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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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See also: Milthorpe School: York Pride – Wear a Rainbow Day
At Millthorpe, we will be dressing the outside of the building in rainbow bunting and rainbow flags and staff and students are invited to wear a rainbow piece of clothing, accessory or sticker, if they wish to do so. Students must wear full school uniform but can wear an additional piece of rainbow clothing or a rainbow accessory on top of their uniform. In addition, they will have the opportunity to collect a rainbow sticker and/or rainbow hand stamp from school, to show their support for equality between lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight people in York.
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- Reform/Oxf’d DEF: Evangelicals call for the Church of England to uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Statement on her gay pride blessing decision by wannabee bishop Vivienne Faull
- York Mix: Minster teams up with York Pride in historic show of LGBT support
- Anglican Unscripted 186 - How to make a Brit mad!
- Prominent Oxford Diocese Evangelicals call for the resignation of Bishop Alan Wilson
Known as the “red carpet curate” for his appearance at glitzy film and theatrical premieres, he wants to make the church relevant to creatives struggling with life and their spirituality.
We meet in a public relations office in Soho, the heart of London’s theatreland. (The PR executives are donating their time for free.) His dog collar is accessorised with a bright blue jacket, bowler hat and a multicoloured scarf. The flamboyance reflects his vivacious and garrulous personality. “I am groovy. I am theatrical. I am loud,” he says, redundantly. “I love people. Not everyone gets me.” Yet, he says, he is also a “contemplative soul”.
It is the larger ambition that is so arresting. For Rev Feital is on a mission to create a social enterprise — called the Haven — in central London. This is part of the Diocese of London’s strategy, Capital Vision 2020, which aspires to reach new people and engage with the creative arts to find fresh ways to convey the church’s message. The steering committee is being put in place, which Rev Feital says will include a City investor as well as representatives from the music, film and fashion industries.
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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 Theatre/Drama/Plays Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary South America Brazil * Theology Anthropology
1. Calls for God to be referred to as 'she' which are a direct challenge to the revelation in the Scriptures that God has given of Himself, as Father and Son. God is neither male nor female and beyond human understanding of gender, but the inspired revelation we have received does not allow us the liberty to describe Him as Her, and any attempts to pray to God as our 'mother in heaven' are to be resisted.
2. A serving Bishop appearing in an employment tribunal to oppose a colleague who is upholding church teaching and discipline (which does not endorse same-sex marriage) and, in his testimony, describing the canonical definition of marriage as 'lousy'.
3. The endorsement of Gay Pride through a public prayer of blessing on the recent march outside the Minster Church of the Northern Province.
4. The Shared Conversations as constructed are revealing that the traditional view on same sex relationships is not held by a large proportion of the diocesan representatives and comes across as a minority view. The overarching question and theme for the Conversations is the church's response to the changes in our culture, and not a study of the provided texts and existing teaching of the Church of England. We are told that no particular outcome is expected or sought by these conversations, but the current position of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, arising out of the plain meaning of the scriptural texts, appears to be poorly represented by the diocesan representatives and this is of real concern, as we had hoped for a proper conversation and engagement.
Faced with the gap between these examples and the publically stated adherence of all clergy to the doctrinal base of the Church of England, we reaffirm and celebrate that base as the inheritance of the Church of England. We believe that all called into leadership should give and maintain their assent to it, and be guided by it, in their teaching and ministry.
We therefore invite evangelicals in all the English Dioceses to renew a commitment to praying...
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The object on which an Anglican bishop rests his hope rarely fails to confirm my low expectations.
Fred Hiltz could be hoping that the outcome of the debate will align with the Biblical understanding of marriage or, to say it another way, with God’s will for a Christian marriage. Instead, he hopes that there will not be too much squabbling.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz said he is aware that there is anxiety among Anglicans about how the 2016 General Synod will deal with a motion amending the marriage canon (church law) to allow the marriage of same-sex couples....It’s hard to take the prayer “know the leading of the Holy Spirit” seriously, since the “conscience clause” (not that anyone takes that particularly seriously since those that exercise it will be ridiculed, ostracised and eventually driven out) anticipates disunity, something that would not be present if the delegates were more interested in being informed by the Holy Spirit than in using him as rubber stamp for their own opinions.
Hiltz expressed hope that the debates that will precede any decision will be conducted with respect and patience.
He is praying, he added, that people will “know the leading of the Holy Spirit” and that there will be “grace in the midst of what will be a very difficult and challenging conversation.”
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The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO, said:
“In his many publications and in his teaching in St Mellitus College, Graham has demonstrated a generous orthodoxy which combines depth with clarity. He has continually combined teaching with pastoral care for those preparing for parochial and other ministries. His whole ministry in a sense has been in support of the ‘local church’ for which he has a passion. As Area Bishop he will be able to develop this theme in his ministry as he serves the remarkably diverse Christian communities in West London.”
Graham trained for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, was a curate in Exeter, later returning to Wycliffe as a tutor in Historical Theology and eventually becoming Vice Principal. In 2005, he helped found St Paul’s Theological Centre, which is now part of St Mellitus College. Graham is the author of many articles and several books, most recently, ‘The Widening Circle – Priesthood as God’s way of Blessing the World’, published in 2014. He is married to Janet and has two grown-up children.
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Anne is currently vicar of St Peter’s Church in St Albans, a ‘small, historic city’, where she describes her role as ‘growing a vision for an outward-focused mission and ministry’. Previously, she has worked as a youth worker in West Sussex and then Nottingham, where both Anne and her husband Steve explored a call to ordained ministry.
In 1999, after a joint curacy in another challenging area of inner city Nottingham, Anne and Steve moved to Derby where Anne was Chaplain at the University of Derby and Derby Cathedral for six years. Steve pursued a different path and is currently a part-time tutor with the Church Army and a half-time consultant, trainer and researcher in mission and contemporary culture.
Having moved to Manchester in 2005, Anne served as a Residentiary Canon of Manchester Cathedral and as Chaplain to the Bishop of Manchester where she says she ‘loved the city centre cathedral ministry, but also had a privileged opportunity to learn a lot about the challenges and opportunities of a complex urban diocese’.
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Those who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults know only too well the risks associated with residential care. In 2012, of the 16,500 children who were found to be at high risk of sexual exploitation, more than a third—35%—were children living in residential care. It seems to me that these amendments would add additional strength to the general direction of the Bill, which we on these Benches happily support. We also draw on the research and briefing of the Children’s Society.
Places which care for children, young people and vulnerable adults in either residential or supported care facilities can easily become targeted by people who, via grooming and addiction to psychoactive drugs, use control to lead children and vulnerable adults into other very serious kinds of abuse. I note the point that the noble Lord made that accepting the amendment would put this offence on the same footing as that of supplying drugs outside a school, which the Bill already makes an aggravating factor.
My colleague the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bristol told me that last year, in his own city of Bristol, 13 men were convicted of a string of sexual offences involving sexual abuse, trafficking, rape and prostitution of teenage girls as young as 13 years old. Their tactics were clear: in return for drugs and alcohol, young girls were forced to perform sexual acts with older men. Much more could be said but I want to support these amendments because, as I say, they would help this vulnerable group to receive additional protection.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
After her ordination in 1996, Ruth served for fourteen years as a parish priest in Nottingham in one of the poorest areas in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. During this time she served as an Area Dean and was made Dean of Women’s Ministry for the diocese in 2007. In 2010 she took on the role of Parish Development Adviser in the Diocese of Southwark, based in Bermondsey. In 2013 she swapped inner-city life for Wiltshire.
Speaking in advance of today’s announcement, Ruth said, “I am surprised and amused to be chosen as the next Bishop of Taunton as I grew up in a non-conformist church where women held no roles of leadership. I am delighted to be heading to Somerset to join the diocesan team in this wonderful part of the world, moving ‘next door’ as it were. It will be a great privilege to meet and serve everyone who lives and works in the county.”
“In a diocese with such a mix of rural and more urban parishes, each I’m sure with its own distinct personality, I’m really keen to experience how our churches and the diocese are meeting those different needs. And how we can engage in the process of transformation, one which changes lives, both our own and others, and then influences the way in which we are ‘Church’ and brings about a renewed sense of community.”
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Last week Archbishop Mouneer Anis, the Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt, welcomed a Chinese delegation from the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) led by Mr. Jiang Jianyong, Vice Minister of Religious Affairs of the Republic of China. They had a number of important meetings during their visit to discuss religious affairs in both Egypt and China. They were accompanied by Dr. John Chew, former Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia...
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The Archbishop of Canterbury's attention has been drawn to a statement forwarded to him from the Office of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, on the above subject. This statement was first posted on the Church of Nigeria website April 30, 2015.
The appointment of the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) is made by the Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) with the approval of the President of the Standing Committee, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Global South Churches & Primates * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Four prominent Anglo-Catholic clergy in the Buckinghamshire region of Oxford Diocese have joined their evangelical colleagues in speaking out against Bishop Alan Wilson.
‘The definition of Marriage within the Canon Law of the Church of England is in accord with that of the whole Church for almost 2000 years. It is a matter of serious concern that a Bishop of the Church of England, who is one of those “ordained to be shepherds of Christ’s flock and guardians of the faith of the apostles” (Common Worship Ordinal) should describe that definition as “lousy.” ‘
The Rev’d Canon, Fr Victor Bullock, Vicar of Fenny Stratford
The Rev’d Canon, Fr Gary Ecclestone, Vicar of Hanslope & Castlethorpe
The Rev’d Fr Andrew Montgomerie, Rector of Iver Heath (and trustee of Prayer Book Society)
The Revd Fr Ross Northing, Rector of Stony Stratford with Calverton
This very public move by key Anglo-Catholics appears to utterly undermine Wilson’s claim during a number of radio interview this past Sunday that opposition to his public statements was limited to a small number of objectors. On the contrary, I understand that a letter is circulating which has a growing number of signatories. This isn’t going away, in fact quite the opposite. Wilson’s attempts to dampen the fire have failed. Conservatives I’m speaking to are outraged by his radio interviews and according to one prominent figure in the ongoing discussions,
“[Bishop Wilson’s letter] has made things worth as it has displayed a total lack of understanding of what it is that people are unhappy about. I am delighted that more and more people are being encouraged to speak out to show him that we are not a ‘potty’ fringe group”
It’s fair to say that the Oxford Diocese has reached a crisis moment.
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Capitalism that cannot find £200 for a highly-motivated individual, with good skills, is simply not adequate to the task of creating a stable society.
That hard-working, self-starting man will be on my mind tomorrow, when I take part in the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism in the City of London. This brings together leading figures from business, finance and public policy committed to creating economic systems which will encourage a long-term prosperity that is broadly shared. I am sure I will learn a great deal. I also hope to contribute in a small way, bringing a perspective informed by both economics and theology.
A Christian understanding of inclusive capitalism begins with the nature of God, who in Jesus Christ reached out to include all humanity in salvation. What that looks like for each individual is purpose, calling and a destiny with God. The New Testament teaches us that none of this happens because we are good - in fact, St Paul says in his letter to the Romans that Christ died for us while we were still God’s enemies. It happens because God sought to include all human beings in his love and purpose for them, if they would accept his invitation.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
This case comes hard on the heels of an attempt sponsored by Unite to establish that a beneficed parish priest is employed by his bishop or enjoys the status of a worker, thereby paving the way for unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims. That was roundly rejected by the Court of Appeal in April. Lord Justice Lewison in his judgment sketched the history of the relationship between church and state and more particularly the jurisdiction of royal or civil courts over clergy from the investiture controversy in the 11th century right through to the establishment of the modern ecclesiastical courts. He appears to have accepted the proposition that employment tribunals could determine such questions as an attack on the balance that has been struck. Similar considerations apply to the Pemberton case, although the legal analysis is distinct.
While many will feel sympathy for Canon Pemberton, it should be remembered that even in the secular field, activities outside the workplace can result in a lawful termination of employment, although rarely. It should also be remembered that when ordained as a priest, he not only took an oath of canonical obedience to his bishop but also declared that he would fashion his own life “according to the way of Christ” and to be “a pattern and example to Christ’s people”.
What that amounts to cannot be a matter of private judgment. Plenty of other homosexual priests have at some cost followed the House of Bishops guidance and previous similar utterances from the hierarchy.
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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 Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
An impression was given that he was merely following orders that led the tribunal judge to suggest that the Church of England’s position on same-sex marriage was a ‘busted flush’. The deafening silence from Lambeth Palace and Bishopthorpe hung over proceedings. In contrast, the Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, acting as an expert witness for Jeremy Pemberton, was characteristically and defiantly dismissive of the Church’s orthodox view that marriage is between a man and a woman as a “lousy definition” of matrimony.
Thankfully, clergy in his diocese are now calling for Bishop Wilson’s resignation and refusing his Episcopal ministry. About time, he has for too long been at odds with the Church of England’s teaching. But his decisive and courageous defence of Jeremy Pemberton and his willingness to speak his mind and court controversy, contrasts with the timidity of his colleagues who are supposed to be defending the Church of England’s doctrine. I suspect that this willingness to confront the indecisive handwringing of the Church of England may yet give Jeremy Pemberton a victory in his tribunal case. It is however, likely to be a short-lived victory – the Church of England has protections and exemptions. Further, the courts of the land have no business adjudicating on the doctrine of the Church of England.
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...Eighteen months ago, the Archbishop of York stated publicly that the Church of England could not provide blessings for faithful, monogamous gay couples in civil partnerships or marriages. Yet here, in York, his staff, with his approval, have given a public blessing to a large number of people celebrating homosexual relationships and practice, many of whom are involved in lifestyles which do not fit in even to the more narrow category of “permanent, faithful, stable”. Some no doubt feel that this is a public demonstration of the effectiveness of the church’s witness to marginalised people, but for others it is a strong symbol of the church blessing immorality, and meekly capitulating to, and being willingly co-opted by, the dominant powers of the age who are in rebellion against God and his Anointed.
Many had hoped that while the new morality was rapidly taking hold in the C of E at least the Archbishops would hold the line. This statement will ensure that for orthodox Anglicans here and around the world, this hope is rapidly disappearing. Some might say that the C of E is becoming an increasingly unsafe place for bible-believing Christians.
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Watch and listen to it all.
Living, breathing buildings which exist to serve God
Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries has praised the important role of cathedrals in national life, highlighting the Government's award last year of £20 million for fabric repairs to cathedrals in the First World War Centenary Cathedral Fabric Repair Fund.
He was speaking at the launch of a new book showcasing the Church of England's Cathedrals, today at St Paul's Cathedral.
Cathedrals of the Church of England has been written by Janet Gough, who is the Director of ChurchCare, the Church of England's Cathedrals and Church Buildings division. The book features short descriptions of each cathedral, and is illustrated with photographs including some specially commissioned images by Paul Barker (best known for his photographs over many years for Country Life)*.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK
This week began with Katherine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (TEC) of the USA, preaching in Westminster Abbey; it will end, we are told with Canon Michael Smith of York Minster blessing the York Gay Pride March. In between we have seen the Bishop of Buckingham describe doctrine that he swore to teach and pass on as ‘lousy’.
Nowhere in any of this has there been the clear message of the Gospel that despite our rejection of his ways we are all loved by God and can find forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is not surprising, then, that the majority of the world’s Anglicans now look to the Primates of Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) for Leadership – the only question is whether after weeks like this one, those in the Church of England who wish to proclaim this Gospel will be forced to follow the same path.
“Christianity is based on revealed doctrine, enabling individuals to live rightly before a Holy God as followers of Jesus Christ. He tells us how to live in all areas of life, including in areas of sexual behaviour. No denomination is at liberty to invent its own doctrine or to sacrifice revealed doctrine on the altars of contemporary fashion. We cannot be authentically Christian whilst simultaneously rejecting the teaching of the one we claim to follow.”
Rev Simon Austen – Rector of St Leonard’s Church, Exeter Diocese
“York Minster’s leading the way in the Gay Pride march is symbolic of what the Church of England’s leadership is doing generally on this issue – leading people away from the clear teaching of the Bible and the Gospel. It exposes the sham of the consultation process for what it is – a means by which the church can validate homosexual activity. One would hope that the Archbishop of York would do his duty and speak clearly, upholding the Bible’s position.”
Rev Melvin Tinker, St John’s Church, Newland, York Diocese
“I am deeply disappointed that Alan Wilson persists in undermining the teaching of the Church by his overt support of those who have gone against the clear rules governing clergy discipline. Describing the Church’s teaching and doctrine as “lousy” is quite breathtakingly arrogant and not language that one would expect from a senior leader in the Church. Were I in secular employment and so at odds with the leadership and core values of the company that employed me, I would resign forthwith as a matter of conscience.”
Rev Will Pearson-‐Gee -‐ Rector of Buckingham, Oxford Diocese
“The Bishop of Buckingham courts publicity for his revisionist agenda and gets it. He has sadly become a figure of disunity in the Oxford Diocese and a cause of grief to many faithful Anglican Christians. The version of marriage he espouses is incompatible with Biblical Christianity.”
Rev Will Stileman – Vicar of St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead and Chair of the Oxford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship
“Sooner or later everyone in the Church of England will have to decide whether they have confidence in what God says about marriage and human sexuality in the Scriptures. If we are not willing to trust what God says is good for us and for our society then we lose the claim to be authentically Christian. And in the course of time God will make it plain that our claims to be Christian are hollow. Jeremiah 7:28 speaks of truth perishing and being cut off from the lips of God’s people, and the prophet is clear about the disastrous consequences of that”.
Rev Mark Burkill –Vicar of Christ Church, Leyton, Chelmsford Diocese
“The Bishop of Buckingham is a runaway train, and has lost the confidence of many of the clergy in the Diocese of Oxford who would have him nowhere near their churches. There is now a crisis of leadership in Oxford Diocese, shown in the fact that the Diocese was unable to appoint a Diocesan Bishop who can work with Buckingham. The Bishop of Buckingham thinks he can make up doctrine on the hoof to suit his own revisionist agenda. That is not how the Church of England does things”.
Rev James Paice, Vicar of St Luke’s Wimbledon Park, Southwark Diocese
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The Bishop of the Calabar Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Reverend Tunde Adeleye, has given kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari for successfully mobilising the international community to provide support in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
For me, the low point came in reading the testimony of Richard Inwood yesterday. I need to exercise some caution here—until very recently Richard was my Acting Diocesan Bishop. My strong impression is that he has been put in a very difficult position, in effect the key player in the most pressing issue of the moment for the Church, on which national Church issues might hinge, but perhaps without the support from the centre that one might have expected.
if there is ‘no harm’ when clergy defy their bishops, then we are heading for a time of institutional chaos, when everyone ‘does what is right in his (her) own eyes’. As we move into a more clearly post-Christendom context, where residual loyalty to the institutional church is disappearing faster than the bath-water down a plughole, this is going to be a practical disaster.
But the underlying issue is (intriguingly) the one that the tribunal judge intervenes on. If doctrine has been breached, but no harm will come, what (he asks in effect) is the point of doctrine? If the bishops of the Church of England have lost confidence in the importance of right doctrine, and the danger of wrong doctrine, then we are all in deep trouble.
as Anthony Thiselton points out in The Hermeneutics of Doctrine, for the first Christians doctrine was about their fundamental disposition in life; the claims of the creeds and credal statements weren’t simply claims about facts, but what they based their life on. They really believed that ‘The truth will set you free’ (John 8.32). That is why doctrine matters, not least in this area of what it means to be created, male and female in the image of God, and the implications of that for sexual behaviour. If the bishops do not believe that wrong doctrine in this area is harmful, then now is the time to abandon any theology of marriage. In fact:
“Christianity is based on revealed doctrine, enabling individuals to live rightly before a Holy God as followers of Jesus Christ. He tells us how to live in all areas of life, including in areas of sexual behaviour. No denomination is at liberty to invent its own doctrine or to sacrifice revealed doctrine on the altars of contemporary fashion. We cannot be authentically Christian whilst simultaneously rejecting the teaching of the one we claim to follow.” (Rev Simon Austen, Rector of St Leonard’s Church, Exeter Diocese) [Ref from here]
That is why the ministry of teaching is at the heart of Anglican understandings of what it means to be deacon, priest (presbyter) and bishop. That is why, in the Articles, preaching and the sacraments go hand in hand—teaching must lead to action, but action without teaching is like a ship without a rudder.
I sincerely hope that senior bishops in the Church will now speak up and correct the impression that has been given. Doctrine does underlie this issue; doctrine does matter; wrong doctrine causes harm. If they don’t speak now and publicly, I cannot see but that it will be the end of the Church of England as we know it.
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The 50m-long rainbow flag, at the heart of the Pride parade on Saturday (June 20), will be unfurled on the steps of the Minster for the first time.
Canon Michael Smith of the Minster will launch the parade. He said:
I am delighted to be involved in the York Pride Parade as it prepares to start again, this year, from the steps of the Minster.
At York Minster we invite everyone to discover God’s love through our welcome, worship, learning and work, and I am looking forward to sharing with other local organisations in welcoming and affirming the LGBT community from our city and beyond and saying a short prayer and a blessing as they begin their Parade.
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See also: Telegraph - CofE’s top female cleric: I would have ‘no problem’ with blessings for gay marriages
The Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull – tipped as a future bishop – says effect of the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage is ‘dreadful’
With thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV
See: Reform/Oxf’d DEF: Evangelicals call for the Church of England to uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ.
First, Vaughan Roberts of St Ebbes Oxford, one of the largest churches in the diocese, appeared on BBC Radio Oxford. You can hear a brief grab from him here on the Charles Nove Show (available for 30 days from the time of broadcast) at 1:10 into the programme followed by Alan Wilson. Roberts says,
In any line of work if you as a leader of that organisation find yourself in a fundamental disagreement with that organisation and then you publicly speak against it, the only sensible option is to resign. He must be in a very difficult position and if he finds that he doesn’t now support this view on a fundamental issue (of marriage) by the organisation he is called to serve and to lead - obviously he should resign.
An hour later Will Pearson-Gee, the Rector of Buckingham Parish Church appeared on the BBC Radio Berks Sunday morning show. The full audio of his interview and a response from Wilson is below.
It’s worth noting a couple of things at this point...
Read it all [h/t Stand Firm]
Watch Bishop Alan Wilson speaking in October 2014 here
Renovation work to Derby Cathedral has discovered remains of the previous church, long thought lost.
The six-month, £670,000 project will upgrade heating and electrics, as well as seeing large areas repainted.
The 14th Century church was demolished and rebuilt in the 1720s and it was believed all trace of the older building had gone.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
The new Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has been enthroned at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral.
The Right Reverend Martin Seeley formally took up his position in Suffolk following his consecration as a bishop at Westminster Abbey last month. Some 900 people attended the service.
The cathedral dean said bishops should "challenge injustice".
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A bishop has been asked if the “hot potato” issue of a clergyman marrying his partner in a same-sex marriage was delegated by the archbishop of Canterbury, to avoid a Church of England split.
Former acting bishop of Southwell and Nottingham Richard Inwood was asked if the Most Rev Justin Welby decided “to leave it (the issue) alone, politically,” in allowing individual bishops to handle such a breach of the church’s rule as they saw fit.
The bishop replied: “To paraphrase the TV programme [House of Cards], you may say that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.” Inwood was speaking at an employment tribunal for Canon Jeremy Pemberton, who has made a claim for discrimination against the bishop.
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A meeting of church leaders from across Ireland has been challenged to remain biblically faithful but to ‘dare to do new things’ in the face of a ‘new spiritual darkness’ in the west.
The General Secretary of the Global Anglican Future Conference, Dr Peter Jensen, who addressed the event at Belfast’s Willowfield Church, told the story of GAFCON’s beginnings in the landmark conference of Bishops, clergy and lay leaders in Jerusalem in 2008, through to the Nairobi meeting in 2013 and the movement’s unifying work today across the Anglican world.
Addressing the current context in Ireland and Scotland, Dr Jensen drew a sharp comparison.
“In the last few days, two Anglican Provinces have spoken words of choice. In Scotland, the General Synod of the Episcopal Church has chosen to omit the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman from its canons, thus signalling an acceptance of so-called gay marriage. It is a choice to rewrite the Bible and so the Christian faith. In Ireland, the House of Bishops, following the referendum, has endorsed once more the teaching of the Bible that marriage is between a man and a woman for life. The contrast is stark.” he said.
“Of course there are those who argue that the two positions can be held in tension in a denomination with mutual respect, recognising that sincere people will differ over the interpretation of the Bible. But let me offer a very serious warning: the cost of taking such a position is unacceptably high. It is to say that the Biblical testimony is so unclear that it can be read in several ways, whereas in fact the Biblical position is crystal clear. When the testimony of the bible is rendered so murky, the authority of the Bible is fatally compromised. The middle position is a vote for an unacceptable compromise.”
The general-secretary said “The business of GAFCON is to deliver fellowship to orthodox believers who have to bear testimony in the midst of such confusion; to resource them to teach the truth and to inspire them to preach the gospel.”
“GAFCON” Dr Jensen said “is a force which delivers fellowship and encourages courage.”
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The 1944 settlement, the basis for governing religious education, school worship, and denominational schools for the past seven decades, should be replaced with an agreement in tune with modern reality, a former Secretary of State for Education, Charles Clarke, said this week.
Mr Clarke calls for the change in a pamphlet, A New Settlement: Religion and belief in schools, cowritten with Professor Linda Woodhead, a colleague at Lancaster University, where he is a visiting professor in politics and religion.
"It is clear to us", they say, "that the educational settlement between Church and State formalised in the 1944 Education Act, and reflected a different era, no longer serves its purpose."
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... Rt. Rev. Graham Kings, who in July takes up a newly created seven-year post, mission theologian in the Anglican Communion, believes a fourth element is needed to make the Anderson-Venn vision complete: self-theologising.
This fourth self, he says, now needs to come to the fore, especially the largely unrecognised work of Anglican theologians from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. “It is these theological voices which need to be heard more clearly throughout the Anglican Communion,” he says.
“It’s a partnership to find and publish new voices,” Kings adds. The post is an initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church Mission Society, and Durham University. Kings has been awarded an honorary visiting fellowship at Durham, will be employed by CMS, will work in the Lambeth Palace Library, and will serve as an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Southwark, London.
Step one will be a series of seminars around the Communion for theologians, particularly from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. There are two further elements: coordinating writing-sabbaticals for hard-pressed theologians of the Global South and publishing a series of books on Anglican theologies. Sabbaticals are being planned at colleges in Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, and at Virginia Theological Seminary’s Center for Anglican Communion Studies.
Kings, an original member and mentor in the founding of Covenant, the weblog of The Living Church, has been Bishop of Sherborne in the Diocese of Salisbury since 2009.
Among the tasks ahead for Kings is setting up an endowment fund at Durham to ensure, after his seven years, a stable foundation for mission theology in the Communion. Another dream is encouraging theologians in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to serve in the role of peritus (Latin for expert) in conferences of the Communion
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The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) as a Province is a founding member of GAFCON/FCA, and subscribed to The Jerusalem Declaration, 2008. The Most Rev’d Josiah Idowu-Fearon’s statement: ‘I have never supported the law in Nigeria that criminalizes the gay community and I will never support it,’ clearly indicates that he is not in accord with the theological and doctrinal posture of the Church of Nigeria. His acceptance of the post of ACC General Secretary neither received the approval of the Church of Nigeria, nor does it in any way affect the Church of Nigeria’s theological posture on the issues of homosexuality and gay movement. Thus, the Most Rev’d Josiah Idowu-Fearon represents himself at the ACC, and not the Church of Nigeria.
He has taken an early retirement from his Episcopal responsibilities in the Church of Nigeria with effect from 01 July 2015. We wish him every blessing.
The ACC, the general public and the International Community of the Religious should please note the stand of the Church of Nigeria on the Most Rev’d Idowu-Fearon’s personal acceptance to serve as ACC General Secretary.
Read it all and there is an Article by George Conger and Anglican Unscripted Episode 185.
[Joseph] Stiglitz is also particularly critical of the banking system: “If they (the banks) are too big to fail and they know it, excessive risk-taking is a one-sided bet: if they win they keep the profits, if they lose, taxpayers pick up the tab.” He summarises this as socialising losses while privatising gains.
Furthermore, there is a growing chorus of opposition to lax executive pay habits. Fidelity Worldwide Investment has urged companies make their long-term incentive plans less short term in nature, or face votes against remuneration at annual meetings. Last year the Church Commissioners opposed executive pay deals in two-thirds of the companies where they have a holding.
Adam Smith, said to be the father of modern economics, wrote: “Servants, labourers and workmen of different kinds, make up the far greater part of every great political society. But what improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole. No society can surely be ﬂourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged.”(2)
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In a wide-ranging interview on ABC radio yesterday, the Bishop of Grafton Sarah McNeil, spoke of the recent diocesan synod held in Port Macquarie.
Bishop McNeil said members of the synod had discussed a number of political issues, including gay marriage, asylum seeker policy and climate change.
The bishop said the synod decided to assess the views of the congregation on gay marriage in the next 12 months, then to present this to the 2016 synod.
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Several denominations partnered with the Canadian government for nearly a century to run the more than 130 residential schools, including Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and the United Church of Canada.
Winnipeg’s Anglican bishop says the report provides a framework for action and education, such as including indigenous perspectives in theological schools, studying the history and legacy of residential schools, and understanding the role of churches in colonization.
"For us, the TRC report is not threatening and it gives us a shot in the arm to really keep the agenda of healing and reconciliation and working in partnership with aboriginal people in front of (our) people," says Bishop Donald Phillips of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land.
Read it all from the Winnipeg Free Press.
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Newcastle's Anglican Bishop has fought back tears while apologising for past church cover-ups and the poor handling of complaints about child sexual abuse.
Greg Thompson marked 500 days in the position by saying sorry for "the terrible harm done [by] a culture of not listening".
"If you are a victim or a survivor of abuse I want to encourage you to come forward," he said.
"I want to assure you that when you do share your story the church will believe you and you will be supported in that process.
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What is happening?
The Revd Jeremy Pemberton is taking the Archbishop of York and Bishop Richard Inwood (who was the acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham) to an Employment Tribunal over the refusal of Bishop Richard to grant Mr Pemberton a licence. Jeremy Pemberton was offered a job with the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as a Chaplaincy Manager, but the NHS terms of employment required the appointee to hold a formal denomination’s recommendation.
Why was Jeremy Pemberton refused a licence?
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The Bishop of Buckingham has described the Church of England's teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman as "a lousy definition".
The Rt Rev Alan Wilson was speaking at a discrimination case brought by Canon Jeremy Pemberton against the Church.
He was refused a licence to work as a hospital chaplain by the then acting bishop of Southwell and Nottingham after he married his partner.
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"The Church of England continues to be committed to the provision of high quality RE in schools which is vital for a balanced understanding of the world today where more than 80% of the population are people of faith. The Church strongly supports the statutory requirement for collective worship in all schools and there is plenty of flexibility in the provision to enable all pupils to benefit without compromising their faith or lack of it. Where there are real objections it is a parent's right to withdraw their child from worship, and the very few who take up that right demonstrates that schools have found exciting and creative ways of using collective worship to further children's spiritual and moral development. There is no expectation of commitment and the exposure to the range of religious traditions encourages community cohesion." --[The] Revd Nigel Genders, Church of England Chief Education Officer
Traditional Christian teaching could effectively be “criminalised” in some settings under David Cameron’s plans for new anti-extremist banning orders, a top Anglican theologian and former Parliamentary draftsman has warned.
The Rev Dr Mike Ovey, a former lawyer and now principal of Oak Hill Theological College in London, a training school for Church of England clergy, said proposals for new “Extremism Disruption Orders” could be a “disaster area” for people from all the mainstream religions and none.
Mr Cameron and Theresa May have signalled that the new orders, planned as part of the Government’s Counter-Extremism Bill, would not curb the activities of radical Islamist clerics but the promotion of other views deemed to go against “British values” even if it is non-violent and legal.
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The Anglican Church of Canada expressed regret on Monday for the "immoral sexual behaviour" of one of its priests and apologized for not publicly disclosing a confession made two decades ago by the B.C.-based priest, who admitted to sexually abusing parishioners.
Gordon Nakayama's case was never reported to the police, but his story was the inspiration for The Rain Ascends, a novel by well-known Canadian author Joy Kogawa who is also the priest's daughter.
The former priest ministered to the Japanese-Canadian community in B.C. and Alberta. During the Second World War, he followed his Japanese-Canadian parishioners from Vancouver to their internment camps.
Read it all from the CBC.
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Congregations vacated St Columba’s Episcopal Church on Glasgow Road in 1996 — and since, it has been slowly crumbling away.
But after a photo of the church was posted on social media there have been calls for action to be taken to stop the rot at the town church.
Clydebank photographer Owen McGuigan, who ignited a debate about the church after uploading the snap to Facebook, said: “I just don’t like seeing old buildings, especially churches, which, back in the day were substantially built to last a long time, being left to fall down with neglect.
“In the last 40 years in Clydebank we have lost several churches, all knocked down before their time, some to make way for the Clyde Shopping Centre.”
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The Scottish Episcopal Church has taken a major step towards letting same-sex couples marry in church. However the process of change will take at least two years. If and when final approval is given, priests will be allowed – but not required – to celebrate weddings between same-sex partners.
The General Synod voted to ask the Faith and Order Board to look at revising the church’s rules on marriage. An overwhelming majority backed the resolution.
“That would also allow our clergy to enter into same-sex marriages,” said David Chillingworth, the Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, and Primus (chief bishop) of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
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June 14, 2015
[Signatories updated June 17th]
In contrast to that decision, we reaffirm the doctrine of marriage as given in the Old Testament in Genesis 2:24, reaffirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19:5 and by Paul in Ephesians 5:31 - ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’
We are committed to loving and supporting all the people in our congregations, including many gay people, and in particular at this time those who are left confused and distressed by the decisions of the General Synod.
We will take some time to pray and reflect on what the General Synod has committed to, before we discern what must be done to support people in congregations all over Scotland who will be unable to support this innovation.
Names can be added by email to admin at scottishanglican dot net. Any member of the Scottish Episcopal Church who wishes to affirm this response is welcome to sign it.
Rev Andrew Baldock, Holy Trinity, Ayr
Rev Captain Gerry Bowyer, CAF4E, Emerging Church Community, Aberdeen
Rev Canon Ian Ferguson, Westhill Community Church, Aberdeenshire
Rev Canon Ken Gordon, St Clement’s Church, Mastrick, Aberdeen
Rev Terry Harkin, The Priory Church of St Mary of Mount Carmel, South Queensferry
Rev Canon Dr Douglas Kornahrens, Holy Cross, Davidsons Mains, Edinburgh
Rev Alistair MacDonald, St Drostan’s, Insch & All Saints, Woodhead of Fyvie
Rev Dave McCarthy, St Thomas’, Corstorphine, Edinburgh
Rev Mike Parker, St Paul’s & St George’s & Interim Minister, St Silas’, Glasgow
Rev Canon Dave Richards, St Paul’s & St George’s, Edinburgh
Rev Canon Malcolm Round, St Mungo’s, Balerno
Rev Canon John Walker, The Donside Churches Group
Rev Paul Watson, St Devenick’s, Bieldside, Aberdeen
Rev Dr James Clark-Maxwell
Rev Bruce Gordon, St Thomas’ Corstorphine, Edinburgh
Rev Jenny Jones, retd. Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness
Rev Dr Chris Knights, Permission to Officiate, Diocese of Edinburgh and Hebrew Scriptures Module Coordinator, Scottish Episcopal Institute
Rev Dr Iain MacRobert, The Priory Church of St Mary of Mount Carmel, South Queensferry
Rev Dr Philip Noble, retd.
Rev Alan Price, Moray, Ross & Caithness
Rev Carol Price, Moray, Ross & Caithness
Mr Nigel Feilden, Lay Reader - St Mary's, Inverurie
Mr Alan Finch, Lay Reader - St Clement’s, Mastrick
Mrs Margaret Finch, Vestry Member - St Clement’s, Mastrick
Mrs Catherine Knights
Mr Malcolm Maclennan, Vestry Member - St Clement’s, Mastrick
Mr Ken Mavor, Westhill Community Church
Mr Alan McArthur, St James', Muthill
Mr Adrian Neville, St Thomas' Corstorphine
Mr Neil Swinnerton, Lay Representative & Rector’s Warden - Holy Cross, Davidsons Mains
Mrs Alison Wilson, People's Warden - St Mungo's, Balerno
In agreeing to debate the options for canonical change, the church made it clear that it has rejected the status quo on marriage. However, it considered three key options on how to proceed: for the Canon to be silent on the question of doctrine of marriage, for a gender-neutral definition of marriage, or for two expressions of marriage – “one that it is between two people of the opposite sex and one that it is between two people irrespective of gender”. The Synod also considered a “conscience clause”, to potentially preclude clerics from any obligation to solemnise a marriage against their consciences.
The Very Rev Kelvin Holdworth, the openly gay Rector of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, stated: “if we are going to build a church in which everyone can thrive…we don’t settle on a definition of marriage that some people can’t agree with. Are there really only two definitions of marriage in this room? It isn’t something that you can define…that’s the end of the story…it’s lived, not defined. What I would like is a statement from the church that affirms the lives of people like me, as a gay man.
“I ask you to vote for a church where we do not try to define what each other believes about marriage.”
The Synod passed the motion with a significant majority in favour of change, and also supported the adoption of a conscience clause.
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Canonical change is coming which will allow people of the same-sex to marry. It will involve the removal of the theological description of what marriage is from Canon 31 (this bit: "The Doctrine of this Church is that Marriage is a physical, spiritual and mystical union of one man and one woman created by their mutual consent of heart, mind and will thereto, and is a holy and lifelong estate instituted of God"). There will be a conscience clause which will mean no clergy have to marry anyone they don't want to. It will take two readings of the new canon in 2016 and in 2017 for the new economy to come into place. For the record - I dissent completely from this decision.
We must be grateful for the gracious way the Primus, David Chillingworth, tried to give some space to those who would disagree with this new direction. Sadly, there was little sign of grace from the majority of Synod members towards the Biblical vision of marriage which perhaps a quarter of Synod subscribe to. I hoped there might be some compromise, but those who want change scented victory and they got it.
I'm doubtful that the vision of "visible unity with functional diversity" is now attainable. This was the most extreme outcome imaginable, but at least we now have clarity and we can begin to plan accordingly.
Though I know that the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada will no doubt applaud this innovation, I'm most interested in hearing how Christians in the two thirds will respond. I have a feeling it might not be positive.
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The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has today voted to begin a process for change in relation to its Canon on Marriage. It has therefore instructed the Church’s Faith and Order Board to begin the two year process which may lead towards canonical change. That change would potentially allow the marriage of same gendered couples in Church in late 2017. The option which Synod voted for states:
Removal of section 1 of Canon 31. This option would remove section 1 from Canon 31* in its entirety so that the Canon was silent on the question of a doctrine of marriage.
General Synod also decided to add a conscience clause that ensures that no cleric would be obliged to solemnise a marriage against their conscience.
Commenting on the decision by General Synod today, The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says “Our General Synod has taken two important steps forward today. We have decided that we wish to consider possible change to our Marriage Canon. We have identified one possible expression of that change. This potentially creates a situation in which Same-Sex marriages could be celebrated in churches of the Scottish Episcopal Church. That would also allow our clergy to enter into same-sex marriages. It is important to realise that at this point this is an indicative decision only. Any change to the Canon will require the normal two year process and two thirds majorities will be required. That process will begin at General Synod 2016 and cannot be complete until General Synod 2017.”
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The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane and Primus spoke of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s relationships and role within the world wide Church saying “Within our membership of the Anglican Communion, one of our most important and historic relationships is with The Episcopal Church of the United States. It’s historic because their first bishop, Samuel Seabury was consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish Bishops. In ten days time I shall go to Salt Lake City for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. It would be an exaggeration to say that I am greeted like one of the Pilgrim Fathers. But the feeling that we are an important and valued part of their history is very much alive today. When I go there on your behalf, I am greeted and honoured in that spirit.” Bishop David spoke about the role and responsibilities of the Office of Primus and highlighted a conference he attended earlier this year in explaining “in March this year, I responded to an invitation from Archbishop Thabo, Primate of Southern Africa, to attend what became known as the Eco-Bishops Conference in Hermanus, South Africa. We have had a tentative relationship around ecological/environmental issues with South Africa. I went partly to foster that link. Most of those attending came from parts of the developing world where climate change isn’t just a matter of debate but is a daily reality of life. I was particularly impressed by the contribution of those representing the indigenous people of the world – particularly the indigenous people of Northern Canada. They have a way of seeing themselves in God’s creation which is revelatory for us – but which also calls us back to explore again our roots in Celtic spirituality.”
In conclusion Bishop David said “I have also been serving as Chair of the Reference Group for the Continuing Indaba movement which attempts to develop a culture of ‘honest conversation across difference’ right across the Communion. Continuing Indaba has attempted to foster conversation between provinces – more recently it has moved towards conversation within provinces. We recognise that while ‘headline’ disagreements in the Communion are often seen as inter-provincial, every province experiences and must work with its own diversity. Our own Cascade Conversations are part of that broader movement. That movement in turn is linked to reconciliation as one of four ministry priorities of the present Archbishop of Canterbury.”
The Rt Rev Dr John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh, followed by speaking about the link of friendship and partnership between the Diocese of Edinburgh and Cape Coast, Ghana
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I have often said that there are two, or indeed more than two, dialogues involved here.
There is a dialogue with our diversity. We weave together in our lives and the make-up of our Church different strands of theological and church tradition. But it is the complex of issues around human sexuality above all which have the potential to turn that diversity from enrichment into division. Our Cascade process of dialogue shaped a space in which our diversity might be spoken and heard. It was a space for the kind of speech which is tentative because it is sincere and speaks of the deepest things in our lives.
There is a dialogue with our tradition - with our reading of scripture, with our theology and with our social and moral teaching. We created another kind of space in the report of the Doctrine Committee - conceptual space for consideration of our tradition. We shall discuss that during this meeting.
We are not yet in a legislative space - one in which we make canonical decisions. But we might say that this year we enter into a deliberative space when we decide whether or not we wish to consider change and what kind of change that might be.
Most of all we need to discern what the spirit may be saying to us at this time - speaking to us through one another, speaking to us through scripture and our tradition of faith, speaking to us and challenging us through the extraordinary social changes taking place around us.
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Tasmania's Anglican Church is the latest organisation to ramp up its focus on domestic violence.
Members of the church will be trained to recognise the signs of domestic violence and how to respond.
Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, John Harrower, said the Church wanted to deal with the issue head on.
"What we would like to do is better equip our people, both our ministers and our lay people, so that when they are in contact with people who are suffering domestic or family violence, and also with the people who are committing the violence, [they are] wise and trained," he said.
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We are living through a period of extraordinarily rapid social change. I was in Dublin two weeks ago. It is the city of my birth. It was a remarkable experience to be there in the immediate aftermath of the Constitutional Referendum on same-sex marriage. One of the most conservative and Catholic countries in Europe voted decisively in favour of this change. No wonder the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin reflected that this called for a "reality check" among the churches.
A number of factors have brought that change about. Ireland's young population certainly made its presence felt. It is clear that people's views are being changed by their life experience. Irish Times journalist Fintan O'Toole referred to the "riveting eloquence" of the passionate advocacy of many. But he also described another kind of articulacy and said this: "What actually changed Ireland over the last two decades is hundreds of thousands of painful, stammered conversations that began with the dreaded words, 'I have something to tell you.' It's all those moments of coming out around kitchen tables, tentative words punctuated by sobs and sighs, by cold silences and fearful hesitations."
So people have been changed by the way in which gay relationships have begun to be in the best sense ordinary. They find it hard to do other than accept those relationships among people whom they love and care deeply about.
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[Twitter and Livestream here when in session]
Judah’s leaders are like those
who move boundary stones.
I will pour out my wrath on them
like a flood of water. Hosea 5:10
However, this gracious compromise was roundly rejected by around two thirds of the Synod.
I don't know that people understood just how costly this amendment would have been if it had been accepted..
Read it all and for background read here
Update latest from GadgetVicar on Twitter and SEC:
General Synod 2015: Motion passed to proceed to debate the options for canonical change in relation to Marriage. Vote was 92 for, 35 against
Synod now discussing the options for change to Canon 31 relating to Marriage. Motion passed to proceed to vote on its preferred options. voting on Motion 20B to include a conscience clause in the options before Synod.
Synod Members now voting on options for change to Canon 31 relating to Marriage.
Motion passed to include a conscience clause in the option before Synod.
Option A has been passed by Synod. [Votes: Option A 88 out of 125 voting including 6 abstentions]
[Option A: Removal of section 1 of Canon 31
This option would remove section 1 from Canon 31 in its entirety so that the Canon was silent on the question of a doctrine of marriage. Page 46
The SEC’s official teaching on marriage is enshrined in Canon 31:1.
‘The Doctrine of the Church is that Marriage is a physical, spiritual and mystical
union of one man and one woman created by their mutual consent of heart,
mind and will thereto, and is a holy and lifelong estate instituted of God.’ - page 50 of above link]
Motion 23 instructing Canonical Committee to prepare the necessary canonical changes to effect this deletion passed on ballot 110 to 9
Motion 24 on religious registration of civil partnerships in church failed 30 to 82
Further Update: Report on SEC vote to leave the Anglican Faith
Even Further Update: GadgetVicar - The General Synod Votes For Equal Marriage
Thinking of oneself as "Church of England" or "Anglican" is increasingly irrelevant, clergy have suggested, responding to last week's statistical analysis indicating that Anglicans were in steep decline in the UK....
The Dean of Chelmsford, the Very Revd Nicholas Henshall, writes (Letters) that parish priests and deans are leading "increasingly post-denominational" communities.
He points to the decline in confirmations, even in churches that are growing, as "a version of the same story. . .
"Confirmation suggests an ownership of a specific denominational identity, which is simply not part of the deal for most people. I would suggest that even most people of my generation, and certainly those of my children's, find denominational identity increasingly irrelevant."
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Declining numbers at services should not necessarily be a cause of despair for churches because people will still “encounter God” without ever taking their place in a pew, the Church of England’s newest bishop designate has insisted.
Dame Sarah Mullally, the former NHS Chief Nurse for England who has been named as the next Bishop of Crediton, said clerics must recognise that young people are as likely to hear the Christian message through social media sites such as Facebook or in cafés as in a church.
In a remarkably varied career, the 53-year-old mother-of-two has now risen to the top of two very different professions.
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Please go and check them all out there. David Ould gives a particular plug for the Ashley Null presentations, as does yours truly.
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Following allegations of human rights abuses, bribery and corruption the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board have raised serious concerns with SOCO International and its board since November 2013 and intensively since December 2014. Our concerns specifically address four main areas relating to the company's operations in and around Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The four main areas are:
• The instigation of a wide ranging and transparent independent enquiry of SOCO's operations in and around Virunga National Park.
• Amendment of the previously issued statement agreed between SOCO and WWF to remove any room for doubt about SOCO's intentions within existing or future boundaries of a World Heritage site so that there are, without exception, no circumstances in which SOCO would conduct further exploration or production activities in the Virunga National Park or any other World Heritage site.Following allegations of human rights abuses, bribery and corruption the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board have raised serious concerns with SOCO International and its board since November 2013 and intensively since December 2014. Our concerns specifically address four main areas relating to the company's operations in and around Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The four main areas are:
• The instigation of a wide ranging and transparent independent enquiry of SOCO's operations in and around Virunga National Park.
• Amendment of the previously issued statement agreed between SOCO and WWF to remove any room for doubt about SOCO's intentions within existing or future boundaries of a World Heritage site so that there are, without exception, no circumstances in which SOCO would conduct further exploration or production activities in the Virunga National Park or any other World Heritage site.
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Most of our schools are rated good or outstanding, with pupils attaining academic benchmarks. But we want more for our children. Church of England schools focus on spirituality and creativity which values the arts and religion as much as it looks for the beauty in maths, the wonder in science and the emotional understanding enhanced through poetry and music.
We also focus on the development of character and virtue that enables pupils to play their part in transforming the neighbourhood and world in which they live. That is why we are delighted to be one of fourteen from more than a thousand applicants, to be awarded a grant from the DfE Character Fund to carry out a substantial research project examining how various approach to teaching and pedagogy might better develop not just resilience and grit but ways of thinking which lead to service and mutual understanding.
We are also pleased to be developing ways in which schools and colleges can help communities live well together. This is not simply about fundamental British values which might be driven by the fear of extremism, but flows from a desire to use the diversity that is present in our schools to demonstrate what living well together really means.
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The Archbishops' Council are delighted to announce William Nye has been selected to be its next Secretary-General and Secretary General of the General Synod of the Church of England. He will succeed William Fittall who is retiring at the end of November after thirteen years in this post.
William Nye was selected unanimously by a panel comprising both Archbishops, seven other members of the Council (including two officers of the General Synod) and the Chair of the Appointments Committee. The recommendation of the panel was unanimously endorsed by a meeting of the full Council in May 2015.
William Nye brings 25 years of experience from the Civil Service and Whitehall. His roles and departments have included National Security at the Cabinet Office, Diplomacy, Intelligence and Defence at HM Treasury and Arts at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
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A couple of deans have offered measured comments on Richard's blogsite, and the Dean of Liverpool has written a longer, and in my view splendid, response in a blog of his own. In it, he invites Richard to experience for himself the extraordinary diversity of activity in that great cathedral comprehensively including prayer and pilgrimage, outreach, social care, the arts, Christian community and a whole lot else.
I want to ask a few questions of my own.
1. Isn't Richard's concept of how God speaks to human beings a bit selective and narrow? Doesn't God make himself known in an infinite variety of ways, not simply through the spoken word (or even Word)? Cathedrals are numinous sacred spaces that speak of the divine not only through their buildings but also in the life and activity of their communities: daily prayer and worship, music and the arts, a common life of love and service, all of which play a part in building up the people of God and communicating faith.
2. Doesn't Richard underestimate the key role liturgy plays in speaking of faith? Wesley called the eucharist 'a converting ordinance'. Paul says that the breaking of bread is to 'show forth the Lord's death until he comes' - show forth being a strong, outward-facing missionary word. He wants the church's worship to be so compelling that guests coming in from outside have no choice but to conclude that 'God is among you'. The huge investment of care that goes into cathedral worship is at the heart of our witness to the gospel. People have been converted through coming to midweek choral evensong. (You don't believe me?)
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In the Middle East, Africa, and much of the non-Western world, extending honour is among the chief virtues. Our Anglican Communion is blessed to have a leader who embodies not only this cultural value, but also its Biblical roots.
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Dr Freier wrote to Mr Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten because Parliament may soon consider amending the Marriage Act. Mr Shorten is bringing a bill to introduce same-sex marriage, and two other bills are also planned.
“Should changes to the Marriage Act be legislated, I urge on behalf of the Anglican Church that there be provision made for decisions of conscience.
“Ministers of religion recognised by a church or other religious body must have the right to refuse to solemnise a marriage if in doing so that would contravene his or her religious beliefs or the religious beliefs of the church or other religious body,” Dr Freier wrote.
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I’ve just devoured James Rebanks‘ The Shepherd’s Life, which is a fascinating and brilliantly written account of his life as a shepherd on the Cumbrian fells (with a little international consultancy on the side to help with the bills). As near as I can reckon, it tells us non-farmers what it really means to live with that connection to a place and to a way of life which is almost completely foreign to a market society. Looking at it from the outside, why would anyone work so incredibly hard for such little reward? But that question only makes sense when you’re thinking of ‘work’ and ‘life’ as two different things. You contract for work in order to have enough money to get on with the things you really want to do.
But for farmers – or at least for Rebanks – it’s not like that. The life and the living are one and the same thing. You have to make enough money to survive, so you work as cannily as you can to maximise your return. But that’s not the heart of it. Rebooks begins by talking about the way sheep on the fells are ‘hefted’ to a specific area. Even though there aren’t any fences, they know their territory, and that’s where they stay. It’s their space. As a one-time walker on the Cumbrian fells, I can attest to the indignation of a Hardwick sheep when confronted by a stranger carrying a knapsack. One definitely gets the feeling that they’re thinking ‘if I had proper teeth, I’d be after you …’.
Rebooks leaves the reader to makes the connection with himself and his fellow farmers. But they too are hefted to their places. Not necessarily the individual farm, because people move from time to time. But to the area, the territory, they are inextricably linked. A lot of Church of England clergy feel just the same about their parishes.
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The Bishop in Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, the Most Revd Dr Mouneer Anis will give a presentation on the situation in his vast diocese to members and invited guests of the Egypt Diocesan Association at Lambeth Palace on Friday 12 June by kind invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop of York, Patron of the Association, will be present at the meeting.
The occasion celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Egypt Diocesan Association (EDA) which has supported the mission and ministries of that diocese over six decades.
The region covered by the Episcopal Church in Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa includes no fewer than eight countries, and the Christian communities in many parts of the diocese face huge challenges. Dr Mouneer is also in his second term as Archbishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East and so in close touch with the situation of many throughout the Middle East and Arabic world.
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Dear Ms. Eleanor Maxine and the Family, Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
It is with great sadness that we received the news of the passing of the Lay Canon Kodwo E. Ankrah of the Church of the Province of Uganda, a native of Anomabu, Ghana.
I write to express my sincere condolences as well as those of the World Council of Churches. The Canon was respected and beloved among you, the Church of the Province of Uganda and his childhood Methodist Church in Ghana but also within the ecumenical movement, through his leadership in the Christian Council of Ghana, the All Africa Conference of Churches and the World Council of Churches. A true “sojourner” in his own words in transit from Ghana to Uganda from 1970s to the time he was called to the eternal home on Friday 29th May 2015.
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The next Bishop of Crediton is to be the Revd Dame Sarah Mullally, Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral.
Dame Sarah, a former nurse, had a distinguished service in the NHS before ordination, culminating in her appointment as the government’s Chief Nursing Officer for England in 1999, when she was the youngest person to be appointed to the post.
She was ordained in 2001 and served her curacy in St Saviour’s Battersea Fields, initially as a self-supporting minister. She left her post as Chief Nursing Officer in 2004 to take up full time ministry becoming a Team Rector in Sutton, Surrey in 2006. In 2012 she was installed as Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral.
She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing and midwifery.
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The city of Hull was bombed several times by Zeppelin airships during World War One. Saturday marks the centenary of the first raid.
Civilians in Britain had been largely unaffected by the war but in January 1915 the first Zeppelin raids on other parts of the UK had shattered the illusion of safety.
On its way to Hull six months later, on June 6, Zeppelin L-9's presence was first spotted just after 19:00 by intercepted wireless traffic when it was 100 miles away over the North Sea.
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(The Dear Deans letter to which this responds may be found here--KSH).
Now, Liverpool Cathedral is not perfect. Your piece is a challenge to me. What might we do better, where are we falling short and failing to make the most of the opportunities which the Lord is presenting to us? But nor is Liverpool Cathedral unique! Here’s the thing: in its inherited tradition, ours probably is the most Evangelical of all the Cathedrals in England. I guess it is, anyway – though we now manage that in an intentionally non-partisan, non-tribal way, delighting in the contributions of the Anglo-Catholic and liberal bits of the CofE. But given that Evangelical inheritance, maybe I’ve found a greater appetite for evangelism here than I might have found if I had been appointed Dean anywhere else. But I can assure you that when I am talking to my fellow Deans about what’s going on here, I absolutely don’t encounter sniffy contempt. Not one bit. They rejoice with me, and sometimes I think they’re a bit wistful on account the scope which both our architecture and our long tradition gives us. Because, for all your frustration, the fact is that the Deans do understand and embrace the missionary challenge we face. Of course, the mission is understood differently in different places – you’d expect that in the Church of England. You’re surely not asking for every Cathedral to be an outpost of HTB.
Here, by the way, is an excerpt from the report which Vivienne Faull, the Dean of York, has just given (as its Chair) at the annual meeting of the Association of English Cathedrals. (I don’t have her permission to quote from it, but I think she’d be delighted if it reaches a wider audience!) She cites some recent research to be published imminently by Grace Davey which ‘will show how cathedrals are an important means by which the passive majority becomes acquainted with the forms of religion performed by the active minority… The location of cathedrals on the border between the religious and the secular enhances this capacity. She goes on, ‘many English Anglican cathedrals are working with this liminality with creativity and effectiveness. And towards the end she notes, ‘Many of those who now affiliate to cathedrals have relatively little knowledge of Christian faith, or of the Church of England. Most cathedrals are now offering routes by which newcomers to faith may discover more. Intentional discipleship in cathedrals marks a significant shift away from the assumption that those who worship with us seek anonymity’.
This, I think, is the particular ministry of Cathedrals, and I’m confident all my colleagues know it, value it and want to make the most of it. How we are doing so will differ according to several variables: theological standpoint is only one; architecture and location are significant too. But take heart: there is much effective evangelism taking place. Maybe we could all be making more of precisely the interface you cite, when Choral Evensong meets Tourism Central; but don’t assume that’s the whole deal. And also, give us a break: the Church of England is on a journey, and Cathedrals are on board. You can be sure that the language of mission is more and more mainstream even in Cathedrals and that when the Deans meet to talk, we even talk, at least some of the time, about making Jesus known. We remember that that is what we were ordained to do, I promise.
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We must emphasise a mutual belonging to our society, and toughen up religious teaching if we want to achieve spiritual harmony
The term “religion” has increasingly come to have a perjorative connotation, suggesting at least legalism, hypocrisy and hocus pocus, if not downright violence and evil. But most people are not “secular” in the sense of denying the existence of a spiritual realm. Rather than taking the trouble to distinguish between good and bad religion, they instead take the easy option of believing in some kind of “spirituality”, which allows them to acknowledge a spiritual domain without having to belong to an organisation and live by its rules. Their awareness may be vestigial, increasingly distant from historical Christianity and more and more idiosyncratic, but it is there.
For the churches, this can be a point of contact, but we have to realise, more generally, that if spiritual beliefs are to make a lasting impact on society, they need a means of social expression. Soft focus “spirituality” does not make any demands about social responsibility, delayed self-gratification or the importance of the family. This is what the churches have done until now. There seem to be no other candidates in the field. The choice is between even more individualism, and “making it up” as we go along, or some kind of revitalisation of the social aspect of belief. Will our churches rise to the challenge?
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Follow Up: A National Secular Society tweet in response to the Bishop--
Bishop says schools should “teach the faith”. They absolutely should not. Need objective education about religion. http://t.co/lIiyitWk3h— Secularism UK (@NatSecSoc) June 6, 2015
Anglican Canada elected Saturday its newest bishop of Montreal, Mary Irwin-Gibson, the first woman to serve in the role, CBC News reported. Irwin-Gibson, 59, is dean and rector at St. George’s Cathedral in Kingston, Ontario. She was ordained as a deacon in 1981 and as a priest in 1982. She served in Montreal between 1981 and 2009 before moving to Kingston, the Anglican Journal said.
In being elected Montreal’s bishop, Irwin-Gibson was chosen over two men, Bishop Dennis Drainville and Archdeacon Bill Gray, and one woman, the Rev. Karen Egan. About 160 clerical and lay delegates in the diocese were eligible to vote in the election, the Anglican Journal said. Irwin-Gibson will replace Bishop Barry Clarke, who announced his retirement in April, saying he would be departing as of Aug. 31. Clarke was elected bishop in 2004. He followed a line of 10 men who served in the position.
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This is not the place to write of the Brotherhood, of Ini's founding of the order of Companions of the Brothers, and of his other ideas, the children of an impulsive but very original mind. He worked first in his own island of Guadalcanal, then in Santa Cruz, then in Sikaiana, which owes him its Christianity, then in Mala, and then for some time in SagSag at the western end of New Britain, opposite New Guinea, where he prepared a number of people for Baptism. One of my memories is of that baptism, when Ini and I stood waist deep in the very cold water of that mountain river for several hours, while streams of people came...to us from the heathen side, were baptised by us and passed over to the Christian side, where the Bishop sat in his chair on a high grassy bank with the few already Christians round him. There the newly baptised dressed in white loincloths, and finally a great procession, led by the Cross, set off for the church, a procession so long that they were singing different hymns in different parts without releasing it, or caring either, so joyful did they feel. That is just one of the many memories of Ini. What great days those were!
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Loving God, may thy Name be blest for the witness of Ini Kopuria, police officer and founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, whose members saved many American pilots in a time of war, and who continue to minister courageously to the islanders of Melanesia. Open our eyes that we, with these Anglican brothers, may establish peace and hope in service to others, for the sake of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
With thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV
It leaves me asking a basic question. Do we have any interest in the conversion of England – or even the survival of faith within the CoE?
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This is not even the end point in feminist theology. Others like Rita Nakashima Brock state
“The feminist Christian commitment is not to a savior who redeems us by bringing God to us. Our commitment is to love ourselves and others into wholeness. Our commitment is to a divine presence with us here and now, a presence that works through the mystery of our deepest selves and our relationships, constantly healing us and nudging us toward a wholeness of existence we only fitfully know. That healed wholeness is not Christ; it is ourselves.” [my bolding] Rita Nakashima Brock, “The Feminist Redemption of Christ,” in Christian Feminism: Visions of a New Humanity (ed. Judith Weidman; New York: Harper & Row, 1984), 69.
And so we come full circle. Feminists have determined that Jesus cannot save them so they have to save Him. The attempt to make Jesus a symbol or a metaphor detracts from His humanity. In detracting from His humanity they are also diminishing our humanity; male and female. The feminist spirit is not new. It began with Eve doubting what God had instructed and trying to become more than she was created to be; wanting to be equal to God. There is an element of symbolism here. Feminism is giving birth to a new Christ and with this new Christ, a new gospel is needed also. In order to make their new narrative work, they must change the Christology of the church. This is the spirit of this age and it has infected the true church however, Jesus has not changed. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
“Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Jesus came to reveal the Father. It is a major work of the church to reveal the Son. To obfuscate the person and work of Jesus Christ is to confuse His revelation of the Father, confound soteriology and grieve the Holy Spirit.
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10. Referring to God as “Mother” is part of an overall plan to eradicate any sign of patriarchy from Christianity - Depend on it. Calling God both “Mother” and “Father” is only the first step. God as “Father” must be removed completely. There is an agenda therefore, to alter the very foundation principles and theology of Christianity so that they worship another god altogether, and you only have to read the new age feminist theologians to understand that the goddess they want to worship is nothing like “Our Father in Heaven” instead it is “Earth Mother”. In other words, calling God “Mother” is not an alternative form of Christianity. It is not Christianity at all.
11. To Call God “Mother” is to worship a pagan Goddess - Why are women priests so afraid to be called “priestesses”? I asked one once. She said, “It sounds too pagan.” Indeed. Likewise, why are they so timid about calling the new god they worship a “Goddess”? Because it sounds too pagan. Don’t be deceived though. It won’t be long before they will embrace these terms. A new generation will not be so shy and will say, “Yes, you’re right. I am a priestess and I worship the goddess. So what?” And having accepted the goddess worshipping priestesses who will be able to say “Boo!”?
12. Calling God Mother opens the door to New Age Witchcraft - Why are people so dense about this? One only has to read the new age feminist theologians themselves to discover that the religion they are sympathetic to is none other than the worship of the Nature Goddess–the God of this world–aka Satan. Of course “enlightened” people will sneer at such an accusation, but feminist theologians themselves call for the complete abolition of the Father God and the embrace of the Mother Goddess. These feminist theologians have been very influential in the Anglican church. I was there. They were all over the place in the women’s ordination movement. That’s where it is headed, and the reason anyone who can’t see it is because they won’t see it.
Read it all and Part 2 is here
The decline in the proportion of British people who identify as Anglican has accelerated in the past decade, new analysis from NatCen statisticians suggests.
The proportion who say they are Anglican in the British Social Attitudes survey has fallen from 40 per cent in 1983 to 17 per cent in 2014. In the past decade, the proportion has fallen by two-fifths: from 28 per cent in 2004.
The researchers say that the survey results suggest that the number of Anglicans has fallen by as many as 4.5 million over the past ten years, from about 13 million to 8.5 million.
The biggest group remains those who say they have no religion: 49 per cent, up from 43 per cent in 2004 and 31 per cent in 1983.
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The Church of England has launched a new version of the clerical directory Crockford, delivering a daily update to the 157 year-old directory of Anglican clergy in the UK and Ireland.
The new subscription site has been designed to allow daily updates to details about people and places listed in Crockford, as well as featuring a completely new layout, with clearer language to explain clergy roles as well as more free content.
The latest edition of the website also provides a guide to the structure of dioceses and churches, enabling people to 'thumb through' their local church context.
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The Most Rev. John Neill, the archbishop of Dublin from 2002 to 2011, told The Irish Times “the understanding of marriage in the church has evolved, putting partnership first before procreation”, in which context “there is less of a problem about same-sex marriage”. A Yes result would not affect the church’s teaching on marriage and it could continue “to order [its] own affairs,” he said. But he hoped church thinking would evolve “to take account of this distinction.”
He further stated “we now recognise that there are many different types of unions and I don’t see why they cannot have the protection and status of marriage”. He was also “quite happy this wouldn’t affect the status of children.”
However, the Bishop of the United Dioceses of Meath and Kildare, the Most Rev. Patricia Storey said in a pastoral letter to her clergy it was the effect on children and the family that led her to cast a No vote.
“I believe that civil partnerships give gay people clear civil rights and recognition as people committed to one another, and I fully endorse this. However, I do not think that this requires the redefinition of marriage to uphold it, and I do not believe that marriage should be redefined,” she wrote.
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Here is a wedding symbolizing and remembering God’s final great act of creation – man and women in his image, different but coming together in intimate partnership for fruitfulness and stewardship. God is present, but incognito, and sees that the wine – the spiritual heart of celebration and shalom – has gone. V6 mentions jars were used to hold water for Jewish purification ceremonies. They are empty. Religious ceremonies, whether Jewish, Christian or otherwise, only point to the spiritual, supernatural dimension to life – they cannot in themselves connect us to the life of God. What Jesus has come to do is to restore the ‘God dimension’ to our humanity which religious works in themselves can’t do. But of course at that time in the story Jesus had not yet gone to the cross to die for our sins, he had not yet risen from the dead, breaking through death and showing God’s plans for eternal life for all who believe in him; he had not yet sent the Holy Spirit – so at that time his hour had not yet come. But for us it has come!
So Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding is a picture of a divine restoration of humanity as originally intended: communities of celebration in relationship with God the Father who saves, communicates and sustains by his Word, built on the foundation of men and women in happy marriages. Instead of worship and witness being confined to empty religious forms, the presence and the truth of Christ and the free flowing new wine of the Spirit spill over into the whole of life. This is what churches are called to model.
But of course this brings huge questions for our day. What about people who are not married, and what about same sex marriage? Here are some brief thoughts:
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The Archbishops' Council has today announced the appointment the Revd Canon Dr Ian McIntosh has been appointed as the new Head of Formation in the Ministry Division.
Ian is currently Principal of the Eastern Region Ministry Course and recently served as president of the Cambridge Theological Federation.
The new role of Head of Formation includes responsibility for the Division's work in both discernment and initial ministerial education. Ian will take up his new role at the start of September 2015.
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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 bells at Christ Church Anglican Meaford (Boucher Street East) will be rung 60 times at noon each day ending Sunday June 21 - a total of 1320 times, to honour and remember missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada and to draw attention to the need for an inquiry. The first day for the ringing was May 31.
The Bishop of Huron, the Right Reverend Robert Bennett has endorsed and invited the faith communities of Huron to respond to the call by Archbishop Fred Hiltz (Primate of all Canada) and Bishop Mark MacDonald (National Indigenous Anglican Bishop) for the Anglican Church of Canada to enter into 22 Days of prayer and renewal beginning on May 31 (the closing ceremony of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission) and ending 22 days later on June 21 (National Aboriginal Day of Prayer).
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The Church of England is urging vicars to broadcast their Sunday services live on the internet because some people find it too “scary” to attend in person.
Official advice from the CofE’s Church House headquarters in London encourages parishes to take advantage of new technology making it possible to broadcast through a mobile phone as a new way of “spreading the word”.
It recommends trying out new streaming services as a means of catering for those unable to attend because of ill health or travelling abroad as well as to reach those who might be curious but wary of publicly joining in services.
The advice, written by Tallie Proud, the Church’s digital media officer, provides basic tips on everything from taking a steady shot to remembering to keep their mobile phone battery charged while streaming.
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Women And The Church (known as ‘Watch’), the pressure group calling for the use of ‘female language’ to describe God, know that such a change would lead to bitter rows in vestries and thunderous denunciations in the General Synod, the Church of England parliament.
But they are ready for battle. Watch ran — and won — the campaign for women bishops.
They are not to be confused with the loopy Christian feminists who danced in circles, clutching ‘healing crystals’, in the Seventies. No one listened when that lot demanded that God be called ‘She’, as they did incessantly.
Watch, in contrast, is led by a group of politically savvy networkers. These women are embedded in the ancient structures of the Church.
Watch’s members love to point out that the Bible uses feminine imagery: God is compared to ‘a woman in labour’ in the Book of Isaiah.
But throughout the Gospels Jesus constantly refers to God as ‘Father’ — most famously in the Lord’s Prayer.
Referring to God as ‘Mother’ drives a horse and cart through Scripture. Such an innovation is guaranteed to split the C of E as never before.
And much of the anger would come from Christians whom feminists are desperately anxious not to upset — women from immigrant backgrounds. African, West Indian and Asian Anglicans — who keep many inner-city British parishes alive — think feminised worship is tainted by paganism.
For many of them, referring to God as a woman is, indeed, a form of goddess worship, something they have fought against in their countries of origin.
We should also ask why this particular question has arisen now. One influence is the fashion for rewriting history to highlight the role of women in biblical times.
Much of this is based on bad scholarship and wishful thinking. Several books portray Mary Magdalene as the real leader of the Apostles. They are about as plausible as The Da Vinci Code.
The Church of England is not good at telling the difference between necessary modernisation of its practices and secular fads. Nothing has done more damage than its embarrassing attempts to be ‘relevant’.
In some parishes, every other sermon is about climate change, on which the vicar poses as an expert even though he’s done no more than skim-read The Guardian.
And do you remember those hideous cathedral youth events billed as ‘raves in the nave’?
Despite weighty theological arguments, the ‘God as She’ proposal falls clearly into the category of gimmick.
Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, has warned us that the Church could be extinct in 25 years’ time unless services become more spiritually fulfilling.
Calling God ‘She’ will not achieve that fulfilment. The proposed twist of language will do nothing to stop the decline of Christian faith in this country.
On the contrary, it will make worshippers squirm. And nothing empties pews faster than that.
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“My mom and dad didn’t tell us why they were putting us on the train. I thought they were coming with us,” said Clara Fergus, a Cree woman from northern Manitoba to a sharing circle on the morning of June 1, at the beginning of the final event of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). “They put us on the train, and then we noticed they didn’t come with us.”
The train took Fergus all the way to the United Church of Canada-run Brandon Indian Residential School, where she would spend the rest of her childhood having her language, culture and identity stripped from her while suffering “all forms of abuse” at the hands of teachers and staff.
“Being away from your brothers and sisters, being away from your grandparents,” said Fergus. “It’s the love that we missed. The hugs. The nurturing…I can’t imagine…if I sent my kids there, and they had to go through that…”
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has spent the last six years documenting stories like Fergus’s, stories of how the Indian residential school system was set up to enact what Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin recently called “an attempt at cultural genocide.”
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I’m not sure that the reason millions of Brits are staying away from church is that they’ve explored the case for Christianity and found it wanting. Rather, most don’t know enough about Christianity to know whether they’re Anglican or not. What passes for religious education in schools is a joke; more comparative anthropology than anything, with Buddhism getting about as much space as Christianity. Sunday schools are no more. Whenever I’ve met secular university audiences I’ve been struck by the extent to which really bright young people know next to nothing about Christian doctrine.
The loss of faith has all sorts of repercussions. It was affecting the way the FA crowd on Saturday sang Abide With Me, that poignant expression of Christianity: hymn singing is one of the things young males don’t do any more.
But the losses go further. Yale professor David Brooks has written a much-discussed book, The Road to Character, in which he laments the way his students no longer have the language, the concepts, to talk about things like the common good, altruism, virtue. (They may of course do so in terms of evolutionary self-interest instead.)
One thing religion does is enable you to talk about these things; it’s more or less what Christianity is about. Even those of us who aren’t Anglican should be wishing Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, well in his bid to re-evangelise England. If the CofE dies, an awful lot of good will die with it.
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How typically hypocritical of today’s Church of England leadership to preach one thing but do the opposite.
During the election campaign, Anglican bishops made the highly political move of issuing a 52-page letter urging Christians to resist the power of big business.
Their call for an end to the free-market ideas embodied by Margaret Thatcher, which they claimed were ‘entrenching inequality’ between rich and poor, infuriated the Tory Party.
Yet just a few weeks later, Church leaders now appear to be happily embracing big-business values.
For the latest report by the Church Commissioners, who handle the C of E’s investments, reveals that they awarded a £75,000 pay rise to their director of investments.
The 18 per cent increase, at a time when the Government has imposed a public sector pay freeze, brings Tom Joy’s total salary package to £409,000.
Of course, the Church has to employ the best financial brains to look after its investments, but such a large amount of money will shock many parishioners working hard to raise funds.
Indeed, Mr Joy is not the only person being well-rewarded by the Church. Ten of the commission’s 229 staff earn more than £100,000 a year.
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Membership of the Church of England has dropped sharply in Britain in the last two years while the number of Muslims has grown, a new survey has revealed.
The British Social Attitudes survey found that the proportion of British adults describing themselves as Anglican has fallen from 21 per cent in 2012 to 17 per cent in 2014, a loss of around 1.7 million. That brings the number of Anglicans in Britain to 8.6 million people.
The proportion of Catholics remained roughly stable at 8 per cent, or just over 4 million, as did that of “other” Christians, including Methodists, Presbyterians and non-denominational Christians.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Sociology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Other Faiths
The Department for Education have today announced that the Church of England will be running one of the projects funded by the Character Education Grant.
The project will pilot 'What If Learning', a cross-curricular model developed by an international partnership of educators. It aims to equip teachers with a practical approach to promoting the development of positive virtues and character traits in the classroom, which lead to success in learning and increased engagement in community and voluntary activities. The model will be piloted in 20 schools across 4 dioceses. The approach will be independently evaluated and resources will be made available to teachers across the country.
The project will be delivered by a collaborative partnership between the Church of England Education Office, the Dioceses of Chester, Derby, Exeter and Peterborough, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of St Mark and St John, Plymouth.
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God is neither "she" nor "he" says Watch, a group which represents women in the church.
The organisation has been accused of trying to "rewrite" Christian doctrine by encouraging people to use the female pronoun when talking about God.
Rev Jody Stowell, vicar at St Michael & All Angels Church in Harrow, says she was "dismayed" by recent reports.
"This is not about making God a woman. This is about creating those proper, Biblical images of God," she explains.
The ideas surrounding which pronouns to use when talking about God were discussed at a committee meeting in Lambeth Palace, according to Hilary Cotton, chair of Watch.
The former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, who left the Anglican Church following the decision to ordain women priests, said a plan to use female pronouns was "plain silly" and "the work of lunatics".
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I am always amazed and reassured that Jesus never apologised for the God of the Old Testament – his father! This includes being unashamed of the Genesis account of creation, especially: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’ [Genesis 1:27, NIV 1984, italics mine]. The modern redefinition of marriage reflects a disdain for God’s plan in making us male and female. I thank God for those who have resisted this trend, and hold to a biblical definition of traditional marriage.
References to the inspiration of scripture in the New Testament include the 39 books of the Old Testament. If we affirm the New Testament it means we affirm the Old Testament too. I accept there are things in the Old Testament that are hard to swallow. Yes. But this is true with the New Testament too. Part of bearing the stigma for Christ is the willingness to look like fools in the eyes the world.
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As parishioners filed into the Woolwich Street church, roughly 25 members of two south end community groups handed out literature and marched on the sidewalk with signs critical of Bishop Michael Bird of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara.
While the protesters made it clear they have no issue with St. George's Church itself, they felt it was another way to try to pressure Bishop Bird to meet with them and discuss the sale of property on Kortright Road that is the home of the former St. Matthias Anglican Church.
"I think the bishop should meet with the people. Jesus met with everybody, sinners and non-sinners, so why would the bishop not meet with the people," said Bruce Taylor of Citizens for Community.
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A different tradition is that of the Eastern Orthodox church, which I mentioned in chapter 12. There the “Jesus prayer” has been rightly popular: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (There are variations, but this is perhaps the best known.) This, like the Jewish Shema, is designed to be said over and over again, until it becomes part of the act of breathing, embedding a sense of the love of Jesus deep within the personality. This prayer, again like the Shema, begins with a confession of faith, but here it is a form of address. And instead of commandments to keep, it focuses on the mercy that the living God extends through his Son to all who will seek it. This prayer has been much beloved by many in the Orthodox and other traditions, who have found that when they did not know what else to pray, this prayer would rise, by habit, to their mind and heart, providing a vehicle and focus for whatever concern they wished to bring into the Father’s presence.
I have a great admiration for this tradition, but I have always felt a certain uneasiness about it. For a start, it seems to me inadequate to address Jesus only. The Orthodox, of course, have cherished the trinitarian faith, and it has stood them in good stead over the course of many difficult years. It is true that the prayer contains an implicit doctrine of the Trinity: Jesus is invoked as the Son of the living God, and Christians believe that prayer addressed to this God is itself called forth by the Spirit. But the prayer does not seem to me to embody a fully trinitarian theology as clearly as it might. In addition, although people more familiar than I with the use of this prayer have spoken of its unfolding to embrace the whole world, in its actual words it is focused very clearly on the person praying, as an individual. Vital though that is, as the private core of the Christian faith without which all else is more or less worthless, it seems to me urgent that our praying should also reflect, more explicitly, the wider concerns with which we have been dealing.
I therefore suggest that we might use a prayer that, though keeping a similar form to that of the Orthodox Jesus Prayer, expands it into a trinitarian mode:
Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth:
Set up your kingdom in our midst.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God:
Have mercy on me, a sinner.
Holy Spirit, breath of the living God:
Renew me and all the world.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Theology The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
The Right Rev. and Right Hon. George Carey includes among his passions his wife, Eileen; the Barclays Premier League football club Arsenal; and “certain things such as a peaceful world,” he told The Blade during an interview at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit.
The former archbishop of Canterbury elaborated on obstacles to peace that he sees.
“I really do feel very worried about” what is happening to Christians in the Middle East at the hands of the Islamic State, Lord Carey said. “I think we’re now living in a world more dangerous than ever.”
He said that “our biggest enemy now is [ISIS] and Islamic fundamentalism, which now exists in America in all those Muslim families that you have graciously invited and said, following the Statue of Liberty, ‘Come and make your home here.’
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
A leading witch and herbalist shared a Church of England platform last night with other women religious leaders including the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church and Gogglebox tv vicar Rev Kate Bottley.
Helene Mobius, who heads the prison chaplain ministry of the Pagan Federation, challenged stereotypes of women at the event, the latest in the Westminster Faith Debates series at London's liberal flagship church, St James's Piccadilly.
The Pagan Federation and the Druid Network have recently become fully-fledged members of Britain's religious establishment, having been voted into the Inter Faith Network UK as a body representative of its community.
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Wicca / paganism
As a boy I was fascinated with space travel. Perhaps it was growing up during the so-called ‘space-race’ when the USSR competed with the USA to send a human into space or land a man on the moon. Although the Soviets won the initial stage with the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin they were soon eclipsed by the Americans, 12 of whom stepped onto the lunar surface.
My reading material reflected this fascination as I went through a series of library books with such gripping titles as Mission to Mercury, Voyage to Venus and Journey to Jupiter. At around that time, it must have been in the second half of junior school, I was introduced to the concept of infinity. The universe itself was presented as infinite and I can remember lying in bed thinking about the vastness of space and finding myself feeling afraid, pulling the bed covers over me as if that would make a difference!
Scientists do not now regard our universe as infinite, though the notion of ‘multiverses’ – the theory there may be an infinite number of other possible universes – keeps the thought alive. Yet even if our universe may have bounds, its immensity is truly overwhelming and intimidating.
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Where do Irish Christians go from here? Ireland is spiritually and morally bankrupt, at war with itself, and Hell-bent, detesting the idea of Christianity - at least the version of it that has been presented to it by the Roman Catholic church. But in one sense, nothing has changed. We know already from the Scriptures that Jesus said: ‘wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14). This is and will always remain true no matter what decisions nations and individuals take.
So, where do we go from here? Well, like the Apostle Paul, our ambition in Ireland is simply to preach the Gospel where Christ is not known (Romans 15:20). In Ireland, the vast majority ‘know’ Christ as only a swear word, or as a distant, cold stone statue figure at best. But our ambition, as Irish Christians, as Evangelicals, is to bring the Gospel afresh to this generation of Irish to know Him as their loving Lord and Saviour. To preach the Gospel, was ‘always’ Paul’s ambition in life, and this ambition should grip every Evangelical and every Evangelical church in Ireland.
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A liturgy to "mark a person's gender transition" should be devised to help the Church welcome and affirm transgender people, a motion from the diocese of Blackburn suggests. The motion was sent for consideration to the General Synod last month, after being carried by the diocesan synod.
Its origins lie in a service led last year by the Vicar of St Mary's, Lancaster, the Revd Chris Newlands, after a young man had asked to be "rebaptised", explaining that he had been baptised as a girl.
"He said: 'I don't think God knows me; so I would like to be introduced to God as a man,'" Mr Newlands recalled on Tuesday. A liturgy was devised, drawing on the initiation service, which enabled the man to reaffirm his baptismal vows.
"It was just a very simple pastoral response to something which came out of the blue," Mr Newlands said. "It was really moving, as he felt he was in a proper relationship with God. He just wanted God to know his new name."
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The chimes atop St. John's Cathedral in Saskatoon will ring out this week in honour of Canada's missing and murdered aboriginal women.
As part of national initiative by the Anglican Church of Canada, the bells in Saskatoon will ring 1,017 times — one chime for each aboriginal women and girls murdered between 1980 and 2012, according to a press release by the church.
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The 4,130 square metre Brown Street property housed the city’s successive Anglican bishops until current bishop Greg Thompson chose to reside elsewhere.
The seven bedroom, four bathroom 1929 Bishopscourt is not heritage listed but parts of its grounds are.
Last year, the Anglican Synod gave the greenlight for the Newcastle sale to be considered. At the time Bishop Greg Thompson asked the Synod to consider “the economics of having this property, the suitability of it as the home of the Bishop and family, and the historic sentiment of previous bishops who lived within it.”
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