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First woman archbishop for Sweden elected: The Church of England Newspaper, October 24, 2014 October 27, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Central Florida Episcopalian, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden.
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The Church of Sweden has elected the Rt. Rev. Antje Jackelén, Bishop of Lund as Archbishop of Uppsala and primate of the Church of Sweden. The 15 October 2013 vote by the Swedish synod makes Dr. Jackelén the church’s first woman archbishop.

Dr. Jackelén is the second Archbishop of Uppsala to be elected by popular vote following the disestablishment of the Church of Sweden on 1 January 2000, and she succeeds Archbishop Anders Wejryd who was elected in 2006.

A native of Germany, Bishop Jackelén was ordained a priest in 1980 and served parishes in the dioceses of Stockholm and Lund from 1981 to 1996. In 1999 she earned a doctor of theology degree at Lund University, with a doctoral dissertation Zeit und Ewigkeit: die Frage der Zeit in Kirche, Naturwissenschaft und Theologie was published in English in 2005 as: Time & eternity: the question of time in church, science, and theology. She taught at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago from 2001 to 2006, when she was elected Bishop of Lund.

A member of the liberal wing of the Swedish Church, Bishop Jackelén is a prolific social commentator and was Sweden’s first twitter bishop and publishes a micro blog about her work and beliefs.  In an interview published in the Swedish church newspaper Kyrkans Tidning, Bishop Jackelén defended herself against charges she was cold and aloof. “I think I have many warm and close relationships,” she said, but in her job as bishop she came in contact with “an incredible number of people, I cannot be everything to everyone.”

She also objected to making belief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ a benchmark of the Christian faith. “It is strange that the question of the virgin birth has become something of a faith test,” she told Kyrkans Tidning, adding the Bible had been interpreted in different ways across time and cultures and that many different cultures had made use of a virgin birth as a way to show a particular person’s self-importance.

“I am more afraid of those who claim to know everything, than anyone who claims to wrestle with the Bible,” she said.

Belief in the Virgin Birth an optional extra, new Swedish archbishop declares: Anglican Ink, October 16, 2013 October 16, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Church of Sweden, Women Priests.
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The Church of Sweden has elected its first woman archbishop.

On 15 October 2013 the Rt. Rev. Antje Jackelén, Bishop of Lund, was elected Archbishop of Uppsala and primate of the Church of Sweden. She is the second Archbishop of Uppsala to be elected by popular vote by the church’s synod following the separation of the Church of Sweden from the state on January 1, 2000, and succeeds the Most Rev. Anders Wejryd who was elected in2006.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

English Anti-Catholicism & Ethiopian Lutheranism: Get Religion, February 25, 2013 February 25, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of Sweden, Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Get Religion, Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.
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Anti-Catholic bias is alive and well in Britain — however the animus to the “Italian mission to the Irish” comes not from the Church of England. Nor does it stem from the 1701 Act of Settlement (barring Catholics from the Royal Family), Guy Fawkes Night, xenophobia or other collective memories of the Britain’s past. The anti-Catholic bias one sees in England today is that of the political and media elites — those members of the chattering classes who detest the church for what it believes (not what it is).

Now there is an equal opportunity disdain at work — the Church of England is held in low regard also by the elites. Yet despite the best efforts of the magic circle, the small group of liberal prelates who control the English church, to conform the institution to the demands of the right thinking members of the establishment — the chattering classes reject the Catholic moral worldview (and have no problem saying so).

This is the theme of my chat this week with Todd Wilken, the host of Issues, Etc.  In our conversation broadcast on 21 Feb 2013, Todd and I discussed my article “Guardian wins week one of 2013 All-England pope-bashing contest” posted at GetReligion and discussed the phenomena of shoddy reporting on the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI. Todd asked whether I believed that this was a failure of journalism or if there was something more involved.

I argued that this was more than a failure of adhering to the reporter’s art, but represented a virulent anti-Catholic, anti-religious prejudice in the stories we discussed. How could one explain assertions made by the Guardian‘s man in Rome that Africans were unable to conform to the church’s requirements of priestly celibacy due to their being Africans? The Guardian (and the BBC) are the temples of the p.c. priests. How could such a  slur be allowed to make its way into print? Well if it is in a story that damns the Catholic Church it can.

The restraints of time and my inherent good breeding prevented me from giving full voice to my views. I would have liked to add that I was also concerned by the Guardian‘s decision to run so many pope stories — many not worth the bother reading due to the the ignorance of the authors — when other issues of equal merit in the world of religion were taken place over the past few weeks — the story about the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) being but one example.

No, this is not a joke on my part. While I do not downplay the importance of the pope’s resignation announcement, the sheer volume of nonsense being published and the absence of news about the EECMY speaks to the media’s inability to evaluate religious events.

The EECMY story, in a nutshell, is that one of the largest members of the Lutheran World Federation — the 6.1 million member EECMY — has broken fellowship with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The cause for this break is the normalization of homosexuality by the ELCA and the Church of Sweden. This story was all over the religion press in the US and Europe: Christianity Today, First Things, Dagen, and I covered this story for The Church of England Newspaper. I have seen only one secular news story on this item — a local Wisconsin news story in the La Crosse Tribune that ran comments from a Lutheran bishop lamenting the split.

Perhaps the Anglican wars have sucked all the air out of these sorts of stories. The splits in the Anglican world between the Episcopal Church in America and many of the Africans churches over the issue of homosexuality — the same issue that has divided the Ethiopians and the Swedes and the ELCA — has received lengthy and on-going coverage in the press. This may well be another example of the phenomena noted by TMatt here in the pages of GetReligion — the disproportionate coverage given to the Episcopal Church and the Church of England in the American press compared to other, larger faith groups.

There is so much in this story for a newspaper to develop, not least is how the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has stepped into the shoes once filled by the ELCA as far as Lutherans in the developing world are concerned. I am not saying the Ethiopian split should have pushed the pope off the front page, but some coverage of the seismic change underway in global Christianity might be nice.

First printed in GetReligion.

Global Lutheran schism over homosexuality: The Church of England Newspaper, February 17, 2013 p 7. February 22, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden, Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) has broken with the Church of Sweden, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and all “churches who have openly accepted same-sex marriage.”

The split between one of the largest African members of the Lutheran World Federation mirrors and liberal American and European churches mirrors the disputes in the Anglican Communion over doctrine and church discipline.

The General Assembly of the Mekane Yesus (Place of Jesus) Church, meeting in Addis Ababa from 27 Jan to 2 Feb, ratified a July 2012 decision by its church council to end Eucharistic fellowship with the two leading liberal members of the World Lutheran Fellowship over their decision to allow gay clergy and same-sex blessings.

“The ELCA is very saddened by this decision,” said the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for ELCA Global Mission, noting the American Lutheran church had been “walking with the people of Ethiopia for more than 50 years, and our sister church, the Church of Sweden, for more than 150 years.”

While the Mekane Yesus Church is “closing the door to this partnership,” Mr. Malpica Padilla said the ELCA and the Church of Sweden “are not locking the doors from our side. It is open for when you decide it is time to resume this journey together. It is my hope that in the near future, we will again walk together in Christian love.”

In his address to January synod meeting, the president of the EECMY, the Rev. Wakseyoum Idosa said the EECMY “had lived in partnership with some partners for over a century.”

“Challenges and changes that we encounter in out contexts are forcing us to make decisions which are consistent with our belief about God and our biblical, theological and ethical understandings and our contexts where the church operates. One of these challenges as you all know is the controversial issue on human sexuality which has been on the agenda of the EECMY since 2006.”

The EECMY had issued a “clear statement on the position of the church on this issue” in 2010, President Idosa said, and the Council of the Church at its July meeting determined to take action to break with the Church of Sweden and the ELCA.

“The decision of the Council that has been endorsed by the General Assembly will be communicated to the concerned churches on the basis of the bilateral relations that exist between the church and concerned partners,” he said.

Founded by Lutheran missionaries in the 19th century, the Mekane Yesus church has experienced rapid growth over the past forty years. President Idosa told the General Assembly over the past three years the church had added one million members, and at year’s end counted 6,012,184 members and 7,840 congregations.

Church of Sweden backs Israel boycott campaign: Anglican Ink, November 21, 2012 November 22, 2012

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Archbishop Anders Wejryd addressing the Swedish Church Assembly on 21 Nov 2012

The Kyrkomötet  –  the Church Assembly of the Church of Sweden — has asked its government to support the Palestinian Authority’s bid for membership at the United Nations and called for a boycott of Israeli products manufactured in Judea and Samaria.

On 21 Nov 2012 the annual synod of Sweden’s state Lutheran church adopted a series of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel resolutions during its annual meeting in Uppsala.  A longtime critic of Israeli policies, the Kyrkomötet today also gave its backing the Kairos Palestine Document and called for Israel’s withdrawal from East Jerusalem and the “occupied” territories.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Norwich – Swedish link signed: The Church of England Newspaper, Nov 19, 2010 p 8. November 23, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden.
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Bishop Hans Stiglund of Luleå, Sweden

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Norwich and the Church of Sweden’s Diocese of Luleå have signed a “covenant of commitment” at a formal ceremony at Norwich Cathedral.  On Nov 16, Bishop Hans Stiglund of Luleå and Bishop Graham James formalized the two diocese’s long-standing relationship at a ceremony which also saw the Swedish bishop installed as an ecumenical canon at the cathedral.

Bishop Stiglund and 13 senior Swedish clergy from the diocese were in Norwich from Nov 13-17, “learning more about the ways in which we are organised, financed and resourced,” Bishop James said.

The Swedish visitors visited “some of the projects in Norwich where the Church is pioneering work with those who are disadvantaged, and our guests will stay with clergy across the Diocese, sharing in the life of their parishes and learning about each other’s lives and ministries,” Bishop James noted, adding the endorsement of the diocesan covenant “will be an important sign of our commitment to nurturing an enduring and fruitful friendship.”

Under the 1992 Porvoo agreement, the Lutheran Churches of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden are in eucharistic fellowship with the Church of England, Church of Ireland, Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church.  The Porvoo Communion is a communion of churches that have signed an agreement to “share a common life in mission and service.”  While agreeing on certain fundamental issues, the Porvoo churches are not a new confession, but maintain their respective identities.

 

Archbishops’ call to cancel fighter contract: The Church of England Newspaper, April 1, 2010 p 8. April 3, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden.
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Gripen fighters flying over Table Mountain in Cape Town

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in South Africa and Sweden have called for an independent investigation of allegations of kickbacks and corruption in the wake of a multi-billion pound arms deal.

Archbishops Thabo Makgoba and Desmond Tutu have challenged the ANC government to suspend the deal, which they say will institutionalize a culture of corruption in South Africa that will derail the country’s transition to democracy.

The two governments are expected to sign a £3.8 billion arms agreement this month that will provide advanced military hardware to South Africa including the Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter-bomber.

However, Archbishops Makgoba and Tutu, the former Archbishop of Uppsala K.G. Hammar and the head of the Swedish Baptist Union Karin Wiborn have charged that the funds spent on arms by South Africa would be better spent on social development.

The four church leaders have also warned the arms deal would provide a further opportunity for graft and corruption in the scandal plagued ANC government in Pretoria.

The South African Air Force has already begun taking delivery of seven of the twenty-eight new generation fighters. The £1.9 billion deal for fighter aircraft had won the approval of South Africa’s parliament, which was told that 65,000 jobs would be created to support and equip the new fighters.

These claims of jobs were illusory and the moral consequences of the sale were troubling, the four church leaders wrote in letters published on March 28 in the Times of South Africa and in Stockholm’s Dagens Nyheter.

“It is disgraceful how the armaments lobby abused the goodwill created out of the many years of solidarity against the racist apartheid government to sell the Gripen fighter aircraft,” they charged.

“The absurdity of these contracts is confirmed by the reality that South Africa now even seems to lack the capacity to properly maintain the procured jet fighters. We now call for the cancellation of the remaining contracts, and for a refund of expenditures already paid,” they said.

“Unfortunately the South African government succumbed to economically absurd arguments and pressure from European governments that the arms deal would create over 65000 jobs and thus stimulate the economy. These promises have so far turned out to be mainly empty words.”

They called upon the South African government to set up an independent judicial inquiry to investigate allegations of corruption and kickbacks in the arms deal, and asked Sweden to “co-operate fully in these inquiries” and “suspend the sale of arms to South Africa until the review process is complete.”

The four church leaders challenged their governments to “reveal how public resources have been misused. Errors must be corrected and, as modern democracies, our countries must have the courage to thoroughly investigate what really happened.”

‘No boycott’ claim over new Swedish Bishop’s consecration: CEN 11.13.09 p 6. November 18, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Sweden.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.Reports the Churches of England and Ireland boycotted the consecration of a partnered lesbian priest as Bishop of Stockholm are not true, spokesmen for the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of Armagh tell Religious Intelligence.com.

However, no episcopal representatives from the Churches of England or Ireland, the Church in Wales or the Scottish Episcopal Church were present for the Nov 8 consecration of the Rev Eva Brunne by Swedish Archbishop Anders Wejryd of Uppsala.

Churches deny boycott of lesbian priest’s consecration

On Nov 3 the Swedish Christian newspaper Dagen reported the Church of England and Church of Ireland would ‘boycott’ the ceremony as a sign of their displeasure with the ordination of Pastor Brunne, who lives with her female partner, a fellow Church of Sweden pastor, the Rev Gunilla Lindén.

A spokesman for Archbishop Alan Harper, Primate of the Church of Ireland, said that while the substance of the comments attributed to Dr Harper were correct, the Archbishop “did not give such a statement to a Dagen journalist.”

Dr Harper would “not think of this in terms of a ‘boycott’,” the spokesman explained. An invitation had been received, he noted, but had been declined. The Archbishop of Armagh “has conveyed to the Church of Sweden that the Church of Ireland will not be officially represented at the episcopal consecration in Uppsala,” the spokesman said as the “Church of Ireland is observing the moratorium” on the consecration of partnered ‘gay’ clergy.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury said the Church of England would be represented by the Area Dean of the Baltic and Nordic States of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, the Rev Nicholas Howe, chaplain of St Peter and St Sigfrid’s Church in Stockholm.

A “diary conflict” would prevent Mr Howe from attending the consecration, Lambeth Palace said, but he would be present for the reception that would follow. The Church of England’s Diocese of Portsmouth, which is twinned with the Diocese of Stockholm, would also be sending a representative to the reception.

Speaking to the Church of Sweden’s newspaper, the Kyrkans Tidning, Archbishop Wejryd said he did not expect Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to attend. “We send invitations to those with the highest rank. That’s why the Archbishop of Canterbury received an invitation, but no one expected him to say yes.”

The consecration of Pastor Brunne follows upon the Oct 22 vote by the Kyrkomötet, the Church’s governing assembly to permit clergy to conduct same-sex church weddings.

Writing to the Archbishop of Uppsala on June 26, the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England said the adoption of gay marriage by the Swedish church would be “problematic.”

The “teaching and discipline” of the Anglican Communion was that “it is not right either to bless same-sex sexual relationships or to ordain those who are involved in them,” the Archbishops’ Council said.

The way the Church of Sweden had gone about introducing gay marriage liturgies was worrisome, the Suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt Rev David Hamid said. The Porvoo Agreement which joined the Church of England and Church of Sweden in full Eucharistic fellowship committed the partners to consultations with one another on issues of faith and order.

“Such a consultation has not happened on the matter of gender-neutral marriage,” Bishop Hamid said.

Anglicans Respond Coolly to Swedish Consecration: TLC 11.07.09 November 7, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of Ireland, Church of Sweden, Living Church.
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First published in The Living Church.

Swedish press reports that the Church of England and Church of Ireland will boycott the consecration of a partnered lesbian priest as Bishop of Stockholm are not true, spokesmen for the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of Armagh told The Living Church.

Nevertheless, no episcopal representatives from the Churches of England or Ireland, the Church in Wales or the Scottish Episcopal Church will be present for the Nov. 8 consecration of the Rev. Eva Brunne by Swedish Archbishop Anders Wejryd of Uppsala.

The Swedish Christian newspaper Dagen reported on Nov. 3 that the Church of England and Church of Ireland will boycott the ceremony as a sign of their displeasure with the ordination of Pastor Brunne, who lives with her partner, a fellow Church of Sweden pastor, the Rev. Gunilla Lindén.

Paul Harron, a spokesman for Archbishop Alan Harper, Primate of the Church of Ireland, said that while the substance of the comments attributed to Dr. Harper were correct, the archbishop “did not give such a statement to a Dagen journalist.”

Dr. Harper would “not think of this in terms of a ‘boycott,’ ” Mr. Harron said. The archbishop received an invitation, he said, but declined to attend.

The Archbishop of Armagh “has conveyed to the Church of Sweden that the Church of Ireland will not be officially represented at the episcopal consecration in Uppsala,” Mr. Harron said, as the “Church of Ireland is observing the moratorium” on the consecration of clergy with same-sex partners.

David Brownlie-Marshall, a spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury said the Church of England will be represented by the Area Dean of the Baltic and Nordic States of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, the Rev. Nicholas Howe, chaplain of St. Peter and St. Sigfrid’s Church in Stockholm.

A “diary conflict” will prevent Fr. Howe from attending the consecration, Mr. Brownlie-Marshall said, but he will attend a subsequent reception. The Church of England’s Diocese of Portsmouth, which is twinned with the Diocese of Stockholm, will also send a representative to the reception.

Speaking to the Church of Sweden’s newspaper, the Kyrkans Tidning, Archbishop Wejryd said he did not expect the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend. “We send invitations to those with the highest rank. That’s why the Archbishop of Canterbury received an invitation, but no one expected him to say yes.”

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, said he had “no plans to attend the consecration,” but noted that “it’s wonderful to see a church which chooses its bishops based on their experience, skills, and faithfulness, rather than on gender, sexual orientation and the like — a commitment I believe the Episcopal Church has now made.”

The consecration of Pastor Brunne follows the Oct. 22 vote by the Kyrkomötet, the church’s governing assembly, to permit clergy to conduct same-sex church weddings.

Writing to the Archbishop of Uppsala on June 26, the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England said the adoption of gay marriage by the Swedish church is problematic.

The “teaching and discipline” of the Anglican Communion is that “it is not right either to bless same-sex sexual relationships or to ordain those who are involved in them,” the Archbishops’ Council said.

The way the Church of Sweden has gone about introducing gay-marriage liturgies is problematic, said the Suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt. Rev. David Hamid. The Porvoo Common Statement, which joined the Church of England and Church of Sweden in full Eucharistic fellowship in 1992, committed the partners to consultation with one another on issues of faith and order.

“Such a consultation has not happened on the matter of gender-neutral marriage,” Bishop Hamid said.

Swedish church allows gay weddings: CEN 10.22.09 October 23, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper

The general synod of the Church of Sweden has authorized same-sex weddings.

On Oct 22 the Kyrkomötet, the Church’s governing assembly, voted 176 to 73 to endorse the recommendation of its Central Board to solemnize gay marriages after Swedish civil law on May 1 granted same-sex couples the right to marry.

Marriage “is a social institution regulated by public authorities. From a perspective of theology of creation, the marriage has the purpose to support the internal relation between spouses and give a safe setting for the children growing up,” the Central Board said in its recommendation to adopt gay marriage rites.

Sweden church allows gay weddings

The Kyrkomötet vote “takes a stance in favour of an inclusive view of people. Regardless of whether one is religious or not, this affects the entire social climate and the view of people’s equal value,” said the head of the country’s largest gay rights group, Åsa Regnér of the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU).

In the run up to the vote, conservative members of the Church of Sweden had urged the Kyrkomötet not to “cuff off the church from its roots. The Church of Sweden will now be transformed into a congregational denomination, whose teaching is formulated by simple majority decisions, and where the Bible is being used arbitrarily or even entirely removed in order to legitimize the decisions taken,” said Pastor Yngve Kalin of the Church Coalition for Bible and Confession.

Traditionalist members of the Kyrkomötet had argued that same-sex marriage violated Scripture and the Church’s traditional teachings on marriage and also imperiled ecumenical relations. The Church of England is in communion with the Church of Sweden through the 1992 Porvoo Common Statement.

Writing to the Archbishop of Uppsala on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, the Rt. Rev. Christopher Hill on behalf of the Council for Christian Unity and the Rt. Rev. John Hind on behalf of the Faith and Order Advisory Group said the adoption of gay marriage by the Swedish church would be “problematic.”

The “teaching and discipline” of the Anglican Communion was that “it is not right either to bless same-sex sexual relationships or to ordain those who are involved in them,” the Archbishops’ Council said on June 26, 2009.

Gay marriage was a “fundamental re-definition of marriage and of basic Christian anthropology.” Making marriage gender neutral was “at odds with the Biblical teaching about the significance of God’s creation of human beings as male and female as this has been received by the Church of England and by the Catholic tradition in general,” the bishops said.

The adoption of gay marriage by the Swedes would also have “immediate and negative ecumenical consequences” and would “lead to the impairment of the relationships” with “particular limitations of the inter-changeability of ordained ministry.”

However, traditionalists in the Kyrkomötet siad the outcome of the gay marriage vote was all but certain due to the politicized nature of its general synod.

“The Church of Sweden is permeated by the same political parties that constitute the parliament. The majority of the members of the Church of Sweden Governing Body have party labels, as have those who are members of the Church of Sweden General Synod, and they usually follow their party lines on decisive issues,” Pastor Kalin said.

In the Church of Sweden, “theology has been transformed into an ideology and the church’s own institutions happily provide theological post-constructions to the latest opinions and whims of the world,” he said.

Pastor Kalin said that “for the church, this is devastating” as the “faith, confession and teaching of the Church of Sweden” rested “on political majorities or on the currently fancy views of the world.”

The proposed changes will likely take the form of the modification of the marriage liturgy, replacing “man and wife” with “lawfully wedded spouses” for same-sex couples and follows upon the 2005 vote to amend the title of Chapter 23 of its prayer book, from “Marriage” to “Marriage and Blessings” to permit blessing of same-sex civil unions. Pastors will be permitted the option of refusing to perform same-sex marriages; however, traditionalists worry that this conscious clause will be abrogated in future sessions of the synod as past guarantees respecting the conscious of those opposed to women clergy were rescinded.

English Church attacks Swedish same-sex blessing move: CEN 7.15.09 July 21, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden.
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The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England has released a withering critique of last month’s decision by the Church of Sweden’s Central Board authorizing rites for the blessing of same-sex unions. The June 26 letter said the move will impair relations between the two Churches and threaten the “fragile unity” of the Anglican Communion.

Written by the Rt Rev Christopher Hill on behalf of the Council for Christian Unity and the Rt Rev John Hind on behalf of the Faith and Order Advisory Group to the Archbishop of Uppsala, the letter said the adoption of same-sex blessings by the Church of Sweden was “problematic.”

“Although there is continuing debate among Anglicans about human sexuality, the teaching and discipline of the Church of England, like that of the Anglican Communion as a whole as expressed in the Lambeth Conference of 1998, is that it is not right either to bless same-sex sexual relationships or to ordain those who are involved in them.”

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

English Church attacks Swedish same-sex blessing move

Bishops Eye Cost of Swedes’ Same-Sex Blessings: TLC 7.13.09 July 13, 2009

Posted by geoconger in 76th General Convention, Church of England, Church of Sweden, Living Church.
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First published in The Living Church

The Church of England has condemned the Church of Sweden’s authorization of rites for the blessing of same-sex unions, saying the decision will impair relations between the two churches and threatens the “fragile unity” of the Anglican Communion.

Copies of the June 26 letter, written by the Church of England’s Archbishops’ Council to the Archbishop of Uppsala, began circulating among members of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops on July 12, and may factor into the bishops’ debate on same-sex blessings at General Convention.

Adopting same-sex blessings, one bishop told The Living Church, would put the Episcopal Church in the same place as the Church of Sweden and could lead to a breach with the Church of England and wider Anglican Communion.

Written by the Rt. Rev. Christopher Hill on behalf of the Council for Christian Unity and the Rt. Rev. John Hind on behalf of the Faith and Order Advisory Group, the letter said the adoption of same-sex blessings by the Church of Sweden was “problematic.”

“Although there is continuing debate among Anglican about human sexuality, the teaching and discipline of the Church of England, like that of the Anglican Communion as a whole as expressed in the Lambeth Conference of 1998, is that it is not right either to bless same-sex sexual relationships or to ordain those who are involved in them.

Last month the Central Board of the Church of Sweden voted to ask its Church Assembly to alter its prayer book, permitting same-sex couples to marry. On May 1, gender-neutral language for civil marriages went into effect in Sweden.

The Central Board wrote that marriage “is a social institution regulated by public authorities. From a perspective of theology of creation, the marriage has the purpose to support the internal relation between spouses and give a safe setting for the children growing up.”

“When the Church of Sweden sides on the issue of same-sex marriage, the most relevant question is if this hurt or helps people. The Church of Sweden wants to support faithful relationships,” Archbishop Anders Wejryd said. News of the revisions were forwarded to the Church of England—a church in full communion with the Church of Sweden under the Porvoo Agreements—for comment.

The Archbishops’ Council responded that “as we understand the situation” what was now being proposed was a “fundamental re-definition of marriage and of basic Christian anthropology.” Making marriage gender-neutral was “at odds with the Biblical teaching about the significance of God’s creation of human beings as male and female as this has been received by the Church of England and by the Catholic tradition in general.”

The adoption of gay marriage by the Swedish Church would have “immediate and negative ecumenical consequences” and would “lead to the impairment of the relationships” with “particular limitations of the inter-changeability of ordained ministry.”

Because of the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Anglican Communion, the Swedish decision “could also further undermine the fragile unity of the Anglican Communion.”

Swedish row over investments: CEN 4.18.08 p 6. April 18, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden.
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The Church of Sweden has come under attack for violating the spirit of its ethical investment policies for investing in the shares of alcohol distilleries, weapons manufacturers, and mining and oil companies with poor environmental records and dubious ties to the regimes of some of the world’s worst human rights violators.

The April 4 issue of the Church of Sweden’s newspaper, Kyrkans Tidning, stated that an internal report found the Church held shares in firms such as General Electric—manufacturer of engines for the American B-1B bomber, and Chevron, which has a joint venture with the Burmese military junta.

“Our church should not have shares of companies involved in the business of death,” said the Rev. Helle Klein, a pastor in the Stockholm suburb of Nacka. However the Church’s treasurer Helen Ottosson Loven told Stockholm’s TV4 “the Swedish church recognizes the right of states to defend themselves,” and its investment guidelines permit holdings in armaments manufactures.

The Church’s investment manager, Anders Thorendal explained to Kyrkans Tidning the Church’s ethical investment guidelines permit it to invest in weapon’s manufactures that follow the EU’s code of conduct for arms exports, and who do not sell “inhuman weapons and anti-personal mines.”

“But it’s a problem that weapons can end up in wrong hands and the lack of transparency in the arms trade can contribute to corruption,” he said, saying the Church must carefully examine the policies of potential stock picks.

In recent years the Church had reversed its stance on investing in oil and mining companies, and now has holdings in Chevron, Rio Tinto, Anglo American PLC, Schlumberger, Mitsui and other multinationals. “Our starting point is that we have to invest in companies who act responsibly, such as companies who focus on environmentally compatible technologies and who minimizes the negative effects” on the environment, Thorendal said.

Shares in distilleries are not forbidden, Thorendal said, as the Church does not reject the moderate use of alcohol. However for the Church to own the shares of a distillery, it must “behave responsibly” and not market its products to young people.

In the case of Chevron, which uses a gas government owned pipeline in Burma built by slave labour, the Church seeks to “dialogue” with it to change its policies. “It’s more responsible to try to influence a company to change” than to sell its shares he said.

However, clergy in the Swedish church have objected to its pragmatic investment policies. “The church must have different guidelines for shareholding from a private company. How should we as a church fight for peace, if we simultaneously invest in the weapons industry?”, the Rev. Yvonne Eriksson told Der Standard.

Archbishop Anders Wejryd of Uppsala December 26, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church of Sweden.
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Swedish Church allows same-sex service: CEN 12.21.07 p 8 December 26, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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The Church of Sweden will permit same-sex couples to have church weddings, so long as they are not called marriages.

On Dec 12 the church’s governing board said it believed marriage and gay partnerships were “equivalent forms of unions.” The “word ‘marriage’ should however only be used for the relationship between a woman and a man,” they said.

The Church had been asked by the government to give its views on a proposed amendment to Sweden’s marriage laws, making its language “gender neutral.” The church said “yes to the proposal to join the legislation for marriages and partnerships into a single law,” so long as the term ‘marriage’ was reserved for male/female couples.

Uppsala Archbishop Anders Wejryd said “there were different opinions on the board, but there was a large majority who felt that the word marriage should only be used for man/woman relationships.”

Since 1995 Swedish law has permitted gay civil unions, but legislation enacted in 1987 defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Porvoo Primates in Dublin: CEN 10.19.07 p 8. October 16, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church in Wales, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Norway, Church of Sweden, Porvoo, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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Front row … left to right.

The Most Rev Idris Jones, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
The Most Rev Alan Harper, Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh
The Rt Rev Ragnar Persenius, Bishop of Uppsala
The Most Rev John Neill, Primate of Ireland and Archbishop of Dublin
The Rt Rev Martin Wharton, Bishop of Newcastle
The Most Rev Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
The Most Rev Jukka Paarma, Archbishop of Turku (Finland)

Second row:

The Most Rev Anders Wejryd, Archbishop of Uppsala
The Most Rev Janis Vanags, Archbishop of Riga
The Most Rev Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
The Rt Rev Mindaugas Sabutis, Bishop of Lithuania
The Most Rev Olav Skjevesland, Bishop of Agder and Telemark, (Norway)
The Most Rev Karl Sigurbjornsson, Bishop of Iceland
The Rt Rev Erik Norman Svendsen, Bishop of Copenhagen
The Most Revd Andres Poder, Archbishop of Estonia

The Rt Revd Carlos Lopez Lozano, Bishop of Spain

Porvoo meeting overshadowed by crisis over homosexuality: CEN 10.19.07 p 8. October 16, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church in Wales, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Norway, Church of Sweden, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Porvoo, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams met in Dublin last week with the leaders of the Porvoo Communion of Anglican and Nordic Lutheran churches for private talks.  However Dr. Williams’ Irish excursion did not bring him a change of scene as the vexing issue of gay clergy followed him to Dublin.

While a spokesman for the Church of Ireland told The Church of England Newspaper there would be no formal statement of the gathering of Anglican and Lutheran bishops, sources familiar with the deliberations, held every two years, tell CEN that issues of common national and ecclesial concern were raised at the gathering.

The Lutheran Churches of the Porvoo Group: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are sharply divided over the Swedish church’s decision to authorize rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.  The Swedish move has opened a split within the Lutheran World Federation akin the divide in Anglicanism, with the Lutheran Churches of the Global South threatening to break with their Northern counterparts over the issue of gay blessings and clergy.

The controversy intensified last week when on Oct 2 by a vote of six to five, the Church of Norway’s Bishops’ Conference voted to recommend to the church’s general synod that non-celibate homosexuals be permitted to serve as bishops, priests and deacons.

The moderator of the Norwegian Bishop's Conference, Bishop Olav Skjevesland of Agder and Telemark, who attended the Dublin meeting, voted to reject the licensing of gay clergy. 

The Church of Norway has three openly gay ministers serving in parochial ministry under the license of their bishops.  The issue will now go before the Church’s Nov 12-17 meeting of General Synod for resolution.

In 1995 and 1997 the Norwegian Synod stated that people in registered same-sex partnerships could hold lay positions in the Church, but could not be ordained as clergy.

On Sept 13 the Church’s National Council stated that it believed the consensus within the church over gay clergy had shifted in the past ten years.  It recommended that Synod revise the church’s canons, allowing bishops the local option of whether or not to ordain and license gay clergy.

The National Council encouraged dialogue saying that “many members of the church are touched directly by this issue and that there are many who feel that their place in the church is at stake.”

“Church leaders should work continuously on attitudes and forms of communication, so that fellowship in the church is felt to be open, clear and inclusive,” it said

Church leaders call for end to Burmese crackdown: CEN 10.12.07 p 9. October 11, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Myanmar, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden, Civil Rights, Roman Catholic Church.
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general-than-shwe.jpgChurch leaders in Burma have pleaded with the leader of the ruling military junta to end the violence against pro-democracy activists.

On Sep 28, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Yangon, Msgr. Charles Bo and the Anglican Primate and president of the Myanmar Council of Churches, Archbishop Samuel San Si Htay wrote to General Than Shwe (pictured) calling for an end to the crackdown of pro-democracy activists.

Burma’s churches were united in prayer for the peace and reconciliation of Burma and “especially praying for the people and the leaders of the country.”

All Christians “greatly desire and are contributing all their best for unity, peace, justice, and the overall development of the country,” the message said. “All the respective leaders of the Churches are also giving proper guidance to the faithful.”

The statement said that “Based on the teachings of the religions on love, truth, righteousness, forgiveness and reconciliation, and considering the current situation of the country, we would like to earnestly appeal to you” that there might be “stability, peace and non-violence, which are also the desire of the people.”

Speaking from his summer residence outside Rome, Pope Benedict XVI said he had been following events in Burma with “great trepidation.”

“I wish to express my spiritual closeness to that dear people in this moment of sorrowful difficulty that they are experiencing” he said on Sept 30 according to the ZENIT news agency, adding that he hoped a “peaceful solution can be found for the good of the country.”

Archbishop Anders Wejryd of the Church of Sweden asked the military regime to honour the safety of the Buddhist monks leading the protests as they “are part of a multi-religious tradition that upholds human life and dignity,” he said.

In a message to pro-democracy activists rallying in Trafalgar Square on Oct 6, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Britain “will not tolerate the abuses that have taken place.”

“I want all the other leaders of the world to work with us, to achieve the progress that all of you people want to achieve in Burma – an end to abuse of human rights,” the statement to the rally said.

“We want the violence to stop against the people of Burma, and we want to move forward with a process of democracy and reconciliation,” the prime minister said.

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