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Welby pays pastoral call in Lagos: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

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The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby paid a pastoral call on President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja to “express his personal pain and condolence about the ongoing terrorism affecting parts of North Nigeria,” the Lambeth Palace press office reports. On 4 June 2014, Archbishop Welby, President Jonathan and the Primate of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, discussed the terror campaign waged by Boko Haram and “then prayed privately together,” the statement said. Along with other church and political leaders, Archbishop Welby has condemned the kidnapping of over 200 school girls by Boko Haram, calling it an “atrocious and inexcusable act.” Speaking to reporters outside the Presidential Villa, the archbishop condemned the recent terror bombings in Jos saying “I came to pray with His Excellency and express our condolence for the losses. God is faithful. In one of the letters that Paul wrote to the church, he talked about the sufferings they were going through being known throughout the world and that is certainly true here because the suffering in Nigeria is known throughout the world … And like many, I am deeply grieved by what is happening but God is faithful. He is always faithful to us and as Christians, in Jesus Christ we believe in His faithfulness and we can trust Him for the future.”

Welby headed to Rome: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

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Lambeth Palace has announced that the Archbishop of Canterbury will travel to Rome to meet with Pope Francis on 16 June 2014 to discuss their slavery and human trafficking initiative launched earlier this year. The two day trip will also encompass visits to the Anglican Centre in Rome, the Sant’Egidio community and to “meet members of the international ecumenical Catholic foundation Chemin Neuf, four of whose members took up residence at Lambeth Palace earlier this year,” the archbishop’s press office reported.

Christians under siege in Pakistan, warns Canterbury: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the Christians of Pakistan are under siege, and has urged the country’s government to protect the rights of its minorities. The comments came at the start of a week-long tour of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – part of the archbishop’s initiative to meet with all of the primates of the Communion during his first 18 months in office. Speaking to reporters after church services in Lahore on 28 May 2014, Archbishop Welby said there was a “considerable sense of anxiety, of being under siege” felt by Christian in Pakistan. “There was a very clear sense that people were nervous about the misuse of the blasphemy law, as a sort of a tool of politics, a way of gaining attention, or as a mob thing,” he said. Archbishop Welby urged the Pakistani government to reform its blasphemy laws, saying they have been abused to persecute the poor, Christians and other religious minorities. “I pray for their blessing and for the government to be favourable to seeing that this is not a group that are seeking undue advantage but are only seeking to do good,” he said.

Gafcon call for moral clarity from the C of E: The Church of England Newspaper, May 2, 2014 June 2, 2014

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The Archbishops of the GAFCON movement have urged the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev. Justin Welby to clarify the “moral confussion” that has possessed the Church of England over gay marriage. In a statement released at the close of the 24-26 April 2014 meeting in London, the 11 archbishops – representing more than two thirds of the Anglican Communion’s active members — highlighted the problems facing their particular churches, but also spoke to recent actions taken by the Church of England’s House of Bishops. “Meeting shortly after the recognition in English law of same sex marriage, which we cannot recognise as compatible with the law of God, we look to the Church of England to give clear leadership as moral confusion about the status of marriage in this country deepens. The Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly noted that the decisions of the Church of England have a global impact and we urge that as a matter of simple integrity, its historic and biblical teaching should be articulated clearly.” The GAFCON primates council also expressed concern over the “state of lay and clerical discipline” in the Church of England, noting the pastoral guidelines adopted by the bishops were being flouted with impunity. “We pray for the recovery of a sense of confidence in the whole of the truth Anglicans are called to proclaim, including that compassionate call for repentance to which we all need to respond in our different ways,” the statement said.

Canterbury clarifies gay marriage remarks: The Church of England Newspaper, April 18, 2014 June 2, 2014

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, has clarified remarks made last week to a radio audience linking gay marriage in the West to the murders of Christians in Africa. In an interview with Canada’s Anglican Journal given during a visit to Toronto last week the archbishop said his words had been misconstrued. There would be consequences to actions taken by the Church of England over gay marriage, but he declined to say whether this was reason enough not to act. “What I was saying is that when we take actions in one part of the church, particularly actions that are controversial, that they are heard and felt not only in that part of the church but around the world…And, this is not mere consequentialism; I’m not saying that because there will be consequences to taking action, that we shouldn’t take action.” The archbishop added: “What I’m saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally. We never speak the essential point that, as a church, we never speak only in our local situation. Our voice carries around the world. Now that will be more true in some places than in others. It depends on your links. We need to learn to live as a global church in a local context and never to imagine that we’re just a local church. There is no such thing.”

Anglican Unscripted Episode 97, April 25, 2014 May 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Church of England, The Episcopal Church.
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Published on Apr 25, 2014

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate athttp://anglican.tv/donate

00:00 Blame the Africans
11:07 Anglicans not swimming Tiber’s
16:42 the IRS and you
26:06 Radical Islam want’s you dead.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 95: March 21, 2014 March 22, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Church of England, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

00:00 The Pope a year in review
10:00 Global South adopts Diocese of South Carolina
18:10 ABC Canterbury year in review with Peter Ould
29:11 Why would anybody bring charges against Saint Schori?
38:14 R.I.P Terry Fullam
45:57 Closing and Bloopers

Secret Cairo meeting yields dividends for Justin Welby: The Church of England Newspaper, March 7, 2014 March 20, 2014

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has bolstered his wavering support from overseas church leaders following a closed door meeting last week in Cairo with Asian, African and South American archbishops.

The day after the House of Bishops approved its Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage, the Most Rev. Justin Welby met in private with the steering committee of the Global South Primates at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo to explain the Church of England’s stance on same-sex marriage and the blessing of same-sex unions.

Accompanied by his director of reconciliation, Canon David Porter, Dr. Welby alleviated fears the Church of England would be changing its teaching on the morality of homosexual practice by permitting the blessing of same-sex unions and allowing married gay clergy amongst its ranks.  The archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda had warned publicly the archbishop in recent months that they were prepared to break with Canterbury should the Church of England follow the British government’s lead on gay marriage.

Sources tell The Church of England Newspaper that while the overseas primates did not relent in their demands that Dr. Welby take action to discipline the Episcopal Church of the USA, they were pleased with the Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance and applauded the course taken by the Church of England and in a statement released on 20 Feb applauded the “faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.”

The statement, which received the backing of all but the Church of Nigeria who abstained, withdraws pressure on Dr. Welby from the specter of the Anglican Mission in England – the shadow organization backed by the 2013 Gafcon meeting in Nairobi to support traditionalists should the Church of England slide into chaos.

The 14-15 Feb 2014 meeting was conducted in secrecy. Queried by the CEN as to the archbishop’s activities when Dr. Welby was spotted on the ground in Africa, Lambeth Palace declined to answer.  A spokesman for the archbishop later confirmed Dr. Welby had visited Cairo at the invitation of the Bishop of Egypt Dr. Mouneer to “hear from the Global South Steering Committee.”

However, the Lambeth Palace spokesman said this meeting was not out of the ordinary as “he is visiting all the Primates of the Anglican Communion to listen to their perspectives.”

In its statement the Global South group welcomed the “frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.”

However they asked Dr. Welby to convene a primates meeting in 2015, but at this meeting they requested the agenda focus on the “deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion.”

The Anglican Communion was not working, they said, and was “currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional ‘instruments of unity’.”

“We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report,” the Global South leaders said.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 93, February 21, 2014 February 22, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican.TV, Church of England, The Episcopal Church.
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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Story Index
00:00 A House in Wisconsin
16:08 Interview with Bishop Salmon
24:28 Where’s Welby?
30:27 Agnostics Have Theology
44:50 The New Iron Lady
49:10 Facebook Diplomacy
53:22 Closing and Bloopers

Archbishop says “no” to Hagia Sophia mosque plan: The Church of England Newspaper, February 7, 2014 February 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has lent his support to the Ecumenical Patriarch in the battle with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over plans to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

Following the conquest of Constantinople the Ottoman Turks turned the ancient church into a mosque. However members of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ruling party have called upon the government to overturn the decision made in the 1930s by Kemal Ataturk to turn the cathedral into a museum.

Archon news reports that during his visit with Patriarch Bartholomew I last month the Archbishop of Canterbury said Hagia Sophia “should not become a mosque.”

“That would be another loss, in which a great symbol of civilization throughout the world was transformed into a particular symbol of exclusivism,” the archbishop was quoted as saying.

No mention of Hagia Sophia was made, however, in the formal press statement released after the 13-14 January 2014 meeting in Istanbul between the Anglican and Orthodox leaders, and the archbishop’s comments could not be confirmed by his staff.

According to the Lambeth Palace Press Office, Archbishop Welby said that Patriarch Bartholomew had been “an example of peace and reconciliation, politically, with the natural world, and in your historic visit to the installation of His Holiness Pope Francis I.”

“Such reconciliation [is] very dear to my heart and is one of my key priorities. It is the call of Christ that all may be one so that the world may see. I will therefore be taking back with me the warmth of your hospitality and also, after our discussions today and tomorrow, a renewed and refreshed focus for greater unity and closer fellowship. We want to carry the cross of our divisions, but be filled with the hope and joy that comes from the grace and the love of Jesus,” the archbishop said.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 91, February 8, 2014 February 8, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Church of England, The Episcopal Church.
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Published on Feb 8, 2014
Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Story Index
00:00 The New Oxford Movement
15:44 Elephant Politics
21:42 AS Haley on South Carolina
31:00 The perfect answer for Immigration
39:35 Closing and Bloopers

Episode 86: Anglican Unscripted, November 23, 2013 November 24, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican.TV, Church of England, GAFCON, Quincy, The Episcopal Church.
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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Show Index
00:00 GAFCON and the ABC
09:56 Allan Haley and TEC Legal Fantasy
22:00 Raceophobic Church
28:56 GAFCON Down Under
42:52 Marriage
4719: Extinct COE
59:00 Closing and Bloopers

Mau-mauing The Times of London: Get Religion, November 21, 2013 November 21, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has stated the Church of England was  moving away from using faith as a criteria for admission to its church-supported schools, The Times of London reported last week.

And the newspaper caught hell for it. The Church of England’s press office said this was untrue — a “creative piece of writing.”

Was this a he said/she said (or wrote) dispute? The “he” being Justin Welby the archbishop of Canterbury and the “she” Ruth Gledhill, The Times‘ star religion reporter. Or was this a case of what the archbishop said was not exactly what he meant? Were his words taken out of context? Did The Times deserve the drubbing it was given?

At this point — a week after the story entitled “Church in ‘move away’ from school selection” (behind a paywall I’m afraid) — a newspaper reader is not likely to be any the wiser as to what happened. The Church of England’s press office and the Lambeth Palace press office have thrown up such a wall of flak round the interview that the archbishop’s original statement is moot. The content of the denials are now the story — or the official line from the church.

On Nov. 14, 2013 The Times reported:

Church of England faith schools are moving away from selecting pupils on the basis of their religion, the Archbishop of Canterbury has revealed.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said that selection was not necessarily the key to good results and believes that throwing open the doors to all-comers can help the Church achieve its mission to alleviate poverty.

Church of England schools are not analogous to Catholic parochial schools in the U.S. They are not private schools funded by tuition and supported by a sponsoring denomination. In England they are state funded. The Church of England explains:

The English system of education has been built in partnership with the Christian churches. The Churches were the first providers of schools, funding building and staff costs through voluntary donations. The State gradually became convinced that it had a duty to provide education and gradually assumed a larger part of the task. But Government has always recognised that Church schools are important partners in providing education for all. That partnership enables the State to use  around  8,000 school buildings and sites owned by the Church of England and Roman Catholic Church free of charge, but in return successive governments, irrespective of political party, have continued to provide financial support for church schools.

Some parents choose Church schools because they want to have their children educated in accordance with their Christian belief, others because it is the nearest school or because it is a school which takes spiritual as well as social, moral and cultural development seriously. Whatever the reason, Church of England schools are committed to offering high quality education to the whole community and are part of the Church’s commitment to serving the common good. Taxpayer’s money is therefore being used to provide high quality education for tax payer’s children.

Many Church of England schools, which educate a quarter of England’s primary school children, are over subscribed. Removing faith, or lessening its importance,  from among the selection criteria for prospective students, would be a game changer in the admissions game.

Shortly after the story went live on The Times website, the archbishop’s interim press officer sent an email blast to religion reporters, saying the report was untrue.

In the course of a wide ranging interview for The Times on the subject of tackling poverty, the Archbishop of Canterbury was asked about the role of schools. He praised the work of church schools especially in areas of highest deprivation, and stressed the importance of home, family and excellent school leadership.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following statement regarding selection criteria for church schools: “I fully support the current policy for schools to set their own admissions criteria, including the criterion of faith. Nothing in my wider comments to The Times on this subject should be seen as “revealing” any changes nor dissenting from current policy.”    The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Director of Communications for the Church of England issued a further denial, which stated in part:

The (erroneous) story in today’s Times Newspaper claiming that the Church of England ‘moving away’ from selecting school pupils based on religion was a creative piece of writing. So creative in fact that the Lambeth Palace issued a statement correcting the story which reads … The Archbishop himself douses the story in the Times with cold water …

The director of communications then went on to cite statistics about church schools and their roll in British education. These responses prompted confusion within the press as to what was said and what was important — other newspapers reported the change, the denials, both, or offered opinions as to why the change was a good idea.

All of which prompted musings on the roll of P.R. flacks or flaks.

Once a pejorative term, “flak” had its roots in the German word “fliegerabwehrkanone” — anti-aircraft gun. Its meaning as a noun has evolved over time to mean criticism: “I took a lot of flak over that statement”. And is also used an adjective to refer to a publicist who seeks to deflect adverse publicity.

“Flack”, the dictionaries tell me, has a close meaning but different history. Gene Flack, a 1930′s Hollywood press agent extraordinaire, is credited with being one source. Credit is also given to Tom Wolfe author of “Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers” — “flack” being slang for “flak catcher”. Traditionally, a flack created flack (a publicist created publicity) while a flak deflected flak (press officer deflected criticisms). Now the words are all but interchangeable.

In The Times interview aftermath we see both sides of the trade — deflection of an unpopular story (church schools changing admissions policies) and creation of an alternative (church schools are the best schools in Britain). But what did the archbishop actually say?

Ruth Gledhill published the transcript of the interview, indicating the archbishop’s flaks/flacks doth protest too much.

What you are seeing in the Church schools is a deeper and deeper commitment to the common good. There’s a steady move away from faith-based entry tests. They are not selective in terms of education. And they are focusing, particularly the new church academies – and you can see that in diocese after diocese – are focusing on the areas of highest deprivation where the Church school adds the most enormous value. … What is absolutely clear is home and family is essential. Really good school leadership is absolutely critical. It is not necessary to select to get a really good school. There are unbelievably brilliant schools that are entirely open to all applicants without selection criteria apart from residence, where you live, and which produce staggeringly good results.

Did Lambeth Palace and the Church of England press office mau-mau Ruth Gledhill? Did the flacks throw up a barrage of flak to deflect criticism and to offer an alternate interpretation of what the archbishop said? My sense of things is that Ruth Gledhill has been treated unfairly.

She reported what the archbishop said. Perhaps it was not what he meant to say?

First published in Get Religion.

Social justice must guide Christianity, Canterbury tells the Porvoo Churches: The Church of England Newspaper, November 1, 2013 November 5, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has denounced the church’s heritage of abuse of power and patriarchy, telling the churches of the Porvoo Communion  it must change in order to pursue a campaign of social justice and advocacy that will witness to the world.

In his 21 October 2013 sermon given at Reykjavik’s Dómkirkjan Cathedral, the Most Rev. Justin Welby called on churches to “cry out and claim and struggle” for justice, in order to bring “testimony and witness to words and prayers”.

The archbishop also acknowledged the 20th century campaigns for church union had reached their end.  Church unanimity was “a mirage and a diversion,” he told the leaders of the Anglican Churches of Europe and Nordic Lutheran Churches, calling instead for a unanimity of purpose and focus on “unity”.

Taking as his text the parable of the widow and the unjust judge, Archbishop Welby said the church must take its place with those seeking justice, not with the rich and powerful.  ”Any serious view of the nature of human beings.” he said, “tells us that without the action of God their can be no true justice, and that the church is there to be the widow, to cry out and claim and struggle. That must involve action, which may be slight or grand”.

To often “Justice is something we seek when it is not against us. The heritage of church abuse and patriarchy reminds us that the church follows the world in its injustice and too often combines its misuse of power with the blasphemy of theological justification. But the widow cries out, and in one of the very rare occasions where Luke explains the parable, we are told that it is to stop people giving up in prayer. …  As Pope Francis said, the church is not called to be a Christian NGO.”

The archbishop touched upon his campaign to set up credit unions and reform the City, but also spoke to the “call of church reconciliation” that lay behind the foundation of the Porvoo Communion–contrasting unanimity with unity.

“Unanimity amongst us is first of all a mirage and secondly a diversion,” he explained. “Unanimity is too busy with checking whether the other person is doing the right thing to hear the call of widow: unity sees and hears her and puts aside our own preferences to stand in solidarity and cry with he,” he said in reference to his text Luke 18:1-8.

“If we are to continue to grow closer, so that our communion becomes family, and that family becomes the transforming influence in our society, which is so desperately looking for a new way, after the decades of reliance on material growth have betrayed us, if that family is to become what it should, then we need each other more than ever, not for comfort in the cold, receding tides of Christian faith, but to stretch and challenge each other to ever closer walk with God and evermore passionate fulfilling of his mission,” Archbishop Welby said.

Encouragement for Gafcon from Archbishop Welby: The Church of England Newspaper, October 25, 2013 October 25, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury offered his encouragement to the Gafcon conference in Nairobi this week, but stopped short of offering the endorsement of his office to the global Anglican renewal movement.

Speaking at two services on 20 October 2013 at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, the Most Rev. Justin Welby offered his vision of a “Biblically-centered, practically loving” Anglican Communion that pursued a deliberate programme of “witness, worship, evangelism, and a passion for the Holy Spirit.”

He also stated the “colonial structures” of the past that comprised the communion’s Instrument’s of Unity were no longer fit for purpose.

The archbishop’s multi-layered sermon evolved over its two presentations – after being all but silent about Gafcon in his first sermon, in its second reading the archbishop spoke five times about the forthcoming Gafcon conference, set for 21-26 October 2013, at All Saints Cathedral. While the Lambeth Palace Press Office had released a statement saying Archbishop Welby was visiting Kenya to stand in solidarity with its people in the wake of the Westgate Mall terror attack, he made no mention of terrorism in his sermons and his time in Nairobi was spent exclusively on Gafcon.

The sermons sparked mixed responses. Archbishop Welby’s sermon was “outrageous”, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria said after the first presentation. The archbishop’s “softly softly” approach in seeking to reconcile the Episcopal Church with the Global South churches implied a degree of moral equivalence that the retired Nigerian archbishop found disheartening.

However, in his second presentation Archbishop Welby walked back his moral equivalency comments. The former Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Peter Jensen welcomed Archbishop Welby’s admission the Communion was not work. Archbishop Welby’s statement “the old ways are no longer appropriate, the old structures no longer work, given on the eve of Gafcon, give us hope,” he said.

The archbishop spent only 18 hours in Kenya, arriving in the early hours of Sunday. Travelling without his minders, the archbishop stayed at the home of Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya, before preaching before the 9:30 and 11:30 congregations at the Cathedral. Following his sermons he went into a closed door meeting with the primates’ council, before leaving for Ireland to attend the Porvoo Primates meeting that evening.

Participants at the luncheon described the atmosphere as being cordial, noting Archbishop Welby was seated next to Archbishop Robert Duncan of the ACNA and Archbishop Wabukala.  But the strength of the sentiments made in the presentations made by the Gafcon archbishops appeared to have stunned Archbishop Welby, who spoke for five minutes to the group.

One primate told the Church of England Newspaper no formal agreements were reached at the meeting, but he welcomed the start of a conversation with the English church leader.

In his sermons, the archbishop spoke of the centrality of Scripture in the life of the church, the “Bible must be at the heart of our study, our life, our walk with Jesus” he said, but a “church that only reads but does not act, disgraces the Bible.”

“There is a need for new structures in the Anglican Communion, “the archbishop said, adding the issues that divide us are “simple and complicated.”

To address them “we need a new way of being in communion, not the colonial structures” of the past, he said. But it was unclear as to what the solution was as each province offered its own solution to the problem, yet “we must find a way to live together, so the world will see” Jesus is Lord.

The Anglican world must be a sign to the world of the power of Christ and must engage in a deliberate program of “witness, worship, evangelism, and a passion for the Holy Spirit.”

“The more seriously we take the Bible” the more effectively we will be able to deal with our divisions, he said.

The archbishop also hinted the Communion may not be able to count upon the Church of England to hold the line on issues close to the heart of the Gafcon movement. Archbishop Welby recounted his strong public opposition to the British government’s same-sex marriage bill.  “In England, we in the church disagree with same-sex marriage because we honor marriage, not out of hate, or fear or anger.”

“I spoke at great personal cost” against the bill and received opprobrium and “hatred” from those who supported changing marriage. But as the Letter to the Hebrews said we must keep “the marriage bed undefiled”, the church could not support this change, just as it could not support “adultery or pornography.”

A “church that flourishes” is a church that is “based on the Bible” he said. “We all fail,” he said, because “we all sin,” but a “Biblically-centered, practically loving” church is what God wants Anglicans to be.

Archbishop and Gafcon Leaders size each other up: Church Times, October 21, 2013 October 21, 2013

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ARCHBISHOP Welby’s attempts at shuttle diplomacy, holding private meetings with leading members of the Communion’s liberal and conservative wings, was met with scepticism in Nairobi.

The GAFCON leaders knew that, a week earlier, the Archbishop had breakfasted in London with the former Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, the first openly partnered gay bishop.

The office of Archbishop of Canterbury could not serve as an honest broker between the factions, conservatives warned Archbishop Welby, but must stand with or against them. The issues were not political, but spiritual, one archbishop said, and thus not amenable to compromise.

Archbishop Welby’s whirlwind visit to Nairobi on Sunday provided an opportunity for him to take the measure of six Primates and half-a-dozen other key leaders, including the General Secretary of GAFCON, Dr Peter Jensen, and the retired Nigerian Archbishop, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, in a private meeting at All Saints’ Cathedral.

The conservatives also had an opportunity to size up Archbishop Welby. All of those questioned after the meetings expressed a personal regard for the man, but were sceptical that his office could provide a solution to the divisions within the Church if it sought to take a neutral stance.

“Archbishop Welby’s statement ‘The old ways are no longer appropriate, the old structures no longer work,’ given on the eve of GAFCON, give us hope,” Dr Jensen said. Nevertheless, the future envisioned by Archbishop Welby “began with GAFCON 2008”, Dr Jensen said. “It’s time for him to catch up.”

First printed in the Church Times.

The BBC and the perils of press releases: Get Religion, October 21, 2013 October 21, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, GAFCON, Get Religion.
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The BBC and the perils of press releases

October 21, 2013 By 0 Comments (Edit)

The BBC’s internet news division stumbled badly this week in its initial report on a major meeting of Anglican church leaders in Africa. The 20 October 2013 story entitled “Archbishop of Canterbury makes Kenya detour on way to Iceland” has already had one correction and substantial alteration but the underlying premise of the story remains flawed.

It demonstrates the perils of relying on a single source in reporting the news.

The opening paragraphs of the original version, reprinted by the London Evening Post, and the revised BBC version are identical. They begin:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has made a detour of more than 8,000 miles to visit Kenya – on his way to Iceland. Archbishop Justin Welby, who arrived on Saturday night, gave sermons at All Saints Cathedral on Sunday morning. He made the “last-minute” 24-hour trip to offer condolences after the Westgate centre attack, Lambeth Palace said.He is also meeting conservative Church leaders who are in Nairobi for this week’s conference of the traditionalist Anglican lobby group, Gafcon.

The story offers background on the trip to Iceland and the al-Shabaab terror attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. And then more details about the trip are added:

Archbishop Welby delivered sermons at 09:30 and 11:00 before having lunch with the Archbishop of Kenya and five Kenyan bishops. GAFCON2013 – the second such conference – will starts today and runs till Saturday. The original conference – held in Jerusalem in June 2008 – was organised in response to the appointment of actively gay men and women as bishops, especially in the US.

The stories then diverge. The original version stated:

Through the GAFCON movement, conservative Anglican provinces – mostly in parts of Africa but some in South and North America, Asia and the Middle East- have begun to function independently of the official Anglican Communion.

The revised version states:


Through the Gafcon movement, conservative Anglican provinces – mostly in parts of Africa but some in South and North America, Asia and the Middle East – have begun to function outside the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

And at the bottom of the revision we read this correction:

Correction 21 Oct 2013: This story has been amended to clarify that Gafcon remains within the Anglican Communion.

The problem here is the correction still is incorrect. As the correction notes the Gafcon movement remains within the Anglican Communion. To say they are acting “independently” is false. The churches who comprise the Gafcon movement represent the majority of all Anglicans. The correction stating they are outside the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury misunderstands the role of the office of the archbishop. He is not a pope nor are Anglicans outside the Church of England under his authority — and within the Church of England his authority is over the Province of Canterbury. The Archbishop of York holds authority in the Province of York. In short, the Archbishop of Canterbury has no more authority over Anglicans outside England than I, or you, do.

I should also note the facts presented in the story are false. For example, the BBC reports the archbishop had lunch “with the Archbishop of Kenya and five Kenyan bishops”. Yes, he did have lunch with these six people, but he also had lunch with the British High Commissioner, six other archbishops and a dozen or so Anglican worthies. I don’t know where the BBC got this information, but it certainly didn’t come from Nairobi.

And, the statement that the archbishop flew to Nairobi to offer support to the Kenyan people in the wake of the Westgate Mall bombing is false. It is not false in the sense that this is what the Lambeth Palace Press Office reported, but what Lambeth Palace said was untrue. If the BBC had bothered to contact the Gafcon conference organizers they would have learned the archbishop asked if he could meet the primates before the Westgate bombing took place.

How do I know this? I am in Nairobi reporting on the conference and I asked.

I might also add that in his sermons to the congregation of All Saints Cathedral the archbishop did not talk about al-Shabaab or terror. He spoke of Kenya’s Heroes’ Day (20 Oct) that commemorates the struggle against British colonial rule. He then focused on the Anglican Communion and the Gafcon conference. Nor did he visit the Mall or meet with ordinary Kenyans outside the cathedral.

By relying upon a single source and not verifying the information independently, the BBC propounded a false narrative. By being one sided and repeating information uncritically, the BBC let down the side.

A caveat, I may be violating one of Get Religion’s rules by reporting on a story in which I am peripherally involved. I am covering the conference for the church press and also appeared on the BBC’s Sunday programme after Archbishop Wabukala of Kenya offering my take on the latest perils of the Anglican Communion.

Ronald Reagan was right: trust but verify.

First printed in Get Religion.

Interview: BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme, October 20, 2013 October 20, 2013

Posted by geoconger in GAFCON, Interviews/Citations.
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Pay Day Loans; Christenings; Chief Rabbi

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 20 October 2013

It’s four years since the first Global Anglican Futures Conference met in Jerusalem. This grouping of traditionalist Anglicans grew out of disaffection with the direction the Anglican church was taking in the USA and UK, particularly in relation to the issue of homosexuality. The second conference is taking place next week in Nairobi, and William Crawley will be hearing about its current agenda from its chairman, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala. l

The new Chief Rabbi has come under fire from ultra orthodox Jews for his decision to attend the educational Limmud conference in December. Does this decision mark a change in relationships between the Chief Rabbinate and ultra-orthodoxy?

Hear the broadcast at this link:

A new survey on loneliness suggests that religious people may be more likely to be lonely than those without a faith. Trevor Barnes considers whether the church’s focus on the family can alienate those who live alone.

And – to baptise, give thanks or simply to party? Guardians, godparents or “oddparents”? Prince George’s parents will give him a traditional christening next week , but what do the rest of us do?

Producers: Rosie Dawson
Annabel Deas

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala
George Conger
Justin Cohen
Geoffrey Alderman
Stephen Evans
Bishop John Holbrook
Isobel Russo
Sheikh Mohammad Yacoubi.

Anglicans must be bridge-builders, Archbishop Welby tells Toronto conference: The Church of England Newspaper, October 11, 2013 p 1 October 16, 2013

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Toronto: The Anglican Communion must not lose its vocation as a bridge-building church, the Archbishop of Canterbury said last week in an address delivered at a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Toronto pan-Anglican Congress.

In an address via Skype to the “Back to the Anglican Future: The Toronto Congress 1963 and the Future of Global Communion” Conference organized by Wycliffe College of the University of Toronto on 18 September 2013 Archbishop Welby stated his vision for the future of the church drew inspiration from  Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ideal of the Church as “Christ existing as community”.

Archbishop Welby observed that “there never was a generation in the Church that does not see a truck coming at great speed to run it over.”

The 1963 Congress sought to reshape the church to address a rapidly changing world. Then, as now, “do we need to rethink” the ways we are approaching “the problems,” he asked.

The way forward, the archbishop said, is “to start not with what is around us” but examine the issues through the lens of “theology, anthropology and ecclesiology. Who is the God we serve? Who are we? What is the Church for?”

Approaching the divisions within the church today in this way “changes the way we see the Communion,” he said.

He stated he had recently read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s doctoral thesis “Sanctorum Communio: A Theological Study of the Sociology of the Church” and his views of the problems facing Anglicanism as well as the wider Christian world were informed by Bonhoeffer’s understanding of Luther’s dictum “simul iustus et peccator” – “simultaneously justified and sinful.”

“We focus over and over on the massive damage in our culture over changes in sexuality”, yet in “other parts of the world it is corruption, persecution, complacency or poverty. In many places it is all of these. What is the context the church is facing,” he asked.

“Financial corruption: the church is full of people who are financially corrupt” while in “places sexually corrupt,” he said. “We need to look at our context. We need to look at the Communion in light of our vocation” to change the world.

Greeting the Bishop of Egypt, the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis who sat in the front row of the audience gathered at St Paul’s Bloor Street in Toronto,  Archbishop Welby spoke of his visit to Egypt and Jerusalem in the company of Dr. Anis. There he “saw a small church. A minority of a minority, but one that has extraordinary influence, partly due to its bishop” he said with a nod to Dr. Annis, “but also because it is a bridge-builder.”

Anglicans are “being attacked where we are strongest,” he said. “We have a vocation to bring people together” and that is why we are being attacked by Satan.

“I am optimistic about the Anglican Communion,” he concluded, calling upon Anglicans to “seek the purpose of the church … [to ensure a] future of growth” through “reconciliation” and in this way harness the “energy” given to Anglicans by God to bring humanity into relationship with the living God.

The suffragan Bishop of Toronto, the Rt. Rev. Patrick Yu said he was he was encouraged by the archbishop’s words, and noted that when he had dined with the archbishop earlier this year, the archbishop said his priorities were “reconciliation and evangelism”.

Bishop Yu urged conference participants to “deeply embrace” these words, and by doing so, bring about the reform and renewal of the Anglican world.

Archbishop Welby to attend Gafcon primates’ meeting: The Church of England Newspaper, October 11, 2013 p 1. October 16, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has accepted an invitation to attend a meeting of the primates’ council of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans of the Gafcon movement.

The Most Rev. Justin Welby will attend part of the two-day gathering of archbishops at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, held immediately before the 21-26 October 2013 Gafcon Conference.

The general secretary of the FCA, Dr Peter Jensen, stated Archbishop Welby’s “decision to come to the Primates meeting is a recognition of the importance of such a large and significant gathering of Anglicans from around the world and he will be made very welcome.”

The FCA movement was birthed by the 2008 Gafcon conference in Jerusalem. It has since grown into a global reform movement within the Anglican Communion that seeks to strengthen the church by affirming the fundamentals of the Christian faith.  Leaders of the movement have also called for the reform of the current structures of the communion, expressing disappointment with what they believe to be the failures of the London-based institutions.

GAFCON Chairman the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya, had invited Archbishop Welby to address the 1200 delegates from around the Anglican world. However, the archbishop stated he was unable to attend as he had two prior engagements: a meeting of the Porvoo archbishops in Iceland, and the christening of Prince George of Cambridge at the Chapel Royal at St James’ Palace on 23 Oct.

The archbishop’s decision not to attend the meeting – made public last week – had disappointed conservatives. But writing in the current issue of the Churchman, Dr. Gerald Bray observed the archbishop had been placed in a difficult political position.

He noted that “although there will be a sizable contingent from England at GAFCON II, what authority will they have and who will they represent? It is a virtual certainty that none of the English diocesan bishops will be there, which will make it very difficult for the archbishop of Canterbury to attend on his own, even if he is invited. This is ironic, because the new archbishop is far more sympathetic to GAFCON than his predecessor was, and more in tune with it than most of his episcopal colleagues are.”

Dr. Bray observed that this “of course, is a large part of his problem. Even if he wanted to, Justin Welby cannot dismiss the bench of bishops and appoint men more in tune with his own way of thinking, and everyone knows that his eventual successor is almost certain to be of a very different persuasion. Banking on Canterbury’s support is therefore not a good long-term strategy for GAFCON, even if the present incumbent of the see is essentially on its side.”

The decline of the art of Anglican lying: Anglican Ink, October 7, 2013 October 8, 2013

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Yes Minister

I do not mean to suggest that the custom of lying has suffered any decay or interruption,–no, for the Lie, as a Virtue, a Principle, is eternal; the Lie, as a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man’s best and surest friend, is immortal, and cannot perish from the earth … My complaint simply concerns the decay of the art of lying. No high-minded man, no man of right feeling, can contemplate the lumbering and slovenly lying of the present day without grieving to see a noble art so prostituted.

Mark Twain. “On the Decay of the Art of Lying” (1882)

It pains me to see the decline of lying. Our forefathers were unsurpassed in the gentle art of polite fiction, of the little white  lie. The feeble attempts of our debased modern age are insults to a grand and glorious tradition of obfuscation. We are midgets standing on the shoulders of giants.

The dulling of the craft is most pronounced within the ranks of the Church. Monday’s announcement that the Archbishop of Canterbury will make a flying visit to Kenya in solidarity with the victims of the Westgate Mall terror attack is not only witless but unproductive – this silly explanation will not convince the liberal wing of the Church of England (it’s intended audience), will cause the conservatives to chortle and will insult the Churches of Pakistan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Nigeria.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Unforced Anglican errors from the Telegraph: Get Religion, October 7, 2013 October 7, 2013

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The Telegraph has waded into the waters of international Anglican affairs — and I’m afraid someone should toss a life line as it is about to go under. The article on the forthcoming meeting in Nairobi of Anglican leaders entitled “Challenge to Welby as traditionalist Anglicans stage ‘fragmentation’ summit” is not up to the newspaper’s usual standard. It has the story backwards.

As TMatt, the editor here at Get Religion, tells me, I sometimes wander off topic. — In my misspent youth I served my time in the salt mines of Wall Street. My first job out of college was as a floor clerk at the Commodities Exchange for Drexel Burham Lambert. It was the 1980’s, God was in his heaven, Reagan in the White House, greed was good and all was right with the world.

One of the memories I still have of those golden days was the Time cover theory of investing. In a nutshell, when Time magazine ran a cover story on the market or the economy, a smart investor would bet the other way. Paul Montgomery, an analyst with Legg Mason Wood Walker, had compared market returns to Time magazine covers going back to the early Twentieth century and found the trend profiled by Time would last on average for about a month, but a year after the cover story hit the streets the opposite conditions would prevail.

Montgomery’s theory held true (at least when I was playing the markets). Every time in the 1980’s Time featured Fed Chairman Paul Volcker on its cover, interest rates subsequently moved contrary to the sentiment of the story. On 4 July 1988 Time ran a story entitled “The Big Dry” that predicted higher bean prices as a result of a drought in the Midwest.  Bean prices had been rising sharply through May and June, but the rally died the week the magazine hit the newsstands. (The second story about the super future of Japan in that issue is just as off base.) But I digress.

These memories of a distant past led me to wonder if we are seeing the start of a trend in Anglican affairs. Bet against the predictions made by the daily newspapers and you are likely to come out the winner.

I should also add a disclaimer. I have written for the Telegraph as a freelancer, providing stories from overseas Anglican jamborees in years past. That having been said; the article is quite extraordinary. Below the headline and above the photo comes this statement:

The Archbishop of Canterbury is facing what could be the biggest challenge to his leadership so far as a more than 1,000 traditionalist clerics stage a summit expected to formalise the “fragmentation” of the of the worldwide Anglican church.

The story does not state its source for this claim. This may be due to this assertion not being true. The conference scheduled for 21-26 Oct 2013 at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi is the second Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON). The claim that this will be Archbishop Welby’s “biggest challenge” and may “formalise the ‘fragmentation'” of the Anglican Communion is ludicrous.

Let me put it another way — it is simply untrue. The article admits as much when it goes on to say the Anglican Communion has been fragmented for over five years.

I have been reporting on the preparations for this conference for over a year and if what the Telegraph says is true then half a dozen archbishops have been lying to me, or they are being misled by their staffers.The article starts of in high snark mode.

More than 1,000 bishops, archbishops and senior clergy, claiming to represent around 40 million Anglicans, are due to gather in Kenya later this month to discuss what they see as a liberal drift within the Church of England and other western branches of the church.

“Claiming”? The clergy and lay leaders representing churches that comprise over two-thirds of Anglicans will be present at the meeting. How is that a claim? “What they see as a liberal drift”? Way to telegraph your sentiments. These hot headed Africans and their knuckle-dragging troglodyte American allies see reds under the bed. The next line offers more assertions.

It comes five years after more than 200 bishops boycotted the once-in-a-decade Lambeth Conference, openly defying the then Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams over what they saw as his liberal stance on homosexuality. They staged a rival gathering in Jerusalem – the so-called Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) – forming what has been widely characterised as a “church within a church”.

Now, the group is staging a second gathering, this time in Nairobi, where leaders from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australasia hope to establish new, more permanent organisational structures, rejecting the existing Anglican Communion arrangements as a “colonial” relic.

The event is timed to mark 10 years since the consecration of the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, the Rt Rev Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in the US – the catalyst for the crisis which has divided the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion ever since.

Where to begin. Yes “more than 200 bishops” did not show up at Lambeth 2008. The exact number was 214 but there was no official statement from the Conference or the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office. How do we know this? I counted.

In 2008 the conference press officers declined to tell me how many bishops had skipped the meeting. With a straight face they said they were prevented by the “Data Protection Act” from saying who was at the meeting and who was not. (A creative way to avoid admitting to a fiasco.) So I counted heads and reported:

Of those identified as absent by CEN, 214 bishops from 10 provinces made an affirmative decision not to accept Dr. Williams’ invitation due to reasons of conscience: Australia 7; Southern Cone 1; Episcopal Church 1; Church of England 3; Uganda 30; Nigeria 137; Kenya 25; Rwanda 8; South East Asia 1; and Jerusalem and the Middle East 1. From Africa’s 324 dioceses, 200 diocesan bishops (61 percent) were identified as having refused Dr. Williams’ invitation.

The organizers of the 2008 conference were at great pains to stress theirs was not a rival to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s shindig — and many of the bishops present at the Gafcon conference went on to Canterbury.

And, the timing of the current meeting has nothing to do with the anniversary of Gene Robinson’s consecration — the conference organizers have been trying to put a conference together for some time and at the midpoint between the 2008 and the forthcoming 2018 Lambeth Conference finally have the money in hand to meet.

And, no, Gafcon II is not going to set up a parallel church. It has no authority or ability to do so. Some within the conservative movement may wish to see the existing structures reformed or removed, but no one is seriously suggesting what the Telegraph has implied. For one, the African-led churches do not have the money.

The article states the conference will draw up an “action plan” on marriage and sexuality, “which will be an uncompromising reassertion of a traditionalist interpretation of the Bible.” And then the Telegraph goes on to speculate:

That is likely to set them on a collision course with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, who has openly signalled that he is reassessing his own views on the subject.

Although Archbishop Welby comes from the born-again evangelical wing of the Church and voted against David Cameron’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill, he has recently spoken about wanting to get his “mind clear” on the issue.

He told a meeting in August that the Church needed to face up to the fact that most young people, including Christians, thought that its stance on gay marriage was “wicked”.

The problem with this assertion is that the archbishop has subsequently clarified his remarks, and is not climbing down or backing away from his traditional views. His signal flags are now flying the other way.

The story then notes:

Although Archbishop Welby was invited, he has signalled that he will not be attending because of a prior commitment meeting European church leaders.

Again we have a problem. The archbishop will be in Iceland for a meeting of Northern European Anglican and Lutheran archbishops on the first day of the conference, but he has a second conflict as well on the Wednesday — the little matter of the baptism of Prince George of Cambridge at the Chapel Royal at St James Palace. Christening the future King of England is an excuse to miss just about any engagement. He will, however, be addressing the gathering via video and will attend a private meeting with the archbishops organizing the meeting the day before the conference kick off.

The bottom line with this story is that it is repackaged conventional wisdom. There is no reporting here, only opinions. And dodgy ones at that.

And yes, wish me safe travels as I head on down to Nairobi for the fun.

First printed in Get Religion.

Justin Welby not going to Gafcon II: Anglican Ink, October 1, 2013 October 2, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will not be attending the GAFCON II Conference in Nairobi this month, a spokesman tells Anglican Ink, due to a schedule conflict.

A spokesman from the Lambeth Press Office said the Archbishop had been invited to address the 21-26 October 2013 meeting of centrist and conservative Anglican leaders set for All Saints’ Cathedral in Nairobi. However, he “is unable to attend because of a long-standing commitment on the same date. He will be sending a pre-recorded video greeting,” the spokesman said.

On 23 Oct, the Archbishop will baptize Prince George of Cambridge at the Chapel Royal at St James’ Palace in London.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

Archbishop Welby sets the agenda for the Anglican future: Anglican Ink, September 24, 2013 September 24, 2013

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Archbishop Welby speaking to the Toronto conference via Skype on 18 Sept 2013

Toronto: The Archbishop of Canterbury has laid out his vision for a reformed and renewed Anglican Communion during an address delivered last week at Wycliffe College of the University of Toronto.

The Anglican way forwards was through a church whose mission and message had a concrete impact on the real world of modern men and women. But this church was not merely a vehicle for good works, but one that took a wholly Christ-centered approach to theology and was grounded entirely in the New Testament.

In an unscripted address via Skype to the “Back to the Anglican Future: The Toronto Congress 1963 and the Future of Global Communion” Conference held on 18 September 2013 Archbishop Welby acknowledged the impact of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ideal of the Church as “Christ existing as community” as his guide.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

Church to help fill the gap of govt housing cutbacks, archbishop declares: Anglican Ink, September 20, 2013 September 21, 2013

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The regeneration of England is a moral as well as economic project that must be undertaken by the Church of England in partnership with voluntary aid associations, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the National Housing Federation conference in Birmingham this week.

The archbishop’s 20 September 2013 speech follows upon moves led by Archbishop Welby to reengage England through social activism such as fighting the scourge of money lenders and strengthening families through economic empowerment. However, the archbishop was clear that social action in and of itself was not the ultimate end, but the outworking of God’s love in the heart of the believer reflected outwards to the world.

In Britain housing associations provide low-cost “social housing” through low cost rentals and financial assistance for home buyers. These not-for-profit associations had been at the “forefront of facing the responsibility of deprivation, of homelessness, of urban regeneration and rural regeneration since the 1930s,” the archbishops said.

“The work you do through your Housing Associations provides security and stability for your tenants, and that work makes possible the growth of strong and supportive communities. No one else can do it, and the strength, flexibility and development of Housing Associations is the envy of most parts of the voluntary sector,” he said.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

American centrist mission to Canterbury: The Church of England Newspaper, September 13, 2013 p 6. September 12, 2013

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Six bishops represent the Communion Partners Group – a conservative centrist coalition of clergy in the Episcopal Church – have met with the Archbishop of Canterbury to brief him on the state of the American church.

On 26 August 2013 the bishops released a statement, under the signature of the Rt. Rev. Michael Smith, Bishop of North Dakota, saying they had “prayed together” with Archbishop Justin Welby at the Old Palace in Canterbury and had “discussed a range of issues concerning the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church.”

Bishop Smith’s letter did not give details of the meeting but explained “our vocation as Communion Partners” was “to navigate” the “dangerous extremes” dividing the Communion – a reference to Archbishop Welby’s Monterrey sermon of 13 August 2013.

In his Mexico sermon Archbishop Welby likened the Anglican Communion to a “drunk man walking near the edge of a cliff, we trip and totter and slip and wander, ever nearer to the edge of the precipice.”

Anglicans were treading a “narrow path” between “an absence of any core beliefs, a chasm where we lose touch with God, and thus we rely only on ourselves and our own message. On the other side there is a vast fall into a ravine of intolerance and cruel exclusion. It is for those who claim all truth, and exclude any who question.”

Archbishop Welby’s words were heard in the United States by some commentators to describe Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her liberal camp and Archbishop Robert Duncan and his conservative followers.  The Communion Partners’ mission, sources tell CEN was an attempt to inform Archbishop Welby the American scene was more complex – with many seeking to walk the same path as the archbishop.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 80: August 31, 2013 September 1, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican.TV, Church of England, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Fort Worth, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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Published on Sep 1, 2013

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Communion Bishops go to Canterbury 00:00
Texas & South Carolina Victories 07:23
Teaching Americans how to speak English 18:11
It is Just a War 31:50
Trimming the dead branches 39:38
Closing and Bloooopers 44:21

Anglican Unscripted Episode 79, August 24, 2013 August 25, 2013

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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Drunken or Poisoned? 00:00
How Via Media Works 10:34
Peter Ould 16:38
Egypt 26:18

Anglican Unscripted Episode 77: July 31, 2013 July 31, 2013

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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.


RECIFE 15:59

Anglican Unscripted Episode 76, July 16, 2013 July 16, 2013

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This Week’s Anglican Unscripted talks about itself? Well, it is the second anniversary of AU and George and Kevin are still bewildered by the shows success. Your Hosts also talk about the Summer of Egypt and the plight of Christian Brothers and Sisters in the Middle East. There has also been a shakeup at Lambeth Palace (per Kevin and George’s request? ) and this week’s AU talks about PR and bad PR.

Allan Haley discusses the Legal wranglings of the Opera and Peter talks about the problem with Sex, Decisions, and Timing in the Church of England.

Kevin and George close out the program talking about the Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman court decision. And, your hosts are still fundraising for a trip to GAFCON! Tweet: #AU76 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

00:00 AU 2nd Anniversary
10:49 Egypt’s Sizzling Summer
16:37 Lambeth Press Relations
21:08 A Night at the Opera
29:00 Same Sex Sex
41:26 Gafcon in the News
48:29 Trayvon
52:15 George Health Update / Gafcon News

African rebuke for Justin Welby: The Church of England Newspaper, July 14, 2013 p 6. July 13, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has let down the wider Anglican Communion through his half-hearted defense of marriage in the House of Lords debates on the government’s same-sex marriage bill, the leader of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala Archbishop of Kenya, said last week.

Justin Welby’s perceived lack of confidence in the Bible and his failure so far to exercise leadership on the international Anglican scene prompted the public rebuke — the first formal statement by the leader of the global South coalition of churches.

In a letter released last week to supporters of the FCA, a global Anglican renewal movement, Archbishop Wabukala said Archbishop Welby and the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. John Sentamu, appeared to have compromised the Christian faith in an attempt to curry favor with secular Britain and with the liberal Anglican Churches of North America.

“We are painfully aware that the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada continue to promote a false gospel and yet both are still received as in good standing by the Archbishop of Canterbury,” Dr. Wabukala wrote.

“Furthermore, the Church of England itself, the historic mother church of the Communion, seems to be advancing along the same path. While defending marriage, both the Archbishops of York and Canterbury appeared at the same time to approve of same-sex Civil Partnerships during parliamentary debates on the UK’s ‘gay marriage’ legislation, in contradiction to the historic biblical teaching on human sexuality reaffirmed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference,” he said.

The Church of England and the North American churches have been in decline, with some branches of “the Church of Christ … being claimed by the world through compromise and false teaching.”

At the same time the evangelical Anglican churches in the developing world had seen explosive growth with millions converted to the Christian faith, even when “tested by violent persecution” from without and challenged internally by “nominalism and tribalism, he noted.

In 1970 the number of Anglicans in Africa stood at 7.7 million. African Anglican Church membership grew through conversions from Islam and indigenous faiths to 50.8 million in 2010 and is expected to reach 65 million by 2020, a report published last month by Gordon-Conwell Seminary in the U.S. predicted.

“In these circumstances, attempts to achieve unity” among Anglicans across the globe “based merely on common humanitarianism and dialogue, without repentance,” was doomed to fail as it sacrifice “the transforming power of the gospel.”

The “seeds of the East African revival transformed a cold were planted through years of faithful bible teaching and were brought to life by the Spirit of God, with deep conviction of sin and the irrepressible joy of sins forgiven,” the archbishop said.

“This is the core of the transforming power of the gospel and in this we delight.”

Archbishop Welby to tour Holy Land: The Church of England Newspaper, June 30, 2013 p 6. June 28, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Israel.
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The Lambeth Palace press office reports the Archbishop of Canterbury will make his first visit Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories this week.

Archbishop Justin Welby will meet with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, tour biblical sites and meet with government and civil society figures.

The press statement said the Archbishop was “making this trip early in his ministry because of the significance of the region, the importance of the relationships that his office has there, and because he is keenly aware of the particular pressures on the region at the moment – not least the devastating conflict in Syria, and its impact more widely.”

Accompanied by the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, the Bishop of Egypt and primate of the province and the Bishop in Jerusalem the Rt Rev Suheil Dawani, Archbishop Welby is scheduled to meet the Coptic Patriarch, Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb.

In Jerusalem, the Archbishop will meet the Patriarchs and Head of Churches in Jerusalem and representatives of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

He had been scheduled to meet Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, but the Ashkenazi chief rabbi has suspended himself from ministry and will refrain from carrying out any official roles during a police inquiry into charges of fraud and bribery allegations. Police raided his home and office last week following an undercover investigation into his financial dealings. The Chief Rabbi denies  the allegations.

Archbishop Welby will visit the Church of the Resurrection, the Western Wall, and Yad Vashem as well as the church hospital in Ramallah.

The Israeli press has welcomed the new Archbishop’s visit. An editorial in Arutz Sheva noted: “Archbishop Welby’s visit is highly symbolic. It is a sign that he is willing to embrace Christianity’s (and his own) Jewish roots, which is particularly important at a time when many in the Church – especially on the Left – are distancing themselves from the biblical concept of the Jews as the people destined to reside in the land of Israel.”

Archbishop of Canterbury to meet with Pope Francis in Rome: The Church of England Newspaper, June 16, 2013 p 6. June 20, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will hold his first meeting with Pope Francis on 14 June 2013 at the Vatican.

The Archbishop’s official diary states he “will be travelling to Rome, accompanied by Mrs Welby, for a personal and fraternal visit to Pope Francis on 14 June. … A more extended visit, for Archbishop Justin to engage with various other Vatican officials, will happen later in the year.”

On 4 June 2013 Msgr. Mark Langham told Vatican Radio this would be “important” but “informal, brief courtesy visit” to Pope Francis. The meeting has been scheduled so that the heads of the two churches can “get to know each other better and more deeply,” he said.

A press release from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said the Friday meeting will be an “opportunity for the Archbishop and Pope Francis to review the present state of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion.”

The statement said: “In particular, the interest shown by Archbishop Welby in global justice and the ethical regulation of financial markets so that they do not oppress men and women, is echoed in the constant teaching of the Holy Father. Ever since his experience as an executive in an oil company, Archbishop Welby has placed great emphasis on reconciliation, and has continued to press for the resolution of conflicts within the Church and society. This also evokes Pope Francis’ own call to build bridges between people of every nation, so that they may be seen not as rivals and threats, but as brothers and sisters.”

The statement added that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, “will accompany the Archbishop of Canterbury on this visit” and that his presence is “a sign of their close relations”.

In addition to meeting the pope Archbishop Welby is scheduled to visit the Excavations beneath St Peter’s Basilica to pray at the tomb of St Peter, visit the tomb of John Paul II and lunch with Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at Saint Martha’s, the lodging house for Vatican visitors where Francis lives.

Put not your trust in Huffington Post headlines: Get Religion, June 18, 2013 June 18, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ordinariate, Archbishop of Canterbury, ARCIC, Church of England, Get Religion, Press criticism, Roman Catholic Church.
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I know a maiden fair to see,
Take care!
She can both false and friendly be,
Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s advice about women — especially blondes …

And she has hair of a golden hue,
Take care!
And what she says, it is not true,
Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!

… is also good advice in reading headlines. As your GetReligionistas have stressed many times, seldom does a reporter get to write his own title. Yet when a sub-editor makes a mess of a headline the blame is laid at the reporter’s feet when the claim made in the title is not substantiated in the text. There have been times when stories I have written appear under a title that implies the opposite of what I reported.

Sometime back I was commissioned to write an article on a lecture given by the literary critic and philosopher René Girard at Oxford. I gave the story my all and … when I opened the paper after it came off the truck from the printer I found my article nicely displayed on page 5 with a beautiful photo of Girard scoring a goal in a World Cup match.

Too bad René Girard the philosopher and René Girard the soccer player are two different people. Perhaps my readers thought I was being droll, commenting on the élan vital of Girard’s latest book on mimesis by reference to the 1982 France v Poland match. Or they thought I was an idiot.

These meditations on my less than glorious moments in journalism are prompted by a Reuters article on the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s visit to Rome to meet with Pope Francis. The Huffington Post headlined the story: “Pope And Archbishop Of Canterbury Meet, Note Differences On Women Ordination, Gay Rights”.

While I was not in Rome for the press conference at the Venerable English College where Archbishop Welby and Vincent Nichols the Archbishop of Westminster spoke at the end of their day at the Vatican, this headline indicated I missed a major event. Until now Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby held near identical views on gay rights, same-sex marriage, and civil liberties of persons with same-sex attractions. Oh to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting! What had they said to each other?

I dove into the Reuters story looking for details. But there was nothing there. I could quibble here and there with some of the language and editorial asides made by the author:

It was the boldest step by the Vatican to welcome back Anglicans since King Henry VIII broke with Rome and set himself up at the head of the new Church of England in 1534.

An Anglican would say Henry made himself Supreme Governor not head — the head of the church is Christ (there is a difference) and there was nothing “new” in a Church of England in 1534 — “new” implying a discontinuity between the pre and post 1534 church. A frightful papistical canard. Or:

In January this year, the Church of England lifted a ban on gay male clergy who live with their partners from becoming bishops on condition they pledge to stay celibate, deepening a rift in the Anglican community over homosexuality.

A celibate person is an unmarried person. A chaste person is someone who refrains from illicit sexual behavior. I assume Reuters meant to say chaste, meaning conforming to the church’s teaching that “in view of the teaching of scripture, [the Anglican Communion] upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage”. The working assumption is that clergy in civil partnerships are celibate, because they are unmarried, and chaste as they are to abstain from sexual relations outside of (traditional) marriage.

And it is the Anglican Communion, not community. Community implies an ashram in the woods somewhere, or a collection of sensibly dressed nuns in their cloister. (True there are such Anglican communities — religious with pearls and twin sets) but this is not what Reuters is likely to have in mind — but perhaps this is the “women” link to the headline?


The Church, struggling to remain relevant in modern Britain despite falling numbers of believers, published a plan in May to approve the ordination of women bishops by 2015, after the reform narrowly failed to pass last November.

It was the bishops — not the church — who published the plan. It still must be approved by the General Synod, which if the plan goes forward as currently written will likely be turned aside once more.

Anything about gays in the Reuters story? Nothing at all.

I looked about the web and found The Chicago Tribune had run the same item, but with a different title: “Pope Francis and new Anglican leader meet, note differences.” Rather a where’s Waldo headline — written for a bored seven year old. One is in purple, one in white. One has his wife with him (in the background) one has cardinals, etc.

I looked on the Reuters web page to see if the Huffington Post had shortened the article for space reasons, but found they had lengthened the title instead. The suggested title read: Pope Francis and new Anglican leader meet, note differences.” The gays and women bits came from the Huffington Post’s scribes — not Reuters.

Checking further I found I had not missed a major ecumenical story by staying home as La Stampa and the Guardian reported these comments by Archbishop Welby at the press briefing. La Stampa wrote:

Questioned whether he and Pope Francis had discussed the question of marriage and the debate over gay marriage, Archbishop Welby said “we are absolutely at one on the issues” by which he meant on the question of marriage (understood in the traditional Christian sense as between a man and a woman). He revealed that the Pope told him that he had read the speech he given recently to the House of Lords in which he opposed the British Government’s bill to introduce marriage between persons of the same sex.

Archbishop Welby added that he and Pope Francis are “equally at one in the condemnation of homophobic behavior” and “our sense that the essential dignity of the human being is where you start, and that is one of the absolute root foundations of all behavior, and the moment you start treating people as a category rather than as human beings with this essential dignity you have begun to lose the plot”.

What is the moral of the story?

Read the article, not just the headline. Though I will admit the Huffington Post editor who wrote this headline succeeded in his job, which is getting me to read the article. That is a different task than the reporter’s job of fairly presenting the news. Beware! You’ve been warned.

First printed in Get Religion.

RNS blames Catholics for Anglican ecumenical ills: Get Religion, June 14, 2013 June 14, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ordinariate, Archbishop of Canterbury, ARCIC, Church of England, Get Religion, Roman Catholic Church.
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Opinion presented as fact dominates several stories in the run up to today’s meeting of Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Some of the stories are crafted as news analysis pieces. This BBC story begins with fact and then transitions into the analysis, using the phrase “our correspondent said” to demarcate the line between the two. The reader may choose to accept the reporter’s interpretation, or not.

Some stories like this report from the Religion News Service as printed by the Washington Post combine fact and opinion but do not disclose to the reader what they are reading is not news.

This is a problem of the contents of the package not matching the label. In this case the problem is compounded by false information and faulty analysis.

The lede in the RNS story reports this will be the first meeting between the new pope and the new archbishop before turning to a statement from the Vatican official overseeing that churches relations with Anglicans.

Welby’s visit to Rome will be “short but very significant,” said the Rev. Mark Langham, the Vatican’s point man on dialogue with Anglicans. While its primary purpose is to allow the two leaders to get to know each other, he noted that they share the same concerns about poverty and the global economic crisis.

I’m not familiar with all different stylebooks out there: Associated Press, Times of London, New York Times, etc., but I’m quite sure all would agree that on first reference a full title is provided. Mark Langham holds the rank or office of Monsignor. This difficulty with labeling extends to a description of the second person quoted in the story.

On the issue of an “economy for the people,” they have “many ideas in common,” said Archbishop David Moxon, the Anglican representative in Rome.

Archbishop Moxon, the former primate of the Anglican Church in Aoteroa, New Zealand and Polynesia, is not the Anglican representative in Rome. There is no such office. Archbishop Moxonn is the director of the Anglican Center in Rome and may have a quasi official/unofficial commission from the Archbishop of Canterbury to facilitate communication between the two churches, but he has no authority to speak on behalf of the Anglican Communion or does he hold a commission akin to a papal nuncio or ambassador.

The article then moves into opinion and gets into trouble. The question of labeling is merely a quibble and is excusable given the shorthand reporters must use to convey as much information into as small a space as they can. But the account of the troubles between Anglicans and Catholics offered by RNS places the blame on the Catholics.

With new leadership on both sides, the relationship between Anglicans and Catholics could be primed for a reset after several years of tension following Pope Benedict XVI’s controversial initiative to woo back disgruntled Anglicans. For years, the Catholic Church has been critical of the Anglicans’ decision to ordain women priests in the Church of England, and is unhappy over steps to allow women bishops. Relations between the two churches were strained in 2009 when the Vatican announced a special structure, called an “ordinariate,” to allow conservative Anglicans to convert to Catholicism while retaining bits of their Anglican tradition. When he was still in Argentina, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio’s Anglican counterpart recalled him saying that he thought the special structure for Anglicans was “unnecessary,” and that the Catholic Church “needs us as Anglicans.”

But both Moxon and Langham stress that the tensions are now past, pointing out that an official dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics that had been suspended in 2007 over the ordination of an openly gay bishop by U.S. Episcopalians had been recently restarted.

In principle, I would prefer the Anglican or Episcopalian side to be presented in the best light. But the argument that the Catholic response to Anglican innovations in doctrine and discipline is the problem, not the changes themselves, is extraordinary. And the facts presented in support of this contention are incorrect.

Since the project began in 1969 there have been three sessions of the Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC): 1970-1981, 1983-2005, 2009 to present.  In the early days of ARCIC there was hope that a series of agreed statements would emerge which would uncover a common faith, on the basis of which corporate reunion might be possible. Statements on Ministry, Sacraments and other topics were produced but they were never officially accepted by the Vatican as being an adequate representation of Catholic belief.

Nor were other statements accepted by Anglicans. The second ARCIC commission studied the doctrine of salvation, communion, and the churches’ teaching authority and produced a paper on the role of Mary. I attended the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham in 2005  and recall the vociferous objections to the paper from evangelicals, who rejected the report out of hand.

The Anglican decision to ordain women further divided the churches, while the Anglican civil war over homosexuality has ended hopes for corporate reunion. A review of my notes and reporting from the 2008 Lambeth Conference — the every 10 year gathering of Anglican bishops —  recorded Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect for the Congregation of the Evangelisation of Peoples, speculating the Anglican Communion was suffering from “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and was in danger of forgetting its apostolic roots as it followed the spirit of the age in determining doctrine and discipline.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster said there was little point in pursuing theological dialogue when Anglicans failed to live up to their side of the agreements.  “If we are to make progress through dialogue we must be able to reach a solemn and binding agreement with our dialogue partners. And we want to see a deepening not a lessening of communion in their own ecclesial life.”

Anglicans must decide who they are and what they believe before any meaningful dialogue can take place, he argued as “these discussions are about the degree of unity in faith necessary for Christians to be in communion, not least so that they may be able to offer the Gospel confidently to the world. Our future dialogue will not be easy until such fundamental matters are resolved, with greater clarity,” I reported him as saying.

And Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity chastised the Anglican Communion for its disorder and lack of theological seriousness. He urged Anglicans to embark on a new “Oxford Movement” to revitalize the church, but he also warned that moves by the Church of England to introduce women bishops and its laxity over gay clergy had effectively ended the quest for Roman recognition of the validity of Anglican orders.

Contrary to the assertions made in the RNS piece, Pope Benedict’s formation of an Anglican Ordinariate did nothing to harm Anglican-Catholic relations, apart from embarrassing the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. And this embarrassment was due to his not having been in the know, not because a group of Anglicans were convinced of the truth claims of the Catholic Church. This embarrassment was not enough to derail the third round of ARCIC talks that began under their watch in 2009.

Anglican clergy who have entered the Catholic Church and have sought to be re-ordained as Catholic priests may have been horrified by Anglican events of recent years, but they became Catholics because they believed the truth claims of the Catholic Church. Gay bishops and blessings, women clergy and inclusive language liturgies may well have sharpened the mind, but the Catholic Church is not a girl picked up on the rebound from a bad break up.

I do not know what talks were suspended in 2007 as reported in the RNS piece — perhaps a local dialogue? — but there were no ARCIC talks to be suspended in 2007.

When RNS advances an argument that the Catholic recalcitrance to accept changes made by some Anglicans to the faith and order of their church is the cause of friction between Canterbury and Rome, that is called an editorial.

First printed at Get Religion.

Archbishop of Canterbury to make a flying visit to Rome: Anglican Ink, June 6, 2013 June 6, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Roman Catholic Church.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will hold his first meeting with Pope Francis on 14 June 2013 at the Vatican. The Archbishop’s official diary states he “will be travelling to Rome, accompanied by Mrs Welby, for a personal and fraternal visit to Pope Francis on 14 June. … A more extended visit, for Archbishop Justin to engage with various other Vatican officials, will happen later in the year.”

On Tuesday Msgr. Mark Langham told Vatican Radio this would be “important” but “informal, brief courtesy visit” to Pope Francis.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Prayers for the release of kidnapped Syrian bishops: The Church of England Newspaper, May 5, 2013 p 6. May 5, 2013

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The Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster have issued a call to prayer for peace in Syria.

On 25 April 2013 Archbishop Justin Welby and Vincent Nichols issued a joint statement in response to the kidnapping of Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim, the Syriac Orthodox bishop of Aleppo and Boulos Yaziji, the Greek Orthodox archbishop of the city. The two clerics were abducted on 22 April in Kafr Dael near the Turkish border. Their driver, a Syriac Orthodox deacon, was killed.

Mgr. Jean-Clement Jeanbart, Greek Melkite bishop of Aleppo, told AsiaNews. “The Catholic and Orthodox Churches are doing their best to mediate with the kidnappers,” but “at present no one understands the reasons for this act and who is behind these criminals.”

The English Archbishop said their prayers “go with the ancient communities of our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria. The kidnapping” was “another telling sign of the terrible circumstances that continue to engulf all Syrians.”

“We both continue to pray for a political solution to this tragic conflict that would stem the terrible violence and also empower all Syrians with their fundamental and inalienable freedoms,” The Anglican and Catholic archbishops said. “We also call for urgent humanitarian aid to reach all who are suffering. We pray that Syria can recapture its tradition of tolerance, rooted in faith and respect for faiths living side by side.”

African boycott expected at this week’s Primates Meeting: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013 p 7. March 26, 2013

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Leaders of the Global South coalition of Anglican archbishops will not attend a special primates meeting to be held after the 21 March 2013 installation of Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury.

While African and Asian church leaders will attend the services at Canterbury Cathedral, they will not attend a private meeting scheduled to take place after the ceremony.

“Nothing has changed since Dublin,” one leader told The Church of England Newspaper.

Only 23 of the Communion’s 38 provinces were represented at the 24–30 January 2011 “rump” primates meeting in Dublin. In a 21 January 2011 statement published on the Global South Anglican website, a spokesman said the decision to stay home was “not a sudden or knee-jerk reaction.”

In the course of several conversations and in a group meeting at the All Africa Bishops Conference in 2010, the Global South Primates “indicated that it would be extremely difficult – and in fact, quite pointless – for them to be present at the planned Primates’ Meeting 2011.”

They told Dr. Rowan Williams unless the American Church was prepared to honour its past undertakings and the decisions of the Lambeth Conference and Primates’ Meetings, they believed it was a waste of time and resources to attend. In 2011 the Primates also voiced frustration with the lack of communications coming from London.

“What is most disturbing and difficult is that given the intractable miry situation the Communion is already in and being further driven into, there was hardly any timely and intentional prior consultation and collegial engagement of all concerned, or at least as many as reasonably possible, in preparing for the Meeting to ensure certain degree of significant and principally legitimate outcome to hold and move the Communion together.

“As it stands, the Meeting is almost pre-determined to end up as just another gathering that again cannot bring about effective ecclesial actions, despite the precious time, energy and monetary resources that Primates and Provinces have invested in attending the Meeting,” the GS Primates concluded.

“With the disappointing lack of serious transparent planning and leadership beforehand to prepare the Primates for a genuine meeting of minds and hearts to face the very real and obvious issues before us, it will be strenuous to expect any significant, meaningful, credible and constructive outcome of the Dublin Meeting,” they argued.

The presence of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church of the USA at this week’s meeting was one of a number of reasons the Global South primates decided not to attend the special meeting, CEN was told. Nor has the situation that helped by the December decision by the Church of England plans to allow gay clergy in civil partnerships to become bishops.

Until the structures are reformed the communion remains broken, one leader said.

Anglican accolades for Francis I: Anglican Ink, March 13, 2013 March 14, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has offered his congratulations to Francis I, the first Latin American and first Jesuit pope.

Francis’ election is “of great significance to Christians everywhere, not least among Anglicans. We have long since recognised—and often reaffirmed—that our churches hold a special place for one another. I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors. May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world,” Archbishop Welby said.

The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori was less effusive. “The Episcopal Church will pray for the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis I, and for the possibility of constructive dialogue and cooperation between our Churches.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 65: February 20, 2013 February 21, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Roman Catholic Church.
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This week Kevin and George tackle the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI — bantering about the fallout from the press and his decade of achievements. Justin Welby the Archbishop of Canterbury had his first week at Lambeth Palace and your Hosts bring you insider perspectives and remark on his first three achievements. In response to your questions and prompting we tackle Gafcon II and the lack of intel available and AU65 finishes with a frank discussion about Ashes-2-Go. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com #AU65 http://www.anglican.tv

The New York Times’ Conservative love affair: Get Religion, February 4, 2013 February 5, 2013

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The New York Times may not love American conservatives, but they are certainly enamored with a British one, David Cameron. His push to introduce gay marriage in England, over the objections of the rank and file members of his party, has the paper swooning.

There does not seem to be a way to keep gay issues or advocacy out of the New York Times. The Gray Lady finds this angle in just about any story. Today’s example comes in an article that combines the news of the confirmation of election of the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby with the first vote in Parliament on the government’s gay marriage bill.

Unfortunately the article tries a little too hard to link these stories. Combining the two events may have seemed a good idea to an editor not familiar with the issues, but it does not work as a single piece. “New Archbishop of Canterbury Takes Office” has some factual errors, faulty assumptions, insufficient context and a lack of balance.

The article begins:

On the eve of a divisive vote in Parliament on the legalization of same-sex marriage, Justin Welby, the former bishop of Durham, on Monday took over formally as the 105th archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, saying he shares the Church of England’s opposition to marriage among people of the same gender.

The lede is fairly straight forward, but I wondered why the author tortured the opening with such strained language — “marriage of people of the same gender”. Have I missed a new style directive to mimic “people of color” when describing gay issues?

And, how many Anglicans are there? The New York Times says 77 million. In the interview cited later in the story, the archbishop says 80 million — which includes 20 odd million Englishmen and women (when only a tenth of that number attend services). What is the source for this number? But I digress.

The article notes the new archbishop took office today replacing Dr. Rowan Williams, and then moves to a post-ceremony interview.

In an interview broadcast on the BBC after his inauguration, the new archbishop said he was not on a “collision course” with the government. But he endorsed the traditional view that while the church has no objection to civil partnerships between people of the same gender, it is, as a recent church statement put it, “committed to the traditional understanding of the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman.”

This paragraph also struck me as odd. Not for what it reports about the new archbishop’s sentiments, but in its report of who reported what. The BBC story did not have the “collision course” phrase. That appears in an ITV story. The story broadcast by the BBC I saw cut the “collision course” phrase, while ITV ran the segment uncut. Perhaps there was a second BBC story that used the quote? I do not know. The Religion News Service printed at the Huffington Post account of the ceremony made this mistake as well, but it embedded both videos — BBC and ITV — with their story.

The article then moves to commentary.

His stance did not come as a surprise since he had made it clear at the time of his appointment in November, but the timing of his remarks was certain play into both the political and the ecclesiastical debate about the issue. The church has long been locked in debate over gender issues, including the consecration of female and gay bishops and same-sex marriage.

Now I understand the language of the lede — gender is the plat du jour for the Times allowing it to link the women bishops vote to the same-sex marriage vote in Parliament. (Wait, it is now same-sex marriage by paragraph six.) The article notes:

In December, the church voted narrowly to reject the notion of female bishops, despite support from senior clerics including Archbishop Welby. In January, the church followed up with a ruling admitting openly gay priests in civil partnerships to its ranks, provided that, unlike heterosexual bishops, they remained celibate.

Some more mistakes here. The women bishop’s vote took place in November, not December 2012. Clergy were permitted to register gay civil partnerships in 2005 not in January 2013. A condition of their being allowed to register these domestic partnerships was that they be celibate. Clergy may be “openly gay”, whatever that means, but may not engage in sexual relations outside of marriage (marriage being defined as being between a man and a woman). The question of how rigorously this is enforced is a separate matter.

In December 2012 the House of Bishops ended a ban imposed in 2011 that forbade clergy who had entered into a civil partnership from becoming a bishop. Heterosexuals may not contract civil partnerships in Britain, so the analogy offered by the Times is inexact. However all bishops — heterosexual and homosexual — who are unmarried must be celibate also. There have been homosexual bishops for quite some time — by homosexual I mean men whose dominant sexual attractions are to other men. However, these bishops do hold to the church’s teaching that to act upon these inclinations would be sinful, and are celibate.

Using the pivot of homosexuality, the article then moves to the House of Commons.

Parliament is set to vote on Tuesday on a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage that has been championed by Prime Minster David Cameron. The issue, however, has inspired one of the most toxic and potentially embarrassing rebellions among Mr. Cameron’s Conservative Party colleagues since he took office as the head of a coalition government in 2010.

British news reports have suggested that as many as 180 of the 303 Conservative Party members of Parliament might oppose Mr. Cameron or abstain from voting.

Here we have a “yes, but” situation. Yes, the Second Reading of the government’s bill that would legalize same-sex marriage and allow those in civil partnerships to convert them to marriages is set for tomorrow. However, the issue will not be decided tomorrow. Here is a link to Parliament’s web page describing what happens at a Second Reading. MPs will be given a chance to discuss the bill and vote on whether it should be sent to a committee or be kept before the House of Commons as a whole.

The leaders of the three main parties — Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour — support the bill. A vote to send it to committee where they appoint the members is a way to prevent the issue from being debated before Parliament as a whole. Voting to keep it before the House allows greater involvement from backbench MPs. There is an element of political gamesmanship here. While Labour is in favor of the bill, they are also in favor of allowing the Tories to do as much damage to themselves as possible. Keeping the bill before the whole House allows the Conservative rebels to give full voice to their displeasure with their party leader, weakening the prime minister.

The Times however quotes the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Ed Miliband, but displays an acute lack of awareness of what really is going on.

Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, said Monday that he would be “voting for equal marriage in the House of Commons, and I’ll be doing so proudly.” He also said he would urge his 255 legislators in the 649-member body to vote with him. “I’ll be voting for equal marriage for a very simple reason: I don’t think that the person you love should determine the rights you have,” Mr. Miliband said.

The Times neglects to mention the political calculus involved in the passage of the bill, which when it goes to committee is then subject to amendment before it goes to the House of Lords. If the Times wanted to tie the Church of England into this story more tightly it could have mentioned that all of the bishops who sit in the House of Lords will vote “no” and may offer wrecking amendments. And, Miliband’s urging his party’s MPs to vote for the bill is a recent change — Labour was going to make this a party line vote, requiring all its MPs to vote the same way, but senior leaders of that party refused to go along — changing Miliband’s song from must vote to should vote for gay marriage.

The article then closes out with two quotes from a government spokesman who dismisses the church’s objections to the bill — but offers no rejoinder from the Church of England, the Catholic Church (which by the way is also strongly opposed) or MPs who are opposed to the legislation.

So what do we have in this story. Minor points such as the BBC v. ITN. Larger mistakes such as dates of actions and the misstatement of actions. Omission of context and explanation — as written a casual reader would assume that gay marriage was about to be passed, when it has only just started its legislative journey. And a lack of balance coupled with the framing of the story in such a way as to make clear the Times‘ support for gay marriage.

Should we expect better of the Times? Is this story an example of carelessness or bias? What say you Get Religion readers?

First printed at GetReligion.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 64: February 3, 2013 February 4, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Church of England, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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In this week’s episode of Anglican Unscripted your host discuss the adventure (misadventures) of Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori as she descended onto the city of Charleston last week. Allan Haley examines the legal details of the preemptive strike launched against TEC and Schori and how this battle was won. There is also much international news with stories on Egypt and Nigeria and no AU is complete without a story from Canterbury with Peter Ould – this time he talks about the coming wave of Same-Sex Marriage in England . Tweet #AU64 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

Church of Nigeria threatens to break with Canterbury over gay British bishops: Anglican Ink, January 10, 2013 January 11, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria.
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Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

The Church of Nigeria will break with the Church of England should it appoint clergy living in gay civil partnerships to the episcopate.

In a statement released under the signature of the Archbishop of All-Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh at the close of the bishops’ annual retreat this week, the Anglican Communion’s largest church: “Sadly we must also declare that if the Church of England continues in this contrary direction we must further separate ourselves from it and we are prepared to take the same actions as those prompted by the decisions of The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada ten years ago.”

The 20 Dec 2012 announcement by the House of Bishops and clarification issued on 4 Jan 2013 that the church had ended its moratorium on the appointment to the episcopate of clergy who had contracted civil partnerships but who had pledged to remain celibate has sparked sharp criticism from within Evangelical ranks within the Church of England and from the overseas church.  The claim that clergy who had entered a relationship that mimics marriage for same-sex were living a godly and moral life by refraining from consummating the relationship left some archbishops nonplussed.

The African church’s objections were not to the appointment of men to the episcopate who had a same-sex sexual orientation, but to clergy who had contracted a gay civil partnership being appointed to the episcopate. The proviso that such relationships were celibate only when they involved the clergy of the Church of England was preposterous, one African bishop told Anglican Ink.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Hiltz calls on Canterbury to say “no” to the ACNA: Anglican Ink, December 19, 2012 December 20, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Communion, Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury-designate Justin Welby and Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada

The leader of the Anglican Church of Canada has lobbied the Archbishop of Canterbury-designate not to extend formal recognition to the Anglican Church in North America. However, the decision who is an Anglican does not rest with the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The communion’s formal statement as to who is an Anglican looks to fellowship with the Archbishop of Canterbury and fidelity to the doctrines and disciplines set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.

The 6 Dec 2012 meeting at Auckland Castle, Durham with Bishop Justin Welby was one of four stops for Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who also met with the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace and with the general secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council, Canon Kenneth Kearon, in London, and preached at Southwark Cathedral.

According to the Anglican Journal, Archbishop Hiltz said he mentioned his ongoing concern about efforts by the ACNA to be recognized by the Church of England. Archbishop Hiltz said he requested that if bodies of the Church of England are to meet with representatives of ACNA, “in fairness, they should also meet with us to get a better picture.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 59: December 7, 2012 December 7, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican.TV, ARCIC, Church of England, The Episcopal Church.
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This first week of Advent George and Kevin discuss the latest news from the Diocese of South Carolina and the unlawful actions of the Presiding Bishop. Your two favorite commentators also tackle the final Advent letter from Archbishop Rowan Williams and they share some sage advice for Bishop Justin Welby. Sadly, our third story was removed during editing in reaction to the tragedy today in London with the suicide of the Kate Middleton’s Nurse. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com #AU59

Also: Please keep AU Contributor Allan Haley in your prayers this week as he and his family are grieving the death of Allan’s sister.

Anglican-Orthodox relations near death, Moscow warns: The Church of England Newspaper, December 2, 2012 p 6. December 7, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Russian Orthodox, Women Priests.
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Women bishops, gay marriage, and other innovations of doctrine and discipline will end meaningful Anglican-Orthodox relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR) has warned.

At a 26 Nov 2012 meeting in Moscow, Ambassador Tim Barrow and second secretary James Ford met with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to the official press statement “Metropolitan Hilarion greeted the Ambassador and shared his reminiscences of his student years in Oxford and his impressions of the recent visit to London where he attended celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Sourozh diocese.”

They also discussed the situation of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, the role the Russian Orthodox and Polish Catholic Churches had played in reconciling the “peoples of Russia and Poland” and the state of “Orthodox-Anglican relations at present” – which the Moscow Patriarchate said were at a nadir.

On 13 Nov, Hilarion wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury-designate, Bishop Justin Welby, offering his greetings upon the Bishop of Durham’s appointment as 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.  However, Hilarion said meaningful Orthodox-Anglican ecumenical dialogue had all but died, and it was the Anglicans who have killed it.

In a carefully worded letter, Hilarion stated Moscow expected Bishop Welby to discipline the liberal wing of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Welby had been “entrusted with the spiritual guidance of the entire Anglican Communion, a unique union of like-minded people, which, however diverse the forms of its existence in the world may be, needs one ‘steward of God’ the guardian of the faith and witness to the Truth.”

“Regrettably, the late 20th century and the beginning of the third millennium have brought tangible difficulties in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion,” Hilarion said.

“The introduction female priesthood and now episcopate, the blessing of same-sex ‘unions’ and ‘marriages’, the ordination of homosexuals as pastors and bishops – all these innovations are seen by the Orthodox as deviations from the tradition of the Early Church, which increasingly estrange Anglicanism from the Orthodox Church and contribute to a further division of Christendom as a whole,” he wrote.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Justin Welby joins Tony Blair in Nigerian launch of inter-faith youth dialogue: The Church of England Newspaper, November 29, 2012 December 5, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Interfaith, Islam.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury-designate has joined Tony Blair and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan in launching an inter-faith initiative in Nigeria to promote reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.

On 22 Nov 2012, Bishop Justin Welby took part in the conference in Abuja organized by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation that brought Christian and Muslim students together. “By talking directly to one another, the aim is to break down barriers, and give the students the knowledge to resist extremist voices and ideology by working together to achieve long term peace for the next generation in Nigeria,” conference organizers said.

“Thirty four years after first coming to Nigeria, and with more than seventy visits since in all parts of this vibrant, passionate, talented and promising country, I am both challenged and profoundly excited by this initiative,” Bishop Welby said.

“It is a service, there is no question of bringing some external solutions, and peace and development in this country are always made possible only by Nigerians. Thank you for allowing me to contribute to the future of a country I admire and love,” he told the young people participating in the gathering.

Christian and Muslim leaders welcomed the dialogue between young people, while Mr. Blair said personallydeeply committed to addressing the challenges of religious reconciliation in Nigeria. Understanding and respecting different faiths is central to securing sustainable peace, particularly where those who seek to misuse religion for violent ends aim to destroy it.”

He lauded the work of Bishop Welby also, saying he hoped “that over the coming months, the work he and my Foundation do will go towards healing the rifts and divisions amongst faiths in the country, bringing unity and peaceful co-existence”.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

My advice to Justin Welby: Anglican Ink, November 28, 2012 November 29, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Church of England, Opinion.
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Beware of hats.

Not cats or bats but hats. Beware. … That is my unsolicited advice to the next Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Were the great man to give me two minutes of his time and seek my counsel, I would urge him to remember that inappropriate headgear can be deadly.

Just ask Michael Dukakis. The Democrat Party presidential candidate in 1988 ran a skillful primary battle against his party opponents, but let Vice President George H.W. Bush define him in the general campaign. The man behind the “Massachusetts miracle” was painted as being soft on crime and weak on defense. Remember the Willie Horton ads? Don’t blame Bush for that one, however. Al Gore first came up with that attack in the primaries.

However, Gov. Dukakis did try to push back on the soft on defense issue and made a campaign stop at a tank manufacturing plant. The erstwhile president climbed into an M1 Abrams tank and seated in the commander’s chair drove round the proving grounds. This should have provided an opportunity for photos demonstrating the Democratic contenders pro-military bona fides. Some great shots would have been the governor shaking the hands of the (union) workers building the tanks – pushing the honest labor or Rosie the Riveter motif. Or he could have dressed in casual but manly work clothes peering into the depths of an engine or gun system with a soldier demonstrating his craft.

What hit the wires was the Governor wearing a large helmet peering out of the top of a tank with a goofy grin splashed across his face. The helmet made Michael Dukakis look like a child and achieved the opposite effect, appearing ridiculous and soft on defense issues at the same time.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted: November 24, 2012 November 25, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Church of England, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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This week Kevin and George talk about the Diocese of South Carolina and the response to their vote to leave the Episcopal Church. Peter talks about the recent vote for Women Bishop in the Church of England and Allan Haley discusses the legal ramifications facing the Diocese of South Carolina and the Episcopal Church. And as always there is much much more in Episode 57. #AU57 comments to anglicanunscripted@gmail.com — Thanks to all who sent money for George’s new camera — sadly Kevin told George the wrong settings for HD…

Overseas Anglican plaudits for the next Archbishop of Canterbury: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2012 p 5. November 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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Anglican leaders have welcomed the news of the appointment of Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.  The plaudits for the Bishop of Durham, however, have been mixed with advice and pleas for leadership from Canterbury for the factious Anglican Communion.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop David Chillingworth welcomed the appointment writing that Justin Welby  and added that he hoped the new archbishop would support the Indaba process – a conversation project between liberals and conservatives in the communion backed by the Anglican Consultative Council.  Bishop Chillingworth said he “enjoyed and valued my contacts with [Bishop Welby].  In the early stages of what has become Continuing Indaba – a movement of honest conversation across difference – his wide knowledge of the Anglican Communion, particularly in Africa, was of great importance.”

The leader of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala also praised the appointment, but noted that for Anglicans in the developing world, a common faith was more important than a common ecclesiastical structure.

The Kenyan archbishop said he hoped the new archbishop would rethink the current structures of the common and accept the African church’s view that “the chair of the Primates Meeting should be elected by the Primates themselves” and not go to the Archbishop of Canterbury by right.

“Our proposal, while not intended to deny the honour due to Canterbury as an historic see, is an expression of the truth we hold as vital, that our identity as Anglicans stems first and foremost from adherence to the faith we confess. It is this which gives substance and integrity to our bonds of affection and our efforts to relieve poverty and promote development.”

The new archbishop may have won over the Church of Uganda, which has withdrawn from inter-Anglican affairs since the 2008 Lambeth Conference..

“We are pleased to hear that he is an evangelical and will pray for him to lift up Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life,” and to set the Word of God written as the authority for our common faith and morality,” Ugandan provincial secretary Canon George Bagamuhunda wrote.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she was “delighted” with the news, but added she expected Bishop Welby would have rough going as archbishop. “I give thanks for his appointment and his willingness to accept this work, in which I know his gifts of reconciliation and discernment will be abundantly tested.  May God bless his ministry, shelter his family, and bring comfort in the midst of difficult and lonely discernment and decisions.”

Conservative American pressure groups like the American Anglican Council have urged the new archbishop to hold the line on gay blessings and clergy, but liberal American groups have asked the new archbishop to listen to them instead.

The Chicago Consultation, a politically influential liberal pressure group, welcomed the news noting the new archbishop was “known for his pragmatic approach to conflict resolution and his personal courage as an agent of reconciliation.”

They added they were “heartened that Archbishop-elect Welby decried homophobia in his opening press conference, and we hope that he will listen with an open heart to the voices of the millions of faithful lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians across the Anglican Communion.”

The leader of the Anglican Church League in Sydney, Dr. Mark Thompson, wrote that “conservative Evangelicals could see a “great deal that is wonderfully hopeful in this appointment. Bishop Welby self-identifies as an evangelical. He is able to communicate clearly and winsomely.”

However, Dr. Thompson said the test would come in the new archbishop’s actions, not through is words.  As Bishop Welby “prepares to take up this challenging role at a very challenging time, one characteristic that has not been attributed to him is ‘courage’.”

Will Bishop Welby “stand up” to the Episcopal Church? Will he “call to account” Anglicans who have moved away from a Scriptural faith? Will he “stand” with the Global South “in the task of proclaiming Christ to a lost world?” Will he fire “Canon Kenneth Kearon and the others in the Anglican Communion Office who have manipulated the ACC agenda over the past decade in extraordinarily unhelpful ways?”

Will he “challenge” the British government over gay marriage? Will he support evangelicals in the Church of Scotland, in Canada and in the U.S. as well as Christians in the Muslim majority world who are being “persecuted” because of their faith.  And will he stand with members of the Church of England who in good conscience cannot accept the oversight of a woman bishop?”

“With such courage, and by God’s grace, respect for his office and health for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion might indeed return,” Dr. Thompson said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.