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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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It is on this basis that the GAFCON Primates will prayerfully consider their response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter. They recognize that the crisis in the Communion is not primarily a problem of relationships and cultural context, but of false teaching which continues without repentance or discipline.
Consistent with this position, they have previously advised the Archbishop of Canterbury that they would not attend any meeting at which The Episcopal Church of the United States or the Anglican Church of Canada were represented, nor would they attend any meeting from which the Anglican Church in North America was excluded.
It is therefore of some encouragement that the Archbishop of Canterbury has opened the door of this meeting to the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach. He has already been recognized as a fellow primate of the Anglican Communion by Primates representing GAFCON and the Anglican Global South at his installation in Atlanta last October and he is a full member of the GAFCON Primates Council.
Read it all.
The Archbishop of Canterbury today wrote to all 37 Primates inviting them to attend a special Primates’ gathering in Canterbury to reflect and pray together concerning the future of the Communion.
The meeting, to be held in January 2016, would be an opportunity for Primates to discuss key issues face to face, including a review of the structures of the Anglican Communion and to decide together their approach to the next Lambeth Conference.
The agenda will be set by common agreement with all Primates encouraged to send in contributions. It is likely to include the issues of religiously-motivated violence, the protection of children and vulnerable adults, the environment and human sexuality.
Read it all.
Other posts on this subject - newest first:
+ (Get Religion) The Atlantic goes halfway in reporting on Anglican primates meeting (September 21, 2015)
+ Gavin Ashenden responds to the London Times Editorial on the Anglican Primates Meeting (September 21, 2015)
+ GAFCON Chairman’s September Pastoral Letter on Saint Matthew’s Day (September 21, 2015)
+ (Daily Nation) Kenyan Anglican Primate Downplays Split Call Ahead of Proposed 2016 Primates Meeting (September 20, 2015)
+ Archbishop Mouneer at All Souls Church in London (September 19, 2015)
+ Canon Phil Ashey: What Brings Us Together (September 18, 2015)
+ Note to Blog Readers, the L. Times Editorial on the Primates Meeting is available on Anglican Ink (September 18, 2015 )
+ (The Tablet) Mgr Mark Langham—Too early to call time on the Anglican Communion (September 18, 2015)
+ Philip Johanson—Does C of E require radical emergency surgery or should it bea slow death? (September 18, 2015)
+ (Irish Times) Anglicanism in crisis: Canterbury’s risky move (September 18, 2015)
+ A BBC Today Programme Segment on the proposed Anglican Primates meeting (September 18, 2015)
+ (NYT) Meeting of Anglican Leaders Could Lead to a Looser Federation (September 18, 2015)
+ (Church Times) Crunch time for the Communion as Welby summons Primates to Canterbury summit (September 18, 2015)
+ GAFCON calls for ‘truth on the table’ in the Anglican Communion in called Primates Meeting (September 18, 2015)
+ Archbp Josiah Fearon on the call for a special Primates’ Meeting in January 2016 (September 17, 2015)
+ A Statement from ACNA leader Foley Beach on the Proposed Primates Gathering (September 17, 2015)
+ A S Haley—A Surprise Meeting for an Anglican Family no longer functioning as a Communion (September 17, 2015)
+ (L. Times Leader) The Archbishop of Canterbury is offering the Anglican communion a reality check (September 17, 2015)
+ ([London Times) Archbp Welby holds crisis talks to prevent a church split (September 17, 2015)
+ (Guardian) Archbishop of Canterbury plans to loosen ties of divided Anglican communion (September 16, 2015)
It is now public knowledge that prominent figures, notably the television personality Jimmy Savile and the Liberal MP Cyril Smith, took advantage of their celebrity to abuse children. It was also public knowledge at the time that they were committing these appalling acts; yet those who knew chose to protect the information, and those who merely suspected were given no official encouragement to investigate.
An independent inquiry into historical sex abuse is being led by Justice Lowell Goddard, who has already said that it may last till 2020. That is not her fault, given the scale of the task, but it is scant consolation for the victims whose lives have been ruined and psyches scarred. Archbishop Welby is right to take the initiative in the Ball case and in doing so has signalled a huge change in the way that the clerical establishment approaches these matters.
The Church of England remains the established church and an integral part of the life of the nation, even in an age of secularism and pluralism. The notion that it provided cover for crimes against the vulnerable by the sexually rapacious and that the perpetrators gained the protection of their posts is abhorrent. It must be aired and investigated.
Read it all (requires subscription).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Men Sexuality Violence * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Church of England said the review, which will be published next year, will examine its co-operation with the police and other statutory agencies and the extent to which it shared information.
It will also consider whether it properly assessed the possible risk that Ball posed to others and whether it responded adequately to the concerns of survivors.
The Archbishop of Canterbury in 1993, George Carey, now Lord Carey, was aware of the case at the time and has denied interfering in it.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Men Religion & Culture Sexuality Violence * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
“As of now, the GAFCON primates have said that if the Anglican Church of Canada and the U.S. is at the table for the January meeting, they will not attend,” said the Rev. Paul Stephens, rector at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Tupelo, “And that’s unfortunate.”
Stephens said that worldwide, the Anglican Communion is connected, but not obligated. The Anglican church was spread through British colonization. Wherever there was a British colony, there is now an Anglican church. Globally, 38 Anglican provinces make up the Anglican Communion, the centerpiece of which is the Church of England.
“In terms of authority, the Archbishop of Canterbury isn’t like the Pope. He doesn’t have the jurisdiction to ‘make’ me do anything, though if he did I would almost certainly acquiesce,” Stephens said. “Anglican provinces have autonomy, and make their own rulings within themselves that don’t have bearing on the others. However, there’s a saying that goes something like, ‘If someone sneezes at an Episcopal church in Corinth, someone at an Episcopal church in Bay St. Louis will say “Bless you.”’”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Church of England (CoE) Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) * Culture-Watch Globalization Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The next point I want to make I think is one that is of increasing importance in a time when there is a certain set tendency to say that religion should be privatised. To use an old expression, many think religion should be only between consenting adults in private.
Far from it, the faith communities are those who provide the glue in society in so many ways, from their social action through to the eternal values which they reflect and support, and which eternal values are themselves the foundation for British values of which we’ve heard a lot over the last few months. Because of what the Scriptures teach us, especially from the prophet Jeremiah, we are committed to seeking the welfare of the place where we live, the common good.
Christians and Muslims are not called to a ghetto-like existence, although both our faiths have from time to time acted in that way, through fear or defensiveness. We are called by contrast to be actively involved in our society not for our own good but for the common good. We are called to seek the flourishing of the society, as Jeremiah said to the Jewish exiles: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” [
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Church of Wales * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK --Wales * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
Those of you who are shortly going to be commissioned as Church Credit Champions have heard God’s call, as the whole church has in recent years, to be a church of the poor for the poor; to seek justice and the common good for all in our society.
You have set up credit union access points in your churches, brought new people onto the boards of local credit unions, supported people struggling with debt through signposting them to debt advice resources.
You have seen the need, and you have met it with love, grace and hope.
We all know that the Christian relationship with money is, at best, slightly ambivalent. We recognise when it’s got the wrong place, but we find it quite hard to find the right place.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance The Banking System/Sector * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The church has heard a fresh call to be “a church of the poor for the poor” in recent years, the Archbishop of Canterbury said last night as he commissioned volunteers to help churches engage with issues of credit and debt in their communities.
Speaking during a special service at St George-in-the-East in Shadwell, London, the Archbishop told more than 50 volunteers – who have taken part in a pilot scheme in London, Southwark and Liverpool dioceses – that they had “seen the need, and met it with love, grace and hope.”
The first phase of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Church Credit Champions Network is on course to secure benefits worth over £2million for local communities.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Personal Finance The Banking System/Sector * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Watch and listen to it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) * Theology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The gulf is widening among the world’s 80 million Anglicans and now the Archbishop of Canterbury has called a summit of church leaders to work out a new way of running the divided church.
Archbishop Justin Welby has asked Anglican primates from each major region to meet in London in January 2016.
He will discuss religiously motivated violence and the protection of children. But it’s the issue of sexuality and same-sex relationships that’s most divisive.
Is Archbishop Welby trying to achieve the impossible—satisfying the demands of liberal and conservative Anglicans for a church that’s totally inclusive or Biblically conservative? The Rev Dr Stephen Burns, associate dean of Trinity College Theological School in Melbourne and an expert in the worldwide Anglican communion, discusses the dilemma.
Listen to it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) * Culture-Watch Media * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
There was a report that the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion office was offering “facilitators” for the January gathering of Primates. He may be planning that, but I would suggest that the facilitators get refundable tickets. There is absolutely no chance that the GAFCON and Global South Primates will stand for another meeting where they are “handled” and manipulated by “facilitators” who have a pre-cooked agenda. This upcoming meeting will either be utterly genuine in all the gritty reality that brings, or it will not happen at all. I think it is truly an important gathering and I pray that it will be effective.
When innovations are introduced, it is done with the expectation that there will be unicorns and skittle rainbows. When they are done thoughtlessly, the result can be catastrophic, as it has been with some Provinces who have discarded the historic Biblical teaching on sexuality. I’m sure that they think all will be well because they want it to be; that there will be rain showers of gumdrops and the pot at the end of the skittle rainbow will be found, but in truth, consequences that they did not anticipate or intend are actually driving the train. Superficial solutions never work more than superficially. This is a time in which we need to actually deal with the departures from Biblical faith, with issues of Christology that are being erroneously embraced, and a disastrous sexual ethic that is not bearing godly fruit.
Here is the bottom line. If the January gathering of Primates does not fully address the real issues, the Communion will not survive—nor should it.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Sir Hector Sants is calling upon the wealthy to lend to credit unions and help run co-operatives in an attempt to raise their profile and fill the vast gap left by the shrinking payday lending sector.
The former chief executive of the City watchdog was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury last year to lead the Church of England’s task force on credit unions, but said they need greater support to help borrowers seeking short-term loans.
In an interview with FT Money, Sir Hector said: “Join a credit union — it doesn’t have to be your sole bank — and deposit money, which can then be lent out. There are often good terms if you need a loan.”
Read it all from the FT.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance The Banking System/Sector * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Archbishop of Canterbury invites the 37 heads of Anglican churches to a meeting....this features Chris Sugden and Colin Coward as the guests.
Listen to it all.
They’ll be discussing what unites them and what divides them; whether the Communion ought to continue as it is presently modelled, and whether the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury needs to change. There will be no ‘Continuing Indaba‘ for the pursuit of “cultural models of consensus”, and no meditation on the mission of “mutual creative action”. The days of fudge, patch and hedge are over – unless, of course, all the gathered Archbishops, Presiding Bishops and Chief Pastors determine to ignore the pleas and prayers of the Primus inter Pares.
But (and it’s a very, very interesting ‘but’), Justin Welby has not only invited the 37 recognised primates of the Wordwide Anglican Communion: according to Lambeth Palace (..and here’s the Guardian headline..) he has also written a letter to Foley Beach. That isn’t a cruise-ship resort in sunny Florida: The Most Rev’d Dr Foley Beach is Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), which split from The Episcopal Church (TEC) when The Most Rev’d Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori set her face against social conservatism and theological orthodoxy on matters relating to gender and sexuality. The letter of invitation to Archbishop Foley is significant because ACNA is not a recognised member of the Worldwide Anglican Communion (according to the traditional instruments of communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury).
Yet what credible discussions may take place if he is snubbed, since ACNA is affirmed and recognised by other Anglican provinces, in particular those belonging to GAFCON?
There are clearly provincial fractures and parallel churches already operating throughout the Communion.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Christology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology
Any global timeline would have to include 1998, when the worldwide Lambeth Conference passed a resolution affirming scripture and traditional teachings on marriage and human sexuality. Then 65 Episcopal bishops sign another statement of dissent. That was also the year when [Bishop John] Spong released his famous 12 theses, beginning with "Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead." In his 10th thesis, he added: "Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way."
Looking for issues other than sex? Spong was raising some big ones, rejecting most of the basic elements of creedal Christianity.
On a related issue, I have always thought it was crucial that, in 1992, Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison of South Carolina stopped receiving Holy Communion in meetings of the U.S. House of Bishops after several of his colleagues refused to condemn a liberal theologian's statement that she served a god that is "older and greater" than the deity revealed in the Bible.
How much of that needs to be mentioned in a news story? That is a matter for editors and reporters to determine. But the simple fact is that the actual battles over homosexuality began in the late 1970s and efforts to build alternative conservative structures in the United States began in the 1990s. To say that Robinson's election "precipitated" this division is inaccurate. Why settle for flawed or, at best, simplistic language? Why pretend that the battle is about homosexuality, alone?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Media Multiculturalism, pluralism Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
A new message is being hinted at to orthodox Christians by the secular state: get with the programme, or we will treat you as extremists.
Thirdly, the episode is an example of revisionist episcopal hypocrisy. David Walker (whose views are well known) claimed on one hand that the “gay” issue was not going to split the church, and that unity in the Anglican Communion was his priority. But then he joined in an attack on the Church of Uganda using false information. If his aim is unity, this will surely have the opposite effect – unless of course he thinks he can bully African churches into following his revisionist views, and creating ‘unity’ that way? Rather than discuss the theological issues behind the fracture in the Communion, the Bishop of Manchester chose to use the radio interview to solicit support from the secular liberal audience for his own brand of Christianity, by demonizing African Anglicans and so further hardening the divisions in the Communion. To what extent does this reflect his own view, or part of a more organized policy?
We are seeing a combination of spin, intimidation and hypocrisy as revisionist church leaders join with the secular media in creating distance between (in their narrative) ‘good religion’ of liberal Western Anglicanism, and the ‘bad religion’ of the orthodox version in the developing world. In North America the faithful confessing Anglicans have faced this, taking a public, costly stand, articulating the Bible’s clear teaching about sex, marriage and what it means to be human as part of a fully-orbed presentation of the counter cultural Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have not been ashamed of association with African Christian leaders, warmly welcoming close fellowship and even oversight from them. The Archbishop of Canterbury needs to show at the January meeting that he rejects the revisionist tactics of the BBC/Guardian/Bishop of Manchester (that is, if the GAFCON Primates accept the invitation). Otherwise English evangelical Anglicans and orthodox anglo-Catholics will need to be moving ahead organizationally along the same lines as ACNA.
Read it all and followi the links, especially noting the one to the detailed background to the situation in Uganda.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Globalization Law & Legal Issues Media Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Is the Anglican Communion about to split over different views of sexual ethics?
You might think so after reading headlines about the archbishop of Canterbury’s proposal to “loosen” the structures of the Communion — a way of retaining his relationship to the liberal wing of the Western churches as well as the traditional Anglicans of the Global South.
But to interpret the archbishop’s recent announcement as a split over sexuality is to miss the bigger picture. First, the impending dissolution of Anglicanism as it currently exists institutionally is over much more than sex. Second, the divorce has already taken place, just not formally.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates * Culture-Watch Globalization Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
In the end, it was probably Tim Berners-Lee that did for the Anglican communion. And yet he may also be exactly the right person to show the church how to put itself back together again. But more of that in a moment. The archbishop of Canterbury has just announced a final throw of the dice to keep the family together. He plans a looser structure – not quite a divorce, but “sleeping in separate bedrooms”. It’s the right way forward. But it doesn’t go far enough.
Read it all from the Guardian.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Globalization Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology
It is also far from clear that such a shift would either get much support (outside some of the liberal Northern primates) or offer a practical solution. Not just GAFCON but many primates from the wider Global South remain of the view that the solution to the continuing crisis (based around a Primates’ Council and Pastoral Scheme for traditionalists in North America) was put forward at the Dar Primates Meeting in 2007 but never implemented, in large part leading to GAFCON forming. The Archbishop has refused to accept their view that this must be the starting point of any new gathering – that meeting will be nearly a decade old once the Primates meet, much has happened, and very few current Primates attended that meeting despite it being one which had a very high number of newly installed Primates. Justin Welby has rightly insisted, following extensive visits and conversations, that the meeting must find its own way forward face-to-face. But in talking of respecting the decisions of previous Primates’ meetings he has shown he is aware how many Primates still think that the proposal put forward there continues to provide a model for how best to proceed.
The sad reality is that support for something like the Dar approach has increased following the decisions earlier this year by General Convention (and to a lesser degree the Scottish Episcopal Church). These demonstrated that some provinces are now seeking to repeat the pattern of taking provincial action which disregards the mind of the Communion but in relation to the even more important question of Christian teaching on marriage. Some Global South provinces who were becoming more amenable to moving on from the painful history since 2003 and starting afresh (particularly with a new Presiding Bishop) are now clear that the fundamental problem of TEC unilateralism remains a serious one. That is one reason they have sought and secured a place for Archbishop Foley of ACNA during the meeting.
The way forward after January is unlikely to be simply a reversion to an earlier attempted solution, whether the Dar Primates’ model or the Anglican Communion Covenant in its present form. It is, however, even less likely to be an agreement from the Primates that they need to embrace a “federation” model of global Anglicanism.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Including Welby, there are 38 primates. With Foley Beach, that makes 39. Foley's inclusion among the world’s primates, which is something conservatives have been wanting for years, is an admission by Lambeth Palace that the Episcopal Church cannot claim to represent all Anglicans within U.S. borders.
Also, the archbishop’s press release adds that Beach will be invited for “part of the time.”
What does that mean? The Atlantic could have inquired about that and about the obvious point that Welby had to have conferred in private with some of the conservative primates before issuing this call and that Foley’s inclusion in this gathering was the non-negotiable they insisted upon if they were going to show up. The Episcopal sites were commenting on this as were the Anglican ones, so The Atlantic should have picked up on these points, which were easy to find with a few mouse clicks.
The Atlantic did note that the only female primate, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, will not be at this January meeting because her successor, Bishop Michael Curry, will have been installed. What should have been added is how her absence clears the way for those of the primates who still oppose the ordination of female bishops to attend. Now they will not have to abstain from Communion with someone they regard as having singlehandedly created a scorched-earth policy toward departing conservatives plus contributed to a 12 percent drop in church membership during her tenure. One wonders if Welby timed his gathering with that in mind.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Read it all.
The reality is a little different, but – I believe – even more exciting. The Community is open to young Christians from around the world, from every part of the church, and with every kind of professional background or ambition. Whether they are already, or plan to be, working in banking, education, politics or the media, or they sense a call to serve the church, the programme offers the same opportunity: to experience a monastic lifestyle focused on Jesus Christ, and to do that while actively serving in the world.
Today in a special service at Lambeth Palace, the first members of the Community of St Anselm will promise to spend the next year living by a Rule of Life that the ancient monastics would have recognised.
They will be committing to a year of prayer, study, rigorous self-examination and committed fellowship with one another. But they will also be committing to live out this loving life of Christ in local communities, serving those on the margins and in most need.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Young Adults * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Young people and their families gathered in the Archbishop's Chapel at Lambeth Palace today to celebrate the launch of the community of St Anselm; a monastic-style year-long programme focused on prayer and service to the poor.
It was a relaxed affair; though featuring a number of sombre prayers of commitment and traditional hymns, the service was undoubtedly a celebration - punctuated with worship songs from countries around the world, choral arrangements by the St Martin's Voices were met with bongo drums. The 36 new community members - all aged between 20 and 35 - come from five continents and countries as far flung as Kenya and Australia, and parts of the service were conducted in French, Spanish and Swedish. As Archbishop Justin Welby called each member by name, they stood to acknowledge their new role, declaring "I am here" in their native language; echoing the words of Moses in Exodus 3 which was read at the beginning of the service.
Welby began his sermon with his trademark jovial style. Noting that many bishops have been consecrated in the chapel, he said to appreciative laughter, "this is a place where people have gone from here to suffering, to martyrdom, and here we are today...I'm sorry, that's probably a bad illustration."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Young Adults * International News & Commentary England / UK
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala told the Sunday Nation yesterday that any impending split is not a Kenyan affair as those were internal conflicts among the churches in North America.
"Those are internal affairs in the North American churches. I wish you could get in touch with the Archbishop of Canterbury as we are not involved in any way," said Rev Wabukala.
He said that despite having an Anglican communion, every province -- or country -- is guided by its own constitution in terms of discipline and laws.
On the issue of...[homosexual practice] among priests that has hit the local church in recent weeks, he said the discipline of the clergy should be based on morals and teachings of the church.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya Global South Churches & Primates * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
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..in the “let go and let God” communion the Archbishop of Canterbury proposes, there is no sin to confess. Or perhaps it might be accurate to say that there is no Biblical plumb line to define what sin is. You see, those Anglican churches that have legitimized same sex behavior and marriage have done so over and against the plain meaning of Holy Scripture. That’s why the Archbishop of Canterbury is reduced to speaking about the importance of “culture and context.” Sin, if it can be said to exist at all, is simply a moving target. It is not the heart, soul and conscience-ruining wreck that stems from our fundamental rebellion against God and his high hopes for us. It is simply what we define, shaped by our culture, our desires, what is politically correct and in every case apart from God and His word. We don’t need to “come home”—we are already at home with who we are, and quite content to remain that way.
“So what,” you may say. “Why does it matter, as long as you get on helping the poor, feeding the hungry, serving widows and orphans and others? If you can keep your theology to yourself and get on with ‘mission’ together, isn’t that the most important thing?” No. A church that serves the poor but fails to faithfully preach the Gospel and disciple believers is missing the mark. Jesus said it all in the Great Commandment: “You shall the love the LORD your God with all your heart…and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40) Jesus challenged his people, his Church, to have both the vertical and the horizontal dimension of love—love for God (vertical) and love for neighbor (horizontal). Jesus said “If you love me, obey my commands.” (John 14:15, 23) We find those commands in the Bible. We also find love of neighbor defined by God’s word (see the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10). In fact, we find immutable principles of justice throughout the Bible, Old and New Testaments. What a terrible bargain this new Communion vision asks us to enter—to exchange immutable truths and standards of right and wrong for what is “culturally and contextually” correct. How many secular relief organizations and NGO’s have made that same bargain? It does not make us a family, much less a church, and even less a Communion of churches.
What brings us together as Anglicans isn’t shared mission or endless indaba. What brings us together as Anglicans is a common confession of Jesus Christ as Lord as revealed in the Scriptures. Out of that flows the greatest missionary imperative of all—Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20), teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded—including food for the hungry, and justice for the oppressed.
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You can find the original post there and the AI post here.
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The current Archbishop seems to have decided that a new approach is called for. There is a mood of crisis. He has postponed indefinitely the Lambeth Conference due to be held in 2018, and last December stated that the worldwide Anglican Communion possibly “will not hold together”.
But we should beware seeing him as wringing his hands in desperation; he is far from saying that it is all up for Anglicanism. Archbishop Welby’s experience in conflict resolution calls for a more hands-on approach: speaking directly to disaffected parties rather than proposing abstract solutions. He has set himself the task of meeting every Anglican Primate personally, and his call to the Anglican Primates to meet in Lambeth next year should be seen in this context.
It is indeed difficult to imagine a solution to the present crisis, when, for example, Nigerian bishops declare themselves to be out of communion with their American brethren. To our Catholic ears, the language used by the Archbishop’s staff of "moving into separate bedrooms" sounds an effective end of communion, a formalising of a rift – and for Roman Catholics, such an arrangement would indeed signal a serious breach of communion.
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There is no doubt that the Church of England is in crisis. Its worshipping life and influence are shrinking, and if it continues in its present trajectory within a generation it will be too small credibly to maintain its position as the National Church.
Indeed William Fittall, the Secretary General of the General Synod has written: “Recognition that the Church of England’s capacity to proclaim the faith afresh in each generation will be decisively eroded unless the trend towards older and smaller worshipping communities is reversed.”
It would be very interesting to know how many members of General Synod come from those older and smaller worshipping communities and how many come from growing churches. One suspects more come from the former than the latter, which begs the question if the Synod in a position to give a lead.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury is proposing to restructure the Anglican Communion, turning the third largest global family of churches into a much looser federation or grouping. The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, and 37 other Anglican primates from around the world have been invited to Canterbury next January to discuss Archbishop Justin Welby’s proposals. In the new scheme of things, Anglican churches, including the Church of Ireland and the Church of England, could be linked to Canterbury without necessarily being linked to each other.
With 80 million members, Anglicans form the third largest Christian body, after the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Archbishop Welby’s predecessor, Rowan Williams, became disheartened in his fraught efforts to hold Anglicans together, and they collapsed when they were rejected by the dioceses in his own Church of England. Over the past two decades, it has become more and more difficult to hold Anglicanism together. The main dividing issues are sexuality and the authority of bishops and the Bible, and, to a lesser extent, the ordination of women.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has called a special conference for January for all 38 of the Anglican Communion’s Primates to talk about some of the key issues dividing the Anglican world. Bishop of Manchester, David Walker and Andrew Symes, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream in the UK, talk to us about the key issues in dispute.
Listen to it all (starts 02:37 in).
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The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, will soon be replaced by Bishop Michael B. Curry, who was elected this summer and will be installed in the next few months. A spokeswoman for the church, which has 2.1 million members, said Bishop Curry planned to attend the meeting.
Archbishop Foley Beach, the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, which counts 112,000 members in Canada, the United States and Mexico, said Wednesday that he had received a call from Archbishop Welby inviting him to the meeting, and that he planned to go if conservative primates in other countries also attended.
“The challenges facing the Anglican Communion over the last couple of decades are no secret,” the Rev. Dr. Beach said, “and it is time to face them.”
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The statement talks about “space”: “The difference between our societies and cultures, as well as the speed of cultural change in much of the global north, tempts us to divide as Christians. . . A 21st-century Anglican family must have space for deep disagreement, and even mutual criticism, so long as we are faithful to the revelation of Jesus Christ, together.”
The invitation represents a desire by the Archbishop to take a tougher line on division and “start treating people like adults” and “stop messing around with internal rows”, a source said. It is understood that Archbishop Welby spoke to all of the Primates by phone during the summer, and that only three expressed doubts about attending.
One item on the agenda will be the next Lambeth Conference. It is thought to be too late to arrange something in 2018, but the Archbishop is said by a source to be determined that another will take place, perhaps in 2020 — even if those attending could only fill a telephone box.
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“This is a most welcome development. The Anglican Communion must now allow the Holy Spirit to intervene in the differences that divide us. We at the Anglican Communion Office are positioned to assist in fostering a desirable outcome,” Archbishop Josiah said.
The Secretary General also affirmed Archbishop Justin’s intention to extend an invitation to Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America to be present for part of the Primates’ meeting. “This is an opportunity to listen to useful ideas from this group on how we continue as a Communion in light of the search and openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
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I did indeed receive a personal call from Archbishop Justin Welby inviting me to attend and participate.
If my fellow GAFCON Primates accept the invitation, and I am expecting that they will, then I have also pledged to attend. The challenges facing the Anglican Communion over the last couple of decades are no secret, and it is time to face them.
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The challenge to Archbishop Welby and the gathered Primates will be to find a path that will allow the greatest possible number of shattered relationships to heal, and so in time (perhaps) to move the Communion to a new consensus.
But for that to happen, the Anglican Communion Office (through both the Archbishop of Canterbury and its Secretariat) will have to distance itself further from financial and ideological dependency on ECUSA and its wealthy constituents, such as Trinity Wall Street. For too long now, from GAFCON’s point of view, the revisionists have been calling the shots, but now there are signs that they at last are weakening. That is why Archbishop Idowu-Fearon will play a key role, along with Archbishop Welby, in resolving how best to start the realignment the Communion at the upcoming Primates’ Meeting, if that process is to begin at all.
If they try to help ECUSA and ACoC retain their erstwhile roles of influence, they will hasten the eventual disintegration of the Anglican Communion. Likewise, if they listen only to the voices of modernity, according to which each church’s or denomination’s view of Scripture needs to get in step with the culture, then they will seal that disintegration, by recognizing it as a fact that has already occurred. But if they actually listen to the voices that are seeking to hold the Communion in line with its traditional understanding of Scripture—an understanding that stems from the very beginnings of the Anglican Church—they may yet hope to call a halt to the disintegration, and to lay the first firm paving-stones for a Communion that will, one day and once again, derive its strength from its collective faith in the good news of Christ crucified.
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The Most Rev Justin Welby will propose that Anglican communities with differing views loosen their links. Many have refused to speak directly to each other for more than a decade, but he will try to persuade them not to break away altogether.
Faced with the biggest crisis in the church since Darwin developed his theory of evolution, the archbishop intends to offer each of the churches “wiggle room” to hold different positions on issues such as gay marriage, sources say. They could sever links with churches holding different views as long as they keep a basic connection with the “mother church in Canterbury”.
The archbishop believes that he could then maintain relations with the liberal churches of North America as well as the African churches, some of which favour the criminalisation of homosexuality. The changes would in effect turn the church into a semi-independent federation.
Sources put the chance of success at only 30 per cent, however. Traditionalist bishops are expected to reject the proposals, meaning that the church could ultimately divide permanently.
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The archbishop of Canterbury is proposing to effectively dissolve the fractious and bitterly divided worldwide Anglican communion and replace it with a much looser grouping.
Justin Welby has summoned all the 38 leaders of the national churches of the Anglican communion to a meeting in Canterbury next January, where he will propose that the communion be reorganised as a group of churches that are all linked to Canterbury but no longer necessarily to each other.
He believes that the communion – notionally the third largest Christian body in the world with 80 million members, after the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches - has become impossible to hold together due to arguments over power and sexuality and has, for the past 20 years, been completely dysfunctional.
A Lambeth Palace source said the archbishop felt he could not leave his eventual successor in the same position of “spending vast amounts of time trying to keep people in the boat and never actually rowing it anywhere”.
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...this close contact both with poverty and with political terror has undoubtedly given Pope Francis a perspective on the Church and its government that is a good deal more impatient with bureaucratic proprieties than many Vatican insiders would like. Vallely describes this particularly well, making excellent use of many contacts at high levels, explaining the dysfunctional conduct of many of the central bodies in Rome and the mediocrity and incompetence of various very senior figures (he also rightly notes some of those who stood out against this depressing background, not least the Vatican’s head of interfaith relations, the shrewd, patient and generous Cardinal Tauran). It is difficult to know how fast one can expect reform to move in this context; and yet, despite the frustration expressed in some quarters, an outsider can only marvel at the speed with which Francis has moved to purge the most intractable.
[Paul] Vallely devotes a full and candid chapter to the continuing and heartbreaking business of dealing with clerical abuse, concluding that Francis has been slow to make it a priority as Pope, and that his record in this area as a diocesan bishop was at best average. Like practically all bishops who were in post before about the mid-1990s (this writer was one), he had little training and little awareness of the scale and depth of the problem. But he has now set up an effective, even aggressive body, with representation from survivors of abuse. It remains to be seen how it will change things, yet it is typical of the man that once he has identified a priority, he will look for measurable movement in a short timescale.
There will be many more books written about the present papacy, but these two provide first-rate and provide first-rate and complementary pictures. Both are profoundly sympathetic but not hagiographic. That itself is a tribute to the stature of a pope who is not afraid of challenge, and not afraid to confess and confront his failures. It shows Jesuit training in detachment, yes, no doubt. But also something more centrally and simply Christian; something about faith, hope and love.
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"Does the Noble Lady accept, however, that 20,000 is still a very slim response in comparison to the figures given by the UNHCR and the European Commission, and to the other needs we see; and that it is likely that it is going to have to rise over the next five years, unless of course the driver – which, I hope she also accepts, is local conditions in the camps – is dealt with significantly?
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It appears, then, that it is a question of when, not if, there will be a change in the law. And yet we must heed John Stuart Mill’s call to be wary about the tyranny of the majority. For, as the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, argues in today’s Observer, such a change would mark the crossing of a legal and ethical Rubicon. “We are asked to sanction doctors participating in individuals taking steps to end their lives,” Welby writes. “This is a change of monumental proportions both in the law and in the role of doctors.”
Welby observes that any “change in the law would place very many thousands of vulnerable people at risk”. Fearing that they were a burden, some would choose to end their lives, he says. The risk, ultimately, he warns is that we end up in a society “where each life is no longer seen as worth protecting, worth honouring, worth fighting for”. For Welby, “the current law is not ‘broken’. There is no need to fix it.”
Society seems to disagree, as does one of his predecessors, Lord Carey. So, too, do the majority of Christians, according to at least one poll. But this is not to say that polls should determine policy nor that the church’s entrenched opposition to reform be ignored.
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Britain will cross a “legal and ethical Rubicon” if parliament votes to permit terminally ill patients to end their lives, said the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as leaders of all the UK’s major faith groups call on MPs to reject plans to allow assisted suicide.
In an extraordinary show of unity on Sunday, the heads of Britain’s Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities wrote a joint letter to every MP – published in the Observer – urging them to throw out the assisted dying bill, which will be debated in the Commons on Friday.
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My third concern is that we need to reflect on what sort of society we might become if we were to permit assisted suicide. At present, we can show love, care and compassion to those who at all ages and stages of life are contemplating suicide. We can try to intervene, to support them to embrace life once more. We can do all in our power to surround those who are terminally ill with the best possible palliative care, including physical, emotional and spiritual support. We can redouble our efforts to alleviate suffering. We can show that we love even when people have given up on caring for themselves. We can support our doctors and nurses as they act consistently in the best interests of their patients, affirming life and caring for the vulnerable.
We risk all this for what? Becoming a society where each life is no longer seen as worth protecting, worth honouring, worth fighting for? The current law and the guidelines for practice work; compassion is shown, the vulnerable are protected. In spite of individual celebrity opinions and the “findings” of snap opinion polls (that cannot hope to do justice to the intricacies of the issue) the current law is not “broken”. There is no need to fix it.
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[Middle Eastern Christians]... are the most vulnerable and repeatedly targeted victims of this conflict. Indeed, a hundred years after the Armenian and Assyrian genocide, in which over a million Christians are estimated to have been killed by Ottoman Muslims, the same is happening today in the form of an ethnic cleansing of Christians in the region. Christians have been crucified, beheaded, raped, and subjected to forced conversion. The so-called Islamic State and other radical groups are openly glorifying the slaughter of Christians.
Britain should make Syrian Christians a priority because they are a particularly vulnerable group. Furthermore, we are a Christian nation with an established Church so Syrian Christians will find no challenge to integration. The churches are already well-prepared and eager to offer support and accommodation to those escaping the conflict.
Some will not like me saying this, but in recent years, there has been too much Muslim mass immigration to Europe. This has resulted in ghettos of Muslim communities living parallel lives to mainstream society, following their own customs and even their own laws. Isn’t it high-time instead for the oil-rich Gulf States to open their doors to the many Muslims who are fleeing conflict? Surely if they are concerned for fellow Muslims who prefer to live in Muslim-majority countries, then they have a moral responsibility to intervene.
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Britain should "crush" Isil by taking part in military action in Syria, a former Archbishop of Canterbury suggests today amid mounting calls for further air strikes.
In an article for The Telegraph, Lord Carey says that it is "not enough" to send aid to Syria and admit thousands of refugees to this country.
He argues that Isil needs to be dealt with "for once and for all" and that "air strikes and other British military assistance" may be needed in Syria.
He also says Britain should be prioritising Christian refugees who are victims of "ethnic cleansing" and have been crucified, beheaded, raped, and subjected to forced conversion by Isil.
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Britain will accept thousands more Syrian asylum seekers in response to the migration crisis engulfing Europe, David Cameron will announce in the coming days.
In a marked shift in tone, the Government is preparing plans to resettle the refugees fleeing Isil jihadists and conflict in the region in an attempt to fulfil its “moral obligation”.
Officials are working on a “detailed package” to give asylum to Syrians under the “vulnerable persons relocation scheme”, which has so far seen 216 people allowed to come to the UK.
It will be seen as a change of direction by Mr Cameron, who on Wednesday insisted that Britain would not accept “more and more” migrants.
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“As Christians we believe we are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34), and to seek the peace and justice of our God, in our world, today.
“With winter fast approaching and with the tragic civil war in Syria spiralling further out of control, we must all be aware that the situation could yet worsen significantly.
"I am encouraged by the positive role that churches, charities and international agencies are already playing, across Europe and in Syria and the surrounding areas, to meet basic humanitarian needs. These efforts may feel trivial in the face of the challenge, but if we all play our part this is a crisis that we can resolve.
“We need a holistic response to this crisis that meets immediate humanitarian need while tackling itsunderlying drivers.
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In less than two years we will have a referendum on our place in Europe. There will be passionate arguments on both sides.
POverlaid Flagseople will say that we should not take the risk of leaving, others that it is less of a risk than staying. There will be talk of national sovereignty, of national confidence, of repatriation of laws, or being bound by European laws over which we have no control. The only certainty is that there will be much heat, probably slightly less light, but that it is a hugely important decision, with thoughtful and committed people, including Christians, on both sides.
But what about those in the UK for whom our membership, or withdrawal, from the Union, is not a major question, those for whom the needs and responsibilities of each day take precedence, and mention of political debates such as this leave them cold?
This new blog is a contribution to the debate. It is a joint initiative between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland...
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Worldwide Anglican Communion Feature: What are the main challenges for the new Secretary General? (about 6 minutes)
Anglican Communion Interview: Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon outlines his position on key issues (about 6 1/2 minutes)
You may find both audio links here.
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Justin Welby was once a member of HTB and knows there is great potential to be found in the Church of England. He sees the need for change if it is to not just survive, but flourish. He also knows that for that to happen, things most definitely cannot stay as they are, and after decades of denial and procrastination, some urgent measures are needed. He describes himself as a spiritual magpie, drawing inspiration in his faith from different Christian traditions. He is equally happy to take the best of what he has seen outside of the church and adapt it for the needs within it. These are not the dealings of a misguided amateur. Those who doubt what he is working to achieve or demur from some of his more unorthodox methods should think carefully about their own understanding and motives before issuing harsh judgements.
If it is a stark choice between Linda Woodhead’s prosaic plan for the Church of England or the Welby-Gumbel vision for holiness, transformation, revival and growth, I know which I prefer.
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He is the economist credited with having the most influence on the Archbishop of Canterbury. And Paul Dembinski is clear that regulation is not enough to improve banking - a fundamental cultural shift is needed
Paul Dembinski and I are shaking our heads at the craziness of the response to the “greed is good” speech delivered by Michael Douglas in the film Wall Street.
Except we are not really finding it amusing at all. It is the sheer nuttiness of folk we struggle to comprehend. What was intended as a piece of satire by Douglas and director Oliver Stone was seized upon by a generation as a justifying mantra for appalling deeds where banking and the financial markets are concerned. It is proof, agrees Dembinski, of the scale of the task that confronts him as he seeks to emphasise the place of ethics in the financial services industry.
Listening to him and meeting him, it is not difficult to see why Dembinski is so often name-checked by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as an economist he closely follows...
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Welby has a reputation as a guy who enjoys a good laugh and discourages formality. His manner when I meet him is aﬀable but circumspect. This is a man who once observed that he didn't want the top job and was "one of the thicker bishops" in the Church of England.
"I can spot an old Etonian a mile oﬀ ," I venture, "and your deﬁning characteristic is precisely that kind of phoney diﬃdence."
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“One of the highlights for me in the last few months has been the visit of the Grand Imam of Al-Alzhar. He came and stayed here at Lambeth Palace for three days, and we spent much time in conversation. The importance of those sorts of relationships cannot be overestimated. In spending time together we were able to discuss our differences, as communities and as individuals. We need to recognise that we differ on crucial points of faith, but that we are united in understanding the importance of faith, and in our commitment to the common good.
“During this last few weeks as well you have been on my prayers as news has put pressure on the Muslim community. I never forget how much you need support and encouragement when you’re under pressure, as we do as well.
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Symon Hill, Christian writer and a coordinator of Christians for Economic Justice, said: "Jesus said that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.
"By hosting events sponsored by arms dealers, Church House Conference Centre is sending a clear message that they are happy to profit from those selling weapons to the dodgiest regimes."
Campaigners are calling on Welby, as President of the Corporation of Church House, for his "assurance that the conference center will never again host events which support and legitimise the arms industry."
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How we develop and prepare some of those who have wide responsibilities in leadership is both demanding and potentially prophetic as regards the world around. Our interest is in discerning and developing God's gifts and graces in his people. Let me just say, given a couple of the questions that came up last night: that we're committed to nurturing vocation across the whole of God's people, regardless of sexuality and regardless of whether lay or ordained.
The FAOC report shows that leadership needs preparation: in prayer, in theology, in skills of every day matters, in collaborative working, in interpreting the times, in safeguarding, in how to ensure that what the church discerns as necessary, the church does. We must have a system that is pastorally sensitive for those being formed, self-consciously inclusive of all those we too easily exclude, and ensures that those being considered for appointment in posts of wide responsibility are from all areas of the church, and are diverse especially in the areas of major weakness: BAME people and gender balance, disability and others. Our theology and practice must challenge inherited or widely accepted bad models through prayer and also theological thinking.
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Where do we find the antidote to fear? Where do we find the capacity to be prophets of grace and hope, joyful, fervent and clear against injustice in a world of martyrdom and torture, or of inequality and greed? Even in the days of William Temple, his call to a different model of life was ignored, mocked and opposed by the government of the time, when he brought before them the needs of the poor. The language of opposition was the same as today.
Few of us like criticising; we know that, thank God, we have much to praise in our society, much for which to give thanks, under governments of all colours now and for years past. Yet, under this and every government the church is constantly called to a loving critique of the secular powers.
Temple asked what right has the church to speak? So how do we keep our nerve, and find the way to overcome our fears and inhibitions, in love but also with passion for the poor, for the environment, for justice, for the lost, how do we obey the Spirit who sent Amos and John the Baptist?
The answer is found in that great reading of the hymn of the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians.
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In recent days, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis have all spoken out on the vital issue of climate change. It is vital, because the long-term future of the Earth and its inhabitants is at stake. It is no less a matter than that.
The issue of climate change led to the landmark Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which set out a framework for action aimed at stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system. What is termed the Conference of Parties (COP) regularly reviews the implementation of the Rio action programme. The next COP will be held next December in Paris and, for the first time in two decades of UN negotiations, will seek to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, aiming to keep global warming below 2°C.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has attacked plans by oil companies to begin drilling in the Arctic.
The Most Rev Justin Welby, who worked in the oil industry before he was ordained, said that he was concerned by how difficult it would be to contain and clean up an oil spill should there be an accident in the region.
Shell is expected to begin drilling in the Arctic this month after its plans were approved by the US government. A fifth of the world’s undiscovered gas and oil is believed to lie in the Arctic.
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“Today, the survivors and families of the 7/7 London attacks continue the journey that those of Tunisia have just begun. Our hearts grieve with those who lost loved ones ten years ago, and with those so suddenly and cruelly bereaved less than a fortnight ago. We hold them all before God and our spirits call out to Christ to strengthen them.
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“We may or may not like it, but we must accept that there is a revolution in the area of sexuality and we have not fully heard it,” said the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, a year ago. But one of his own bishops says that sticking with the traditional line leaves the CofE suspended in mid-air like Wile E Coyote in a Road Runner cartoon, desperately trying to maintain an impossible position.
“The Church is like a cartoon character who has run off a cliff and is frantically moving his legs faster and faster in the hope it will save him, when he knows there is nothing underneath,” says the Right Rev Alan Wilson, one of the more plain speaking bishops.
“There are about a billion human beings on the planet who have access to same-sex marriage in their country or jurisdiction, so the thought that this is going to go away – or that it is just about a few people in San Francisco – is just wrong.”
He believes a fundamental shift in understanding is happening within the wider Church. “The Evangelicals in particular are in a wibbly wobbly place.”
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Amongst Princess Charlotte’s own ancestors, now buried in the Holy Land, is a saint, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, whose life was one of transparent beauty and death one of beautiful courage and service. In her life she forgave the man who killed her husband. At her cruel murder she continued to care for those suffering with her. It is of such beauty that Jesus speaks when he talks of being great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Such beauty of character begins with baptism, and is established in the habits of following and loving Jesus Christ, habits to be learned from parents and God parents, and the whole community of the church.
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I look forward to the responses from the three Primates here: of Korea, Paul Keun-Sang Kim; of Pakistan, Samuel Robert Azariah; and of Brazil, Francisco De Assis Da Silva; for I have been given an impossibly wide-ranging title!
He has written a significant Foreword to the 2014 book, Living Reconciliation by Phil Groves and Angharad Parry Jones. It is entitled ‘Reconciliation is the Heart of the Gospel’, and is worthy of an extended quotation:
We agree on these [five] marks [of mission]. Yet in so many other things, we disagree. Given our transparent and open structures, we often do so loudly. But we do so as part of a family which, however much it falls out, remains linked. We have to deal with the reality that, no matter how strained our relationships may become at times, we belong to each other…
I am not arguing that we should resist making decisions until the whole Anglican Communion (let alone the universal Church) is in total and unanimous agreement. That would be a legalistic and regulatory response to a problem that is relational and missional.
Rather, I am eager to encourage each of us to take full account of the way in which decisions in one province echo around the world. We do not have a volume button that can limit or determine how our voices are heard beyond our own country or region. The impact of their echoes is something to which we must listen in the process of our decision-making, if we are not to narrow our horizons and reject the breadth of our global family. That process requires extensive conversation and prolonged engagement – an honest reinforcement of the bonds of the relationship – amidst the confusing and costly work of common discernment.
Justin Welby, ‘Foreword: Reconciliation is the Heart of the Gospel’ in Phil Groves and Angharad Parry Jones, Living Reconciliation (London: SPCK, 2014), p. x and xi.
Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the new Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, will be commissioned in September 2015. His long term work of mission and dialogue with Muslims in Nigeria, and on the Network for Inter Faith Concerns of the Anglican Communion, is remarkable.
Frank Griswold, the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, has known him since 1998. He told the Episcopal News Service in April:
Josiah is, above all, a man of communion, a careful listener, and a respecter of the different ways in which we are called to articulate and live the good news of God in Jesus Christ.
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In this conversation, Azariah outlines the growing need for reconciliation within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.
“I also think the Episcopal Church is going through a major time of challenge,” he said. “There is a need of great healing. There is a need for great understanding within the family of the Episcopal Church and within the Anglican Communion here in the United States of America. It is not easy, but it is something which has to be done in love, in faith, in trust upon God, and in not being judgmental to one another.
“I appeal to my brothers and sisters here in the Episcopal Convention — and I also appeal to those Christians and Anglicans who were a part of the Episcopal Church but ... do not relate to the Convention — that the time has come when we cannot live like this. Let us not exhibit a ‘holier than thou’ game over here. … Let us stand together and believe in whatever we believe in and continue to do that — but let us not break up the life of the body of Jesus Christ.”
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The Archbishop of Canterbury's attention has been drawn to a statement forwarded to him from the Office of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, on the above subject. This statement was first posted on the Church of Nigeria website April 30, 2015.
The appointment of the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) is made by the Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) with the approval of the President of the Standing Committee, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
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Capitalism that cannot find £200 for a highly-motivated individual, with good skills, is simply not adequate to the task of creating a stable society.
That hard-working, self-starting man will be on my mind tomorrow, when I take part in the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism in the City of London. This brings together leading figures from business, finance and public policy committed to creating economic systems which will encourage a long-term prosperity that is broadly shared. I am sure I will learn a great deal. I also hope to contribute in a small way, bringing a perspective informed by both economics and theology.
A Christian understanding of inclusive capitalism begins with the nature of God, who in Jesus Christ reached out to include all humanity in salvation. What that looks like for each individual is purpose, calling and a destiny with God. The New Testament teaches us that none of this happens because we are good - in fact, St Paul says in his letter to the Romans that Christ died for us while we were still God’s enemies. It happens because God sought to include all human beings in his love and purpose for them, if they would accept his invitation.
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...Ramsey is not purely of historical interest. I would argue that his mixture of principle and pragmatism offers the churches in our own time a means of negotiating the particular pressures they now face.
There are still many people in countries with an Anglican presence with a living memory of Michael Ramsey. The composite image of the man tends to be of a saintly figure, even other-worldly; physically imposing, with a touch of the ancient about him when in full episcopal costume; eloquent in debate but awkward in small-talk.
Critics have drawn attention to his lack of interest in administration, and to failures in handling his staff. I would argue that much of Ramsey's apparent eccentricity could be explained if we understood him as autistic. Be that as it may, his personal eccentricity masked a remarkable ability to hold together all the myriad, disconnected and pressing matters that crowd around an archbishop. Three examples will make my point.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has joined faith leaders in Britain pledging to fast and pray for the success of key international negotiations over climate change, in a new declaration warning of the “huge challenge” facing the world over global warming.
Representatives of the major faiths, including Archbishop Justin Welby, said climate change has already hit the poorest of the world hardest and urgent action is needed now to protect future generations.
In the Lambeth Declaration, which will be launched tomorrow, signatories call on faith communities to recognise the pressing need to make the transition to a low carbon economy.
The call comes ahead of the international climate change talks in Paris this December where negotiators from more than 190 nations will gather to discuss a new global agreement on climate change, aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 when current commitments run out.
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"Archbishop Stephen Langton was mediator between the King and his barons, counsellor to both, and an advocate of civil harmony, cohesion and goodwill. His great legacy was this remarkable document, the spring from which so much of the human quest for political liberty has drawn, here and abroad, especially in the United States of America.
"The vision of the dignity of the human being, however limited that vision is, in Magna Carta sets a standard for our consideration of all human beings – however important or unimportant, near or far, they may seem to be.
"Langton was not alone. His was an age of giants at Canterbury. Alphege whose love for his people led him to give his life to save them from paying a crippling ransom. Anselm, the wise scholar and yet brave counsellor, whose advice cost him years of exile.
In such self-giving and courage Magna Carta found fertile soil to grow. It sets the bar high for all of us today...."
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The Bishop in Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, the Most Revd Dr Mouneer Anis will give a presentation on the situation in his vast diocese to members and invited guests of the Egypt Diocesan Association at Lambeth Palace on Friday 12 June by kind invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop of York, Patron of the Association, will be present at the meeting.
The occasion celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Egypt Diocesan Association (EDA) which has supported the mission and ministries of that diocese over six decades.
The region covered by the Episcopal Church in Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa includes no fewer than eight countries, and the Christian communities in many parts of the diocese face huge challenges. Dr Mouneer is also in his second term as Archbishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East and so in close touch with the situation of many throughout the Middle East and Arabic world.
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On Trinity Sunday we are drawn into the presence of God by the Spirit through Jesus, sent by love of the Father. We are drawn inward in order to be sent out to give and bless and be the presence of Jesus. Trinity is community, perfect in love and acceptance and giving out, going out. We are to be like that in the church.
All true, but full of issues about how. How? Peter was writing to churches in what is now Turkey. He writes all about how to live a complicated life with households, with worries and pressures, and how to be the community that God wants us to be, because that community is mainly the means through which He loves us.
So today's sermon is about community in the light of Trinity. That community of the church is above all called to witness and worship. We witness every day by what kind of people we are individually and as a community.
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The Right Rev. and Right Hon. George Carey includes among his passions his wife, Eileen; the Barclays Premier League football club Arsenal; and “certain things such as a peaceful world,” he told The Blade during an interview at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit.
The former archbishop of Canterbury elaborated on obstacles to peace that he sees.
“I really do feel very worried about” what is happening to Christians in the Middle East at the hands of the Islamic State, Lord Carey said. “I think we’re now living in a world more dangerous than ever.”
He said that “our biggest enemy now is [ISIS] and Islamic fundamentalism, which now exists in America in all those Muslim families that you have graciously invited and said, following the Statue of Liberty, ‘Come and make your home here.’
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O Lord our God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thine apostles and send them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless thy holy name for thy servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating thy Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom thou dost call and send may do thy will, and bide thy time, and see thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Renewal in the Spirit
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion
‘They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak’ (Acts 2.4). At Pentecost, we celebrate the gift God gives us of being able to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ in the various languages of the whole human world. The Gospel is not the property of any one group, any one culture or history, but is what God intends for the salvation of all who will listen and respond.
St Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is also what God gives us so that we can call God ‘Abba, Father’ (Rom. 8.15, Gal. 4.6). The Spirit is given not only so that we can speak to the world about God but so that we can speak to God in the words of his own beloved Son. The Good News we share is not just a story about Jesus but the possibility of living in and through the life of Jesus and praying his prayer to the Father.
And so the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of ‘communion’ or fellowship (II Cor. 13.13). The Spirit allows us to recognise each other as part of the Body of Christ because we can hear in each other the voice of Jesus praying to the Father. We know, in the Spirit, that we who are baptised into Jesus Christ share one life; so that all the diversity of gifting and service in the Church can be seen as the work of one Spirit (I Cor. 12.4). In the Holy Eucharist, this unity in and through the self-offering of Jesus is reaffirmed and renewed as we pray for the Spirit to transform both the bread and wine and ‘ourselves, our souls and bodies’.
When the Church is living by the Spirit, what the world will see is a community of people who joyfully and gratefully hear the prayer of Jesus being offered in each other’s words and lives, and are able to recognise the one Christ working through human diversity. And if the world sees this, the Church is a true sign of hope in a world of bitter conflict and rivalry.
From the very first, as the New Testament makes plain, the Church has experienced division and internal hostilities. From the very first, the Church has had to repent of its failure to live fully in the light and truth of the Spirit. Jesus tells us in St John’s gospel that the Spirit of truth will ‘prove the world wrong’ in respect of sin and righteousness and judgement (Jn 16.8). But if the Spirit is leading us all further into the truth, the Spirit will convict the Church too of its wrongness and lead it into repentance. And if the Church is a community where we serve each other in the name of Christ, it is a community where we can and should call each other to repentance in the name of Christ and his Spirit – not to make the other feel inferior (because we all need to be called to repentance) but to remind them of the glory of Christ’s gift and the promise that we lose sight of when we fail in our common life as a Church.
Our Anglican fellowship continues to experience painful division, and the events of recent months have not brought us nearer to full reconciliation. There are still things being done that the representative bodies of the Communion have repeatedly pleaded should not be done; and this leads to recrimination, confusion and bitterness all round. It is clear that the official bodies of The Episcopal Church have felt in conscience that they cannot go along with what has been asked of them by others, and the consecration of Canon Mary Glasspool on May 15 has been a clear sign of this. And despite attempts to clarify the situation, activity across provincial boundaries still continues – equally dictated by what people have felt they must in conscience do. Some provinces have within them dioceses that are committed to policies that neither the province as a whole nor the Communion has sanctioned. In several places, not only in North America, Anglicans have not hesitated to involve the law courts in settling disputes, often at great expense and at the cost of the Church’s good name.
All are agreed that the disputes arising around these matters threaten to distract us from our main calling as Christ’s Church. The recent Global South encounter in Singapore articulated a strong and welcome plea for the priority of mission in the Communion; and in my own message to that meeting I prayed for a ‘new Pentecost’ for all of us. This is a good season of the year to pray earnestly for renewal in the Spirit, so that we may indeed do what God asks of us and let all people know that new and forgiven life in Christ is possible and that created men and women may by the Spirit’s power be given the amazing liberty to call God ‘Abba, Father!’
It is my own passionate hope that our discussion of the Anglican Covenant in its entirety will help us focus on that priority; the Covenant is nothing if not a tool for mission. I want to stress yet again that the Covenant is not envisaged as an instrument of control. And this is perhaps a good place to clarify that the place given in the final text to the Standing Committee of the Communion introduces no novelty: the Committee is identical to the former Joint Standing Committee, fully answerable in all matters to the ACC and the Primates; nor is there any intention to prevent the Primates in the group from meeting separately. The reference to the Standing Committee reflected widespread unease about leaving certain processes only to the ACC or only to the Primates.
But we are constantly reminded that the priorities of mission are experienced differently in different places, and that trying to communicate the Gospel in the diverse tongues of human beings can itself lead to misunderstandings and failures of communication between Christians. The sobering truth is that often our attempts to share the Gospel effectively in our own setting can create problems for those in other settings.
We are at a point in our common life where broken communications and fragile relationships have created a very mistrustful climate. This is not news. But many have a sense that the current risks are greater than ever. Although attitudes to human sexuality have been the presenting cause, I want to underline the fact that what has precipitated the current problem is not simply this issue but the widespread bewilderment and often hurt in different quarters that we have no way of making decisions together so that we are not compromised or undermined by what others are doing. We have not, in other words, found a way of shaping our consciences and convictions as a worldwide body. We have not fully received the Pentecostal gift of mutual understanding for common mission.
It may be said – quite understandably, in one way – that our societies and their assumptions are so diverse that we shall never be able to do this. Yet we are called to seek for mutual harmony and common purpose, and not to lose heart. If the truth of Christ is indeed ultimately one as we all believe, there should be a path of mutual respect and thankfulness that will hold us in union and help us grow in that truth.
Yet at the moment we face a dilemma. To maintain outward unity at a formal level while we are convinced that the divisions are not only deep but damaging to our local mission is not a good thing. Neither is it a good thing to break away from each other so dramatically that we no longer see Christ in each other and risk trying to create a church of the ‘perfect’ – people like us. It is significant that there are still very many in The Episcopal Church, bishops, clergy and faithful, who want to be aligned with the Communion’s general commitments and directions, such as those who identify as ‘Communion Partners’, who disagree strongly with recent decisions, yet want to remain in visible fellowship within TEC so far as they can. And, as has often been pointed out, there are things that Anglicans across the world need and want to do together for the care of God’s poor and vulnerable that can and do go on even when division over doctrine or discipline is sharp.
More and more, Anglicans are aware of living through a time of substantial transition, a time when the structures that have served us need reviewing and refreshing, perhaps radical changing, when the voice and witness in the Communion of Christians from the developing world is more articulate and creative than ever, and when the rapidity of social change in ‘developed’ nations leaves even some of the most faithful and traditional Christian communities uncertain where to draw the boundaries in controversial matters – not only sexuality but issues of bioethics, for example, or the complexities of morality in the financial world.
A time of transition, by definition, does not allow quick solutions to such questions, and it is a time when, ideally, we need more than ever to stay in conversation. As I have said many times before, whatever happens to our structures, we still need to preserve both working relationships and places for exchange and discussion. New vehicles for conversations across these boundaries are being developed with much energy.
But some decisions cannot be avoided. We began by thinking about Pentecost and the diverse peoples of the earth finding a common voice, recognising that each was speaking a truth recognised by all. However, when some part of that fellowship speaks in ways that others find hard to recognise, and that point in a significantly different direction from what others are saying, we cannot pretend there is no problem.
And when a province through its formal decision-making bodies or its House of Bishops as a body declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard (as noted in my letter to the Communion last year after the General Convention of TEC) to see how members of that province can be placed in positions where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole. This affects both our ecumenical dialogues, where our partners (as they often say to us) need to know who it is they are talking to, and our internal faith-and-order related groups.
I am therefore proposing that, while these tensions remain unresolved, members of such provinces – provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged. I am further proposing that members of such provinces serving on IASCUFO should for the time being have the status only of consultants rather than full members. This is simply to confirm what the Communion as a whole has come to regard as the acceptable limits of diversity in its practice. It does not alter what has been said earlier by the Primates’ Meeting about the nature of the moratoria: the request for restraint does not necessarily imply that the issues involved are of equal weight but recognises that they are ‘central factors placing strains on our common life’, in the words of the Primates in 2007. Particular provinces will be contacted about the outworking of this in the near future.
I am aware that other bodies have responsibilities in questions concerned with faith and order, notably the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee. The latter two are governed by constitutional provisions which cannot be overturned by any one person’s decision alone, and there will have to be further consultation as to how they are affected. I shall be inviting the views of all members of the Primates’ Meeting on the handling of these matters with a view to the agenda of the next scheduled meeting in January 2011.
In our dealings with other Christian communions, we do not seek to deny our diversity; but there is an obvious problem in putting forward representatives of the Communion who are consciously at odds with what the Communion has formally requested or stipulated. This does not seem fair to them or to our partners. In our dealings with each other, we need to be clear that conscientious decisions may be taken in good faith, even for what are held to be good theological or missional reasons, and yet have a cost when they move away from what is recognisable and acceptable within the Communion. Thus – to take a very different kind of example – there have been and there are Anglicans who have a strong conscientious objection to infant baptism. Their views deserve attention, respect and careful study, they should be engaged in serious dialogue – but it would be eccentric to place such people in a position where their view was implicitly acknowledged as one of a range of equally acceptable convictions, all of which could be taken as representatively Anglican.
Yet no-one should be celebrating such public recognition of divisions and everyone should be reflecting on how to rebuild relations and to move towards a more coherent Anglican identity (which does not mean an Anglican identity with no diversity, a point once again well made by the statement from the Singapore meeting). Some complain that we are condemned to endless meetings that achieve nothing. I believe that in fact we have too few meetings that allow proper mutual exploration. It may well be that such encounters need to take place in a completely different atmosphere from the official meetings of the Communion’s representative bodies, and this needs some imaginative thought and planning. Much work is already going into making this more possible.
But if we do conclude that some public marks of ‘distance’, as the Windsor Continuation Group put it, are unavoidable if our Communion bodies are not to be stripped of credibility and effectiveness, the least Christian thing we can do is to think that this absolves us from prayer and care for each other, or continuing efforts to make sense of each other.
We are praying for a new Pentecost for our Communion. That means above all a vast deepening of our capacity to receive the gift of being adopted sons and daughters of the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It means a deepened capacity to speak of Jesus Christ in the language of our context so that we are heard and the Gospel is made compelling and credible. And it also means a deepened capacity to love and nourish each other within Christ’s Body – especially to love and nourish, as well as to challenge, those whom Christ has given us as neighbours with whom we are in deep and painful dispute.
One remarkable symbol of promise for our Communion is the generous gift received by the Diocese of Jerusalem from His Majesty the King of Jordan, who has provided a site on the banks of the Jordan River, at the traditional site of Our Lord’s Baptism, for the construction of an Anglican church. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of blessing the foundation stone of this church and viewing the plans for its design. It will be a worthy witness at this historic site to the Anglican tradition, a sign of real hope for the long-suffering Christians of the region, and something around which the Communion should gather as a focus of common commitment in Christ and his Spirit. I hope that many in the Communion will give generous support to the project.
‘We have the mind of Christ’ says St Paul (I Cor. 2.16); and, as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has recently written, this means that we must have a ‘kenotic’, a self-emptying approach to each other in the Church. May the Spirit create this in us daily and lead us into that wholeness of truth which is only to be found in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus.
I wish you all God’s richest blessing at this season.
Faith groups are now filling a “huge gap” in British life occupied by the state until the financial crisis and onset of austerity forced a rethink, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said churches, mosques, temples synagogues and other religious organisations had stepped in “in a most extraordinary way” over the past seven years.
He was speaking as a detailed national “audit” of faith groups was published calculating that their members give more than £3 billion worth of time a year on volunteer social action projects.
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The public view of religion among young people, according to a YouGov poll - well, alright it’s a poll, but … [laughter] the reputation of religion among young people is actually more negative than neutral: 41% – this was a poll in 2013, when they still got them right – 41% of 18-24 year olds agreed that “religion is more often the cause of evil in the world” and only 14% say it is a cause for good.
The Faith Action Audit reveals something different. It shows the breadth of commitment across the country, the depth of commitment, and above all the strength of experience and good practice. Thanks to Cinnamon [Network] and other bodies like it, this is not mere do-goodery. It is seeking to find best practice and put it into action in the most professional way that can be imagined.
We’ve heard some of the figures, but just a reminder: the faith sector collectively is delivering, according to the audit – I’ll round it – 220,000 social action projects, from which 47 million people benefit.
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Dr Williams also presented a long service certificate to Sue Beales, who has been big supporter of the Children in Need charity.
He then went on to speak to 80 people in the Boathouse on his personal journey.
Mr [Sean] Finlay said: “He was able to hold us spellbound for 45 minutes.
“Rowan is very engaging and spoke about how he started as a Presbyterian in Wales before progressing into the Anglican church.”
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The power that comes is to be given away not hung onto; Jesus was no Mugabe clinging to power. There would be no public glory or acclaim, merely hard work and sacrifice, like most of those who serve the church round the world today. I spoke to someone yesterday working for reconciliation in a civil war, whose name will never be known outside the circles of his own friends – yet he carries a cross of suffering for Christ.
Put like that it makes the worst of any recent party manifesto looks like words of gold, to which people would flock by contrast. Few would be elected on the manifesto of Jesus, surely?
Yet the church grew at such a rate, despite opposition and suffering, that 300 years later the Empire that had casually swiped away the life of Jesus with the sort of attention we might give to a mosquito, found itself honouring and converting to the faith. The same disciples who beforehand seem foolish and act only in their own interests, were willing to lay down their lives, confident in the promises of God, the Kingdom of God and the triumph of Christ.
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Jesus hasn’t just gone away. He has gone deeper into the heart of reality – our reality and God’s. He has become far more than a visible friend and companion; he has shown himself to be the very centre of our life, the source of our loving energy in the world and the source of our prayerful, trustful waiting on God. He has made us able to be a new kind of human being, silently and patiently trusting God as a loving parent, actively and hopefully at work to make a difference in the world, to make the kind of difference love makes.
So if the world looks and feels like a world without God, the Christian doesn’t try to say, ‘It’s not as bad as all that’, or seek to point to clear signs of God’s presence that make everything all right. The Christian will acknowledge that the situation is harsh, even apparently unhopeful – but will dare to say that they are willing to bring hope by what they offer in terms of compassion and service. And their own willingness and capacity for this is nourished by the prayer that the Spirit of Jesus has made possible for them.
The friends of Jesus are called, in other words, to offer themselves as signs of God in the world – to live in such a way that the underlying all-pervading energy of God begins to come through them and make a difference.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Ascension Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Christology
Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Helping people to get out of debt, and freeing them from the anxiety and exploitation that often goes with being in debt, is part of the Church's commitment to human flourishing.
“I welcome this new training resource to help local churches play a vital role in encouraging people to seek assistance earlier and to make use of the many free debt advice services that are available."
Read it all and take a look at the video.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance The Banking System/Sector * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has become the first patron of debt charity Christians Against Poverty.
The charity runs debt services through local churches with the aim of releasing people from the prison of debt. Around 60 of its 280 debt centres are based in Church of England churches.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
And now we gather again, 70 years on, thankful for victory over the greatest darkness of the twentieth century, perhaps of all history. Our gratitude is not simply for victory-in-Europe, but also reconciliation-in-Europe that followed, neither obviously nor automatically. Peace is more than the end of war: reconciliation dismantles the hostilities which previously separated and alienated us from one another and from God.
In November 1940 Coventry was terribly bombed. The fires lit the skies for miles, so many people died and were wounded, and amongst much else, the Cathedral burned. Yet from the next day the Provost of Coventry, the Very Reverend Richard Howard, set a course towards reconciliation and the dismantling of hostility.
Six weeks later, on Christmas Day 1940, he gave a sermon on the BBC, in which he said: "we want to tell the world... that with Christ born again in our hearts today, we are trying, hard as it may be, to banish all thoughts of revenge... We are going to try to make a kinder, simpler - a more Christ-child-like sort of world in the days beyond this strife."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe
Unity among Christians releases a power that is “impossible to exaggerate”, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the Leadership Conference 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall this morning.
The Archbishop was speaking during an on-stage interview with Nicky Gumbel, Vicar of HTB, alongside Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Read it all
‘There is a crisis in the world; there is a crisis in the Church; there is a crisis of faith,’ he said. ‘Unity is the only hope for the world.’
‘The same Spirit lives in the Catholic, the Pentecostals, the Anglicans – that’s what makes us one.’
Unity around Jesus, he said, is the key to the evangelisation of a nation. ‘A divided world demands a united Church.’
Achieving a united Church boils down to our own individual choices in how we lead and how we follow. ‘Ultimately, unity is not doctrinal, it’s relational,’ he said.
Read it all
Update: There is a report from Day 2 here
Rose appreciated the opportunity for people on opposites sides of the theological and ethical divides to really get to know each other and hear each other. However she has serious concerns about the process as well. Firstly, the Conversations appear light on theology:
“There wasn’t enough time to get into the nitty gritty of the Biblical texts, or to dig into the ‘issues behind the issues’: our approaches to scripture, what is sin, what is truth, what is salvation.”
Secondly, there was an assumption that ‘good disagreement’ was the right outcome: “We hadn’t answered the question of exactly what we were disagreeing on; or whether that disagreement was something we could live with, or something which was so definitive that a split had to happen.”
Thirdly, there was theological bias: “the process was geared towards those of a more liberal standpoint – those who were more likely to agree that the church could coexist with different theologies.”
Lastly, “there weren’t enough conservatives”. Rose herself was assumed to be conservative as she identifies as evangelical. “It’s not his [the Bishop’s] fault I happen to be…a flag-waving, rainbow-wearing lesbian.”
Here is a report from someone who could embody more and more the future of the C of E as envisioned by its current leaders: young, talented and committed to Christ, but coming to radically different conclusions about Christ’s teachings and his demands in ways that align more with the grain of contemporary culture and one’s own self understanding and identity. If even she finds the process of the Shared Conversations too skewed away from a historic, conservative understanding of faith, this is yet more evidence of what Dr Martin Davie has called “a deeply flawed process supported by deeply flawed resources. They are in fact an object lesson of how a church should not go about handling a serious theological issue.”
Read it all
The Dioceses Commission has given its approval to revive the See* of Islington paving the way for a new bishop to lead on church planting within the Diocese of London.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has written to the Commission expressing his strong support for the new See. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, formally submitted a proposal to the Commission laying out the support of both the Diocesan Synod and the Bishop's Council.
Most bishops exercise their ministry within a defined geographical area. The proposal to revive the See of Islington is innovative as the bishop would hold a particular brief for church-planting initiatives primarily in the Diocese of London but to provide advice for other dioceses across England as invited to do so by the local bishop.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
An Executive Summary of a paper commissioned by Church of England Evangelical Council.
How evangelicals should respond.
Firstly…Evangelicals need to say loudly and clearly that, for the reasons explained above, the shared conversations are a deeply flawed process supported by deeply flawed resources. They are in fact an object lesson of how a church should not go about handling a serious theological issue.
Secondly, Evangelicals need to be aware that the shared conversations are only the ‘warm up act.’ It will be in the General Synod, probably in the session in February 2017, that a substantive debate will take place that could change the Church of England’s theology and practice. Such a debate would be proceeded by discussions in the College and House of Bishops so Evangelicals need to be ready for the lead in to the debate to begin as soon as the shared conversations have finished in the summer of 2016.
Thirdly, since it is clear that, whatever criticisms are offered, the shared conversations process is going to take place Evangelicals need to ready to keep on making the following key points during the process:
1. The position of the Church of England has not changed…The burden of proof is on those who want to change the Church’s position.
2. In considering its teaching and practice in relation to human sexuality the Church of England has to base its approach on the teaching of the theological authorities specified in Canons A5 and C15, namely the Bible, the teaching of the orthodox Fathers and Councils and the Historic Formularies of the Church of England (the Thirty Nine Articles, the Book of Common Prayer and the 1662 Ordinal)…
4. In thinking about sexuality it is important not simply to focus on those biblical texts that directly address the issue of same-sex relationships, but to set those in the wider context of the fact that the Bible everywhere presumes a heterosexual norm for sex, marriage and family life on the basis of God’s creation of human beings as male and female.
5. No one has yet succeeded in successfully challenging the fact that the Bible takes a universally negative view of same-sex sexual activity in all its forms, a truth acknowledged by many who would like the Church to change its position on sexuality.
6. It is important not to let our experience determine our reading of the Bible. Rather we must interpret our experience in the light of biblical teaching.
7. The question of sexual orientation is a red herring. There is no agreed account of the cause(s) of same-sex attraction, studies of sexual attraction indicate that in a large number of people who they are attracted to sexually is something fluid rather than fixed and even in the case of those who have a life -long attraction to those of their own sex whether they choose to act on this attraction remains an act of voluntary choice for which they are morally accountable.
8. The issue of human sexuality is not a secondary issue on which we can simply agree to disagree…The Bible is clear that unrepented sexual sin cuts people off from God in this life and in the world to come…
9. The Church of England has a responsibility to take into account the effect that any decision that it makes will have on Christians in other parts of the world, particularly in those places where the Church is facing persecution.
10. It is not enough simply to say ‘no’ to same-sex relationships. The Church of England needs to take seriously the pastoral needs of those people who experience same-sex attraction and it needs to honour those who live lives of Christian holiness in the face of such attraction.
The full paper can be found here
The Bishop is respectful of the genuine Christian discipleship of those who disagree with his traditionalist position, sees their points of view and is not sure that this is a “red line issue” about the core Gospel message. Because of this he will not “leave the Church of England” even if the church changes its doctrine of sex and marriage. He does not appear to say anywhere that he will fight to maintain the current teaching, but rather suggests that change is inevitable, and that arguing over this issue divides rather than unites, and is a bad witness to the world.
This gives us a clue about what is happening in the minds of at least one theologically orthodox Bishop in the C of E. He will strongly promote the Gospel of Jesus crucified and risen, and will defend this against revisionism which undermines basic Christian theism. But lets be honest, these views are not going to be attacked on Twitter or the comments pages of the Guardian, the Independent and Pink News. Bishops such as Richard Jackson know they will be attacked if they defend the historic Christian position on sex, and so he has backed off; saying that he personally has not changed his position supporting the current Church teaching on sex and marriage, but he respects the views of others and will respect the outcome of any Synod resolution. Unity of the Institution, and protection from hostile media attack comes first. This then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – how can the orthodox teaching of the church be defended in Synod if those regarded as the leaders of the orthodox do not contend for it and essentially abstain from the debate?
Read it all, and please pray for the Church of England and the 'evangelical' bishops
You may find the full video of this talk on prayer there.
In an interview broadcast last week with Anglican TV, the former Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Peter Jensen confirmed “the Bishop of Salisbury has delivered a disciplinary note to Bishop John Ellison” and charged him with violating the ecclesiastical boundaries of his diocese.
In their communique released at the close of their London meeting on 18 April 2015 the GAFCON primates gave Bishop Ellison their full backing, denouncing the “unjust and uncharitable charges brought against him by the Bishop of Salisbury.”
Read it all. For more background about the controversial Bishop of Salisbury and the way the CofE House of Bishops changed the rules on divorce to enable him to be appointed see:
Sunday Telegraph: Divorced bishops to be permitted for first time by Church of England, June 6, 2010
Pageantmaster—Comments on the Southwark Bishop Candidates, July 6, 2010
‘Rising star’ made Bishop of Salisbury, April 12, 2011
John Richardson—Bishops married to divorcees ‘pose serious challenge to traditionalist Anglicans,’ April 13, 2011
([London] Times) Bishop of Salisbury Openly Supports Same Sex Marriage, February 3, 2012
The Bishop of Salisbury—Marriage and same-sex relationships, February 24, 2012
Peter Ould responds to the Bishop of Salisbury—Nick Holtam’s Case for Polygamy, May 30, 2013
Bishop Holtam of Salisbury Congratulates and Prays for Same-Sex Couples Getting Married, March 29, 2014
Read it all.
Bishop John Ellison on the Anglican Church in North America from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.
UPDATE - A further interview with Bishop Ellison in 2010
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis have demanded that European nations take in more of the migrants who are fleeing North Africa and the Middle East, days after hundreds were feared to have died after their boats sank in the Mediterranean.
Up to 400 migrants were believed to have drowned when their boat capsized last week, but as many as 900 people could have died after another boat sank near the coast of Libya on Saturday. The deaths prompted Archbishop Welby to call for a united effort to prevent more deaths.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: "We can't say this is one country's responsibility, the one nearest; that's not right. Of course, we have to be aware of the impact of immigration in our own communities, but when people are drowning in the Mediterranean, the need, the misery that has driven them out of their own countries is so extreme, so appalling, that Europe as a whole must rise up and seek to do what's right.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Immigration Politics in General * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Francis * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Welby’s visit was to offer condolences for Egypt’s most recent witnesses, the twenty Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian martyred in Libya in February. The word ‘martyr’ is derived from a Greek word meaning ‘witness.’
Symbolically, Welby delivered to Pope Tawadros twenty-one letters written by grieving British families. One is believed to have been related to David Haines, the aid worker captured in Syria and beheaded last year.
“Why have the martyrs of Libya spoken so powerfully to the world?” Welby asked. “The way these brothers lived and died communicated that their testimony is trustworthy.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Ethiopia Middle East Egypt * Theology
Speaking on a visit to religious and political leaders in Egypt, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told the BBC's Lyse Doucet that the whole of Europe must share responsibility in dealing with the problem.
''It will be demanding, and that's why the burden must be spread across the continent, and not taken by just one country or one area, '' he said.
Read it all and listen to the whole BBC video piece (just under 2 1/2 minutes).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Immigration Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Europe Middle East Egypt * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Archbishop of Canterbury was in Cairo yesterday to show solidarity with Egyptian Christians murdered by jihadists two months ago. His visit was made more timely even as it was overshadowed by yet more murders. As he gave letters of condolence to the families of the victims of Islamic State’s last massacre of Christians, IS released sickening video footage of the next.
The latest film from the terrorist organisation holding the Middle East to ransom is as barbaric as anything it has produced. Prefaced with footage of jihadists vandalising Christian churches, the 29-minute video shows militants holding two groups of prisoners who they claim are members of an “enemy Ethiopian church”. Twelve are shown being beheaded on a beach. At least 16 more are shot in the head elsewhere. Both groups are thought to have been murdered in Libya.
Subject to verification of the footage this brings to more than 50 the number of Christians killed by IS in recent weeks. The strategy is clear. The leadership of the so-called caliphate, under pressure in Iraq, is seeking to expand its reign of terror in North Africa and in particular to sabotage efforts to bring stability to Libya.
Read it all (subscription required).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Ethiopia Libya * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Since his appointment as head of the Church of England in March 2013, Justin Welby has been outspoken about poverty and, in particular, the availability of easy credit from payday lenders. He made comments about payday lenders, such as Wonga, and his commitment to support the credit union movement and other services helping people out of financial distress.
CAP hosts a network of hundreds of churches tackling poverty and debt in communities across the UK. Archbishop Justin said: “CAP deals in helping people to get free of the prison of debt, and it’s something I feel passionately about.
“They are serious, highly professional, deeply committed and above all they will treat you as a human being of infinite value, loved by God, who just needs some help to find your own way forward.”
Read it all.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have invited the "Dowager Countess of Grantham" to dine at Windsor Castle this evening.
Acclaimed actress Dame Maggie Smith - who plays acerbic matriarch Violet Crawley in the hit period drama Downton Abbey - is among 20 guests the monarch and Philip have asked to a private dinner party at the historic Berkshire residence.
Among those at the soiree will be the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney and his wife Diana, and the Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife Caroline.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch History Movies & Television Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
In an interview with SAT-7, the Christian TV station based in the Middle East, Archbishop Justin spoke about the suffering of Christians in the region, among other topics.
Watch and listen to it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary Middle East * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV
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