Author Archive

Divisions Deepen in Pilling

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Saturday, December 7th, 2013

The Church of England House of Bishops’ Working Group on Human Sexuality, chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, published its report (“the Pilling Report”) on November 28, in advance of discussion by the House of Bishops in December and the whole College of Bishops in January (see this TLC report by John Martin). It is, as Lambeth Palace tweeted, a report to not of the Church of England but it will set the agenda for future discussions and so its content, rationale, and significance are important. They can be summed up by exploring nine areas (building on the analysis I offered earlier this year here).

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December 07 2013 | Articles

Bishops and Civil Partnerships II: Still More Questions Than Answers

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Friday, January 18th, 2013

Two weeks since the House of Bishops’ decision on civil partnerships finally hit the headlines, many questions (such as those raised in my earlier article, written before media interest in the story) remain unanswered. Some of the processes are, however, beginning to become clearer, though these in turn often provide more questions than answers. What follows attempts to map what has happened, read between the lines to highlight key questions that remain, and point to some of the contextual factors that may have shaped the decision. A further article may explore some of the lessons that need to be learned from what has undoubtedly been a presentational disaster, irrespective of one’s views on the decision itself. That disaster does not bode well for the handling of this contentious issue by the church’s leadership in the coming year.

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January 18 2013 | Articles

Church of England Bishops and Civil Partnerships

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Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Tucked away within a wider press release just before Christmas it has been announced that at their December meeting the Church of England’s House of Bishops decided that “the House does not intend to issue a further pastoral statement on civil partnerships” and that “the requirements in the 2005 statement concerning the eligibility for ordination of those in civil partnerships whose relationships are consistent with the teaching of the Church of England apply equally in relation to the episcopate”. The announcement is already beginning to gain attention and speculation as to its significance including at Changing Attitude and Thinking Anglicans but its full import remains largely unconsidered. What follows seeks to set this decision in context and highlight important questions that remain unanswered and issues that need addressing.

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January 02 2013 | Articles

The Anglican Communion Covenant and the Church of England: Ramifications

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Monday, March 26th, 2012

It is now clear that less than half the dioceses of the Church of England will agree, in both their house of clergy and house of laity, to “approve the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant”. This article attempts to map out some of the ramifications of this development.

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March 26 2012 | Articles

Anglican Communion Covenant: Ten Reasons for Voting Positively

Written by:
Friday, January 13th, 2012

Life is always more interesting when things don’t go as planned. That alone should make the Anglican Communion Covenant interesting in 2012. General Synod rarely refers matters to dioceses. When it does, it often seems – as with women bishops – a procedural necessity with a foregone positive conclusion. As 2011 closes, the covenant has departed from that script. It has the support of four dioceses but been rejected by four dioceses. At least 23 of the 44 dioceses must support it for it to return to General Synod for final approval. The 2012 diocesan synod debates are therefore crucial. To resource these, Fulcrum has recently collated various articles and produced a short “Churchgoer’s Guide to the Anglican Communion Covenant”. This concludes with the following ten reasons to support the covenant.

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January 13 2012 | Articles

Actions and consequences: Reflections on the state of the Anglican Communion

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Reflecting on Fulcrum’s call not to invite the Presiding Bishop to the Primates’ Meeting in Ireland, the consequences of inviting her are highlighted: the widespread principled absence of many Global South primates. As it is still unclear why the Presiding Bishop was invited after the breach of the moratorium and the Pentecost Letter, three possible scenarios are outlined in the hope that the rationale for this decision may be made clear. Then, drawing on past Primates’ statements and statements from TEC, three justifications for non-invitation and grounds for non-attendance are outlined: developments in TEC are now indisputably a breach of the moratoria, TEC has displayed a lack of integrity in its dealings with the Communion and its own stance reveals a lack of coherence in teaching and practice while increasingly signalling a determination to re-define the Christian doctrine of marriage. After exploring some of the challenges of holding a meeting to address key issues in the Communion but with the leaders of most of the world’s Anglicans not present, possible future paths for the Communion are outlined in relation to both the need for serious theological discussion about sexuality and the need to reform the Instruments, all of which have seen their authority eroded through this crisis. The conclusion notes that various actions and inactions in recent years have had serious damaging consequences and highlights the need to pray that, while nothing said or done this week can be painless, the actions of this gathering of Primates may have positive consequences for the Communion’s future unity.

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January 26 2011 | Articles

How and Why IC & MCU Mislead Us ON The Anglican Covenant

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Thursday, November 18th, 2010

In the church press on Friday 29th October, two Church of England groups, Inclusive Church (IC) and Modern Church (formerly, Modern Churchpeople’s Union, MCU), published a whole page advert headed ‘Who runs the Church?’. This explains why they believe the Anglican Covenant would be a change for the worse. Having offered an initial short critique of it, this offers a more detailed analysis of its claims. In the week leading to the Synod debate on the covenant and subsequent diocesan discussion, their seriously flawed case risks being given greater circulation and credibility through the wider international (though predominantly Western liberal) No Anglican Covenant Coalition and other publicity such as the recent similar leaflet sent to General Synod members.

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November 18 2010 | Articles

GAFCON & The Anglican Covenant

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Monday, July 21st, 2008

One of the most serious questions left unanswered after the GAFCON conference was where the movement stood in relation to the proposed Anglican covenant. That question now appears to have been answered fairly unequivocally in two documents (from the GAFCON Theological Resource Team) on the St Andrew’s Draft Text to which the 7 GAFCON Primates refer in their response to the Archbishop of Canterbury. These are apparently based on pre-conference discussions in Jerusalem.

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July 21 2008 | Articles

Two ‘conservative’ categories on the sexuality spectrum?

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Thursday, December 6th, 2007

While a number of aspects of my recent mapping of the Anglican Communion have been criticised (see my broader response here), probably the most controversial and contested aspect was the suggestion that we need to move from a simple pro-I.10 and anti-I.10 stance in relation to sexual ethics and distinguish four positions on the spectrum.

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December 06 2007 | Articles

The Anglican Communion after New Orleans and The Joint Standing Committee Report

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Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

As many predicted, some hopefully and some fearfully, the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) have given a positive assessment of the response of the The Episcopal Church’s (TEC) House of Bishops to the Primates’ Questions from Dar Es Salaam. In particular, in relation to the two key requests concerning TEC’s response to The Windsor Report (TWR), JSC conclude

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October 17 2007 | Articles

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