Saturday, 12 January 2008

San Joaquin responds to 'inhibition' by Presiding Bishop

SAN JOAQUIN: Bishop Schofield Responds to Presiding Bishop over Inhibition

January 11, 2008

A statement from the Diocese of San Joaquin on the inhibition of Bishop Schofield by the Presiding Bishop:

The Episcopal Church's assertion that Bishop Schofield has abandoned the communion of this Church is an admission that TEC rejects the historical Anglican faith.

This is why The Diocese of San Joaquin appealed to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America for emergency and temporary protection. The majority of the other provinces of the Anglican Communion hold to the traditional faith.

It is the primary duty of bishops to guard the faith and Bishop Schofield has been continually discriminated against for having done so while Bishops and Archbishops around the world have affirmed not only his stance but the move to the Southern Cone. Bishop Schofield is currently a member of both the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church and the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone, not prohibited by either house.

Governing documents of TEC do not prohibit relationships between different members of the Anglican Communion, rather they encourage it. TEC's action demonstrates that there is an enormous difference between their church and most of the Anglican Communion. Again, this action is a demonstration that TEC is walking apart from the faith and its expression in morality held by the rest of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church's own identity is dependent upon its relationship with the whole Anglican Communion.

TEC should consider whether it is imperiling that relationship by taking such punitive actions.

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TEC Presiding Bishop inhibits Bishop of San Joaquin

Ed: I imagine David Schofield is having it framed right now.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on January 11 inhibited Diocese of San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield.

In the text of the inhibition, Jefferts Schori wrote: "I hereby inhibit the said Bishop Schofield and order that from and after 5:00 p.m. PST, Friday, January 11, 2008, he cease from exercising the gifts of ordination in the ordained ministry of this Church; and pursuant to Canon IV.15, I order him from and after that time to cease all 'episcopal, ministerial, and canonical acts, except as relate to the administration of the temporal affairs of the Diocese of San Joaquin,' until this Inhibition is terminated pursuant to Canon IV.9(2) or superseded by decision of the House of Bishops."

Jefferts Schori acted after the Title IV Review Committee certified that Schofield had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church. Read more
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Friday, 11 January 2008

Virginia Attorney General: Episcopal Church 'wrong' over action against congregations

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell has filed a motion to intervene and a brief in the ongoing church property litigation that is being heard by Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows involving eleven congregations that separated from the Episcopal Church in 2006 and 2007 and joined the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV). In his brief, Attorney General McDonnell defended the constitutionality of the Virginia Division Statute (Virginia Code § 57-9), thereby validating the position of the ADV churches and making it clear that there is no constitutional problem with applying the Statute in exactly the way ADV attorneys have advocated.

As stated in the Attorney General’s motion to intervene, “As a matter of federal constitutional law, the Episcopal Church is simply wrong. The Constitution does not require that local church property disputes be resolved by deferring to national and regional church leaders.” Read more
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Elaine Storkey's solicitors issue press release on dismissal case

[...] Dr. Storkey had raised a formal grievance to the Hall Council, concerning the treatment to which she had been subjected. But that procedure which had been commenced in February 2007 was not concluded, before being prematurely terminated by her dismissal.

At the hearing the Hall formally withdrew the allegations it had previously made against Dr. Storkey and agreed a settlement for this part of her claim which will equate to her salary and benefits until her previously anticipated date of retirement together with a 50% uplift in recognition of its unlawful failure to follow statutory procedures.

The Tribunal, given Dr. Storkey's intent on pursuing her claim for religious discrimination, has listed the matter for a preliminary issue hearing later in the year. At that hearing the Tribunal will consider whether the religion or belief relied upon by Dr. Storkey which she defines (for this purpose) as 'open evangelicalism and/or membership of Fulcrum' constitutes a religion or belief for the purposes of the Employment Equality (Religion of Belief) Regulations 2003 as distinct from conservative evangelicalism.

The Tribunal, expressing some disquiet as to its qualification to determine matters of theology has given the parties leave to adduce independent expert evidence and to call one witness, which they anticipated in the case of Dr. Storkey, given her expertise, would be her.

It is Dr Storkey's hope that the resolution of these issues will leave Wycliffe Hall in a stronger position to pursue its calling of training people for Christian ministry in a context of truth and good governance. Read more
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The Church of England's Global Anglican Future

[...] While a growing number are now recognisng that the Archbishop of Canterbury is incapable of providing sound leadership Reform and Church Society have managed to sustain a consistency and clarity. Both groups opposed the appointment of Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury.

More recently, the Alpha Course movement based at Holy Trinity Brompton has partnered with a new theological college, St Mellitus which is described as a personal initiative of the Bishops of London and Chelmsford.

While the Alpha material teaches a biblical view of homosexuality, the current Bishop of Chelmsford is a Patron of Changing Attitude, a campaigning gay/lesbian group and there are a growing number of clergy in Chelmsford Diocese who are therefore not prepared to receive his ministry.

Participants on the Alpha Course could therefore feel some understandable confusion. Coming right up to date, Elaine Storkey, a leading member of the liberal leaning evangelical group 'Fulcrum' having already having won a £20,000 award for unfair dismissal against Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, is now seeking to extend the scope of religious discrimination law by arguing that it can be applied within a religion, in her case alleging discrimination by the 'conservative evangelical' management at Wycliffe Hall against her own 'open evangelical' position - a grievous example of how evangelical compromise leads to the hardening of division, not to mention the irony that someone who has sought to champion Christian values in the public sphere is opening the way for the secular 'rights' culture to trump Christian conviction by suing a bishop (James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool and chairman of the college council).

Despite this disarray in England, the wider picture of the Anglican Communion is becoming clearer as the Lambeth Conference approaches and will force on the Church of England the very choices its leadership has been trying so hard to avoid. Read more
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Bishop of Lichfield broadcasts 'News' to congregations

The Church of England’s Diocese of Lichfield has enlisted the help of a television news man to report on a message from its bishop, in what is thought to be the first time a television news report has been produced specifically for broadcast as part of church services.

Robin Powell and Ember Regis Media were commissioned to produce the four-and-a-half minute news report which has been sent to all 585 churches in the diocese for use this Sunday (13th January). The video will also be available online at and YouTube. Read more

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Wycliffe Hall admits breach of law over sacked lecturer

THE Bishop of Liverpool and the Mayor of Kensington, named trustees of the Oxford theological college Wycliffe Hall, in an action brought against them and against the Hall’s Trustees as a body, have admitted this week that they broke employment legislation.

At a pre-hearing at an employment tribunal in Reading on Monday, they admitted, through their legal counsel, Mr Bruce Carr, that, in dismissing a senior lecturer, Dr Elaine Storkey, they had acted unfairly, and that there were no contributing factors from Dr Storkey that could justify their action.

Dr Storkey was dismissed last November from a lecturing post that she had held for four years.

At the pre-hearing, Mr Robin Lewis, the tribunal chairman, sitting alone, said that, as the Trustees of Wycliffe Hall had conceded that Dr Storkey had been dismissed unfairly, he calculated that she should receive “something in the region of £20,000”.

Dr Storkey had brought a case against the Trustees for unfair dismissal, discrimination on religious grounds, and failure to provide a proper contract. Read more
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Lambeth warning from Bishop of Manchester

THIS YEAR'S Lambeth Conference would be acting 'irresponsibly' if it tried to avoid issues such as homosexuality that are threatening schism in the Anglican Communion, a leading bishop has declared.

The warning comes from the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester. And the 65-year-old church leader has also pointedly told his clergy: let me know before you invite any visiting bishop to your parish.

The comment and the enjoinder come in an article headed "Walking the Lambeth way" in the January issue of Crux, the magazine of the Manchester diocese.

In it, Bishop McCulloch discloses that he was one of the first bishops to say yes to the Archbishop of Canterbury's invitation to attend the once-a decade Lambeth Conference, and notes: "I am sorry some bishops are still threatening to stay away."

Bishop McCulloch says: "The Anglican Communion is a family. The Christian pattern for family life - for which the church and especially its bishops should be a model - is that, however deep family differences are, we (of all people) ought to be following the New Testament pattern of meeting together to pray, to learn, to eat and to share." Read more
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Amendment to protect free speech of British Christians defeated

The British government has defeated an attempt to amend a gay-hate-crimes bill that the Catholic Church claims will prohibit Christians from expressing their beliefs about marriage and family life.

It was drafted with the help of the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Council.

But the government ensured its failure by instructing ruling Labor Party members of Parliament to vote against the amendment as the bill passed through its final stages in the House of Commons Jan. 9.

The proposed law against incitement to hatred of homosexuals carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail -- a longer sentence than the five years typically handed down to a rapist. The bill must pass through the House of Lords, Britain's second political chamber, before it becomes law. Read more
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English bishops back San Joaquin

EIGHT serving English bishops have signed a letter of support for the Bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt Revd John-David Schofield, who has aligned his diocese with the conservative province of the Southern Cone and its Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd Greg Venables (News, 14 December).

They are the Bishops of Rochester, Burnley, Fulham, Horsham, Lewes, Beverley, Richborough, and Ebbsfleet. They find common cause with the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, and with the Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Revd Jack Iker, who initiated the letter. Signatories also include three American bishops consecrated for the conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). Read more
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Virginia borrows from endowments, sets aside $2million to sue departing churches

The Diocese of Virginia, embroiled in the largest property dispute in the history of the Episcopal Church, is taking out a $2 million line of credit to finance lawsuits against 11 churches that left the denomination a year ago.

The announcement, made in the pages of this month's Virginia Episcopalian, is the latest in a series of legal battles that is draining the Episcopal Church of millions of dollars. The denomination has filed lawsuits in at least 12 states against churches leaving over disputes on biblical authority and the 2003 election of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who lives with a homosexual lover.

The diocese says it will sell off "non-strategic" diocesan properties to raise the money needed to win back $30 million to $40 million worth of real estate and assets. Read more
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Canadian Anglican clergy summoned to toe line

In what could be the start of real schism in the Anglican Church, a Newfoundland bishop is demanding clergy come to the provincial capital to declare whether their loyalties lie with him or his predecessor, the leader of a breakaway conservative movement.

"Attendance at these gatherings is mandatory," Cyrus Pitman, bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador warns in a Dec. 18 letter to clergy obtained by the Star.

Clergy from Eastern Newfoundland's 33 parishes are to be in St. John's on Jan. 21 to restate their ordination vows and to get new licences, with a date for those from the six Labrador parishes yet to be set. Read more
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Thursday, 10 January 2008

Bishops and pole-dancers in same salary bracket

Ed: And thanks to the Daily Mail for this one.

[...] The fortunes of farmers have dropped so dramatically over the past 50 years that they now share the same bracket as sewer cleaners, mortuary assistants and checkout staff, at £10,000 - £20,000.

The real-life James Bonds in MI5 earn the same as binmen, vicars, carpenters and NHS nurses, £20,000 - £30,000.

A bit higher up on £30,000 - £40,000 are the pole dancers and RAF pilots, along with bishops, police constables, sandwich shop managers, vets, London cab drivers, architects and paramedics.

Nearly six million were in the lowest pay bracket of less than £10,000, including cleaners and hairdressers. Read more (caution: Contains a picture of a pole-dancer. No bishops, however, so it is safe for children.)
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Richard Kirker to step down from LGCM post, regrets not being open about 'outing'

[...] his biggest regret is not that he dangled a pink rag in front of the evangelical bull, but that he did not wave it vigorously enough. In a dramatic parting gesture that will reopen old wounds for the Church hierarchy, he says he now deeply regrets not expressing explicit support for the "outing" campaign of the mid-Nineties, to which he has never previously acknowledged links.

The campaign was prompted by tabloid revelations in September 1994 that the then newly enthroned bishop of Durham, Michael Turnbull, who had condemned gay clergy in loving relationships, had a conviction for cottaging. An ex-monk called Sebastian Sandys outed three more bishops, including the then bishop of Edmonton, Brian Masters, at a debate at Durham University. Meanwhile, Peter Tatchell's OutRage! issued a list of ten gay bishops who had endorsed anti-gay discrimination within the Church. They included the high-profile bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood (who has since died).

The climax of the campaign came in March 1995 when the then bishop of London, David Hope, was named Archbishop of York - the number two post in the Church of England. Under pressure from Tatchell, Hope - who had endorsed the sacking of gay clergy and backed a Children's Society ban on gay foster parents - acknowledged that his own sexuality was a "grey area".

Some of us who reported on the campaign suspected that the knowledgeable Kirker - "Richard knows where all the condoms are buried," said one of his friends recently - was supporting it from the sidelines. He would not admit it at the time, but now he is breaking his silence to do so here.

He is at pains to clarify. "I was not a conduit for the release of names," he says. "The furthest I went was that, if Peter asked me about someone, I would say 'yes', 'no' or 'I've only heard rumours', which led to some names being taken off his list. But by not making my support explicit, I perhaps gave the impression I had moral qualms about the campaign. I didn't, and it troubles my conscience that I let OutRage! take all the flak. I stand by the principle of outing where hypocrisy and abuse of power is involved. It was right to expose bishops who led deceitful gay lives and who made it difficult for gay clergy in honest and committed relationships. If they had acknowledged they were gay, even if they were celibate, then people like Archbishop Akinola would not have the influence they have today." Read more
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Commons motion 666 calls for disestablishment of CofE

Ed: Haven't had a chance to check whether this is true or an 'urban legend' in the making, but it is carried in the Independent here as well.

Eyebrows were raised in the House of Commons on Thursday when a motion calling for the Church of England to be disestablished was listed with the number 666, symbol of the AntiChrist.

"This number is supposed to be the mark of the Devil. It looks as though God or the Devil have been moving in mysterious ways," said Bob Russell, a Liberal Democrat MP among those proposing the motion for debate.

"What is even stranger is that this motion was tabled last night when MPs were debating blasphemy," he added. Read more
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LGCM accuses Storkey of 'double standards'

[...] The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement say that whilst Storkey is pursuing her case of religious discrimination, alleging that she has suffered at the hands of other evangelicals because of her particular brand of evangelicalism, the aid agency she is President of has been pursuing its own religious discrimination for years.

The Revd Richard Kirker, Chief Executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement said: “We first became aware of the crisis at Wycliffe Hall when there were accusations from former staff members and students of homophobic bullying at the college following reports that it had been 'captured' by ultra conservative Evangelicals led by Turnbull. The Bishop of chair of the college’s Council has supported Turnbull’s unlawful actions and it is good to see him personally held to account in this legal action.

“Bishop Jones’ support for the behaviour and theological position declared by Turnbull calls his judgment into serious question at many levels. The deepening scandal surrounding Wycliffe is entirely the responsibility of Bishop Jones – he must consider his position both as chair of the council and as a bishop of the Church.

"It is interesting, if not a little paradoxical, to see Dr Storkey pursuing this case on the grounds of religious discrimination. We hope it is a sign of greater flexibility at, for instance, development agency Tearfund where she is UK President. Tearfund makes it clear that only committed Evangelical Christians may apply for any job.

"We are told that all applicants must subscribe to a rather detailed 'statement of faith' a statement which we imagine Dr Turnbull would find insufficient.

"We suspect that Tearfund’s complex and from our point of view unacceptable employment policy, like that of many homophobic 'Christian' organisations, has been recently redrafted to find a dubious way around recent legislation making it illegal to discriminate against lesbian and gay people including self-affirming lesbian and gay Christians. In this context it is a policy that may well turn around and bite Dr Storkey herself. To be honest – as much as we sympathise with the fact she was undoubtedly bullied and dismissed unnecessarily by some very nasty people - we hope it does!” Read more
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Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Wycliffe Hall press statement regarding Elaine Storkey's dismissal


1 At a Pre-Hearing Review in relation to Dr Elaine Storkey's claims of unfair dismissal and religious discrimination, the College accepted that she had been unfairly dismissed as the College had not, prior to dismissal, gone through the statutory procedures. We are hopeful that a full and amicable settlement can be reached.

2 Nevertheless, we strongly refute any allegation that Elaine's dismissal from Wycliffe was in any way connected with her religious beliefs. At Wycliffe Hall, our key priority is to equip men and women for modern ministry and this happens in an environment that encourages wide discussion and debate, reflective of the broad range of thinking within the Church as a whole.

3 We look forward to resolving the whole matter as swiftly as possible so that we can concentrate purely on our priorities of maintaining high standards of training, theological teaching and academic excellence at Wycliffe Hall, in equipping men and women fully for modern Christian ministry.

Helen Mitchell
College Administrator
Wycliffe Hall, 54 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PW
Direct line: +44(0)1865 274201

College office: +44(0)1865 274200
College fax: +44(0)1865 274215

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Widening ripples on the 'Elaine Storkey Sues Bishop' story

The Liverpool Echo: Bishop of Liverpool James Jones caught up in bullying row

Ekklesia: Evangelical theologian sues Bishop over 'discrimination'

Education Guardian: Unfairly sacked Oxford college theologian sues bishop

World Wide Religious News: Carries the Guardian story

Titus One Nine: Carries the Telegraph article

Oxford Mail: Ex-don settles dismissal claim

Cambridge News Online: Presenter in a battle of faith

The Independent: Fire and brimstone! College principal says we're all going to hell (The usual dispassionate coverage of Christian affairs by the ghastly Independent. Honestly, it is about Elaine Storkey.)

Doubtless more to follow

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Newman to be beatified

Cardinal John Henry Newman is about to be beatified, the Vatican has announced. This is news that will be greeted with joy by the whole English Catholic community – and everyone who admires this greatest of all Anglican converts to Rome.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, said yesterday evening that Cardinal Newman’s beatification – the last stage on the step to canonisation – was “imminent”. (Hat tip: Fr Z.) This must mean that the Vatican has attributed a miracle to Newman, who was received into the Catholic Church in 1845. Read more
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Seven conflicting 'tribes' of Evangelicalism?

[...] John Smith, the former UK director of the Evangelical Alliance says: “As I step back and look at today’s evangelical landscape in the UK I do not see tribes so much as fault lines which divide opinion and sometimes therefore fellowship among brothers and sisters. These fault lines are doctrinal, moral, political, and style preference.”

Some are saying: ‘If you are a ‘true’ evangelical, you will accept our interpretation of the atonement’; ‘If you are really on God’s side you will see the spiritual gifts the way we do’; ‘How can you be evangelical and not be opposed to the latest Government white paper?’ If you don’t toe the line, they won’t like you, won’t stock your books or allow you to preach at their churches and conferences.

The Right Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, has viewed evangelical tribalism first hand. “Evangelicalism has become distinctive for its defensiveness, working out who’s in and who’s out. Its gift to the world seems to have been fragmentation, and at regular intervals.” What are the groupings that exist within evangelicalism and what impact might this have on the future of the movement?

In this article we will identify seven major groupings. There are more, but hopefully you will understand that space doesn’t allow greater demarcation. Read more (but sadly, not the whole article, for which you will have to take out a subscription.)
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The Ezekiel of the East End: Lord Mawson's take on the Social Gospel

[...] Casting around for a blueprint for how he might begin to play a role in the community, he [Rev (now Lord) Andrew Mawson] picks up the Church of England's Faith in the City report, much admired at the time in liberal circles, not least because it incurred the displeasure of Mrs Thatcher, who regarded it as a sign the church had gone socialist.

Mawson gives it short shrift: "To me it seemed to be a document full of pious academic theory about the poor, thrashed out in senior common rooms of theological colleges and British Universities by people who had never built or changed anything in their lives ... I threw it in the bin."

Mawson gets his "bolt out the blue" during a meeting at religious retreat in Kent. A fellow East End Methodist minister "dares" to suggest that socialism doesn't actually work, and is in fact "the engine of poverty". Mawson is never the same again: "It was time to face up to the hypocrisy of my own liberal religion - and dump it."

Later on he meets Peter Thomson, an Anglican priest best known for a time as Tony Blair's religous "guru," who becomes Mawson's mentor. He takes Thomson on a tour of the East End to show him "what the public and voluntary sectors were up to", and is intensely gratified by Thomson's blunt Aussie reaction: "Shit, mate, what are these liberals on about?"

Business, which he had been brought up to be suspicious of, forms the core of Mawson's new secular belief system. He finds inspiration at Tesco and McDonalds, and oppressive hypocrisy at [sic: and] the town hall and hospital. He sees salvation for socially-excluded individuals through enterprise, not welfare systems or philanthropy. Read more
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Elaine Storkey: Evangelical squabbling is 'just daft'

[...]'For me, this never started out as a battle between conservatives and open evangelicals. For me, this was trying to draw attention to the fact that we were unhappy with the style of management at Wycliffe Hall. But as time evolved, it started to feel more theological.

'I am alarmed at the way big walls between people and groups have started to emerge in the way they did not before. People had nuances and differences, but we all worked well together. From the Fulcrum point of view [Elaine is chairman of Fulcrum], it is not what we are wanting. We want to work with everybody rather than create a new camp.

'I am alarmed at the belligerence of the conservative camp, where they are seemingly going out of their way to make life as difficult as possible for the Archbishop of Canterbury. I cannot imagine what the reasons are. They are being destructive rather than constructive, finding something to argue about rather than working together to find a fruitful outcome.

'I am bewildered as to why anyone would want to spend their energy doing this when there is a world out there we should be speaking to of the love of God. And we should not just be speaking it, we should be living it, first of all, in the way we love one another, and also in the way we love them.

'What is the point of going out and trying to find heretics, so we can shoot them down? It seems so unloving and so unproductive. I cannot figure it out.

'Never before in the history of the evangelical church have we had so many evangelicals and of such talent. The whole way we could pull together with other people and other traditions of the church, it could be fantastic. But rather than do that, we end up squabbling. It is appalling. It is ridiculous. There is no victory there. It is just daft.' Read more
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Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Storkey case rests on 'two kinds of evangel(ical)ism'

Ed: Despite the confusion of terms, which seems to emanate from the legal representatives, Elaine Storkey's case for religious discrimination being brought against the Bishop of Liverpool as chairman of the council of Wycliffe Hall seems to rest on the argument that there are two clearly distinguishable 'brands' of Anglican evangelicalism, one 'conservative', the other (her own) 'liberal'. One wonders if this is quite the characterization 'Open Evangelicals' would want applied to their movement as a whole.

[...]Following the resolution of the unfair dismissal claim, Charles Crow, representing Storkey, turned to the remaining matter.

"Within Christian evangelism there are two determinate strands; conservative evangelism and an open and more liberal evangelism," he said.

"Those are open and definable strands and as an open and clear proponent of one of those strands, she [Storkey] has been discriminated against."

However, Bruce Carr, representing the college trustees, attacked that argument, claiming Storkey could not allege discrimination against people of the same faith as her.

He said: "She is not saying 'I'm a Christian and I'm being discriminated against because of my Christianity'.

"She is saying 'I have a particular type of Christian evangelism, which stands distinct from conservative evangelism'.

"To paraphrase, she is the wrong type of evangelical." Read more
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GAFCON website

The Global Anglican Future Conference website is here.

If you don't know what GAFCON is about, Anglican Mainstream is in favour of it. Fulcrum (Renewing the Evangelical Centre) and Thinking Anglicans (Anglicans who Think) are against it. Need to know more?

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The 50 most powerful LGBT people in British politics

As we look forward to another year, we cannot help but ponder the fact that if Gordon Brown had called an autumn election we could have been hearing a very different Queen's Speech last month.

But if the Conservatives or even the Liberal Democrats had won the election, there would be gay people at the heart of government.

The purpose of this Top 50 list is to demonstrate the presence of gay and lesbian people at the highest levels of British politics.

What a difference a decade makes.

In 1997 the age of consent was set higher for gay men, homophobia in schools was being exacerbated by the draconian symbolism of Section 28, lesbian and gay people had no protection at work or when accessing goods and services and had no legal recognition of their relationships.

Today every leading political party not only has gay MPs, those out politicians are on every frontbench, and at the heart of power in Downing St. Read more
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Danish bishop orders priests to shake hands with female clergy

Ed: Apparently the men are only in it for the money anyway.

Male clergy in the Danish diocese of Viborg are no longer exempt from shaking hands with newly-ordained female clergy, the bishop of Viborg said Friday. Bishop Karsten Nissen had previously allowed male priests who opposed female clergy not to shake hands after the ordination ceremony.

Nissen told reporters Friday that female priests should "be fully respected" in the state Evangelical Lutheran Church and he could no longer allow opponents to female clergy to avoid handshaking.

Several female clergy welcomed the bishop's move.

Vicar Susan Aaen told local radio that it was a sign that the church "respects both female and male priests."

Another female vicar, Lise Hove, said she was surprised that the "minority of fundamentalist" male clergy who opposed female priests stayed on in the church with colleagues they did not accept.

"But they are paid by the state, and it is comfortable," Hove said. Read more
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Can Rowan Williams Save the Anglican Communion?

The Anglican Communion is engaged in the biggest and most devastating break up since Luther's Reformation. The potential schism, already begun, was voted among the top 10 stories of the year by the secular and religious press. With thousands leaving The Episcopal Church and new Anglican formations emerging on the global scene, there is little doubt that Anglicanism is on a collision course with history.

When the Church Times did an informal poll asking "Is the Anglican Covenant the best way to achieve unity?" the results were startling. Of the 600 plus who to date have answered the question only 9% voted "yes" with 91% registering "no" votes. To the average Anglican a covenant, if it is ever agreed upon by all parties and that now seems almost impossible as liberals have already scotched it, will be irrelevant.

It's time the Archbishop of Canterbury faces the reality that there are two different religions, both going by the name of Christianity, at war within the communion. As one observer noted, only one of them may rightly be called by that name. In that respect, Anglicans and others across the mainline spectrum are dealing with a situation that very much resembles the first century conflict against Gnosticism (among others), one that requires the same strength of conviction and willingness to take an uncompromising stand for truth that our forebears in the faith exhibited. If that means declaring, "let them be anathema," (Galatians 1:8) so be it. It ain't polite, but it's the truth.

And if Rowan Williams is able, at this late hour, to rescue the Anglican Communion, he will have to acknowledge and reckon with that. Either the Communion will continue as a failing corporation or he will proclaim the faith once delivered without apology. The time for dithering is over. Read more
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Libby Purves: Divorces here! Everyone a loser!

[...]Divorce is sometimes necessary but always lousy. Nobody wins. It is a public admission of failure - either you made a stupid decision when you got married, or else one or both of you has deteriorated into a nastier person. Read more
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Brits just want to be macho

A male "lifestyles and heroes" poll of 2000 British men and women, commissioned by new television channel DMAX, also found that 82 per cent of men felt they had lost their traditional role in society, with 84 per cent of women inagreement.

More than half the men said they felt undervalued, although only 10 per cent of the men and 14per cent of the women agreed that women do not respect men today.

When respondents were asked to name some of their biggest modern-day heroes, 59per cent chose firemen, followed by soldiers, which were picked by 58 per cent, and air-sea rescuers at 57 per cent. Read more
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Survey finds men have lost their role in society

More than half of men believe the world is dominated by females and that they have lost their traditional role in society, according to recent research.

Asked what it means to be a man in the 21st century, more than half think that society tries to feminise them, turning them into waxed and coiffed metrosexuals, and 52 per cent say that men have to live according to women's rules.

The research also shows that just as many women feel their work-life balance has been stretched to breaking point.

Around 2,000 men and women were polled on the internet across 10 television regions for a survey commissioned by DMAX, a television entertainment channel.

Men say they "feel handcuffed" by political correctness - only 33 per cent feel they can speak freely and say what they think, whereas two thirds find it safer and easier to keep their opinions to themselves. Read more
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Men staying at home to look after children should be cultural norm, claims minister

Ed: To be read with this post.

Men staying at home to bring up their children should become the cultural norm, Harriet Harman declared.

Fathers should demand flexible working hours after their children are born, the Minister for Women said.

Miss Harman - dubbed "Harriet Harperson" by some for her feminist views - added that mothers and fathers should both expect to spend equal amounts of time working and raising children.

Her call for fathers to work less comes amid growing pressure from ministers on mothers of young children to take jobs. Read more
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Elaine Storkey to sue Wycliffe Hall, Bishop of Liverpool

Ed: Despite the confused terminology, the story is clear enough.

A BBC Radio 4 contributor is suing one of the Church of England’s most distinguished training colleges for religious discrimination, claiming that she was bullied out of her job.

Dr Elaine Storkey, who regularly features in the Today programme’s “Thought for the Day” slot, was dismissed from her post at Wycliffe Hall, part of Oxford University, last year.

She claims that conditions there worsened after the appointment of a new principal, Dr Richard Turnbull, and that she was the victim of a battle at the hall between two different strands of Christian evangelism. Dr Storkey, a prominent theologian and the president of the global poverty charity Tearfund, accepted a settlement of up to £20,000 from her former employer yesterday after Wycliffe Hall admitted that her dismissal had been unfair.

She will now seek a ruling of religious discrimination against the Right Rev James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, who is chairman of the hall’s trustees.

After an employment tribunal prehearing in Reading, Dr Storkey said she was pleased that the issue of her unfair dismissal had been resolved.

Robin Lewis, sitting as chairman of the prehearing review, estimated that the award she has won could amount to as much as £20,000.

However, Dr Storkey is continuing to press her claim that she was the victim of religious discrimination at Wycliffe Hall. At a full hearing, which is now scheduled for June, her lawyer will argue that Dr Storkey’s evangelical stance constitutes a religion that is distinct from other evangelists. Read more
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