Category : Sexuality

An article from Stuff about Wellington, New Zealand’s, new Cathedral Dean David Rowe

Rowe is not expected to take up his post at Wellington Cathedral until July. But it would appear that, in the 19 months since he signed the letter, he may have changed his stance.

In a letter to Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth after his appointment, he acknowledged concern about the signing of the 2016 letter, and said he was on a “journey and not in a fixed position” on the gay blessing issue.

Duckworth said on Wednesday that Rowe, who has ministered previously in New Zealand, and has a son and daughter-in-law working as priests in Whanganui, was well aware of Wellington Anglicans’ stance on gay blessings, and had taken the job happy and accepting of it.

“I would say he is not fixed in his position, and is trying to work out what he believes and what God is saying … he is trying to work out what he believes.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(JE) The Episcopal Church (TEC) Prepares to Tighten Screws on Traditional Marriage Proponents

Further evidence this week of the continued longevity of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ law: “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.”

Officials in a handful of domestic Episcopal Church dioceses which have opted out of the denomination’s same-sex marriage liturgies are warily eying the denomination’s upcoming General Convention and the changes it may bring.

Bishops and deputies will gather this July in Austin, Texas for the triennial governing convention. A multi-year process of revising the church’s Book of Common Prayer, last revised in 1979, is widely expected to begin at this gathering.

Interestingly, the addition of same-sex marriages conducted within the Episcopal Church has not significantly lessened a decline in the overall number of church weddings, which have dropped by 44 percent in the past decade (14,805 marriages in 2006, compared with only 8,343 in 2016, the most recent reporting year).

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Christian Today) Bishop Paul Richardson on IICSA–Senior clergy don’t need MBAs to deal with abuse

Cathedral deans should not need an MBA to enable them to handle cases of abuse or run a cathedral. An MBA does not increase skills in pastoral care or liturgy; it doesn’t improve preaching and teaching or raise awareness of how to relate a cathedral to the local community or improve the quality of music. A cathedral does need staff trained in accountancy whose voices are heard but it is too common in Britain today to think that accountants are the best people to run hospitals or other organisations.

Finally what are we to say about abuse and the theology of forgiveness? Linda Woodhead claims that ‘a faulty doctrine of forgiveness was used by abusers to salve their consciences, by officials to move on without dealing with the problem, and by parishioners to marginalise “unchristian” victims and whistleblowers’.

Quite honestly, I have never come across this theology of forgiveness. If someone in confession confesses to a serious sin such as abuse or murder the confessor will normally make absolution conditional on the penitent reporting to the police. This is why forcing clergy to reveal what is told to them in confession is huge mistake. Catholic clergy will never break the seal of the confessional but the threat that attempts will be made to make them do so will stop penitents being frank.

As well as sending the penitent to the police, confessors will also point out that God’s forgiveness does not rule out the need for legal penalties or, where appropriate, reparation to victims. Knowing that a pattern of abuse is almost impossible to break, bishops are not being kind or forgiving in moving abusive clergy to another parish. Allowing the law to take its course and then providing some kind of care and counselling for the perpetrator but not a future opportunity of ministry may be the kindest policy.

All this could have been learnt from Jason Berry’s reporting 30 years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(BC Catholic) The little-known story about one aspiring Trinity Western University law student who stood up for marriage and his Faith

News about Trinity Western University’s attempts to open a Christian law school, and the ensuing battles in the courts and the media, has spread across the country many times over.

The Law Society of B.C. has opposed the law school because of TWU’s community covenant asking students to abstain from sex outside marriage between a man and a woman.

But few know the story of one aspiring law student from Surrey who agreed to lend his name to the case, even though it could ruin his chances of ever being accepted to law studies.

“Everyone has choices to make on a regular basis on whether or not they will stand up for their faith,” said 29-year-old Brayden Volkenant.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Canada, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) [Bishop of Chichester] Martin Warner–Safeguarding: what we got wrong, and the steps we are taking to put it right

The diocese of Chichester was used as a case study for inquiring into child sexual abuse in the Church of England. Some have wished to claim immunity from our failings, regarding us an aberration and unlike more “normal” dioceses.

More careful consideration, however, suggests that what happened here was characterised by attitudes that were not unknown elsewhere.

If, for example, we look at the case of one highly manipulative offender, Roy Cotton, factors emerge at an early stage that might account for why no effective disciplinary action was taken against him.

First, academic snobbery: Cotton was an Oxbridge graduate. Second, social snobbery: he worked in an independent preparatory school before ordination.

Third, manipulating episcopal patronage: he was exempted from selection scrutiny and spent only one term in training. After being ordained in his home diocese and serving a curacy there, he moved to Chichester with a glowing reference from his bishop, and subsequently moved from one parish to another with apparent ease.

Fourth, at the end of his ministry in Chichester, he was dealt with leniently in old age because of illness and infirmity….

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(ENS) The Episcopal Church General Convention will again grapple with same-sex marriage questions

The eight bishops who have prohibited same-gender marriage in their dioceses are Albany Bishop William Love, Central Florida Bishop Greg Brewer, Dallas Bishop George Sumner, Florida Bishop John Howard, North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, Springfield Bishop Dan Martins, Tennessee’s [John] Bauerschmidt and Virgin Islands Bishop Ambrose Gumbs, according to the task force.

Love, Brewer, Sumner, Martins and Bauerschmidt prohibit clergy canonically resident in those dioceses to use the liturgies inside or outside of the diocese, the report said.

“At this point it’s very unclear whether canonically resident clergy could actually use the liturgies [anywhere] without the permission of their own bishop,” Bauerschmidt told ENS before the report was released “So, that’s not so much my idea, but I think it’s implied by the 2015 resolution.”

Read it all.

Posted in Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Group of C of E Bishops’ Easter letter warns of slavery in our midst

Slavery is on the rise in Britain in a way we have not seen since the days of William Wilberforce. Last year 5,145 victims were found in the UK. It is a big increase on 2016’s figure, but it still does not come close to the tens of thousands that the National Crime Agency believes are hidden.

It might seem that we should leave this problem to the police. But this Easter we are asking everyone to open their eyes to the signs of potential exploitation around them. The Clewer Initiative, our national anti-slavery project, educates people on what to look out for. New life for those entombed in darkness.

As Wilberforce said more than 200 years ago, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say you did not know.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence, Women

(1st Things) John Waters on the #MeToo Movement–Summer’s Last Sting

…this is true of the #MeToo movement. It is a quasi-voluntary response to the drift of things, from deep in the conscience of society. It is, fundamentally, a cultural adjustment, necessary and inevitable though not overtly willed. And, although for the moment quite sincerely explaining itself in other terms, it is the bust to end the 1960s boom in sexual permissiveness.

Sixties libertinism is now more problematic for our societies than even ELP’s noodlings were in ’76. Together with its cultural offshoots—industrial abortion, fatherlessness, the evisceration of marriage—it is, beneath the radar of conventional mainstream discourse, the cause of immense damage. And yet, to speak against it publicly is still to announce oneself a puritan. With such double-binds in play, cultures subject to the laws of evolution find roundabout ways of introducing necessary ameliorations.

Rarely has a generation of ideologues been less honest about the consequences of its agenda than the 1960s Peace & Love generation, which sold its prescriptions as the apogee of freedom and attributed all inadequacies and negative side-effects to a surfeit of false shame or overdeveloped user-conscience. Sexual licentiousness was presented as liberty, cost-free fun, the surrogate of the infinite, as though the human body were a complimentary resource, adrift from its situation in the humanity of the ensouled being. The wastages and casualties of this misunderstanding were swept up by psychotherapists and placed in the bin marked “indeterminate symptoms.”

The agenda had been inadequately measured against life’s iron law that the pursuit of selfish desires leads to chaos and grief, first for those misused in the pursuit of reductive desires—and ultimately for the misuser. Privately, individually, the children of the 1960s found that their pursuit of the chimera of freedom did not deliver as promised, but they had invested too much of themselves in the project to admit as much publicly. Thus was the revolution allowed to persist beyond logical limits and appear to render naturalistic a degree of license that was self-evidently unsustainable.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Politics in General, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

(Surviving Church) A Survivor’s Reply to the Archbishops’ pastoral letter on the IICSA

Another point: if you’re going to start a pastoral letter with a biblical quotation, make it an appropriate one. The passage which came to my mind when I read your letter was another saying of Jesus:

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. (Mt. 5:23-24)

We have just spent three weeks finding out how much is justly held against the leaders of our Church. The debt is huge, but you can at least make a start. John, you need to work on being reconciled with Matt Ineson before you next attend church. Justin, what about making amends to Gilo for those 17 unanswered letters? But only if you take Jesus seriously, of course.

Finally I’d like to say, in my most pastoral manner, that neither of you seems good at responding appropriately to people who’ve been on the receiving end of the bad stuff that happens in religious organisations. So here’s another suggestion. When you need to write a letter like the one we’ve just had, or to make a statement, run it past a survivor first. Most of us don’t want you to look uncaring and incompetent, we really don’t. We can help you to write sensitively, to respond appropriately, to offer assistance that will actually make a difference. Many of us have years of experience working with other survivors; researching; struggling with the theological and spiritual implications of being abused. Some of us can even contribute liturgical material you might find useful. We survivors offer a resource for the Church that you need badly. Don’t continue to despise it.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

The Pastoral letter from the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

We take very seriously all that has been heard by the Inquiry. Archbishop Justin said when he gave evidence last week that he had learned again through listening and reading the evidence given to the Inquiry, that we must not simply say sorry, but that we must also take action that demonstrates clearly that we have learnt the lessons.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(Christian Today) Church of England made ‘conscious effort to treat survivors badly’, inquiry hears

David Greenwood, a solicitor for a number of abuse victims in Sussex, said the ‘Anglican Church has proved itself incapable of self governance’ in the case of child abuse by its own priests.

He compared the Church of England’s handling of abuse allegations with the Catholic Church, which is influenced by a papal decree known as Secreta Continere, handed down in 1974, which has imposed strict secrecy on the investigation of child abuse allegations within the church.

‘The evidence demonstrates the Church’s institutions have worked in concert to resist cases [of abuse],’ Greenwood said in his concluding statement this morning.

‘It could be said that the Catholic Church’s more brazen approach to resisting cases due to their written rules on secrecy is actually less malign than the Anglican resistance which has required conscious effort to treat survivors badly.’

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(Surviving Church) Stephen Parsons: IICSA–reflections on Archbp Welby’s conclusions

A second word came out of [Archbp Justin] Welby’s reflections at the end of the questions by Fiona Scolding. This was the word ‘tribalism’. The Archbishop wanted to make the point that when groups or factions within the church band together to protect themselves and their privileges, that creates an atmosphere highly hostile to good and transparent safeguarding. Although he used the word tribalism in the context of protecting vulnerable people in the church, it was clear that this word also sums up many of the problems being faced by the Church of England in other areas. Tribalism seems to be rife in the whole Anglican Communion and is the cause of many of its intractable divisions.

Those of us listening to his words realise that, for the Archbishop, church tribalism is a source of deep frustration. The problem is that everyone feels stronger when they band together with others to accomplish a particular task. Some tribalism is of course healthy. The church rightly encourages people to gather together the purposes of study, prayer and worship. Feeling support from others as we grow together in community is something that enriches our lives. But community or communion can become something dark when it descends into tribalism. This negative side of community is manifested when the individual surrenders their thinking and feeling to a group mind. In political terms this is seen in mass movements whether on the Right or on the Left. Anyone who attends a fascist rally does not have to think for themselves. He or she is part of something great and of enormous power. The Movement, the Cause has replaced the individual isolated functioning which belongs to a single person. Within the mass gathering there is power; outside the rally there is only insignificance and a sense of personal weakness.

A readiness to surrender our individual weakness in exchange for tribal power is perhaps not as far away from each of us as we would like to think.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(Church Times) IICSA: the dean’s bonfire and the destroyed report at Chichester Cathedral

A former Dean of Chichester Cathedral, the late John Treadgold, burnt a batch of files suspected to contain sensitive personnel material upon his retirement in 2001, the Dean of Worcester, the Very Revd Peter Atkinson, confirmed on Tuesday.

Dean Atkinson, who was Canon Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral at the time of the incident, was giving evidence to a public hearing conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA).

The hearing, now in its third and final week, is using the Chichester diocese as a case study.

Asked by Counsel about the burning of files, Dean Atkinson said: “He [Dean Treadgold] had retired in the autumn of 2001 and moved a short distance away. What I remember of the episode is that he returned to the Deanery, which then was empty — this was long before Dean Frayling arrived — removed a number of files from the Deanery basement and had a fire in the garden.

“I don’t know what the files were. I think there is some indication that they might have been old Chapter files, but they may well have been his own. It’s a bit odd that he’d moved away and then came back to do this, and it was sufficiently troubling for us to mention this to the police, which happened.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(CT Editorial) We Need an Independent Investigation of Sovereign Grace Ministries

For six years now—and more intensely in the last few weeks—charges and counter-charges (see links…), accusations and defenses have been conducted in public forums and in the courts, without a satisfactory conclusion. This has left many, many observers bewildered, angry, and deeply suspicious of SGC. What’s worse, these unseemly events reverberate outward, mixing with the #ChurchToo discussion and lingering anger over the Roman Catholic Church abuse scandal. Many now wonder if there has been a habit of covering up and denying child and sexual abuse in evangelical churches in general—if there is something in the evangelical DNA that makes us hesitant to deal with accusations quickly, openly, and truthfully when there is the suspicion of grave sin in our midst.

We call for a fresh and thorough independent investigation not because we believe SGC guilty of every one of its critics’ charges. We are as bewildered as anyone and simply don’t have enough information to make a confident judgment on the matter. We see, however, that SGC and some of its individual congregations—and pastor C. J. Mahaney (founder and former president) in particular—are under a cloud of suspicion. A former ministry partner of Mahaney turned critic, Brent Detwiler, has been chronicling the controversyfor many years and claims that 100 pastors, 300 small group leaders, 40 churches (including his own), and 12,000 members have left SGC churches largely over what they claim has been abusive and deceitful leadership.

Given the prominence of Sovereign Grace, especially in Reformed evangelical circles, this puts the gospel we preach under a cloud. If, in fact, they are as guiltless as they have proclaimed, and if, in fact, the incidences are as few as they suggest, it would be great news for the evangelical community and the cause of the gospel.

At the same time, if the many charges prove to be true to a larger extent than they currently acknowledge, it would be sad and troubling—but not without hope if it leads to truth-telling and repentance. The truth of sin that leads to repentance is one of the most glorious moments in our life in Christ.

 

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(CEN) Church survey finds that one in four women experience domestic abuse

A new survey on Church responses to domestic abuse has found that one in fourrespondents had experienced at least one abusive behaviour in their current relationship.

The aim of the survey was to identify the rates of domestic abuse amongst male and female churchgoers, and the levels and attitudes of awareness among church leaders relating to domestic abuse in their congregation.

The report published this week In Churches too, found that emotional abuse was the most commonly experienced, with respondents reporting feeling diminished self-esteem, depression, feeling trapped and withdrawing from family and friends.

The samplefor the research, led by Dr Kristin Aune of Coventry University, and co-author Dr Rebecca Barnes, of the University of Leicester, was taken from a sample in Cumbria.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence