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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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Rev. Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude reports on his conversations with David Porter - from 'A Conversation with Colin Coward 18th April 2015' at St Brides, Liverpool
OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.Listen to it all below - quote is from 11 mins 20 seconds in.
I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.
The previous report from January 23rd, 2015 on a meeting with David Porter is here
Last month in Minya, Egypt, a 70-year-old Christian woman was beaten and dragged through the streets naked by a mob because her son was suspected of having an affair with a Muslim woman. Horrors like these have renewed fears of religious discord in Egypt. President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi and his government regularly describe Egypt as unified and have worked hard—publicly—to reduce Muslim-Christian tension. But the Minya event has once again demonstrated the relative impunity of the Egyptian police, who failed to respond to earlier warnings of a violent, religiously-motivated attack and took hours to appear on the scene.
The status of Coptic Christians in Egypt has for the most part remained unchanged since Anwar Sadat came to power in 1970. Today, there is little Christian representation in government, and sectarian violence is all but commonplace. But many have suggested that President Sissi is more respectful of minority rights than his predecessors, and many Christians supported Sissi’s rise to power.
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It is the fissure of the state. The people have met the people: they looked and evaluated, and the greater soul has chosen to be more free, noble, ingenious and generous. The majority apprehends the future of British civilisation in terms of its own manners and morals; in its native religious and political institutions. The whole entrenched elite Establishment – Monarchy, Parliament, Government and Church – has been confronted by an epoch-making movement of ordinary people, including humble, devout and sincere Christians who have been tarnished with the whiff of sin and smeared with racism, all because they believe in democracy, national self-determination, and the ability to sack those who make their laws.
The opinion pollsters got it wrong (again), and the markets backed the wrong horse. They have been humbled in their vanity. We now face a myriad of questions and fractured horizons. Our European ‘relationship’ has changed: we have not ceased to love; we simply wish to live apart. We are no less important, and they no less appreciated: we are simply better equipped for self-exploration and destined for global commitment. It is our vocation; our national fulfilment.
23rd June will hereafter be known as Independence Day UK. It marks the resurgence of our democracy, and the restoration of the people’s sovereignty. Many have longed for it, hoped for it, prayed for it and worked for it. We now need different priorities and a new orientation. This is our opportunity for autonomy, transformation, a higher reality and universal benevolence.
This was always about how and by whom we are governed; not immigration and not GDP. We can muse tomorrow about how we heal such profound division in society, but today is our Independence Day. Rejoice! Praise the Lord! God Save the Queen!
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Ugandan Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali is raising concerns over the practice of witchcraft in his country amid reports of Christian politicians and citizens visiting witch doctors and shrines to their ancestors.
The archbishop first expressed worry in May, after the recently re-elected parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, visited her ancestral shrine in eastern Uganda to allegedly thank her ancestors for her good luck.
Since then, several politicians have been sighted at shrines, according to news reports.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Uganda * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths
In a hard-fought and at times bruising campaign, it has been clear that debate about Europe has allowed a number of difficult issues to come to the surface. The debate and the patterns of voting suggest that our politicians in recent years may not have paid sufficient attention to some of the deeper issues which are present in our life. The inevitable and necessary period of reflection which must now follow will allow space for questions of poverty and immigration to be explored.
Those of us who live in Scotland are aware that the outcome of the Referendum is potentially of great significance. We hope that our politicians on all sides will take time for careful reflection and consultation.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Scottish Episcopal Church * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Scotland Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The outcome of the EU referendum is now clear.
Within our parishes and across our country, people will be reflecting on the result in different ways. Those who voted Leave will be happy that their voice was heard, and hopeful for our country’s future outside the EU. For those who voted Remain, this will be a day of profound regret and even sorrow. The close final result will only have strengthened these feelings all round.
There will also be those who have felt disengaged from the long political campaign, and who still feel dismayed at the bitterness with which it was often conducted. It will be vital for us all, as we accept the result and deal with what it means, to understand and respect those who take different views of the same event.
In the debates that will come, we will be most effective if we now seek to heal the divisions of the past campaign. However, those divisions were about such deep issues of national identity and indeed self-identity that doing so will be a difficult and costly task. In the Church, it will be achieved through a renewed focus on what is unchanged, and on what is unchangeable.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the Referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union.
The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.
”The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world, and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.
“As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward-looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.
”The referendum campaign has been vigorous and, at times, has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage — being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope, and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.
”As those who hope and trust in the living God let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minster David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.”
(Found in a number of places including there).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Government ministers, campaigners and Anglican leaders are staying silent on the future of the Christ Church Cathedral, months after an announcement on the quake-damaged building was expected.
Once outspoken restoration campaigner Jim Anderton is sticking to an agreement not to make any public comments while a community campaign group is now agitating for information.
The Anglican cathedral has been sitting damaged in Christchurch's city centre for more than five years, with no clear decision on its possible fate. The Government last year appointed mediator Miriam Dean, QC, in an attempt to break deadlock over the building.,,,
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.
The Bishop of Makamba, the Rt Revd Martin Blaise Nyaboho, has been elected as the fourth Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Burundi. Bishop Martin will succeed Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, who has led the church since 2005, when he is installed on 21 August.
The 61-year-old bishop, a former member of the Anglican Consultative Council (2005 to 2009) was baptized in 1965 and confirmed in July 1969. He was ordained a deacon in 1985 and a priest four years later. He was consecrated in 1997, becoming the first Bishop of Makamba
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..It seems likely that in the months to come there will be strong pressure on Evangelicals in the Church of England who are not willing to go all the way in accepting same-sex relationships to at least adopt this kind of third way approach and so in this post I want to explain why I think the three arguments for this this approach noted above are mistaken.
The reason that the first argument is mistaken is because it does not do justice to what St. John is saying in John 1:14.
For advocates of the third way approach grace is understood to mean unconditional love and acceptance and so living a life of ‘grace and truth’ means showing unconditional love and acceptance to those with whom we disagree even while upholding the truth of our own position. In terms of the current debate about sexuality this means that Evangelicals who hold a conservative approach to sexual ethics should be willing to love and accept those who take a more liberal position.
The problem with this argument is that it fails to read John 1:14 against the background of the Old Testament. As a number of commentators have pointed out, the pairing of ‘grace’ and truth’ in John 1:14 is a deliberate echo of the regular pairing of ‘steadfast love’ and ‘faithfulness’ as a description of God in Old Testament passages such as Genesis 24:27, Exodus 34:6 and Psalm 25:10.  God’s ‘grace’ is his steadfast and merciful love to his oppressed and disobedient people and God’s ‘truth’ is his faithfulness to his promises to be merciful. Both of these are manifested in Jesus, the person in whom the God of the Old Testament is incarnate, because through his death and resurrection he delivers God’s people from sin and death and thus shows God’s faithfulness to his promises and hence his truthfulness.
The relevance of this to the debate about sexuality is that sexual sin, including the sin of same-sex sexual activity, is part of the life of sin and death from which God in Christ has delivered his people (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Romans 1-8 throughout) with the corollary that such sin should no longer form part of their lives. As St. Paul puts it in Romans 6:12-14, because the grace of God means that we have died and risen with Christ:
‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.’
A church, therefore, that is willing to accept same-sex sexual activity (or any other form of sexual sin) is a church that has ceased to truly believe in the grace and truth of God revealed in Jesus Christ...
Members of the Church’s decision making General Synod have been issued with a manual setting out how to discuss the fraught subject of sexuality without offending each other too much.
It comes ahead of a special series of “shared conversations” on the issue set to take place behind closed doors when the Synod meets in York next month.
“Facilitators” trained in conducting negotiations in warzones have been called in to help Anglicans resolve their differences over issues such as same-sex marriage after a similar tactic helped break the deadlock over women bishops.
Press and the public are to be banned from the three-day session in which bishops, priests and lay members with differing views and backgrounds will be asked to join in small-group discussions to speak frankly away from the glare of publicity.
The 14-page booklet, entitled “Grace and Dialogue”, amounts to an etiquette guide for the talks, advising members on everything from where to sit to body language and even facial expressions.
The special sessions are being organised by Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff, who helped lay the foundations for the Northern Ireland peace process through talks with paramilitaries in the 1990s.
He said that while they might not ultimately avert a split in the church over sexuality, they might at least make it less acrimonious.
“I’ve never said that the shared conversations process should be measured on its ability to stop fracture,” he explained.
“I’ve always said that it should be measured on its ability as to even how you fracture.
“Because the reality is that throughout Christian history there have been deep issues about which we have differed at various points and it has not always been possible to maintain the unity of the church in those contexts.
“That is the history of the church, that is the reality.
“What these conversations are about is to show … that even when we disagree deeply we disagree well.”
Read it all
At next month’s General Synod, the Church of England will try a new approach to avoiding a disastrous formal schism over homosexuality. After two days of discussing legislative matters in open session and once all outsiders have left, the 550 representatives from around the world will break into groups of 20 for three days of intensive and personal discussions about sexuality.
The idea is not to reach agreement – 30 years of wrangling have established that this is quite impossible – but to try to bring people on both sides of the debate to see their opponents as fellow Christians. Conservative evangelicals have denounced the scheme as an attempt to manipulate opinion, which of course it is. The question is whether it will work.
What’s new about this approach is that the manipulation that Justin Welby’s strategists have in mind is not to be carried out from the top down. It is hoped that the process of facilitated conversations will allow the church’s activists gathered in the synod to take note of the social changes that are happening in their own congregations and their own families, where acceptance of gay people is becoming much more common.
This week a book of evangelical reflections on sexuality was published in which the bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, announced he had been “profoundly changed” by encounters with lesbian and gay Christians in his own family...
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A new congregation to provide an opportunity for worship, mutual support and encouragement for Christians in the LGBTI community is being launched this summer.
“There has been a need for something like this for some while” says Revd Monica Arnold. “While debate rages on, passionately, at the highest levels of the Church of England, LGBT people continue to live with the realities of their daily life and the mixed reception many receive in parishes. An opportunity to worship and enjoy fellowship without hiding or denying a fundamental aspect of their identity is so important to all aspects of healthy life.
The Bishop of Wolverhampton, Rt Revd Clive Gregory warmly welcomed the initiative:
“Enabling this congregation to meet is important and I am delighted to hear of St Matthew’s offer of hospitality. I understand why LGBTI Christians feel the need for a place to meet and worship where they can feel secure and supported in their God-given sexual identity.
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..The process of appointing a new diocesan bishop is long and complex, and one of the last hurdles has now been passed in the appointment of [the] Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave as the 99th Bishop of Lichfield..
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First, we might well offer a prayer of thanksgiving that we live in a democratic society, where our vote really counts, and where we can freely and safely exercise it. A vote is a valuable commodity!
Second, we might well offer a prayer for wisdom, as we make our decision. This is the kind of decision usually delegated to Parliament alone. The referendum gives us a sense of the vital and life–changing decisions with which we entrust our politicians, and on which we often comment from the safe distance of not having to make them ourselves. Now it is our turn.
Third, we might intercede with God that his sovereignty would reign above all other sovereignties in this knife–edge of a vote.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Ireland * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Mark is married to Sally and they have three adult children. They met in Kenya while volunteers with the Church Mission Society and have a lifelong commitment to mission.
Mark trained for ordination at Ridley Hall Cambridge after working in the catering industry in Edinburgh. Sensing a call to serve in urban areas, Mark was ordained in Manchester Diocese in 1982 and served as a curate in Burnage. Mark and Sally then went to Kenya with the Church Mission Society where Mark taught in a Theological college, later becoming the Principal. Returning to UK, Mark was appointed Rector of Christ Church Harpurhey where he served from 1996 to 2009. He was then appointed Archdeacon of Manchester. Mark's role as Archdeacon of Manchester included being a Residentiary Canon at the Cathedral and significant involvement in Greater Manchester Churches together.
Mark said, "I am honoured and thrilled to have been appointed the next Bishop of Bolton. Greater Manchester is a fantastic place to live and serve, and I am looking forward to getting to know and love the communities and churches of Rossendale, Salford, Bury, Bolton and parts of Wigan for which I will have particular responsibility as Bishop of Bolton.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Missions Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK
...[Bp Nwokolov] said, “There is a gross imbalance in political appointments in the state. Anglican faithful in the state are shortchanged and marginalised from occupying government positions.
“It’s incumbent on the current administration in the state to strike a balance as well as adopt the principle of equity and fair play in political appointments in order not to relegate any section of the state to the background.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology
In many ways disagreement is healthy. It shows that people really care about things, and perhaps disagreement is an inevitable corollary of all change: it’s often about who has to change, the cost of change, and who has to pay it.
But disagreement can also be divisive, destructive and dangerous to our health, both individually and collectively. It can disguise the many things we do agree about; it can distort people’s understanding of what being a Christian means; and it can dismay and divert those who would otherwise join us.
If disagreement is inevitable then we have to learn to do it better. This suggests finding ways that enable us to understand fully what we disagree about, and why.
These notes set out some ways to help us turn debate and confrontation into dialogue, empathy, shared understanding and the commitment to love each other even when – perhaps especially when – we are deeply opposed.
Read it all (15 page pdf).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Don’t you just love the Church of England’s concept of ‘neutrality’ in the matter of the EU Referendum? A whole sea of bishops has endorsed the Remain campaign (that list has since extended, and is still doing so, and not a single one has demurred over the Cameron-Osborne strategy of terrorising the electorate with ‘Project Fear’). The Archbishop of York declared for Remain a few days ago, and now the Archbishop of Canterbury has done the same (with an emotive video appeal) following his recent smearing of a prominent BeLeaver with the allegation of “legitimising racism”. This coordinated completely coincidental archiepiscopal outpouring of Europhilia comes just a fortnight before the crunch vote which will determine whether we remain party to European political integration, or revert simply to being a member of a looser trade bloc, which is what we were told we were joining in 1973, and so affirmed in 1975. The Prime Minister must be delighted that the Established Church is doing the Establishment’s bidding.
Justin Welby is keen to stress that the Church of England does not have an official line on the EU Referendum. It’s just that it appears so. Imagine if the Government had declared itself to be neutral on the matter, and one by one the Cabinet had toured the TV studios to endorse ‘Stronger In’ while slagging off leading BeLeavers. Do you not think people might detect a hint of predisposition, if not a prejudiced and pre-ordained agenda? It is surely a façade of institutional neutrality which permits the full weight of its collective leadership not merely to express a “personal view”, but to dedicate its entire Church House and Bishopthorpe/Lambeth Palace communications machinery (and so staff and financial resources) to ensure the effective dissemination of that message in the national and social media. This amounts to a ‘non-party campaign‘ under Electoral Commission rules. And to endorse ‘Remain’ with appeals to Christian moral responsibility, as John Sentamu does, is verging on the abuse of religious office and the exertion of undue spiritual influence, which, for some, is a grave matter indeed.
This is not an argument for bishops and archbishops to butt out of the secular political sphere (if such a thing exists): it is a plea for spiritual integrity and reflexive honesty in institutional positionality. One could not credibly assert that the institution of Monarchy is politically neutral on the matter of EU membership if the Queen slags off Boris/Gove/Farage while the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are singing the enlightened praises ‘Remain’. The institution of Monarchy is not castles, palaces and Crown Jewels: it is princes and kings – living people – in communion with history and ancestry. And so it is with the Church of England: the church is its people. When bishops and archbishops unite to express a unanimous view, it is the church that speaks. Their professed Referendum ‘neutrality’ is a convenient agnostic cloak for a pathological Europhile disposition: everyone knows it’s a ruse to sustain the peace between the pro-EU bishops and the majority Brexit-leaning laity. There is no convenient via media in this referendum: either we remain or leave. It is a very un-Anglican assignation.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe
The referendum has lit the blue touchpaper on a "debate" which is almost entirely undefined in its scope. As we have seen over the past weeks, everything and anything can be dragged into the campaign - which has been used by many as a proxy for every grievance they might have about politics and the political process.
So, we have been in a game with no game plan and no rules of conduct.
What has happened is detrimental to politics and the political process. Both sides have used misleading figures and information to conduct an argument that has been more like a childish spat in the playground than a measured examination of the issues. The electorate have been fed with ever more cooked statistics and exaggeration. It's virtually impossible for the average voter to discover some facts....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
For example, we need to think and plan for what ministries and leadership our churches, chaplaincies and fresh expressions need (including how to give effect to the decision to increase the number of ordinands by 50% by 2022).....
And we need to expect God to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, that he will take us to places and people that we cannot yet conceive and in ways we may not yet understand. We hope that every diocese will seek to articulate their own narrative of hope, informed by their context, enriched by all that God has been doing and continues to do, and confident of God’s promises for the future. We hope that every parish will similarly look honestly and prayerfully at how and where God has been leading and where he may be taking us next. As the writer of Lamentations says:
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness
Renewal & Reform is built on hope. And hope is a very, very good thing.
Read it all.
Behind closed doors and in groups of up to 20, bishops, priests and lay members will discuss their views on homosexuality when General Synod, the church’s parliament, meets in York from July 8.
David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s adviser organising the “shared conversations”, admitted that they would not prevent a split within the church over...[same-sex marriage], but said that clerics should be judged on “how we fracture”.
To that end, the church has produced a manual entitled Grace and dialogue: shared conversations on difficult issues, which says that the debate over sexuality is damaging the Church of England and putting off those who might consider joining.
Read it all (subscirption only)
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
A split over ..[same-sex] marriage in the Church of England may be unavoidable, the Archbishop of Canterbury's chief of staff admitted on Friday, despite desperate behind-the-scenes discussions to reconcile opposing factions.
The Church's governing body will enter into secret talks next month in an effort to "change the tone of the debate" over teaching on same-sex relationships. But David Porter, who also heads up the discussions known as Shared Conversations, said they may fail to prevent a split.
Read it all from Christian Today.
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Southern Africa * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Missions Spirituality/Prayer * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
A prayer vigil was held last night in St Peter’s, Birstall, after the murder of Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, outside her constituency advice surgery in the West Yorkshire town.
The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, and the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, took part in the service, which was attended by about 300 constituents, as well as fellow MPs, among them Yvette Cooper, Naz Shah, Dan Jarvis, Rachel Reeves, and Mary Creagh.
Bishop Gibbs told mourners that the attack on the 41-year-old mother of two had left people “overwhelmed by shock, grief and a sense of loss.
“We are here for each other, and I know and I hope and I pray that we will be here for each other in the days ahead,” he said. “’Jo grew up in this community, she loved this community and she served this community. And, in the end, she gave her life for this community.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Pastoral Theology
The Agenda for the July meeting of the General Synod is published today. Members will gather in York on Friday 8 July until Saturday 9 July. A key focus during these two days will be how the Church's vision for a growing, confident and hopeful church can be put into action through the Renewal and Reform Programme.
The Church's governing body will discuss the vision and narrative for Renewal and Reform and key changes to legislation to make innovation and change easier for those engaged with church life at all levels. The Legislative Reform Measure will make it possible to amend or repeal some Church legislation by means of Orders approved by the Synod. Several other proposed pieces of new legislation will consolidate existing provisions into a more user-friendly form and repeal provisions which are obsolete. There will also be an opportunity for Synod to discuss a report from the Development and Appointments Group updating Synod on the progress of their work on the training and development of senior Church leaders.
Read it all and follow the links.
The Church of England has today launched a search for its first Head of Digital Communications.
The advertisement for the new post states the Church is seeking someone to "take risks for the Gospel in exploring how digital engagement can lead to spiritual and numerical growth."
The job description for the new role suggests the postholder will be responsible for "leading a team developing and implementing digital evangelism, discipleship and digital communication strategies for the Church of England".
Commenting on the new post the Rev Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Church of England said: "We are looking for someone who is as confident and comfortable talking about Jesus as they are talking about the latest developments in tech and social media. As a digital evangelist they will utilise the best of digital to proclaim the Gospel.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK
2015 Membership 32,141 [2014 Membership 32,634]
2015 Total Attendance 12,956 [2014 Total Attendance 13,611]
Read it all from page 65 of the 33rd Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2015. There was some speculation on this trajectory last year here
The Anglican Communion throughout the world upholds the biblical teaching on Same Sex Marriage (i.e. that it does not exist because marriage is between a man and a woman). The meeting of the Anglican primates at the beginning of this year was quite clear and they backed it up with promises of discipline for any Anglican communion which went against its ruling. This was no Church of Scotland style, ‘we believe in traditional marriage but we will allow our ministers to go against that teaching’. Of course the mainly white liberal Anglicans who have the view that they are the progressives and who regard the mainly black/Asian southern Anglicans as backward regressives , proclaimed their defiance. The latest ‘communion’ to do so is the Scottish Episcopal Church at its meeting last week, which took ‘the first step’ towards allowing SSM in its churches, by a vote of 97:33 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-36498967
What does all this mean?
The Scottish Episcopal Church is, as the name suggests the Scottish version of the Church of England. Despite the common perception that it is the “English’ church it is not. It does however have an identity problem – in the 2011 census only 8,000 people claimed that they were Scottish Episcopalian, another 20,000 claimed they were just Anglican and some 60,000 claimed they were Church of England. The most reliable statistic is the 2014 return by the SEC that stated there were 34,000 members of all ages. I suspect that in terms of actual attendance there are less than 10,000 in an Anglican church in Scotland on a Sunday…The Scottish Episcopalian church is, like most mainstream churches in Scotland, in a steep decline. This decision, if it is carried through, will only increase that decline...
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..We know that many in our church will be rejoicing in this new direction. There are many others who are in deep pain, including those in our churches who are attracted to the same-sex but who hold an orthodox view of marriage. Some of us will need to consider what future can be had in a church which is abandoning its claim to being part of the one holy Catholic and apostolic church.
We are grateful for the theological, practical and prayer support which we have received from within Scotland and around the world. We now ask for the orthodox leaders of the Anglican Communion to stand with us and pray for us as we discern what the next steps should be..
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Mpho Tutu-van Furth had to give up her priest’s licence last month when she married a woman. But she believes the Anglican Church of Southern Africa will — with a little divine intervention — come to embrace same-sex marriages....
In May in Franschhoek‚ Tutu married Professor Marcelina van Furth‚ a paediatrician who researches infectious diseases at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The union had the blessing of her parents‚ Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Leah Tutu.
Van Furth is an atheist – but this has not posed a problem. “It seems to work quite well‚” says Tutu-Van Furth. “I respect her atheism‚ and she's interested in Christianity. She comes to church with me‚ sits in a pew‚ listens to the teaching and asks me about it. She sinks into being a peaceful place and meditates while I pray‚ and that's also fine....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Southern Africa * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
In a nod to changing times, the Anglican Church of Canada’s latest report on physician-assisted dying, rather than opposing the practice, recognizes it as a reality. The report offers reflections and resources around assisted dying and related issues, such as palliative care.
The Supreme Court of Canada struck down last year a ban on physician-assisted death for the “grievously and irremediably ill” as unconstitutional, notes the paper, entitled In Sure and Certain Hope: Resources to Assist Pastoral and Theological Approaches to Physician Assisted Dying, released Thursday, June 9.
In the wake of this decision, the paper states, “public debate concerning the legal ban on physician assisted dying is in some ways over.”
As a result, the authors continue, “our energy is best spent at this time ensuring that this practice is governed in ways that reflect insofar as possible a just expression of care for the dignity of every human being, whatever the circumstances.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
In a letter released after the vote, the Gafcon UK Panel of Bishops said they offered "to provide alternative episcopal oversight, and thereby your recognition as faithful Anglicans by the worldwide Gafcon movement, which represents the majority of Anglicans worldwide".
The letter was signed by four bishops on behalf of Gafcon UK's panel and four other Anglican clergymen.
Written before the vote, it was released by the traditionalist Scottish Anglican Network in the immediate aftermath of the decision. It said the SEC was "dividing the church" over the issue of gay marriage and promised to "stand united with faithful Anglicans in Scotland seeking to uphold the plain doctrinal and moral teaching of the Holy Scriptures".
Read it all from Christian Today.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Scottish Episcopal Church Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has today passed a first reading of a change to its Canon on marriage (Canon 31). The change is to remove from the Canon the doctrinal statement regarding marriage that marriage is to be understood as a union “of one man and one woman.”
A first reading of the change is the first step in a process and does not represent a final decision. The proposed change now passes from the General Synod to the Church’s seven dioceses for discussion and comment in their Diocesan Synods in the coming year. The opinions from the dioceses will then be relayed back to the General Synod which will be invited to give a second reading of the Canon in June 2017. At that stage, for a second reading to be passed, it must achieve a majority of two thirds in the “houses” of bishops, clergy and laity within the General Synod. The change to the canon would include a conscience clause ensuring that clergy opposed to the change are not required to marry people of the same sex.
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In life there is much to fear. Over and again the Psalm describes those things we might be afraid of – the fears we harbour individually as well as the fears we share corporately. Fear makes us want to flee – from God, from one another, often even from ourselves. But over and again that fear is turned into wonder as we see that God is before, behind and beyond it.
Over the 63 years and the 90 years there has been much to fear: at times of personal challenge or national crisis. But just as the psalmist sees through fear to something more stirring and more extraordinary, so we look back on Your Majesty’s 90 years in the life of our nation with deep wonder and profound gratitude. Through war and hardship, through turmoil and change, we have been fearfully and wonderfully sustained.
The one who turns fear to wonder is Jesus.
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The Scottish Episcopal Church's General Synod has made the first steps of any Anglican Church in the UK towards allowing gay marriage in church.
The synod voted that a change to its Canon law governing marriage should be sent for discussion to the church's seven dioceses.
A further vote will happen at next year's synod.
The proposal would remove the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman.
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The House of Bishops has issued a wide-ranging critique of the welfare system, in a discussion paper that refers to the system’s inability to tackle an “enemy which threatens the well-being of our people”.
Starting from the “Five Giant Evils” identified in the 1942 Beveridge report, on which the welfare state was based — Want, Disease, Squalor, Ignorance, and Idleness — the Bishops’ paper adds “a giant which all can see around them, which most experience at some time in their lives, but which few will name. It is the Enemy Isolation.”
The 17-page paper, Thinking Afresh about Welfare: The enemy isolation, has been produced by the Director of Mission and Public Affairs, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, in association with the Bishops of Norwich, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, and Truro. It contains echoes of the House’s pre-election pastoral letter of 2015.
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What we heard today is that the question has been asked of the Archbishop of Canterbury as to what, if any, the consequences of making this change might be. It would appear that the only consequence is very personal to the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
He met Justin Welby two weeks ago and was told directly by him that if the Scottish Episcopal Church goes ahead and makes this change then the Primus will himself be personally removed by the Archbishop from leading the World Anglican-Reformed Dialogue – an ecumenical series of international meetings.
It seems to me that we have come to a new place if the Archbishop of Canterbury is going to personally threaten the Primus of a province of the Anglican Communion if that province makes a decision.
There were a number of people at this afternoon’s synod meeting proudly wearing badges that said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury hath no jurisdiction in this realm of Scotland”.
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Two weeks ago, I went to London and met with Archbishop Justin specifically to ask the question, 'Will this also apply to us if we complete the process of Canonical change in 2017?' The answer is that it will. Most directly, I will be removed from the role of Anglican Co-Chair of the International Anglican-Reformed Dialogue. But other effects are limited. Our bishops will be present and fully involved in the Lambeth Conference planned for 2020. We shall continue to be actively involved in our network of Diocesan Companionships and in the Anglican Networks.
Let me try and explain to you what has happened and what has changed.
The Anglican Communion does not have a central authority, The Provinces - of which our own SEC is one - are autonomous. But clearly we owe a duty and respect to other Provinces, We sometimes say 'autonomous and interdependent'. That delicate balance becomes stressed when Provinces which live in very different contexts address the changing context in which they live in very different ways.
The Global North is experiencing massive social change in respect of human sexuality - not that the church simply follows that. The Global South - and in particular Sub-Saharan Africa - remains deeply conservative and is under pressure from the Islamisation of Africa. The legacy of colonialism makes measured and respectful dialogue very difficult. Different understandings of collegiality and leadership confuse expectations about how issues will be addressed.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016 Anglican Provinces Scottish Episcopal Church Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
It has been learned today that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has privately threatened to sack the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, David Chillingworth, from ecumenical dialogue if members of the church’s General Synod do not do as they are told with respect to same-sex marriage.
This will be an extension of the sanctions applied to the Episcopal Church of the United States of America by the Primates’ Meeting in January of this year, after ECUSA agreed to acceptance of marriage equality within their own province.
It is fair to say that this communication to our Primus came as a surprise to members of our own General Synod.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Scottish Episcopal Church * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
In closing, I would like to make three final observations. First, I keep being told that there are ‘good arguments’ for the Church to change its teaching on this issue. If there are, then where are they? Jeffrey John is a leading figure in this debate, so how come he offers us here such a poorly researched, implausible and incoherent case? Why is the case being made by SEC, a sister church in the Communion, so thin?
Secondly, what is Jeffrey John doing from the pulpit? He consistently makes the claim that texts ‘must mean this’ when they probably don’t, that Paul ‘certainly would have thought this’ when the majority think he wouldn’t, and that ‘this is what Jesus does’ when the gospels writers suggest the opposite. It is one thing to make a case, even a contentious one; it is quite another to disguise from your listeners that there is another possibility. It is a bit like saying ‘I am not interpreting the Bible; I am simply telling you what it says.’ It is a naked power play, and is wrong whoever does it. Some would call this dishonest; others might label it deceptive. It doesn’t seem to me to be a legitimate way to feed sheep....
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Update: Robert Gagnon has written on the passage in question there.
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After Nuer refugee children were killed in a road accident mobs of ‘highlanders’ [the Gambellan term for those from central Ethiopia] bent on revenge against Nuer refugees for the murder of numerous highlanders were turned back by the Ethiopia army – this is significant because the vast majority of soldiers are themselves highlanders..
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Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, is to give a keynote address at a gathering of academics and social activists at a conference taking place in the Cayman Islands, sponsored and hosted by the “Queering Paradigms Network” of Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.
The organisation’s website states:
The Queering Paradigms network is dedicated to examining the current state and future challenges of queer studies from a broad trans-disciplinary and polythetic perspective, and by interrogating numerous social, political, cultural and academic agendas.The programme of the conference, which can be seen here, describes a very comfortable venue in one of the most expensive locations in the world. It is not apparent who is funding the meeting, or the budget of the department of Comparative Religion, Gender and Sexuality at Canterbury Christ Church University. Many of the nearby Caribbean nations are trying to resist the imposition of the new sexual ethics of the wealthy nations, and this attempt to retain traditional family values will be strongly criticised during the conference...
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Archbishop Desmond Tutu's youngest daughter Mpho Tutu van Furth recently made public her same sex marriage to her partner Marceline van Furth. She is also a reverend in the Anglican Church, but revealing her sexuality forced her to relinquish her licence to carry out her duties as a priest...
Listen to it all (just under 4 minutes).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Southern Africa * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The most disheartening section of the [Anglican Church of Canada's] report comes in its treatment of the words of our Lord in Mark 10:1-10 and Matthew 19:1-9. Whatever the motivation may have been, the report circumvents a straightforward reading of Scripture. In his disputes with the Pharisees regarding divorce, Jesus invokes the original purpose of God in establishing marriage: namely, to create an indissoluble bond between man and woman. The report comments on these passages (220.127.116.11):
Jesus refuses to be entrapped, and yet also refuses to make a new law; rather, he challenges the “hardness of heart” reflected in both casual and utilitarian practices of divorce and remarriage in the Hellenistic world. Jesus is therefore not stating a timeless doctrine of marriage, but rather giving a pastoral (and political) response to a particular set of practices.The first sentence in this paragraph is on the right track. Jesus doesn’t fit into the casts forced upon him by some contemporary rabbinic positions regarding divorce. He does not make a “new law” either; in fact he simply reiterates a very old “law,” one going all the way back to creation in Genesis 1 and 2. Further, the report is correct in noting that Jesus probably was concerned about “a particular set of practices,” not least the permissive attitude toward divorce that was common at the time.
It does not follow, however, that Jesus is “not stating a timeless doctrine of marriage.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The Just Finance Network, formerly known as the Church Credit Champions Network (CCCN), has proposed a nationwide roll out of ‘credit champions’ to help people manage money and debt.
The scheme has already been piloted in churches in London, Southwark and Liverpool and has trained more than 260 volunteers. Organisers believe it is now ready to go nationwide.
Of the Church Credit Champions Network, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, said that desperate people had been exploited by unscrupulous credit providers locking them into a crippling spiral of debt.
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New Zealand’s sole Anglican Friary is about to close.
The Friary of the Divine Compassion has, for almost 15 years, been a spiritual anchor for Te Ara Hou, which is the Anglican social service community in Hillcrest, Hamilton.
But time has caught up with the brothers.
Late last year, Br Brian, who was 90, died. Br Brother Damian Kenneth will soon be moving into a retirement village, while the Rev Phil Dyer – a Third Order Franciscan who has, in recent times, lived at the Friary – will also be moving on.
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The leader of the Scottish Episcopal Church has conceded that a vote on same-sex marriage this week risks putting it at odds with the remainder of the Anglican Communion.
The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, said the potential split was “a very serious issue” for the Scottish church but added that all sides were committed to maintaining unity.
Members of the church will be asked on Friday to consider a change to canon law, which currently states that marriage must be between a man and a woman, at its General Synod.
Read it all from the (London) Times (requires subscription).
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The conference, which is now in its seventh year, was founded by Professor Bee Scherer, director of the INCISE research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. He said, “Local activists approached us last year at the QP6 conference in Canterbury with the view of bringing QP to the Caribbean region; after the success of QP in South America (Rio 2012, Quito 2014) we agreed to support them.”
The conference has attracted criticism from conservative political and religious groups who are opposing LGBTIQ rights and equality, the organisers stated this weekend in a press release.
Although one of the key note speakers is an Anglican bishop, activists said it was sad to see how some churches have tried to boycott the conference rather than engage in a democratic dialogue with experts from all over the world who are coming to the Cayman Islands to share their knowledge and expertise with the public.
“I hope that we will see a fruitful dialogue and not just picketing and shouting,” said Scherer. “We have invited the Rt Hon Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, as one of the keynote speakers...
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A discussion paper 'Thinking Afresh About Welfare' has been released today by the Church of England.
The paper, by Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of the Mission and Public Affairs Division of Archbishops' Council, was endorsed by the May meeting of the House of Bishops as a discussion document.
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..Anglican Ink has learned the ACK has declined to invite Archbishop Welby to give the sermon at the July consecration of archbishop-elect of Kenya, the Most Rev. Jackson ole Sapit. It has extended the invitation instead to the newest member of the GAFCON primates council, the Archbishop of Tanzania, the Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya (pictured). The Kenyan snub follows the Lambeth snub of the GAFCON primates over the Task Force authorized by the January primates gathering in Canterbury. Leaders of the Churches of Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya tell AI they were not consulted by Lambeth Palace or the Anglican Consultative Council on the composition of the task force, and learned of its membership from press reports. The appointment of a Kenyan to the task force, without speaking with the leaders of the Kenyan church, AI was told, telegraphed to the GAFCON leaders they should not expect anything from this latest Lambeth commission, one leader explained. Queries to the Lambeth Palace press office asking why the GAFCON leaders were not consulted have gone unanswered.
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..Highbury Corner magistrates heard the Anglican priest kicked a paramedic twice in the leg before punching him and trying to bite him, on Charing Cross Road, in Covent Garden.
As police intervened, the priest from St Mary's Church in Ilford, east London, kicked an officer in the face, the court was told.
When asked which embassy would grant him diplomatic immunity, the priest said "the Vatican" and swore at officers.
Jones, who has previous convictions for a bomb hoax, affray, possession of cannabis, fraud, and criminal damage, now faces formal church disciplinary proceedings..
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The consequences of this widespread dislike to “dogma” are very serious in the present day. Whether we like to allow it or not, it is an epidemic which is just now doing great harm, and specially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a “jelly-fish” Christianity in the land: that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power. A jelly-fish, as everyone knows who has been much by the seaside, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little, delicate, transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defence, or self-preservation. Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is,“No dogma, no distinct tenets, no positive doctrine.” We have hundreds of “jelly-fish” clergymen, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions; they belong to no school or party: they are so afraid of “extreme views” that they have no views at all. We have thousands of “jelly-fish” sermons preached every year, sermons without an edge, or a point, or a corner, smooth as billiard balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint.—We have legions of “jelly-fish” young men annually turned out from our Universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion, and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth.--JC Ryle, Principles for Churchmen (London: William Hunt+Co, 1884), pp. 97-98 (my emphasis)
Their only creed is a kind of “Nihilism.” They are sure and positive about nothing. And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of jelly-fish worshippers,respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than colour-blind people can distinguish colours. They think everybody is right and nobody wrong, every-thing is true and nothing is false, all sermons are good and none are bad, every clergyman is sound and no clergyman unsound. They are “tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;” often carried away by any new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, be-cause they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to “render a reason of the hope that is in them.” All this, and much more, of which I cannot now speak particularly, is the result of the unhappy dread of “dogma” which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many Churchmen, in these latter days.
I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrow¬ful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. “Dogma” and positive doctrine are at a dis¬count just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural re-sult, and meet us in every direction. Never was it so important for lay-men to hold systematic views of truth, and for ordained ministers to “enunciate dogma” very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Adult Education Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
This was new to me--check it out.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria
A deal to avert the break-up of the worldwide Anglican Communion risks collapse amid signals that African churches are reassessing ties with the Church of England over the issue of same-sex marriage.
The new leader of a powerful bloc of traditionalist bishops and archbishops - seen as representing the majority of the world’s estimated 80 million Anglicans - said the Church of England had recently crossed a “line” with a series of decisions seen as endorsing a more liberal stance on homosexuality.
The Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, the Archbishop of Nigeria, said many traditionalists now view the British branches of Anglicanism in a similar light to The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the US which has been accused of “heresy” for ordaining openly gay bishops and endorsing same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Okoh – recently elected as chairman of the influential “Gafcon” (Global Anglican Future Conference) group of clerics – also pointedly gave his backing to a new breakaway network of churches in England, set up outside the control of the Church of England.
His intervention is the clearest sign yet of a renewed threat of schism within Anglicanism.
It follows the decision by one Nigerian diocese last week to break off ties with the Church of England Diocese of Liverpool because of the appointment of an American bishop who supports same-sex marriage to a special role in the area.
Last month there was also anger among traditionalists after a cleric from the Church of England’s Oxford diocese took part in a celebration of Desmond Tutu’s daughter’s same-sex wedding in South Africa.
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..I received a message from our Primate in Nigeria, who is currently the Chairman of GAFCON today about a partnership that is in the Western news. That there is a three way Diocesan partnership between the Diocese of Liverpool, England, the Diocese of Akure, Nigeria and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in the United States.
Also, that recently, the Diocese of Liverpool made the assisting Bishop of Virginia, Susan Goff, an assisting Bishop in Liverpool. Susan Goff is in favour of blessing same sex unions and this has been a part of the litigation against the orthodox in Virginia.
Therefore, in view of the above and being aware of the fact that Nigeria does not support same sex marriage, we in Akure Diocese cannot have any link with Liverpool Diocese.
We pray that Jesus Christ, The Owner of His Church will reveal Himself to us anew in Jesus name.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop of Akure Diocese.
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Of special interest is the "Faith and Order Board Doctrine Committee Paper on the Theology of Marriage" which starts on numbered page 20--take a look.
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It is one church separated by a border - but this week Anglicans in the Church of England and in the Scottish Episcopal Church face falling out over the issue of same-sex marriages.
In the progressive corner is the Scottish Episcopal Church - in effect the Anglican church in Scotland - which is preparing to vote for clergy to be allowed to carry out same sex marriages. Meanwhile, its southern neighbours, the Church of England, is on the reactionary side, opposing any such move.
Members of the Scottish Episcopal Church will be asked if they back a change to canon law which currently states that marriage must be between a man and a woman, at the Church’s General Synod in Edinburgh on Friday.
Read it all from The Herald.
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A growing number of Muslim refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity, according to churches, which have conducted mass baptisms in some places.
Reliable data on conversions is not available but anecdotal evidence suggests a pattern of rising church attendance by Muslims who have fled conflict, repression and economic hardship in countries across the Middle East and central Asia.
Complex factors behind the trend include heartfelt faith in a new religion, gratitude to Christian groups offering support during perilous and frightening journeys, and an expectation that conversion may aid asylum applications.
Read it all and don't miss the great picture.
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Bendigo was ringing with the sound of bells on Sunday to mark the re-opening of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral.
The bells went quiet about 2.45pm in preparation for an invitation-only opening service for the diocese.
Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, The Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier, delivered the sermon.
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How did your Christianity journey begin?
In 1985, a friend invited to be to a local Anglican church in Olendeme where a white missionary who also served as a nurse at the area dispensary was looking for an interpreter in a bid to allow her to effectively communicate with the local Maasai community. Being the only one who understood English, she recruited me and worked alongside her in interpreting health messages as well as read the Maasai version of the bible during her evangelical missions to the village. That is how I begun interacting with the word of God and embraced it...
What don't people know about you
Immediately, after high school I worked as a cattle trader. My associates and I would buy cattle in Narok and trek with them for sale at the famous Dagoretti cattle sale yard. I would plough the profit back to increasing my cattle numbers at home...
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In the beginning, the focus of our concern was North America and we thank God that he has raised up the Anglican Church North America as a new wineskin in that continent. Now our concern is increasingly with the British Isles. A line has been crossed in the Church of England itself with the appointment of Bishop Susan Goff, of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, as an Assisting Bishop of Liverpool. The false teaching of the American Episcopal Church has been normalised in England and this divisive act has meant that the Church of Nigeria’s Akure Diocese has had no alternative but to end its partnership link with Liverpool Diocese.
At our recent Primates Council meeting in Nairobi we reaffirmed our solidarity with the leaders of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK and the Anglican Mission in England at this testing time.
When the GAFCON movement began in 2008 with our first conference in Jerusalem, my predecessor as Primate of All Nigeria and former Chairman, His Grace Peter Akinola, declared that GAFCON was a rescue mission for the Anglican Communion. His words were prophetic and they are being fulfilled. Let us be confident of all that is yet to come. Let us work and pray for the reform and renewal of our beloved Communion. Let us trust in our God who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.
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Anglican bishops on Friday had a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari where they sought to know what his administration is doing to tackle the spate of insecurity, particularly vandalism of oil facilities in the Niger Delta and herdsmen’s attacks in parts of the country.
The Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, who led the bishops to the meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, disclosed this while interacting with State House correspondents.
“We told him (the President) many things but part of it is that we are all looking for solutions to issues of the herdsmen; the issue of vandalism; on security in one way or the other because the people are asking us and we want to have explanation for the people whom we lead,” Okoh said.
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For the second year in a row, Bishop David Edwards of the diocese of Fredericton will spend the first two weeks of June walking the streets and highways of his territory, visiting parishes, praying with Anglicans and witnessing to the communities he visits along the way.
“As a church, we need to be getting outside our walls and proclaiming the good news of Jesus in all kinds of ways,” he said in an interview with the Anglican Journal. “In a sense, this is a symbolic gesture on my part: to say to folks that we can’t sit in our buildings, the gospel is something to be proclaimed in the streets and on the hillsides.”
The pilgrimage, which began May 29 and ends June 12, will take Edwards through the geographically large but sparsely populated archdeaconry of Chatham along New Brunswick’s rugged north shore.
- See more at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/bishop-s-pilgrimage-about-getting-outside-our-walls#sthash.20Ry8Fe8.dpuf
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The release of Church of England ministry statistics this week confirms once again the “ageing crisis” of Anglican clergy. Signs of change are evident, but it remains the case that there are almost twice as many clergy aged over 60 as under 40.
You would be forgiven for questioning the veracity of that data after walking into the church where I serve, however. St Luke’s Kentish Town has a clergy stock blessed with a vicar in his mid-30s, a curate just shy of 30, and me, as ordinand, aged 26. At the last count, the average age of the 200-strong congregation was 27. This is perfectly in keeping with our young north London location, but pitches us – clergy and congregation – as significantly more youthful than the Church of England as a whole.
Vicars needed: the Church of England's fight to fill its vacancies in the north
While the church realises that there are unusual enclaves such as ours, misconceptions are common about what really goes on in them. To be clear, this is not just the young leading the young. We (and many like us; we might be uncommon but are in no sense unique) are normal parishes, seeking to present and represent Jesus Christ faithfully to those around us, irrespective of age.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Young Adults * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Falling numbers of stipendiary clergy in the Church of England, reported in the latest statistics, show the urgent need for more ordinations, the Director of Ministry for the Archbishops’ Council, the Ven. Julian Hubbard, has said.
The statistics, released yesterday, reveal that, while the total number of ordained ministers has remained at around 20,500 from 2012 to the end of last year, the number of stipendiary bishops, priests, and deacons fell from 8006 in 2012 to 7661.
The number of stipendiary women clergy has risen slightly every year, but has not offset the decline in numbers of men.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
O God, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: Grant that we who remember before thee the blessed martyrs of Uganda, may, like them, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, to whom they gave obedience even unto death, and by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
The Church of England is facing a growing crisis of ageing clergy, with a quarter of its ministers aged over 60.
Although the number of people being ordained has increased in the past four years, new figures published by the church show that only 13% of its ministers are under the age of 40.
“While the number of stipendiary ordinations showed a welcome increase between 2012 and 2015, this is not sufficient to redress the gathering effect of clergy retirements predicted over the next 10 years,” said Julian Hubbard, the C of E’s director of ministry. “With 25% of stipendiary clergy aged 60 or over, at present rates of ordination this trend will have a material and growing impact on the number of those available to serve in ordained roles across the dioceses.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Young Adults * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
In these times of flux and challenge, when Britain’s post-imperial place in a globalized world has rarely been so minutely scrutinized and the nation’s very identity can appear to be little more than a work in progress, pity the poor parish priest.
Ever since Henry VIII broke with papal authority in the 16th century, the Anglican Church has stood at the nation’s core. In towns and villages across the land, churches offered formal services and a deeper succor for those seeking life’s meaning or, perhaps, just companionship among the like-minded.
Still, at the highest levels — ecclesiastical as much as political — 26 Anglican bishops sit in the House of Lords, the upper house of Parliament, where they are known as the Lords Spiritual
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The Church of England has released new Ministry Statistics giving trends in ministry over the period between 2012 and 2015.
The statistics show that total ordained ministry over the last 4 years has remained stable, with over 20,000 ordained people serving the church in various roles.
The number of stipendiary clergy has fallen from 8,300 to 8,000 between 2012 and 2015.
The proportion of stipendiary clergy who are women increased from 24% in 2012 to 27% in 2015. And 19% of senior staff in 2015 were women, up from 12% in 2012.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
...today, we witness a growing interdependence of nations in a globalising world and an increasing number of interconnected political challenges far exceeding the capacity of nation-states to handle them. Because the common good is increasingly trans-national, clinging to maximum sovereignty at the national level won’t always be the right way to promote the goals of justice, peace, freedom and solidarity, even within the UK.
To address these adequately, we need not only inter-governmental cooperation among independent nation states but also effective trans-national institutions.
I submit that the EU, for all its numerous failings and limitations, is one of these necessary institutions.
In the face of an increasing number of border-defying challenges such as security threats, structural and regional deprivation, environmental degradation, threats to peace on Europe’s eastern borders and the immense challenge of the refugee crisis on its southern borders, we need a robust authority with a remit for the common good across European public space.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The 2015 report (due out quite soon) will be much more specific about the particular operational issues, and lists
Failure to recruit sufficient new clergy and lay leaders
Failure of new initiatives to deliver church growth
Failure of safeguarding processes, and impact of national enquiries (such as the Goddard report)
Failure to gain support for the Renewal and Reform programme
Financial insolvency in a significant part of the church
IT capacity and security.
I wonder how that compares with your own list? I suspect most people would suggest that there is one very significant strategic risk for the church as a whole which isn’t covered by the above list of operational risks: the danger of schism over a major issue of belief or practice. Reading newspaper headlines, or attending to the internal workings of the Church, it would be hard not to notice that the debate on sexuality and its outcome is the ‘major issue’ currently threatening the future of the C of E as we know it.
If that is the case, why would any diocesan bishop act in a way to exacerbate this risk? Yet in the last month, two appear to have done just that.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
We were twinned with The Diocese of Akure in Ondo Sate of Nigeria.They have broken their ties with our diocese over the appointment of the Rt Revd Susan Goff as a Hon. Assisting Bishop in our diocese. We remain open to resume this link as we seek to walk together with all parts of the communion.
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Reports that the Acting Bishop of Oxford, Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, gave his permission for Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker to lead a celebration of a same-sex wedding raise a number of questions to which answers are not forthcoming. A photograph showing Revd Charlotte Bannister Parker officiating, as the couple exchanged rings and made vows, was published in a South African newspaper more than two weeks ago, yet Reform have been told that Bishop Colin is having to take advice before commenting on the following:
Was the Acting Bishop of Oxford aware of the nature of the 'celebration' when he gave permission to Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker to lead it?
Has the Acting Bishop of Oxford seen the liturgy/ order of service used?
Does the Acting Bishop of Oxford believe that a 'celebration' of a marriage that re-enacts the giving and receiving of rings and the making of promises to one another and according to the report the 'pronouncement that we now 'recognise you as wife and wife' falls within the terms of the Bishops' Pastoral Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage?
Does the Acting Bishop of Oxford believe that a 'celebration' of a marriage that re-enacts the giving and receiving of rings and the making of promises to one another and according to the report the 'pronouncement that we now 'recognise you as wife and wife' is consistent with the express terms of Lambeth 1:10?
If so, what would else would need to happen for this to be considered a 'blessing'?
Meanwhile, the House of Bishops have been discussing plans for the forthcoming 'shared conversations' at General Synod.
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It has come to the attention of Reform, that the Bishop of Liverpool, The Right Reverend Paul Bayes, has appointed Bishop Susan Goff as an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Liverpool. Susan Goff is a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Virginia in The Episcopal Church. In July 2016, she voted in favour of changing the definition and purpose of marriage according to in Canons of The Episcopal Church. This alteration to the Canons was the action that led the Primates of the Anglican Communion, gathered in Canterbury earlier this year, to require The Episcopal Church to step down from representing the Communion or being involved in decision making on matters pertaining to doctrine or polity.
Susie Leafe, Director of Reform said, "The Bishop of Liverpool has chosen to bring the conflicts that have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion in to the heart of this diocese. The long standing link with Akure Diocese, in Nigeria, has been severed for the sake of closer ties with The Episcopal Church. The decision to appoint Susan Goff as an Honorary Assistant Bishop is a provocative and divisive step which is obviously unacceptable from someone who holds themselves out as a focus of unity. Members of the Dioceses of Liverpool are entitled to expect that their bishop should respect and not simply ignore the settled will of the Communion."
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An historic moment in the lives of the dioceses of Virginia and Liverpool occurred Monday, May 2, 2016 at Shrine Mont Retreat Center when the Rt. Rev Susan Goff was commissioned by Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia, and Paul Bayes, bishop of Liverpool, as Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.
Bishop Bayes presented the letters commissary to Bishop Goff and both Bishop Bayes and Bishop Johnston prayed over her while the room spontaneously rose to its feet with applause, love and affection.
The dioceses of Liverpool and Virginia are companion dioceses, focusing on Jesus and Justice, that together, a bigger church might make a bigger difference in the world. This exciting appointment is more than just in title. As part of the link, Bishop Goff has visited Liverpool and her ministry of teaching and support has been very much welcomed not just by women in the diocese but by all.
“The link with the Diocese of Virginia has been important to us in Liverpool for many years,” said Bayes. “At my installation eighteen months ago it was a privilege to welcome Bishop Shannon Johnston as a guest of honour. Now, with Bishop Susan Goff’s appointment as one of our assisting bishops, we are able to strengthen our bond still further. Bishop Susan is no stranger to Liverpool and we look forward to being enriched by her wisdom as a teacher and pastor of pastors whenever she visits us.”
Among Bishop Goff's first responsibilities in Liverpool, she will be leading the retreat and preach at the ordination of priests with Bishop Bayes in June and speaking at the clergy conference in July.
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10 May 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Charles Ryle, the 1st Bishop of Liverpool.
Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of the day, invited John Ryle to become Bishop of Liverpool in 1880.
The new Bishop was from the Evangelical wing of the Church of England. He was surprised to receive the invitation and was concerned that he was too old for the task. Disraeli assured him that he would live for a few years yet and was proved correct.
He began his ministry on July 1st 1880 and came to live at the Bishop’s Palace in Abercromby Square, Liverpool with his wife and daughter Jessie.
Every third year he delivered his Episcopal Charge to the clergy of the Diocese and held a Diocesan conference annually. The charge in 1881 set the tone for his future ministry; throughout his episcopate - he made it a priority to recruit more clergy and lay ministers and built many more churches. Before clergy were ordained they attended a retreat at Bishop’s Palace and the Bishop gave a series of addresses. Diocesan clergy could call on their Bishop on any Tuesday morning.
The Bishop valued the work of the Scripture Readers who were paid lay workers. There were about 50 licensed Readers in the Diocese.
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Behind the scenes, this development alarmed church elders. They understood the potential for the church to end up being divided amid the nation's polarised politics.
So work began to find consensus between the candidates and when a pre-election deal could not be struck, according to reporters who were tracking the poll and were in touch with delegates, word was quietly sent out to delegates that they should pick a compromise candidate.
That is how Jackson Nasoore ole Sapit, the Bishop of Kericho and a member of the Maasai community, which is not directly implicated in the major tussle of Kenya's "high politics," emerged as favourite and eventually took the main seat.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Kenya
St. John's Anglican Church is getting a much-needed makeover in the latest effort to revitalize Windsor's west-end neighbourhood of Sandwich.
For more than a century, the church sat proudly at the corner of Brock and Sandwich streets, but the property has fallen into disrepair in recent years.
While mowing the lawn of the cemetery one day, Peter Berry, harbourmaster with the Windsor Port Authority, decided to take on the challenge of restoring the church grounds.
"It's a community project we should all get behind," he told CBC news.
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Only two per cent of Anglicans in England and Wales are converts, a new study suggests.
The director of the Benedict XVI Centre at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Dr Stephen Bullivant, has gathered statistics on religious affiliation from the annual British Social Attitudes surveys. His report, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales, launched on Tuesday in the House of Commons, deals mainly with the Roman Catholic Church, but looks at other denominations for comparisons.
His deduction is that, in a group of 100 Anglicans, 93 will have been brought up as such, five will have started life in another Christian denomination, and only two would have belonged to no religion. (The sample group was 1681 Anglicans.)
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Church of Wales * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Sociology * International News & Commentary England / UK --Wales
In 2008, Christine was appointed Vicar of St Mary and St Lawrence, Goring-by-Sea, and it was during this period that her middle daughter died from cancer. Within a year of being at Goring-by-Sea, she was recruited as Archdeacon of Chesterfield in 2010.
Christine is also a non-executive director of Ecclesiastical Insurance, and has held several national church posts, including membership of the General Synod, the Anglican Communion Indaba conversations that seek to energise mission and build the international community of Anglican Christians through respectful listening, one of the eight female participant observers on the House of Bishops, and as a vocations consultant and selector, helping to discern those who are to be recommended for ordination. Christine has also been a member of Derby Cathedral Council.
“I was thrilled, and a little daunted, to be offered the post of Dean of Lincoln,” said Christine.
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Bishop Mouneer wrote :
I am now in a pastoral visit to our churches in Iran. Yesterday was the first service in St Paul Church in Tehran. The people in this church reminded me with the ” Faithful Remnants ” who waiting for the Lord. I rejoiced and prayed so that the Lord may bless them and send servants to encourage them.
Read it all and please consider joining Bishop Mouneer in his prayers. There are some more prayers here.
The Columba Declaration has been discussed for the past 15 years and officially ties the two churches, which have been seperate since the 16th century Reformation. It was passed at the Scottish Church's general assembly on Wednesday. The CoE's general synod passed the measure in February.
The Archbishop of Canterbury became the first CoE leader to join a debate at the general assembly and urged support for the report. Justin Welby acknowledged significant differences in the doctrines of the two churches but said the Columba Declaration provided a framework to affirm common ground.
Earlier in the assembly's five day meeting the CoS agreed to accept ministers who are in same-sex marriages, something the CoE has not done.
"We won't always necessarily find ourselves walking in step with one another, something I've been particularly conscious of, as, like you, we have been considering the issues around same-sex marriages, and following your earlier debate on ministers in same-sex marriages," Welby said in his address.
"But what we believe we are providing in this report is a sound framework for us to affirm and build on the agreement we have, for the sake of our common witness to Christ."
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The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, has warned against syncretism – the practice of merging different religious beliefs. The warning came after a prominent Christian politician made a public visit to her ancestral shrine to give thanks for her re-election – a practice in line with the country’s traditional religions.
“We value our ancestors because we are connected to them by the relationship we have,” Archbishop Ntagali said. “But, we must always trust only in God. We no longer need to go through the spirits of the dead because Jesus is our hope and protector. He alone is the way, the truth and the life, as Jesus says in John 14:6.
“The Church of Uganda condemns syncretism,” he said, as he urged bishops and clergy to “use this opportunity to proclaim the sufficiency of Christ crucified to meet all our needs, and to work pastorally with Christians to apply this glorious truth practically in their lives.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda * International News & Commentary Africa Uganda * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths * Theology Christology
..Over the last few years, realizing that Archbishop Eliud would retire, I would watch the Kenyan House of Bishops. In particular, I watched to see how they handled disagreement and pursued peace. At one meeting after another, I kept noticing one relatively young Bishop. Any time he would report on his activities with the poor, it would be truly inspirational. The best part, however, would be in the midst of disagreements. Bishop Jackson would not say much as he listened to arguments. When he finally did speak to an issue I noticed two things. First, his comments were always measured and wise beyond his years. He never denigrated anyone, but always found ways to frame things so that others were interested in coming together. The second thing I noticed was that what he recommended was always what we wound up doing. Not from the standpoint of “Jackson says do this so we will…” but from the standpoint that he always seemed to identify a position that the group eventually decided to pursue. He is an extraordinary leader who leads with great humility but also great clarity about care for people (especially the poor), while never wavering from Biblical truth.
I believe that the selection of Jackson Ole Sapit as Archbishop of Kenya will prove to be a great move. I have loved Archbishops David Gitari, Benjamin Nzimbi, and Eliud Wabukala. Now I am thrilled to see the process work so wonderfully well in the selection of Jackson Ole Sapit..
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Teaching of Christianity in schools is set to be transformed by a new resource from the Church of England, launched today. Understanding Christianity is a set of comprehensive materials and training which will enable pupils from age 4 to 14 to develop their understanding of Christianity, as a contribution to making sense of the world and their own experience within it.
Available to all schools across the country the resource was written by a team of RE advisers from RE Today Services, in collaboration with more than 30 expert teachers and academics, and has been trialled in over 50 schools.
Understanding Christianity was commissioned by the Church of England Education Office with the generous support of Culham St Gabriels, The Sir Halley Stewart Trust, the Jerusalem Trust and an anonymous donor.
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The House of Bishops of the Church of England met on 23-24 May 2016.
On its first day the Bishops received an update on the shared conversations process, received a report from the Faith and Order Commission and discussed the contribution and vision of the Church of England on Education. A substantial amount of time was spent on safeguarding including receiving the report of the Elliot Review from the Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally.
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The Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker, 52, is an assistant priest at St Michael and All Angels Summertown in the Diocese of Oxford, and acts as the Bishop’s Advisor for Special Projects, including inter-faith initiatives. She is an Associate Faculty Member of the Theology Department at Oxford University, and has a long Oxford pedigree, having been previously on the staff of the University Church of St Mary’s.
On 7th May, according to reports in Cape Town’s City Press, she officiated at a same-sex marriage in South Africa. Oxford has a long standing relationship with the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman in South Africa. Rev Bannister-Parker lived there for a while in 2008, helping the Church to develop its HIV/AIDS ministry.
Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, the daughter of Desmond Tutu who has long been an advocate for the Anglican Church to welcome fully same sex relationships and bless gay marriage, was ordained in the Episcopal Church USA and now works as the Executive Director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.
Questions are now being asked about the participants in this story. A licensed clergywoman in the Church of England has conducted what looks very much like a same sex marriage or certainly a blessing of a civil marriage, even though it is in a different Province. Many clergy travel overseas to conduct the increasingly lavish weddings of their parishioners or relatives – when they do so, are they bound by the canons of the Church of England? Were Revd Bannister-Parker’s actions approved by her parish Rector and by the Diocese of Oxford, given the high profile nature of the ceremony? Is there any connection between the Tutu Foundation funds and the Diocese of Oxford’s “Special Projects”?
Today the media reports that Revd Tutu-van Furth has resigned as a licenced priest in the Diocese of Cape Town, as the Province does not accept clergy in same sex marriages. Rev Bannister-Parker should do the decent thing and do the same, having acted in a manner contrary to her ordination vows where she promised to uphold the doctrines of the Church and abide by the teachings of Scripture.
Readers may like to read the City Press article and look at the photo again, and decide for themselves what was happening on that day. We are also free to ask whether there will be similar ceremonies taking place in England soon, with equally strong denials from official spokesmen that they have anything to do with ‘weddings’ or ‘blessings’.
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And Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s giggle rang out over the Mont Rochelle Hotel’s terrace near Franschhoek, as his wife Leah rocked beside him.
Marceline had been a little overeager, leaning in for a kiss before Reverend Charlotte Bannister-Parker – who led the ceremony – had decreed they were married.
“No! Not yet!” shrieked Mpho.
However, soon enough Bannister-Parker said: “We now recognise you as wife and wife. You may kiss each other.”
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The acting Bishop of Oxford authorized one of his clergy to perform a same-sex blessing. On 3 May 2016 the Rev. Charlotte Bannister-Parker, (pictured) an associate priest at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford presided over the blessing of the marriage of the Rev. Mpho Tutu and Dr. Marceline van Furth at Sir Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle Hotel in the Western Cape.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Oxford said: “The Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker accepted the invitation of Mpho Tutu to lead a celebration of her marriage to Marceline van Furth in her capacity as a friend of the family. She did so with the permission of both the Bishop of Saldanha Bay, the Rt Revd Raphael Hess, and the Acting Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher.”
Read it all and an update with some wriggling from the Diocese of Oxford here
..The Rev Canon Tutu is executive director of her parents’ eponymous charitable foundation and divorced with two children. She married her long-time partner Marceline Van Furth, an atheist academic who is also divorced with children, in her native Netherlands in December.
The pair held a second ceremony that was attended by the Tutus and officiated by Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker, a priest from Oxford, on Sir Richard Branson’s wine farm in Franschhoek earlier this month.
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The Evangelical Alliance has cautioned against plans for new laws to tackle extremism, announced in today's Queen's Speech.
Head of public policy Simon McCrossan commented:
"It's extreme to try and tell religious groups what they can and can't teach under the guise of fundamental British values. It's extreme to threaten to send Ofsted inspectors into churches if they don't teach British values. This government's trying to fight extremism with extremism and the main casualty will be our fundamental freedoms.
"We are deeply concerned that the definitions of 'extremism', especially the extension of 'non-violent extremism', threaten to trample on the freedoms that have been hard won, long enjoyed, and underpin our democracy. To date, the definitions are so broad there could be many unforeseen consequences to fundamental freedoms in our plural multi-faith society."
The Evangelical Alliance has previously spoken out against government plans to regulate out of school settings, and the threat of Ofsted inspections over a wide variety of clubs and societies, including churches that provide youth and children's work in every corner of the UK.
Read it all and there is an article on the context from Lapidomedia here
With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV
The Diocese of Abuja of the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion), has said that the renewed pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta, was not in the best interest of Nigeria. It therefore urged those behind the bombing of oil installations in the region to desist from the act. The Church called on the Niger Delta Avengers to cease hostility against the government while embracing dialogue, noting that Nigeria, currently engaged in many battles cannot afford to start another one with militants in the Niger Delta. The Primate Of The Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, The Most Rev’d Nicholas D. Okoh, made this remark in his Presidential Address to the 3rd Session of the 9th Synod of Abuja Diocese, held at All Saints Church, Wuse. While urging the Federal Government to also tread cautiously in its attempts to resolve the growing crises in the Niger Delta, the Church called on it to seek collaboration with the host communities in its efforts to secure all pipelines.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Energy, Natural Resources Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria
(For the original piece to which this is responding please see here--KSH).
There are likely to be many Anglicans, not least in the Church of England, who will welcome the idea that there might be a viable ‘third way’ between supporting same-sex marriages and simply maintaining the Church’s traditional position. However, I would want to argue that there is in fact no viable ‘third way’ on this issue. This is for three reasons.
First, the position of those advocating for LGBT equality has moved on since the days when a blessing of same-sex partnerships might have been seen as acceptable.
Now that same-sex ‘marriage’ is legal in an increasing number of jurisdictions around the world, including England, Scotland and Wales, LGBT advocates will not be content with anything less than the Church coming into line with society and practicing ‘equal marriage’ as well. For example, those Gay and Lesbian Christians such as Canon Jeremy Pemberton who are already ‘married’ are not going to be content with anything less than the Church’s full recognition of their marital status.
Furthermore, even the recognition of same-sex ‘marriages’ is now a relatively conservative position. The new focus of LGBT activism is now the call to move beyond the ‘heteronormative gender binary’ (the idea that humanity is divided into men and women) and recognise a whole multiplicity of different gender identities (Facebook UK now gives you seventy one gender options to choose from) and a whole range of forms of personal relationship to suit these different identities....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Scottish Episcopal Church * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Scotland * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Nigeria’s army says that it has rescued a second Chibok schoolgirl, two days after rescuing Amina Ali Nkeki, 19, the first of the 219 kidnapped girls to be found alive.
“We are glad to state that among those rescued is a girl believed to be one of the Chibok Government Secondary School girls that were abducted on 14 April 2014 by the Boko Haram terrorists,” said a statement issued by Acting Director of Public Relations, Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman.
Serah Luka is believed to be the daughter of a pastor, says the statement, and is currently receiving medical attention at the medical facility of Abogo Largema Cantonment in Biu, Borno state.
But parents of the kidnapped Chibok girls and the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group have not been able to confirm the information..
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Choirs may be the ultimate training ground for hopeful boy bands and ensembles. Choristers—who in British and American cathedral choirs usually range from eight to 13, with continental choirs retaining their singers until the age of 19—typically rehearse together daily, making their decision to team up in ensembles of their own making less risky. They form an immediate talent pool of skilled musicians who enjoy making music together, and know one another’s musical likes and personalities. “[British cathedral] choirs are an ideal place for future bandmates to grow up in,” says Simon Kirk, director of music at St John’s College School, which educates the boy choristers of St John's College Chapel in Cambridge. “You work as part of a professional team that tours and records. From the age of nine to ten, the boys work as professional musicians.”
When Barnaby Smith graduated from Westminster Abbey Choir School at 13, he already knew that he wanted to keep singing with some of his fellow choristers. Several years later, four of them formed the acapella ensemble Voces8, which has since won numerous competitions and is now the singers’ full-time occupation. “A small ensemble is like a family,” Mr Smith explains. “Having sung in a boys’ choir was vital. Choir school is a very professional environment where boys depend on one another. It’s not something you do on your own.”
Though top-level choirs are fertile band-making territory, establishing an ensemble can be awkward if it takes place while the boys are still choir members. “You decide who you get along with,” explains Louis Weise, a 17-year-old member of the St Thomas Choir in Leipzig. “If you’re going to do additional rehearsals together and also try to make money together, you really have to get along.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Education Men Music Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK
... Wabukala’s tenure as Archbishop (2009 - 2016) coincides with the promulgation of the new constitution in August 2010 that ushers in drastic changes in Kenya’s socio-economic, political and public policy profiles key among them being the introduction of devolution of power and resources, a robust bill of rights, fought for by Archbishops Kuria and Gitari and the ICC process.
Education was flagged as one of the priorities in his enthronement charge. The ACK’s involvement in the national curriculum review and convening its own conference on education in March 2016 underscored the importance Archbishop Wabukala places on the matter.
St Paul’s University in Limuru is jointly owned and sponsored by the Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians.
Archbishop Wabukala’s membership in the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee (NACCSC), serving, as Chairman in his second term will be judged lately with the high incidences of reporting of corruption scandals.
Is this an indication of better access to information, successful whistleblowing or credible public education campaigns by NACCSC?
Archbishop Wabukala continued with Retired Archbishop Nzimbi’s consistent and committed stand and participation in GAFCON and was elected the Chair, a role he relinquished in the GAFCON Council in Nairobi April 18th – 22nd .
He has particularly maintained a tough stand with regard to dealing with the American Episcopal Church and declined to attend the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka (April 8th – 19th, 2016 ) because of the presence of the Episcopal Church who had earlier in January 2016 been asked to keep off the organs of the Anglican Communion for three years.
The Archbishops of Nigeria, Rwanda and Egypt are amongst those who have declined to attend. However, Kenya’s delegation attended and Bishop Joel Waweru, a contender for Archbishop, was elected into the Standing Committee of the ACC.
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