Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

At the session that took place on the 14th of July 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England made a decision allowing women to serve as bishops. The Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations is authorized to make the following statement in this regard:
The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the 19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association, sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”

The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.

Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.
In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established by Eternal and Immutable God.

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

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

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

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:03 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England’s prolonged struggle to sell its stake in Wonga, the payday lender, illustrates the problems that investors can encounter when they lock up their capital in illiquid private vehicles instead of buying publicly traded securities that offer a straightforward exit.

However, buying and selling positions in existing private equity funds in the secondary market is becoming increasingly popular, attracting growing interest from institutional investors.

Ardian, a Paris-based manager, raised $9bn earlier this year to create the largest private equity secondary market fund to date while Lexington Capital Partners is looking to raise $8bn to $10bn for its latest secondary vehicle.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Back in march we posted this interview but many people may have missed it or may not have good video access and so here is a partial transcript this week there. It includes the following:
What does it mean to be an Anglican?

It first of all means to be a Christian – to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The most important decision any person can ever make is to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s the best thing anyone can do. Secondly, they follow in a particular tradition, which varies around the world.

What about the Church of England? If you go to Starbucks in London and then to a Starbucks in Liverpool they are similar, you know what you are going to get. But in the Church of England, you can go to services in London and Liverpool and they are completely different.

That’s because people and cultures are completely different. And the Church is a family, it’s not an organisation. It’s the people of God called by God – to serve him and follow Jesus Christ. And as in any family, bits of it work better than others. So you go to one church and it might not be working brilliantly well at a given moment, to another and it’s really fizzing along and is absolutely amazing. But the wonderful thing is that churches can change very dramatically and when the Spirit of God moves among us – and when people turn afresh to Jesus Christ – even the equivalent of a Starbucks that is all over the shop suddenly becomes the living presence of God in its community. So yes, it is different all over the place, it’s better and worse, it’s up and down – the only thing that is common to every church is that it is full of Christian disciples and it’s full of sinners.


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

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Posted July 22, 2014 at 7:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A simplified baptism service could soon be rolled out across the Church of England, in a move away from the ‘wordy’ traditional liturgy. The Additional Texts for Holy Baptism was before Synod for First Consideration, having been changed since it was introduced by the Diocese of Liverpool, following criticisms of it ‘dumbing down’ the service. The Bishop of Sodor and Man moved the motion, explaining the need stemming from the ‘wordy and complex’ nature of the current provision. It is now to be considered by the Revision Committee. The new text shortens the service by omitting elements that are not obligatory. “When a child is brought for baptism he or she comes with empty hands,” Robert Paterson said, “Simply the most precious thing in God’s sight is a child of his creation.” Feedback from families who have taken part in baptism show they remember the symbols of the service more than words. “This is a specific request to draft liturgy to meet pastoral need,” he continued. The Group believed the word ‘submit’, seen in the current text, ‘seemed to some like bullying’. All of these texts in their authorised form would be additional, not to replace Common Worship texts, the Bishop promised, and is subject to yet more synodical processes. He alluded to the backlash over the absence of the devil in the new baptism service. “We all know that, for many people, the devil has been turned into a cartoon-like character of no particular malevolence. “We have no quarrel with standing up to the devil: the problem is helping people with little doctrinal appreciation to understand what we mean by affirming that the devil is a defeated power.” The press was heavily criticised by many speakers in the debate highlighting the omission of the devil and sin from the first trial draft. “Wherever possible, the final ‘Commission’ should be expressed simply and directly, eye-to-eye, and not read from a prepared text.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* TheologySacramental TheologyBaptism

6 Comments
Posted July 21, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[On Friday]...hundreds of locals flocked to St James in West Hampstead to celebrate the post office's grand opening.

Father Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who made the decision to mix consumerism with spiritualism, said: "We're bringing a service to the local community which is an expression of Christian love.

"The local post office closed and there was nowhere else for a new one to go.

"An awful lot of hard work has gone on to make it happen, but it was worth it - God has provided."

Read it all.


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

1 Comments
Posted July 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Up until yesterday for someone who has little love for what I consider to be a deeply flawed bill, it’s been pretty depressing following the coverage. The pro-assisted dying lobby are a slick and well oiled machine and it’s most vociferous cheerleaders have been out in force to bang the battered right-to-die drum. In contrast the voices of opposition, at least in the secular mainstream media, have been few and far between. Having spent some time attempting to record as many articles as possible from the papers and the BBC over he last week that have either had an opinion piece or an item on an individual or group with a partisan view, the results have been stark. There have been 34 pieces with strongly held views in favour of assisted dying and only 8 against. In the last day and a bit at least there has been a noticeable increase in the voices opposing the bill. This is partly because the BBC has produced various interviews, being very careful to finally balance their coverage and also because the Guardian somewhat surprisingly came out strongly against the bill and also published a powerful piece by the Bishop of Worcester whose wife died of cancer in April. Andrew Lloyd Webber has also revealed that he contacted Dignitas whilst struggling with depression last year seeking to end his life, but now believes that taking such action would have been “stupid and ridiculous”.

It’s not that those in favour have more to talk about, it’s more that the same things have been said more frequently. Predictably, so much of this talk has been emotive and far less has been focused on the mechanics of what assisted dying would look like in practice. ComRes have published a poll today that finds that although 73 per cent of the public back assisted dying in principle, this dwindles to 43% when they are presented with (mostly empirical) arguments against it. Doctors who need to be listened to and considered more than any other group still overwhelmingly oppose assisted dying, but you probably wouldn’t know it from the coverage in the last few weeks.

Having trawled the internet it has become apparent that much of what has been driving the media coverage has been the religious aspect.

Read it all.


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

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Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

Read it all

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

19:46h After a debate of nine hours and 43 minutes of debate the bill was granted its second reading and now goes forward to a committee of the whole House for scrutiny. Lord Falconer described it as a “historic day”.

Read it all and it may be possible [depending on locality] to watch the debate here

Update: Frank Cranmer has a summary of key speeches here and the full transcript of the debate is available from Hansard online here or in pdf form here or indexed by speaker here

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLife Ethics* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My Lords, this present Bill is not about relieving pain or suffering. It makes that quite clear in its definition of a terminally ill patient to include those whose progressive illness can be relieved but not reversed. This bill is about asserting a philosophy, which not only Christians, but also other thoughtful people of goodwill who have had experience in care for the dying must find incredible: that is, the ancient Stoic philosophy that ending one’s life in circumstances of distress is an assertion of human freedom. That it cannot be. Human freedom is won only by becoming reconciled with the need to die, and by affirming the human relations we have with other people. Accepting the approach of death is not the attitude of passivity that we may think it to be. Dying well is the positive achievement of a task that belongs with our humanity. It is unlike all other tasks given to us in life, but it expresses the value we set on life as no other approach to death can do.

We need time, human presence and sympathy in coming to terms with a terminal prognosis. To put the opportunity to end one’s life before a patient facing that task would be to invite him or her to act under their influence rather than dealing with them.

It is possible to think abstractly that one’s early death would be welcome to one’s nearest family and would spare them trouble. But in fact the best service one could do for them would be to accept their care, and to show appreciation of them at the end of one’s life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

11.20 Lord Tebbit, whose wife was left disabled by the IRA’s bombing of the Brighton hotel, speaks against the Bill.

“No-one could dispute the good intentions of this bill, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

“I notice Baroness Greengrass talked of the right we have to take our own lives. We do not have that right. We have only the capacity to do it.”

It creates financial inventives to end the lives of the "ill, disabled, frail and elderly".

Read it all.

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

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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


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


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

Posted by The_Elves

This article from London’s Guardian reports that, should the Church of England General Synod again reject the ordination of women as bishops that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has plans to bulldoze the measure through–trampling on the whole synodical process in the Church of England.

For those who don’t know how it works, the Church of England decides everything through a democratic synodical system. The General Synod is made up of three houses: laity, clergy and bishops. For a major decision like women’s ordination they need a three quarter majority in all three houses. When the vote for women bishops happened in 2012 it was defeated in the house of laity by six votes. When that happened the church was in an uproar. The feminists had campaigned for women bishops tirelessly since their victory over women’s ordination twenty years earlier. That they lost by six votes was a major reversal.

According to church rules they were not allowed to bring the legislation back to the General Synod for another five years. Never mind. The powers that be changed the rules. A few back room deals, a few hush hush conversations in the House of Lords and the Bishops stacked the deck in their favor. Old white men calling the shots? Patriarchal types moving the goalposts? High up establishment white men doing whatever they damn well please? Privileged upper class white male elite changing the rules to suit themselves and their agenda? We’ll have none of that talk now! None of that. No sir.

Anyway, the C of E bishops got together and changed the rules so they can all vote on it again this summer. If it doesn’t go through this time they are going to dissolve this synod and have new elections and try again.

Read it all

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

0 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

Read it all

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

other appeals and warnings here

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the traditional service, godparents are asked whether they are ready to renounce the devil and all his works for the sake of the child being baptized.

The new wording, approved Sunday (July 13), only asks whether parents and godparents will “turn away from sin” and “reject evil.”

Speaking after the new wording was overwhelmingly approved, Bishop Robert Paterson denied that the baptism service had been watered down.

“We all know that for many people, the devil has been turned into a cartoonlike character of no particular malevolence,” he said.

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby--Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby today joins over 20 British faith leaders calling for Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill not to be enacted.

In a joint statement ahead of the House of Lords debate on Friday, the faith leaders said that if passed the bill would have "a serious detrimental effect on the wellbeing of individuals and on the nature and shape of our society."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 16, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I am against Lord Falconer’s Bill because actually, it has got lots of holes in it and it is not really fit for purpose,” argued Dame Grey-Thompson, describing the Bill as “too vague”.

Speaking on internet station Fubar Radio, she added: “I am worried that there will be people, vulnerable people, who will think they have got no choice, who will be encouraged to choose assisted suicide when it is not really their choice.

“What we have to make laws for is to protect the vast majority of people in society and there are vulnerable people who just would not be protected and that is the biggest worry.”

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This takes me to the question of what does it mean to be alive. What constitutes quality of life and dignity when dying? These are big, important questions. I have come to realise that I do not want my life to be prolonged artificially. I think when you need machines to help you breathe, then you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced and about the way money is being spent. This may be hard for some people to consider.

But why is a life that is ending being prolonged? Why is money being spent in this way? It could be better spent on a mother giving birth to a baby, or an organ transplant needed by a young person. Money should be spent on those that are at the beginning or in full flow of their life. Of course, these are my personal opinions and not of my church.

What was done to Madiba (Nelson Mandela) was disgraceful. There was that occasion when Madiba was televised with political leaders, President Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. You could see Madiba was not fully there. He did not speak. He was not connecting. My friend was no longer himself. It was an affront to Madiba's dignity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Anglican Church of Southern Africa* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth AfricaEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madam Chair: Christopher Hobbes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madam Chair: Point of order – Professor Burridge

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

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

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

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

Canon Sue Booys: I will just clarify absolutely

Madam Chair: Please bear with us for just one moment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to [1:53:27]

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.



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

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

Posted by The_Elves

The General Synod is in session.
1 Chronicles 15:22 (ESV)
Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, should direct the music, for he understood it.

1 Chronicles 15:27 (ESV)
David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. And David wore a linen ephod.

1 Chronicles 26:29 (ESV)
Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were appointed to external duties for Israel, as officers and judges.

CHENANIAH– literally “established by God”

Our Father in heaven,
Your Son told the woman at the well,
“True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

We cry out for true worshippers in the Church of England. We cry out for the General Synod to worship in spirit and in truth. We cry out for the General Synod to conduct its responsibilities in spirit and in truth. We cry out for the General Synod to vote in spirit and in truth.
Mantle the true worshippers in Your authority! We cry out for true worshippers to be established by God as officers and judges. We cry out for the Church of England to be established by God, established in God, established for God.
We pray this in the name of Your Son Jesus, who is the Truth. Amen.

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Posted July 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England (CofE) has called for an inquiry into assisted dying.

It follows a U-turn by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who said he would back legislation to allow the terminally ill in England and Wales get help to end their lives.

The current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says the Assisted Dying Bill is "mistaken and dangerous".

But the Church said an inquiry would include expert opinion and carefully assess the arguments.

Read it all.

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Posted July 13, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...what I find most astounding about Carey’s article is the almost complete lack of any theological framework for his argument. There is a vague reference to Christian principles of ‘open-hearted benevolence’ and ‘compassion’ and one mention...of Jesus.

But there is no discernible Christian world view underpinning what he says. Nothing of the fact that God made us and owns us; nothing of biblical morality or the sixth commandment; no doctrine of the Fall; little insight into the depths of human depravity and the need for strong laws to deter exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people; nothing of the cross or the resurrection; no hope beyond death; nothing of courage and perseverance in the face of suffering; no recognition of the need to make one’s peace with God and others before death; no real drive to make things better for dying patients and no real empathy with the feelings of vulnerable disabled and elderly people who fear a law like Falconer’s and will be campaigning in force outside parliament next Friday.

Carey has instead produced a piece that is high on emotion but weak on argument that capitulates to the spirit of the age; that enthrones personal autonomy above public safety; that sees no meaning or purpose in suffering; that appears profoundly naïve about the abuse of elderly and disabled people; that looks forward to no future beyond the grave and that could have been written by a member of the national secular society, British humanist association or voluntary euthanasia society.

Carey’s case for legalising assisted suicide is a counsel of despair devoid of Christian faith and hope. I still cannot believe he wrote it. He will disappoint many people, but will also awaken deep concern for him personally in many others.

Read it all.

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Posted July 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To commit to speaking of the common good is not enough; we must also commit to live it, not only in the actions and the parishes, but in the whole way we live out our common life as the church. In many places we are living it out - the Bishop of Knaresborough spoke of that. But the common good is not something, as Jim has shown us, that is merely talked about; it is something that is practised.

And yet we live in a society where the concept of the general interest seems to have the greatest force. In economic terms, that basically says that the only people who are worth paying attention to are the ones who are economically active; and you calculate, you measure, so that a gain of £100 by a person with £10 million is exactly the same, economically, as a loss of £100 by a person with £120 when they started. That is the general interest.

The common good is different, because it is more than what happens when you add my good and your good together.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted July 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that proposals to change the law on assisted dying are "mistaken and dangerous", in an intervention drawing on painful personal experiences.

His intervention came on Friday night, just a few hours after the Daily Mail published a piece by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, setting out why he planned to support a change in the law, despite his previous fierce opposition.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted July 12, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all from the Daily Mail.

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

Read it all

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

MONDAY
THE FINAL VOTE ON WOMEN BISHOPS PASSED.

Update: Audio of the Women Bishops Debate and vote is now available:
Starts in Morning Session here from 1hr:43mins:00secs in.
Continues in the Afternoon Session here

The first vote on the Measure passed with a 2/3 majority in all 3 houses
Bishops: In favour 37; Against 2; Abstained 1
Clergy: In favour 162; Against 25; Abstained 4
Laity: In favour 152; Against 45; Abstained 5

The second vote on the Amending Canon passed with a 2/3 majority in all 3 houses
Bishops: In favour 37; Against 2; Abstained 1
Clergy: In favour 164; Against 24; Abstained 3
Laity: In favour 153; Against 40; Abstained 8

Consequential motions including Rescinding the Act of Synod of 1993 [which provided legal alternative provision for parishes] have passed on a show of hands

There is a Media Release: Church of England to have women bishops

SYNOD IS NOW OVER


Click on the link below for all of the links to each day's updates and resources.

________________________________________

Synod debates when in session may be listened to below.

Friday: The Debate on Woman Bishops has had its first day of consideration with debate to 'Take Note' of the Report of the Business Committee on the returns from the dioceses. This Item 501 has passed, and Synod will proceed to consider the documentation in detail - if you can call it that - the so-called 'Revision Stage' although conducted at break neck speed.

Item 502: The Report of Standing Committee on amendments to the Canon has been considered, and again it is a take note debate. It has been passed. the House of Bishops will consider the matter on Saturday. It is an arcane and complicated process.

Synod has considered Safeguarding, Items 519/520

Answers to Questions [which have been given below] were broadcast

This post will be updated from time to time


-----------------------------------------
Press release about Agenda

Daily Agenda and Timetable and Brief Agenda and Papers

Live Video Feed when in session or listen here [In accordance with the system established for the first time last year, it looks as if audio recordings of debates will not be available to listen to again, only those selected speeches the CofE Media office approve of and decide to upload - UPDATE: the Media Office is now uploading media files shortly after debates]

Twitter: #synod and it may be worth following: @CofEgensyn, @C_of_E if interested


Tuesday July 15th
Tuesday Morning
Report of Tuesday Morning Business - Synod and Convocation elections and representation, Ecclesiastical Property, Retirements of Bishops of Blackburn and Oxford, Proroguing of Synod
Audio [Awaited]

Monday July 14th
Monday Evening
Report of Monday Evening Business - Retired clergy, Audit Committee
Audio
PR: New arrangements for housing retired clergy announced

Monday Afternoon
Report of Monday Afternoon Business - Women bishops debate and vote, Magna Carta
Audio - starts with continuation of Women Bishops Debate and Final Vote, then debate on Magna Carta
Press Release on Women Bishops Result

Monday Morning
Audio - Starts with Armed Forces: Women Bishops final debate starts at 1hr:43mins:00secs in
Report of Earlier Monday Morning Business - Armed Forces
Report GS 1960

Sunday July 13th
Sunday Afternoon
Report of Sunday Afternoon Business - Churches Conservation Trust, Archbishops' Council Report, Novel Texts for Baptism, Clergy Clothing, Credit Unions
Audio

Sunday Evening
Report of Sunday Evening Business - Financial, Archbishops Council's Budget and Church Commissioners' Report
Audio

Saturday July 12
Saturday Morning
Report of Saturday Morning Business - Archbishop of York's Presidential Address, Standing Orders, Domestic Legislation
Audio
- Women Bishops: The House of Bishops having consider the draft legislation Synod apparently reviewed in the review stage on Friday where some numbering was changed; and the Convocations of the two Provinces of York and Canterbury declining to meet to consider the legislation. the legislation was sent back to be debated and voted on on Monday in this form:
Draft Measure
Draft Amending Canon

Saturday Afternoon
The Uncommon Good - Jim Wallis Talk etc
Audio
Report of Saturday Afternoon Business - The Common Good
Audio

Saturday Evening
Report of Saturday Evening Business - Vestments
Audio

Friday July 11
Transcript of Women Bishops Legislation debate
Audio Women Bishops from 1hr:19mins:40secs in until 1hr:53mins:27secs in


Report of Friday Afternoon and Evening Business
- Worship and Introductions
- Progress of Measures and Statutory Instruments
- Business Committee Report [GS 1949]
- Appointments to the Archbishops Council GS1950]

LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS
501 Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (GS 1925B) and Draft Amending Canon No. 33 (GS 1926B)

– Report by the Business Committee on the Article 8 Reference (GS 1951)

-502 Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (GS 1925B) and Draft Amending Canon No. 33 (GS 1926B)
– Draft Measure and Draft Amending Canon for Final Drafting (GS 1925-6Z)

519-20 Draft Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure (GS 1952) and Draft Amending Canon No. 34 (GS 1953)
– Draft Measure and Draft Amending Canon for First Consideration

Evening Worship

8:30 pm to 10 pm Questions
Update: Questions are here A recording of the answers is awaited.

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

9 Comments
Posted July 11, 2014 at 7:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church Commissioners for England are pleased to announce that their indirect investment exposure to Wonga in their venture capital portfolio has been removed. The Church Commissioners no longer have any financial or any other interest in Wonga.

The terms ensure that the Church Commissioners have not made any profit from their investment exposure to Wonga.

At no time have the Commissioners invested directly in Wonga or in other pay day lenders. The indirect exposure of the Commissioners through pooled funds represented considerably less than 0.01% of the value of Wonga.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 11, 2014 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An NHS chaplain, Canon Jeremy Pemberton, who in April became the first Church of England priest to marry a same-sex partner, is unable to take up a new post because his bishop is refusing him a licence.

Canon Pemberton is Deputy Senior Chaplain and Deputy Bereavement and Voluntary Services Manager in the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. He married Laurence Cunnington in April (News, 17 April), in defiance of House of Bishops pastoral guidance, issued in February.

He received an informal rebuke from the Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, but kept his general preacher's licence in the diocese. His NHS post at the trust is also unaffected.

The Acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, however, the diocese in which Canon Pemberton lives, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, withdrew his permission to officiate

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted July 11, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has jettisoned its stake in the payday lender Wonga, finally distancing itself from the firm it accused of exploiting the poor.

The move by the Church’s financial arm, the Church Commissioners, represents a victory for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby who has waged a high-profile campaign against high interest lenders.

He faced acute embarrassment last summer when, just a day after the publication of an interview in which he spoke of hoping to force Wonga out of business, it emerged that the Church’s financial arm, the Church Commissioners, had an indirect investment in the company....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 10, 2014 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of course choice is good. I aspire to more of it and so do people who have enjoyed much less of it than I have. Offer me more choice, at least in theory, and I'll say Yes. I'll answer your loaded opinion poll and tell you I am in favour of this choice and that choice because who, in this culture, can be against more choice without being a heretic? But talk about choice on that day in the future when I am wholly dependent on the people around me, when my life is almost over and I have far more chance of pleasing others by getting out of their way quietly than of making much difference to my own situation, and my choice won't be about me, it will be about them. And those last days of life, surely, are precisely the moment when choices ought to be about the one approaching the end - and no one else.

How many Parliamentarians who will shortly debate the Falconer Bill on assisted suicide are people with wide enough life experience to empathise with those who see more choice as a threat and not a blessing? How many subscribers to the BMJ put themselves, day by day, into the shoes of people for whom consumer choice is someone else's luxury, even if their editor chooses to use his journalistic position to make a ruling on behalf of ethicists everywhere?

Some of them, to be sure - maybe many of them. Will they encourage the rest to dig deep into their imaginations, to empathise with people who are not articulate, who are used to being done unto, and who have lived on the receiving end of other's choices all their lives?

They are in Parliament to govern on behalf of all citizens. The weak. The poor. The vulnerable. The dying. The ones who don't want to be a nuisance. The ones who do not regard choice as an unalloyed good, as well as the people who are used to choosing. And the medical profession too - despite the sweeping assertions of the BMJ about the nature of ethics, are also in business for those people.

Will the Parliamentarians and the medics empathise beyond their own kind? I hope so. I do hope so.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all from Christian Today.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

COVER STORY: AFTER GOD

For this week’s cover story, Rowan Williams and Lucy Winkett consider the importance of ritual in religion, while the non-believers Melvyn Bragg, Julian Baggini and Robin Ince suggest ways of filling the God-shaped hole in modern life.

Williams describes the ritual of prayer that marks the start of his day and how this enforces the same stillness and physical focus required in Buddhist meditation:

. . . the regular ritual to begin the day when I’m in the house is a matter of an early rise and a brief walking meditation or sometimes a few slow prostrations, before squatting for 30 or 40 minutes (a low stool to support the thighs and reduce the weight on the lower legs) with the “Jesus Prayer”: repeating (usually silently) the words as I breathe out, leaving a moment between repetitions to notice the beating of the heart, which will slow down steadily over the period.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While Wonga may not be at the most aggressive end of the payday loan spectrum, its “in-your-face” approach has made it the face of the post-crisis explosion in high-cost consumer credit. The volume of payday loans, designed to tide the borrower over to the next pay cheque, more than tripled in the UK between 2007 and 2013 as the economy soured and mainstream banks withdrew from riskier areas of consumer credit.

The growth in such lending may be a classic post-bubble phenomenon, and the less well-off do sometimes need access to short-term credit to deal with unexpected shocks, but most people are made understandably uneasy by the idea of encouraging those of slender means to borrow expensively to finance elective consumption. Against this background, calls for tighter regulation have fallen on fertile ground.

As the sector’s most visible lender, Wonga has become a focus for public disapprobation. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has condemned Wonga for usurious practices and called for it to be competed “out of existence”....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Regarded as the father of Anglicanism in Nigeria, Bishop Crowther, who was born as Ajayi in western Nigeria in 1807, is credited with bringing many Nigerians to Christ. So great was his impact that he was ordained the first African Anglican bishop in 1864, despite great protest.

A former slave, Bishop Crowther became a great linguist, translator, scholar and mission teacher. He is also credited with producing the Yoruba Bible and greatly influenced how government’s improved their view of Africa in the 1800s.

But despite his passion and high achievements, Bishop Crowther’s mission was undermined and dismantled in the 1880s by racist white Europeans, including some of his fellow missionaries.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Church of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 2, 2014 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church, which invests in Wonga, is currently facing an ungodly dilemma of its own making.

Previously Most Rev Welby had made it clear that he believed that payday lenders should be put out of business. Entirely.

But, oops, this was before he was informed that the CoE's financial wing had sunk something in the region of £100,000 into the company.

Following criticism of this odd state of affairs, the Church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group launched a review. (Although you would think that "Church investing in Wonga" would fairly obviously constitute an ethical no-no.)

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This has to be the weirdest business deal of the week: The Church of England just sold a chunk of forest-covered land on the Fijian island Vanau Levu for $8.8 million to the government of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. For the moment, Kiribati plans to use its 20-square-kilometer (7.7-square-mile) plot for agriculture and fish farming. But the investment is really a fallback for its 103,000 residents—a place to live if they must leave their home island.

“We would hope not to put everyone on [this] one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it,” president Anote Tong told the Associated Press, via the Guardian. Tong is awaiting parliamentary approval of the land purchase before clearing that possibility formally with Fiji’s officials.

Why is Tong preparing for a mass defection to an island 2,000 kilometers away?

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 2, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A church centre in Norwich that helps homeless people, stranded strangers and elderly people is to shut after landlords rejected a rescue plan.

The All Saints Centre needs £100,000 a year to keep going but has hit money difficulties because of the recession.

A plan by Bishop of Norwich Graham James to assume the lease, which could have brought a rent cut, was rejected by Norwich Historic Churches' Trust.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 1, 2014 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I would guess that most blog readers know little about this remarkable Anglican. Please avail yourselves of the many resources here to learn more.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Church of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted July 1, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Coming from a wide range of backgrounds including the Army, banking, social media consultancy and racecourse management, new deacons and priests will be celebrating their new roles as "Reverends" within the Church of England.

As part of the celebrations those being ordained (ordinands) their friends, family, congregations and clergy are being encouraged to use twitter to congratulate and celebrate these #NewRevs.

As part of the ordination service, the new priests and deacons are addressed by a Bishop of the diocese in which they will serve who will say: "They are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, as agents of God's purposes of love. They are to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people. They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has today published the next steps in its process for shared conversations on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission.

A short paper from the Bishop of Sheffield outlines the next steps for the Church following the publication of the Pilling report in November 2013 which recommended that the church's internal dialogue on human sexuality might be best addressed through a process of conversations across the Church.

Read it all and follow the link to the full document.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 30, 2014 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch and listen to it all from Vimeo.

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

0 Comments
Posted June 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fr [Carl] Garner, 71, is walking back from morning prayers to his private apartment at the Hertfordshire estate of the family, which traces its direct ancestry back to Queen Elizabeth I’s trusted chief adviser William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. The chapel, which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year, follows the example of Good Queen Bess, the Protestant queen who was said to hang crucifixes and light candles in her private chapel while fellow Protestants had stripped altars in outrage at such idolatry. Original stained glass and paintings of the apostles are “proto-Laudian”, laughs Canon Garner, resplendent in his dark robes with red buttons and traditional Church of England square cap.

“Many visitors see me in my formal robes and think I’m part of a film set,” says Canon Garner, who used to be a parish priest in Welwyn Garden City. “The service at 8.45am takes 12 minutes and comprises verses from the Book of Common Prayer. We say prayers to the Queen. Lord Salisbury has a busy day, so it’s deliberately short. It’s a bit like school prayers.” During the service the family dogs often lie solemnly under the pews. On major feast days and saint’s days, a communion service is held.

His predecessor, Canon John Laird, says, “The family believe in the beauty of the traditional language and the King James Bible. They appointed me because I’m a traditionalist.”

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 28, 2014 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The EIAG also announced that during 2013 it instructed votes for the Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board on over 30,000 resolutions at approximately 3,000 company general meetings. Reflecting wider concern over executive remuneration packages, the EIAG withheld support in over 70% of cases.

In wider corporate engagement, church investors recorded important successes in the areas of both alcohol and pornography. After engagement with the EIAG, all three major UK-listed supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - published alcohol policies newly acknowledging the potential for alcohol to cause harm. In the area of pornography, church investor engagement with a major telecommunications company led to the company ceasing to promote pornographic material on its handsets in the UK.

The threshold reduction follows a review requested by the Archbishop of Canterbury in light of the "Wonga controversy." As a consequence of the review process revenue thresholds used to exclude companies on account of their involvement in tobacco, gambling, high interest rate lending and human embryonic cloning have been capped at 10% from the previous threshold of 25%.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock Market* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a speech in Westminster, Welby pointed out that loan sharks sometimes turn up with baseball bats if customers do not pay. It now turns out that Wonga sends out menacing letters from non-existent solicitors if its customers miss their repayments.

And, herein lies the problem for the Church of England. Its Church Commissioners arm has a £100,000 stake in Wonga – albeit less than it was but a stake nonetheless, held through the Accel Partners investment vehicle which backed one of the payday lenders' funding rounds.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The following are]... separate steps people [can] take to improve their own morale:
Invest in relationships with people who know you that you trust, who are heading towards the same goals. People who can cheer you on and vice versa. People who will celebrate your successes and stand with you in the inevitable failures, those who you can tell what is under the mask. A virtual team with mutual respect.
Set some life goals that reflect the most significant current spheres of life. Work, family, hobbies, studies, etc., and give them some measurable values. Not New Year resolutions, more intentional investments in the things that matter.
Take seriously personal and professional investment. The clearest positive trend in the ‘FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to work for 2013’ research document highlights employee development, with staff being given on average 66 hours per year of professional development.
Guard against compassion fatigue. Our emotional resources are not infinite and in a caring profession we cannot take on all the cares of the world despite the information superhighway telling us everything we need to know about things we can worry about. Respond well to a limited number of needs.Find people, publications or websites that have a ‘can do’ air about them. I was on a mission stand at an event recently where Jackie Pullinger was speaking. After the event I overheard a number of people saying things like, ‘she made me feel that mission was possible, that I could play a part’.
Be intentional about eating and sleeping well.
And finally, rely on God.
Read it all (subscription called for).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As one priest celebrated entering a same-sex marriage this weekend, another faced penalties for doing so.

The Vicar of St Mary with All Souls', Kilburn, and St James's, West Hampstead, the Revd Andrew Cain, married his partner of 14 years, Stephen Foreshew, on Saturday at Maidenhead register office, in the presence of two witnesses.

Fr Cain said on Tuesday that it had been emotional. "I've done lots of weddings; so I was not expecting the service to be moving, and it was. I was quite tearful at one point, as was Stephen. It was quite lovely."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Declaring that the devil has departed from the Church of England’s baptism service, The Guardian reported on June 20 that “a simplified baptism which omits mention of the devil” is now favored by the clergy who have test-marketed it throughout the United Kingdom. Claiming that the traditional rejection of the devil and all rebellion against God “put off people who are offended to be addressed as sinners,” clergy claimed that they found it much easier to ask parents and godparents to make vows that do not mention Satan.

Responding to a population “which sees no pressing reason to spend Sunday mornings or any other time in Church,” the Guardian reports, the new and improved baptism service also deletes the instruction to the godparents that the child will keep God’s commandments, and learn what a Christian “ought to know and believe to his soul’s health” — promising only that the church “shall do all that we can to ensure that there is a welcoming place for you. We will play our part in helping you guide these children along the way of faith.”

The decision to delete the devil from the ritual reveals that the Church of England may be losing its sense of sin — and its need for salvation. More than 60 years ago, T.S. Eliot wrote about the sense of alienation that occurred when social regulators — like the church — began to splinter and the controlling moral authority of a society is no longer effective. He suggested that a “sense of sin” was beginning to disappear. In his play “The Cocktail Party,” a troubled young woman confides in her psychiatrist that she feels “sinful” because of her relationship with a married man. She is distressed not so much by the illicit relationship, but rather, by the strange sense of sin. Eliot writes that “having a sense of sin seems abnormal she believed that she had become ill.”

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologySacramental TheologyBaptismSoteriology

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Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy, National Adviser: Medical Ethics and Health and Social Care Policy for the Archbishops' Council, said...."We remain convinced that the current law and the DPP guidelines for its application provide a compassionate framework within which difficult cases can be assessed while continuing to ensure that many vulnerable individuals are given much needed protection from coercion or abuse...."

Read it all.




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

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Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A second priest has defied the Church of England's official line to marry his same sex partner. On Saturday, the Rev Andrew Cain, vicar of St James church in West Hampstead, London, posted on Facebook pictures of his wedding to Stephen Foreshew.

The wedding took place as the first priest to marry his partner, Canon Jeremy Pemberton, confirmed that he had been stripped of the permission to work as a priest in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.

Church authorities face difficulties if they try to prevent clergy from contracting perfectly legal marriages.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has admitted he has "no problem" with legal parity for same-sex couples.

But he feels the State rushed into "redefining" marriage without giving the Church enough time to think about it.

The revelations come in the latest edition of his biography, Rowan's Rule, by Rupert Shortt, which is published next month.

When appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in December 2002, succeeding evangelical Lord Carey of Clifton, many who were familiar with his theology and his position as patron of Affirming Catholicism believed he would take the Church in a liberal direction. They were disappointed when, the following year, he pressured Dr Jeffrey John, an openly-gay clergyman in a long-term but celibate relationship with another priest, to withdraw from his controversial nomination as Bishop of Reading.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture

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Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why was the Book of Common Prayer needed; wasn’t the Bible sufficient?

Dr. Jacobs: One of Cranmer’s chief concerns was to teach people the Bible. The Book of Common Prayer was accompanied by a Book of Homilies, the very first one of which is called “A Fruitful Exhortation to The Reading and Knowledge of Holy Scripture.” It begins like this:

“To a Christian man there can be nothing either more necessary or profitable than the knowledge of holy Scripture, forasmuch as in it is contained God’s true word, setting forth his glory, and also man’s duty. And there is no truth nor doctrine necessary for our justification and everlasting salvation, but that is (or may be) drawn out of that fountain and well of truth.”

So you really can’t have a higher view of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture than Cranmer did.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship--Book of Common Prayer* Culture-WatchBooksHistory* Theology

3 Comments
Posted June 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why don't people make time for church? This is a question I have often read about, discussed with others or heard talks examining the reasons.

Could it be that people don't know what it's about any more? Do parents or carers not see why it would be worthwhile for their child to go to church? At a small group for 9- to 10-year-olds, two churched children shared how their friends thought that 'church was for babies' and 'there were more important things to do'. Churches have become much better at making our communities aware that we exist, but are we as good at telling them what we exist for? What would a child gain from coming to church?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSports* TheologyAnthropology

1 Comments
Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The proportion of the British population who identify themselves as Anglican has more than halved in the past ten years, according to data collected by NatCen Social Research and released to the Church Times.

At the same time, the percentage of people who attend religious worship is largely unchanged.

The data was compiled by NatCen as part of its research for the 31st British Social Attitudes Survey, but was not included in their report, which was published this week.

Read it all.

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

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Posted June 20, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Statistics showing the number of adults with no qualifications, poverty among working age adults and child poverty can each be found for every parish, and as an average for each diocese.

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker is calling for prayer and a pledge to act in support of the Poverty Sunday campaign being run by CUF.

Through a nationwide network of joint ventures with dioceses CUF is offering fresh ways of both supporting churches in their practical activity in local communities and providing them with the tools they need to speak up and speak out with real traction about what is happening locally.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking after the release of the report, the Church of England's Chief Education Officer, Revd Jan Ainsworth said...""We are particularly pleased that the committee has highlighted the complexity of issues associated with White Working Class underperformance. Excellent schools can clearly make the world of difference to disadvantaged young people, but the committee also recognises that we need a greater understanding of associated social factors...."

Read it all.

Update: For more on the report itself please see the Yorkshire Post article there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The Grey Squirrel” is remarkable both for the visual simile comparing the coffeepot and the invasive grey rodent that Victorian animal lovers brought from North America to Britain, where it is still causing devastation to the native red species; and for the poem's wry take on moral notions regarding the appropriate treatment of animals.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 17, 2014 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has preached at choral evensong to over 150 parishioners and members of the community at St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its rebuilding and re-consecration, after the Wren church was almost completely destroyed during the Blitz in 1941.

The 50th anniversary celebrations began earlier this year with a concert of German music given by the Deutsche Bank Singers, reflecting British-German reconciliation and peace.

Subsequent events have included a lecture on the City Churches and the impact of the Blitz, given by historian and author Juliet Gardiner and a unique opportunity for members of the public to visit the tower and try their hand at bell ringing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted June 17, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Lord Carey's] apprehension is reinforced by the change of personalities at the head of the two communions: the theologians Pope Benedict and Rowan Williams have been replaced by leaders whose overarching concern is social, for issues of justice and reconciliation. Accordingly, the visit to Rome by Archbishop Welby this Sunday and Monday will have, at its focus, the shared initiative on human trafficking and slavery, raised a year ago at his first meeting with Pope Francis, and formally launched in March this year with messages of support from both Pope and Archbishop.

Yet any shift in emphasis has to be understood within a broader context of the ecumenical situation. The Catholic partners in dialogue are mindful of the warning given by Pope Benedict in 2012 against reducing ecumenism “to a kind of social contract to be joined for a common interest, a praxeology for creating a better world.” The theology, no matter how difficult, has to be done. But theological dialogue has never been seen as an end in itself, an intellectual endeavour apart from real life. It is an axiom of ecumenical dialogue, going back to the origins of the ecumenical movement, that acting more like Christ together draws Christians together in belief. Archbishop Justin underlined this in his message at the launch of the human trafficking initiative: “The more we share the pain and oppression of the poor and suffering in the name of God, the more God will draw us closer to each other, because we will need each other’s strength and support to make the kind of difference that is needed.”

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted June 17, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has released Prayers for the World Cup, including prayers for the England Team ahead of England's first match against Italy.

The Prayers have been written by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt. Revd. Nick Baines, who originally penned them during the last football World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and has posted them on his blog.

In addition to prayers for those participating in the World Cup and those travelling to "join in the party" there is also a prayer for those for who "are simply not interested" by the competition.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted June 13, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A leading woman priest in the Church of England has spoken out in favour changing the law to allow assisted dying.

Canon Rosie Harper, vicar of Great Missenden and chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham, said she supports Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill which receives its second reading in the House of Lords on July 18.

Her position directly contradicts that of the Church of England, which has argued consistently for no change in the law.

Read it all from Christian Today.

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

3 Comments
Posted June 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Under Government rules, new faith-based schools opened as part of the free schools or academies programmes can only allocate half of places along religious lines.

But...[the Rev Nigel Genders] suggested many would go further by declaring that no Anglicans would be given priority in the admissions process.

“In practice, most of the new schools that the Church of England has provided over recent years have all been entirely open admissions policies so that they would serve their local community," he said. "They have been built for that particular purpose.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted June 12, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A rap song aimed at warning young people about the possible dangers of pay day lenders is released today.

Inspired by the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments on responsible lending, songwriter and music producer Charles Bailey approached the Church of England with the idea for the rap.

The song, called "We Need a Union on the Streets" by Charles Bailey, feat. Question Musiq and Delilah also features Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com and tells the stories of young people who get into debt because of payday loans with high interest rates. It aims to highlight credit unions as a better way to borrow.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchMusicReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted June 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"A few weeks back I was with my wife in the eastern DRC and seeing what – funded by the British government – churches and NGOs are doing to combat sexual violence. And when you see what happens to people, it is breathtakingly terrible; and when you see what targeted, careful work does it is extraordinary in what can be achieved.

"Let me give you an example. On both visits over the last few years I’ve gone to see churches working with women who had been raped. The society of the eastern DRC is being progressively more brutalised by war, by rampaging militias, by extractive industries misbehaving, and that brutalisation is slipping into the general population. The churches are the main bulwark against this brutalisation. They love the women who come to them for help. They show them love and human dignity – that is extraordinary in itself.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesSexualityViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 11, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A spokeswoman from the cathedral said:...“Patterns of ministry and worship have changed enormously and the Church of England is now trying to resolve disputes about women bishops and sexuality. Recently, a former Archbishop of Canterbury raised the possibility that the Church of England might be ‘one generation away from extinction’. Nobody, or course, knows what future holds – but in this lecture Dr Andrew Chandler will explore and discuss this period of ‘decline’ and suggest ways in which the church at large might assess its prospects now.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationHistory* TheologyEcclesiology

1 Comments
Posted June 10, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Renewal in the Spirit

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion

1.

‘They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak’ (Acts 2.4). At Pentecost, we celebrate the gift God gives us of being able to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ in the various languages of the whole human world. The Gospel is not the property of any one group, any one culture or history, but is what God intends for the salvation of all who will listen and respond.

St Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is also what God gives us so that we can call God ‘Abba, Father’ (Rom. 8.15, Gal. 4.6). The Spirit is given not only so that we can speak to the world about God but so that we can speak to God in the words of his own beloved Son. The Good News we share is not just a story about Jesus but the possibility of living in and through the life of Jesus and praying his prayer to the Father.

And so the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of ‘communion’ or fellowship (II Cor. 13.13). The Spirit allows us to recognise each other as part of the Body of Christ because we can hear in each other the voice of Jesus praying to the Father. We know, in the Spirit, that we who are baptised into Jesus Christ share one life; so that all the diversity of gifting and service in the Church can be seen as the work of one Spirit (I Cor. 12.4). In the Holy Eucharist, this unity in and through the self-offering of Jesus is reaffirmed and renewed as we pray for the Spirit to transform both the bread and wine and ‘ourselves, our souls and bodies’.

When the Church is living by the Spirit, what the world will see is a community of people who joyfully and gratefully hear the prayer of Jesus being offered in each other’s words and lives, and are able to recognise the one Christ working through human diversity. And if the world sees this, the Church is a true sign of hope in a world of bitter conflict and rivalry.

2.

From the very first, as the New Testament makes plain, the Church has experienced division and internal hostilities. From the very first, the Church has had to repent of its failure to live fully in the light and truth of the Spirit. Jesus tells us in St John’s gospel that the Spirit of truth will ‘prove the world wrong’ in respect of sin and righteousness and judgement (Jn 16.8). But if the Spirit is leading us all further into the truth, the Spirit will convict the Church too of its wrongness and lead it into repentance. And if the Church is a community where we serve each other in the name of Christ, it is a community where we can and should call each other to repentance in the name of Christ and his Spirit – not to make the other feel inferior (because we all need to be called to repentance) but to remind them of the glory of Christ’s gift and the promise that we lose sight of when we fail in our common life as a Church.

Our Anglican fellowship continues to experience painful division, and the events of recent months have not brought us nearer to full reconciliation. There are still things being done that the representative bodies of the Communion have repeatedly pleaded should not be done; and this leads to recrimination, confusion and bitterness all round. It is clear that the official bodies of The Episcopal Church have felt in conscience that they cannot go along with what has been asked of them by others, and the consecration of Canon Mary Glasspool on May 15 has been a clear sign of this. And despite attempts to clarify the situation, activity across provincial boundaries still continues – equally dictated by what people have felt they must in conscience do. Some provinces have within them dioceses that are committed to policies that neither the province as a whole nor the Communion has sanctioned. In several places, not only in North America, Anglicans have not hesitated to involve the law courts in settling disputes, often at great expense and at the cost of the Church’s good name.

All are agreed that the disputes arising around these matters threaten to distract us from our main calling as Christ’s Church. The recent Global South encounter in Singapore articulated a strong and welcome plea for the priority of mission in the Communion; and in my own message to that meeting I prayed for a ‘new Pentecost’ for all of us. This is a good season of the year to pray earnestly for renewal in the Spirit, so that we may indeed do what God asks of us and let all people know that new and forgiven life in Christ is possible and that created men and women may by the Spirit’s power be given the amazing liberty to call God ‘Abba, Father!’

It is my own passionate hope that our discussion of the Anglican Covenant in its entirety will help us focus on that priority; the Covenant is nothing if not a tool for mission. I want to stress yet again that the Covenant is not envisaged as an instrument of control. And this is perhaps a good place to clarify that the place given in the final text to the Standing Committee of the Communion introduces no novelty: the Committee is identical to the former Joint Standing Committee, fully answerable in all matters to the ACC and the Primates; nor is there any intention to prevent the Primates in the group from meeting separately. The reference to the Standing Committee reflected widespread unease about leaving certain processes only to the ACC or only to the Primates.

But we are constantly reminded that the priorities of mission are experienced differently in different places, and that trying to communicate the Gospel in the diverse tongues of human beings can itself lead to misunderstandings and failures of communication between Christians. The sobering truth is that often our attempts to share the Gospel effectively in our own setting can create problems for those in other settings.

3.

We are at a point in our common life where broken communications and fragile relationships have created a very mistrustful climate. This is not news. But many have a sense that the current risks are greater than ever. Although attitudes to human sexuality have been the presenting cause, I want to underline the fact that what has precipitated the current problem is not simply this issue but the widespread bewilderment and often hurt in different quarters that we have no way of making decisions together so that we are not compromised or undermined by what others are doing. We have not, in other words, found a way of shaping our consciences and convictions as a worldwide body. We have not fully received the Pentecostal gift of mutual understanding for common mission.

It may be said – quite understandably, in one way – that our societies and their assumptions are so diverse that we shall never be able to do this. Yet we are called to seek for mutual harmony and common purpose, and not to lose heart. If the truth of Christ is indeed ultimately one as we all believe, there should be a path of mutual respect and thankfulness that will hold us in union and help us grow in that truth.

Yet at the moment we face a dilemma. To maintain outward unity at a formal level while we are convinced that the divisions are not only deep but damaging to our local mission is not a good thing. Neither is it a good thing to break away from each other so dramatically that we no longer see Christ in each other and risk trying to create a church of the ‘perfect’ – people like us. It is significant that there are still very many in The Episcopal Church, bishops, clergy and faithful, who want to be aligned with the Communion’s general commitments and directions, such as those who identify as ‘Communion Partners’, who disagree strongly with recent decisions, yet want to remain in visible fellowship within TEC so far as they can. And, as has often been pointed out, there are things that Anglicans across the world need and want to do together for the care of God’s poor and vulnerable that can and do go on even when division over doctrine or discipline is sharp.

4.

More and more, Anglicans are aware of living through a time of substantial transition, a time when the structures that have served us need reviewing and refreshing, perhaps radical changing, when the voice and witness in the Communion of Christians from the developing world is more articulate and creative than ever, and when the rapidity of social change in ‘developed’ nations leaves even some of the most faithful and traditional Christian communities uncertain where to draw the boundaries in controversial matters – not only sexuality but issues of bioethics, for example, or the complexities of morality in the financial world.

A time of transition, by definition, does not allow quick solutions to such questions, and it is a time when, ideally, we need more than ever to stay in conversation. As I have said many times before, whatever happens to our structures, we still need to preserve both working relationships and places for exchange and discussion. New vehicles for conversations across these boundaries are being developed with much energy.

But some decisions cannot be avoided. We began by thinking about Pentecost and the diverse peoples of the earth finding a common voice, recognising that each was speaking a truth recognised by all. However, when some part of that fellowship speaks in ways that others find hard to recognise, and that point in a significantly different direction from what others are saying, we cannot pretend there is no problem.

And when a province through its formal decision-making bodies or its House of Bishops as a body declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard (as noted in my letter to the Communion last year after the General Convention of TEC) to see how members of that province can be placed in positions where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole. This affects both our ecumenical dialogues, where our partners (as they often say to us) need to know who it is they are talking to, and our internal faith-and-order related groups.

I am therefore proposing that, while these tensions remain unresolved, members of such provinces – provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged. I am further proposing that members of such provinces serving on IASCUFO should for the time being have the status only of consultants rather than full members. This is simply to confirm what the Communion as a whole has come to regard as the acceptable limits of diversity in its practice. It does not alter what has been said earlier by the Primates’ Meeting about the nature of the moratoria: the request for restraint does not necessarily imply that the issues involved are of equal weight but recognises that they are ‘central factors placing strains on our common life’, in the words of the Primates in 2007. Particular provinces will be contacted about the outworking of this in the near future.

I am aware that other bodies have responsibilities in questions concerned with faith and order, notably the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee. The latter two are governed by constitutional provisions which cannot be overturned by any one person’s decision alone, and there will have to be further consultation as to how they are affected. I shall be inviting the views of all members of the Primates’ Meeting on the handling of these matters with a view to the agenda of the next scheduled meeting in January 2011.

5.

In our dealings with other Christian communions, we do not seek to deny our diversity; but there is an obvious problem in putting forward representatives of the Communion who are consciously at odds with what the Communion has formally requested or stipulated. This does not seem fair to them or to our partners. In our dealings with each other, we need to be clear that conscientious decisions may be taken in good faith, even for what are held to be good theological or missional reasons, and yet have a cost when they move away from what is recognisable and acceptable within the Communion. Thus – to take a very different kind of example – there have been and there are Anglicans who have a strong conscientious objection to infant baptism. Their views deserve attention, respect and careful study, they should be engaged in serious dialogue – but it would be eccentric to place such people in a position where their view was implicitly acknowledged as one of a range of equally acceptable convictions, all of which could be taken as representatively Anglican.

Yet no-one should be celebrating such public recognition of divisions and everyone should be reflecting on how to rebuild relations and to move towards a more coherent Anglican identity (which does not mean an Anglican identity with no diversity, a point once again well made by the statement from the Singapore meeting). Some complain that we are condemned to endless meetings that achieve nothing. I believe that in fact we have too few meetings that allow proper mutual exploration. It may well be that such encounters need to take place in a completely different atmosphere from the official meetings of the Communion’s representative bodies, and this needs some imaginative thought and planning. Much work is already going into making this more possible.

But if we do conclude that some public marks of ‘distance’, as the Windsor Continuation Group put it, are unavoidable if our Communion bodies are not to be stripped of credibility and effectiveness, the least Christian thing we can do is to think that this absolves us from prayer and care for each other, or continuing efforts to make sense of each other.

We are praying for a new Pentecost for our Communion. That means above all a vast deepening of our capacity to receive the gift of being adopted sons and daughters of the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It means a deepened capacity to speak of Jesus Christ in the language of our context so that we are heard and the Gospel is made compelling and credible. And it also means a deepened capacity to love and nourish each other within Christ’s Body – especially to love and nourish, as well as to challenge, those whom Christ has given us as neighbours with whom we are in deep and painful dispute.

One remarkable symbol of promise for our Communion is the generous gift received by the Diocese of Jerusalem from His Majesty the King of Jordan, who has provided a site on the banks of the Jordan River, at the traditional site of Our Lord’s Baptism, for the construction of an Anglican church. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of blessing the foundation stone of this church and viewing the plans for its design. It will be a worthy witness at this historic site to the Anglican tradition, a sign of real hope for the long-suffering Christians of the region, and something around which the Communion should gather as a focus of common commitment in Christ and his Spirit. I hope that many in the Communion will give generous support to the project.

‘We have the mind of Christ’ says St Paul (I Cor. 2.16); and, as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has recently written, this means that we must have a ‘kenotic’, a self-emptying approach to each other in the Church. May the Spirit create this in us daily and lead us into that wholeness of truth which is only to be found in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus.

I wish you all God’s richest blessing at this season.

+Rowan Cantuar:
Lambeth Palace
Pentecost 2010



Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican PrimatesAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Global South Churches & PrimatesInstruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral Theology

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