Friday, 28 September 2007

Welsh Anglicans reject Covenant over orthodox stance on sexuality

THE GOVERNING Body of the Church in Wales has voted to reject the draft version of the Anglican Covenant following a speech denouncing the document by Archbishop Barry Morgan. Addressing the General Assembly on September 18, Dr Morgan said that while he endorsed in principle the concept of a unifying document for the Anglican Communion, he could not accept the one on offer from the committee chaired by the Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, due to its traditional stance on homosexuality. “The original intention of a Covenant to affirm the bonds of affection was good,” he argued. “The indications now are that many see it as a contract, a means of ensuring a uniform view on human sexuality enforceable by the threat of exclusion from the Communion if one does not conform. I certainly do not want to sign up to that kind of Covenant,he said.Dr Morgan argued that the Lambeth Quadrilateral, a 19th century document designed to foster the reunion of Anglican and non-Anglican Churches, was a better vehicle for uniting Anglican churches. “The Lambeth Quadrilateral of scripture, creeds, sacraments and historic episcopate are no longer sufficient credentials for being an Anglican,” he observed. “A particular view of human sexuality is also required. That devalues scripture by restricting its moral values simply to what it might be saying about sexual relationships and turns the Bible into a kind of rule book where texts can be wrestled out of context.” Read more
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Provost of Glasgow Cathedral blesses same-sex partnership, celebrates Communion

[...] Today I celebrated a Eucharist in circumstances which were new to me but which felt old and traditional all the same. A new addition to the range of things that human beings have wanted to mark with the sharing of the bread of heaven and the wine of new life. Today it was in celebration of a Civil Partnership between two people whom I have come to know through my work.

Duncan wrote last week of his sense of holiness in being with a couple as they vow to be with one another for life. I know that feeling well, yet every time it surprises me just a little. The most intimate of moments a couple ever have, but shared with their families and friends and in the awesome presence of the living God. Today was no different.

As I helped the two men through their vows and then served communion to them and their friends in thanksgiving, I knew the Eucharist of old. And I knew the Eucharist afresh. I know Christ at that meal every time. Today it was knowing him holding the beloved disciple in his arms as he shared with his friends on his last night and as he has done at every Eucharist since. Read more

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Anglican Bishops Take First Steps to New Structure

Anglican bishops from ten jurisdictions and organizations pledged to take the first steps toward a “new ecclesiastical structure” in North America. The meeting of the first ever Common Cause Council of Bishops was held in Pittsburgh September 25–28.

The bishops present lead more than 600 Anglican congregations. They formally organized themselves as a college of bishops which will meet every six months. They also laid out a timeline for the path ahead, committed to working together at local and regional levels, agreed to deploy clergy interchangeably and announced their intention to, in consultation “with those Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion offering recognition under the timeline adopted,” call a “founding constitutional convention for an Anglican union,” at the earliest possible date agreeable to all of the partners.

“We met deeply aware that we have arrived at a critical moment in the history of mainstream Anglican witness in North America. God has led us to repentance for past divisions and opened the way for a united path forward. To him be the glory,” said Bishop Robert Duncan, convener of the council.

The full text of the bishops’ joint statement follows: Read more
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Thursday, 27 September 2007

The Cuckoo in the Episcopal nest

Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States have bowed to pressure and taken what they call "sacrificial action" over their approach to homosexuality, in order to remain fully part of the Anglican Communion.

But while Episcopalians have been debating the issue a cuckoo has hatched in their nest, and shows every sign of wanting to displace them as the official Anglican Church in America.

All Saints' in Woodbridge, Virginia, will never see a service like it again.

It was conducted last Sunday in a clearing in the woods at the end of a winding path, and concluded with frenzied digging in dusty soil with a dozen heavy shovels.

This traditionalist congregation - one of 20 to leave the Episcopal Church for the Church of Uganda - was breaking the ground on the site of its ambitious new building. Read more

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Gay bishop move rejected by Kenya

The head of Kenya's Anglican Church has rejected a compromise over gay bishops by US Episcopal Church leaders.

They have said they will halt the ordination of gay bishops and public blessings of same-sex relationships to prevent a split in the Anglican Church.

"That word 'halt' is not enough," said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi. Read more
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Akinola: Assurances have not been given

In accordance with our desire to walk “in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called, … eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians (4:1,2) we have looked forward with hope to the response of The Episcopal Church as requested by the Primates when we met earlier in the year in Dar es Salaam. That request was the culmination of many conversations and years of painful negotiations. It was our expressed desire to provide one final opportunity for an unequivocal assurance from The Episcopal Church of their commitment to the mind and teaching of the Communion. We also made clear that it is a time for clarity and a rejection of what hitherto has been endless series of ambiguous and misleading statements. Sadly it seems that our hopes were not well founded and our pleas have once again been ignored. Read more

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NEW ORLEANS: No Moratoria says Jefferts Schori

At a second press conference following the bishops' Eucharist on Tuesday afternoon, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other members of the House of Bishops clarified that the term "moratoria" intentionally was not present in today's final mind of the house communique.

When questioned about whether the House had ignored the requests of the primates for moratoria on consents to the consecrations of bishops living in a same-sex relationship and same-sex blessings, the bishops assembled were quick to correct what they said was a misunderstanding.

It is "not accurate to talk about moratoria," said Bishop Thomas Ely of the Diocese of Vermont. "This House is committed to the full participation of gays and lesbians in the life of the church. We have ... work to do" to bring the rest of the Communion along, he said. Read more

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Episcopalians vow 'restraint' in confirming gay bishops to avert Anglican split

Even the fiercest critics of the U.S. Episcopal Church's liberal drift say it's too soon to know whether the bishops' latest pledge to "exercise restraint" in approving another gay bishop will go far enough to help prevent an Anglican schism.

"It will take months and years to really see," said Bishop Martyn Minns, who leads a conservative network of breakaway Episcopal parishes.

The 77-million-member fellowship has been splintering since 2003, when Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the United States.

Episcopal bishops released their pledge to "exercise restraint" Tuesday in the final moments of a six-day meeting - and as the decades-long debate over interpreting the Bible threatens to shatter the worldwide Anglican communion. Read more

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News : American Anglican Council, ACN and FiFNA issue Joint Statement on HOB Resolution

[...] The Primates’ Dar es Salaam Communiqué required that the Episcopal Church:

1. End same-sex blessings at all levels.
2. Confirm that no more non-celibate homosexuals will be consecrated bishop.
3. Provide alternative Primatial oversight for those who do not agree with the Episcopal Church’s leadership.
4. End all lawsuits against parishes and vestries.

To our disappointment, the House of Bishops (HOB) did not meet the request but offered a carefully crafted response that appears to comply but actually maintains the status quo. Read more

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ABp Jensen: Nothing new in House of Bishop's statement

OPINION is split among the Anglican church's Australian leaders over the US church's decision to maintain its moratorium on ordaining non-celibate gay priests as bishops and ban blessing same-sex unions.

Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, a member of the Primates' Standing Committee, who addressed the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church at its New Orleans meeting, said the US church had "responded positively" to worldwide concerns it had been asked to address. Careful analysis was required, he said. "My initial reaction based both on my preliminary reading of the document and on my first-hand conversations with many of the bishops involved is that the house has responded positively."

Sydney's conservative evangelical Archbishop Peter Jensen disagreed. "At first reading, the statement from the TEC bishops does not seem to say anything new," Archbishop Jensen said. Read more
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Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Episcopal bishops try to buy time on sexuality issues

Colorado Episcopal Bishop Rob O'Neill joined his colleagues Tuesday, pledging not to push same-sex unions and openly gay bishops until a wider consensus emerges in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The U.S. bishops, meeting in New Orleans, were responding to a demand by the conservative Anglican majority overseas to renounce their pro-gay policies by Sunday, or face censure or even expulsion from the 72 million- member communion.

However, conservative churches in Colorado won't buy the bishops' carefully worded compromise, the Rev. Jim Paul, of Fort Collins predicted Tuesday.

"We've heard all this before," Paul said. Read more
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For now, US Anglicans give in to Archbishop

Liberal American bishops threw the Archbishop of Canterbury a lifeline in his efforts to avert Anglican schism by agreeing to halt appointments of gay bishops and same-sex blessings, at least temporarily.

The compromise will, however, fail to appease many conservative leaders as it offers no guarantee that the American Church will maintain the moratoriums for more than a couple of years.

It also falls far short of agreeing to provide an independent safe haven for American conservatives who have rejected the authority of their own liberal bishops.

One conservative insider said it represented "two fingers to the Communion." Read more
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Episcopal Bishops Reject Anglican Church’s Orders

Bishops of the Episcopal Church on Tuesday rejected demands by leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion to roll back the church’s liberal stance on homosexuality, increasing the possibility of fracture within the communion and the Episcopal Church itself.

After nearly a week of talks at their semiannual meeting in New Orleans, the House of Bishops adopted a resolution that defied a directive by the Anglican Communion’s regional leaders, or primates, to change several church policies regarding the place of gay men and lesbians in their church. But the bishops also expressed a desire to remain part of the communion, and they appeared to be trying to stake out a middle ground that would allow them to do so. Read more

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Anglican Communion remains divided on gay issues

Talks between Episcopal Church bishops in the United States and top-ranking representatives of the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion ended with few signs that the bishops would change the U.S. church's liberal stance on homosexuality.

At the top of the agenda of the U.S. bishops' semiannual meeting here was a directive from the communion's primates asking the U.S. church to stop consecrating openly gay and lesbian bishops and to ban the blessing of same-sex unions, or risk a diminished status in the communion, the world's third-largest Christian denomination.

At a news conference Friday, the communion's spiritual leader, the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, emphasized that the directive was not an ultimatum to the U.S. church. Anglican leaders, including Williams, met with the U.S. bishops on Thursday and Friday.

"Some primates would give it a more robust interpretation, some less so," Williams said of the directive. "But it is inevitably a matter of compromise."

The bishops conclude their meeting Tuesday, when an official response to the directive is expected. But several bishops with a range of views on homosexuality said they did not expect the House of Bishops to endorse the directive. In such an event, those who disagree with the Episcopal Church have said they might break with the church or with the wider communion. Read more
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Bishop skeptical of Episcopal stance on gays

Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr. last night dismissed the promise of church leaders meeting in New Orleans to "exercise restraint" in approving gay bishops and same-sex blessings.

Speaking before the opening in Pittsburgh of a four-day gathering of more than four dozen bishops representing both the Episcopal Church's conservative minority and U.S. and Canadian offshoots of the denomination, Bishop Duncan said the leaders' promise was "the same stuff; it's not movement."

"The American church is moving in one direction," he said. "The Western church is moving in one direction. The classic church stands where it has always stood."

The New Orleans decision, reached by about 170 members of the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops, ultimately may not be enough to prevent a schism between the worldwide Anglican communion and its American arm. The Episcopal Church has been at odds with a majority of the world's more than 70 million Anglicans since its 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire. Read more
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House of Bishops response 'to questions and concerns raised by our Anglican Communion partners'


* We reconfirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 (The Election Of Bishops) calls upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."
* We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
* We commend our Presiding Bishop's plan for episcopal visitors.
* We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to end.
* We support the Presiding Bishop in seeking communion-wide consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.
* We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.
* We support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his expressed desire to explore ways for the Bishop of New Hampshire to participate in the Lambeth Conference.
* We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons. Read more
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Common Cause Council of Bishops Opens

A total of 51 bishops and bishops-elect representing tens-of-thousands of Anglicans in North America are meeting together Sept. 25–28 in Pittsburgh, PA. The meeting of the first-ever Common Cause Council of Bishops brings together bishops and observers from the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Province of America, Anglican Essentials Canada, the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church.

In welcoming the assembled bishops, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh and convener of the gathering, said that before any unified orthodox Anglicanism could be expected to emerge in North America relationships among bishops and jurisdictions need to be reordered. “Our shortcoming is not ‘right Faith.’ Our shortcoming is ‘right Order’ and ‘right Mission,’” said Bishop Duncan.

Bishop Duncan went on to suggest that the bishops discuss a number of practical points that could contribute to building a more unified orthodox Anglicanism in North America. Among those points, he asked that the bishops agree to consult each other as they plant congregations, mutually review candidates for bishop before consecrations, share ministry initiatives instead of duplicating efforts, work actively together at the local level, and allow those ordained in one jurisdiction to function in all jurisdictions. Read more
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Bishops Conclude Meeting With Response to Primates

Very few members of the House of Bishops’ canvassed by The Living Church expressed complete satisfaction with the final version of their “Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners,” released at the conclusion of their Sept. 20-25 meeting. But in the end there was only one ‘no’ voice vote registered and it didn’t belong to a traditionalist.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the other members of the joint steering committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the primates met late into the night Monday discussing language on the eight bullet points the bishops had approved earlier in the day.

Those suggestions were brought back to the House of Bishops Sept. 25 and during private sessions that occupied most of the day, the bishops developed the eight explanatory paragraphs to be included alongside the original bullet points. The document proposes nothing new in six of the eight paragraphs. It does endorse the Presiding Bishops’ new plan for episcopal visitors and a Communion-wide consultation on how to implement it. Read more

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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Bishop of Lichfield: appointment of gay bishops wrong without proper debate

The Bishop of Lichfield has said a rift in the Church of England over the issue of gay bishops is likely to lead to a permanent split.

The Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill said the American Churches were wrong to appoint a gay bishop and said 95 per cent of the Anglican Community would agree.

Churches in America have been given until September 30 to reverse their stance on gay bishops by the Anglican Communion.

Religious leaders in the UK have said it could split the Church of England.

The Bishop of Lichfield told the Express & Star he had a traditional view of homosexuality and viewed the appointment of gay bishops as wrong.

He said: “I have friends who are gay and I am very fond of them and life is very complex for them. I don’t want a split at all but the reason for it not so much the moral issue, it is the fact the Americans have gone ahead without a debate. We need to have a debate, that’s the real cause of the split. Read more

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Sydney Synod responds to atonement attacks

After a passionate debate, Sydney Synod has expressed its concern at recent attacks on the penal substitutionary understanding of Christ’s atoning death by some high profile Anglican leaders.

The Synod has also asked the Diocesan Doctrine Commission to write a report on the importance of penal substitution in understanding the Bible’s teaching on the atonement.

Moore College vice-principal the Rev Dr Bill Salier, in moving the final motion, said the issue was worthy of discussion ‘in the light of the Diocesan Mission’.

“We wait for the slogan, but what is the substance of our gospel presentation; is this an element that will find a place?” Read more

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TEC House of Bishops will preserve status quo

(Ed: Worth reading for this bit:

At one point in response to a question by a reporter from
The New York Times, Bishop Bruno said “same-sex blessings do not occur in my diocese with my permission.” The media briefing was officially ended shortly after that. In a follow up question afterward, Bishop Bruno denied knowledge of a same-sex blessing that occurred Saturday at All Saints’, Beverly Hills. A celebration announcement was published in the Sunday edition of the Times.

When contacted by The Living Church, the Rev. Susan Russell, associate rector at All Saints' Church, Pasadena, and president of Integrity, clarified the apparent contradiction.

“Same-sex blessings occur in the Diocese of Los Angeles all the time,” she said listing several parishes including her own at which same-sex blessings had recently been performed. “We don’t ask for permission because Bishop Bruno has told us that he cannot give it until General Convention approves an official liturgy.”)

The House of Bishops ended the last plenary of the day on Sept. 24 with an unscheduled private conversation that was extended several times and eventually exceeded 90 minutes.

During a media briefing afterward three bishops--Neil Alexander of Atlanta, David Alverez of Puerto Rico and J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles--confirmed that the subject of the private conversation was a possible response to the primates’ communiqué. The fall meeting in New Orleans concludes Tuesday.

The document released Monday morning is no longer a draft being revised. It has been replaced, Bishop Bruno said during the briefing. The new working draft was developed from this document and one submitted by Bishop Bruno and Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana. During the private session, the bishops discussed the two documents simultaneously for an extended period without coming to any consensus.

Finally Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori proposed an eight-paragraph summary which she had written. An overwhelming majority of bishops agreed her proposal captured many of the salient points in both of the draft documents under debate. Read more

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Whatever happened to hard-won feminism?

(Ed: This article starts in a disturbing, but important, vein, but gets lost in the author's own feminist 'project'. Still a frightening read for those of us who haven't got a clue what's going on amongst the young.)

In last year’s wave-making book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, American author Ariel Levy asked: “How is resurrecting every stereotype of female sexuality that feminism endeavoured to banish good for women? Why is labouring to look like Pamela Anderson empowering? And how is imitating a stripper or a porn star going to render us sexually liberated?”

When I commented on the “interesting” outfits (think of Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver) of one of the girls in my younger teenage son’s circle, his knowing friend said: “You mean, she looks like a slut.” When I protested (hypocritically) that that wasn’t what I meant, he said: “But you don’t understand: that’s exactly what she wants to look like.”

Teenage girls are a paradox: why is it that while they outstrip boys from primary school to university, they also outdrink the boys (girls are now officially bigger binge drinkers than boys, and their numbers are growing), dress like tarts and apparently behave like them too?

A friend told me that at her daughter’s mixed private school 15-year-old girls are giving fellatio to boys in the loos for a fiver. I heard from two different sources about girls at inner-city comprehensives performing the same act in classrooms. Time and again I hear that despite their academic achievements girls are turned off the idea of emulating their careerist mothers: instead they want nothing more than to be a Wag, or at least marry someone rich enough to support their shopping habit.

What is going on? Is the pornogrification of mainstream culture partly to blame, where even serious actresses such as Nicole Kidman and Maggie Gyllenhaal pose in their underwear for magazine and advertising shoots? A culture in which lad mags such as FHM, recently condemned for publishing a picture of a topless 14-year-old girl without her permission, are apparently sent thousands of similar pictures by girls of themselves every week. Read more

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Global South Economic Empowerment Consultation Communiqué, Accra, Ghana

(Ed: This is the conference I was at, and in which I played a very small part.)

September 2007

1. As representatives of Global South Provinces of the Anglican Communion we gathered at the New Coco Beach Hotel in Accra, Ghana, between 19th and 22nd September 2007. We were called together by the Global South Steering Committee and its chairman, the Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, to continue the work of the Economic Empowerment Track established exactly one year ago in Kigali, Rwanda. Nine Provinces were represented at the meeting*. We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome shown to us by the Primate of West Africa, the Most Reverend Justice Akrofi, the Provincial Secretary, the Reverend Father Anthony Eiwuley, and the local support team.

2. We have gathered in Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, as this nation celebrates fifty years of independence as a sovereign state after its years as a colonial territory of Great Britain. At the time of independence there were high hopes for freedom and prosperity that are only now beginning to be realized. We are grateful, however, for the recent improvements and signs of hope and are praying that these signs will be transformed into an improved standard of living for all Ghanaians. We have come together out of our common conviction that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a holistic gospel that addresses economic issues and community development just as surely as it speaks to the importance of personal transformation.

3. We have met as representatives of the fastest growing part of our beloved Communion and those of us gathered account for more than 31million active Anglicans. We recognize, sadly, that many of our members know the daily reality of poverty and we have come together to further the action steps that we identified a year ago. We have studied and worked together. We have shared our experiences of economic empowerment and practical models that have worked. We have sought to identify creative ways to meet the basic economic needs of our respective churches without relying upon the false comfort of dependency upon outside resources.

4. We have examined the Biblical basis for wealth creation, poverty alleviation and stewardship and have noted that there is a great deal of emphasis on economic morality in both the Old and New Testaments. Indeed we have observed that Jesus speaks more often about money and the right use of financial resources than he does about prayer. We have heard testimonies from participating Provinces of the various ways in which they are moving towards increased financial freedom. We were encouraged by their progress because it allows their member churches to grow in numbers and effectiveness, especially at the local congregational level, and so brings honour to the name of God.

5. We have been reminded that the greatest resources in every Province are the men and women, young and old, who make up its active membership and are the primary source of income for our churches. We recognize the critical need for ongoing Biblical discipleship for every aspect of their lives. We have heard numerous testimonies of the importance of encouraging every person to know that they have been gifted by God and that these gifts, when brought together, can accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine. We strongly urge every Province to establish Spirit-led, Measurable Attainable, Realistic and Time bound (SMART) goals for the identification and development of its own human resources.

6. We have examined the issues of dependence, independence and interdependence and the role of mutually beneficial partnerships within the Global South. We have been challenged to identify the many resources by which God has blessed each of our Provinces and we have been reminded of the vital importance of personal and corporate integrity, transparency and accountability. (See attached Ethical Economic & Financial Covenant )

7. We have also developed specific action plans for Economic Empowerment for each Province represented and have observed the value of Peer Review Teams working between Provinces and we commend this practice as an ongoing part of our life. We have also noted the critical importance of developing Project Management skills if we are to make full use of our God given resources and talents. In particular we have noted that a number of Provinces are exploring ways to develop their various lands and buildings and recommend that this be done with cross-provincial consultation.

8. We have also noted the importance of developing approaches for Economic Empowerment at every level of the life of our respective Provinces. We have learned of effective programs and models that have been implemented at the grassroots level for individual members of congregations through Christian Micro Enterprise Development such as Five Talents International. We have also learned of large scale economic development plans for the support of Provincial headquarters such as that being undertaken by the Anglican Church of Kenya. In all this we have been blessed by the level of professionalism and creativity among our Provinces.

9. We are very much aware that what we have done in these past few days is only a beginning step to the full realization of the hopes expressed in the eight action steps outlined at the Kigali meeting . We recommend that this Consultation become an annual event to

a. Strengthen the development of this network of Provincial leaders for Economic Empowerment,
b. Monitor the various projects underway and also
c. Share the various insights gained from practical experience in a wide variety of contexts.

10. Throughout our time together in Accra we have not only shared in discussions but have also spent time together in table fellowship, prayer and worship. We are grateful that because of the time that we have shared our lives have been strengthened and our love for Christ, His Church and His world confirmed. Accordingly, we pray for God’s continued blessing on all members of our beloved Communion that we might all be empowered to continue in our mission to a needy and troubled world.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:20)

* Provinces Represented:

Congo, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and Middle East, Kenya, Nigeria, South East Asia, Uganda, Papua New Guinea and West Africa. Also present were facilitators from Tanzania, UK, Kenya and the USA

Ethical Economic and Financial Covenant (21 September 2006)

Global South Economic Track Summary Statement, Kigali, Rwanda, Actions Steps

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Monday, 24 September 2007

Christian Institute releases video on UK religious liberty case

Watch now (9:11mins)

We have produced a ten-minute video programme on the successful religious liberty case involving Joe and Helen Roberts.

The case defended vital principles of free speech and religious liberty.

An American family group has used the video in the US to help show the religious liberty implications of homosexual hate crimes which are being proposed there.

The video has been viewed on the web over 200,000 times. During the summer it was one of the most popular current affairs videos on the internet. We are now promoting it for the first time in the UK.

The Roberts case was funded by The Christian Institute's Legal Defence Fund. You can make a donation here.

Please tell your friends about this video.

Yours in Christ,

Colin Hart
The Christian Institute

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Nigerian Anglicans speak on leadership, corruption and Lambeth

[...] The standing committee commended the efforts of the immediate past administration and the present government for their determined war against corruption and urged the present administration, and all Nigerians, to intensify the battle until it is fully won and the scourge of corruption eradicated from the nation.

On the problems of the Niger Delta, the committee expressed grave concerns about the worsening situation of insecurity and violence there and called on all stakeholders to halt the agonizing cycle of violence and retribution. It said determined and collective efforts should be accelerated to identify and address all the underlying issues and patterns of injustice that have destroyed much of the hope of the people of the Niger Delta.

On lawlessness, highway safety and public hygiene, the Standing Committee called upon the government to intensify the rehabilitation of roads to save lives and protect property. It said it was also concerned about increasing lawlessness on the roads and urged public office holders to restore a legal and healthy driving culture by insisting on driving tests and compliance with traffic rules. Delegates also called on all Nigerians to recognize that they have a collective responsibility for the environment and exercise personal discipline.

On the Lambeth Conference, the Standing Committee unanimously commended and endorsed the stand taken by the Primate and entire Church leadership within the Anglican Communion. Read moreNo comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the policy.

Bishops aim to up Church numbers

Two West Midlands bishops have launched unusual campaigns to get more people to go to church.

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, is appearing in radio advertisements urging people to reconsider going to church.

On Monday the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquhart, was visiting 13 of his parishes by motorbike.

Both moves are part of the UK-wide campaign called Back To Church Sunday, being held on 30 September.

Bishop Gledhill is believed to be the first Church of England bishop to appear in a radio commercial.

His diocese covers Staffordshire, areas of Shropshire and the Black Country. Read more

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Sunday, 23 September 2007

'Stay away from Chelmsford Alpha courses,' say pagans

(Ed: A curiosity I came across whilst looking for internet links for 'Chelmsford' and 'evangelism'. Nice to know there are other, 'softer' Christian groups that pagans feel they can trust, though.)


The average Pagan is now not able to differentiate between tolerant Christian groups that may deserve dialogue and the furtive, subversive fundamentalist groups that fully intend to undermine, disenfranchise and eventually destroy Paganism from within.

They are unable to differentiate because the leaders whom they have trusted appear incapable of telling the difference and have outcast the very Pagan groups that have been monitoring these crafty fundie gambits. Because of this ridiculous situation your average Pagan (and especially newcomers to the Old Religion) are sitting ducks for well tried conversion tactics.

Take for example the story of one Tracey Russell. Tracy's conversion to Christianity from Wicca was reported in the January edition of UK FOCUS (an ALPHA supplement to the Church of England newspaper). This woman had been following a Wiccan path when she met her future husband. She told everyone that she was a Pagan because she thought it "Looked Cool". She had attended Pagan moots and rituals and was praying to the Goddess "Not God" (as she put it). Her Xtian boyfriend 'disapproved' of her Pagan beliefs and after attending an Alpha Course she realised the "Error" of her ways. Her conversion was complete and her nice new Alpha friends approved of her total rejection of the evils of Witchcraft.

We mention this example as it is now a commonplace occurrence. The point is that highly organised fundie groups (like those connected with Alpha) offer individuals the chance of love, new friendships and spiritual salvation at a 'price,' which is total conformity to an intolerant belief system that perceives Paganism as being morally and theocratically bankrupt! 'Christ or the Devil' is the way that they 'always' see the situation, which leaves NO room at all for fair-minded compromise. Read more

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