Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lambeth: The “New Thing” of Wife-beating

Most of my readers are aware of "Bishop" Catherine Roskam’s – umm – contribution to the generous spirit of Lambeth:

We have 700 men here. Do you think any of them beat their wives? Chances are they do. The most devout Christians beat their wives... many of our bishops come from places where it is culturally accepted to beat your wife.

Yes, those Global South Neanderthals are soooo inferior to us enlightened people of faith.

Anglican Musings has a bit of fun with this.

By the way, a helpful commenter has pointed to Anglican Musings as a source of a lot of analysis of the papers and statements coming from Lambeth. I’ve read only a little so far, but what I have read is impressive.

Lambeth: ++Mouneer Anis Tells It Like It Is

From here:

I see that a big wall still divides us. It is big because it involves the essentials, the foundation of our faith. We are not divided by mere trivialities, or issues on the periphery of faith. We are finding it very hard to come together in the essentials. This diversity of opinion is about the heart of our faith, the faith which we received from the saints. . . .

I find that many of our North American friends blame us and criticise us for bringing in the issues of sexuality and homosexuality but in fact they are the ones who are bringing these issues in. Here at Lambeth, you come across many advertisements for events organised by gay and Lesbian activists which are sponsored by the North American Church. If you visit the marketplace at the conference, you will notice that almost half the events promoted on the noticeboard promote homosexuality and are sponsored by the North Americans. And in the end, we, the people who remain loyal to the original teaching of the Anglican Communion, which we received from the Apostles, are blamed. They say that we talk a lot about sexuality and that we need to talk more about poverty, about AIDs, and injustice. They are the ones who are bringing sexuality into this conference. It’s not us. We want to talk about the heart of the issues which divide us, not only sexuality. That is just a symptom of a deeper problem.

They talk about the slavery and say that 200 years ago Christians were opposed to the freedom of slaves and they compare us to those Christians for our attitude to gay and lesbian practises. To be honest, I think this is inviting us to another kind of slavery, slavery of the flesh, to go and do whatever our lusts dictate. Sometimes, I think that maybe because of the pressure in Western culture to push the practise of homosexuality, our friends in the West are pushing these issues. But, on the other hand, I see many who live in the West and still want to preserve the faith and the tradition of the Church. Should we allow culture to pressure the Church or should the Church be distinctive, light and salt to the world?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Look Who Wrote Lambeth Bible Studies

At a Lambeth press conference today, Dr. Gerald West was introduced as one who took part in writing Bible studies for Lambeth. What kind of scholarship does he exhibit?

Q: I have a question for Dr. West. Would you say that the author of the NT book of Jude was incorrect when he wrote this about Sodom and Gomorrah, “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire…” that was from verse 7. Would you say that the writer of Jude got the context wrong?

A: No not at all, I think he was referring to the sin of inhospitality.

Q: When he uses the phrase “sexual immorality”?

A: Yes, that was the way they were being inhospitable.

Yeah, right. This guy shouldn’t even be teaching Sunday School.

Kudos to the questioner, Matt+ Kennedy, for exposing him.

I am not impressed.

My forbearing readers may have noticed that I have had very little to say about actual proposals at Lambeth, including those from the Windsor Continuation Group. And, to be blunt, I really don’t care much about them and don’t have anything that profound to say.

For the Archbishop of Canterbury and his allies have made it clear by their actions that they will not discipline apostates and will not live up to agreements if that means disciplining apostates. ++Canterbury pretending The Episcopal Church is in compliance with Windsor/Dromantine/Tanzania and inviting everyone to Lambeth (save Robinson) makes that clear. Moreover, his not inviting the bishops of CANA among other actual orthodox bishops and turning up his nose at the real Bishop of San Joaquin are among the indications that he really sides with the apostates.

No proposal, forum, report, whatever is going to change this state of affairs. Only an Archbishop of Canterbury with a little Athanasius in him will. The Lord can certainly bring that about, but given the earthly powers who appoint the ABC, I’m not holding my breath.

So yet more papers and panels and meetings are just a charade wasting time and stringing along the orthodox foolish enough to play that game as far as I’m concerned. And I can barely bring myself to waste time commenting on them. As the Ugley Vicar has opined about the Windsor Continuation Group report, they are “as much use as a chocolate ladder at a house fire.”

Atheist Burns Presiding Heretic

A self-confessed atheist has taken Episcopal Church head --Katherine Schori to task for her comments about the Church of England:

In one of those shows of Christian understanding that so distinguish the Anglican communion (and I speak, I stress, as an atheist), the Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori, head of the Episcopal Church of the US, attacks the Church of England for being slow to modernise.

She accuses opponents of women bishops of having a "personal antipathy". I am sure some of them do, and may God (if He should turn out to exist) forgive them.

However, I am equally sure that many find the à la carte approach to religion of various Rocky Horror churches - notably in America - as simply wrong and bogus, and about adapting religion to a lifestyle rather than vice versa.

As in politics, the recourse to insult seems to come once the intellectual argument is lost.

That’s gotta hurt! I find her jibe about “adapting religion to a lifestyle rather than vice versa” particularly on target. If only church people were that perceptive.


Hattip to Stand Firm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dolly Déjà Vu

Yesterday, I took some teenagers down North Padre Island to check out the after effects of Hurricane Dolly – which is why I didn’t blog. North Padre is the longest barrier island in the U. S., about 80 miles and you can drive down the last 60 miles of it on the beach. And that’s what we did.

But what we found was surprising. The first 15 or 20 miles, those nearest Corpus Christi, had a lot of seaweed, debris, tree limbs and trunks. I thought it would really be a mess and perhaps impassable as we drove further south. But then the beach cleared up remarkably. On the south 30 miles, those closest to Dolly’s landfall (which was on South Padre Island), the only clear signs I could see of Dolly were the steep banks on the bottom of the dunes from the storm tides, and the abundance of water behind the dunes.

My theory is that the arm of Dolly that stayed so long over the Corpus area focused effects on that area more than much of area actually closer to the hurricane. But that’s just my theory. If any hurricane experts want to add their thoughts, please do so.

Something else strange about Dolly. When I was looking for stories on the aftermath of Dolly, I came across this story. I noticed some details seemed off, then I noticed the date – 1996. I sniffed around some more, and discovered the Hurricane Dolly of 1996, which took a track similar to the track of Dolly of 2008 and provided drought relief to areas of South and West Texas.

Dolly déjà vu indeed!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Death of Protestant America

I'm a big fan of First Things. And this month's issue seems even better then usual. One reason is this perceptive essay on the American Protestant Mainline.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Common Cause Partners Asks GAFCON for Recognition as Province

Here’s the statement. Here’s lots of comments.

But isn’t this a bit fast? Shouldn’t there be a commission? Then a discernment process followed by a listening process? Then a meeting, then another and another and . . . ?

++Rowan does the MDG March

Our Lord of Canterbury can’t bring himself to defend the faith and the faithful, but he sure is getting out front for the UN’s Millennium Development Goals . . . not unlike the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Heretic.

Today, the Lambeth Agenda includes a “Walk of Witness” for the MDGs and a “celebration” of the MDGs at Lambeth Palace with +Canterbury and the Prime Minister speaking.

Methinks Lambeth and the Anglican Communion has more important things to do than be the religious front of the UN. If I were a bishop I would decline to march and would sit very quietly at the “celebration” or better yet take a walk around the Palace instead.

Longwinded Dolly

Prayer was answered yesterday as Dolly landed to the north of Brownville. Yes, it was no picnic down there, but it could have been worse.

A surprising feature of Dolly is her reach. I’m about 100 miles from Dolly but a strong arm of her has persisted over the area for over 12 hours. The result: about 7 inches of rain and very strong winds, up to 50 MPH, maybe more. In fact, the winds got stronger right after she made landfall. I put some weights on my trampoline for fear it would flip over. The winds stayed strong overnight. Only now does the weather seem to be relenting.

I heard some surfers went out yesterday. Birds had more sense as they took shelter at my place. A flock of Black Terns hung out on my cove. I’ve never seen that before. They are definitely sea birds not bay denizens. Speaking of which, the bay got higher than I’ve ever seen it. It was strange seeing rough water where it’s usually dry.

Dolly is now moving toward Laredo to the upstream of Falcon Reservoir. Falcon has been very low for many years. So hopefully it will take a lot of the water from Dolly that would otherwise flood the Rio Grande Valley. The Valley has enough flood issues now as it is.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BREAKING: Bishops Have Already Left Lambeth

From today’s Lambeth press briefing (blogged on the fly by Matt+ Kennedy, so the wording might not be exact):

Archbishop Aspinal steps up to the podium:

Let me begin by addressing to issues from yesterday:
There is a list of bishops present being at the Conference prepared as we speak. We sought permission from the bishops this morning to include their names. Those who allowed to have their names listed will be listed. A number did not give consent to be listed and a number are no longer present. We will let you know who has gone this afternoon.

With rubbish from ++Rowan such as this and this, not to mention the complete waste of time called indabas, who can blame them?

Lambeth: Indaba Groups Still a Joke

Bad things happen when crackers try to be multicultural, and indaba groups at Lambeth are among them. They are not going over well with the bishops and are seen as an inauthentic waste of time keeping them from talking about what really needs to be addressed:

Moreover, none of the bishops asked by The Times had yet been given a chance to discuss the one thing that they are all desperate to address: how can the Anglican Communion survive the consecration of Gene Robinson, the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire.

Of course, that’s the purpose of indaba groups, to avoid important discussion and real decisions.

But at least some bishops don’t appreciate that. Bishop Howe even wrote his clergy (perhaps tongue in cheek, perhaps not) that “there seems to be an incipient revolt” against the indabas. “Many of the Africans are saying, ‘This isn’t ‘Indaba’ at all! First of all, we are not a village, and we don’t know each other. And secondly, we are not attempting to solve a problem; we are talking in small groups about minor issues of little consequence.’”

More on the Indabas may be found here. And Chris Johnson has a bit of fun with them.

Hello, Dolly. Come a Little Closer.

It turns out Dolly wanted to be a Texan after all. For a long time, it looked like a direct hit on Brownsville, and that still might happen today. But now it looks like she might jog just to the north of Brownsville. I’ve been praying she would go to the north of Brownsville because that would make it a lot easier on them and put the worst of the hurricane over an unpopulated area.

The surf from Dolly came in very suddenly yesterday afternoon. I caught a few waves before it became too strong for me to paddle out. There were a lot of people playing in the crazy surf. No, I probably won’t paddle out today. :)

Oh, the sunset was other worldly with turbulent high clouds from Dolly overhead in the clear tropical air.

Yesterday was dry, but we got a lot of rain overnight and have a lot more on the way, which is quite welcome.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BREAKING: +Iker Calls for Robinson Supporters to Leave Lambeth

From Ruth Gledhill’s blog:

. . . from Bishop of Fort Worth Jack Iker:
'Those Bishops who stand in solidarity with Gene Robinson should withdraw themselves from further participation in the Lambeth Conference. Having failed in several attempts to include Gene in the Conference, his supporters should themselves feel a sense of rejection from the Conference itself. Integrity and honesty would dictate that they should stand with Gene - excluded from full participation in the Lambeth Conference. Is this all talk, or is it backed up by action?'

UPDATE: Stand Firm confirms.

Build Your Own Rowan Williams Speech

Damian Thompson has created a fun new game!

I have just invented a new game for Anglican bishops bored senseless by the thought of three weeks of waffle and wailing at the Lambeth Conference. It's called "Build your own Rowan Williams speech."

The rules could hardly be simpler. Take one of the Archbishop of Canterbury's sermons or addresses, pluck out a few sentences, then reassemble them in random order. Hey Presto!

What’s funny is that Thompson’s try at it makes as much sense as a real Rowan speech. Check it out.

And feel free to play the game here.

Dolly’s Leaving Me for a Mexican.

Well, Dolly’s path has shifted south. It now looks more likely she will hit south of the border rather than north.

Bummer. Jilted again.

By the way, there was noticeable traffic flowing inland yesterday, including more than the usual number of people towing boats. But the weather was calm and the surf very low, though Dolly should hit the coast tomorrow. It’s no wonder that in the days before weather and news technology, hurricanes caught people by surprise with deadly consequences.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hello, Dolly!

We’ve just now been under a Hurricane Watch here on the South Texas coast. I will now panic and flee for the highways. NOT!

I hope the local politicians don’t overreact and issue “mandatory” evacuations. I’ll ignore any such, of course, but they are annoying and inconvenient to us outlaws.

Well, off to beat others to the grocery store.

(And don’t worry. The projection is for Dolly to be a Category One when it hits the coast. I can easily withstand even a direct hit from that.)

Lambeth: Outrage in the Cathedral (UPDATED)

The Sermon at the first Sunday Eucharist of Lambeth featured preaching the inclusive “gospel” . . .

Bishop Duleep de Chickera, of Colombo, Sri Lanka, said in his sermon that the church must be "an inclusive communion for anyone and everyone, regardless of color, gender, ability or sexual orientation. . ."

. . . and a Buddhist chant:

De Chickera concluded his sermon with a low, rhythmic Buddhist chant as the cathedral bells tolled.

After the service, Bishop Neil Alexander of Atlanta said he was "particularly moved" by de Chickera's sermon since it "lifted your soul," however, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said the inclusion of the chant was "very, very troubling" since it was an "invocation of something other than the God we know."

I may have more to say about this in due time.

UPDATE: More detail on the Eucharist can be found here. Note that Bishop de Chickera is an advocate of Liberation Theology and was hand-picked by ++Rowan to preach.

However, it appears the words of the chant in question were not Buddhist, though the tune was.

Emergency FIF Meeting in Canterbury Today

I was preoccupied with my chess tournament over the weekend (A loss and two draws for those interested.), so I missed this, but the Forward in Faith UK Council has an emergency meeting in Canterbury today. In announcing that, the chairman, Bishop John Fulham issued a remarkably hard-hitting statement:

It is quite apparent that we are being subjected to what I would call institutional bullying of a kind that if it were found in the commercial world would be the subject of serious litigation. The atmosphere and the approach of some of those opposed to us reveals that not only are they not very good Christians; they are also not nice human beings.

The other thing that strikes me quite hard is that most of the assets of the Church of England in terms of buildings, schools and other property either come from the pre reformation Catholic Church or as a direct result of the Tractarian and Catholic Revival. This property is very much our heritage and inheritance and to suggest that many wish to steal it from us in a very unpleasant form of legalised theft would not be an understatement.

I love it when bishops actually tell the truth.

More on this here and here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The “Post-Modern Dogma of the Certainty of Uncertainty” and John Chane

I’m preparing to head to a national chess tournament. Those who think chess tournaments are important enough to pray for, please pray for me!

But I wanted to bring your attention to this excellent piece by Leander Harding . Many of you are aware that “Bishop” John Chane had a hissy fit about the “demonic” orthodox. Harding dissects Chane’s rant quite well:

This protest against certainty claims the moral high ground and sounds on the surface as though it is based on a generous tolerance. This supposed moral protest in the name of tolerance needs to be unmasked as exactly the opposite, the dismissive and marginalizing rhetoric of the powerful who seek to protect their own agenda from critique on the grounds of any transcendent authority. It is precisely an attempt to force your beliefs on others before any argument is engaged by virtue of the way in which the rules of discussion are established. It is saying, in effect, ” before we talk you must agree that your beliefs and values are the sort of thing that I say they are and I say they can never be more than one opinion among others. If we are to talk, you must give up all your truth claims before you come to the table. With regard to the rules of the table, I will be the final referee.”

Do read it all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is the Pope Encouraging Anglo-Cath Converts? The Feud Rages. (UPDATED)

Quite a feud among journalists has developed over the question of whether Pope Benedict is working to welcome Anglo-Catholics en masse to Mama Church or is actually discouraging that.

Damian Thompson, who insists the Pope is encouraging Anglo-Caths to convert, is on one side. The Independent, Ruth Gledhill, and The Tablet is on the other. And it’s getting personal.

Yes, it’s quite fun to watch. Get your popcorn.


UPDATE: Mr. Thompson trumpets an Anglican Use development here.

And there is more discussion here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

++Canterbury Wimps Out on +San Joaquin

In a letter to the Diocese of San Joaquin, ++Greg Venables lets us know that ++Rowan Williams has wimped out on the real Bishop of San Joaquin.

Dr. Williams:
I understand that Bishop John-David Schofield has been accepted as a full member of the episcopal fellowship of the Province of the Southern Cone within the Anglican Communion and as such cannot be regarded as having withdrawn from the Anglican Communion. However, . . .

Uh, oh. Here’s comes the hedging.

. . . it is acknowledged that his exact status (especially given the complications surrounding the congregations associated with him) remains unclear on the basis of the general norms of Anglican Canon Law, and this constitutes one of the issues on which we hope for assistance from the Windsor Continuation Group. Bishop Schofield has elected to decline the invitation to the Lambeth Conference issued to him last year although that decision does not signal any withdrawal from the Communion. I hope there may be further careful reflection to clarify the terms on which he will exercise his ministry.

There’s more to the letter. Read it all.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Bishop of Beverley on General Synod

This letter from the Bishop of Beverley on General Synod is outstanding. The man writes with such clarity, it makes one wonder how he ever became a bishop! I especially like this bit of truth-telling:

There is something near hypocritical about folk who abolish one Catholic practice after another within our church and then seek to hide behind the fig leaf of each territorial diocese and its bishop needing to be sacrosanct, as at present, in order to maintain Catholic faith and order.

His view of the near future of English Anglo-Catholics is also clear-eyed – and not as pessimistic as some (including mine):

What then for the future? Presumably legislation will be introduced into Synod offering a way forward by means of a Code of Practice. In due time such legislation will work itself through the synodical process and return to General Synod for final approval in two or three years’ time. Judging from the voting figures in the recent synod at York, I find it hard to believe that such legislation will then command the two-thirds majority required within each of the three houses of General Synod for it to be enacted. There will probably be, too, a new General Synod elected by then, in 2010. It is more important than ever that we organise well for those elections.

I hope English Anglo-Catholics persevere and follow his good counsel.

The Smell of Indaba?

The run up to Lambeth is getting uglier and uglier. Ruth Gledhill of the Times has posted an ominous article:

The Times has learnt that the crisis is likely to worsen, whatever is decided at the conference, because the Episcopal Church of the US plans to overturn its pledge not to consecrate any more openly gay or lesbian bishops.
The US church, which will dominate the conference with 125 bishops attending, is expected then to elect rapidly and consecrate a further five or six such bishops.

Now I don’t expect that many gay bishops so soon. But the liberals are getting more pushy and defiant. And why not? The Archbishop of Canterbury has enabled them and let them know by his actions and inactions that they can get away with anything. The defiance isn’t just coming from North America. The Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan has made clear his eagerness to appoint gay bishops.

Meanwhile, Gene Robinson is busy not being the gay bishop in a speaking tour of England. He got an appropriate reception from at least one gentleman. Yes, I do find confronting his sermon appropriate, especially when he has the gall to say that he’s so sad about “the Anglican Communion tearing itself apart” when it's his consecration that triggered that. And Gene Robinson is a heretic who shouldn’t be given a pulpit in the first place. When bishops don’t fulfill their role of banishing heresy from the church, then it’s right for the laity to speak up and take action. Somebody buy that man a pint!

You might want to hold off on planning that Obama victory party.

So much happened over the weekend, I hardly know where to start. But this got my attention. The Liberal “Mainstream” News Media seems to be in such a hurry to coronate Obama. But look at this .

Newsweek’s polls are reliably skewed to the left. So for their poll to have Obama’s lead going from 15 points to virtually nothing in a month is notable. I suspected once people took a reality check about Obama, his support would wane. It looks like that may be happening even faster than I anticipated.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Essence of Indaba

If you want several good laughs, you must listen to this dramatic reading of the pre-Lambeth letter from BabyBlue.

A line from the letter I didn’t notice before and with which I strong agree (The following is slightly and purposefully edited.):

. . . the final document will mean nothing . . . .

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Statement on GAFCON from the REC Presiding Bishop

I’m very encouraged to read this statement just out from the Presiding Bishop of The Reformed Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Leonard Riches. It certainly confirms the REC’s place within GAFCON . . . and that my dream of being part of a global orthodox Anglican communion is coming true (though not as I originally envisioned!).


July 15, 2008


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Grace and peace to all of you in the Name of our gracious and eternal God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I write to provide you with a report on the historic gathering of faithful Anglican Christians which took place in the city of Jerusalem from June 22 through 29, 2008. Participation in this event, known as the Global Anglican Future Conference, was by invitation only, and drew together nearly 1,200 participants representing some 35 million of the world's orthodox Anglicans from more than 25 nations on 6 continents. The Reformed Episcopal Church was represented by 14 persons including five of our bishops. The Rt. Rev. Charles W. Dorrington, the Rt. Rev. Alphonza Gadsden, Sr., the Rt. Rev. Royal U. Grote, Jr., the Rt. Rev. Ray R. Sutton, and I were all privileged to be part of this unprecedented gathering.

Throughout the span of 8 days pilgrims devoted themselves intensively to worship in daily plenary sessions, to prayer in small groups, to Bible study and discussion, and to substantive examination of significant issues in skillfully conducted workshops and discussion groups. Throughout the week we traveled together to the holy places of Jerusalem and its immediate environs, as well as to more distant places such as Bethlehem and Galilee. An especially moving experience came on Wednesday, June 25, when all pilgrims assembled on the southern steps of the Temple, joining in a service of rededication and renewed commitment of Christ, to the truth of the Gospel, and to the mission of the church.

The purpose of the Global Anglican Future Conference (or 'GAFCON') was stated by the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria, in his opening address. The Archbishop said that "GAFCON is a godly instrument to reshape, reform, renew and reclaim a true Anglican, biblical, orthodox Christianity that is firmly rooted in the historic faith and in the ancient formularies....We are here to inaugurate and determine the roadmap to our future."

The logo of GAFCON bears the two words "Unity" and "Truth" superimposed upon the cross. The truth-claims of Christianity were the reiterated emphasis of the Conference, because they are the bedrock upon which historic Anglican Christianity was established. Every conference speaker and workshop leader made clear, in his own way, that Christ's desire for the unity of His people is always based upon truth. "Sanctify them through the truth; Thy Word is truth." (St. John 17:17)

The outcome of this eventful week in the Holy City is articulated in the GAFCON Conference Statement, and in the Jerusalem Declaration which it embodies. This important document is also attached to this letter (both are on our website here), and I commend it to the serious attention and study of all of our people. The following matters are worthy of special note.

-- Our core identity as Anglicans is clearly defined as based upon the Holy Scriptures as God's Word written; upon the catholic creeds and the ancient Councils of the undivided church; and upon the historic formularies of our Anglican heritage: the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.

-- The Jerusalem Declaration offers a clear and forthright articulation of our present-day commitment, mission and purpose as a fellowship of faithful Anglican Christians.

-- The establishment of a Primates' Council marks a step toward restoring the church to the ancient, conciliar form of order and government by which substantive matters of belief and practice can be collectively considered, effectively determined, and strongly upheld, so that both orthodoxy and orthopraxis are maintained and promoted in the life of the church.

-- The Primates' signed affirmation, attached to the Conference Statement and the Jerusalem Declaration, provides authentication and recognition to the Reformed Episcopal Church as full partners in the realigned global Anglican fellowship which has emerged from GAFCON, together with other "confessing Anglican jurisdictions" who also agree to promote the Gospel and defend the faith.

-- The commitment of the Primates anticipates the formation of a new ecclesiastical structure for North America, to be presented to the Primates' Council for recognition as a province. Work on the formation of this new structure has engaged the Lead Bishops' Executive Committee throughout the past ten months, ever since the College of Bishops of the Common Cause Partnership met in Pittsburgh in September, 2007, and commissioned us with the task. Relationships within this new structure will continue to be federated, with jurisdictions retaining individual identities, integrities, and autonomy.

GAFCON establishes a new alignment and marks a new beginning for faithful Anglicans throughout the world. In particular, it launches a new era of opportunity for the Reformed Episcopal Church. With joy and thanksgiving we take our place as members of a global family and fellowship, uniting in witness, mission, and purpose to bear testimony to Jesus Christ as the only Name whereby men must be saved, and to serve Him, together with all faithful Anglicans, in building His church.

Faithfully yours, in Christ, 

(The Most Rev.) Leonard W. Riches
Presiding Bishop


I’ve deleted some (mainly deceased) blogs from my links and added others I’ve come to think well of. I may add more links as they come to mind.

More from the Bishop of Ebbsfleet

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham, has issued an additional statement.

His comment about news reports of a Vatican-AngloCath summit is particularly interesting:

The talk in the papers about Summits at the Vatican is stuff and nonsense, though, of course, there are always useful conversations going on and Bishop Keith and I were particularly pleased to have had chance when in Rome to have meetings with both Cardinal Kasper and Cardinal Levada.

A hat tip to Anglican Wanderings. By the way, this group of bloggers are Anglo-Catholics very much in the middle of the situation in the Church of England. Their blog may be worth following.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Statements from Forward in Faith UK and the Church Union

I’ll let these statements speak for themselves with a big hat tip to The Good Professor.

From Forward in Faith UK:

A Message from the Chairman of Forward in Faith

The vote in General Synod on the proposal for Women Bishops will have been a real shock to many in our parishes. This is not the time for rapid decisions or knee-jerk reactions but rather a time calmly to take counsel together.

It was obvious in November 1992 that the Church of England had changed substantially for the worse. In the years that followed we have lived together with a real Gospel sense of purpose and they have been good years for us and our parishes. This week’s vote at General Synod came as a real shock to me, not because I expected to win but because I had not realised the depth of the uncharitable and unchristian attitudes held by the majority. It became absolutely obvious that, in spite of appeals from both Archbishops, the majority of so called liberals were determined to see us out. I have been quite impressed today that a liberal bishop and an archdeacon have both phoned me saying they shared our sense of shock. The Bishop of Dover, who is a supporter of women bishops, said in Synod: ‘for the first time in my life I feel ashamed’.

So what has changed apart from clarity about the nature of our opponents? I suspect not very much. As a priest and as a bishop, and as Chairman of Forward in Faith, I have always believed that the changing ecclesiology in the Church of England made collective demands on us. My conviction has always been that we have to seek a common ecclesial way forward. Our hope was that this would be established by the General Synod and though this now seems unlikely, it is still not an impossibility. I remain determined to find a way forward.

There has been speculation in the media about contact with Rome. I am strongly committed to Christian unity and, as many of you know, I was involved in the talks with the Roman Hierarchy in 1992 and later spent a considerable time with the then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1996. My problem then was that, although there was great generosity, there was no offer of an ecclesial reconciliation. In other words, our common Eucharistic and spiritual life was not recognised. That remains a problem for me. I am fascinated by the conversations between the Traditional Anglican Communion and Rome as well as those between some of our Bishops and the Holy See. Will these now offer a way forward?

Many of you have phoned me in the last twenty four hours, angry or distressed. Several have suggested that we should declare war on those who seek to destroy us. Particularly, the suggestion has been made that we stop paying Diocesan Quota. I am open on this matter but think that now is not quite yet the time for such drastic gestures, for whatever we do needs its timing to be agreed by us all so that we can act together. Be assured of my commitment to our common life and of my determination to continue to seek a common way forward in faith for all of us.

Every Blessing,

+John Fulham

From the Church Union:

A Message from Bishop Edwin Barnes
President of The Church Union

Until July 2008 it was possible for members of the Church of England to claim to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. By the vote in General Synod on 7/7/08 that possibility was removed. Now catholic Anglicans are looking to the future without any real chance of remaining members of the Church of England.

Fifteen years ago, we were told we had an honoured place in that church, and that there would be no discrimination against any of us who believed in conscience that women could not be priests. Now, the majority in General Synod have reneged on those promises. They have sought to cover their naked ambition with the fig-leaf of a 'code of practice' but we are not deceived. The code of practice of the House of Bishops which accompanied the Act of Synod in 1993 has been either ignored or positively undermined by those in authority. The even-handedness which was promised us has been replaced by a determined and successful effort to ensure that no-one who believed women's ordination might be against the will of God would gain any sort of senior office in the church.

For myself, this clear decision that the majority wants to be rid of us comes as a great relief. We can now begin to plan for a future which will not involve us in compromise. Our Fathers in God (the Provincial Episcopal Visitors, and the few remaining orthodox bishops such as Fulham, Chichester and a handful of others) will do their best to encourage us and keep us together, so that we can hold together. We believe our friends in the Roman Communion will do all they can to help us. Meanwhile, we must pray for one another and support one another - and pray for those who despitefully use us and want us gone. It is a sad time for the Church of England; but not for the Church of God. Great is the truth, and will prevail. God bless and sustain you - and in this interim the Church Union will do all it can to help you.

+ Edwin Barnes

Speculation on Vatican Provisions for Anglo-Catholics

Time and Damian Thompson are speculating on what Roman Catholic provisions for English Anglo-Catholics crossing the Tiber in the aftermath of Synod might look like. Traditionalist Roman Catholic Thompson has some interesting detail to his wishes “informed guesses”:

1. Rome will set up an "apostolic administration" under a Catholic bishop to offer pastoral care to former Anglican priests and their parishioners.

2. The ex-Anglicans will form an umbrella organisation called something like the Fellowship of St Gregory the Great. The Fellowship, under the guidance of their new Catholic bishop, will consist of former Anglican priests who have been ordained into the Catholic priesthood. Their parishes, though open to anyone, will consist largely of ex-Anglicans.

3. Some Fellowship parishes will occupy their former church buildings, though this will require an unprecedented degree of co-operation with the Church of England.

4. Former Anglican communities may - if they wish - be allowed to use parts of the Book of Common Prayer adapted for Catholic use, as in a few American parishes. In practice, there will be little demand for this concession, I suspect.

5. Former Anglican priests will undergo an accelerated programme of study allowing them to be swiftly ordained. (Conditional ordination is unlikely to be on offer.) Marriage will be no bar to ordination, but no actively gay priest will be knowingly ordained, and this will be strictly enforced.

6. However there will be no question of married lay former Anglicans becoming priests, since this would effectively abolish the rule of celibacy in the Western Church.

7. There will therefore be no Uniate Anglican-Rite Church; there is not enough demand for it, and it raises too many questions about celibacy and jurisdiction.

8. That said, there could well be a future for the Fellowship of St Gregory once its original supply of ex-Anglicans has died out. The treasures our new brethren will bring with them - a poetic and contemplative spirituality, glorious prayers, fine music - will permanently enrich the Catholic Church in England; they belong to us all.

As I say, these are just informed guesses.

A scary thought for those who (like me) want orthodox Anglo-Catholics to stay within Anglicanism: Rome’s provisions for English Anglo-Catholics would likely provide a model for other Anglo-Catholics who wish to cross the Tiber. What the CofE Synod did Monday may have set off a chain of events that decimates the ranks of Anglo-Catholics not just in England but throughout the Anglican world.

MORE: Ruth Gledhill is skeptical about any big reception from the Romans.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

This Pre-Lambeth Letter Isn’t a Joke. . . .

But it should be with “The Essence Of Indaba,” “The Reflections Process,” and “the Listening Group.” This last pre-Lambeth letter to those attending is truly comical. I'm tempted to lampoon it, but the Lambeth Conference Office has pretty much done the job already.

If there is any doubt that Lambeth ’08 is designed to avoid any real resolution or action, it should be dispelled immediately. The letter pretty much comes out and says Lambeth is so designed:

Instead of the classic communiqué or resolutions style of communication this year's conference will produce a reflections document . . .

Among the desired outcomes anticipated by this diverse group from across the Communion was not so much debates, position papers, votes and resolutions but participation on an equal footing, listening as well as speaking and the emergence of wisdom and a common mind.

None of those nasty resolutions, but instead “listening.” Yup.

Indaba is open-ended conversation, which doesn't begin by looking for results . . .

Why do I suspect it won’t end that way either?

Bishop of Ebbsfleet to lead Anglicans to Rome

Damian Thompson reports that the CofE Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham will lead fellow Anglo-Catholics to Rome in the aftermath of Synod shoving women bishops down the throats of objectors. He’s been one of the “flying bishops” ministering to objectors to women’s ordination.

He rightly does not have any trust in the promised so-called “code of practice”: "How could we trust a code of practice to deliver a workable ecclesiology if every suggestion we have made for our inclusion has been turned down flat? How could we trust a code of practice when those who are offering it include those who have done most to undermine and seek to revoke the code of practice in force for these last 14 years?”

And that’s not to mention that likely women bishops such as Miranda Threlfall-Holmes opposed even a sham code of practice.

This past Autumn, I had the pleasure of sharing a few breakfasts at Pusey House with Bishop Burnham. He is an affable, straight-talking man – not the sort you’d expect to be an English bishop!

This move isn’t a surprise to me. I do hate to see him go, but certainly understand he’s been shoved by Synod’s act. I hope others will look closely at alternatives that keep them within Anglicanism, however.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Responses to CofE Synod Women Bishops Vote

The response to the Church of England Synod approving women bishops without adequate provision for objectors has only begun. I’m sad to say we can expect a flood of Anglo-Catholics going to Rome although I hope they will stay Anglican somehow.

The most consequential responses I’ve seen so far are from Forward in Faith UK. Their initial response last night is a model of being terse and to the point:

Forward in Faith and the Catholic Group in General Synod note with regret that, despite the clear advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Durham, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Exeter and other Bishops, the Prolocutor of the Province of Canterbury and the Chairman of the House of Laity and the obvious lack of consensus, the General Synod today resolved to make no meaningful provision for those in conscience unable to receive the ministry of women bishops.
There must now be a period of prayerful reflection. However, members of both the General Synod and of the Church of England will understand that actions always have consequences.

Having slept on it, they added this morning:

The consistent behaviour of the General Synod compels Forward in Faith and the Catholic Group in General Synod to recognise that, without intervention by the House of Bishops, there is little prospect of gaining a synodical majority which would provide a structural solution that would meet the needs of those who, out of obedience to scripture and tradition, are unable in conscience to receive the ordination of women to the episcopate. We will in the coming days continue to explore all possible avenues which might secure our corporate ecclesial future and look to our bishops to facilitate this.

The Vatican has expressed its regret. But why do I think they are eagerly anticipating more Anglo-Catholics crossing the Tiber?

The most on-target response I’ve seen so far comes from an Aussie evangelical of all people, David Ould:

The talk of being inclusive and generous is just that. Talk. In reality there is no desire to [be] anything like inclusive and generous. And, since we've been noting it regularly, do also be aware that the promise made to Synod in the 90's during the debate on the ordination of women to the priesthood that there would always be legal safeguards for dissenters has been knowingly abandoned. This is beyond a lack of charitable spirit - this is a knowing and deliberate breach of trust.

The most interesting response comes from someone very much affected by Synod’s decision, The Ugley Vicar.

All of us should respond by praying for those distressed by Synod’s act.


MORE: Andrew Carey is also on target.

Monday, July 07, 2008

BREAKING: CofE Synod on Women Bishops – “It’s all over”

As Ruth Gledhill is live-blogging, three key amendments to provide structural provisions for objectors to women bishops have all gone down to defeat, prompting one Anglo-Catholic to tell her, “It’s all over.”

Jonathan Baker, Principal of Pusey House, argued for one of the amendments in what I’m sure was his temperate but clear voice:

Rev. Jonathan Baker, Principal of Pusey House, Oxford, and a member of the legislative drafting group, supported the Bishop of Exeter's amendment. He said the only thing that offered a way forward for him with integrity was to do more work along the lines of a diocesan solution. 'We need to have bishops who those of us who need to can look to with conviction and assurance but still play our full part in the Church of England.' He wanted to be in a church where he could continue to play his part in 'nurturing the vocation' of young men who had difficulty with the ordination of women. A church in danger of losing its memory was a 'sad church to belong to'. This amendment was the way to ensure that people like him could be not just part of the memory of the CofE, but 'part of its present and part of its future.'

But his plea was of no avail.

And now a “crucial” amendment to provide “Super-Bishops” has narrowly failed.

Unless there a dramatic last minute shift, the Church of England is willfully shoving off its Anglo-Catholics. This is a sad day for Anglicanism.


UPDATE: Women bishops without structural provisions for objectors did indeed pass, but not without heroic opposition:

Stephen Venner, Bishop of Dover, said: 'I have to say that for the first time in my life I feel ashamed. We have talked for hours about wanting to give an honourable place for those who disagreed. We have turned down almost every opportunity for those opposed to flourish. And we still talk the talk of being inclusive and generous. The Rochester report said in many many pages that there were a variety of ways in which scripture and reason could be read with integrity. It argued over and over again that it is possible to be a loyal member of the CofE and [accept] some legal safeguards for those who oppose the ordination of women. It is not just those who are opposed to the ordination of women who find the motion we have at the moment difficult. I do. Where is the CofE about which we have spoken today? Is this CofE to which we have come to in this vote the CofE at its best? I have to say I doubt it. Is this the CofE to which I thought I belonged? I have to say with huge sadness, I doubt it.'

Massive applause. Venner sitting in chair, weeping.

Hugo Chavez Libchurch Formed

This amusing story just goes to show you – under socialism, the state is God . . . and libchurchers can always be found to bow down:

However, the Rev Enrique Albornoz, a former Lutheran minister who helped create the independent church told the Associated Press, “We don't side with any political banner . . .

Oh no, not at all!

. . . but we cannot fail to recognize and support the socialist achievements of this government," and “back the social programmes of this revolutionary government."

That was predictable.

McCain Campaign Gets Some Discipline

Last month, I posted that the McCain campaign must put a stop to their stupidity.

It appears they may have just taken an important step to do so.

UPDATED: CofE Synod is Now Debating Women Bishops

The Church of England Synod is now debating motions concerning women bishops and provisions for objectors. A vote is scheduled for tonight, England time. Ruth Gledhill is liveblogging the debate. Be aware that she is posting in reverse chronological order, for now at least, i. e. you will be reading the most recent postings first.

I stick to my prediction that efforts to pass women bishops without any structural provision for objectors will fail. Right now, a muddle, or a delay, or a proposal for enhanced flying bishops looks more likely.


UPDATE: But maybe I’m wrong. Based on an amendment vote, Ms. Gledhill predicts “The code of practice and the main starting motion will probably prevail.”

Although this is not easy to follow, I believe she is referring to the motion to approve women bishops without structural provision for objectors, with only a voluntary code of practice. If that passes, it would be a disaster for the Church of England and for Anglicanism as it would push the heart of Anglo-Catholicism out.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Jesse Helms, R.I.P.

I just read the news that Jesse Helms, U. S. Senator from North Carolina from 1973 t0 2003 died this Fourth of July morning at the age of 86.

He was a great and courageous American. I’m proud that I worked in his political network in the 1982 and 1984 elections. (The 1984 Helms-Hunt Senate race was the most expensive U. S. Senate campaign up to that time, by the way, and was very interesting to be in the middle of.)

I think the Lord sent a message by taking him on the Fourth of July. May he rest in peace.

Here is an interesting book review article on him.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Petition in Support of GAFCON for Anglicans Outside UK

If you are an Anglican living outside the UK, I encourage you to sign this petition in support of GAFCON and the Jerusalem Declaration.

I think Anglicans out of full communion with Canterbury may sign. But to avoid any misunderstanding, I recommend disclosing your church jurisdiction in the comment section as I did.

For residents of the UK who are members of the Church of England, your petition is here.

FIF NA Deputation on GAFCON

More Anglo-Catholic response to GAFCON. Those from Forward in Faith North America who attended GAFCON have commented on the conference and its statement.

Although they don’t yet go so far as an explicit endorsement of the Jerusalem Declaration, they are enthusiastic and very positive about GAFCON.

I think this statement worthy of note: “Your deputation had a direct effect on the drafting of GAFCON’s Statement on the Global Anglican Future.”

So Anglo-Catholics did have a significant role in drafting the statement. Perhaps it isn’t the evangelical horror some ACs think it is.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics Together?

One of my great concerns for orthodox Anglicanism is that we may lose the Anglo-Catholics. Many have already been lost to Rome. And that stream could become a flash flood if the Church of England Synod this weekend approves women bishops without structural provision for objectors. Outside of England many A-Cs look askance at GAFCON and the evangelical flavor of its statement and don’t see a good home even among conservatives.

Now, there are some Anglo-Catholics who just can’t be pleased. They would rather the One Holy and Apostolic Church meet in their apartment than to join with churches that aren’t just so. And, of course, there are those uber-Protestants who can’t be pleased either, who are allergic to incense, break out in hives at the mention of Mary, and don’t want anything to do with anything remotely Cartholick. Yes, I do sometimes get frustrated with both varieties of nit-pickers.

With those Anglo-Catholics who aren’t very eager to join with other orthodox Anglicans and with those evangelicals who wouldn’t be very sad to see them go, there is the potential to lose many, even most orthodox Anglo-Catholics to Rome and Constantinople. I would hate to see that. It would greatly impoverish Anglicanism.

But all is not gloomy. I’m encouraged by some responses to GAFCON from both evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics.

From the evangelical wing come remarkably conciliatory comments from the Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen at All Souls, London. For example:

The last two weeks have been two of the most extraordinary in my life. What we are dealing with here is not a split, but a movement possibly as significant as the Evangelical Revival, or even the Anglo-Catholic movement if you prefer, and it may bring Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics together.

Coming from someone who *understatement alert* hasn’t exactly been a great friend to Anglo-Catholics, that is quite an olive branch and is encouraging.

On the Anglo-Catholic side, I’m encouraged by the enthusiastic support of GAFCON from the Diocese of Ft. Worth. Bishop Iker quickly endorsed GAFCON. And other positive responses may be sampled here and here. From Ft. Worth, I see a recognition that GAFCON isn’t perfect but that it is very good progress and worthy of support. I also see a recognition that orthodoxy includes the orthopraxy of flexing on the details of secondary matters for the sake of orthodox Anglican unity.

Would all those who believe in “the communion of the saints” and “one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” act like it and follow their good example.

The Dangers of Auto-Replace

Those of you who rely on auto-replace in your word processing, beware. The consequences can be embarrassing . . . and hilarious.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I have my turn with Rowan Williams’ Response to GAFCON.

I’m hesitant to give yet another response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s response to GAFCON. But you know how I am when provoked. So here goes. From Dr. Williams:

The Final Statement from the GAFCON meeting in Jordan and Jerusalem contains much that is positive and encouraging about the priorities of those who met for prayer and pilgrimage in the last week. The ‘tenets of orthodoxy’ spelled out in the document will be acceptable to and shared by the vast majority of Anglicans in every province, even if there may be differences of emphasis and perspective on some issues. I agree that the Communion needs to be united in its commitments on these matters, and I have no doubt that the Lambeth Conference will wish to affirm all these positive aspects of GAFCON’s deliberations. Despite the claims of some, the conviction of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and God and the absolute imperative of evangelism are not in dispute in the common life of the Communion.

That last sentence is so absurd, I’m at a loss for words. How can he write something so utterly divorced from reality? I think one has to receive an Oxbridge education to be able to do that.

However, GAFCON’s proposals for the way ahead are problematic in all sorts of ways, and I urge those who have outlined these to think very carefully about the risks entailed.

A ‘Primates’ Council’ which consists only of a self-selected group from among the Primates of the Communion will not pass the test of legitimacy for all in the Communion.

But heretic bishops, about which you have done NOTHING, do pass?

And any claim to be free to operate across provincial boundaries is fraught with difficulties, both theological and practical – theological because of our historic commitments to mutual recognition of ministries in the Communion, practical because of the obvious strain of responsibly exercising episcopal or primatial authority across enormous geographical and cultural divides.

So geography is more important than orthodoxy? To you it apparently is.

Two questions arise at once about what has been proposed. By what authority are Primates deemed acceptable or unacceptable members of any new primatial council? And how is effective discipline to be maintained in a situation of overlapping and competing jurisdictions?

Sorry, Dr. Williams, but after inviting the unrepentant consecrators of Gene Robinson to Lambeth, you are in no position to lecture anyone about church discipline.

No-one should for a moment impute selfish or malicious motives to those who have offered pastoral oversight to congregations in other provinces; these actions, however we judge them, arise from pastoral and spiritual concern.

But . . .

But one question has repeatedly been raised which is now becoming very serious: how is a bishop or primate in another continent able to discriminate effectively between a genuine crisis of pastoral relationship and theological integrity, and a situation where there are underlying non-theological motivations at work? We have seen instances of intervention in dioceses whose leadership is unquestionably orthodox simply because of local difficulties of a personal and administrative nature. We have also seen instances of clergy disciplined for scandalous behaviour in one jurisdiction accepted in another, apparently without due process. Some other Christian churches have unhappy experience of this problem and it needs to be addressed honestly.

O. K., now this is just playing dirty – dredging up supposed scandals without using names so the targets can’t defend themselves. I’m sure someone could dredge up plenty of scandals and such in the Church of England. The point of such exercises in mudslinging is . . . . ?

It is not enough to dismiss the existing structures of the Communion. If they are not working effectively, the challenge is to renew them rather than to improvise solutions that may seem to be effective for some in the short term but will continue to create more problems than they solve. This challenge is one of the most significant focuses for the forthcoming Lambeth Conference. One of its major stated aims is to restore and deepen confidence in our Anglican identity. And this task will require all who care as deeply as the authors of the statement say they do about the future of Anglicanism to play their part.

They HAVE done their part and more. And you, sir, have been obstructing them every step of the way. The biggest reason the existing structures of the Communion are not working effectively is YOU.

The language of ‘colonialism’ has been freely used of existing patterns. No-one is likely to look back with complacency to the colonial legacy. But emerging from the legacy of colonialism must mean a new co-operation of equals, not a simple reversal of power. If those who speak for GAFCON are willing to share in a genuine renewal of all our patterns of reflection and decision-making in the Communion, they are welcome, especially in the shaping of an effective Covenant for our future together.

Again, you tell them to work for reform while you are the biggest roadblock to it.

I believe that it is wrong to assume we are now so far apart that all those outside the GAFCON network are simply proclaiming another gospel.

That is a straw man. I haven’t heard ANYONE saying that.

This is not the case; it is not the experience of millions of faithful and biblically focused Anglicans in every province. What is true is that, on all sides of our controversies, slogans, misrepresentations and caricatures abound. And they need to be challenged in the name of the respect and patience we owe to each other in Jesus Christ.

I have in the past quoted to some in the Communion who would call themselves radical the words of the Apostle in I Cor.11.33: ‘wait for one another’. I would say the same to those in whose name this statement has been issued. An impatience at all costs to clear the Lord’s field of the weeds that may appear among the shoots of true life (Matt.13.29) will put at risk our clarity and effectiveness in communicating just those evangelical and catholic truths which the GAFCON statement presents.

Oh. So we should keep on waiting while you keep on obstructing and dithering. We’ve played that game.

Game over.

Times: Over 1300 Clergy Tell Canterbury and York They May Leave CofE Over Women Bishops

The Times reports that over 1300 clergy have written the Archbishops of Canterbury and York saying they may leave the Church of England if the Synod this weekend allows women bishops without also setting up adequate provision for objecting traditionalists.

Here is a pdf of the letter and its signatories. Eleven serving bishops are among them. I also see my friends from Pusey House.

I hope the enormity of this immanent loss to the Church of England prompts the Synod this weekend to pull back from the madness of pushing through women bishops without adequate provision for those who can not accept their ministry. If the Church of England pushes on in its current direction, it will rip out the heart of English Anglo-Catholicism and throw it away.

I don’t think the Church of England is that mad just yet. We shall see.