Category : * Anglican – Episcopal

News and Commentary about the Anglican Communion

A recent Kendall Harmon Sermon–What are we Going to do with the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)?

I am sad to say I had another brain freeze during this one and said Lamech was in the wrong chapter in genesis he is in chapter 4.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the day from the Church of England

Eternal Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven
that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

Archbishop Stephen Cottrell’s Address to York Diocesan Synod this past Saturday

The amended motion that was eventually passed on Wednesday after a long and often painful debate as different conscientiously held views were explained and exchanged noted the progress made since the February Synod which asked the House of Bishops to find ways of commending the Prayers of Love and Faith alongside a number of other commitments, not least a heartfelt declaration of repentance for the prejudice and exclusion many LGBTQIA+ people had experienced and sadly sometimes continue to experience in the church. Nothing has yet changed or been introduced, but ways forward and a path to follow is being mapped out. That’s really what this Synod was about.

In particular, what will happen next is that the prayers themselves will be commended for use, either privately and pastorally with same-sex couples, or as part of an existing or regular service in church, but standalone services, i.e. that bit of LLF which has received the most publicity, and probably where the greatest disagreement lies, will be subject to a process of authorisation under Canon B2, which would mean that in order to receive final authorisation, there would need to be a two thirds majority in favour in each of the three synodical houses – bishops, clergy, laity.

Leading up to that vote, there will probably be a period of experimentation under Canon B5A. This is the canon allows individual parishes that want to, that opt in, to apply to be able to use material on an experimental basis for a fixed period, at the end of which, Synod considers whether to extend the authorization under B2. That’s’ the vote requiring the two thirds majorities. Doing it this way will be useful way both gauging the feeling of the Church, but also give time to properly consider exactly what sort of pastoral reassurance and provision will be necessary to honour those who in good conscience won’t be able to support these developments. Again, I want you to know that I am very committed to ensuring this happens well in the Diocese of York, but also for the whole Church of England, as are my colleagues.

The pastoral guidance concerning what this means for ordinands and clergy, particularly over whether they could be permitted to enter into same-sex marriages themselves is still a work in progress and wasn’t really discussed at this synod. But it will be forthcoming in the early part of 2024.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Prayer for the day from the Church of England

Heavenly Father,
whose blessed Son was revealed
to destroy the works of the devil
and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:
grant that we, having this hope,
may purify ourselves even as he is pure;
that when he shall appear in power and great glory
we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom;
where he is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church of England Evangelical Council) Responding to the 15 November 2023 General Synod decision: looking forward

For many in the Church of England a line was crossed this week that we prayed and hoped would not happen.

On Wednesday afternoon, the General Synod expressed its support by a tiny majority of just a few votes for the continued implementation of the House of Bishops proposals to change the position and practice of the Church of England with regards to sexual ethics and marriage.

In practice we now expect the bishops to commend prayers of blessing for same sex couples by mid-December (and provide dedicated services soon after), to prepare guidance which will make it possible for clergy to marry their same sex partners, and that future ordinands will not to be asked to indicate whether their lifestyle and personal relationships are in keeping with the doctrine of the Church of England.

We believe these proposals are being pursued without adequate provision and protection for those holding to the biblical, historic and global majority Anglican view on marriage and sexual intimacy. This underlines the failure of leadership by the archbishops and divided House and College of Bishops….

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Varied stances taken in first reactions to Synod’s extremely narrow vote on same-sex unions

Referring to Dr Croft’s amendment, …[Dr Jill Duff] said that the “one-vote knife-edge” would make it difficult to implement anything. What was needed was a “better way that will help us keep united, help us flourish”.

She referred to her positive experience in Blackburn, working with a diocesan bishop, the Rt Revd Philip North, who opposed the ordination of women, as an example of how it was possible for the Church to stay together despite deep differences (News, 12 January).

A “consensus” was needed akin to the one that had enabled the legislation on women bishops to be carried by two-thirds majorities in the Synod. “We did that quite carefully, and it has enabled us to be respected across the whole spectrum,” she said.

In the Synod in July, however, the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, made a speech in which she implored the Church not to go down the same route: it “ain’t working — and we are paying the price”, she said.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Statement from the Gafcon Primates 16 November 2023

This week marks a tragic moment in the history of the Church of England. On Wednesday, November 15, its General Synod approved a proposal to encourage its bishops to continue their work in creating and implementing liturgical prayers of blessing for same-sex unions. The Synod additionally voted to approve an amendment that will allow clergy to go ahead and conduct standalone services of blessing on a trial basis. This means that, beginning next month, Anglican clergy in Church of England churches will be able to do what the prophet Balaam could not and would not do by going against the Word of God and blessing that which God has condemned (Num 24:12-14).

Holy Scripture is clear and unequivocal in its affirmation that the only proper context for sexual intimacy is the relationship of a man and woman who have been joined together in marriage. All forms of sexual intimacy outside of this context are condemned as immorality and are behaviors from which the people of God are regularly called to repent. In I Corinthians 6:9-10, the apostle Paul tells us “not to be deceived” on the seriousness of such immorality and warns us that those who fail to repent of it will not inherit the kingdom of God. And one of the behaviors he specifically names is that of homosexual activity. Elsewhere the New Testament specifically warns against false teachers who promote sexual immorality within the church (2 Peter 2:1-3, Jude 3-4, Rev. 2:19-24) and instructs us not to listen to or heed their words.

This week, the Church of England has made it clear that they disagree with Holy Scripture. They have decided that they can bless that from which the Bible calls us to repent. What is more, although these motions were passed by very narrow votes among the clergy and laity, the bishops gave their support and approval by a very clear majority. This is a tragedy for Anglicans, for not only has the Church of England done what its own Thirty-Nine Articles forbid by approving ceremonies that are “contrary to God’s Word written” (Articles XX, XXXIV), but a majority of its bishops have broken the vows which they swore at their consecration, to “banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word” (BCP Ordinal).

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, GAFCON, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

The GSFA Statement Following the Church of England’s General Synod Resolution

From there:

We are saddened to know that the General Synod of the Church of England has passed a resolution to bless same sex unions despite almost 50% of the Synod opposing the bishops’ proposal. This disastrous decision creates the same serious consequences of differentiation and division as in other provinces and further fractures our beloved Anglican Communion.

On behalf of the Primates of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), I once again affirm the GSFA Ash Wednesday Statement which we made on Feb 20th this year (2023). We wholeheartedly support the faithful bishops, clergy and laity within the Church of England and assure them of our continuing prayers and pastoral commitment as a global body.

“……. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology: Scripture

CEEC responds to the C of E General Synod decision

From there:

“CEEC is grieved and saddened that the General Synod passed a motion earlier this afternoon to continue with the implementation of the bishops’ proposals. These proposals depart from a biblical understanding of sex and marriage, in particular by enabling blessings for same sex couples in parish churches. This decision follows a process that has been widely observed as unduly hasty, incomplete and haphazard.

“This is, however, more than just a departure from the biblical understanding of sex and marriage. Sadly, today marks a ‘watershed’ moment, in that it appears that the Church of England no longer sees Scripture as our supreme authority.

“If the bishops continue with the implementation of their proposals, we believe this will have a devastating impact on churches across the country and beyond. It will tear local parish congregations apart, damage the relationship between large numbers of clergy and their bishops and cause churches across the dioceses to feel as though their shepherds have abandoned them. It may also serve a final blow to the unity of the Anglican Communion.

“CEEC longs for a resurgence of faithfulness to biblical teaching, which would deepen the unity for which Jesus prayed in John 17.

“CEEC is committed to supporting the ministry of orthodox evangelical lay people and ministers across the dioceses. In the next few days CEEC will announce a series of provisions for orthodox evangelicals and work to do all it can to ensure evangelical life and witness in the Church of England continues for years to come.”

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

The February Statement from Vaughan Roberts of Saint Ebbe’s oxford is worth revisiting today

From there:

The decision of the General Synod to support the bishops of the Church of England in their intention to make provision for blessings for couples in same-sex relationships represents a shocking departure from the teaching of God’s Word, which will have serious and distressing repercussions.

I should stress that there is no disagreement about the great dignity of all people, made in God’s image and deeply loved by him. We all affirm the importance of welcoming everyone to our churches, whatever their sexuality or relational circumstances. The division is about sex and marriage. The Bible’s teaching is clear, as taught by the universal church down the ages, that God intended his good gift of sex to be reserved for the marriage of a man and a woman (see my recent publication Together in Love and Faith? for more detailed teaching on this and related matters).

By offering the prayers they have published, the bishops will be giving authority (to those clergy who wish to use them), to bless in God’s name behaviour which the Bible calls sin. This is a very grievous step to take, which will cause serious spiritual damage and result in deep division within the Church of England and wider Anglican Communion.

Although the blessings will only be formally commended after the bishops publish further guidance in the summer about the context in which they can be used, the direction of travel is clear. In our distress, and perhaps confusion, we should remember that Christ is lovingly sovereign over his church and his purposes will prevail. We should also be encouraged by the principled, robust and united opposition to these proposals from over 40% of the Houses of Clergy and Laity in Synod, as well as a handful of bishops. That is a significant grouping which, in fellowship with the great majority of global Anglicans, alongside faithful Christians of all traditions and denominations, is determined to continue to walk together in obedience to Christ, as we seek to bear witness to him in our lost and needy world. We cannot, however, travel with those who are leading people away from God’s ways.

St Ebbe’s clergy have already declared that we are in impaired communion with the bishops in our diocese, which means that we will not welcome them to preach, confirm, ordain or conduct our ministerial reviews, and we will not take communion with them. The PCC has also taken action to ensure that any money we pay within the diocese is distributed via the Oxford Good Stewards Trust and is only used for faithful gospel ministry and essential administrative costs. We will be working closely with others, especially within the Church of England Evangelical Council, to discuss what other actions we can take, either individually as churches or together, both to distance ourselves from false teaching and to promote the cause of the gospel. As a larger church, we are especially conscious of our responsibility to help and support smaller evangelical churches, as well as faithful clergy and laity who are in the especially vulnerable situation of serving in churches where their congregations are divided or against them on these issues.

The debate within Synod, and the decision it made, bear witness to a division which goes far deeper than that over the particular presenting issue. There are now two distinct groups within the Church of England. One has chosen the way of compromise with the world and disobedience to God’s word; the other is determined to stay faithful to Christ, whatever the cost. It has been very encouraging to see deepening bonds growing between orthodox Anglicans, from different evangelical and other orthodox ‘tribes’. In the months, and no doubt years, ahead we will be seeking to build new structures that will, God willing, enable us to maintain distance from those who have gone down the wrong path, while working together with orthodox Anglicans in the cause of the gospel.

There will be significant challenges ahead, as we are forced to distance ourselves from many within the Church of England, while being faced with bemusement and, no doubt hostility, from the watching world. Perhaps most painfully, we will have to face differences amongst friends about how to respond to these realities. Our consciences and contexts differ. For myself, along with very many others, I am determined to stay to contend for truth and bear witness to Christ within the Church of England, and believe we can do so with integrity, certainly at this time and for the foreseeable future. Others, for varying reasons, whether principled, pragmatic or both, will choose a different path. Let us determine to resist the devil in his attempts to divide us and keep looking to our loving God. We are in desperate need of his mercy, because of our many sins, his wisdom in our perplexity and his strength in our weakness.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Church Times) General Synod agrees to trial services for same-sex couples after marathon debate

Stand-alone services of blessing for same-sex couples are to go ahead in trial form, after an amendment was made — by a narrow vote — to the main motion being debated by the General Synod.

The final motion was carried on Wednesday afternoon in all three Houses: Bishops 23-10, Clergy 100-93, and Laity 104-100.

The motion stated that the Synod “recognise the progress made by the House of Bishops towards implementing the motion on Living in Love and Faith (LLF) in February 2023 . . . and encourage the House to continue its work of implementation”.

The margins in the final vote were tighter than they had been in February’s vote on the original proposals…, in the House of Bishops as in the others: nine months ago, only four bishops voted against.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Archbishop of York backs experimental services of blessing for same-sex couples

The General Synod is to vote on whether stand-alone services of blessing for same-sex couples should be authorised immediately for experimental use rather than first undergoing a full synodical process.

The move would effectively reverse a decision made in the House of Bishops last month…, but seems to be supported by both archbishops.

A total of 13 amendments have been tabled to the motion to be tabled by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, on Tuesday afternoon, which recognises both the uncertainty surrounding the implementation of Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples, and the progress that has already been made. The Synod’s agreement in February…to commend the prayers has since been challenged by those who want the decision to be removed from the Bishops and given to the Synod.

The Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, has tabled an amendment asking the Bishops “to consider whether some stand-alone services for same-sex couples could be made available for use, possibly on a trial basis, on the timescale envisaged by the motion passed by the Synod in February 2023”.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

The November 2023 General Synod Joint Presidential Address from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

Where we are right now, is not where any of us would like to be.

But I continue to believe that we can find a way of living in love and faith.

Furthermore, I stand by the statements I made in February. There will need to be some sort of provision. But just as the way forward that is being proposed is pastoral, and in my view does not mean a change in the Church of England’s doctrine of Holy Matrimony, so I believe the reassurance and provision that we need should be pastoral. This is why I will be supporting the amendment being put forward by the Bishop of Oxford because, as things stand, I am concerned that clergy using the commended prayers might find themselves vulnerable to a legal challenge if their use of the prayers looks to someone else to be a standalone service.

Something that allows standalone services for an experimental period seems to me to be a sensible and pastoral way forward. It gives clergy and parishes who want to use the Prayers of Love and Faith the legal protection they need. And because this will be on an opt-in basis, clergy and parishes who in good conscience won’t use the prayers will be under no compunction or compulsion so to do, nor will they be disadvantaged in any way by their decision.

We will, of course, need further discussions about how this provision continues to run through all that we are proposing. I’m sure the Bishop of London will say more about this when we get to that bit of our agenda. I also recognise that the pastoral guidance that is such a key component in this work should not be thought of as a fixed entity but a body of guidance that will evolve.

But my purpose in this address is not to anticipate the debate. Rather, it is to ask us to lift our eyes above the debate to see Jesus.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Psephizo) Andrew Goddard–Do the Prayers of Love and Faith have a good rationale?

10.6 Faced with these problems there would appear to be broadly three (not necessarily mutually exclusive) pathways forward that would have some degree of theological integrity and which might enable the Church of England to proceed in a way that minimises conflict and division and maintains as high a degree of communion as possible in the light of where we now are:

Pausing in order to refine and develop further the theological arguments set out here in Annex H and then seeking a consensus for them in their final articulation as an adequate theological rationale for a form of PLF consistent with them and for new pastoral guidance and pastoral reassurance including any “formal structural pastoral provision in this time of uncertainty” (Introduction, para 18, p.3);
Recognising that for “a time of uncertainty” we have well-established processes in relation to liturgical development and so using Canon B2 (and the need for two-thirds support for any change in all 3 Houses of General Synod at the end of the process) for all of PLF;
Acknowledging that our deeper problem is that the Church has within it two significantly sized groupings divided over whether the existing doctrine is right and should shape our pastoral and liturgical life or is wrong and needs to be replaced with an alternative theology that should then shape our pastoral and liturgical life. Each of these has a clear and internally consistent theological rationale. What is therefore likely needed is not an unsatisfactory and unstable mix of supposed doctrinal continuity but with significant practical changes based on a “new insight into doctrine”. Instead, we need to seek some form of new structural settlement which would give to each of these contrasting and competing theologies their own secure, legally defined and episcopally-led ecclesial space with theological integrity and as high a degree of communion as possible between them within the Church of England.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

The November 20023 Statement From The Gafcon Primates Council

Conscious of the forthcoming meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England, the Primates reaffirmed their commitment to the Jerusalem Statement of 2008, which describes Gafcon as ‘a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it.’ The Jerusalem Statement rejects the proposition that authentic Anglicans are only those recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the contrary, the criteria of Anglican identity are outlined in the fourteen points of the Jerusalem Declaration which continue to define authentic Anglicanism, despite the abandonment of many of these features by those who purport to be Anglicans. We have witnessed over the past twenty-five years the slow, but relentless, moral decay in parts of the Anglican Communion where the world’s values have been endorsed and embraced, replacing the clear teaching of God’s word written.

We continue to affirm that we are not leaving the Anglican Communion. We are delighted to work with the Global South (GSFA) in the task of resetting the Communion, which was foreshadowed in the 2008 Jerusalem Statement, and explicitly declared in the Kigali Commitment of 2023. Given the failure of the so-called Instruments of Communion, we shall not be attending the 2024 Primates Meeting in Rome, convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and encourage all orthodox Primates to join us in this stand against those who support a revisionist agenda.

Furthermore, we encourage Gafcon Provinces to consider withdrawing all links with any English diocese whose bishop supports the proposals, currently before the General Synod,to sanction the blessing of same-sex couples. We also extend the right hand of fellowship to and support all bishops, clergy and laity who oppose these revisionist doctrines and courageously uphold the teaching of Christ on the sanctity of marriage as God has ordained it (Matthew 19:4-6). We especially commend those English bishops who have distanced themselves from the egregious recommendations of the House of Bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Church of England announces £9 million to help parishes with repairs and specialist advice

A total of £2.8 million has been allocated for 30 Church Buildings Support Officers across the country to give specialist advice on the management, conservation, repair and development of church buildings, including community use alongside worship.

A further £6.2 million has been allocated across 41 dioceses for making grants of up to £12,000 for repairs to churches. The grants will focus on small-scale but urgent works and ‘stitch in time’ projects that could save larger sums in the long term. The fund will also be able to help cover the cost of essential improvements for the mission and ministry of a church.

The grants come from the £11 million Buildings for Mission, funded by the Church Commissioners and administered by the Archbishops’ Council over the period 2023 to 2025.

Emily Gee, Director for Cathedrals and Church Buildings for the Church of England, said: “Buildings for Mission will help to fund the repair and improvement of church buildings through the dioceses, as well as to boost professional advice and grant money for rural and urban church buildings most in need.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Stewardship

We are Headed off to the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina clergy retreat

We appreciate your prayers.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Temple

O God of light and love, who illumined thy Church through the witness of thy servant William Temple: Inspire us, we pray, by his teaching and example, that we may rejoice with courage, confidence and faith in the Word made flesh, and may be led to establish that city which has justice for its foundation and love for its law; through Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Spirituality/Prayer

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Don’t delay guidance allowing priests to be in same-sex marriages, say 44 bishops

A group of 44 bishops made a public statement on Wednesday afternoon expressing their hope that pastoral guidance allowing priests to be in same-sex marriages would be issued “without delay”.

The statement in favour of reform follows three weeks after 12 bishops publicly dissented from a majority decision by the House of Bishops to commend prayers for same-sex couples….

The new group, 15 diocesan bishops and 29 suffragans, write that they “recognise the complexities of the Pastoral Guidance in relation to ministry, and also the need for a swift end to the current uncertainty for LGBTQIA+ clergy and ordinands.

“We look forward to Guidance being issued without delay that includes the removal of all restrictions on clergy entering same-sex civil marriages, and on bishops’ ordaining and licensing such clergy, as well as granting permissions to officiate.”Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Statement from the C of E House of Bishops on the war in Gaza

As Bishops of the Church of England we condemn the terrorist actions of Hamas on 7th October. Hamas has killed civilians without mercy, defiled their bodies, treated the most vulnerable brutally and taken hostages. Its continued indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israeli targets puts civilian structures and individuals at risk. All this is built on its denial of the right of Israel to exist. Hamas has oppressed the people it was originally elected to serve and has put them in harm’s way by using them as human shields. Its actions are a violation of international law.

We must also reflect on the actions that Israel has taken in response. We affirm absolutely Israel’s right to self-defence. We wholly support the duty of the Government of Israel to protect its citizens. We echo the concerns raised by President Biden about understandable anger and deep trauma not determining strategy and actions. Israel’s right to self-defence needs to be exercised in adherence to the key principles of international humanitarian law.

The huge number of civilians killed in three weeks of bombardment, principally in Gaza City, and the immense suffering of a people herded south with no escape, are a humanitarian catastrophe. Even defined evacuation routes have been hit. Places of sanctuary and gathering have been bombed. Aid workers have been killed and wounded in large numbers. Critical services like healthcare, water, and electricity have been cut, while the military siege of Gaza has meant that no adequate humanitarian response has been possible.

Also gravely concerning are the reports of rising numbers of Palestinians killed in the West Bank by inhabitants of settlements which are illegal under international law. In mixed communities in Israel, where people have generally lived peacefully side by side, Israeli Arabs now find themselves subject to abuse, harassment and discrimination.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Israel, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, War in Gaza December 2008--

(Church Times) Second Commissioner responds to MPs’ questions on Prayers of Love and Faith

The LLF steering group is chaired by the the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, and the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen.

In response to the question from Sir Ben and Mr Gibson “what physical acts the Church refers to when teaching that sexual intimacy outside of marriage is forbidden”, Mr Selous — who represents the Church Commissioners in Parliament — responded: “The Living in Love and Faith process has always sought to recognise that the expression of sexual intimacy between two people cannot be reduced to a small set of defined actions.”

A further question asked whether a “letter threatening legal action” had been sent to the Bishops between the meetings of the College and the House, to which Mr Selous responded that “several items of correspondence were received over this period from a number of groups with different views, reflecting differing legal and theological opinions, as is widely in the public domain.

“Some offered a legal opinion on the routes of commendation or authorisation for the Prayers of Love and Faith, but I am not aware that any directly threatened the recipients with legal action.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Church of England, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Prospect of winter energy bills causing anxiety and fear for millions, Archbishop of York warns, as he backs the Warm Welcome campaign

Millions are looking ahead to this winter with ‘fear and anxiety’ about the cost of heating their homes, the Archbishop of York said today as he backed the launch of a campaign to provide a network of warm spaces for people who struggle to pay their energy bills.

Archbishop Stephen Cottrell is encouraging churches to consider getting involved – if they are not already – in the Warm Welcome campaign, a network of venues from community centres to churches providing warm spaces over the winter for people struggling to heat their homes.

In a video message to support the launch, Archbishop Stephen said: “Sadly, what began as a cost-of-living crisis has simply become the new normal for many.

“Millions of people will look ahead to this winter with fear and anxiety, wondering how they are going to cope with high living costs.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Personal Finance

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Martin Davie–Why the Church of England Bishops Cannot Do what they are doing with Prayers for Same Sex couples

The first thing to note is that it is not only difficult, but impossible, to argue that what the bishops are proposing is not a departure from teaching contained in the bishops’ statements concerning Civil Partnerships and same-sex marriages in 2005, 2014 and 2019. In these statements the bishops said that public prayers should not be said for same-sex couples. What is now being proposed is that such prayers should be offered. If the Bishops previous teaching constitutes doctrine for the purposes of clause (g) of the February General Synod motion and for the purposes of the Canons, then what is proposed is contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England.

The bishops argument seems to be that this change from previous teaching is not indicative of a change in any ‘essential matter’ because they are not proposing any change to the Church’s doctrine of marriage or its doctrine of sexual ethics which says that sexual intercourse should only take place within marriage (meaning a marriage with two people of the  opposite sex). Where their argument falls down is that if the Church of England’s doctrines of marriage and sexual ethics are viwed alongside the Church’s doctrine concerning the need for repentance and forgiveness for sin, then what they are proposing is necessarily a change of doctrine in an ‘essential matter.’

To understand why this is the case, the point that has to be grasped is that it is an absolutely essential part of Church of England doctrine that in order for people to be rightly related to God in this life and eternally happy with him in the next, they have to acknowledge, repent of, and confess their sins, not only in private but in the context of public worship, so that their sins may be forgiven and no longer constitute a barrier between them and God.

This doctrine is made crystal clear, for example, in the opening paragraphs of the service of Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer:

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) C of E Bishops’ divisions over same-sex marriage exposed

Voting records seen by the Church Times show that a majority of 75 to 22 at the College of Bishops meeting in September supported a plan to approve the services under Canon B5A, which would have enabled their immediate use as an “experimental” service under the authority of the Archbishops.

At a meeting on 9 October, however, the House of Bishops opted to take a different route, and instead move straight to the full synodical process outlined in Canon B2. The College of Bishops had expressly voted against this, by a majority of 68 to 28.

The decision to reverse this in the House was by a small margin: 19 in favour of the plan to proceed straight to B2, and 16 against.

Although this will delay implementation, it means, none the less, that the votes are likely be taken by the present membership of the Synod. When the Synod voted to approve the Prayers of Love and Faith in February, the motion failed to gain a two-thirds majority in either of the Houses of Clergy and Laity

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Tablet) Archbishop warns of mental health consequences of conflict

In his address to the conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about his own personal struggle with depression. He noted that the all-island Mind Matters research in Ireland had shown that 46 per cent of the 290 clergy surveyed felt not enough was being done to support their mental health.

He highlighted how the poverty, war and instability faced by people in the Global South contributes significantly to poor mental health while in the Global North “there is powerlessness, there is helplessness” in the face of the constant news about conflict in places like Ukraine and the Middle East and this contributed to poor mental health.

“We are better off than we have ever been in the past, yet there is a much higher level of mental illness in the economically prosperous world than elsewhere particularly among young people.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Health & Medicine, Israel, Middle East, Psychology, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

Bishop Edgar And Chris Walchesky Named To ACNA Hymnal Commission

We threw a few questions Chris’s way:

Chris, a 2030 Hymnal?  Six years seems like such a long time. Why will it take that long?

Six years is a long time, yes, absolutely! I think several things are important to keep in mind about the process of creating a hymnal, which is not unlike the process undertaken to compile the 2019 Book of Common Prayer, which took a similar amount of time. Projects like this one are the production of a committee of people, representing different areas of focus in the worship life of the Church. Gathering people together, most of whom are musicians and clergy already engaged in full-time ministry in a parish setting, takes plenty of time!

There are 12 people on the Commission. How will the work be organized?

Our work will be divided among four sub-committees:

  • Hymns of the Anglican patrimony (think hymns distinctive of the English Cathedral tradition, that which composes the repertoire of our latest hymnals of 1940, 1982, and the REC’s Book of Common Praise, 2017)
  • Hymns of ecumenical/global significance
  • Hymns, choruses, & spiritual songs of the last half-century
  • Service music for BCP 2019, both ordinary and traditional language texts

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry