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ACC not bound by UK or EU equalities laws, legal advisor claims: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 27, 2010 p 1. August 28, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Consultative Council, Church of England Newspaper.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Concerns that the Anglican Consultative Council will be subject to UK and EU equality laws following its formation as a British limited company are misplaced, the London-based instrument of communion’s legal advisor, John Rees, reported on Aug 11.

“I share the unease of many religious people about the impact of this British [equality] legislation,” Canon Rees said in a statement released by the Anglican Communion News Service, “but it is not right to say that the restructuring of the ACC will have altered its position” under the legislation.

Critics of the transformation of the ACC from a British charity to a limited corporation have voiced concerns over the ratification process and the powers given to the ACC Standing Committee by the new constitution.  In a paper released last month, the conservative-leaning Anglican Communion Institute (ACI) offered a lengthy critique of the newly formed corporate entity, and noted that whether by accident or design, the ACC was now subjecting itself to UK and EU equality laws on homosexuality.  Liberal groups have been equally troubled by the ACC’s statement that it will not be bound by British and EU equality laws.

In response to the criticisms Canon Rees stated “the Church of England has played a major part, with other churches in the UK, in achieving and preserving certain exclusions for itself and other religious bodies in relation to this legislation as it has developed over the last thirty years.”

He stated the recent incorporation would not change the application of the law as it would be binding upon both a corporation and a charity.  However, Canon Rees added that the ACC will now “enjoy the benefit of exclusions from this legislation to the same extent as any other religious organisation in the UK.

The director of Changing Attitude, the Rev. Colin Coward, told CEN the exemptions granted to religious bodies under UK Equality Legislation are “very limited in extent and I doubt that they would affect the ACC in any way.”

He added that he was troubled by the claims made by the ACC, noting that “many members of the Church of England join Changing Attitude in believing there is no benefit to be enjoyed from these very limited exemptions.”

Mr. Coward said these claims “allow the church to continue with the dishonest pretence that it excludes from ordained ministry partnered lesbian and gay people. The unease of many religious people about the impact of this British legislation relates to freedom given to churches to maintain prejudiced and judgmental attitudes to lesbian and gay people.”

The ACI said it shared Canon Rees’ “unease” over the “impact of British equalities legislation on religious bodies, especially the ACC,” but added his assurances were not convincing as “this issue will not be settled without further judicial decisions.”

“We are neither as sanguine about the future scope of these exemptions nor as resigned to their applicability to the ACC as is Canon Rees,” it said.

The minutes to the December meeting of the ACC Standing Committee suggests it does not have a firm grasp on the equalities laws either.  Agenda item 17 of the meeting minutes stated the Archbishop of Canterbury told the meeting the Church of England had “issued guidelines on clergy in civil partnership. He wondered if the moratoria included those clergy involved in civil partnership. Some were in celibate same sex partnerships,” the minutes reported.

The members of the Standing Committee responded that the “moratoria referred to consecration of bishops and authorisation of formal blessing of same sex unions. The meaning of civil partnership was unclear as it could include siblings or friends simply living in the one house,” the minutes said.  However, Section 3.1(d) of the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 prohibits siblings from entering into a civil partnership.

The new ACC Constitution does concede that members of the Standing Committee may be in civil partnerships.  In its definitions of “connected person” section 6.5.2 of the new constitution states that a “spouse or civil partner” of a member of the Standing Committee is prohibited from engaging in business with the new entity.

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ACC faces questions about the legality of its new constitution: The Church of England Newspaper, August 6, 2010 p 6. August 6, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Consultative Council, Church of England Newspaper.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Consultative Council failed to follow its rules in soliciting approval for its new constitution, critics of the London-based ‘instrument of communion’ tell The Church of England Newspaper.

Some provinces were never asked to approve the ACC’s new constitution, while others were asked to approve “in principle” a draft version that differed from the final document lodged with the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales on July 10, 2010, while a third group reported that the draft it approved was substantially similar to the one adopted.

The resulting uncertainty has likely resulted in two Anglican Consultative Councils under law: a limited corporation created under English law on July 12, 2010, and an English charitable trust registered in 1978.

The ACNS reported that ACC legal adviser John Rees told the Standing Committee at its London meeting on July 24 the new Articles of Association had been drawn up between 2002 and 2005, before submission to the Provinces between 2005 and 2009.  “In all essentials the content of the new Constitution is as circulated to the provinces between 2005 and 2009” ACC spokesman Jan Butter said.

However, Global South leaders tell CEN the claim of inconsequential revisions advanced by the ACC was misleading.  Citing the Anglican Communion Institute’s analysis, they note the new constitution engages in a power grab that makes the delegates subordinate to the Standing Committee, while also encroaching upon the authority and prerogatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates Meeting.  It is also unclear if all of the provinces were consulted about the changes introduced by the new constitution, including the subordination of the ACC to the European Union’s equality laws.

The Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops Standing Committee endorsed the revised articles of association in early 2009, a spokesman for the Church of England said, adding that “we do not consider there to be any significant differences between the drafts considered by the Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops Standing Committee in 2009, and the articles adopted this year.”

A spokesman for the Church of Uganda told CEN that in 2008 a letter asking for comments on the draft bylaws was sent to Archbishop Henry Orombi, which stated that unless an answer was received, this would be interpreted as the church’s consent for the revisions, which were described as inconsequential changes to facilitate the ACC’s metamorphosis into a limited liability corporation.

However, “we were never sent an actual copy of the new by-laws to review,” the Church of Uganda spokesman said.

In 1969 the special session of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention “acceded and subscribed to the Proposed Constitution of the said Anglican Consultative Council,” but spokesman Neva Rae Fox stated “the General Convention did not act on the revisions to the ACC constitution proposed by ACC-13.”

On July 27, the Primate of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina stated he had “no recollection of this province having been consulted on these changes.”

Mr. Butter told CEN that ACC chairman Bishop John Patterson reported the approval of the new constitution “to members in the first session” of ACC-14.  However, he said he did not believe the announcement of the approval “was minuted” in the proceedings of ACC-14, while audio recordings of the May 2 session do not record this announcement.

Formed in 1969 in response to 1968 Lambeth Conference Resolution 69, the ACC began as a voluntary association to advance the interests of the churches of the Anglican Communion.  In 1973 ACC-2 approved the creation of a trust under British law to hold title to property in England on behalf of the ACC’s members. Further refinements were taken at ACC-11, which adopted resolution 11.6 calling for the formation of a limited legal company to manage the ACC’s assets while keeping the structure “so far as possible in all other respects in accordance with the existing constitutional arrangements.”

In 2005, ACC-13 Resolution 3 approved the draft articles reconstituting “the work of the Council within the framework of a limited liability company,” authorized the Standing Committee to make final amendments to the proposed constitution, and asked that the Standing Committee establish “such a body with charitable status in accordance with the such approved draft Memorandum and Articles as amended” following consultation with the Primates and legal counsel.

In response to questions about the status of the new constitution, in January 2010, ACC Secretary General Kenneth Kearon told the website Episcopal Café the change to its constitution “required approval in principle from a majority of the provinces, and the Standing Committee just before ACC 14 in Jamaica in 2009 noted that the requisite number of approvals had been received.”

The new articles were “available at the ACC meeting in Jamaica in 2009 and were discussed at the [December] Standing Committee meeting,” Canon Kearon that month told Pittsburgh blogger Dr. Lionel Deimel, adding that “these were sent to the Charity Commissioners for final approval immediately after ACC in 2009, but we have not yet received a response.

Last month Canon Kearon further clarified the chronology stating the “text was finalised at the Standing Committee meeting” held before the start of ACC-14.  The “approval by the Charity Commissioners was received just before the [July 2010] Standing Committee meeting, at which point it became operative.”

Approval by the Standing Committee alone was insufficient to ratify a new constitution, canon lawyers tell CEN, as Article 8 of the former bylaws limited the Standing Committee’s power.  It could not act on behalf of the full council in matters “by this Constitution required to be done specifically by the Council” including the adoption of new bylaws, they argue.

The final text of the constitution approved by the Standing Committee before the start of ACC-14 had to be “submitted by the Council to the constitutional bodies” or Provinces for ratification, under Article 10 of the former bylaws.

An “association must proceed by its rules,” former Australian ACC member Robert Tong told CEN.  It was part of pattern of “contempt” for the ACC constitution by the Standing Committee illustrated by its denial of Ugandan delegate the Rev. Phil Ashey a seat at ACC-14, and the Janet Trisk affair, where it appointed the South African clergy delegate in December, but conceded in July its actions were unlawful under the old rules, but could be perfected under the new.  This was “a con by the ACO” that showed “constitution is held in contempt,” Mr. Tong, a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference and the Diocese of Sydney deputy-chancellor said.

The ACC stated that details on which provinces had endorsed the draft constitution would not be quickly forthcoming as the relevant staffer who could provide this information was on vacation.

Archbishop announces Covenant working group: CEN 6.05.09 p 5 June 6, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Covenant, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced the composition of a Working Group to review section 4 of the Ridley Draft of the Anglican Covenant. On May 28, Dr. Rowan Williams named the Archbishop of Dublin, the Archbishop of Singapore, the Bishop of St. Asaph and Dr. Eileen Scully of the Anglican Church of Canada to the team.

However, the selection of two liberals and two conservatives for the working group, and with only two days allotted for review of the material make it likely that few changes will be made to the disciplinary sections of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

The mandate for the working group arose from the failed debate on the Anglican Covenant at ACC-14 in Kingston. Disquiet with the management of ACC-14 has also been voiced by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, who contrasted the transparent and thorough deliberative processes of her church’s General Convention, with the opaque and confused workings of the ACC.

Birthed in the confusion of the May 8 debate on the Anglican Covenant, ACC-14 asked that a “small working group” be appointed by Dr. Williams to “consider and consult with the provinces” on Section 4 of the Ridley draft “and its possible revision,” and report its findings to the members of the Primates and ACC joint standing committee for action.

Copies of the Ridley Draft have been circulated amongst the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion seeking comments on section 4. Dr. Williams has requested that these responses be submitted by Nov 13 for the working group to review on Nov 20-21 in London. Their recommendations will then be presented to the Dec 15-18 meeting of the joint standing committee.

In a pastoral letter released on May 26, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori stated the ACC’s deliberative structure was far from ideal or efficient.

Upon arrival in Kingston the ACC delegates were “inundated with long and complex papers on a great variety of subjects” and in contrast to the Episcopal Church’s custom of lengthy debate and legislative hearings, delegates to the ACC were then “expected to make decisions after brief opportunities for small-group discussion.”

The “details of decision-making would surprise most Episcopalians,” she said, as there was “relatively little opportunity for deliberation or alteration” of resolutions, even though the pace of work was “leisurely, with 40 hours of formal work spread over 11 working days.”

Commonly observed rules of parliamentary procedure were not observed, she noted, as the chairman of the meeting exercised “a great deal of discretion in referring or declining to entertain resolutions; elections are not straightforward ballots for a single individual; discussion of any proposed amendment requires the support of 10 members; the president (the Archbishop of Canterbury) steps in fairly frequently to ‘steer’” the sessions.

Speaking to the press at the close of the Kingston meeting, the ACC’s legal advisor Canon John Rees explained that the ACC was not bound by rules of parliamentary procedure. The ACC had moved away from a “western parliamentary way of doing our business,” and now relied upon its chairman to discern “the general assent emerging” from its meetings, Canon Rees said.

Canterbury won’t block or bless new province: CEN 12.12.08 p 5. December 11, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, GAFCON.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury will not block the creation of a third Anglican province in North America, sources familiar with Dr. Rowan Williams’ Dec 5 meeting with five traditionalist archbishops, tell The Church of England Newspaper.

However, the archbishop will not give it his endorsement either, arguing his office does not have the legal authority to make, or un-make, Anglicans.

On Dec 5, five members of the Gafcon primates council: Archbishops Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, and Henry Orombi of Uganda met with Dr. Williams in Canterbury for approximately five hours to discuss the current state of affairs within the Communion.

In a half day meeting interspersed with prayer and lunch the archbishops had a “full and frank” discussion of the issues, sources familiar with the proceedings said. “There was no indaba-ding on Friday,” one senior Gafcon bishop told CEN, referring to the ‘Indaba’ process of directed listening used at the 2008 Lambeth Conference. The Gafcon bishop said the conversation was a direct and forthright discussion of all of the presenting issues.

According to several sources familiar with the proceedings, the archbishops discussed the boycott of Lambeth 2008 by 214 bishops, the on-going ramifications of the election of Gene Robinson, and the disquiet many Global South leaders felt with the innovations of doctrine and discipline advocated by the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada. While the idea of an Anglican Covenant was sound in theory, fears that the elastic interpretation given to language and law by the American Church would render the document meaningless, some conservatives said.

Dr. Williams sounded several familiar themes in his remarks, the sources said, stressing the need for on-going dialogue amongst the disparate parties. He shared his disquiet over ecclesiastical border crossings, saying that it implied that the trespassing bishops were stating that Christ was absent from the ecclesiastical structures who were their unwilling hosts.

The third province movement and the Wheaton constitution was presented to Dr. Williams as well—and was offered as a resolution to the archbishop’s concerns over border crossings. However, the gafcon primates did not ask Dr. Williams for his formal blessings of the project.

Legal advice given to the Archbishop of Canterbury held that his office had no role in the creation of provinces independent of the primates meeting and Anglican Consultative Council, sources told CEN.

However, Dr. Williams was able to come away with an undertaking by the primates who boycotted Lambeth 2008, that they would attend the Jan 31 to Feb 6 primates meeting in Alexandria.

Following their meeting, the Gafcon archbishops released a statement affirming their support for the third province. “The steps taken to form the new Province are a necessary initiative,” the primates said, as a “new Province will draw together in unity many of those who wish to remain faithful to the teaching of God’s word, and also create the highest level of fellowship possible with the wider Anglican Communion.”

By freeing the church from its seemingly intractable legal wrangling, a new province “releases the energy of many Anglican Christians to be involved in mission, free from the difficulties of remaining in fellowship with those who have so clearly disregarded the word of God,” they said.

The genesis of the Canterbury meeting came in October, when the Gafcon primates requested a consultation with Dr. Williams, and a date was scheduled to take place shortly after the founding convocation of the Anglican Church in North America constitution convention in Wheaton, Illinois on Dec 3. Last month Archbishop Nzimbi told CEN the purpose of the meeting was to present to Dr. Williams the ACNA constitution and to discuss the third province movement in North America.

On Dec 4, the Lambeth Press office released an unsigned press note stating that it was unofficially unaware of any request for a third province in North America, but also said that it believed that new provinces must follow a formal process of incardination to join the Anglican Communion.

“There are clear guidelines set out in the Anglican Consultative Council Reports, notably ACC 10 in 1996 (resolution 12), detailing the steps necessary for the amendments of existing provincial constitutions and the creation of new provinces. Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete. In relation to the recent announcement from the meeting of the Common Cause Partnership in Chicago, no such process has begun,” the statement said.

However, it is unclear to what regulations Lambeth Palace was referring as under the constitution of the ACC there is no “necessary” process for the creation of provinces. In 1996 ACC legal advisor John Rees said the ACC10 guidelines were not intended to be a legal requirement but a flexible aid in provincial formation.

Canon Rees noted that in many cases provincial formation had taken place without input from the ACC. “In a number of instances in recent years, although the ACC has been ready and willing to offer advice and assistance to Provinces in process of formation, it has not in fact been consulted until the process has become so far advanced that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to incorporate any of its suggestions into the proposed constitutional documents.”

In 1996 the Anglican Communion News Service said the guidelines would “ensure new Provinces the opportunity to benefit from the advice of the ACC and the experience of other Provinces” but were not necessary steps for creating new provinces.

Canon Law Reader Released: CEN 8.01.08 p 6. August 11, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
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A compendium of canon law principles compiled by the registrar of the Province of Canterbury, Canon John Rees and seven other lawyers has been distributed to bishops attending the 14th Lambeth Conference.

Entitled “The Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion,” the 111 page booklet seeks to “stimulate reflection on what it is to be a Communion of ordered churches seeking to live out the Anglican tradition in a world of intensely rapid communication,” Canon Rees said.

Commissioned by the primates six years ago as a project of the Anglican Communion Legal Advisors Network, the book claims to enunciate Anglicanism’s common legal principles. However the booklet appears to have entered the minefield of inter-Anglican politics by assuming that all Anglicans propound a common understanding of fellowship—and will likely be resisted by the liberal and Gafcon wings of the Communion.

Canon Rees noted the booklet was not “any sort of quick fix,” it was “not the Covenant,”” and was not “a code of canon law,” but might serve as a “”fifth instrument of unity” for the Anglican Communion.

These “are principles which we have deduced” Canon Rees said. The book was not “prescriptive” and could not be used in court as a guide to controlling legal principles. “It’s not the last word.”

Divided into eight sections on: Church Order, the Anglican Communion, Ecclesiastical Government, Ministry, Doctrine and Liturgy, Ecclesiastical Rites, Church Property and Ecumenical Relations—the Anglo-Catholic presuppositions of the book will likely be met with resistance in some quarters.

Under the heading of church property, Principle 80 states that property is held in trust by local church leaders as stewards for the national church—a point currently under litigation in the United States. David Booth Beers, chancellor to US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the United States is credited as one of the authors of the code.

Principle 13 attacks the interventions of the Gafcon primates by stating that “no church, or any authority of person within it, shall intervene in the internal affairs of another church without the consent of that other church given in such a manner as may be prescribed by its own law,”

The right of the churches to pursue liturgical and doctrinal experiments is enshrined in Principle 12,, which states that “each autonomous province has the greatest possible liberty to order its life and affairs, appropriate to its people in their geographical, cultural and historical context, compatible with its belonging to and interdependence with the church universal.”

During the press conference following the booklet’s launch, Canon Rees was questioned as to whether Principle 52 might be considered offensive to those bishops and churches that have broken fellowship with the Episcopal Church, or who had not attended the Lambeth Conference, or to the three primates and other bishops who declined to receive the sacraments during the opening Conference eucharist?.

Principle 52 states that “ministers are called to work together and remain in fellowship so that visible communion is maintained even if theological or other disagreements occur.”

Canon Rees said fellowship did not mean Eucharistic fellowship, but conceded the booklet did not define the term. Asked what this meant, he responded it was “obvious,” but declined to elaborate.

The Registrar of the Province of Canterbury July 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Anglican Consultative Council, Lambeth 2008.
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John Rees, Registrar of the Province of Canterbury and legal adviser to the Anglican Consultative Council.

Ghana archbishop to lead Church of the Province of West Africa: The Church of England Newspaper, March 28, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa.
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The Archbishop of Ghana, the Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo, Bishop of Kumasi, has succeeded to the post of Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA) following the 21 Jan 2014 death of the Most. Rev. Tilewa Johnson, Bishop of the Gambia and Archbishop and Primate of West Africa. In a statement released last month the CPWA stated that under the terms of its constitution Dr. Sarfo “automatically” became the 10th “metropolitan archbishop of the CPWA”.  Formed in 1951 from the Anglican dioceses along the West African coast, in 2012 the CPWA divided into two internal provinces, Ghana and West Africa, in preparation for the secession of Ghana to form its own freestanding church. In 1979 the sixteen dioceses of Nigeria withdrew from the province to form the Church of Nigeria, now the Communion’s largest province in terms of active members.

Missing Catholic voices in Belgium’s euthanasia debate: Get Religion, November 5, 2013 November 5, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Abortion/Euthanasia/Biotechnology, Get Religion, Press criticism.
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Let me commend to you an excellent article on a horrible subject.

The Associated Press story “Belgium considering unprecedented law to grant euthanasia for children, dementia patients” reports on moves by the ruling Socialist Party to permit doctors to euthanize children as well as adults with dementia. This report — long at 1000 words from a wire service — offers a balanced account on the move to extend the right to die to children.

It is thorough, balanced, provides context and expert analysis to allow a reader to make up his own mind. Yet, are some voices missing? The article opens with a question:

Should children have the right to ask for their own deaths?

It lays out the issue:

In Belgium, where euthanasia is now legal for people over the age of 18, the government is considering extending it to children — something that no other country has done. The same bill would offer the right to die to adults with early dementia.

Advocates argue that euthanasia for children, with the consent of their parents, is necessary to give families an option in a desperately painful situation. But opponents have questioned whether children can reasonably decide to end their own lives. …

Provides context:

Belgium is already a euthanasia pioneer; it legalized the practice for adults in 2002. In the last decade, the number of reported cases per year has risen from 235 deaths in 2003 to 1,432 in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. Doctors typically give patients a powerful sedative before injecting another drug to stop their heart. …

And offers opinion from a Catholic archbishop and medical ethicists.

“It is strange that minors are considered legally incompetent in key areas, such as getting married, but might (be able) to decide to die,” Catholic Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard testified. Charles Foster, who teaches medical law and ethics at Oxford University, believes children couldn’t possibly have the capacity to make an informed decision about euthanasia since even adults struggle with the concept.

“It often happens that when people get into the circumstances they had so feared earlier, they manage to cling on all the more,” he said. “Children, like everyone else, may not be able to anticipate how much they will value their lives if they were not killed.”

There are others, though, who argue that because Belgium has already approved euthanasia for adults, it is unjust to deny it to children. “The principle of euthanasia for children sounds shocking at first, but it’s motivated by compassion and protection,” said John Harris, a professor of bioethics at the University of Manchester. “It’s unfair to provide euthanasia differentially to some citizens and not to others (children) if the need is equal.” …

The AP’s sentiments are with those opposed to euthanizing children — closing with comments by an anti-euthanasia voice that lands a solid hit on those who call for death-choice. But it nevertheless offers both sides to the story and refrains from demonizing those with whom it disagrees. For a template on how to write a story about a contested moral issue, I would offer this piece.

Yet an American reader might question the use of the expert quotes. The commentary begins with a soft quote from the Catholic archbishop and then moves into a more rigorous back and forth on the topic between medical ethicists and physicians. Why do we not hear moral arguments from religious leaders? Where are the Catholic voices? (This is Belgium. after all.)

Selecting experts to respond to an issue is one way of shading a story — setting a dope against an expert, or a zealot against a rational voice is one way a newspaper can push the story in the direction it fancies. Should we then say the AP is unconcerned with the religious element to this story? Getting the soundbite out of the way from the archbishop before bringing in the important voices? Or, was there no faith voice comparable in stature to the ethicists and physicians available to speak?

There may be some of that present, but my sense is that the use of ethicists to discuss the issue rather than moral theologians reflects the state of the debate in a post-Christian society like Belgium. European anti-clericalism, the growing power of secularism coupled with the abuse scandals has driven the Catholic Church out of the public square in some parts of Europe.

A well-rounded Anglo-American or even French newspaper account of the debate on this issue would include faith voices. Not so in Belgium, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries or Germany where faith voices are heard less and less in the public square.The intellectual and political culture of those countries holds to the privatization of religion that does not welcome its insights into debates on public morality.

By including faith voices in moral debates in the Anglo-American press, are we privileging religion? Or are we giving it is fair place in the debate? Is the expected faith voice a political or intellectual choice? By that I mean do we hear from the Catholic churchman, Rabbi, or Protestant theologian because of the position accorded them by society — or because of the strength of their arguments?

As a journalistic issue, should we expect to hear religious voices opine on moral topics in irreligious societies?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. First published at Get Religion.

Bishops back ‘Save England’s Forests” campaign: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 28, 2011 p 5. February 2, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Environment.
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The Rt. Rev. Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Leaders of the Church of England have given their support to the “Save England’s Forests” campaign, endorsing an open letter printed in The Sunday Telegraph calling for the government to halt the sale of state owned woodlands.

In October, the coalition announced plans to sell of 15 per cent of the 620,000 acres owned by the Forestry Commission in England.  The sale of timber and land in the New Forest, the Forest of Dean and Sherwood Forest, could generate upwards of £100 million in revenue.

However, on Jan 23 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, actress Dame Judi Dench, Lord Rees the astronomer royal, pop singer Annie Lennox, explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and approximately 100 public figures called the sale “unconscionable” and “ill-conceived”.

“We, who love and use the English forests, believe that such a sale would be misjudged and shortsighted,” the letter said.

“It is our national heritage,” they stated, adding that it was “unconscionable that future generations will not be able to enjoy the guarantee of a public forest estate.  They called upon the government to “suspend any significant sales, until the public has been fully consulted.”

The president of Save England’s Forests, Rachel Johnson stated the “great and the good” who signed the letter “stand as the mouthpiece of the nation. Our message, in no uncertain terms, is that the Government cannot rush through legislation that will change our English countryside forever.”

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Perham, one of the signatories of The Sunday Telegraph letter, said the proposal to sell of parts of the Forest of Dean, which lies within his diocese “saddens me greatly.”

He noted the proposed law would alter the character of the Forest communities and make it “vulnerable to any plans for sale or development.”

“I am concerned that this Bill will retract the acknowledgement of the unique nature of the Forest of Dean, established in the early 1980s,” he said.

In 1981 Parliament limited the powers of the Forestry Commission to sell land in the Forest of Dean, the bishop said.  “The current Public Bodies Bill proposes to remove this exemption, undermining the importance of special situation of this area of Gloucestershire,” he said.

The Bishop of Guilford would present an amendment to the Public Bodies Bill to the House of Lords on Jan 25, Bishop Perham said, that would preserve the historic character of the Forest of Dean.

US Churches back Obama’s easing of Cuba blockade: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 20 2011. January 22, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Cuba, Southeast Florida.
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The Rt. Rev. Leo Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in the United States have welcomed the Obama administration’s decision to modify the terms of America’s blockade of Cuba.

On Jan 14, President Barack Obama issued an executive order permitting religious, cultural and educational groups to sponsor travel to Cuba and to “support civil society.”

US airports will be allowed to schedule flights to Cuba and Americans will also be permitted to send up to $500 every three months to non-family members in Cuba “to help expand the economic independence of the Cuban people and to support a more vibrant Cuban civil society.”

The Eisenhower Administration instituted a partial financial embargo in October 1960 after the Castro regime nationalized the American properties and on Feb 7, 1962 President John F. Kennedy ordered a total economic and travel embargo.  The Anglican Communion has opposed the blockade on humanitarian grounds and the bishops of  1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences called for the “cessation of the embargo of the USA against Cuba.”

On Sep 2, 2010, President Obama extended the embargo for a further year, finding that the embargo “is in the national interest of the United States.”

However, the president believes his new rules “combined with the continuation of the embargo, are important steps in reaching the widely shared goal of a Cuba that respects the basic rights of all its citizens,” the White House said.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Albany, Msgr. Howard Hubbard, released a statement on behalf of the US Catholic Bishops Conference welcoming the revisions.

“These needed new policies are modest but important steps toward advancing our hopes for a better relationship between our people and the people of Cuba, a relationship which holds great promise of fostering positive and real change in Cuba,” the bishop said.

Cuban-American lawmakers voiced their disappointment with the president’s decision.

Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey called it a “gift to the Castro brothers” that “will provide the regime with the additional resources it needs to sustain its failing economy, while ordinary Cubans continue to struggle under the weight of more than 50 years of economic and political oppression.”

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida added that what should change were the “Cuban regime’s repressive policies towards the independent press and labor unions, its imprisonment of political prisoners and constant harassment of citizens with dissenting views, and its refusal to allow free multi-party elections.”

However the Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida said it was high time for a change in policy.

“I don’t believe in telepathy,” Bishop Frade explained.

“I say to those that support keeping the old harsh measures that after 50 years of trying their policy of isolation it is about time for us to try something different. This new policy of the Obama administration helps to enhance the independence and frees the common people from government control. We need to bolster the civic society and I believe that churches are the best vehicle to achieve this.”

He added that past US policies were “so controlling and obtrusive” that it discouraged US church aid to Cuba.  “Only by direct contact and not by telepathy we are able to make the changes for the better and really encourage democratic changes,” Bishop Frade said.

Legal loss for breakaway bishop in Zimbabwe: The Church of England Newspaper, Dec 24, 2010 p 6. December 25, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, Zimbabwe.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Manicaland reports the Mutare High Court has banned former Bishop Elson Jakazi from selling diocesan property while the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe decides on his appeal.

On May 21, Bishop Jakazi, an ally of Dr. Nolbert Kunonga of Harare, lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court asking it overturn the ruling of Judge Chinembiri Bhunu that he had forfeited his rights to control diocesan property when he quit the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).

Bishop Jakazi on Sept 23, 2007 announced he was pulling his diocese out of the CPCA to join Dr. Nolbert Kunonga’s “Anglican Church of Zimbabwe.”

Unlike Dr. Kunonga, Bishop Jakazi tendered his resignation as Bishop of Manicaland when he quit the CPCA.  When the CPCA took Bishop Jakazi to court to regain control of the property, Judge Bhunu said the decision to resign ended Bishop Jakazi’s control over diocesan property.  In Harare, Dr. Kunonga did not resign when he quit the CPCA and has maintained that he is the sole and rightful bishop of Harare.

Bishop Jakazi, along with Dr. Kunonga and Bishop V. Gene Robinson, were the three sitting bishops not invited to Lambeth 2008 by Dr. Rowan Williams.

Following the May court ruling, Bishop Jakazi was permitted to remain in possession of the property pending a review of the decision by the supreme court and following the posting of a bond.

However, the new Bishop of Manicaland, Dr. Julius Makoni, asked Judge Bhunu this month to issue a restraining order, forbidding Bishop Jakazi from selling diocesan property.  The breakaway bishop had advertised an auction of diocesan property at St. John’s Cathedral in Mutare, this week.

In an email from Mutare, Dr. Makoni reported “we won the case. Jakazi was instructed to stop selling church assets.”

Zimbabwe watchers tell CEN the court’s ruling in favour of Dr. Makoni is a hopeful sign for the country.  Bishop Jakazi, along with Dr. Kunonga, are fervent supports of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party, and the court’s rebuke of the bishop reestablishes the “rule of law” in Zimbabwe, sources in country note.

Women bishops by 2014, Second Church Estates Commissioner predicts: The Church of England Newspaper, August 6, 2010 p 5. August 7, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Women Priests.
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Anthony Baldry MP

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The first woman bishop of the Church of England could be appointed by 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner told Parliament on July 27.

Speaking in response to a question from the member for Kingston upon Hull North, Diana Johnson (Lab), as to his “guess” when the Church of England might first see women bishops, the Second Church Estates Commissioner Mr. Anthony Baldry stated the legislation completed its Report stage at the meeting of General Synod at York.

“It now has to go to all the 44 dioceses of the Church of England. If a majority of them agree, it will go back to General Synod, probably in 2012. If two thirds of each of the General Synod’s houses agree to it, I would then expect it to come here to the Ecclesiastical Committee and this House in 2013, and if this House agrees, we could see the appointment of the first woman bishop in 2014,” Mr. Baldry said.

The member for The Wrekin, Mr. Mark Pritchard (Cons.), rose and asked Mr. Baldry whether he agreed that “the first appointment of a female bishop, which will undoubtedly happen soon, must be on merit rather than political correctness?”

Mr. Baldry replied that he was “sure that all appointments in the Church of England, including that of the Second Church Estates Commissioner, are made on merit,” sparking laughter from some members of the House.



California Episcopal Church cases back before State Supreme Court: The Church of England Newspaper, June 18, 2010 p 6. June 25, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Los Angeles, Property Litigation.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The California Supreme Court has agreed to review a March 26 decision by the state’s Fourth Appellate Court of Appeals that held the congregation of St James in Newport Beach was not entitled to present a defence to the Diocese of Los Angeles’ allegations that it was the rightful owner of the sea-side parish properties.

The unanimous June 9 decision by the Supreme Court to examine the lower’ court ruling will likely add several more years and millions of dollars in the six-year-old battle between the breakaway congregation and the diocese.

Although the California Supreme Court agrees to hear only five per cent of the petitions submitted for its review, the decision to hear the Episcopal Church case was not unexpected, as the dissenting judge, the Hon Richard Fybel stated that his two appellate colleagues’ decision in favour of the diocese was “unprecedented and without any basis in law.”

The decision by the court to impose a sentence before a trial was conducted was “revolutionary,” he said, adding that “I can write with certainty that this is the only case in the history of California where entry of judgment has been ordered upon overruling” a defendant’s challenge to the legal sufficiency of a plaintiff’s pleading.

Judge Fybel stated the ruling was so outrageous that it “can best be resolved by a grant of review” by the state’s highest court. The majority decision noted “we have no doubt, of course, that if we are incorrect in relying on the plain language of the Supreme Court’s opinion in granting the general church’s petition for writ of mandate, the high court will correct our error.”

The chancellor for the Los Angeles diocese, John Shiner told the Episcopal News Service the Supreme Court’s decision was merely a “procedural issue.”

“We believe that the decision was clear and the California Supreme Court concluded that the property should be returned to us. We asked the trial court to enter judgment in our favour. The other side disagrees and believes they should be able to pursue the matter further.

“We went to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal agreed with us that a judgment should be entered now. So they went to the Supreme Court, the higher court and asked them to review whether or not the judgment should be entered at this point,” Mr Shiner said.

St James’s lead attorney, Eric Sohlgren, said his client was “extremely pleased that the California Supreme Court has heard our plea to restore justice and fairness to this case.”

In a statement sent to The Church of England Newspaper, Mr Sohlgren said “St James will now have an opportunity to argue on behalf of all Californians that people should not be deprived of their property without getting the opportunity to defend their case in a court of law. These principles go to the very heart of what Americans hold dear under our Constitution.”

Bishop Jefferts Schori rebuffs Dr. Williams’ call for restraint: The Church of England Newspaper, June 18, 2010 p 1. June 18, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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Dr Williams and Bishop Jefferts Schori in New Orleans

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has offered a scriptural defence for her church’s embrace of gay bishops and blessings.  Writing in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter, on June 2 Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori asked the Anglican Communion to engage in dialogue with the leaders of the Episcopal Church as “we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.”

The June 2 public letter follows upon private communications between Bishop Jefferts Schori and Dr. Rowan Williams about her continuing role in the councils of the Anglican Communion.

The press officer to the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council has confirmed to The Church of England Newspaper that Canon Kenneth Kearon hand delivered a letter from Dr. Williams to Bishop Jefferts Schori at the April 17 consecration ceremony of Bishop Ian Douglas of Connecticut.

The chancellor to the Presiding Bishop, David Booth Beers, told bishops attending the May 24 to 28 Living Our Vows bishops’ training programme at the Lake Logan Episcopal Center in North Carolina that in this letter Dr. Williams had asked the Presiding Bishop to consider absenting herself from meetings of the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee and the Primates Meeting in light of the Episcopal Church’s violation of the moratoria on gay bishops and blessings, those present tell CEN.

Speaking to a group of bishops during an informal after dinner session, Mr. Beers stated the Presiding Bishop had rejected the Archbishop of Canterbury’s suggestion, observing that he had no authority to remove her from the Primates Standing Committee as she had been elected by the North and South American primates.  She also objected to Dr. Williams’ claim to have the authority to ban her from the councils of the church.

One of the bishops at the evening encounter told CEN that speculation on the future structures of the Communion was also shared by Mr. Beers with the bishops.  The Archbishop of Canterbury’s press office did not respond to requests for clarification on Mr. Beers’ comments, while a spokesman for the Presiding Bishop declined to comment on “speculation and conjecture.”

The Presiding Bishop’s press officer Neva Rae Fox stated she was “not confirming the existence of a letter,” but “if there was a letter, then it was a private correspondence and I will not address anything that is private, because that is what it is – private.”

In her public response to the archbishop’s Pentecost letter, Bishop Jefferts Schori said Dr. Williams’ understanding of Acts 2 and Pentecost was insufficient.  “Pentecost is most fundamentally a continuing gift of the Spirit, rather than a limitation or quenching of that Spirit.”

“The recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the struggles within the Anglican Communion seems to equate Pentecost with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news. The crowd reported, ‘in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power’ (Acts 2:11),” she said.

Bishop Jefferts Schori stated “the Spirit does seem to be saying to many within the Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones.”

She conceded that this “growing awareness does not deny the reality that many Anglicans and not a few Episcopalians still fervently hold traditional views about human sexuality. This Episcopal Church is a broad and inclusive enough tent to hold that variety.”

For the past “50 years” the Episcopal Church has been “listening to and for the Spirit” to guide it on issues of human sexuality.  Not all were agreed on what the Spirit was saying, but the “willingness to live in tension is a hallmark of Anglicanism” she said and “diversity in community” was a hallmark of the Anglican ethos.

American Anglicanism “recognizes that the Spirit may be speaking to all of us, in ways that do not at present seem to cohere or agree. It also recognizes what Jesus says about the Spirit to his followers, ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come’ (John 16:12-13).”

Dr. Williams’ efforts to dictate uniformity of belief was un-Anglican, Bishop Jefferts Schori said.  “We live in great concern that colonial attitudes continue, particularly in attempts to impose a single understanding across widely varying contexts and cultures.”

She also noted the “troubling push toward centralized authority” by Dr. Williams, adding that the Church of England and the Episcopal Church had both arisen from “concerns over self-determination in the face of colonial control.”

The presiding bishop objected to the sanctions proposed by Dr. Williams and accused him of a “failure of nerve” and “double-mindedness” by holding private opinions at variance with his public stance.  She also gave an oblique criticism to the Church of England’s tolerance of unofficial gay blessings saying “we are further distressed that such sanctions do not, apparently, apply to those parts of the Communion that continue to hold one view in public and exhibit other behaviors in private. Why is there no sanction on those who continue with a double standard?”

The Episcopal Church believed that “with sufficient humility that we can affirm the image of God in the person who disagrees with us. We believe that the Body of Christ is only found when such diversity is welcomed with abundant and radical hospitality,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said.

Conservatives in the United States have welcomed the presiding bishop’s robust defence of her views, but are un-persuaded by her arguments. In a 3100-word response, Prof. Christopher Seitz of the Anglican Communion Institute stated Bishop Jeffert Schori’s “account of the Spirit as bringing a truth without prior testimony or dominical warrant, which at the same time gives rise to diversity as a pentecostal gift, diverges in extreme ways from the Gospel of John and the Acts of the Apostles.”

“It is a teaching lacking continuity and agreement with the witness of Christians in our present day, in the worldwide body, and because without biblical warrant, it is also nowhere attested in the history of the church’s teaching,” he said, adding that this “teaching comes from a conviction already held, independently of what is customarily sought in respect of a warrant of God the Holy Spirit because of cultural assumptions about the intentions of sexual activity in our age and because [the Episcopal Church] has already acted on these.”

While applauding the presiding bishop’s decision to “to defend her views by recourse to Christian Scripture” and to clarify “what she understands to be the biblical warrant for her view of the Holy Spirit as an agent of new truth,” such a view is “not consistent” with the witness of Scripture and the “church would be in error should it follow her novel reading,” Prof. Seitz said.

New Primate elected in the West Indies: CEN 12.18.09 p 5 December 22, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Barbados, Dr John Holder has been elected Primate of the Church of the Province of the West Indies.

New Primate elected in West Indies

Meeting at the Georgetown’s Convention Hall in Guyana, on Dec 10 the provincial synod elected Dr Holder to succeed Archbishop Drexel Gomez as primate and archbishop of the church in the English-language nations of the Caribbean, Belize and Guyana. Details of the vote tally have not been released, but the new archbishop bested the Bishop of Jamaica in the final round of voting.

“It is an honour to be elected. It’s a challenging task, but I am sure I would do my very best to carry on the good work of my predecessors,” Dr Holder told representatives of the Barbadian press after his election.

Educated at Codrington College in Barbados, Dr Holder was ordained a deacon in 1974 and priest in 1975 for the Diocese of the Windward Islands at St George’s Cathedral in St Vincent. He served two years as curate of the cathedral before returning to Codrington College to serve as a tutor in Biblical Studies. He earned degrees from the University of the West Indies and the University of the South in the United States, and in 1981 began doctoral studies at Kings College, London, earning a PhD in 1985.

Upon his return to Barbados, he rejoined the staff of Codrington College as Lecturer in Old Testament Studies while also serving as priest in charge of a several parishes on the island. In 2000 he was elected 13th Bishop of Barbados.

Married with one son, Dr Holder faces a challenging environment as archbishop. Crime and social issues have been primary topics of concern in recent years in the West Indies, and the church has been at the forefront of moves to strengthen the family and social structures on the islands. It has also taken the lead in opposing the reinstitution of the death penalty in the West Indies — reintroduced by several countries in response to the drugs-fuelled crime wave of the past decade.

The new archbishop is expected to continue the domestic and international policies of his predecessor, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, who like Dr Holder served as a tutor at Codrington College and as Bishop of Barbados.

Three new Metropolitan Archbishops elected in Canada: CEN 10.02.09 p 8. October 6, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Three metropolitan archbishops have been elected to serve the Anglican Church of Canada. On Sept 25 the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon elected the Bishop of Kootenay, the Rt Rev John Privett as archbishop of the western Canadian province.

This follows upon the Sept 11 election of the Bishop of Fredericton, the Rt Rev Claude Miller as Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province of Canada, and the June 11 election of the Bishop of Keewatin, the Rt Rev David Ashdown as Archbishop of the Province of Rupert’s Land.

Archbishops elected to serve Canadian Anglican Church

This follows upon the Sept 11 election of the Bishop of Fredericton, the Rt Rev Claude Miller as Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province of Canada, and the June 11 election of the Bishop of Keewatin, the Rt Rev David Ashdown as Archbishop of the Province of Rupert’s Land.

At 53, Archbishop Privett becomes the youngest of Canada’s four metropolitan archbishops: the Anglican Church of Canada is divided into four ecclesiastical provinces: Canada, Ontario, Rupert’s Land, British Columbia and the Yukon, and is overseen by the Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

Archbishop Privett becomes the 11th metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon, which is comprised of the dioceses of British Columbia, Caledonia, New Westminster, Yukon, Kootenay and the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior. Educated at the University of Saskatchewan, Archbishop Privett trained for the ministry at the College of Emmanuel and St Chad, Saskatoon, and earned graduate degrees from the University of Alberta and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in the United States. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1981 and the priesthood in 1982 in the Diocese of Edmonton and elected Bishop of Kootenay in 2005.

Archbishop Miller was elected the 22nd Metropolitan of the province of Canada at the provincial synod held Sept 10 to 13 in Gander, Newfoundland. The province along Canada’s Atlantic coast includes the dioceses of Montreal, Quebec, Fredericton, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Western Newfoundland, Central Newfoundland and Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador. A second career priest, Archbishop Miller was a civil engineer for 25 years, before he was ordained in 1989 in Fredericton, and was elected was bishop of the diocese in 2003, and was elected archbishop on the first ballot.

On June 11 the Province of Rupert’s Land, which stretches across the Canadian prairie and north to the Arctic elected Bishop David Ashdown of Keewatin at the provincial synod meeting at Holy Cross Church in Calgary.

Archbishop Ashdown was elected on the third ballot, and will be metropolitan archbishop for the dioceses of Keewatin, Rupert’s Land, Brandon, the Arctic, Qu’appelle, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Athabasca, Edmonton and Calgary.

Educated at the University of Saskatchewan, Archbishop Ashdown trained for the ministry at the College of Emmanuel and St Chad and was ordained priest in 1978. He served in the Diocese of Qu’Appelle until 1992, and as Archdeacon of Athabasca until 1999, and then as Archdeacon of Keewatin from 1999 to 2001, when he was elected bishop.

Archbishop Says Central Florida Act a Positive Step: TLC 10.01.09 October 2, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury, Central Florida, Living Church.
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First published in the Living Church.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed an endorsement of the first three sections of the Anglican Covenant by the Diocese of Central Florida’s board and standing committee.

On Sept. 17, the diocesan board and standing committee adopted a resolution stating that they “affirm sections one, two and three of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant, as we await the final draft of section four.”

Central Florida also asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to “outline and implement a process by which individual dioceses, and even parishes, could become members of the Anglican Covenant, even in cases where their provincial or diocesan authorities decline to do so.”

In a Sept. 28 letter to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, Archbishop Williams called endorsement from the diocesan bodies a step in the right direction. “As a matter of constitutional fact, the [Anglican Consultative Council] can only offer the covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies (the provinces),” the archbishop noted. But “I see no objection to a diocese resolving less formally on an ‘endorsement’ of the covenant.” Such an action may not have an immediate “institutional effect” but “would be a clear declaration of intent to live within the agreed terms of the Communion’s life and so would undoubtedly positively affect a diocese’s pastoral and sacramental relations” with the wider Communion, he said.

The resolution was offered to the board by the dean of Southeast Central Florida, the Very Rev. Eric Turner, rector of St. John’s Church, Melbourne, Fla.
Originally titled a “Resolution in Response to General Convention,” the first two clauses backed Bishop Howe’s endorsement of the Anaheim Statement issued at the close of General Convention, and reaffirmed the “teaching of the Anglican Communion” on “matters of human sexuality” [TLC, Aug. 9].

The second half of the resolution drew upon the Sept. 7 call by the bishops of Albany, Dallas, North Dakota, Northern Indiana, South Carolina, West Texas and Western Louisiana for “dioceses, congregations and individuals” to “pray and work for the adoption” of the covenant, and asked that they “endorse [its] first three sections” [TLC, Sept. 27].

Bishop Howe stated that he was aware that some believed that “only the General Convention can decide whether or not to ‘opt into’ the Covenant, but there is nothing in the Covenant itself, and nothing in our Constitution or Canons, that stipulate this. If a given person, parish or diocese agrees with the Covenant, what is there to prevent saying so?”

Bishop Howe added that “should it be that the General Convention were to ‘opt out’ of the Covenant while some of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church have endorsed or adopted it we will have a number of interesting questions to address.”

Dioceses ‘can adopt Covenant,’ says Archbishop of Canterbury: CEN 10.01.09 October 1, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury, Central Florida, Church of England Newspaper.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Dioceses and other ecclesial bodies may endorse the Anglican Covenant, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams said this week, but noted the current process is geared toward adoption of an inter-Anglican agreement by the provinces of the Anglican Communion.

In a Sept 28 letter to the Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev John W Howe, Dr Williams welcomed Central Florida’s endorsement of the first three sections of the Anglican Covenant.

Dioceses ‘can adopt Covenant,” says Archbishop of Canterbury
On Sept 17 the Diocesan Board and Standing Committee adopted a resolution stating, “We affirm Sections One, Two and Three of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant, as we await the final draft of Section Four.”

The diocese also asked Dr Williams to “outline and implement a process by which individual Dioceses, and even parishes, could become members of the Anglican Covenant, even in cases where their Provincial or Diocesan authorities decline to do so.”

Dr Williams responded that “as a matter of constitutional fact, the ACC can only offer the Covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies, (the provinces).”

“But I see no objection to a diocese resolving less formally on an ‘endorsement’ of the Covenant,” he said. Such an action would not have an “institutional effect” but “would be a clear declaration of intent to live within the agreed terms of the Communion’s life and so would undoubtedly positively affect a diocese’s pastoral and sacramental relations” with the wider communion, he wrote.

The resolution was offered to the diocesan board by the Dean of Southeast Central Florida, the Rev. Eric Turner, rector of St John’s Episcopal Church in Melbourne, FL. Originally entitled a ‘Resolution in Response to General Convention’, the first two clauses backed Bishop Howe’s endorsement of the Anaheim Statement issued at the close of General Convention, and reaffirmed the “teaching of the Anglican Communion” on “matters of human sexuality.”

Dean Turner’s resolution was divided into two motions, and the second half drew upon the Sept 7 call by the Bishops of Albany, Dallas, North Dakota, Northern Indiana, South Carolina, West Texas and Western Louisiana for “dioceses, congregations and individuals” to “pray and work for the adoption” of the covenant, and asked they “endorse [its] first three sections.”

Objections to adopting the second resolution came over the question whether it was wise to endorse the Covenant absent completion of its final section. However, when put to a vote, there were only two objections among the diocesan board, while it was passed unanimously by the Standing Committee. Bishop Howe told The Church of England Newspaper that as “Chair of the meeting I did not vote, but I fully support those who did.”

He stated that he was aware that some believed that “only the General Convention can decide whether or not to ‘opt into’ the Covenant, but there is nothing in the Covenant itself, and nothing in our Constitution or Canons that stipulate this. If a given person, parish or diocese agrees with the Covenant, what is there to prevent saying so?”

Bishop Howe added that “should it be that the General Convention were to ‘opt out’ of the Covenant while some of the dioceses of The Episcopal Church have endorsed or adopted it we will have a number of interesting questions to address.”

“Will it be possible for individual dioceses and perhaps even parishes, to remain full ‘constituent” members of the Communion, in communion with the See of Canterbury, while other dioceses move into some kind of ‘associate’ membership, no longer in full communion with Canterbury? The Archbishop’s comments have seemed to suggest this,” he said.

The Central Florida committee resolutions will now go to its January convention for further action.

New Zealand urged to go further to stop global warming: CEN 8.14.09 p 6. August 15, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper, Environment.
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Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

THE ANGLICAN Archbishops of New Zealand have welcomed their government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but have cautioned that the proposed level of cuts may not be enough to head off global warming.

On August 11 Archbishops David Moxon and Brown Turei wrote to Prime Minister John Key applauding their government’s decision to cut emissions “to between 10 and 20 per cent below what they were in 1990” by 2020.

New Zealand had an “enviable” and “valuable” reputation of being “being clean and green, and your actions will help safeguard this good image,” the archbishops said.

New Zealand urged to go further to stop global warming

The proposed cuts, however, did not go far enough, as the “10 to 20 per cent band is well short of the 40 per cent reduction” needed to limit global warming to 2 degrees. The 2 degrees mark, they said, was “a threshold, which marks the difference between controllable climate change, and runaway change that would spiral out of control.”

They urged the government to set the “highest possible target for greenhouse gas emission reductions: in all sorts of ways, doing too little now will cost a great deal more in the long run.”

The “implications of runaway climate change for our brothers and sisters in the Pacific Islands alone are obvious,” they said, warning of rising sea levels and massive dislocation of island and coastal populations that would occur if global warming were not stopped.

Speaking to reporters in Wellington, the minister for climate change, Nick Smith, said current NZ greenhouse gas emissions were 24 per cent above the 1990 level. “This target means we’re going to have to both catch up that 24 per cent increase as well as reduce emissions by 10 or potentially 20 per cent,” he said.

Last week the Pacific Islands Forum called for a 50 per cent global cut in greenhouse gases by 2050. “We call upon world leaders to urgently increase their level of ambition and to give their negotiators fresh mandates to secure a truly effective global agreement,” the South Pacific leaders said in an August 6 statement.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that for some Pacific nations cutting greenhouse gases was “not just a matter of importance, it is not just a matter of urgency, for many of them it is a matter of national survival,” Rudd told reporters. Australia pledged to cut its emissions by up to 15 per cent of its 2000 levels by 2020.

Seven members of the 16-member forum had asked for a 45 per cent cut by 2020. The forum comprises Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Passage of D025 May Place TEC Outside Communion: TLC 7.13.09 July 14, 2009

Posted by geoconger in 76th General Convention, Living Church.
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The House of Bishops’ adoption of Resolution D025 on July 13 was an honest act that fairly stated the mind of the majority of the House of Bishops, progressive bishops argued. But members of the minority stated the vote ends the Episcopal Church’s compliance with the pledge made by the 2006 General Convention in Resolution B033 to abstain from consecrating more gay bishops, ends the Windsor Process, snubs the Archbishop of Canterbury, and places the Episcopal Church outside the Anglican Communion.

The Bishop of Rhode Island introduced D025 to the house as chair of the World Missions Committee, noting the bishops on the committee had recommended by a vote of 3-2 to reject adoption. Bishop Geralyn Wolf then enumerated the committee’s reasons for urging its rejection, saying “some” of the Episcopal Church’s overseas dioceses, while privately welcoming of the ministry of gays and lesbians, were “not theologically or culturally ready” for the innovation.

Adopting D025 “rejects” the Windsor process and jeopardizes the Anglican Covenant, and “doesn’t reflect the voices” of the wider Anglican Communion, Bishop Wolf said. It presumes a “theological understanding” of the question that has not, however, been reached, and while it may describe the “mind of the House,” the resolution “lacks clarity” and is open to a “variety of interpretations that will not be helpful in the Anglican Communion.”

The resolution “should be seen through the lens of world ministry,” Bishop Wolf continued, and sometimes it is necessary to “sacrifice for this ministry,” she said in urging its rejection.

Bishop Jeffrey Lee of Chicago asked for twenty minutes table time for the bishops to discuss the resolution, which was extended for a further ten minutes. Once the bishops reconvened, the Bishop of Upper South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, offered an amendment to the sixth resolved, asking substitution for the phrase that stated God “has called and may call” gays and lesbians to the ordained ministry with the statement that this call to ordained ministry was a “mystery” that was discerned by the church “for all people” in accordance with its constitution and canons.

“This is family talk,” Bishop Henderson declared, adding that “what we do affects a larger family.” He said that by being circumspect, we “can both pledge our commitment to the Anglican Communion” and continue to “debate the issues before the Anglican Communion” in the spirit of the Windsor Report.

Debate began on the amended resolution, with the bishops quickly dividing on their interpretation of what it meant. The Suffragan Bishop of Maryland, the Rt. Rev. John Rabb endorsed the Henderson amendment, urging the church to “continue the process of discernment.”

Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina felt the amendment was helpful as it affirmed that “God’s call is God’s call; for us it is a mystery.” The language of the amendment presumes that “gay and lesbian people may be called” to the ordained ministry. Bishop John Bauerschmidt of Tennessee also supported the amendment, noting that its language was “descriptive” rather than “prescriptive” and “moves the resolution further along.”

But Bishop Nathan Baxter of Central Pennsylvania said he had “mixed emotions” about the Henderson amendment as he was seeking a way “to rescind or override B033.”

Bishop Baxter said he “really would like to see us honoring sacramentally same-sex unions,” and “honor what we see as holy in our experience.” While the Episcopal Church should be “concerned with its covenant with the Anglican Communion,” it should also be “concerned about our commitment to gays and lesbians.”

Bishop J. Neil Alexander of Atlanta rose in opposition, saying the amendment “renders things muddier.” Bishop Stephen Lane of Maine also urged rejection, saying the bishops should speak honestly about what they believed.

Bishop Thomas Ely of Vermont argued that “God has affirmed and will continue to call gays and lesbian people into the ordained ministry. That is not a mystery to me.

“The mystery is the person,” Bishop Thomas Ely said. If the amendment means the church will be open to the ordination of gays and lesbians, he said it had its support. “If it in any way questions that call to God, I would find that a great disappointment.”

Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles said that if “we baptize people of all sexualities” we should be able to ordain them. “We don’t need any more study on this issue,” he said, and urged the Episcopal Church to be clear on this point. “Gays and lesbians have a right to the ordination process under our canons.”

“It is God who calls” an individual to the priesthood, Bishop George Counsell of New Jersey said, stating he preferred not to use the “language of rights” in describing ordination. He contended the amendment served to “put God at the center of all this.”

When a division was called, the Hollingsworth amendment was adopted 78 to 60 on a show of hands.

The Bishop of Arkansas, the Rt. Rev. Larry Benfield then rose to read a prepared statement in support of the original resolution saying that as the Trinity was a mystery, so was sexual love. It was fearful to say “we will restrict love because of a chromosomal make-up,” he contended, and argued that the theology was already in place by a reinterpretation of the creeds to permit honoring same-sex attractions as being holy.

But Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota warned that endorsing the resolution would be a “negative response to the Windsor report,” and asked for a roll call vote. Five other bishops rose to endorse his motion, and it carried.

Bishop Gary Lillibridge rose in opposition to the resolution, but turned to the last resolve that stated “Christians of good conscience” may “disagree about some of these matters.” He told the house he did “not want to lose” that promise of forbearance of toleration of the minority.

The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel of East Carolina endorsed the resolution, saying it affirmed that the Episcopal Church was a member of the Anglican Communion. He disputed the statement that Lambeth 1.10 “represents the mind of the Anglican Communion on human sexuality,” saying it was the mind merely of the bishops at Lambeth in 1998. He proposed an amendment to the opening paragraph of the resolution that stated the Episcopal Church remained a “constituent” member of the Anglican Communion. There was no debate on the motion and it was adopted unopposed.

On the resolution as a whole, and the Bishop of Massachusetts, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, urged adoption. “I don’t know how much more we can ask of people,” he said. “It is time now to act.” Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark concurred, saying this resolution removed the taint of B033 and “offers a statement as to who we are.”

The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls of Lexington, speaking in favor, said the resolution made no canonical changes and “does nothing other than to state what is true.” The Constitution and Canons “govern the discernment process,” he said, adding that “what this does is correct any misconception that B033 changed our canons.”

The Bishop coadjutor of Virginia, the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, said he “personally agrees with every word of the resolution,” but would vote against it as it “breaks faith” with the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Consultative Council “gave us a great gift” in postponing consideration of Section 4 of the Anglican Covenant draft. “Now we are shooting the gap” created by the delay, and changing the debate by rejecting the Windsor process.

“We can affirm all we want,” that we are constituent members of the Anglican Communion, but that does not make it so, Bishop Johnston argued. The “Communion is too much to lose,” he said, urging its defeat.

“If the resolution passes, the Episcopal Church will cease to be part of the Communion,” said Bishop William Love of Albany. He read out to the house the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement to the July 13 session of General Synod, which urged the bishops to defeat D025. Adopting the resolution would not simply “stress or tear the fabric” of the Communion, he said, “it would totally shred it.”

But Bishop Edwin Gulick of Kentucky disagreed, telling the house that the “passing of the resolution will not end the moratorium.” Distinguishing between intentions and actions, Bishop Gulick said the moratorium would be broken when the Episcopal Church consecrated a new gay bishop. He then turned to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and asked if this was not so. Bishop Jefferts Schori said that was “my understanding of it. We have been asked to exercise restraint, and we have done so.”

Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina turned to natural law and church teaching in support of rejecting the resolution.

Bishop William Gregg, Assistant Bishop of North Carolina, noted that “God was not calling us to consensus.” He stated that “when synod has made a decision, the decision becomes real when the whole body receives the decision.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori noted the lateness of the hour, and called the question. A roll call vote was taken and the house adopted the amended resolution 99 to 45 with two abstentions.

Unlike the scenes surrounding the affirmation of the election of Bishop Robinson at the 2003 General Convention, the bishops filed out of the House in somber mood, and no applause came from the gallery. While some bishops left the Robinson vote in 2003 in tears or singing the doxology, the July 13 vote ended with most exhausted.

Resolution D025 now goes back to the House of Deputies for concurrence.

Gregory Cameron to be next Bishop of St Asaph: CEN 1.09.09 p 5. January 14, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Consultative Council, Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Counsel, Canon Gregory Cameron, has been elected the 76th Bishop of St Asaph.

On Jan 5 the Electoral College of the Church in Wales elected Canon Cameron (49) bishop in succession to the Rt. Rev. John Davies following a closed door meeting at St Asaph Cathedral.

“I am conscious that for the family of St Asaph the choice of a new bishop is a profoundly important point in their life and that of the Gospel in North-East Wales,” Canon Cameron said.

“I am both stunned and honoured by the choice of the Electoral College and hope that by God’s grace I can at least in part live up to people’s expectations. I will need the prayers of all the diocese and the church as we find a way forward together.”

A native of Wales, Canon Cameron read law at Lincoln College, Oxford and theology at Downing College, Cambridge and earned further degrees in theology and canon law at University College in Cardiff and University of Wales College, and prepared for the ministry at St Michael’s College, Llandaff.

Ordained deacon in 1983 and priest in 1984 in the Diocese of Monmouth, Canon Cameron was Assistant Curate at St Paul’s, Newport and then Team Vicar in the Rectorial Benefice of Llanmartin. He served as chaplain and head of religious studies at Wycliffe College in Gloucester and in 2000 was appointed chaplain to the then Archbishop of Wales, Dr. Rowan Williams.

In 2003, Canon Cameron followed Dr. Williams to London and was appointed Director of Ecumenical Relations for the Anglican Consultative Council, and Deputy Secretary General in 2005. At the ACC, he oversaw the Communion’s ecumenical partnerships and facilitated the publication of the ARCIC report “Growing Together in Unity and Mission” and Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue report “The Church of the Triune God”.

In 2003 Canon Cameron was appointed to the Lambeth Commission on Communion and has since served as secretary of the various committees that have arisen from the Windsor Report, including the Windsor Continuation Group and the Anglican Covenant Design Group.

In a statement released following the election, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr. Barry Morgan welcomed Canon Cameron’s return to Wales. He was an “immensely gifted man with wide experience of the worldwide Anglican Communion and of our ministry here in Wales. I look forward to working with him and welcoming him back to his home Province.”

Tense times behind the scenes at the Lambeth Conference: CEN 7.25.08 p 16. July 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury’s efforts to steer the Anglican Communion away from the theological and political shoals appears to have been for naught, as the 14th Lambeth Conference began to founder on its second business day.

While the three day retreat led by Dr. Williams was universally applauded by bishops from across the geographic and theological spectrum, once the bishops were loosed upon each other the tensions that have plagued the Communion stepped back into center stage.

On July 22, the Archbishop of the Sudan released a statement calling for the Episcopal Church of the United States to repent, and to cease “with immediate effect” its advocacy of gay bishops and blessings.

Rebuffed by conference organizers in releasing his message, Dr. Daniel Deng, Archbishop of Juba and Primate of the Sudan, went round them and held an impromptu press conference in the media room, and issued a call for Gene Robinson to step aside to save the Communion.

If [Gene Robinson] were a real Christian he would resign” Archbishop Deng said on July 22, as the Episcopal Church’s media handlers looked on in shock. A number of American bishops were taken aback by the Sudanese statement, as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and a number of her colleagues spent the days before the opening of Lambeth with the Sudanese bishops in Salisbury.

The extended encounter with the American bishops did not have the intended effect, however, as it prompted the Sudanese Archbishop, with the full support of his bishops, to issue the call for repentance.

The small group format of the conference, called Indaba groups, has so far discouraged collective action, and left many bishops unaware of what was happening in the wider conference. However, a meeting of over 150 Global South bishops during the free period on Tuesday afternoon, brought the Robinson issue back to the center.

“I have nothing to talk” to Gene Robinson about, Dr. Deng said. “First he must confess and then is the time to talk” about the divisions within the Communion, the Sudanese leader said.

The Indaba group structure of the conference has prompted mixed reviews. South African Archbishop Thabo Makgoba-one of the conference organizers—conceded the division of the bishops into groups of 40 to discuss specific issues in the space of two hours did not appear to allow for enough time for a full airing of views. “Mathematically, it won’t make a lot of sense,” he said. However, “the whole conference is an indaba.”

“Indaba starts with walk from your room,” and continues with all of the events of the day. “It is part and parcel of the whole conversation,” he explained. Bishop Nathan Baxter of Central Pennsylvania lauded the small group encounters saying that “bishops listening together” had set a respectful tone for the gathering, and “says a lot about the climate” at Lambeth.

Americans have been “well received” he said. While “not everyone agrees” with each other, we have been able to “talk to one another, not about one another,” Bishop Baxter said.

While fostering personal relations, the indaba project has so far not responded to the wider issues at play. Dr Deng said “until now I cannot judge” the worth of the indaba process, “but until now I think they are not doing” the job.

Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe, one of the senior American evangelical bishops told his clergy “there seems to be an incipient revolt stirring among us. Many of the Africans are saying, ‘This isn’t indaba at all! First of all, we are not a village, and we don’t know each other. And secondly, we are not attempting to solve a problem; we are talking in small groups about minor issues of little consequence’.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu is reported to have said, Bishop Howe wrote, “If indaba is such a great idea, why is Africa in such a mess?”

“There seems to be the beginning of some rumbling that we need to get to a decision-making moment in the life of the Conference,” Bishop Howe wrote on July 22.

The administration of the conference appears to be unraveling as well, as queries about who actually is in charge of Lambeth—who welds authority over the day to day operations—remain unanswered.

Conference spokesman have confirmed Lambeth is over £1 million in debt, and an emergency meeting of the conference organizers and the Church Commissioners has been set for early August to deal with the shortfall. However, the Church Commissioner’s charter prevents them for bailing out the conference, and the bailiffs may soon be at the door of the Old Palace in Canterbury, if no other sources of cash are found to cover the deficits.

Over 40 percent of the bishops attending Lambeth are on “scholarship” from the Conference. With a quarter of the bishops absent and fundraising at a standstill, the financial picture appears grim, one insider told CEN.

The bishops’ communications strategy has also misfired, with relations with the church press at a new low. The names of the bishops attending Lambeth would not be revealed as this was a secret. The reason for the secrecy was a secret, though explanations of privacy concerns and security concerns were offered.

The Church of England’s policy of an open invitation to Communion for baptized Christians has been rescinded for the duration of the Conference, as the press has been banned from attending worship services, as the presence of non-bishops at worship would be a distraction and a nuisance, conference organizers said.

Little official information or first-hand observation of the proceedings will be available, for unlike past conferences, almost all sessions have been closed to the media. A request by the Times to attend the session on media training, entitled “Never say no to the press”, was met with a “no” from the conference organizers.

In his presidential address to the conference on Sunday, which was closed to the press, Dr. Williams said that the communion could address its problems through “consent, not coercion” but through open dialogue.

He acknowledged the Communion was “in the middle of one of the most severe challenges” but noted that “whatever the popular perception, the options before us are not irreparable schism or forced assimilation.”

Dr. Williams argued that the way forward for the Communion amidst its divisions was through “council and covenant.” He offered a “vision of an Anglicanism whose diversity is limited not by centralized control but by consent – consent based on a serious common assessment of the implications of local change.”

He downplayed suggestions the indaba process was designed to avoid action, saying that while “quite a few people have said that the new ways we’re suggesting of doing our business are an attempt to avoid tough decisions and have the effect of replacing substance with process. To such people, I’d simply say, ‘How effective have the old methods really been?'”

Lambeth Conference resolutions were more honoured in the breach. “If you look at the resolutions that have been passed since 1867, you’ll find many of them, on really important subjects, have never been acted on,” he said.

Past Lambeth Conferences that focused on plenary sessions had led to “the voices most often heard would be the voices of people who were comfortable with this way of doing things.”

“We need renewal, and this is the moment for it,” Dr. Williams said, charging the bishops to “help shape fresh, more honest and more constructive ways of being a conference – and being a Communion.”

Whether Dr. Williams’ plea can be honoured at this late stage remains to be seen. With the conference cracking up all around him, his abilities to preserve the integrity of the Anglican Communion will be sorely tested in the coming days.

New wave of US defections: CEN 2.01.08 p 5. February 1, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Central Florida, Church of England Newspaper, Tennessee.
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A new wave of parish defections has washed across the Episcopal Church with congregations in Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Central Florida quitting the national church in protest to its leftward drift.

The response to American church secessions however, has differed from past battles with a premium being placed on an amicable parting of the ways.

The new wave of defections has also come from “Windsor Dioceses”—dioceses whose leaders have been opposed to the innovation in doctrine and discipline made in recent years by the national church’s leadership.

While united in their opposition to the actions of the last two General Conventions, conservatives have been divided on what tactical programme to purse. With the breakaway groups now soliciting defections from conservative dioceses, traditionalist leaders within the Episcopal Church are concerned that turf battles over the remaining conservatives may weaken the remaining Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic witness within the Episcopal Church.

In the Diocese of Tennessee the bulk of Trinity Church in Winchester on Jan 6 quit the diocese for CANA, while the rector and members of Holy Cross in Murfreesboro announced that day they had joined the Church of Uganda.

Bishop John Bauerschmidt lamented the secessions, saying they were unnecessary as “Tennessee has on several occasions committed itself to the recommendations of the Windsor Report.” He noted that he was “committed to the Camp Allen principles of compliance with the recommendations of the Windsor Report” articulated by Archbishop Rowan Williams in his Advent letter.

The Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe told his diocesan convention on Jan 25 that eight congregations, including the diocese’s second and fourth largest parishes, were withdrawing from the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Howe told The Church of England Newspaper the last three months had been the most difficult of his life, and the negotiations had left him exhausted. However “we have done something that has not been accomplished anywhere else. We are on the best of terms with all those leaving. And we are committed to rebuilding where there have been losses.”

In his Convention address Bishop Howe stated he understood there were some who for reasons of conscience had to withdraw. “I understand that. I don’t agree, but I don’t believe we should punish them. We shouldn’t sue them. We shouldn’t depose the clergy. Our brokenness is a tragedy. The litigation that is going on in so many places is a travesty,” he said.

“And although some seem to be trying to do so, I don’t think you can hold a Church together by taking everybody you disagree with to court,” he said.

Jamaica visit for Archbishop Sentamu: CEN 8.24.07 p 9. August 24, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of York, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies.
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THE ARCHBISHOP of York, Dr John Sentamu has been invited to Jamaica to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Dr Sentamu will be a guest of the Diocese of Jamaica and the nation from Oct 5-12 and will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree at the University of the West Indies on Oct 6 at a Special Convocation at the Assembly Hall at the University’s Mona Campus, the diocese reports.

Past recipients of honorary degrees at a Special Convocation at the UWI include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell, Harry Belafonte and Kofi Annan.