Posted by Kendall Harmon

Letting go so that we can be transformed is the hardest thing. Yet the possibility of inner change, of transformation of our lives and of our society, requires us to let go in order to receive from God, through Jesus Christ, all that He offers. While our hands are closed clinging to what we currently have, we cannot receive what He is going to give us. Bishops must not only be those who themselves let go distinctively and decisively, but also those who open the way for communities to come into the new life that God is offering.

A bishop is not a senior manager in a convenient administrative unit for putting together administration, payroll, and deployment of staff to necessary outlets. A bishop is above all a shepherd, carrying their pastoral staff, and like Middle Eastern shepherds generally leading the sheep. This is where the image breaks down a bit, because the people of God are not sheep to be herded, but individuals of infinite value to be loved, encouraged, liberated and empowered, themselves to be witnesses to those who do not know Jesus Christ, and to be themselvesshepherds wherever God has called them.

But for all that to happen, there has to be a letting go.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted October 21, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A bishop has warned the Church of England must make wholesale change to halt the slide in attendance, or wither away in the 21st century.

Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, said he feared unless the Church reinvented itself in his own diocese, it would disappear like the region’s textile industry.

The warning from Bishop Henderson follows similar concerns from colleagues around the country that urgent action is needed to prevent dwindling numbers heralding the end of the Church.

Bishop Henderson made the warning as he launched a 12-year-plan to attract younger people to the Church.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted October 20, 2014 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Truro has called for a 'major cultural change' in British society to recognise the need for justice for all - in particular young carers, those who use food banks and families living in poverty.

The Rt Revd Tim Thornton warned against an 'us and them' approach to social justice, calling instead for a greater sense of the 'glue' in society, or interdependence, that holds together people regardless of economic status.

"Social justice assumes, surely, that there is such a thing called society in which a key value is justice, and implicit in that, is that it is justice for all people in our country," he told a House of Lords debate on social justice.

"I suggest that there is clear evidence that our society is struggling to understand itself as a society today and there is not enough evidence on the value of justice for all people, for all members of our society."

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 17, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The House of Lords passed the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure on Tuesday night.

The vote followed a debate in which Baroness Perry praised the "immense patience" of Church of England women clergy, the Archbishop of Canterbury emphasised the need to remain a "broad Church", and Lord Cormack welcomed the provision for traditionalists.

Lady Perry said that women clergy had been snubbed by male colleagues and criticised "because their high-heels clonked", and it had been "infinitely humiliating" to see the Church "reject the potential of those wonderful women within it". One "very senior" woman had found that male colleagues failed to invite her to important meetings. Yet such women remained "patient and conciliatory".

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 10:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Although Hansard now records the ABC’s response to Lady Howe’s Q4, in view of the nature of the debate[1] and his non-governmental position, such assurances carry different weight from those made by a government minister at the dispatch box and subsequently relied upon under Pepper v Hart.

With regard to the application of the Equality Act, the Archbishop’s specification of “parochial appointments” implicitly acknowledges that the House of Bishops considers other appointments differently, i.e. hospital chaplains. With regard to remarriage after divorce, this dispensation is not strictly within the gift of the bishops, as clergy are provided a “conscience clause” directly through s8(2) Matrimonial Causes Act 1965.

On Monday 20 October, the House of Commons will consider the Motion: “To approve a Church of England Measure relating to women bishops”. Following the expected vote in favour, the Measure will be presented to the monarch for Royal Assent after which it becomes part of the law of the land.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Among the 253 participants in the Synod on the Family which will conclude here in the Vatican on Sunday are eight delegates from different Christian Churches who are sharing insights from their own communities and traditions. Among them is the Anglican Bishop of Durham Paul Butler who has specialised in children and family ministry within the Church of England. As a husband and father of four children, Bishop Butler also brought his own experience to the Synod and especially to those working in one of the English language groups this week.

Bishop Butler sat down with Philippa Hitchen to talk about his impressions of the two-week meeting and about the struggle within the Anglican world of reaching out to people in same-sex relationships while upholding the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life

Read and listen to it all (about 8 1/3 minutes).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is being urged to pray for victims of human trafficking at services this Sunday.

Freedom Sunday, a global day of prayer, action and worship backed by major Christian denominations in Britain, takes place on October 19.

Organisers have produced a set of resources for churches with prayers, Bible studies, reflections, case studies and sermon notes to help mark the day.

In a foreword to the resources, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, warns that human trafficking is a "grave crime" against humanity.

"It is a form of modern day slavery and a profound violation of the intrinsic dignity of human beings," he wrote.

"It is intolerable that millions of fellow human beings should be violated in this way, subjected to inhuman exploitation and deprived of their dignity and rights."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistrySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesSexuality* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 15, 2014 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Allowing women to become bishops is "long overdue", the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said, as the change was approved by the Lords.

Peers accepted the General Synod proposal, passed by the Synod in July, without a vote.

It is expected to be approved by MPs next week, allowing it to become law.

Speaking in the Lords, the archbishop urged the government to bring in legislation to allow women bishops to join him in the upper house.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For many people within the Church of England and others it has been a process full of frustration when looked at from the outside; and it has been somewhat baffling, particularly in recent years, that something which seems so simple and obvious should have become such a considerable problem. After all, surely the big step was taken in the early 1990s with the admission of women to the priesthood – and that indeed is true theologically and psychologically. What matters to most people in the church is who the vicar is.

Nevertheless, the Church of England at the Reformation did not opt for a system of congregational or Presbyterian governance. We remained, like the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions, an episcopal church where bishops are the leaders in mission and ministry; give authority to others as ordained ministers of the Gospel through the laying on of hands; and above all are the focus of unity – and that is very relevant to the structure of this Measure.

It is because bishops are at the heart of Anglican polity – indeed are included in the Lambeth-Chicago Quadrilateral as one of the four defining features of Anglicanism – that the process of securing agreement to this legislation has been so long and difficult.

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The flag fluttered at half-mast over Winchester, the bells pealed and the people of Hampshire gathered to say goodbye to a long-serving former bishop.

The Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt died on September 27, aged 71, three years after his retirement as Bishop, a position he held for 16 years.

Around 800 people gathered at the cathedral yesterday to pay their final respects at the two-hour ceremony.

Guests included Dame Mary Fagan, who recently retired as Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mayor of Winchester, Eileen Berry, and city council leader Rob Humby.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals

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Posted October 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He urged the Catholic Church not to “capitulate to culture” nor to succumb to a weakening of discipline that he said had “caused havoc” within the Anglican Church. He said that he had watched the growth of the ordinariate with close interest.

“Allowing Anglican patrimony to flourish should not just be taken as an exception, but it could be a charter for the future,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis Other FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 8, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

9 What does good disagreement look like?
This is a fundamental question which underlies our conversations. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to be brought to a single position on same-sex relationships. What we can look for, however, is a way of living with disagreement that honours and respects views we don’t agree with, believing that those who hold such views are not just perverse, ignorant or immoral, but rather are bearing witness to different aspects of the truth that lies in Christ alone. Not only is all truth God’s truth, but God’s truth is ultimately bound to be beyond our grasp because our minds are but miniscule receptors before the great and beautiful Mystery of God.

10 Time is not on our side
Some of our ethical/doctrinal discussions have taken decades, if not centuries, to work through – contraception, remarriage after divorce, the ordination of women. It’s important not to rush debates on profound issues, and it’s also important to keep such Godly conversations in the liquid solution of grace. However, the speed of social exchange in today’s world and the seriousness of our dis-connect with large sections of society on the issue of same-sex relationships mean that we haven’t got the luxury of endless internal debate. We are in real need of faithful, hopeful and pastoral ways forward.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted October 8, 2014 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The prominent Anglican Bishop, Michael Nazir-Ali, formerly the Bishop of Rochester, has spoken of the overriding importance of the Catholic Church's global voice for the future of Christianity in a world threatened by Islamic militancy and secularism. He said the Catholic Church potentially had "a great future and a huge opportunity" in the emerging world order and that it now had allies in upholding orthodoxy, even in unexpected quarters. However, he said that how effective it would be depended on how Rome viewed its own position and on its willingness to address its approach to certain issues. He identified these as culture and language and discipline.

Bishop Nazir Ali, who has both a Christian and a Muslim family background and is now President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue (OXTRAD), made his remarks to the clergy of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham - the structure set up by Pope Benedict to allow Anglicans to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church, bringing with them elements of their Anglican patrimony. He was speaking on the subject: "A Global Christianity in the Making" to the Ordinariate clergy's plenary session at St Patrick's Catholic Church in Soho Square, London

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted October 7, 2014 at 7:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 300 Anglican priests, parishioners and other Christians have signed an open “love letter” to bishops in the Church of England who are secretly gay urging them to “come out” about their sexuality.

In one of the most unusual petitions ever addressed to the leadership of the established church, they have issued a direct plea to members of the episcopate who are gay or bisexual to have the “courage and conviction” to acknowledge it publicly.

The signatories, who include at least 160 priests and several members of the Church’s governing General Synod, pledge to “welcome and embrace” those bishops who decide to go public but strongly object to any attempt to involuntarily “out” anyone.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMediaReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted October 6, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St Mary le Strand, which is located in the middle of the Strand, has a long and interesting history. The original medieval church was pulled down in 1549 by Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, to make way for Somerset House. The current church was then rebuilt between 1714 and 1724, by the celebrated architect James Gibbs and St Mary le Strand has since been remembered as his Baroque Masterpiece.

The current St Mary le Strand was one of fifty new churches built in London under the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches, an Act of Parliament in England in 1710, with the purpose of building fifty new churches for the rapidly growing conurbation of London. Despite this ambitious plan, only twelve of these churches were ever built, with St Mary le Strand being the first.

Unlike many London churches, St Mary le Stand managed to escape severe damage during the Second World War, as the inspecting architect would sit in the church's muniment room during the bombings, to push incendiary bombs off the roof.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted October 5, 2014 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anyone hoping for ecclesiastical preferment in London should have been at the launch last night of London Witness at the Bishop of London’s home, where the bishop, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, revealed his approach to making appointments — never choose anyone who puts himself forward.

London Witness is a group of Anglicans committed to bringing a Christian perspective to London, and the bishop revealed that none of those present had volunteered their services. “You all had to be asked,” he said approvingly. “By definition, anyone who puts themselves forward would have been unsuitable. That’s my own philosophy when I’m making appointments.”

The bishop observed with relief that, unlike him, all the members of London Witness were spreading news of the CofE’s good work on social media. “I never read anything after 1649,” he confessed. “In many ways it makes you very avant garde”. Peculiar, because we were just thinking how similar Chartres’ philosophy was to Douglas Adams’s argument that it’s “a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it” — and we could have sworn Adams started writing the Hitchhiker’s Guide series later than 1648.

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

His tenure in Winchester was more than 15 years, during which he not only served that See with distinction, but made a vital contribution to the House of Bishops and to the work of the Church in the House of Lords. With his ability to grasp detail and a remarkable stamina, he fulfilled all the demands made of him with a willingness that made him highly respected not only in the church, but far beyond. In addition Michael served as Prelate to the Order of the Garter, a privilege which he was honoured to fulfill with loyalty and care in service of his Sovereign.

In the wider communion there will be many mourning his passing, as he both cared about and championed many of the dioceses with which Winchester was linked, who suffered not only from lack of resources, but the scourges of war and famine.

He was a person not afraid to say what he believed, even when he knew those views might not be popular. But all this he did from his deep faith, and after much careful prayer.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals

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Posted September 30, 2014 at 6:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Anglican Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt, has died aged 71.

He served as bishop from 1995 until his retirement in 2011.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the Church of England had "lost a faithful, hard working and distinguished servant".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 30, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves



From the Diocese of Winchester

29 September 2014

We are sorry to announce the death of the former Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt. The Right Reverend Tim Dakin has said:
Dear Friends,

You may already have heard the news that Bishop Michael Scott-Joynt died on Saturday afternoon. His family were with him and he had been anointed; two bishop colleagues had prayed with him.

Michael led this Diocese with great integrity, both through his ministry and his strength of personality. I had the joy of working with him on a number of occasions before his retirement and then it was an honour to follow in his footsteps as Bishop of Winchester. Michael was a true servant for the Church of England at home and for the wider Anglican Communion abroad, particularly in Africa. He will long be remembered in our parishes and his presence sorely missed.

Our prayers at this difficult time are with Lou and the family.

+Tim

The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester

Read it all and there is a report from the BBC

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

2 Comments
Posted September 29, 2014 at 7:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Coventry has spoken about the importance of a wider strategy to combat the "swinging axe of cruelty" wielded by Isis extremists.

Introducing his speech in the House of Lords, the Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth quoted German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said that when a madman "comes down the street" swinging an axe, it is our duty not just to apply plasters to the injured but to stop the madman with whatever means are expedient.

"The Government is seeking to join with others to stop the madman swinging the axe of cruelty, and stopped we are agreed he must be. The question is what are the expedient means for doing so?" Bishop Christopher said.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted September 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Queen has given her approval for Rt Revd Andrew Watson to become the Bishop of Guildford.

The 53 year old will move from his current position as Bishop of Aston in the Diocese of Birmingham.

Speaking about the move he said: "There will be future opportunities to thank everyone - but our six years in Birmingham have been wonderful.

"We've hugely appreciated the warmth and generosity of so many people across the Diocese, the rich multi-cultural nature of so many of our congregations (a real taste of heaven on earth on occasions), the quality of so much of the discipleship we've encountered, and the privilege of working with such able and supportive colleagues."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted September 26, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Justin had the privilege of getting to know Bishop Stephen in his retirement in the diocese of Durham.

The Archbishop said: "Bishop Stephen’s whole life was dedicated to serving God and his Church. The Church of England is deeply indebted to his ministry of thoughtful scholarship and servant leadership. I am deeply saddened to hear of his death – not least because it is so sudden for his dear wife Joy, his children and grandchildren – yet I rejoice at a life lived so well and so wholly in the service of Christ, through many trials and difficulties."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals

0 Comments
Posted September 25, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first woman bishop in the Church of England could be in the Gloucester diocese, a senior clergyman has said.

The archdeacon of Cheltenham's comments came during an open meeting where some 70 people shared their views on what qualities the new bishop should have.

The Venerable Robert Springett said he felt the likelihood was "really pretty high" as the diocese could now pick the best person regardless of gender.

The Right Reverend Michael Perham, stepped back as bishop in August.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop John said he will walk "at three miles an hour, it is the speed of the love of God, it is not rushing".

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted September 23, 2014 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Much religion is really dangerous and I would say lethal,” he told the blog Philosophy for Life. “We project parts of ourselves – our anger, all kinds of personal psychic material – into the middle distance, deifying it.”

Bishop Chartres – who previously caused controversy by saying that flying to go on holiday was “a symptom of sin” – says religion in the West “has become ideas in the mind”, a development he describes as “a very modern tragedy”.

Read it all and take the time to read the full blog report linked in the article.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like prayer according to George Herbert, this is ‘something understood.’ His writing is eminently sensible, with light touches of humour and irony, and only hints of a vast hinterland of learning.

There are four chapters: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist and Prayer. Neatly alternating sacrament and word, the heart of the Christian faith is circulated. The questions for reflection or discussion at the end of each chapter, and the notes for further reading, are enticing and challenging.

He suggests, ‘Perhaps baptism really ought to have some health warnings attached to it: “If you take this step, if you go into the depths, it will be transfiguring, exhilarating, life-giving and very, very dangerous.”’

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchBooks* Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 21, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bishop of Manchester David Walker]...said, "[it is]...more important to get it right than get it quick. . . If we rush at this, we will simply end up repeating tired old failures to reach solutions."

He was interviewed alongside the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, by the Church of England's director of communications, Arun Arora. Bishop Dakin appeared more ready to emphasise the extent of the division within the College.

"These are Gospel issues that we are talking about," he said. "They go deep. They are very important to many of us, personally, or by conviction, or by a sense of deep commitment to a way of life."

He went on: "Our different traditions of wisdom and our understanding of reason have actually probably brought us to the point where we have got some deep disagreements and we need to be able to speak the truth in love to one another in a Christian way and then work out what we're going to do."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted September 19, 2014 at 5:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The College of Bishops of the Church of England has met for three days. Two of the days were devoted to the first of a series of shared conversations in the Church of England on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission.

The context and process for the conversations were set out in a paper to General Synod by the Bishop of Sheffield on 26 June 2014 available here which also identified two outcomes for the process.

The first is to enable the Church of England to reflect, in light of scripture, on the implications of the immense cultural change that has been taking place in society on issues of sexuality. How can the Church "proclaim the gospel afresh in every generation" as a missionary church in a changing culture ?

The second objective is to create space and an environment for the Church of England to live together as a family who disagree with one another. Recognising that this was the experience of the first disciples and apostles who went on to proclaim the Gospel across the world, how can the Church ensure that those with differing views on sexuality continue to share together a place of common baptism and faith ?

Read it all and listen to the podcast linked at the bottom as well.

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

1 Comments
Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, has accepted the invitation of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to succeed the Bishop of London as the Church of England's lead bishop for Environmental Affairs with immediate effect.

In his new role Bishop Nicholas will work with the Mission and Public Affairs department of the Archbishops' Council and also with the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division on the Church of England's Shrinking the Footprint campaign. He will also Chair the new Working Group on the Environment established by General Synod in February 2014.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He was appointed Dean of St Albans in 2004 and two years later he and his partner Rev Grant Holmes entered into a civil partnership.

Dr John was shortlisted last year for Exeter but the vote went narrowly against him, even though his performance at interview was outstanding. His name was also withdrawn previously from the Southwark diocesan appointment process because of opposition from the conservative wing.

The shortlisting of Dr John once again is an indication that the Church is taking seriously its pledge to "listen" to the gay community. Last year the Church dropped its prohibition on gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops, which effectively removed the bar against the elevation of clergy such as Dr John, who are openly gay but live within the guidelines stipulated by the Church, which demands celibacy and, controversially, forbids its gay clergy from marrying their partners.

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted September 16, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I am in no position to teach the Bishop of Salisbury about patristics, but what dear old Irenaeus wrote was “For the glory of God is a living man” (Gloria enim Dei vivens homo). He wrote in Greek, but that bit only survives in Latin. It comes in his masterpiece Adversus Haereses, the point of which is the central belief of Christianity: that God became a man; the Word was made flesh.

The Word of God, Irenaeus says in this paragraph (Book IV; 20:7), dispensed the fatherly grace of God, revealing God to man. (By “man”, homo, he means the kind of creature we humans are. We are also persons, but so are the persons of the Holy Trinity, so that word is better avoided here.)

The Word, Irenaeus wrote, “also protected the invisibility of the Father lest man should ever come to despise God”. However, “He made God visible to man by many methods lest man, entirely falling away from God, should cease to exist”.

Then comes the famous quotation: “For a living man is the glory of God; but the vision of God is the life of man.”

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchArtHistory* TheologyAnthropology

1 Comments
Posted September 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian Church as a whole, a body of which the Church of England is one branch, has held a consistent position with regard to sexual ethics over the past two millennia, with a remarkable degree of unanimity. That is, marriage is defined as an exclusive, permanent union between one man and one woman, and that sexual activity outside this union cannot be considered holy. The Church has always sought to uphold this principle while at the same time applying appropriate pastoral practice at the local level, both where the principle has been breached “through weakness and through deliberate fault”, and where men and women despite temptation aim to conform their lives to the historic understanding of Christ’s teaching in this area. But the principle of Christian marriage, deriving from the clear teaching of Scripture, Church tradition, and fellowship with the worldwide body of Christ, cannot be overturned or redefined without a serious fracture in the church today, and a severance from what ties us to authentic Christian faith.

In view of this, Anglican Mainstream, representing the views of many faithful members of the Church of England, lay and ordained, views with dismay the recent statement by Changing Attitude, urging the House of Bishops to rescind the February Statement on marriage, and to allow couples in same sex relationships, especially clergy, to marry, and be blessed in church.

The Changing Attitude statement is unhelpful and should be politely rejected, for the following reasons:

a) the Shared Conversations of Sexuality, Scripture and Mission are about to begin, and the process will last more than two years. After the conversations are over, motions and resolutions can be put before Synod by those on different sides of the argument, and debated. The Bishops have no authority to make the kind of changes demanded by Changing Attitude before this time. In the meantime, Bishops have responsibility to promote and defend the teaching of the Church, and should not be bullied by lobby groups to do otherwise.

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted September 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Changing Attitude England urges a change of policy and practice on the House of Bishops in response to the high levels of anxiety and insecurity being felt LGBTI clergy, licensed lay ministers, and ordinands and the anger and frustration being felt by gay and straight Anglicans.

We urge the House of Bishops to review the Pastoral Guidance document:

There are strong theological arguments for accepting and celebrating same-sex partnerships, including marriage.
Clergy and congregations should be free to conduct services of thanksgiving and blessing for married same-sex couples.
The threat of sanctions against clergy who marry should be removed to enable LGBTI clergy and lay ministers to participate in the mutual conversations.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted September 8, 2014 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When the present Archbishop of Canterbury's appointment was announced, commentators noted that he, the Prime Minister, and the Mayor of London made a trinity of Etonians at the top of the Establishment.

His response was that he was defined not by his education but "because I love and follow Jesus Christ" (News, 16 November, 2012).

Data collected by the Church Times shows that he is not alone in being educated privately. While he is the only Etonian, 48 (exactly 50 per cent) of the 96 serving bishops whose schooling could be determined were educated in the independent sector. Thirty-five (36 per cent) attended a grammar school; just 13 per cent attended a comprehensive school.

Read it all.


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

2 Comments
Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Heavenly Father, the Father of all wisdom, understanding, and true strength: We beseech thee look mercifully upon thy servants, and send thy Holy Spirit into their hearts, that when they must join to fight in the field for the glory of thy holy name, then they, strengthened with the defence of thy right hand, may manfully stand in the confession of thy faith, and continue in the same unto their lives’ end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Nicholas Ridley (c.1500-1555)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments
Posted September 5, 2014 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Granting asylum to persecuted Iraqi Christians and religious minorities could unwittingly aid Jihadists in their goal of “cleansing” the Middle East of non-Muslims, a bishop has insisted.

The former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, said well-intentioned calls for Britain to welcome refugees from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) could play into the hands of militants and spell the end of a Christian presence dating back almost 2,000 years.

His remarks, reinforced in a letter to The Telegraph, effectively break ranks with the official stance of the Church of England which has repeatedly pressed David Cameron and other ministers to accept refugees fleeing persecution because of their faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted September 4, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Research shows that children are best brought up in families where a mum and dad are present. The role of fathers in the nurture of their children is unique and cannot be replaced by other so-called ‘male role-models’ or, indeed, an extra ‘mother’.

Research tells us that children relate to their fathers differently than to their mothers, and this is important in developing a sense of their own identity....

None of this should detract from the heroism of single parents. They should be provided with every support by the State and by local communities.

There is, however, a big difference between children growing up without fathers because of death or family breakdown, and actively planning to bring children into the world who will not know one of their biological parents and where such a parent will never be part of the nurture of these children.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 9, 2014 at 1:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Various news outlets are carrying a story that this is an investigation by the Metropolitan Police into allegations of indecent assault on a child aged under 18 years and indecent assault on a second female aged over 18 years. The police have confirmed that no arrest has been made. You will all realise that this is therefore a traumatic time for Bishop Michael, his family and for those who have made the allegations. Please hold them in your prayers.

I am sorry that we have not been able to say more until now. I know many people have found this frustrating but I hope you will understand our reasons for this and will appreciate that we have been liaising very closely with Lambeth Palace.

Yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury signed an Instrument of Delegation that allows me to act as diocesan bishop.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Do you think spiritual ecstasy is dangerous?

It certainly can be. We have forgotten how dangerous religion can be. We think of it as a minority leisure pursuit – another cup of tea, Vicar. To remember how dangerous it can be, you have to go back to before religion became obstinately metaphysical, to the Civil War, when the streets around here were filled with Levellers and Fifth Monarchists and other fanatics, who had caused a social revolution.

St Paul’s cathedral is, in some ways, Christopher Wren’s answer to religious enthusiasm – God as a mathematician rather than the terrifying arbitrary God of the Civil War.

The great Bishop Butler says to John Wesley: ‘pretending to special revelations of the Holy Ghost Mr Wesley is a very horrid thing. It’s a very horrid thing indeed.’ And it is indeed a very horrid thing. Unless it’s held firmly within a community of interpretation, with a shared communal experience of discerning between evil spirits and good spirits, then it’s very dangerous.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

2 Comments
Posted August 7, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England faces fresh scrutiny over its handling of historic child abuse after the outgoing Bishop of Gloucester was placed at the centre of a police inquiry over allegations of indecent assault on a child more than 30 years ago.

The Rt Rev Michael Perham, 66, suddenly quit after nearly a decade as bishop on Friday citing “personal reasons” but it can be revealed that a police inquiry was launched centred on the parish in south London where the senior cleric started his career in the Church as an assistant curate in 1976.

The force confirmed today that officers from its sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command are investigating “allegations of indecent assault on a child said to have occurred between 1980 and 1981”. Nobody has been arrested during the course of the continuing inquiry, the force said in a statement.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An ethics committee has been set up to tackle moral issues faced by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the area's police and crime commissioner.

The independent committee is one of the first of its kind in the country and aims to make recommendations on moral and ethical dilemmas.

It will look at issues such as surveillance operations and the use of body cameras and water cannon.

Members of the public can make referrals to the committee.

The panel of 13 is chaired by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 5, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has demanded that the British government offers sanctuary to thousands of Christians fleeing jihadists in northern Iraq, warning that ignoring their plight would constitute a "betrayal of Britain's moral and historical obligations".

A number of bishops have revealed their frustration over David Cameron's intransigence on the issue, arguing the UK has a responsibility to grant immediate asylum to Iraqi Christian communities recently forced to flee the northern city of Mosul after militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) threatened them with execution, a religious tax or forced conversion.

On Monday, France responded to the so-called religious cleansing by publicly granting asylum to Christians driven from Mosul. The Anglican Church argues the UK has an even greater responsibility to intervene, citing its central role in the 2003 allied invasion, which experts say triggered the destabilisation and sectarian violence that shaped the context for Isis to seize control of much of northern Iraq.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Gloucester has stood down with immediate effect "for personal reasons".

The Right Reverend Michael Perham was due to retire in November after almost a decade in the role.

In a statement, The Diocese of Gloucester confirmed Bishop Michael had "stepped back" from his ministry.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Grace Davie, the distinguished British sociologist of religion, has proposed an interesting idea: A strong establishment of a church is bad for both religion and the state–for the former because the association with state policies undermines the credibility of religion, and for the latter because the support of one religion over all others creates resentment and potential instability. But a weak establishment is good for both institutions, because a politically powerless yet still symbolically privileged church can be an influential voice in the public arena, often in defense of moral principles. Davie’s idea nicely fits the history of the Church of England. In earlier centuries it persecuted Roman Catholics and discriminated against Nonconformist Protestants and Jews. More recently it has used its “bully pulpit” for a number of good causes, not least being the rights of non-Christians. Thus very recently influential Jewish and Muslim figures have voiced strong support for the continuing establishment of the Church of England, among them Jonathan Sacks, the former Orthodox Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, and the Muslim Sayeeda Warsi, currently Minister of Faith and Communities in David Cameron’s cabinet.

Of course it would be foolish to recommend that the British version of state/church relations be accepted in other countries—as foolish as to expect other countries to adopt the very distinctive American form of the separation of church and state. However, as I have suggested in other posts on this blog, the British arrangement is worth pondering by other countries who wish to combine a specific religious identity with freedom for all those who do not share it. For starters, I’ll mention all countries who want legislation to be based on “Islamic principles” (not full-fledged sharia law); Russia, struggling to define the public role of the Orthodox Church; Israel trying to define the place of Judaism in its democracy; India, similarly seeking to fit hindutva into its constitutional description as a “secular republic”. In a globalizing world, cross-national comparisons can be surprisingly useful.

Read it all from the American Interest.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersReligion & CultureWomen* Theology

4 Comments
Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to Pope Francis in a plea to prevent the ordination of women bishops from derailing plans for the eventual reunification between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.

The Most Rev Justin Welby acknowledged that the vote at the General Synod earlier this month would be a “further difficulty” on the tortuous road towards eventual unity between the two churches which formally separated in the 16th Century.

But in a letter to the Pope and other global church leaders including leading orthodox patriarchs, he asked for prayers for the Church of England, telling them: “We need each other.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * Theology

3 Comments
Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt. Rev. James Newcome, who speaks for the Church of England on health, has called for Lord Falconer to withdraw the Bill in favour of a Royal Commission on the subject.

The Bishop of Carlisle said: “It has brought the issues to the forefront of public discussion and highlighted what an important issue this is. Certainly, our hope as the Church of England is that the Falconer Bill will be withdrawn and that, because this is such an important issue, it could be discussed at length by a Royal Commission.”

A Royal Commission would allow the arguments to be “carefully assessed” and for expert opinion to be taken.

He added that the Church of England is in favour of the law on assisted suicide to remain unaltered as it provides a “good balance” between compassion and protection of the vulnerable.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted July 24, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The church got the message. Although it contained only nebulous safeguards for conservatives, the latest proposal was backed by a thumping majority of lay delegates to the Synod: 152 in favour and just 45 against. Even among the church’s growing contingent of evangelicals, a survival instinct prevailed. Survival as what, though? Some clergy, like Giles Fraser, an outspoken leftist, think the church should cut loose from the state and deliver hard truths from the margins of society.

In England, as in many historically Christian countries, the national church faces a choice. Either it can use its ancient privileges to cast a pale wash of religion over a secular society, making the necessary compromises; or it can morph into one or several minority subcultures, guided by their own particular lights, whose views are no business of politicians.

Over women bishops, the church stepped in the first direction. But if, as is expected, most bishops in the Lords vote against a forthcoming bill on assisted dying, it will swing the other way. Fresh questions may be asked about why bishops of one church, which attracts 2% of the population to its services, should vote at all.

Read it all.

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

4 Comments
Posted July 23, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

Read it all

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

At the session that took place on the 14th of July 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England made a decision allowing women to serve as bishops. The Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations is authorized to make the following statement in this regard:


The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the 19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association, sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”

The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.
Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.

In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established by Eternal and Immutable God.

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

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

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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


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


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

Posted by The_Elves

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

Read it all

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

other appeals and warnings here

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madam Chair: Christopher Hobbes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madam Chair: Point of order – Professor Burridge

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

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

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

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

Canon Sue Booys: I will just clarify absolutely

Madam Chair: Please bear with us for just one moment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to [1:53:27]

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.



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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all from the Daily Mail.

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

Read it all

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all from Christian Today.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesYoung Adults* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all and the BBC link is there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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




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