Recommendation 16. We believe that there can be circumstances where a priest,
with the agreement of the relevant PCC, should be free to mark the
formation of a permanent same sex relationship in a public service
but should be under no obligation to do so. Some of us do not
believe that this can be extended to same sex marriage. (Paragraphs
120, 380–3) [Pilling Report Page 151]
Read it all and the 18 recommendations on pages 149 to 152
The Bishop of Birkenhead has issued a dissenting report at page 119 including:
after much prayer and soul searching, I have concluded I cannot sign.
416. Why have I reached this conclusion? For a number of reasons
which I try to set out in more detail in this statement:
● I believe Scripture and Christian tradition offer a clearer and
better vision from God for the world in his gift of our
sexuality as men and women and that this is sufficient for
directing the Church at this critical time of major cultural
change. In particular, I am not persuaded that the biblical
witness on same sex sexual behaviour is unclear.
● I believe the trajectory in the Report will undermine the
discipleship and pastoral care of many faithful Christians
and, by leading the Church into the kind of cultural captivity
which much of the prophetic writings warn against, weaken
our commitment to God’s mission.
● I believe in the unity of Christ’s Church and think the Report
has not heeded the view of General Synod expressed in
February 2007 that ‘efforts to prevent the diversity of
opinion about human sexuality creating further division and
impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the
Anglican Communion... would not be advanced by doing
anything that could be perceived as the Church of England
qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant
Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978: 10; 1988: 64;
The Bishop of Birkenhead also contributed a paper 'Scripture and Same Sex Relationships' [pages 158-175 of the Pilling Report]
....in the current litigation in South Carolina, the drive by ECUSA's team to move the ball into federal court has been blocked at every maneuver. They are stuck back on their own 10-yard line, with just a few dozen seconds left on the clock. (The case in South Carolina's Court of Common Pleas for the County of Dorchester is due to go to trial early next summer; all discovery in the case has to be completed by February 7.)
And so what do they decide to do?
The defendant rump group (but not yet ECUSA itself) throws a "Hail Mary" pass -- a motion to add, at this late date, four new defendants and eighteen new claims against those defendants, who are Bishop Mark Lawrence, James Lewis, Jeffrey Miller and Paul Fuener. The Rev. James Lewis serves as Bishop Lawrence's Canon to the Ordinary and Executive Secretary to the Diocesan Convention; the Revs. Miller and Fuener have both served as President of the Standing Committee of Mark Lawrence's Episcopal Diocese.
The very first claim the rump group seeks to assert demonstrates the flaw in the entire motion: it is a claim for alleged breach of "fiduciary duty."
• Mark Lawrence, who was bishop to local Episcopalians from 2006 until December 2012, when the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church accepted his renunciation as a bishop of TEC. Members of the breakaway group still recognize him as their bishop.
• Jim Lewis, who was Canon to the Ordinary of the diocese, and continues to use that title in the breakaway organization.
• Jeffrey Miller, who has been president of the Standing Committee of the diocese. Miller also is rector of St. Helena’s, Beaufort, one of the congregations that filed suit against TEC.
• Paul Fuener, who has been president of the Standing Committee. Fuener also is rector of Prince George-Winyah in Georgetown, another plaintiff in the suit against TEC.
Wednesday: In the morning The Women Bishops Steering Committee Report has been accepted and in the afternoon the procedure for revision of draft legislation in full Synod was approved
After that Proposals to change the system of election of lay members of Synod were debated and the motion as amended was carried with the removal of the scheme to create an electoral college.
This post will be updated regularly
The Church of England General Synod took place between Monday November 18th and Wednesday November 20th in Church House, London
Some links to audio recordings are here During Synod live streaming was provided here It is not clear if video recordings of the debates will be made available
Iain Dale: You said once that you’re always averse to the language of exclusion and what we’re called to do is love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us, how do you reconcile that with the church’s attitude on gay marriage?
Justin Welby: I think that the problem with the gay marriage proposals is that they don’t actually include people equally, it’s called equal marriage, but the proposals in the Bill don’t do that. I think that where there is… I mean I know plenty of gay couples whose relationships are an example to plenty of other people and that’s something that’s very important, I’m not saying that gay relationships are in some way… you know that the love that there is is less than the love there is between straight couples, that would be a completely absurd thing to say. And civil partnership is a pretty… I understand why people want that to be strengthened and made more dignified, somehow more honourable in a good way. It’s not the same as marriage…
Iain Dale: But if it could be made to work in a way that’s acceptable to the church you would be open to discussions on that?
Justin Welby: We are always open to discussions, we’ve been open to discussion, we’re discussing at the moment. The historic teaching of the church around the world, and this is where I remember that I’ve got 80 million people round the world who are Anglicans, not just the one million in this country, has been that marriage in the traditional sense is between a man and woman for life.
And it’s such a radical change to change that I think we need to find ways of affirming the value of the love that is in other relationships without taking away from the value of marriage as an institution.
One memorable grade-school performance my wife and I attended six years ago included songs about dancing penguins and prancing polar bears sung by fifth-graders dressed in white polo shirts and beige pants, interspersed with poetic student readings about snow and ice (prompting visions of isolation, hypothermia and snow blindness). Imagine a GapKids commercial directed by Ingmar Bergman.
Now, these once-festive and joyous musical events have become monochromatic affairs—both visually and artistically—devoid of any seasonal context. At last year's high-school concert, all of the student performers were dressed in black—formal yes, but also funereal. Moreover, school music directors these days, overburdened by litigation-avoidance strategies, have committed the sin (if that word is still allowed) of not just erasing religion from these concerts but of basically abandoning musicality altogether.
Much of the music is simply bad: mindless melodies and meaningless lyrics, whether saccharine and syncopated or somber and staccato. To ignore the significant body of church music composed to celebrate Christmas—from English carols to Bach cantatas to the full oratorio of Handel —borders on musical malpractice, even if it is motivated by fear of the ACLU. No matter how technically well-executed, Broadway show tunes and "Glee" versions of pop standards will never inspire hope, goodwill and renewal. Wasn't that the whole point of these annual musical celebrations?
The Pilling Report has one goal: to legitimize an ongoing dialogue about normalizing homosexual relationships in the church's life. In my opinion, this goal is incompatible with Lambeth Resolution I.10 and the position of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.
Nearly eighteen years ago, the Episcopal Church USA initiated a process called "Continuing the Dialogue" on sexuality that sounds very much like the PR's idea of "facilitated conversation." The end result of that "dialogue" was never in doubt - approval of the gay rights agenda - nor were conservatives ever more than token participants. I would ask conservatives in the Church of England one simple question: can you imagine any circumstance in which the traditional teaching of the Church on the exclusive character of Holy Matrimony will be reaffirmed as a result of this dialogue?
Although the PR is primarily addressing the Church of England, it also calls for Communion-wide dialogue - as if we had not already experienced the "Windsor process" from 2004 and the "Lambeth Indaba" in 2008. For global Anglicans to return to such a fruitless endeavor would be to deter their mission and divert attention from ongoing social issues that really do affect them. Finally, many Global South churches over the past decade provided refuge to orthodox churches and clergy in North America. They may well need to do the same for English churches and clergy as well, if the recommended listening process is adopted and has the same divisive result in the Church of England that the parallel "dialogue" has had in North America.
For these reasons, I would urge GFCA churches to leave the PR alone, to pray for brothers and sisters in the Church of England who will be affected by it, and to move forward with the ambitious agenda set forth in Nairobi. For those churches and leaders that may view the PR optimistically as a way out of the divisions facing the Anglican Communion, I can only suggest they attend the wisdom of the old limerick:
There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.
The report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality, chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, has prompted a wide range of response and criticism.
Among those who welcomed the report were groups that lobby for greater acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the Church.
The Revd Benny Hazlehurst, the secretary of the Accepting Evangelicals group, issued a statement: "We welcome this clear recognition of diversity in biblical understanding and commend the report to the whole Church. We also welcome these small steps towards church services for same-sex couples."
Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.
00:00 Anglicans have lost the Mother Church
14:38 Piling onto Pilling Report with Peter Ould
33:14 IRS and Clergy Housing Allowances with AS Haley
41:51 The National Museum in Washington DC
48:37 Closing and Bloopers
Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has presided over the blessing of a same-sex union, according to an Arlington clergywoman.
Mother Leslie J. Hague, rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Arlington was joined in “holy union” with her partner, Katie Casteel, at Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring on November 23. The afternoon blessing ceremony followed Hague and Casteel’s civil marriage in nearby Washington, DC exactly one year before. Same-sex marriages are not recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight, at an hour when we are not aware, the Bridegroom shall come: Grant that the cry, The Bridegroom cometh, may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved....Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore
Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, Hitler — these were the names that, for much of the world, defined the first half of the 20th century, the most destructive era in history.
Gandhi, King, Mandela — these, it could be argued, are the figures who will live longest in the public consciousness as we look back on the postwar world: leaders who had no real armies to speak of and who wielded little power in office but who helped create a new ethic through the power of their ideas and the example of their lives.
Bishop Moses Deng Bol of Wau Diocese warned members of his diocese not to be fooled by the conmen in Yei--in the south of the country.
"How stupid then to think that you can pay for faith or sell it like market goods," he wrote in the Diocesan newsletter. "Let us be clear – salvation is a free gift that no amount of money can buy."
Bishop Deng Bol said the reports of such examples of "Prosperity Gospel" made him angry and said he was unable to stay silent about such behaviour. He added that paying for prayers was "contrary to the way God wants us to behave."
I love Twitter. You might have already guessed that, since I just finished tweeting the entire Bible, but I just felt the need to say it out loud.
A big part of why I love Twitter is the real-time exposure it gives me to interesting people, including writers whose work I have enjoyed. Here are ten Christian writers who have offered me something marvelous or cool or significant or funny in Birdland, in alphabetical order by last name.
...in any case in which you take the view that you are required by local law to disobey me, or defy my requests, you may not elect to follow the local law rather than fulfil your duty of obedience to me.
Whatever the local law may seek to impose on you, you may not agree to follow it where my lawful requirements require you to do otherwise.
A free press is basic to the health of democratic culture in the civil sphere because it offers one line of public accountability for those in public office. Those who perform immediate public acts should expect to be subject to immediate public scrutiny. And what is true for the culture at large is also true for its various subcultures. A free Christian press is also important for the Christian subculture: it keeps leaders and organizations accountable.
Of course, as with the mainstream media, there is the ideal and there is the reality....
Where the situation becomes sinister is when one group attempts to police the activities of another, or where one Christian organization or leader uses their personal power or share of the market to prevent others, with whom they are not formally connected, from speaking freely and asking the hard questions. At that point, things take a very sinister turn indeed.
Less than five percent of current world languages are in use online, according to a recent study by prominent linguist András Kornai -- and the Internet may be helping the other 95 percent to their graves.
Those startling conclusions come from a paper published in the journal PLOSOne in October titled, appropriately, “Digital Language Death.” The study sought to answer a question that’s both inherently fascinating and little-discussed: How many languages exist online? (And, on the flip side, how many don’t?)
For reference, at least 7,776 languages are in use in the greater offline world. To measure how many of those are also in use on the Internet, Kornai designed a program to crawl top-level Web domains and catalog the number of words in each language. He also analyzed Wikipedia pages, a key marker of a language’s digital vibrancy, as well as language options for things like operating systems and spell-checkers.
A long-retired first grade teacher who died a couple of years ago in Simsbury, Connecticut, lived very simply and wasn’t aware of how many riches she had – not until her lawyer discovered she was actually quite wealthy. NBC’s Harry Smith reports that she gave it away to the institutions that mattered to her the most in the community.
There are two videos and they are both well worth your time: The first may be foundhereand the second there.
The United States is appalled by today’s reports of the murder of innocent women and children outside of Bangui. This horrifying account is the latest in a string of reports that illustrate the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) that could lead to an escalation in violence and further atrocities.
We are working with our partners in the international community, including through our efforts on the United Nations Security Council, to find the swiftest and most effective vehicle for stabilizing the situation.
Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son, by Richard Lischer. Lischer, a theologian at Duke Divinity School, acknowledges that “a father has no business writing a book about his son’s death.” But as the review in the Century noted, this honest but disciplined narrative “looks beyond one man’s death to the death we all will face” and manages to be “personal without self-absorption, profoundly emotional without sentimentality.” It is a moving testimony to a father’s love and to Adam Lischer’s life, and especially to Adam’s way of meeting death at the age of 33, supported by the prayers and rituals of the church—which is a memorable witness for every reader.
The Church of England witnessed a change of heart last month when the General Synod debated legislation to allow women to be consecrated as Bishops. With the closest indication yet that there could be a change in the law in 2014, Debbie Waite spoke to some of the county’s female clergy about life in a man’s world....
The Archbishop of Canterbury has turned down an invitation to become part of an “army of Good Samaritans” checking on elderly people at Christmas because of Church of England policy.
Organisers of the NHS “Winter friends” campaign, under which people sign a pledge to help isolated elderly people in practical ways, have recruited a series of well-known figures including Joanna Lumley, the actress, and Stephen Fry, the broadcaster, to support them.
But their hopes of signing the Most Rev Justin Welby up as a key supporter were dashed because of a policy which prevents the Archbishop joining campaigns.
Healthcare.gov seems to be working better for consumers, relatively, but it is not clear that it works for insurers (in which case it doesn’t work for consumers either, as they are trying to buy insurance). Insurers have long said that they are receiving botched enrolment forms, or 834s, if they receive them at all. On December 2nd health officials said they had fixed a problem that accounted for 80% of the glitches with 834s. But they would not confirm what share of 834s were being bungled, so it is hard to know the fix’s importance.
If the site is working better for consumers, as it seems to be, shoppers may rush to sign up for insurance before Mr Obama’s deadline of December 23rd. They will expect coverage to kick in just a few days later, on January 1st. That gives insurers little time to process 834s, even if they are sent without problems, let alone deal with garbled forms. Mr Obama’s goals for health reform have always been laudable. But the gruelling, technical job of enrolment will be the big story for some time yet.
O Lord, who didst call thy servant Clement of Alexandria from the errors of ancient philosophy that he might learn and teach the saving Gospel of Christ: Turn thy Church from the conceits of worldly wisdom and, by the Spirit of truth, guide it into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O Lord God, who never failest both to hear and to answer the prayer that is sincere: Let not our hearts be upon the world when our hands are lifted up to pray, nor our prayers end upon our lips, but go forth with power to work thy will in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
As a young medical student three decades ago, Mark Magnuson learned the basic facts of human development. Among those supposed facts was this one: Adult cells can't change what they are. A heart cell is always a heart cell, a skin cell is always a skin cell.
That's not the case with embryos, whose cells eventually create the entire human body. As embryonic cells divide, they develop distinct identities, becoming heart cells and brain cells and blood cells and every other kind of cell.
It's a process called differentiation. And once it happens, there is no going back. "When I was a medical student, I was taught that a differentiated cell was a differentiated cell," said Magnuson, a professor of medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology in Nashville. "That was the end of the line."
Then along came the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS cell), and everything changed.
In particular, in the light of the Dissenting Statement, we express the following concerns about aspects of the Report:
Although the church’s teaching is upheld, its theological and biblical basis is not clearly articulated and there appears to be a willingness to separate teaching and practice in a way which threatens incoherence and charges of hypocrisy.
The emphasis on the qualities of a relationship without clear reference to the gift of marriage fails to do justice to Scripture and tradition in relation to both sexual same-sex relationships and heterosexual cohabitation (para 148).
The recommendation “to mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship in a public service” and to leave the form of this to the discretion of the parish priest risks undermining the unity of the church’s teaching and practice and our ecclesiology.
Unfortunately, the Pilling Report also contains elements that are potentially destructive to the Church’s life and witness.
•While an “open ended process of facilitated conversation” is advised, the ‘end’ of affirming same-sex unions is already recommended, and this bias affects the trajectory of both the report and the conversation.
•Underpinning this call for ‘facilitated conversation’ is the controversial claim that the argument for the Church’s traditional teaching about marriage and sexual intimacy is “inconclusive.”
Inviting the church to discover a new consensus about sexual relationships beyond those of a lifelong union of one man and one woman in Holy Matrimony is not helpful.
Concerning these matters, I am in complete agreement with the Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, the Bishop of Birkenhead, and a member of the Working Group, in his dissent from the Report. The Church must not waiver from its received teaching. Scripture and the catholic consensus must be treated as givens, the attitude of the signatories not withstanding. Those who would re-construct the received moral order in the 21st century to respond to a culture bent on self-actualization, rather than dying to self, will do no better than those who—quite unsuccessfully but with much damage—in the 20th century sought to re-define the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ.
Our prayers are with the House of Bishops of the Church of England as the Pilling Report is received, considered and acted upon. Our prayers are with the entire Church of England as she seeks to be a faithful Church in a secular and post-Christian age.
You can imagine how my heart raced. I was told that the amount exceeded $500,000 – an unheard of sum in those days. (It actually ended up being well above that – but read on.) There was just one hitch: The man had insisted in his will that the money go only for the seminary education... [under conditions we could not honor].
Still, I didn’t want to let go of an obvious windfall. When the board finally met, they debated the pros and cons, and I made the case for it as best I could. But quietly, I did have my misgivings. When one of our trustees, a bishop, said, “This has the smell of sulphur about it,” I realized the die was cast: We could not accept the gift.
A federal bankruptcy judge granted Detroit unprecedented powers Tuesday to shed billions of dollars in debt, including the ability to slash city employee pensions despite a state constitutional provision protecting them.
In approving the nation’s largest-ever municipal filing, Judge Steven Rhodes cleared the way for Detroit’s emergency manager to develop a plan to reorganize the city’s estimated $18 billion in debt. Beyond cutting worker pensions and retiree health benefits, the city could stiff bondholders and sell city assets such as its water and sewer authority and its priceless art collection.