Friday, 18 May 2007

SPCK, rhymes with "You do what I say"

Ed: if you think there might be problems with the managerial regime at Wycliffe Hall, just read this article about directions being given to managers of SPCK bookshops, which were recently taken over.

Additionally, there should be no square centimeter that is within our shops (anywhere) or on the space outside our shops (sidewalks, etc.) that is not ALWAYS tidy and spotless. I do not care if the windows were washed ten seconds ago, if they are dirty again, then they need immediate attention. If the shop floor was vacuumed (Hoover’d, Henry’d, etc) 30 seconds earlier, if there is dust or dirt on the floor, then it is the responsibility of the shop manager to ensure that this is promptly remedied. Again, this does not matter if the manager is on or off duty. Failure here means a failure to properly manage. Read more

Wither Wycliffe?

Ed: I have now blogged on the earlier news report about the situation at Wycliffe Hall. Open Evangelical opinions on this are now being aired here. Liberal opinion may be read here.

Back to Church Sunday, images to download

The Back to Church Sunday website has a number of useful images to download:

Back to Church Sunday resources from Chester Diocese

What is B2CS?

When is B2CS?

How does B2CS work?

Planning for B2CS Sunday

Preparing for the day

Welcome and after-care

B2CS Resources

Further information

Chester Archdeacon's encouragement for Back to Church Sunday

[...] Inviting people back is the key. There can be other events or campaigns to reach those who have never been to church, but Back to Church Sunday is for a very specific group of people. So often I have met people who used to be regulars at church, even in their childhood, and for one reason or another have fallen away. They may have had an issue or problem with the church or the minister at the time (although many simply drift away as life circumstances change), but when I have asked people if they used to enjoy church or benefit from it or value it they almost always say yes. Memories of church tend to be positive. Inviting people back, especially inviting them to go with a friend, makes them feel valued and wanted. Some may decline the invitation, but very few will be offended by it. Read more

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Chelmsford Diocese "disdainful and underhand" over sale of village rectory

Ed: No surprise there, then.

CHURCH officials have been accused of acting in a “disdainful and underhand” manner in a bitter row over the sale of an Essex village rectory.

Fingringhoe Rectory, near Colchester, has been put up for sale by the Diocese of Chelmsford with the money raised set to boost Church coffers.

But the proposed sale has sparked anger in the local community as, more than 40 years ago, generous villagers had gifted the land to the Church to build the rectory and paid nearly half of the mortgage. Read more

This is Iraq: Stoning of girl filmed and posted on the internet

Ed: This item from the Daily Mail is very painful to read. I post it because at every level it reveals the real depth of human depravity. Worst of all are the violence-porn video ghouls who shoot this stuff and post it on the internet. Yet the truth we have to recognize is that any one of us would be capable of the same. This is why penal substitution happened!

A teenage girl lies dead on the ground in a pool of her own blood.

Her once groomed hair is cast across her face like a rag doll's, her skirt pulled up to complete her humiliation.

In another image, she is seen lying on her side, her face battered and bloodied, barely recognisable.

The concrete block used to smash in her face lies next to her. Read more

This is England: £80 fine for woman after grandchild drops Quavers

Ed: That's the nasty flavoured crisp things, not a couple of notes in a musical recital. Reminds me of a tee-shirt I saw in Singapore which read, "Singapore - it's a fine city", followed by a list of the things you could be fined for. I'd be sympathetic to the Council if the woman hadn't just gone to the effort of picking up the packet itself.

A woman was handed an £80 litter fine after her toddler grandchild dropped some crisps on the pavement.

Barbara Jubb had picked up the packet of Quavers when it fell from the hand of 20-month- old Emily.

But she failed to pick up two stray crisps that spilled from the bag.

Within seconds two council litter wardens swooped and issued her with an £80 fine.

"This is diabolical," said Mrs Jubb, 57. "£80 is a lot of money, especially if it's just because a baby dropped two Quavers." Read more

"Should I stay or should I go now?"

Ed: In keeping with my 'lines from songs' theme ("Ah yes, I remember it well"), the question posed by the release of Fort Worth's statement is the same as that posed by The Clash, with maybe the further implication that "If I go there will be trouble, An' if I stay it will be double". For a discussion on the implications, and whether Ruth Gledhill hyped the story, see the Stand Firm blog.

For what it's worth, I think the key phrase is this: "it appears that our only option is to seek APO elsewhere" (ie not in TECUSA). Coupled with "We believe that we must now explore these possibilities", this surely points to the beginning of the end game.

Anglican Diocese defects over gays

In the biggest rift yet over gays, an entire diocese in the Anglican Church is to defect from the Episcopal Church of the US.

The Anglo-Catholic diocese of Fort Worth, led by the respected traditionalist Bishop Jack Iker, said last night that it will seek “alternative primatial oversight” outside the liberal province that is at the heart of the Anglican dispute over homosexuality. Sources indicated that an African Primate was most likely to be approached.

The decision will send shock waves through the Anglican Communion. Entire parishes have left the Episcopal Chuch to seek oversight from provinces such as Nigeria, but Fort Worth will be the first diocese to go. It is opposed to the ordination of women as well as to the consecration of homosexual bishops. Read more

Calls for CofE clergy 'sex crime' review

A leading bishop has ordered an independent investigation into the files of 850 members of the clergy following recent child abuse cases.

Bishop of Manchester Rev Nigel McCulloch will appoint a lawyer to make sure none of the files contain outstanding child protection issues. Read more

Communion General Secretary: we are on track for resolution

THE EXPERIENCE of overcoming sectarian division through a commitment to dialogue is a gift the Church of Ireland can bring to the Anglican Communion, ACC Secretary General Canon Kenneth Kearon tells The Church of England Newspaper.

Speaking to the CEN on April 28, Canon Kearon stated he is optimistic the divisions within the Communion are on track towards an amicable resolution. Director of the Irish School of Ecumenics at Trinity College, Dublin, before his appointment as ACC secretary general in 2005, Canon Kearon sees parallels between the Northern Ireland peace process and resolution of the doctrinal divisions within the Anglican Communion. Read more

Fort Worth, Quincy Dioceses break away is 'hype' - Bishop Ackerman

Saying that he was baffled by reports that the Diocese of Quincy and the Diocese of Ft. Worth were seeking immediate Alternative Primatial Oversight, reported by Ruth Gledhill of The London Times, Bishop Keith Ackerman told VirtueOnline that the reports caught him off guard and were untrue.

"I am with the president of the Standing Committee and I am as baffled as anyone about these reports in The London Times and on the conservative blog Stand Firm. Any such announcement or action is premature." Read more

Multi-racial schools need British history

The Archbishop of Canterbury last night declared that schoolchildren in mixed communities should be taught British history and traditions in a bid to better understand the national identity.

Dr Rowan Williams said that children needed to understand how cultures evolved and the origins of the values and traditions which society now held. Read more

Archbishop questions multiculturalism

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury will tonight criticise the concept of multiculturalism claiming the advent of globalisation has meant human beings have become ‘homogenised’.

Delivering the 2007 Barnett Lecture at the Toynbee Hall in East London, Dr Rowan Williams will call for a widening of the debate on multiculturalism beyond the considerations of ethnicity and nationality. Read more

Forth Worth takes option on overseas oversight

Ed: This is the 'phrase that pays' from the statement referred to below:

Every attempt to find “an American solution to an American problem” has failed. Following the two meetings in New York and the House of Bishops’ rejection of the Primates’ proposed Pastoral Council at their March meeting, it now seems clear that there is no desire on the part of the present TEC leadership to provide an acceptable form of Alternative Primatial Oversight within The Episcopal Church.

The Presiding Bishop of this church has refused to accept the key recommendations of the Windsor Report, has failed to seek implementation of the essential requests of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué, and has denied basic tenets of the teaching of the New Testament. By her statements and actions, the course she wishes to pursue is clear: to lead TEC to walk apart from the Anglican Communion. This is a course we cannot follow. For all these reasons and others, we do not wish to be affiliated with her, nor with anyone she may appoint or designate to act on her behalf.

So where does this leave the Diocese of Fort Worth’s appeal for APO?

While we remain open to the possibility of negotiation and some form of acceptable settlement with TEC, it appears that our only option is to seek APO elsewhere. This may entail a cooperative effort with other appellant dioceses in consultation with Primates of the Anglican Communion, to form a new Anglican Province of the Communion in North America. A second possibility would be for the diocese to transfer to another existing Province of the Anglican Communion. Athird possibility would be to seek the status of an extra-provincial diocese, under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as presently recognized in several other cases.

We believe that we must now explore these possibilities.

The executive council of the Diocese of Fort Worth on May 16 adopted a statement of the diocesan standing committee, which met two days earlier, calling for the diocese to move forward with its appeal for alternative primatial oversight (APO).

“While we remain open to the possibility of negotiation and some form of acceptable settlement with [The Episcopal Church], it appears that our only option is to seek APO elsewhere,” the statement said.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, and the standing committee of the diocese appealed for APO in June 2006. The appeal was endorsed by the diocesan executive council in September and by the diocesan convention in November. The APO requests from Ft. Worth and other appellant dioceses were presented to the primates’ meeting in February. Read more

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Indian Christians beaten up, arrested

INDIAN Christian leaders have issued a warning that attacks against Christians there are on the increase, after two missionaries were attacked for showing a religious film. Police then charged with proselytism.

The incident took place in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday night and involved two missionaries from the Indian Evangelical Mission. Sources say that while they were showing the ‘Jesus’ movie activists from the Hindutva movement attacked them.

A group of 15 activists arrived in cars who then beat up the missionaries before dragging them to a local police station where the charges against them were laid. Read more

American dioceses to look for overseas Primatial oversight?

Ed: The question mark at the end of the headline is because this is from Ruth Gledhill's blog and, much as we love her, Ruth sometimes gets it wrong. Nevertheless, if she is right about this, it is indeed sensational. PS, now you're here, why not visit the Ugley Vicar blog?

Sensational news from the US. Forth Worth is to seek 'alternative primatial oversight' from an African primate. Quincy and at least three others of the Network dioceses are expected to follow suit. (Some of the Network affiliates want to continue to work it out with TEC.) I don't know which African Primate is to be approached, save that it is not Peter Akinola. Being Forward in Faith dioceses, they'll be looking in a catholic rather than evangelical direction. Malango perhaps? Fort Worth's standing committee and executive are meeting this afternoon, and we can expect a statement after that, around midnight GMT. Read more

"Ah yes, I remember it well": Historical revisionism and Lambeth 1.10

As we approach the next Lambeth Conference, it appears that the process by which Resolution 1.10 on human sexuality, passed at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, is being called into question.

At the forefront of this revisiting of the past is the Archbishop of South Africa, the Right Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane. According to Ndungane, the process that resulted in Resolution 1.10 was clumsy, the Archbishop of Canterbury was put under pressure, normal procedures were not followed and the content of the Resolution itself did not reflect the "long hard wrestling" of the bishops in that particular group.

Step forward, then, Bishop Colin Bazley, former Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, who was also there, and has a somewhat different recollection of what took place. Bazley recalls how the group faced a number of issues reflecting a Liberal 'biasing' of the agenda. Furthermore, when the group presented a proposed Resolution to the Chairman, what was subsequently typed up and presented back to the group was substantially different - apparently because the Chairman had lost the original version and composed it from memory.

The revised version was itself revised, to reflect the original group proposal more closely. Subsequently, far from there being pressure on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bazley recollects, "The debate was ordered and the amendments were presented under the normal rules we had used all the way through. The Archbishop of Ireland was in the chair, and so the Archbishop of Canterbury was free to speak, which he did."

Invevitably there is a suspicion that Lambeth Resolution 1.10 is being subtly 'rubbished', not by attacking its contents, but by attacking its history. We have had ten years of Lambeth 1.10 representing the 'official' position of the Communion. Perhaps Liberals feel that is quite long enough.

Accusations of 'bullying' as Wycliffe Hall becomes more conservative

Ed: I have now blogged on this situation, over on the Ugley Vicar blog.

One of England's most respected theological colleges is facing claims that staff feel bullied and intimidated as the institution becomes increasingly conservative.

The discontent at Wycliffe Hall, an evangelical Anglican college which is part of Oxford University, has seen several resignations among its small academic staff and claims that one of its most prominent members, the regular Thought for the Day contributor Elaine Storkey, was threatened with disciplinary action.

The college has been accused of becoming more theologically conservative, more hostile to women's ordination and more homophobic since the appointment of its principal, Richard Turnbull, a vicar from Basingstoke and a former accountant without senior academic managerial experience, two years ago. Read more

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Website for 2008 Lambeth Conference

Visit the website for the 2008 Lambeth Conference here. At the moment rumour has it that everyone will be invited, but only with spouses, not civil partners.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Brown may devolve appointments to Church of England

Ed: This would be better news were it not for the fact that the hierarchy of the Church of England will become an even more self-perpetuating oligarchy. See the Ugley Vicar blog.

[...] The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told senior colleagues that he intends to give the church control over its own senior appointments. At the moment the Prime Minister plays a major role in the appointment of diocesan bishops and has the sole right to nominate deans of most English cathedrals. Mr Brown himself hinted at lifting control of the ecclesiastical appointments in a speech to the Fabian Society last year. Read more