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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Canon David Porter and his team are introduced by David Walker, Bishop of Manchester - he who thinks portraying Jesus as a transgendered woman is fine in his diocese.
Watch it all or listen here
See also related posts:
+ John Bingham: CofE’s teaching on marriage ‘up for discussion’ to accommodate same-sex couples (February 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm)
+ Archbishops of York and Canterbury: Reply to letter from Jayne Ozanne and co-signatories (February 17, 2016 at 1:14 pm)
Rev. Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude reports on his conversations with David Porter - from 'A Conversation with Colin Coward 18th April 2015' at St Brides, Liverpool
OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.Listen to it all below - quote is from 11 mins 20 seconds in.
I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.
The previous report from January 23rd, 2015 on a meeting with David Porter is here
Not unworthy of record among these devoted servants of Christ is the name of the Rev. Cornelius Hill. He was the oldest and last of the Oneida Chiefs and from an early age had taken his seat in the Indian Councils. He bore the name of Chief Onon-Gwat-Ga, or Great Medicine, and was one of the most influential in the tribe. He became converted to Christianity, studied at one time at Nashotah, was the interpreter in the Church for many years until the day of his death; was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood by myself; at one time was sent to the General Convention from this Diocese and was ever a most earnest and devoted and faithful Christian and Churchman.
It is owing, in no small measure, to his example and teaching that the tribe has so progressed in temporal civilization and in its spiritual life. There is, as it is well known, no remaining party of heathen on the reservation. The Indians are for the most part loyal and devoted children of the Church.
By their zeal and devotion they are, in many ways, an example to us white Americans. I cannot speak of Father Hill's loving loyalty to myself without much feeling. His name will ever be cherished amongst his people and held in high regard in our Diocese.
Everliving Lord of the universe, our loving God, who raised up thy priest Cornelius Hill, last hereditary chief of the Oneida nation, to shepherd and defend his people against attempts to scatter them in the wilderness: Help us, like him, to be dedicated to truth and honor, that we may come to that blessed state thou hast prepared for us; through Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, in glory
President Uhuru Kenyatta has commended outgoing Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala for his great and wise leadership which has ensured peace and harmony among Christians and Kenyans.
Speaking during a farewell party at the Archbishop’s residence on Sunday, President Kenyatta urged Kenyans to emulate the retiring Archbishop when given opportunity to serve.
“The peace that has reigned in the church across the country, the harmony that has prevailed in the church throughout the country is a great legacy that he leaves behind,” the President said.
“Indeed it is a foundation on which those that come after you, will need to build on,” he added.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Kenya
Last month in Minya, Egypt, a 70-year-old Christian woman was beaten and dragged through the streets naked by a mob because her son was suspected of having an affair with a Muslim woman. Horrors like these have renewed fears of religious discord in Egypt. President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi and his government regularly describe Egypt as unified and have worked hard—publicly—to reduce Muslim-Christian tension. But the Minya event has once again demonstrated the relative impunity of the Egyptian police, who failed to respond to earlier warnings of a violent, religiously-motivated attack and took hours to appear on the scene.
The status of Coptic Christians in Egypt has for the most part remained unchanged since Anwar Sadat came to power in 1970. Today, there is little Christian representation in government, and sectarian violence is all but commonplace. But many have suggested that President Sissi is more respectful of minority rights than his predecessors, and many Christians supported Sissi’s rise to power.
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It is the fissure of the state. The people have met the people: they looked and evaluated, and the greater soul has chosen to be more free, noble, ingenious and generous. The majority apprehends the future of British civilisation in terms of its own manners and morals; in its native religious and political institutions. The whole entrenched elite Establishment – Monarchy, Parliament, Government and Church – has been confronted by an epoch-making movement of ordinary people, including humble, devout and sincere Christians who have been tarnished with the whiff of sin and smeared with racism, all because they believe in democracy, national self-determination, and the ability to sack those who make their laws.
The opinion pollsters got it wrong (again), and the markets backed the wrong horse. They have been humbled in their vanity. We now face a myriad of questions and fractured horizons. Our European ‘relationship’ has changed: we have not ceased to love; we simply wish to live apart. We are no less important, and they no less appreciated: we are simply better equipped for self-exploration and destined for global commitment. It is our vocation; our national fulfilment.
23rd June will hereafter be known as Independence Day UK. It marks the resurgence of our democracy, and the restoration of the people’s sovereignty. Many have longed for it, hoped for it, prayed for it and worked for it. We now need different priorities and a new orientation. This is our opportunity for autonomy, transformation, a higher reality and universal benevolence.
This was always about how and by whom we are governed; not immigration and not GDP. We can muse tomorrow about how we heal such profound division in society, but today is our Independence Day. Rejoice! Praise the Lord! God Save the Queen!
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Ugandan Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali is raising concerns over the practice of witchcraft in his country amid reports of Christian politicians and citizens visiting witch doctors and shrines to their ancestors.
The archbishop first expressed worry in May, after the recently re-elected parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, visited her ancestral shrine in eastern Uganda to allegedly thank her ancestors for her good luck.
Since then, several politicians have been sighted at shrines, according to news reports.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Uganda * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths
In a hard-fought and at times bruising campaign, it has been clear that debate about Europe has allowed a number of difficult issues to come to the surface. The debate and the patterns of voting suggest that our politicians in recent years may not have paid sufficient attention to some of the deeper issues which are present in our life. The inevitable and necessary period of reflection which must now follow will allow space for questions of poverty and immigration to be explored.
Those of us who live in Scotland are aware that the outcome of the Referendum is potentially of great significance. We hope that our politicians on all sides will take time for careful reflection and consultation.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Scottish Episcopal Church * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Scotland Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The outcome of the EU referendum is now clear.
Within our parishes and across our country, people will be reflecting on the result in different ways. Those who voted Leave will be happy that their voice was heard, and hopeful for our country’s future outside the EU. For those who voted Remain, this will be a day of profound regret and even sorrow. The close final result will only have strengthened these feelings all round.
There will also be those who have felt disengaged from the long political campaign, and who still feel dismayed at the bitterness with which it was often conducted. It will be vital for us all, as we accept the result and deal with what it means, to understand and respect those who take different views of the same event.
In the debates that will come, we will be most effective if we now seek to heal the divisions of the past campaign. However, those divisions were about such deep issues of national identity and indeed self-identity that doing so will be a difficult and costly task. In the Church, it will be achieved through a renewed focus on what is unchanged, and on what is unchangeable.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the Referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union.
The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.
”The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world, and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.
“As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward-looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.
”The referendum campaign has been vigorous and, at times, has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage — being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope, and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.
”As those who hope and trust in the living God let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minster David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.”
(Found in a number of places including there).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
For more than thirty years now I have been an observer and sometime participant in what I will here call the conservative Episcopalian mess. The departure of more orthodox Episcopalians from an apostatizing mainstream headed by weak and clownish English archbishops and astoundingly aggressive heretics in North America, contained no real surprises, for this is the predictable fruit of religious liberalism hatched upon an ignorant, passive, and venal laity, that we have seen in other major Protestant churches, and from which modern Roman Catholicism, especially under a Nice Pope, is unlikely to be much of a refuge.
What I have found somewhat surprising, I suppose because my knowledge of the ecclesial geography was not very deep early on, was what a hard time conservative Anglicans have had getting their act (literally) together. Now to be sure, my “geographical” knowledge has increased over the years, so that I understand quite well that “conservative” applies to a number of incompatible or barely compatible attitudes....
Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
The Rev. Canon Andrew White has been suspended with pay by the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East pending the findings of a Charity Commission Statutory Enquiry. The Foundation is cooperating fully with the appropriate authorities. It would be inappropriate to comment further on an active investigation other than to say that the Foundation believe at this stage that the alleged incident stemmed from a genuine desire by Canon White to help others.
Read it all and there is a statement from the Charity Commission here
The former 'Vicar of Baghdad' Canon Andrew White has been suspended as the president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME).
In a statement on his Facebook page Canon White said it was because of "some inaccurate statements I made".
The charity, that he founded, said he was suspended with pay after the Charity Commission launched an inquiry.
"The Foundation is cooperating fully with the appropriate authorities," FRRME said in a statement.
It added: "It would be inappropriate to comment further on an active investigation other than to say that the Foundation believe at this stage that the alleged incident stemmed from a genuine desire by Canon White to help others."
Canon White said his comments referred to the charity's work with girls taken by Islamic State to work as slaves.
"What is clear is that at no time did we pay money to any terrorists," the clergyman stressed.
He added: "Whilst I cannot work on behalf of the FRRME I continue to lead worship and support individuals that we are helping. Please pray for us at this very difficult time."
The Charity Commission confirmed it had launched an inquiry but told Premier it cannot comment further because the investigation is live.
FRRME's accounts for 2014 show it made £3,032,097 and spent £1,879,670. It has seven members of staff.
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Government ministers, campaigners and Anglican leaders are staying silent on the future of the Christ Church Cathedral, months after an announcement on the quake-damaged building was expected.
Once outspoken restoration campaigner Jim Anderton is sticking to an agreement not to make any public comments while a community campaign group is now agitating for information.
The Anglican cathedral has been sitting damaged in Christchurch's city centre for more than five years, with no clear decision on its possible fate. The Government last year appointed mediator Miriam Dean, QC, in an attempt to break deadlock over the building.,,,
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.
The Bishop of Makamba, the Rt Revd Martin Blaise Nyaboho, has been elected as the fourth Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Burundi. Bishop Martin will succeed Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, who has led the church since 2005, when he is installed on 21 August.
The 61-year-old bishop, a former member of the Anglican Consultative Council (2005 to 2009) was baptized in 1965 and confirmed in July 1969. He was ordained a deacon in 1985 and a priest four years later. He was consecrated in 1997, becoming the first Bishop of Makamba
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The Chairman and fellow Primates of the GAFCON Council are pleased to announce that the third GAFCON conference will be held in Jerusalem in 2018.
Jerusalem has a special place in the hearts of the GAFCON movement as it was the location of the first conference in 2008. Moreover, Jerusalem stands as a constant reminder of the birth of the Gospel and the movement’s determination to remain true to the teachings of our Lord and his Holy Word.
GAFCON was greatly blessed by both the initial conference and the second meeting in Nairobi in 2013. When Anglicans from across the Communion come together in unity it is a tremendous blessing, and we are excited to see the Church built up in the land where it was given its foundation.
Dates and further details will be announced in due course.
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..Parts of the Anglican Communion continue to be in turmoil as the unbiblical theological and moral viruses of Western Churches and the secular culture continue to spread and divide the Church. The revisionist agenda is well-funded, and there is a strategic effort on their part to target under-resourced Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
As you know, the Archbishop of Canterbury called a meeting of the Primates of the Communion last January to discuss the discipline of the Episcopal Church for changing its marriage canon, and to see if we could find a way to hold together as a Communion. I was invited, and with the rest of the GAFCON and Global South Primates, attended the Canterbury gathering in good faith. We left the meeting believing that, while all we had hoped for had not been accomplished, at least something potentially positive had come out of the meeting to restore Godly order and discipline to the Communion. However, since that time the developments have not been positive, and as the Chair of GAFCON, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, said recently, “our hope has been brought low.”
Since the Canterbury Gathering in January, the agreements that were made have not been honored. We in the Anglican Church in North America are committed to remaining faithful to the teaching and fellowship of the Apostles as found in the Bible, to Biblical reconciliation, and we will trust the Lord for the future. We are committed members of the GAFCON movement and remain in partnership with orthodox leaders of the Global South who are seeking to bring repentance, renewal, and reformation to the Anglican Communion.
What is tragic about all of this is not just the divisions within the Anglican Communion. What is most tragic is that because of false teaching, millions of souls will not hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, or they will hear a Gospel that appears to the be the Gospel, but in reality is contrary to the very Word of God – which is no Gospel at all. Souls are at stake. Lives are at stake. Eternity is at stake. It reminds me of what the prophet Isaiah said to the people of his day: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. (Is.5:20, ESV)
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..It seems likely that in the months to come there will be strong pressure on Evangelicals in the Church of England who are not willing to go all the way in accepting same-sex relationships to at least adopt this kind of third way approach and so in this post I want to explain why I think the three arguments for this this approach noted above are mistaken.
The reason that the first argument is mistaken is because it does not do justice to what St. John is saying in John 1:14.
For advocates of the third way approach grace is understood to mean unconditional love and acceptance and so living a life of ‘grace and truth’ means showing unconditional love and acceptance to those with whom we disagree even while upholding the truth of our own position. In terms of the current debate about sexuality this means that Evangelicals who hold a conservative approach to sexual ethics should be willing to love and accept those who take a more liberal position.
The problem with this argument is that it fails to read John 1:14 against the background of the Old Testament. As a number of commentators have pointed out, the pairing of ‘grace’ and truth’ in John 1:14 is a deliberate echo of the regular pairing of ‘steadfast love’ and ‘faithfulness’ as a description of God in Old Testament passages such as Genesis 24:27, Exodus 34:6 and Psalm 25:10.  God’s ‘grace’ is his steadfast and merciful love to his oppressed and disobedient people and God’s ‘truth’ is his faithfulness to his promises to be merciful. Both of these are manifested in Jesus, the person in whom the God of the Old Testament is incarnate, because through his death and resurrection he delivers God’s people from sin and death and thus shows God’s faithfulness to his promises and hence his truthfulness.
The relevance of this to the debate about sexuality is that sexual sin, including the sin of same-sex sexual activity, is part of the life of sin and death from which God in Christ has delivered his people (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Romans 1-8 throughout) with the corollary that such sin should no longer form part of their lives. As St. Paul puts it in Romans 6:12-14, because the grace of God means that we have died and risen with Christ:
‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.’
A church, therefore, that is willing to accept same-sex sexual activity (or any other form of sexual sin) is a church that has ceased to truly believe in the grace and truth of God revealed in Jesus Christ...
Members of the Church’s decision making General Synod have been issued with a manual setting out how to discuss the fraught subject of sexuality without offending each other too much.
It comes ahead of a special series of “shared conversations” on the issue set to take place behind closed doors when the Synod meets in York next month.
“Facilitators” trained in conducting negotiations in warzones have been called in to help Anglicans resolve their differences over issues such as same-sex marriage after a similar tactic helped break the deadlock over women bishops.
Press and the public are to be banned from the three-day session in which bishops, priests and lay members with differing views and backgrounds will be asked to join in small-group discussions to speak frankly away from the glare of publicity.
The 14-page booklet, entitled “Grace and Dialogue”, amounts to an etiquette guide for the talks, advising members on everything from where to sit to body language and even facial expressions.
The special sessions are being organised by Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff, who helped lay the foundations for the Northern Ireland peace process through talks with paramilitaries in the 1990s.
He said that while they might not ultimately avert a split in the church over sexuality, they might at least make it less acrimonious.
“I’ve never said that the shared conversations process should be measured on its ability to stop fracture,” he explained.
“I’ve always said that it should be measured on its ability as to even how you fracture.
“Because the reality is that throughout Christian history there have been deep issues about which we have differed at various points and it has not always been possible to maintain the unity of the church in those contexts.
“That is the history of the church, that is the reality.
“What these conversations are about is to show … that even when we disagree deeply we disagree well.”
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At next month’s General Synod, the Church of England will try a new approach to avoiding a disastrous formal schism over homosexuality. After two days of discussing legislative matters in open session and once all outsiders have left, the 550 representatives from around the world will break into groups of 20 for three days of intensive and personal discussions about sexuality.
The idea is not to reach agreement – 30 years of wrangling have established that this is quite impossible – but to try to bring people on both sides of the debate to see their opponents as fellow Christians. Conservative evangelicals have denounced the scheme as an attempt to manipulate opinion, which of course it is. The question is whether it will work.
What’s new about this approach is that the manipulation that Justin Welby’s strategists have in mind is not to be carried out from the top down. It is hoped that the process of facilitated conversations will allow the church’s activists gathered in the synod to take note of the social changes that are happening in their own congregations and their own families, where acceptance of gay people is becoming much more common.
This week a book of evangelical reflections on sexuality was published in which the bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, announced he had been “profoundly changed” by encounters with lesbian and gay Christians in his own family...
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A new congregation to provide an opportunity for worship, mutual support and encouragement for Christians in the LGBTI community is being launched this summer.
“There has been a need for something like this for some while” says Revd Monica Arnold. “While debate rages on, passionately, at the highest levels of the Church of England, LGBT people continue to live with the realities of their daily life and the mixed reception many receive in parishes. An opportunity to worship and enjoy fellowship without hiding or denying a fundamental aspect of their identity is so important to all aspects of healthy life.
The Bishop of Wolverhampton, Rt Revd Clive Gregory warmly welcomed the initiative:
“Enabling this congregation to meet is important and I am delighted to hear of St Matthew’s offer of hospitality. I understand why LGBTI Christians feel the need for a place to meet and worship where they can feel secure and supported in their God-given sexual identity.
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..The process of appointing a new diocesan bishop is long and complex, and one of the last hurdles has now been passed in the appointment of [the] Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave as the 99th Bishop of Lichfield..
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First, we might well offer a prayer of thanksgiving that we live in a democratic society, where our vote really counts, and where we can freely and safely exercise it. A vote is a valuable commodity!
Second, we might well offer a prayer for wisdom, as we make our decision. This is the kind of decision usually delegated to Parliament alone. The referendum gives us a sense of the vital and life–changing decisions with which we entrust our politicians, and on which we often comment from the safe distance of not having to make them ourselves. Now it is our turn.
Third, we might intercede with God that his sovereignty would reign above all other sovereignties in this knife–edge of a vote.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Ireland * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Mark is married to Sally and they have three adult children. They met in Kenya while volunteers with the Church Mission Society and have a lifelong commitment to mission.
Mark trained for ordination at Ridley Hall Cambridge after working in the catering industry in Edinburgh. Sensing a call to serve in urban areas, Mark was ordained in Manchester Diocese in 1982 and served as a curate in Burnage. Mark and Sally then went to Kenya with the Church Mission Society where Mark taught in a Theological college, later becoming the Principal. Returning to UK, Mark was appointed Rector of Christ Church Harpurhey where he served from 1996 to 2009. He was then appointed Archdeacon of Manchester. Mark's role as Archdeacon of Manchester included being a Residentiary Canon at the Cathedral and significant involvement in Greater Manchester Churches together.
Mark said, "I am honoured and thrilled to have been appointed the next Bishop of Bolton. Greater Manchester is a fantastic place to live and serve, and I am looking forward to getting to know and love the communities and churches of Rossendale, Salford, Bury, Bolton and parts of Wigan for which I will have particular responsibility as Bishop of Bolton.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Missions Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK
...[Bp Nwokolov] said, “There is a gross imbalance in political appointments in the state. Anglican faithful in the state are shortchanged and marginalised from occupying government positions.
“It’s incumbent on the current administration in the state to strike a balance as well as adopt the principle of equity and fair play in political appointments in order not to relegate any section of the state to the background.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology
There will be many here who have worried. Those who will go to their surgeries and worry their friends and families. There are the worries, the anxieties, the deep concerns, around our nation – from different views, but anxieties about its future.
And there are the deep and profound anxieties that are lived out daily by those to whom Jo went in Syria, in Darfur and in so many other places, and where she gave her love, as well as in her own constituency.
The promise is that when all is in the hands of God, our deepest anxieties – even our anxieties about the future of our nation, about its stability and about all that makes it what it has been – even those are overcome by the peace of God, which dispels anxiety, brings hope and enables us above all, at the end of all things, to draw together in the confidence that not only our lives but our history is in the hand of God. That not only our joys – the joy of the life that gave joy – but also our sorrows at their lowest are kept and held by God, who will bless us and bless you; who will bless each life in this nation as we turn to him in our need.
May God’s blessing rest upon us. Amen.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology
In many ways disagreement is healthy. It shows that people really care about things, and perhaps disagreement is an inevitable corollary of all change: it’s often about who has to change, the cost of change, and who has to pay it.
But disagreement can also be divisive, destructive and dangerous to our health, both individually and collectively. It can disguise the many things we do agree about; it can distort people’s understanding of what being a Christian means; and it can dismay and divert those who would otherwise join us.
If disagreement is inevitable then we have to learn to do it better. This suggests finding ways that enable us to understand fully what we disagree about, and why.
These notes set out some ways to help us turn debate and confrontation into dialogue, empathy, shared understanding and the commitment to love each other even when – perhaps especially when – we are deeply opposed.
Read it all (15 page pdf).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Don’t you just love the Church of England’s concept of ‘neutrality’ in the matter of the EU Referendum? A whole sea of bishops has endorsed the Remain campaign (that list has since extended, and is still doing so, and not a single one has demurred over the Cameron-Osborne strategy of terrorising the electorate with ‘Project Fear’). The Archbishop of York declared for Remain a few days ago, and now the Archbishop of Canterbury has done the same (with an emotive video appeal) following his recent smearing of a prominent BeLeaver with the allegation of “legitimising racism”. This coordinated completely coincidental archiepiscopal outpouring of Europhilia comes just a fortnight before the crunch vote which will determine whether we remain party to European political integration, or revert simply to being a member of a looser trade bloc, which is what we were told we were joining in 1973, and so affirmed in 1975. The Prime Minister must be delighted that the Established Church is doing the Establishment’s bidding.
Justin Welby is keen to stress that the Church of England does not have an official line on the EU Referendum. It’s just that it appears so. Imagine if the Government had declared itself to be neutral on the matter, and one by one the Cabinet had toured the TV studios to endorse ‘Stronger In’ while slagging off leading BeLeavers. Do you not think people might detect a hint of predisposition, if not a prejudiced and pre-ordained agenda? It is surely a façade of institutional neutrality which permits the full weight of its collective leadership not merely to express a “personal view”, but to dedicate its entire Church House and Bishopthorpe/Lambeth Palace communications machinery (and so staff and financial resources) to ensure the effective dissemination of that message in the national and social media. This amounts to a ‘non-party campaign‘ under Electoral Commission rules. And to endorse ‘Remain’ with appeals to Christian moral responsibility, as John Sentamu does, is verging on the abuse of religious office and the exertion of undue spiritual influence, which, for some, is a grave matter indeed.
This is not an argument for bishops and archbishops to butt out of the secular political sphere (if such a thing exists): it is a plea for spiritual integrity and reflexive honesty in institutional positionality. One could not credibly assert that the institution of Monarchy is politically neutral on the matter of EU membership if the Queen slags off Boris/Gove/Farage while the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are singing the enlightened praises ‘Remain’. The institution of Monarchy is not castles, palaces and Crown Jewels: it is princes and kings – living people – in communion with history and ancestry. And so it is with the Church of England: the church is its people. When bishops and archbishops unite to express a unanimous view, it is the church that speaks. Their professed Referendum ‘neutrality’ is a convenient agnostic cloak for a pathological Europhile disposition: everyone knows it’s a ruse to sustain the peace between the pro-EU bishops and the majority Brexit-leaning laity. There is no convenient via media in this referendum: either we remain or leave. It is a very un-Anglican assignation.
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The referendum has lit the blue touchpaper on a "debate" which is almost entirely undefined in its scope. As we have seen over the past weeks, everything and anything can be dragged into the campaign - which has been used by many as a proxy for every grievance they might have about politics and the political process.
So, we have been in a game with no game plan and no rules of conduct.
What has happened is detrimental to politics and the political process. Both sides have used misleading figures and information to conduct an argument that has been more like a childish spat in the playground than a measured examination of the issues. The electorate have been fed with ever more cooked statistics and exaggeration. It's virtually impossible for the average voter to discover some facts....
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For example, we need to think and plan for what ministries and leadership our churches, chaplaincies and fresh expressions need (including how to give effect to the decision to increase the number of ordinands by 50% by 2022).....
And we need to expect God to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, that he will take us to places and people that we cannot yet conceive and in ways we may not yet understand. We hope that every diocese will seek to articulate their own narrative of hope, informed by their context, enriched by all that God has been doing and continues to do, and confident of God’s promises for the future. We hope that every parish will similarly look honestly and prayerfully at how and where God has been leading and where he may be taking us next. As the writer of Lamentations says:
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness
Renewal & Reform is built on hope. And hope is a very, very good thing.
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Behind closed doors and in groups of up to 20, bishops, priests and lay members will discuss their views on homosexuality when General Synod, the church’s parliament, meets in York from July 8.
David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s adviser organising the “shared conversations”, admitted that they would not prevent a split within the church over...[same-sex marriage], but said that clerics should be judged on “how we fracture”.
To that end, the church has produced a manual entitled Grace and dialogue: shared conversations on difficult issues, which says that the debate over sexuality is damaging the Church of England and putting off those who might consider joining.
Read it all (subscirption only)
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A split over ..[same-sex] marriage in the Church of England may be unavoidable, the Archbishop of Canterbury's chief of staff admitted on Friday, despite desperate behind-the-scenes discussions to reconcile opposing factions.
The Church's governing body will enter into secret talks next month in an effort to "change the tone of the debate" over teaching on same-sex relationships. But David Porter, who also heads up the discussions known as Shared Conversations, said they may fail to prevent a split.
Read it all from Christian Today.
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with a deep trust in the sovereignty of God and an abiding belief in his call that I write to you today to tell you that I have accepted the call to be the next Rector of St. Helena’s Church in Beaufort, South Carolina. On Sunday, the vestry and I met with Bishop Lawrence and decided that my last Sunday will be August 7. I have the utmost trust in God’s guiding hand for Good Shepherd, trust in our Bishop, and trust in the Vestry and Staff for this next season of ministry.
Because these last ten years have been formative for me and for my family; because the life of Good Shepherd has been intertwined in every way with our lives; because you have been so generous and kind to us; because we have been partners in the Gospel; and because of so many other reasons; this announcement is hard to make. You are a treasure to me, Tara, and our girls. Our hearts break at the thought of leaving, as they simultaneously swell at the thought of following God’s call.
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A prayer vigil was held last night in St Peter’s, Birstall, after the murder of Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, outside her constituency advice surgery in the West Yorkshire town.
The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, and the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, took part in the service, which was attended by about 300 constituents, as well as fellow MPs, among them Yvette Cooper, Naz Shah, Dan Jarvis, Rachel Reeves, and Mary Creagh.
Bishop Gibbs told mourners that the attack on the 41-year-old mother of two had left people “overwhelmed by shock, grief and a sense of loss.
“We are here for each other, and I know and I hope and I pray that we will be here for each other in the days ahead,” he said. “’Jo grew up in this community, she loved this community and she served this community. And, in the end, she gave her life for this community.”
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The Agenda for the July meeting of the General Synod is published today. Members will gather in York on Friday 8 July until Saturday 9 July. A key focus during these two days will be how the Church's vision for a growing, confident and hopeful church can be put into action through the Renewal and Reform Programme.
The Church's governing body will discuss the vision and narrative for Renewal and Reform and key changes to legislation to make innovation and change easier for those engaged with church life at all levels. The Legislative Reform Measure will make it possible to amend or repeal some Church legislation by means of Orders approved by the Synod. Several other proposed pieces of new legislation will consolidate existing provisions into a more user-friendly form and repeal provisions which are obsolete. There will also be an opportunity for Synod to discuss a report from the Development and Appointments Group updating Synod on the progress of their work on the training and development of senior Church leaders.
Read it all and follow the links.
...without any element of hyperbole, or attempt to flatter, there is nevertheless a need at 50 to consider what has been and to envisage what should be.
Pope Paul VI, on 23 March 1966, took as his text, "forgetting what is behind, I press on towards the upward call of Jesus Christ."
Of course the apostle did not do anything so simplistically crass as to forget. His epistles are full of what is behind: of sin and deliverance, of past failures set right, and of how God had called and equipped him.
We have to see the statement in its context of the athlete whose only goal is the finishing line, whose only desire is to have used every resource of wit and courage and strength at the moment of crossing that line.
Because to look back is always to begin to lose.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations
But what we need most is not declarations of the undoubted meaning of the catastrophe, but lament. We need not commentary, but poetry.
The causes of this kind of calamity lie not simply with a lack of the adequate laws, or with the blaming or this or that group. What hidden rage could possibly cause an individual to murder without compassion or sorrow fifty of his fellow creatures? It cannot be reduced to one simple strand. It is, like most evil, absurd.
We want to generalise - to read the event in the light of cultural themes that are familiar to us - when what happened is filled with hideous and strange particularities.
What the word "tragedy" allows us to do is to sit in the dust bewildered at what has happened; to recognise that others are in agony, and that as human beings, we have been spared that agony not because we are virtuous, but because - this time - our group wasn't in the frame.
The sixteenth century poet Sir Phillip Sidney wrote of tragedy that it
teacheth the uncertainety of this world, and upon how weake foundations guilden roofes are builded.
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During this meeting the Committee substantially completed a daily devotional resource called Grace upon Grace: Voices around the World. This book will be available late in 2016, in both hardcopy and online as a PDF-file. It is intended to assist Lutherans and Anglicans to commemorate together the
500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. This material illustrates the constant need for all churches be open to reform and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This is a six-week daily devotional resource, with contributions by Anglicans and Lutherans; men and women; lay and ordained from
around the world.
The themes are:
• God’s mission in the world (Mission Dei)Each day has its own theme, a Scripture passage and a reflection. In addition, there is a Eucharistic liturgy, inviting Anglicans and Lutherans to worship together. It is the Committee’s hope that this resource will be used by Anglicans and Lutherans in joint groups as well as by individuals. Above all, it is an encouragement for us to pray for and with one another.
• Liberated by God’s Grace
• Salvation – not for sale
• Human beings – not for sale
• Creation – not for sale
• Freed to serve (Diakonia)
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Policies for bringing wrongdoing to light at the Episcopal Church Center are out of date and require revision for the protection of employees, according to an audit committee report delivered June 9.
The report, presented during a meeting of Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission, marks the first time since a misconduct scandal broke in December that the church has publicly acknowledged a problem in its systems for uncovering misconduct.
“There needs to be an update to the whistleblower policy and a procedure put in place,” committee member Nancy Koonce said as she presented a report of the audit committee, which met last week in New York City.
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The congregation of St. James Anglican Church, now in Tumwater, appear to be settling nicely into their new church after a third service at its new location Sunday.
Except it isn’t just “nice,” said church member, Trevor Elliot, it’s “great.”
“This is a church,” he said. “I feel like I’m home.”
That wasn’t always the case for the local St. James Anglican Church, which was founded about 10 years ago and got its start at the Salvation Army in Olympia, said co-founder, subdeacon and resident historian Steve Carmick. The church grew a little and then moved to an office location on Stoll Road in Olympia, where, from the sound of it, it struggled to grow in a hard-to-find location.
A church deacon later discovered that a picture-perfect church building at 219 B St. SW was for sale. About six months later, the church was theirs, continuing a long tradition as a house of worship. The white church on that site was built in 1869, according to county records. Since then, it has been home to Methodists, Unitarians and Quakers — the group that St. James Anglican bought if from.
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The Church of England has today launched a search for its first Head of Digital Communications.
The advertisement for the new post states the Church is seeking someone to "take risks for the Gospel in exploring how digital engagement can lead to spiritual and numerical growth."
The job description for the new role suggests the postholder will be responsible for "leading a team developing and implementing digital evangelism, discipleship and digital communication strategies for the Church of England".
Commenting on the new post the Rev Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Church of England said: "We are looking for someone who is as confident and comfortable talking about Jesus as they are talking about the latest developments in tech and social media. As a digital evangelist they will utilise the best of digital to proclaim the Gospel.
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Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America: Call to Prayer
Please join me in praying for the victims, dead and wounded, and their families of the horrific shooting attack at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
“Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: Deal graciously with those affected, in their grief. Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Greg Brewer, Bishop of the TEC Diocese of Central Florida: A Reflection on the Attack on The Pulse Nightclub
I had to work to take it in. My natural reaction was to keep the horror of this event at a distance- keeping my heart safe from grief and outrage. But slowly, and as an answer to prayer, the sadness, the weariness, the empty silence of mourning poured in. Someone said that the deeper the grief, the fewer the words. That’s how I feel. Words of condolence have little value in the face of this carnage. For right now, all we can do is grieve, pray and support the families of those who have died the best we can.
I will leave it to others to look for someone to blame. Instead – right now – all I want to do is to stand beside, pray, and love as best I can. There will be time later raise questions about security, gun violence, and homophobic rage. There is no justification for this atrocity. I categorically condemn what has happened. Better solutions must be found.
What I do believe is that love is stronger than death. The promise of resurrection brings courage, and the promise of “a new heaven and a new earth” should fuel all of God’s people to help build a better world.
“Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
2015 Membership 32,141 [2014 Membership 32,634]
2015 Total Attendance 12,956 [2014 Total Attendance 13,611]
Read it all from page 65 of the 33rd Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2015. There was some speculation on this trajectory last year here
The Anglican Communion throughout the world upholds the biblical teaching on Same Sex Marriage (i.e. that it does not exist because marriage is between a man and a woman). The meeting of the Anglican primates at the beginning of this year was quite clear and they backed it up with promises of discipline for any Anglican communion which went against its ruling. This was no Church of Scotland style, ‘we believe in traditional marriage but we will allow our ministers to go against that teaching’. Of course the mainly white liberal Anglicans who have the view that they are the progressives and who regard the mainly black/Asian southern Anglicans as backward regressives , proclaimed their defiance. The latest ‘communion’ to do so is the Scottish Episcopal Church at its meeting last week, which took ‘the first step’ towards allowing SSM in its churches, by a vote of 97:33 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-36498967
What does all this mean?
The Scottish Episcopal Church is, as the name suggests the Scottish version of the Church of England. Despite the common perception that it is the “English’ church it is not. It does however have an identity problem – in the 2011 census only 8,000 people claimed that they were Scottish Episcopalian, another 20,000 claimed they were just Anglican and some 60,000 claimed they were Church of England. The most reliable statistic is the 2014 return by the SEC that stated there were 34,000 members of all ages. I suspect that in terms of actual attendance there are less than 10,000 in an Anglican church in Scotland on a Sunday…The Scottish Episcopalian church is, like most mainstream churches in Scotland, in a steep decline. This decision, if it is carried through, will only increase that decline...
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"After Sunday’s attack in Orlando, as Christians we must speak out in support of LGBTI people, who have become the latest group to be so brutally targeted by the forces of evil. We must pray, weep with those affected, support the bereaved, and love without qualification.
The obligation to object to these acts of persecution, and to support those LGBTI people who are wickedly and cruelly killed and wounded, bereaved and traumatised, whether in Orlando or elsewhere, is an absolute call on our Christian discipleship. It arises from the unshakeable certainty of the gracious love of God for every human being.
Now, in this time of heartbreak and grief, is a time for solidarity. May God our Father give grace and comfort to all who mourn, and divine compassion to us all."
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..We know that many in our church will be rejoicing in this new direction. There are many others who are in deep pain, including those in our churches who are attracted to the same-sex but who hold an orthodox view of marriage. Some of us will need to consider what future can be had in a church which is abandoning its claim to being part of the one holy Catholic and apostolic church.
We are grateful for the theological, practical and prayer support which we have received from within Scotland and around the world. We now ask for the orthodox leaders of the Anglican Communion to stand with us and pray for us as we discern what the next steps should be..
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The 23rd June is a date on which we happily do not literally have to fight for our freedom or future, but we are going to make a choice that will change the lives of all of us, and the next generations, both for this country and indirectly for much of Europe. That choice should be made with the same ambition and vaulting idealism as those who gave so much in both wars.
Sacrifice, generosity, vision beyond self-interest, suffering for others, helping the helpless, these are some of the deeply Christian principles that have shaped us. They are principles that show us at our best, as an example to other countries, as a home of freedom and democracy, as a beacon of hope that shines around a dark world. They are forward looking virtues. Those who fought in two world wars were not looking back but forward. Those who built the EU after the two wars, in which millions of Europeans had died, looked forward.
The vision for our future cannot be only about ourselves. We are most human when we exist for others.
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Mpho Tutu-van Furth had to give up her priest’s licence last month when she married a woman. But she believes the Anglican Church of Southern Africa will — with a little divine intervention — come to embrace same-sex marriages....
In May in Franschhoek‚ Tutu married Professor Marcelina van Furth‚ a paediatrician who researches infectious diseases at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The union had the blessing of her parents‚ Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Leah Tutu.
Van Furth is an atheist – but this has not posed a problem. “It seems to work quite well‚” says Tutu-Van Furth. “I respect her atheism‚ and she's interested in Christianity. She comes to church with me‚ sits in a pew‚ listens to the teaching and asks me about it. She sinks into being a peaceful place and meditates while I pray‚ and that's also fine....
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In a nod to changing times, the Anglican Church of Canada’s latest report on physician-assisted dying, rather than opposing the practice, recognizes it as a reality. The report offers reflections and resources around assisted dying and related issues, such as palliative care.
The Supreme Court of Canada struck down last year a ban on physician-assisted death for the “grievously and irremediably ill” as unconstitutional, notes the paper, entitled In Sure and Certain Hope: Resources to Assist Pastoral and Theological Approaches to Physician Assisted Dying, released Thursday, June 9.
In the wake of this decision, the paper states, “public debate concerning the legal ban on physician assisted dying is in some ways over.”
As a result, the authors continue, “our energy is best spent at this time ensuring that this practice is governed in ways that reflect insofar as possible a just expression of care for the dignity of every human being, whatever the circumstances.”
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In a letter released after the vote, the Gafcon UK Panel of Bishops said they offered "to provide alternative episcopal oversight, and thereby your recognition as faithful Anglicans by the worldwide Gafcon movement, which represents the majority of Anglicans worldwide".
The letter was signed by four bishops on behalf of Gafcon UK's panel and four other Anglican clergymen.
Written before the vote, it was released by the traditionalist Scottish Anglican Network in the immediate aftermath of the decision. It said the SEC was "dividing the church" over the issue of gay marriage and promised to "stand united with faithful Anglicans in Scotland seeking to uphold the plain doctrinal and moral teaching of the Holy Scriptures".
Read it all from Christian Today.
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The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has today passed a first reading of a change to its Canon on marriage (Canon 31). The change is to remove from the Canon the doctrinal statement regarding marriage that marriage is to be understood as a union “of one man and one woman.”
A first reading of the change is the first step in a process and does not represent a final decision. The proposed change now passes from the General Synod to the Church’s seven dioceses for discussion and comment in their Diocesan Synods in the coming year. The opinions from the dioceses will then be relayed back to the General Synod which will be invited to give a second reading of the Canon in June 2017. At that stage, for a second reading to be passed, it must achieve a majority of two thirds in the “houses” of bishops, clergy and laity within the General Synod. The change to the canon would include a conscience clause ensuring that clergy opposed to the change are not required to marry people of the same sex.
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In life there is much to fear. Over and again the Psalm describes those things we might be afraid of – the fears we harbour individually as well as the fears we share corporately. Fear makes us want to flee – from God, from one another, often even from ourselves. But over and again that fear is turned into wonder as we see that God is before, behind and beyond it.
Over the 63 years and the 90 years there has been much to fear: at times of personal challenge or national crisis. But just as the psalmist sees through fear to something more stirring and more extraordinary, so we look back on Your Majesty’s 90 years in the life of our nation with deep wonder and profound gratitude. Through war and hardship, through turmoil and change, we have been fearfully and wonderfully sustained.
The one who turns fear to wonder is Jesus.
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The Scottish Episcopal Church's General Synod has made the first steps of any Anglican Church in the UK towards allowing gay marriage in church.
The synod voted that a change to its Canon law governing marriage should be sent for discussion to the church's seven dioceses.
A further vote will happen at next year's synod.
The proposal would remove the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Read it all.
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Check it out (about 27 1/2 minutes).
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For 282 years’ worth of Sundays, someone has sat, and stood, and sung, and knelt, and prayed here, in this space, inside these very walls. Someone in a waistcoat, in a hoop skirt, someone holding a homemade rag doll or an imported, porcelain-headed version, has stood at the first strains of the opening hymn. Someone wearing a bustle, or Confederate gray, or denim overalls, or deep black mourning, has unobtrusively bowed his or her head as a sign of humility as the processional cross was carried aloft and down this very aisle toward the altar. Someone in a middy blouse or boxy suit; in knickers or a knitted cloche; in a belted, darted, shirtwaist dress or Army fatigues, has opened the Book of Common Prayer and followed a liturgy dating from 1549. Like these colonists, these forebears, these faithful, this Sunday, in the oldest town in North Carolina, in the oldest standing, active church in North Carolina, in a short-sleeve dress and flats, I’m doing what they did, and what has been done every week for 282 years.
Like nearly everything in Bath, St. Thomas Episcopal Church is mere yards from water. The town was founded in 1705, on Bath Creek, which leads to the Pamlico River, which leads to the Pamlico Sound, and on to the Atlantic. Behind the church — simple, squarish, steeple-less — are fields of crops. The church’s front yard — indeed, its back yard — is randomly dotted with gravestones, both recent and ancient. No fences. No foundation plantings. A few firs, crooked with age. It’s easy to imagine how St. Thomas looked in 1734, when it was constructed. Little, it seems, has changed.
Read it all and enjoy the pictures.
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The House of Bishops has issued a wide-ranging critique of the welfare system, in a discussion paper that refers to the system’s inability to tackle an “enemy which threatens the well-being of our people”.
Starting from the “Five Giant Evils” identified in the 1942 Beveridge report, on which the welfare state was based — Want, Disease, Squalor, Ignorance, and Idleness — the Bishops’ paper adds “a giant which all can see around them, which most experience at some time in their lives, but which few will name. It is the Enemy Isolation.”
The 17-page paper, Thinking Afresh about Welfare: The enemy isolation, has been produced by the Director of Mission and Public Affairs, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, in association with the Bishops of Norwich, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, and Truro. It contains echoes of the House’s pre-election pastoral letter of 2015.
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What we heard today is that the question has been asked of the Archbishop of Canterbury as to what, if any, the consequences of making this change might be. It would appear that the only consequence is very personal to the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
He met Justin Welby two weeks ago and was told directly by him that if the Scottish Episcopal Church goes ahead and makes this change then the Primus will himself be personally removed by the Archbishop from leading the World Anglican-Reformed Dialogue – an ecumenical series of international meetings.
It seems to me that we have come to a new place if the Archbishop of Canterbury is going to personally threaten the Primus of a province of the Anglican Communion if that province makes a decision.
There were a number of people at this afternoon’s synod meeting proudly wearing badges that said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury hath no jurisdiction in this realm of Scotland”.
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Two weeks ago, I went to London and met with Archbishop Justin specifically to ask the question, 'Will this also apply to us if we complete the process of Canonical change in 2017?' The answer is that it will. Most directly, I will be removed from the role of Anglican Co-Chair of the International Anglican-Reformed Dialogue. But other effects are limited. Our bishops will be present and fully involved in the Lambeth Conference planned for 2020. We shall continue to be actively involved in our network of Diocesan Companionships and in the Anglican Networks.
Let me try and explain to you what has happened and what has changed.
The Anglican Communion does not have a central authority, The Provinces - of which our own SEC is one - are autonomous. But clearly we owe a duty and respect to other Provinces, We sometimes say 'autonomous and interdependent'. That delicate balance becomes stressed when Provinces which live in very different contexts address the changing context in which they live in very different ways.
The Global North is experiencing massive social change in respect of human sexuality - not that the church simply follows that. The Global South - and in particular Sub-Saharan Africa - remains deeply conservative and is under pressure from the Islamisation of Africa. The legacy of colonialism makes measured and respectful dialogue very difficult. Different understandings of collegiality and leadership confuse expectations about how issues will be addressed.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 Anglican Provinces Scottish Episcopal Church Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
It has been learned today that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has privately threatened to sack the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, David Chillingworth, from ecumenical dialogue if members of the church’s General Synod do not do as they are told with respect to same-sex marriage.
This will be an extension of the sanctions applied to the Episcopal Church of the United States of America by the Primates’ Meeting in January of this year, after ECUSA agreed to acceptance of marriage equality within their own province.
It is fair to say that this communication to our Primus came as a surprise to members of our own General Synod.
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Despite easy assumptions of secularity, true diversity also means paying proper attention to religion. After all – and this should not really need stating – it is impossible to understand the world today without understanding religion. Not religion as an exercise in private piety that needs to be covered simply to keep some strange people happy; but because religion is a prime motivator of behaviour for both individuals and communities.
A religious commitment or worldview shapes the ethical choices, political priorities, economic preferences and cultural expressions of whole societies. We cannot hope to understand why people do the things they do if we don't understand what drives them – consciously or unconsciously.
You could argue that one of the great crises of our times is that we are facing religiously-motivated threats for the first time in more than 200 years, and broadcasters have neither the images nor the interpretative skills needed to face them.
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In closing, I would like to make three final observations. First, I keep being told that there are ‘good arguments’ for the Church to change its teaching on this issue. If there are, then where are they? Jeffrey John is a leading figure in this debate, so how come he offers us here such a poorly researched, implausible and incoherent case? Why is the case being made by SEC, a sister church in the Communion, so thin?
Secondly, what is Jeffrey John doing from the pulpit? He consistently makes the claim that texts ‘must mean this’ when they probably don’t, that Paul ‘certainly would have thought this’ when the majority think he wouldn’t, and that ‘this is what Jesus does’ when the gospels writers suggest the opposite. It is one thing to make a case, even a contentious one; it is quite another to disguise from your listeners that there is another possibility. It is a bit like saying ‘I am not interpreting the Bible; I am simply telling you what it says.’ It is a naked power play, and is wrong whoever does it. Some would call this dishonest; others might label it deceptive. It doesn’t seem to me to be a legitimate way to feed sheep....
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Update: Robert Gagnon has written on the passage in question there.
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“At the Primates’ meeting and gathering in Canterbury this past January, all of us who were there were deeply aware of the prayers for our work not only from Anglicans around the world, but also from our ecumenical friends. The many messages and gestures of prayerful support received from leaders and other Christians was one of the many graces of that time in Canterbury.
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“Papa is going to Pittsburgh to be the new Rook," announced one of Jim Hobby’s young grandsons recently.
Hobby, rector (pastor) of Trinity Anglican Church in Thomasville, was recently elected by the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh to fill the office of retiring Bishop Robert Duncan, former — and founding — archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
Although he clearly got his game pieces mixed up, it’s no surprise the 4-year old budding chess player would assign his grandfather a position just behind the rank and file of the game: it’s where Hobby has faithfully served the last 30 years as an ordained member of the Anglican priesthood. But how does the rector of a relatively new congregation from a small town in south Georgia become the bishop-elect of one of the country’s biggest — some would say its flagship — diocese?
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After Nuer refugee children were killed in a road accident mobs of ‘highlanders’ [the Gambellan term for those from central Ethiopia] bent on revenge against Nuer refugees for the murder of numerous highlanders were turned back by the Ethiopia army – this is significant because the vast majority of soldiers are themselves highlanders..
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Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, is to give a keynote address at a gathering of academics and social activists at a conference taking place in the Cayman Islands, sponsored and hosted by the “Queering Paradigms Network” of Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.
The organisation’s website states:
The Queering Paradigms network is dedicated to examining the current state and future challenges of queer studies from a broad trans-disciplinary and polythetic perspective, and by interrogating numerous social, political, cultural and academic agendas.The programme of the conference, which can be seen here, describes a very comfortable venue in one of the most expensive locations in the world. It is not apparent who is funding the meeting, or the budget of the department of Comparative Religion, Gender and Sexuality at Canterbury Christ Church University. Many of the nearby Caribbean nations are trying to resist the imposition of the new sexual ethics of the wealthy nations, and this attempt to retain traditional family values will be strongly criticised during the conference...
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The National Cathedral will be removing two images of the Confederate Flag from the building's stained glass windows, after a period of public discussion on issues of race, slavery and justice.
The windows in question memorialize Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson; they were installed in 1953 after lobbying by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
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National Cathedral Will Remove Confederate Flag Stained Glass Windows https://t.co/KzZI7mkq8C— NPR (@NPR) June 9, 2016
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Archbishop Desmond Tutu's youngest daughter Mpho Tutu van Furth recently made public her same sex marriage to her partner Marceline van Furth. She is also a reverend in the Anglican Church, but revealing her sexuality forced her to relinquish her licence to carry out her duties as a priest...
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The most disheartening section of the [Anglican Church of Canada's] report comes in its treatment of the words of our Lord in Mark 10:1-10 and Matthew 19:1-9. Whatever the motivation may have been, the report circumvents a straightforward reading of Scripture. In his disputes with the Pharisees regarding divorce, Jesus invokes the original purpose of God in establishing marriage: namely, to create an indissoluble bond between man and woman. The report comments on these passages (220.127.116.11):
Jesus refuses to be entrapped, and yet also refuses to make a new law; rather, he challenges the “hardness of heart” reflected in both casual and utilitarian practices of divorce and remarriage in the Hellenistic world. Jesus is therefore not stating a timeless doctrine of marriage, but rather giving a pastoral (and political) response to a particular set of practices.The first sentence in this paragraph is on the right track. Jesus doesn’t fit into the casts forced upon him by some contemporary rabbinic positions regarding divorce. He does not make a “new law” either; in fact he simply reiterates a very old “law,” one going all the way back to creation in Genesis 1 and 2. Further, the report is correct in noting that Jesus probably was concerned about “a particular set of practices,” not least the permissive attitude toward divorce that was common at the time.
It does not follow, however, that Jesus is “not stating a timeless doctrine of marriage.”
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The Just Finance Network, formerly known as the Church Credit Champions Network (CCCN), has proposed a nationwide roll out of ‘credit champions’ to help people manage money and debt.
The scheme has already been piloted in churches in London, Southwark and Liverpool and has trained more than 260 volunteers. Organisers believe it is now ready to go nationwide.
Of the Church Credit Champions Network, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, said that desperate people had been exploited by unscrupulous credit providers locking them into a crippling spiral of debt.
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New Zealand’s sole Anglican Friary is about to close.
The Friary of the Divine Compassion has, for almost 15 years, been a spiritual anchor for Te Ara Hou, which is the Anglican social service community in Hillcrest, Hamilton.
But time has caught up with the brothers.
Late last year, Br Brian, who was 90, died. Br Brother Damian Kenneth will soon be moving into a retirement village, while the Rev Phil Dyer – a Third Order Franciscan who has, in recent times, lived at the Friary – will also be moving on.
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The leader of the Scottish Episcopal Church has conceded that a vote on same-sex marriage this week risks putting it at odds with the remainder of the Anglican Communion.
The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, said the potential split was “a very serious issue” for the Scottish church but added that all sides were committed to maintaining unity.
Members of the church will be asked on Friday to consider a change to canon law, which currently states that marriage must be between a man and a woman, at its General Synod.
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Broadcasters should give religion the same depth of analysis they provide for sport, the Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed.
The Rt Rev Justin Welby called for the “promotion of religious literacy” to be written as a specific duty into the new BBC charter.
Faith issues should be treated as seriously as sport and drama on television, he argued.
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The conference, which is now in its seventh year, was founded by Professor Bee Scherer, director of the INCISE research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. He said, “Local activists approached us last year at the QP6 conference in Canterbury with the view of bringing QP to the Caribbean region; after the success of QP in South America (Rio 2012, Quito 2014) we agreed to support them.”
The conference has attracted criticism from conservative political and religious groups who are opposing LGBTIQ rights and equality, the organisers stated this weekend in a press release.
Although one of the key note speakers is an Anglican bishop, activists said it was sad to see how some churches have tried to boycott the conference rather than engage in a democratic dialogue with experts from all over the world who are coming to the Cayman Islands to share their knowledge and expertise with the public.
“I hope that we will see a fruitful dialogue and not just picketing and shouting,” said Scherer. “We have invited the Rt Hon Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, as one of the keynote speakers...
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..The most important thing for us is not what happens but how we respond to what happens. If our legal case is not heard, do we respond with righteous indignation or like our Lord from the cross? Forgive them for they know not what they do. And if they get the property, what will come of it? I sometimes smile when I think about what happened when the Philistines captured the Ark Of The Covenant. The property has been a blessing to us like the Ark was a blessing to Israel. Like the Ark, the property could become a curse to those who may capture it.
The author of the spirit of the ages is Satan who is the ruler of this world and this age. As a church our marching orders remain the same against the spirit of this age. Preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. “O God, from whom all good proceeds: Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them”. Lord, with Your inspiration, may we help others come into the light of Your Truth. Amen
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A discussion paper 'Thinking Afresh About Welfare' has been released today by the Church of England.
The paper, by Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of the Mission and Public Affairs Division of Archbishops' Council, was endorsed by the May meeting of the House of Bishops as a discussion document.
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..Anglican Ink has learned the ACK has declined to invite Archbishop Welby to give the sermon at the July consecration of archbishop-elect of Kenya, the Most Rev. Jackson ole Sapit. It has extended the invitation instead to the newest member of the GAFCON primates council, the Archbishop of Tanzania, the Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya (pictured). The Kenyan snub follows the Lambeth snub of the GAFCON primates over the Task Force authorized by the January primates gathering in Canterbury. Leaders of the Churches of Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya tell AI they were not consulted by Lambeth Palace or the Anglican Consultative Council on the composition of the task force, and learned of its membership from press reports. The appointment of a Kenyan to the task force, without speaking with the leaders of the Kenyan church, AI was told, telegraphed to the GAFCON leaders they should not expect anything from this latest Lambeth commission, one leader explained. Queries to the Lambeth Palace press office asking why the GAFCON leaders were not consulted have gone unanswered.
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..Highbury Corner magistrates heard the Anglican priest kicked a paramedic twice in the leg before punching him and trying to bite him, on Charing Cross Road, in Covent Garden.
As police intervened, the priest from St Mary's Church in Ilford, east London, kicked an officer in the face, the court was told.
When asked which embassy would grant him diplomatic immunity, the priest said "the Vatican" and swore at officers.
Jones, who has previous convictions for a bomb hoax, affray, possession of cannabis, fraud, and criminal damage, now faces formal church disciplinary proceedings..
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Finally, at a choral evensong in Westminster Abbey, a copy of the latest Agreed Statement, entitled In The Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology was presented to us by the Co-Chairmen of the International Commission for the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue. We were able to celebrate what Anglicans and Orthodox affirm together about the human person. This milestone provides the theological foundation for forthcoming discussions on the practical consequences of our shared theology to address the key themes, including the protection of the environment, ethical questions around medical interventions, and family life, and our call to reconciliation in the world around us. You yourself have been an untiring advocate for peace and reconciliation - politically, with the natural world and in your historic visit at the installation of His Holiness Pope Francis.
Historically I see these achievements as signs of a further deepening of the deep-rooted friendship between our two churches. As noted by Your All Holiness during the visit to Lambeth Palace, as early as the 17th century Cyril Lukaris, Patriarch first of Alexandria and then of Constantinople, had many contacts with the English Church and State. The Anglican and Eastern Churches Association and the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius have both fostered and continue to strengthen ecumenical friendships.
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The consequences of this widespread dislike to “dogma” are very serious in the present day. Whether we like to allow it or not, it is an epidemic which is just now doing great harm, and specially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a “jelly-fish” Christianity in the land: that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power. A jelly-fish, as everyone knows who has been much by the seaside, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little, delicate, transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defence, or self-preservation. Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is,“No dogma, no distinct tenets, no positive doctrine.” We have hundreds of “jelly-fish” clergymen, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions; they belong to no school or party: they are so afraid of “extreme views” that they have no views at all. We have thousands of “jelly-fish” sermons preached every year, sermons without an edge, or a point, or a corner, smooth as billiard balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint.—We have legions of “jelly-fish” young men annually turned out from our Universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion, and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth.--JC Ryle, Principles for Churchmen (London: William Hunt+Co, 1884), pp. 97-98 (my emphasis)
Their only creed is a kind of “Nihilism.” They are sure and positive about nothing. And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of jelly-fish worshippers,respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than colour-blind people can distinguish colours. They think everybody is right and nobody wrong, every-thing is true and nothing is false, all sermons are good and none are bad, every clergyman is sound and no clergyman unsound. They are “tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;” often carried away by any new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, be-cause they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to “render a reason of the hope that is in them.” All this, and much more, of which I cannot now speak particularly, is the result of the unhappy dread of “dogma” which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many Churchmen, in these latter days.
I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrow¬ful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. “Dogma” and positive doctrine are at a dis¬count just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural re-sult, and meet us in every direction. Never was it so important for lay-men to hold systematic views of truth, and for ordained ministers to “enunciate dogma” very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.
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This was new to me--check it out.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria
A deal to avert the break-up of the worldwide Anglican Communion risks collapse amid signals that African churches are reassessing ties with the Church of England over the issue of same-sex marriage.
The new leader of a powerful bloc of traditionalist bishops and archbishops - seen as representing the majority of the world’s estimated 80 million Anglicans - said the Church of England had recently crossed a “line” with a series of decisions seen as endorsing a more liberal stance on homosexuality.
The Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, the Archbishop of Nigeria, said many traditionalists now view the British branches of Anglicanism in a similar light to The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the US which has been accused of “heresy” for ordaining openly gay bishops and endorsing same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Okoh – recently elected as chairman of the influential “Gafcon” (Global Anglican Future Conference) group of clerics – also pointedly gave his backing to a new breakaway network of churches in England, set up outside the control of the Church of England.
His intervention is the clearest sign yet of a renewed threat of schism within Anglicanism.
It follows the decision by one Nigerian diocese last week to break off ties with the Church of England Diocese of Liverpool because of the appointment of an American bishop who supports same-sex marriage to a special role in the area.
Last month there was also anger among traditionalists after a cleric from the Church of England’s Oxford diocese took part in a celebration of Desmond Tutu’s daughter’s same-sex wedding in South Africa.
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On Wednesday, May 25, the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston will join other bishops and primates from across the Anglican Communion in Accra, Ghana, for the 7th Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. The Diocese of Virginia hosted the 6th Consultation in Richmond last year, and Bishop Shannon has attended previous meetings in Africa and England. The dialogue group was formed in 2008 at the Lambeth Conference when the Anglican Communion was split over issues of same-sex unions and larger questions of Scriptural interpretation. Membership has grown and shifted over time, and includes bishops from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of England, and from dioceses and provinces from all over the continent of Africa. There are 25 bishops expected to attend this year, including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry.
The bishops meet to listen, to understand each other’s context of shared ministry in the Gospel, and to facilitate healing and reconciliation. Bishop Shannon describes the consultation as a unique group that does very important work for the Anglican Communion. The testimonies published from each meeting are widely read, discussed, and referenced across the Communion. Bishop Shannon states that, “Over the years, since the second consultation meeting that I attended in Dar-es-Salaam, it has been most gratifying to see the growth in commitment to each other’s place and role in the Communion. Whether or not we come to agreement is not the point..
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Bishop Shannon called for a gathering of representatives from our Church Schools to discuss the reality of transgendered students in our schools. At that time we were not aware of any transgender students in our schools and believed our conversations would put us a step ahead of a quickly coming change. By the time Bishop Susan [Goff] convened a gathering of 42 representatives of our six schools and our summer camps on April 27, 2016, some of our schools were already in conversation with students who are transitioning and with their parents...
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..I received a message from our Primate in Nigeria, who is currently the Chairman of GAFCON today about a partnership that is in the Western news. That there is a three way Diocesan partnership between the Diocese of Liverpool, England, the Diocese of Akure, Nigeria and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in the United States.
Also, that recently, the Diocese of Liverpool made the assisting Bishop of Virginia, Susan Goff, an assisting Bishop in Liverpool. Susan Goff is in favour of blessing same sex unions and this has been a part of the litigation against the orthodox in Virginia.
Therefore, in view of the above and being aware of the fact that Nigeria does not support same sex marriage, we in Akure Diocese cannot have any link with Liverpool Diocese.
We pray that Jesus Christ, The Owner of His Church will reveal Himself to us anew in Jesus name.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop of Akure Diocese.
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Of special interest is the "Faith and Order Board Doctrine Committee Paper on the Theology of Marriage" which starts on numbered page 20--take a look.
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It is one church separated by a border - but this week Anglicans in the Church of England and in the Scottish Episcopal Church face falling out over the issue of same-sex marriages.
In the progressive corner is the Scottish Episcopal Church - in effect the Anglican church in Scotland - which is preparing to vote for clergy to be allowed to carry out same sex marriages. Meanwhile, its southern neighbours, the Church of England, is on the reactionary side, opposing any such move.
Members of the Scottish Episcopal Church will be asked if they back a change to canon law which currently states that marriage must be between a man and a woman, at the Church’s General Synod in Edinburgh on Friday.
Read it all from The Herald.
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A growing number of Muslim refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity, according to churches, which have conducted mass baptisms in some places.
Reliable data on conversions is not available but anecdotal evidence suggests a pattern of rising church attendance by Muslims who have fled conflict, repression and economic hardship in countries across the Middle East and central Asia.
Complex factors behind the trend include heartfelt faith in a new religion, gratitude to Christian groups offering support during perilous and frightening journeys, and an expectation that conversion may aid asylum applications.
Read it all and don't miss the great picture.
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Bendigo was ringing with the sound of bells on Sunday to mark the re-opening of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral.
The bells went quiet about 2.45pm in preparation for an invitation-only opening service for the diocese.
Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, The Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier, delivered the sermon.
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How did your Christianity journey begin?
In 1985, a friend invited to be to a local Anglican church in Olendeme where a white missionary who also served as a nurse at the area dispensary was looking for an interpreter in a bid to allow her to effectively communicate with the local Maasai community. Being the only one who understood English, she recruited me and worked alongside her in interpreting health messages as well as read the Maasai version of the bible during her evangelical missions to the village. That is how I begun interacting with the word of God and embraced it...
What don't people know about you
Immediately, after high school I worked as a cattle trader. My associates and I would buy cattle in Narok and trek with them for sale at the famous Dagoretti cattle sale yard. I would plough the profit back to increasing my cattle numbers at home...
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In the beginning, the focus of our concern was North America and we thank God that he has raised up the Anglican Church North America as a new wineskin in that continent. Now our concern is increasingly with the British Isles. A line has been crossed in the Church of England itself with the appointment of Bishop Susan Goff, of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, as an Assisting Bishop of Liverpool. The false teaching of the American Episcopal Church has been normalised in England and this divisive act has meant that the Church of Nigeria’s Akure Diocese has had no alternative but to end its partnership link with Liverpool Diocese.
At our recent Primates Council meeting in Nairobi we reaffirmed our solidarity with the leaders of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK and the Anglican Mission in England at this testing time.
When the GAFCON movement began in 2008 with our first conference in Jerusalem, my predecessor as Primate of All Nigeria and former Chairman, His Grace Peter Akinola, declared that GAFCON was a rescue mission for the Anglican Communion. His words were prophetic and they are being fulfilled. Let us be confident of all that is yet to come. Let us work and pray for the reform and renewal of our beloved Communion. Let us trust in our God who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.
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Anglican bishops on Friday had a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari where they sought to know what his administration is doing to tackle the spate of insecurity, particularly vandalism of oil facilities in the Niger Delta and herdsmen’s attacks in parts of the country.
The Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, who led the bishops to the meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, disclosed this while interacting with State House correspondents.
“We told him (the President) many things but part of it is that we are all looking for solutions to issues of the herdsmen; the issue of vandalism; on security in one way or the other because the people are asking us and we want to have explanation for the people whom we lead,” Okoh said.
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For the second year in a row, Bishop David Edwards of the diocese of Fredericton will spend the first two weeks of June walking the streets and highways of his territory, visiting parishes, praying with Anglicans and witnessing to the communities he visits along the way.
“As a church, we need to be getting outside our walls and proclaiming the good news of Jesus in all kinds of ways,” he said in an interview with the Anglican Journal. “In a sense, this is a symbolic gesture on my part: to say to folks that we can’t sit in our buildings, the gospel is something to be proclaimed in the streets and on the hillsides.”
The pilgrimage, which began May 29 and ends June 12, will take Edwards through the geographically large but sparsely populated archdeaconry of Chatham along New Brunswick’s rugged north shore.
- See more at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/bishop-s-pilgrimage-about-getting-outside-our-walls#sthash.20Ry8Fe8.dpuf
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The release of Church of England ministry statistics this week confirms once again the “ageing crisis” of Anglican clergy. Signs of change are evident, but it remains the case that there are almost twice as many clergy aged over 60 as under 40.
You would be forgiven for questioning the veracity of that data after walking into the church where I serve, however. St Luke’s Kentish Town has a clergy stock blessed with a vicar in his mid-30s, a curate just shy of 30, and me, as ordinand, aged 26. At the last count, the average age of the 200-strong congregation was 27. This is perfectly in keeping with our young north London location, but pitches us – clergy and congregation – as significantly more youthful than the Church of England as a whole.
Vicars needed: the Church of England's fight to fill its vacancies in the north
While the church realises that there are unusual enclaves such as ours, misconceptions are common about what really goes on in them. To be clear, this is not just the young leading the young. We (and many like us; we might be uncommon but are in no sense unique) are normal parishes, seeking to present and represent Jesus Christ faithfully to those around us, irrespective of age.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Young Adults * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Almost all of Webster’s efforts at constructive theology after that address were an exercise in dogmatic theology, from his breviary on holiness (2002) to his “dogmatic sketch” of scripture (2003) and his collection of essays aptly titled Confessing God (2005). Of course, there was much more to the body of work Webster left than the three titles I have mentioned, but those three illustrate his ongoing concern with a theology of retrieval that privileged the particularity of Christian culture.
There is still one more lesson I gleaned from Webster during those early days at Oxford, and this was the role of grace in the theological task. At the conclusion of his introduction to Jüngel’s theology, Webster noted that Jüngel had focused on the role of grace as divine gift, to the exclusion of grace as elicitation and call. The indicative of the gift elicits the imperative of the call because the person is caught up into something greater that makes possible what was impossible. One can see how grace as elicitation began to permeate Webster’s work as he sought to redress the imbalance he found in Jüngel. The reconstruction of human identity in and through the sanctified life makes possible the task of theology, because theological reason just is “the exercise of redeemed intelligence within the economy of God’s revelatory grace.” Teasing out this notion of grace took Webster into the domain of pneumatology and the work of John Owen. But I learned the lesson through the deeply pastoral way in which Webster guided his students, even to the point of inviting us to continue dialoging in his house at Christ Church long after the lectures in the examination schools had ended.
As I reflect back on those heady days at Oxford reading through volume one of Barth’s Church Dogmatics with Webster at the helm in a room filled with Protestants and Catholics, I cannot help but recognize the way he became God’s gift of grace to so many. It is in this living communion that one discovers the many channels through which grace flows. John Webster was and is one such channel.
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Falling numbers of stipendiary clergy in the Church of England, reported in the latest statistics, show the urgent need for more ordinations, the Director of Ministry for the Archbishops’ Council, the Ven. Julian Hubbard, has said.
The statistics, released yesterday, reveal that, while the total number of ordained ministers has remained at around 20,500 from 2012 to the end of last year, the number of stipendiary bishops, priests, and deacons fell from 8006 in 2012 to 7661.
The number of stipendiary women clergy has risen slightly every year, but has not offset the decline in numbers of men.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
O God, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: Grant that we who remember before thee the blessed martyrs of Uganda, may, like them, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, to whom they gave obedience even unto death, and by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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