with the hope that the UK might in fact unilaterally renounce its nuclear deterrent, but the Church rowed back from that and has never adopted that position, recognising that it was not equipped to reach such a conclusion in such a complex, political set of circumstances as surrounds this debate.

“Clearly today the UK is set upon ordering a new generation of submarines equipped with nuclear missiles, which will renew this country’s nuclear deterrent until 2060 or beyond. I simply express the hope that, during that period, ever greater efforts will be made to reduce the threat to our world from nuclear bombs and that we will continue to keep under review why we are making such significant decisions, which will have an impact into such a far-distant future—a future that will change in ways we cannot anticipate today.”

Read it all.

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Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The retirement of the Bishop of London, who has declined to ordain female priests, will open the door for the first woman to be appointed to one of the Church of England’s highest offices.

The Right Rev Richard Chartres, 69, announced yesterday that he would retire in February after more than 20 years, a tenure during which he delivered the sermon at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and led the state funeral for Margaret Thatcher.

In 2002 he said that he was very much in favour of women priests but that in the interests of unity he did not personally ordain men or women. He said yesterday: “It has been a privilege and a delight to serve in the Diocese of London as priest and bishop for well over thirty years. I have seen confidence return and church life revive.”

The bishopric of London is the most senior role to become vacant since the church voted to permit the appointment of women as bishops in 2014.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For my part, I have tried to follow the example of St Augustine who said, “For you I am a bishop but with you I am a Christian”, and in this spirit I hope you will forgive my many shortcomings in office.

After consultation with the Archbishop I am writing to let you know about the timetable for my retirement. It is business as usual until Christmas, after which I shall hope to clear my desk of more than twenty years’ worth of accumulated debris. The intention is that my last public engagement as Bishop of London will be in the Cathedral at Candlemas, February 2nd 2017, the day when Simeon was granted a vision of Christ in the Temple and prayed “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” My formal resignation will be dated from the end of the month on Shrove Tuesday.

Her Majesty the Queen has graciously indicated that I should remain as Dean of HM Chapels Royal until the appointment of the 133rd Bishop of London.

I have received so many signs in prayer and in the life of the Diocese that my period as Bishop of London is drawing to a close. I have every confidence in the Diocesan Team, and in the leadership of our Archbishop in the challenge of renewing and reforming the Church as a servant of reconciliation in these turbulent times.

Read it all.

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1 Comments
Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Robert has been telling radio listeners in Britain about how the church in Nice has been responding to the aftermath of Friday’s terror attacks when a lorry careered into the crowds celebrating Bastille Day.

The Bishop had already planned to be in Nice for a meeting with clergy on Saturday (16 July 2016) and he was able to share in the special service of commemoration and see for himself the effects of the incident and the ministry of Holy Trinity Church just off the Promenade des Anglais.

Read and listen to it all (a little over 4 1/2 minutes).

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Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New from Bishop Michael Nazir Ali
Faith, Freedom & the Future

With unique insight and wisdom, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali surveys the current challenges facing today’s church and provides a compelling hope-filled vision of what a living Christian faith, and its comprehensive outworking, can offer society today. Bishop Michael boldly tackles a range of pressing and controversial issues with astute scholarship and understanding — including: the challenge of Islam, freedom and conscience, the ‘modern family’, bioethics and the uncertain future of the worldwide Anglican Communion and, by implication, other mainline denominations.

Read it all.

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Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

'St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain;
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain na mair.'

Thanks to this little bit of weather-lore, St Swithun, who died in c.863, is one of the few Anglo-Saxon saints most people have heard of. This is a bit odd when you consider how many fascinating Anglo-Saxon saints actually did important and interesting things and get no attention at all, while what we know about Swithun's life could be summarised very quickly:

1) he was Bishop of Winchester
2) he did the usual things Anglo-Saxon bishops did, repairing churches, witnessing charters, etc.
3) he died in c.863.

Read it all.

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Posted July 15, 2016 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all from the Churchman.

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Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He landed with an RN beach commando on D-Day, with responsibility for the care and evacuation of the wounded. Memorably, he transported a portable harmonium on to a French beach just after D-Day and claimed to have held the first Anglican service on French soil after the landings.

In July 1944 he joined 48 (RM) Commando, participating in the landing at Walcheren, when he swam ashore and accompanied the unit as far as the Rhine. He was awarded the DSC.

In early 1945 he went to the Far East and Hong Kong as senior chaplain of the Commando Brigade. He maintained his connection with the Royal Marines to the end of his life.

On leaving the Navy in 1947 Wood became rector of St Ebbe's, Oxford, and exercised an influential ministry among the first generation of postwar students, most of them ex-servicemen like himself.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 protects those alleging non-statutory offences as well as statutory offences and also protects against "jigsaw identification" where members of the public can piece together clues about a complainant's identity.

[Paul] Butler says: "As you will understand, extreme caution is required, particularly in view of the information already in the public domain. It worth stressing that although Carol has shared some details publicly, she has not waived confidentiality in those she has not shared."

Butler says he is "mystified" how the group can believe the Church can disclose documents provided by Carol's solicitor. "On a wider point, it is singularly unattractive to suggest that because there might be no legal consequences to breaching Carol's confidence, the Church should simply provide sensitive material to a group of individuals with a keen interest in but no connection with the case."

Carol has already expressed herself hurt by the campaign to "clear his name" as it implies that she has not been believed, Butler says.

Read it all from Christian Today.

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Posted July 13, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church leaders failed to give police incriminating evidence about disgraced former Bishop Peter Ball in 1993, according to Sussex police documents.

Ball, 84, was jailed last year for sex assaults on 18 teenagers and young men in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Files obtained by the BBC indicate Lambeth Palace received six letters detailing indecency allegations shortly after an arrest in 1992.

Ball was cautioned but worked in churches and schools for 15 more years.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

From page 23 of the Archbishops' Council Budget 2016 [document created June 16th, 2015]
Mission & Public Affairs (MPA) Division
Mission & Public Affairs (MPA) Division
Chair (of MPA Council) Philip Fletcher
Director Revd Dr Malcolm Brown
Staff (FTE) 16.8
2016 Net Expenditure 1,316,370
Funded via:
Archbishops' Council Restricted Funds 46,010
Vote 2 1,270,360
....
57. The Division delivers public advocacy and apologetics in public life where the Church’s national voice must be articulated. MPA gives direct support the work of dioceses and parishes in mission. MPA staff bring expertise across a wide range of issues including .... marriage, family and sexuality issues..

58. MPA’s priorities for 2016 include:
...Continue to support the process of Facilitated Conversations and begin work on the next steps toward securing “good disagreement”.

Read it all [pdf]

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

1 Comments
Posted July 10, 2016 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

A memo sent round to some members of the Church's governing synod listed "reasons not to participate" in conversations, which aim to reconcile opposing factions. The note, seen by Christian Today, offers a damning assessment of the secret talks, known as "shared conversations".

A "dark cloud" also hung over the debate as questions were raised over how the £360,000 conversations were funded. A number of conservatives claimed the conversations were compromised because the liberal wing of the Anglican Church in the USA, which supports gay marriage, had allegedly paid for the talks in part.

Read it all

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

4 Comments
Posted July 10, 2016 at 10:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

From the Bishop of Blackburn
It is with reluctance and yet conviction that I sense the need to enter the current debate about human sexuality in a more public way, but from a personal point of view, rather than with a diocesan or Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) mandate. The recent publication, Journeys in Grace and Truth, written in preparation for General Synod, gives an account of evangelicals who have come to view the Scriptures differently from the traditional understanding. This requires a response from those in the evangelical constituency who hold to the traditional view..

Read it all and there are more links on Anglican Mainstream here

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0 Comments
Posted July 10, 2016 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..the Reformation Church of England did not view basic issues of Christian morality as among those issues which could be considered adiaphora. We can see this in Article VII. The second half of this Article states:
Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.
What this statement shows is that in line with the teaching of the New Testament, the 16th century Church of England held that on moral matters (including matters of sexual morality) the teaching of the Old Testament, summarised in the Ten Commandments and the twin command to love God and neighbour was still in force.13 Consequently such matters could not be seen as adiaphora.

Furthermore, even in regard to matters which were adiaphora the Reformation Church of England did not hold that individual Christians were simply free to do whatever they saw fit. This can be seen in Article XXXIV. This reads as follows:
It is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one or utterly alike; for at all times they have been diverse, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's word.

Whosoever through his private judgement willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be not repugnant to the word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly that other may fear to do the like, as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the conscience of the weak brethren
.....
Conclusion
What we have seen in this paper is that it does make sense to talk about things that are adiaphora.

However, matters on which there are binding commands or prohibitions contained in Scripture (including in the area of sexual morality) do not come under the category of adiaphora.

Furthermore, even with regard to those matters which do come into this category we are not free to do whatever we want. Our exercise of Christian freedom either as individuals or as churches always has to be qualified by an awareness of the implications of our choices, and in particular what impact they will have on the welfare of our neighbours, our obedience to church order and state law and the well-being of the Church as a whole.

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

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Posted July 10, 2016 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The uncertainty generated has left a series of questions that serves no-one well, least of all the alleged victim.

For that reason, we welcome an announcement this week that the Church of England has launched an independent review into the processes regarding the settlement.

The review is a matter of standard procedure and is not intended to undermine the original decision, but we trust its remit will go beyond mere process without adding further to the distress of the woman involved.

Bell was too important a figure to have his reputation trashed without full transparency and disclosure in the public domain.

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Posted June 30, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Dr Martin Davie is a leading Anglican theologian who served until recently as theological adviser to the Church of England’s House of Bishops. He is disturbed by the way this new myth is becoming increasingly influential amongst Anglicans in the British Isles and his recent blog article ‘Why The Arguments For A Third Way Do Not Work’, which can be read here, is a compelling exposure of a dangerous deception.

He demonstrates that the ‘Third Way’ is based on a very superficial reading of both the Bible and Church history..
..................
This article should be of interest to the whole of the Anglican Communion, not just those in England. The ‘Third Way’ encourages a false sense of ‘business as usual’ while TEC continues to provide substantial funding for the work of the London based Anglican Communion office’s attempts to orchestrate the life of the Communion around this myth.

The actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury strongly suggest that he himself has embraced the ‘Third Way’. There was some hope after the Canterbury 2016 Primates Meeting of an effective restraint on TEC and other revisionist provinces, even though Archbishop Welby refused to use the term ‘discipline’. These hopes were dashed by the active engagement of TEC in the April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka and it became clear that for all intents and purposes the Archbishop sees TEC’s controversial teaching on sexuality, even to the extent of removing any reference to gender from its marriage canon, as a matter on which Anglicans are free to have different beliefs.

If this myth is not persistently challenged and exposed, the consequences for the Anglican Communion will be tragic..

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

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Posted June 29, 2016 at 9:13 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An independent review of the processes used in the George Bell case has been announced today in accordance with the House of Bishops guidance on all complex cases.

The House of Bishops practice guidance states that once all matters relating to any serious safeguarding situation have been completed, the Core Group should meet again to review the process and to consider what lessons can be learned for the handling of future serious safeguarding situations. A review has always been carried out in any case involving allegations against a bishop.

The review will be commissioned by the Church of England's National Safeguarding Team, on the recommendation of the Bishop of Chichester, to see what lessons can be learnt from how the case was handled. The case involves the settlement in 2015 of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against George Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929-1958.

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Posted June 28, 2016 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Those who voted to stay within the EU need to acknowledge the overwhelming majority of Leave voters who are not part of the racist fringe that disfigures our society. Men and women who believe with integrity that their vote will help us get something of our identity and even our country back. We need to engage with those who have seen little by way of economic benefit from EU membership, as their towns and villages have suffered decline, and who hope that a more independent Britain offers a chance for change. Understanding and working with these, our fellow citizens for the future of our country, is both essential and urgent, not least so that the future we forge together remains outward looking and closely connected to our continental neighbours. Sadly, too much of what I have read by way of comment from the Remain constituency in these last few days feels engulfed in and paralysed by a bereavement that most UK voters do not share, and for whom even the present turmoil in our political parties and the financial markets may be a sign that for once they have stood up and been counted.

The challenge for Leave voters is perhaps even more urgent, to join in with and even lead immediate moves to isolate those who are trying to use the referendum decision as a building block for a resurgence of racist aggression.

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Posted June 28, 2016 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Referendum debate has been a divisive, brutal, dehumanising, victimising, bitter experience, and at times not even a debate; but now that the campaign is over, the UK must learn from its mistakes, and move towards reconciliation and healing within communities, church voices across the UK have said.

Primates, bishops, archdeacons, chaplains, and academics made their views clear this week on how the country — its people and Government — had conducted themselves throughout the campaign, and on what the next step should be both for the Church and communities across the UK.

Read it all.

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Posted June 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The outcome of the EU referendum is now clear.
Within our parishes and across our country, people will be reflecting on the result in different ways. Those who voted Leave will be happy that their voice was heard, and hopeful for our country’s future outside the EU. For those who voted Remain, this will be a day of profound regret and even sorrow. The close final result will only have strengthened these feelings all round.
There will also be those who have felt disengaged from the long political campaign, and who still feel dismayed at the bitterness with which it was often conducted. It will be vital for us all, as we accept the result and deal with what it means, to understand and respect those who take different views of the same event.
In the debates that will come, we will be most effective if we now seek to heal the divisions of the past campaign. However, those divisions were about such deep issues of national identity and indeed self-identity that doing so will be a difficult and costly task. In the Church, it will be achieved through a renewed focus on what is unchanged, and on what is unchangeable.

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Posted June 24, 2016 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..It seems likely that in the months to come there will be strong pressure on Evangelicals in the Church of England who are not willing to go all the way in accepting same-sex relationships to at least adopt this kind of third way approach and so in this post I want to explain why I think the three arguments for this this approach noted above are mistaken.

The reason that the first argument is mistaken is because it does not do justice to what St. John is saying in John 1:14.

For advocates of the third way approach grace is understood to mean unconditional love and acceptance and so living a life of ‘grace and truth’ means showing unconditional love and acceptance to those with whom we disagree even while upholding the truth of our own position. In terms of the current debate about sexuality this means that Evangelicals who hold a conservative approach to sexual ethics should be willing to love and accept those who take a more liberal position.

The problem with this argument is that it fails to read John 1:14 against the background of the Old Testament. As a number of commentators have pointed out, the pairing of ‘grace’ and truth’ in John 1:14 is a deliberate echo of the regular pairing of ‘steadfast love’ and ‘faithfulness’ as a description of God in Old Testament passages such as Genesis 24:27, Exodus 34:6 and Psalm 25:10. [1] God’s ‘grace’ is his steadfast and merciful love to his oppressed and disobedient people and God’s ‘truth’ is his faithfulness to his promises to be merciful. Both of these are manifested in Jesus, the person in whom the God of the Old Testament is incarnate, because through his death and resurrection he delivers God’s people from sin and death and thus shows God’s faithfulness to his promises and hence his truthfulness.

The relevance of this to the debate about sexuality is that sexual sin, including the sin of same-sex sexual activity, is part of the life of sin and death from which God in Christ has delivered his people (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Romans 1-8 throughout) with the corollary that such sin should no longer form part of their lives. As St. Paul puts it in Romans 6:12-14, because the grace of God means that we have died and risen with Christ:

‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.’

A church, therefore, that is willing to accept same-sex sexual activity (or any other form of sexual sin) is a church that has ceased to truly believe in the grace and truth of God revealed in Jesus Christ...

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

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Posted June 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Members of the Church’s decision making General Synod have been issued with a manual setting out how to discuss the fraught subject of sexuality without offending each other too much.

It comes ahead of a special series of “shared conversations” on the issue set to take place behind closed doors when the Synod meets in York next month.

“Facilitators” trained in conducting negotiations in warzones have been called in to help Anglicans resolve their differences over issues such as same-sex marriage after a similar tactic helped break the deadlock over women bishops.

Press and the public are to be banned from the three-day session in which bishops, priests and lay members with differing views and backgrounds will be asked to join in small-group discussions to speak frankly away from the glare of publicity.

The 14-page booklet, entitled “Grace and Dialogue”, amounts to an etiquette guide for the talks, advising members on everything from where to sit to body language and even facial expressions.
................................
The special sessions are being organised by Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff, who helped lay the foundations for the Northern Ireland peace process through talks with paramilitaries in the 1990s.

He said that while they might not ultimately avert a split in the church over sexuality, they might at least make it less acrimonious.

“I’ve never said that the shared conversations process should be measured on its ability to stop fracture,” he explained.

“I’ve always said that it should be measured on its ability as to even how you fracture.

“Because the reality is that throughout Christian history there have been deep issues about which we have differed at various points and it has not always been possible to maintain the unity of the church in those contexts.

“That is the history of the church, that is the reality.

“What these conversations are about is to show … that even when we disagree deeply we disagree well.”

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Posted June 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

At next month’s General Synod, the Church of England will try a new approach to avoiding a disastrous formal schism over homosexuality. After two days of discussing legislative matters in open session and once all outsiders have left, the 550 representatives from around the world will break into groups of 20 for three days of intensive and personal discussions about sexuality.

The idea is not to reach agreement – 30 years of wrangling have established that this is quite impossible – but to try to bring people on both sides of the debate to see their opponents as fellow Christians. Conservative evangelicals have denounced the scheme as an attempt to manipulate opinion, which of course it is. The question is whether it will work.

What’s new about this approach is that the manipulation that Justin Welby’s strategists have in mind is not to be carried out from the top down. It is hoped that the process of facilitated conversations will allow the church’s activists gathered in the synod to take note of the social changes that are happening in their own congregations and their own families, where acceptance of gay people is becoming much more common.

This week a book of evangelical reflections on sexuality was published in which the bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, announced he had been “profoundly changed” by encounters with lesbian and gay Christians in his own family...

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

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Posted June 22, 2016 at 12:54 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

A new congregation to provide an opportunity for worship, mutual support and encouragement for Christians in the LGBTI community is being launched this summer.

“There has been a need for something like this for some while” says Revd Monica Arnold. “While debate rages on, passionately, at the highest levels of the Church of England, LGBT people continue to live with the realities of their daily life and the mixed reception many receive in parishes. An opportunity to worship and enjoy fellowship without hiding or denying a fundamental aspect of their identity is so important to all aspects of healthy life.
.....
The Bishop of Wolverhampton, Rt Revd Clive Gregory warmly welcomed the initiative:

“Enabling this congregation to meet is important and I am delighted to hear of St Matthew’s offer of hospitality. I understand why LGBTI Christians feel the need for a place to meet and worship where they can feel secure and supported in their God-given sexual identity.

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

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Posted June 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..The process of appointing a new diocesan bishop is long and complex, and one of the last hurdles has now been passed in the appointment of [the] Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave as the 99th Bishop of Lichfield..

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Posted June 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mark is married to Sally and they have three adult children. They met in Kenya while volunteers with the Church Mission Society and have a lifelong commitment to mission.

Mark trained for ordination at Ridley Hall Cambridge after working in the catering industry in Edinburgh. Sensing a call to serve in urban areas, Mark was ordained in Manchester Diocese in 1982 and served as a curate in Burnage. Mark and Sally then went to Kenya with the Church Mission Society where Mark taught in a Theological college, later becoming the Principal. Returning to UK, Mark was appointed Rector of Christ Church Harpurhey where he served from 1996 to 2009. He was then appointed Archdeacon of Manchester. Mark's role as Archdeacon of Manchester included being a Residentiary Canon at the Cathedral and significant involvement in Greater Manchester Churches together.

Mark said, "I am honoured and thrilled to have been appointed the next Bishop of Bolton. Greater Manchester is a fantastic place to live and serve, and I am looking forward to getting to know and love the communities and churches of Rossendale, Salford, Bury, Bolton and parts of Wigan for which I will have particular responsibility as Bishop of Bolton.

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Posted June 22, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Don’t you just love the Church of England’s concept of ‘neutrality’ in the matter of the EU Referendum? A whole sea of bishops has endorsed the Remain campaign (that list has since extended, and is still doing so, and not a single one has demurred over the Cameron-Osborne strategy of terrorising the electorate with ‘Project Fear’). The Archbishop of York declared for Remain a few days ago, and now the Archbishop of Canterbury has done the same (with an emotive video appeal) following his recent smearing of a prominent BeLeaver with the allegation of “legitimising racism”. This coordinated completely coincidental archiepiscopal outpouring of Europhilia comes just a fortnight before the crunch vote which will determine whether we remain party to European political integration, or revert simply to being a member of a looser trade bloc, which is what we were told we were joining in 1973, and so affirmed in 1975. The Prime Minister must be delighted that the Established Church is doing the Establishment’s bidding.

Justin Welby is keen to stress that the Church of England does not have an official line on the EU Referendum. It’s just that it appears so. Imagine if the Government had declared itself to be neutral on the matter, and one by one the Cabinet had toured the TV studios to endorse ‘Stronger In’ while slagging off leading BeLeavers. Do you not think people might detect a hint of predisposition, if not a prejudiced and pre-ordained agenda? It is surely a façade of institutional neutrality which permits the full weight of its collective leadership not merely to express a “personal view”, but to dedicate its entire Church House and Bishopthorpe/Lambeth Palace communications machinery (and so staff and financial resources) to ensure the effective dissemination of that message in the national and social media. This amounts to a ‘non-party campaign‘ under Electoral Commission rules. And to endorse ‘Remain’ with appeals to Christian moral responsibility, as John Sentamu does, is verging on the abuse of religious office and the exertion of undue spiritual influence, which, for some, is a grave matter indeed.

This is not an argument for bishops and archbishops to butt out of the secular political sphere (if such a thing exists): it is a plea for spiritual integrity and reflexive honesty in institutional positionality. One could not credibly assert that the institution of Monarchy is politically neutral on the matter of EU membership if the Queen slags off Boris/Gove/Farage while the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are singing the enlightened praises ‘Remain’. The institution of Monarchy is not castles, palaces and Crown Jewels: it is princes and kings – living people – in communion with history and ancestry. And so it is with the Church of England: the church is its people. When bishops and archbishops unite to express a unanimous view, it is the church that speaks. Their professed Referendum ‘neutrality’ is a convenient agnostic cloak for a pathological Europhile disposition: everyone knows it’s a ruse to sustain the peace between the pro-EU bishops and the majority Brexit-leaning laity. There is no convenient via media in this referendum: either we remain or leave. It is a very un-Anglican assignation.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEurope

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Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The referendum has lit the blue touchpaper on a "debate" which is almost entirely undefined in its scope. As we have seen over the past weeks, everything and anything can be dragged into the campaign - which has been used by many as a proxy for every grievance they might have about politics and the political process.

So, we have been in a game with no game plan and no rules of conduct.

What has happened is detrimental to politics and the political process. Both sides have used misleading figures and information to conduct an argument that has been more like a childish spat in the playground than a measured examination of the issues. The electorate have been fed with ever more cooked statistics and exaggeration. It's virtually impossible for the average voter to discover some facts....

Read it all.

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Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A prayer vigil was held last night in St Peter’s, Birstall, after the murder of Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, outside her constituency advice surgery in the West Yorkshire town.

The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, and the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, took part in the service, which was attended by about 300 constituents, as well as fellow MPs, among them Yvette Cooper, Naz Shah, Dan Jarvis, Rachel Reeves, and Mary Creagh.

Bishop Gibbs told mourners that the attack on the 41-year-old mother of two had left people “overwhelmed by shock, grief and a sense of loss.

“We are here for each other, and I know and I hope and I pray that we will be here for each other in the days ahead,” he said. “’Jo grew up in this community, she loved this community and she served this community. And, in the end, she gave her life for this community.”

Read it all.


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Posted June 17, 2016 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The House of Bishops has issued a wide-ranging critique of the welfare system, in a discussion paper that refers to the system’s inability to tackle an “enemy which threatens the well-being of our people”.

Starting from the “Five Giant Evils” identified in the 1942 Beveridge report, on which the welfare state was based — Want, Disease, Squalor, Ignorance, and Idleness — the Bishops’ paper adds “a giant which all can see around them, which most experience at some time in their lives, but which few will name. It is the Enemy Isolation.”

The 17-page paper, Thinking Afresh about Welfare: The enemy isolation, has been produced by the Director of Mission and Public Affairs, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, in association with the Bishops of Norwich, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, and Truro. It contains echoes of the House’s pre-election pastoral letter of 2015.

Read it all.

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Posted June 10, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, is to give a keynote address at a gathering of academics and social activists at a conference taking place in the Cayman Islands, sponsored and hosted by the “Queering Paradigms Network” of Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.

The organisation’s website states:
The Queering Paradigms network is dedicated to examining the current state and future challenges of queer studies from a broad trans-disciplinary and polythetic perspective, and by interrogating numerous social, political, cultural and academic agendas.
The programme of the conference, which can be seen here, describes a very comfortable venue in one of the most expensive locations in the world. It is not apparent who is funding the meeting, or the budget of the department of Comparative Religion, Gender and Sexuality at Canterbury Christ Church University. Many of the nearby Caribbean nations are trying to resist the imposition of the new sexual ethics of the wealthy nations, and this attempt to retain traditional family values will be strongly criticised during the conference...

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

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Posted June 9, 2016 at 7:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The conference, which is now in its seventh year, was founded by Professor Bee Scherer, director of the INCISE research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. He said, “Local activists approached us last year at the QP6 conference in Canterbury with the view of bringing QP to the Caribbean region; after the success of QP in South America (Rio 2012, Quito 2014) we agreed to support them.”

The conference has attracted criticism from conservative political and religious groups who are opposing LGBTIQ rights and equality, the organisers stated this weekend in a press release.

Although one of the key note speakers is an Anglican bishop, activists said it was sad to see how some churches have tried to boycott the conference rather than engage in a democratic dialogue with experts from all over the world who are coming to the Cayman Islands to share their knowledge and expertise with the public.

“I hope that we will see a fruitful dialogue and not just picketing and shouting,” said Scherer. “We have invited the Rt Hon Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, as one of the keynote speakers...

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

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Posted June 7, 2016 at 5:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The consequences of this widespread dislike to “dogma” are very serious in the present day. Whether we like to allow it or not, it is an epidemic which is just now doing great harm, and specially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a “jelly-fish” Christianity in the land: that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power. A jelly-fish, as everyone knows who has been much by the seaside, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little, delicate, transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defence, or self-preservation. Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is,“No dogma, no distinct tenets, no positive doctrine.” We have hundreds of “jelly-fish” clergymen, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions; they belong to no school or party: they are so afraid of “extreme views” that they have no views at all. We have thousands of “jelly-fish” sermons preached every year, sermons without an edge, or a point, or a corner, smooth as billiard balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint.—We have legions of “jelly-fish” young men annually turned out from our Universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion, and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth.

Their only creed is a kind of “Nihilism.” They are sure and positive about nothing. And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of jelly-fish worshippers,respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than colour-blind people can distinguish colours. They think everybody is right and nobody wrong, every-thing is true and nothing is false, all sermons are good and none are bad, every clergyman is sound and no clergyman unsound. They are “tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;” often carried away by any new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, be-cause they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to “render a reason of the hope that is in them.” All this, and much more, of which I cannot now speak particularly, is the result of the unhappy dread of “dogma” which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many Churchmen, in these latter days.

I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrow¬ful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. “Dogma” and positive doctrine are at a dis¬count just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural re-sult, and meet us in every direction. Never was it so important for lay-men to hold systematic views of truth, and for ordained ministers to “enunciate dogma” very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.

--JC Ryle, Principles for Churchmen (London: William Hunt+Co, 1884), pp. 97-98 (my emphasis)


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Posted June 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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