Saturday, 14 June 2008

Daily Telegraph: Male priests marry in Anglican church's first gay 'wedding'

For a description of the wedding see here.

An Anglican church has held a homosexual "wedding" for the first time in a move that will deepen the rift between liberals and traditionalists, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

Two male priests exchanged vows and rings in a ceremony that was conducted using one of the church's most traditional wedding rites – a decision seen as blasphemous by conservatives.

The ceremony broke Church of England guidelines and was carried out last month in defiance of the Bishop of London, in whose diocese it took place. News of the "wedding" emerged days before a crucial summit of the Anglican Church's conservative bishops and archbishops, who are threatening to split the worldwide Church over the issue of homosexual clergy.

Although some liberal clergy have carried out "blessing ceremonies" for homosexual couples in the past, this is the first time a vicar has performed a "wedding ceremony", using a traditional marriage liturgy, with readings, hymns and a ­Eucharist.

Both the conservative and liberal wings of the Anglican communion expressed shock last night.

The Most Rev Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, said that the ceremony was "blasphemous." He called on Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to take decisive action if the Anglican Church were not to "disintegrate". Archbishop Orombi added: "What really shocks me is that this is happening in the Church of England that first brought the Gospel to us.

"The leadership tried to deny that this would happen, but now the truth is out. Our respect for the Church of England will erode unless we see a return to traditional teaching."

The Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester – a powerful conservative figure – said that the service represented a wedding "in all but name". He said: "Strictly speaking it is not a marriage, but the language is clearly modelled on the marriage service and the occasion is modelled on the marriage service. This clearly flouts Church guidelines and will exacerbate divisions within the Anglican Communion."

The bishop said that it was up to the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, to act, adding that it would become a high-profile test case of Church authority. Read more
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TEC Bishop of California urges same Church blessing for ALL 'marriages'

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I welcome the ruling of the California Supreme Court affirming the fundamental right of all people to marry. I am writing to you now to recommend a path to use this decision to strengthen our support of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered sisters and brothers, and our continued witness to God’s inclusive love.

Clergy and lay leaders in the diocese have been working for the rights of LGBT people and for their full inclusion in our Church for more than forty years. Today, we continue to walk a journey that includes:

  • Bringing the witness of our LGBT sisters and brothers to this summer’s Lambeth Conference,

  • Combating a ballot initiative this November that will attempt to take away the rights recently recognized by the California Supreme Court,

  • Providing leadership at next summer's General Convention to bring our marriage practices and theology in line with our fundamental baptismal theology.

For far too long the onus has fallen on marginalized people to bear the burden of inequalities that exist within the Church, and the decision by our state’s Supreme Court has given us the opportunity to level the playing field.

To that end, the Diocese of California seeks to provide, by advocacy and example, a way forward for The Episcopal Church so that the marriage of same-sex couples will be a part of our official marriage rites, without distinction. Although The Episcopal Church does not have canonical rites for same-sex marriage, it is our goal that all couples be treated equally by the Church, as they are equally loved by God.

I therefore provide you with the following pastoral guidelines:

  • I urge you to encourage all couples, regardless of orientation, to follow the pattern of first being married in a secular service and then being blessed in The Episcopal Church. I will publicly urge all couples to follow this pattern.
Read more

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Church of Uganda Press Release on GAFCON

For Immediate Release

13th June 2008

Contact: David Sseppuuya,

Amanda Onapito,, +256 772 561 428

Background on GAFCON – Global Anglican Future Conference

What is GAFCON?

GAFCON is the Global Anglican Future Conference ( being held in Jerusalem from 22nd – 29th June 2008. There are three purposes:

1. To provide an opportunity for fellowship as well as to continue to experience and proclaim the transforming love of Jesus Christ

2. To develop a renewed understanding of our identity as Anglican Christians.

3. To prepare for an Anglican future in which the Gospel is uncompromised and Christ-centred mission is a top priority.

Who is organizing GAFCON?

GAFCON was conceived by the Anglican Archbishops of Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, the Southern Cone (South America), and Sydney (Australia). Evangelical Anglican Bishops from the UK and the USA were also involved in its organization.

How many people will participate in GAFCON?

More than 1,000 people have registered for GAFCON, including more than 280 Bishops, their wives, clergy and non-ordained church leaders. One hundred and seven (107) people from Uganda will be going, including 34 Bishops.

Why is GAFCON being held in Jerusalem?

GAFCON is essentially a pilgrimage. We are going back to the roots of our faith, to the place where Jesus was born, lived, died, and was raised from the dead.

How is GAFCON different from Lambeth?

The Lambeth Conference of Bishops is held every ten years and will be held this coming July at the University of Kent in England. The Archbishop of Canterbury convenes the Lambeth Conference and invites Bishops and their spouses from all provinces of the Anglican Communion. The purpose of Lambeth is to provide Bishops with an opportunity for worship, study, and conversation about matters that affect the Anglican Communion.

GAFCON is different because it includes clergy and non-ordained leaders from the church. GAFCON is the first of its kind and is a one-time event. It is, therefore, not an alternative to Lambeth.

Are the Bishops from the Church of Uganda going to Lambeth?

No. The Church of Uganda Bishops decided together not to go to Lambeth this year. Their decision has been supported by the governing body of the Church of Uganda, the Provincial Assembly Standing Committee. The reason the Church of Uganda is not going to Lambeth is because the purpose of Lambeth is for fellowship among Bishops, and our fellowship has been broken with the American church. We broke fellowship with them for three reasons:

1.. In direct violation of the Bible and historic Christian teaching, they consecrated as a Bishop a gay man living in a same-sex relationship

2.. After five years of pleading with them, listening to them, and giving them many opportunities, they have not repented of that decision.

The Archbishop of Canterbury did not follow the advice given to him by his own appointed Commission to not invite to Lambeth those responsible for the confusion and disobedience in the Anglican Communion. The Bible says, "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" We have not been in fellowship with the Americans who have violated the Bible since 2003, so we are not going to pretend by going to Lambeth that we are in fellowship. We are not. What they have done is a very serious thing, and what the Archbishop of Canterbury has done in inviting them is grievous and we want them to know that.

Is the Church of Uganda seceding from the Anglican Communion?

No. We are simply not going to the Lambeth Conference. We are still part of the Anglican Communion, and the vast majority of the Anglican Communion opposes what the American Church has done and the Archbishop of Canterbury's tacit support for it.

What is the Anglican Communion?

The Anglican Communion is a family of 38 independent churches that trace their heritage to the Church of England. It is the third largest Christian community in the world – the Roman Catholic Church is the largest; the Orthodox Church is the second largest; and, the Anglican Communion is the third largest. There are 77 million members in the Anglican Communion. The Church of Uganda is the second largest Province with more than 10 million members. The Church of Nigeria is the largest with more than 20 million members. The Church of England claims 26 million members because it is the State Church, and all English subjects are entitled to membership in the Church of England. But, less than 1 million people attend church on an average Sunday.

Is the Anglican Communion going to split?

The Anglican Communion has been deeply wounded. The 2003 decision of the Episcopal Church in America to consecrate as a bishop a gay man living in a same-sex relationship caused a deep tear in the fabric of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Not only has the American Church not repented of this decision and action, but they have continued to advance non-Biblical teaching and practice. Their Bishops and many clergy have presided at the blessing of same-sex unions. Their Archbishop does not believe the Bible when Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me." Another American Bishop has said, "The Church wrote the Bible, so the church can re-write the Bible." It is wrong for them to continue to be Bishops and leaders in the Church. Yet, if their church will not discipline them, we will continue in broken fellowship with them. We cannot tolerate such theological corruption.

Is the crisis in the Anglican Communion about homosexuality?

No. The crisis is about authority. Homosexuality is only the presenting issue. All four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion – The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Lambeth Conference of Bishops, The Primates Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council – advised against the American Church approving homosexual relationships. Yet, the American Church openly defied these resolutions and there was no disciplinary action taken against them. That is a crisis of authority in the Communion. Furthermore, the apparent lack of resolve to take action manifests a deeper crisis, namely a crisis of confidence in the authority of the Word of God as the ultimate standard of faith and moral living.

Can anything good come out of this crisis?

Yes. As Christians we are always people of hope. We believe that the Anglican Communion must base its identity on bonds of truth as well as bonds of affection. That's why we are going to GAFCON. We hope that GAFCON will reassert as normative Anglican Christianity the reality we know in Uganda – that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can bring substantive change for good in a person's life, in his family, and in our country. We saw it when Christianity came to Uganda. We saw it when the East African Revival broke out in the 1930's and 1940's. We saw families healed, cycles of revenge broken, and oppression from demonic powers lifted. The only hope from the human condition is eternal forgiveness that comes only through Jesus Christ. That's what the Anglican Church is about, and that's why we're going to GAFCON and not Lambeth.

What is GAFCON's position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

GAFCON participants are coming to Jerusalem from more than 25 countries for the purpose of pilgrimage. Many are from regions that suffer political instability and violence, and we empathize with all victims of injustice and violence in the Middle East. It is our fervent prayer that both Jews and Arabs find ways to work towards reconciliation and a political settlement to begin to bring a measure of security and justice to the peoples living in the region. We share our faith with Arab Christians, our biblical heritage with the Jewish people, and a common humanity with Muslims. We are going to the Holy Land as pilgrims and we stand against any form of unjust discrimination and violence against any people for ethnic, social or political reasons.

What is the Church of Uganda's position on the ordination of women?

The Bible is very clear that homosexual practice is sin. But, nowhere in the Bible is being a woman described as a sin. The ordination of women and the ordination of practicing homosexuals cannot be compared. They are not the same issue. People of equally strong evangelical conviction come to different conclusions about the ordination of women, but we in Uganda have understood the Bible to teach that God created men and women in His image and both can be ordained to serve God in His Church.


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Friday, 13 June 2008

'Towards the Conversion of England'

As a resource for PCCs and others considering Church growth, we have posted on the Saffron Walden Deanery Growth website some extracts from the report Towards the Conversion of England, published in 1945, but now out of print and almost unobtainable.

The report was produced following a Resolution of the Church Assembly (the forerunner of the General Synod) passed at the Summer session in 1943, and owed much to the inspiration of Archbishop William Temple.

As can be seen, the report identified an urgent need to bring the gospel to England once the war was over, describing the challenges and putting forward suggestions as to what needed to be done. Unfortunately, Archbishop Temple died before the report was produced. Instead of evangelism, the focus of the Church of England's governing bodies throughout the fifties and sixties was directed to the revision of Canon Law. The report may be accessed here.

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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Chelmsford Christian Festival 2008

For more details go here.

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Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Virtual Caliphate: Islamic Extremists and their Websites

There is a growing awareness that Islamic extremists around the world see the internet as an important tool for radicalising and recruiting new generations of terrorists. The British government has responded to this by criminalising ‘the glorification of terror’ in the 2006 Terrorism Act with specific reference to the distribution of pro-terrorist publications online. As this report shows, however, British extremists have now adapted to the government’s measures and have found new ways to use the internet to spread hatred and promote violence.

This report has found evidence that:
* British extremists have set up several websites in order to distribute material justifying terrorist acts. Among these are texts and audio lectures by preachers imprisoned or deported for inciting violence and racial hatred.

* The same websites are being used to circulate texts and videos produced by members of al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups. In addition, the websites distribute extreme Wahhabi and Salafi interpretations of Islam.

* The same websites are openly used by British extremists to organise public meetings and publicise their events. In addition, they use websites to distribute PDF leaflets and plan recruitment strategies.

* The websites also distribute messages from individuals imprisoned on terrorism-related offences.

Many of these activities are in clear breach of the 2006 Terrorism Act which criminalises the making of or circulation of any statement which “glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences” of terrorism.

The government appears to be either unaware of the material being circulated on the internet or believes that it does not warrant prosecution.

This report lays out the range of extremist material produced and circulated by UK-based extremists online and shows how and why the government’s failure to prosecute those who run and contribute to such websites puts the British public at risk of further terrorist attacks. Read more (pdf file)
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Saffron Walden Church Growth site update

The website set up to help forward the Deanery Vision of Saffron Walden Deanery has been updated, and now includes selections from Towards the Conversion of England.

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Holy Cows: Isn’t it time the Church found God?

You have to watch the video!

This week Holy Cows makes the case that the Church of England should stop blaming the government for secularizing society and favouring other religions. Instead, it should look in the mirror – it has been actively sabotaging itself for some time.

If your vicar doesn’t believe in the virgin birth, has doubts about God, wears funky trainers, likes ethnic furniture, and is constantly having inter-faith meetings with leaders of other religions and giving them insider tips on how to take over his patch, the chances are you are being actively secularized, by your own Church!

With a clergy like this, and an all things-to-all-men approach, does the Church of England actually communicate what it stands for? Does it know what it stands for?

There’s no point pointing the finger at the government when the Church has been doing everything within its means to make itself irrelevant. Read more

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Monday, 9 June 2008

Mail on Sunday: Catholic adoption agency to defy gay rights law

A Roman Catholic adoption agency headed by Britain's most senior Catholic churchman is to defy the Government over its controversial gay equality laws.

The Westminster Catholic Children's Society, whose president is Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, will ignore new rules that require it to place children with same-sex couples.

While other Catholic adoption agencies are caving in to the legislation by severing their ties with the Church or even closing, the Westminster Society will continue its policy of placing children only with married heterosexuals and single people.

Its stance will set the Cardinal - who welcomed Tony Blair into the Catholic Church last December - on a collision course with New Labour and the gay rights lobby.

It is a high-risk strategy that could provoke a costly and bruising test case in the courts, with campaigners determined to see the Society closed down.

But advisers to the Cardinal, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, believe they have found a legal loophole that could allow the Society to remain open and loyal to Catholic teaching, which opposes gay marriage and adoption by gay couples.

The Government, which forced the Sexual Orientation Regulations through Parliament after a bitter Cabinet battle and in the face of fierce opposition from religious leaders, would be severely embarrassed by a defeat in the courts. Read more
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Episcopal churches spending millions on suing and being sued

I've been covering the Episcopal Church since 1986 and have taken a special interest in the largest property dispute in the denomination's history.

Ever since the openly gay Canon V. Gene Robinson was elected Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, conservatives have been fleeing. Many have tried to take their property with them, including 11 congregations in northern Virginia. These 11 are being sued by the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

The conservatives, now gathered under the banner of the Anglican Diocese of Virginia (ADV) say the diocese reneged in late 2006 on secret negotiations that allowed the departing 11 to buy their way out of the diocese. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori admitted in a taped deposition last fall before Fairfax Circuit Judge Randy I. Bellows that she forced the diocese to sue instead of negotiate.

The big question is how much money both sides are spending on this debacle. Today, the Rev. John Yates, rector of the Falls Church, the largest of the 11 congregations at 2,500 members, will ask congregants for a "one-time special sacrificial gift" - his words - to make up for a $300,000 shortfall in contributions.

The church recently slashed its $6 million budget by 5.4 percent.

Judge Bellows' decision to allow some 250 years worth of records to be reviewed for the case "puts a burden on us we had hoped to avoid," he wrote. "The costs of defending our church are great."

The ADV folks say they have raised and spent $2.1 million; $1.3 million of which has come from the Falls Church, $1 million from Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, $400,000 from Church of the Apostles in Fairfax and the rest from the remaining eight churches. Read more
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The Times: Law creates underclass of child criminals

(Ed: But see also this here by a young offender who spent time in youth custody: BBC News: 'Doing time didn't put me off crime')

Britain has been condemned as a bleak place for children, where thousands are needlessly criminalised for misdemeanours and where the gap between the education and health of the rich and poor is growing.

The four Children’s Commissioners for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have issued a report for the United Nations condemning the punitive youth justice system and the vilification of teenagers as yobs.

The commissioners say that Britain is breaching the Children’s Rights Convention in several areas.

The number of crimes committed by children fell between 2002 and 2006, but, according to research cited by the report, convictions rose by 26 per cent, leading to fears that a young criminal underclass is building. In the past misdemeanours were dealt with by cautions; the trend now is for police to bring charges.

Britain detains more children than any other country in Western Europe, with 2,900 under18s locked up in the past year. Thirty children have died in custody since 1990, yet there has never been a public inquiry into conditions in youth detention centres. Read more
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Don't worry, councils only spy on bad people (mostly)

(Ed: This Guardian Comment is meant to be reassuring.)

[...] Despite what many people may believe, local council officials are not authorised to tap the phone conversations of the public. They do not have the legal power nor the technical capability. They can't get hold of the content of phone calls or emails.

What they are actually empowered to do is more prosaic: if they have a phone number but don't know who it belongs to, they can get from the phone company the name of the owner. They also get what is called "billing information" - the list of outgoing calls and how long each call lasted. Similarly, council officials can see the details of email traffic, but not copies of the actual emails. The officials are also authorised to covertly watch a target. Read more
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Daily Telegraph: Malaysian Prime Minister says Britain's Muslims must be allowed to live under their own law

[...] Malaysia’s Prime Minister warned yesterday that Muslim extremism in Britain will grow unless the Government and society learn to understand Islam.

Abdullah Badawi claimed that the legacy of Britain’s imperial past has hampered its ability to appreciate its Islamic population.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the prime minister urged Gordon Brown to allow the country’s Muslims to live under Islamic law, but also said that they must prove their worth to society.

Mr Abdullah argues that the Government must do more to ensure Muslims do not feel discriminated against if it is to tackle the rise of radicalism.

“The failure to understand Muslims is driving a divide between the communities,” he said.

“Gordon Brown must encourage a better understanding because Britain must appreciate its Muslims.” Read more
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The Guardian: Archbishops to back criticism of government over church's role

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York will today support the findings of a report criticising the government for its failure to recognise the Church of England's contribution to the public sphere.

Moral, But No Compass, challenges the government to recognise the church's involvement and potential in reforming public services. Recommendations include appointing a minister for religion and new legislation that does not discriminate against faith-based charities.

Rowan Williams and John Sentamu are expected to issue a "warm welcome" for the findings and call for a sensible dialogue with the government about the role of the church in contemporary British life, especially in the field of welfare services. A team from the Von Hügel Institute at St Edmund's College, Cambridge, approached Church of England bishops, MPs, peers and academics. Participants agreed that the government displayed "religious illiteracy" and had little or no interest in Christian involvement in civic and charitable work. Read more
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Moral, but no compass: the publisher's blurb

Ed: And see my blog on the government's moral compass, here.

n the heyday of Thatcherism the Church of England and the Conservative government of the day locked horns over the principles, policies, and strategic direction of the welfare state. The ensuing public debate, fraught with emotion, led to fundamental shifts in the political climate, not least with regard to the poorest members of UK society.

This new major study for the Church of England, drawing on hundreds of interviews and survey questionnaires, describes the modern setting in which the Labour Party’s welfare and related voluntary sector policies often are experienced as “discriminatory”, inadequately rooted in evidence and at risk of failing the faith communities. The government is “moral, with no compass” and needs to recover a principled approach to public service reform grounded in gift, covenant, advocacy and justice. Such an approach also demands a richer appreciation of the “civic value” added to the life, identity and health of the nation by Christian institutions in partnership with the whole realm of civil society. The Church too must adapt to the changing times, overcoming its (mistaken) perception that it is well understood by society. If the crisis of evidence and conversation can be repaired, the Church is in a position, should it so wish, to engage in even more extensive social entrepreneurship, community activism and public advocacy. Read more
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Thaindian News: Common sense to sideline Christianity at expense of Islam: UK minister

British Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has defended the Labour Governments policy on religion, and said it is common sense for Christianity to be sidelined at the expense of Islam.

A report commissioned by the Church of England criticised the Labour Government for paying lip service to Christianity and favouring Islam and other minority religions. The damning study criticised the policies of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for focusing intently on minority beliefs while neglecting the Anglican faith.

Blears said it was right that more money and effort was spent on Islam than Christianity because of the threat from extremism and homegrown terrorism, The Telegraph reported.

Blears told BBC Radio 4s Sunday programme: Thats just common sense. If weve got an issue where we have to build resilience of young Muslim men and women to withstand an extremist message. Read more
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Sunday, 8 June 2008

The Independent: Threat of world Aids pandemic among heterosexuals is over, report admits

(Ed: I'm sorry. Is it me, or has this doctor got just the slightest unfortunate name?)

A quarter of a century after the outbreak of Aids, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has accepted that the threat of a global heterosexual pandemic has disappeared.

In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organisations may have been misdirected, Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO's department of HIV/Aids said there will be no generalised epidemic of Aids in the heterosexual population outside Africa.

Dr De Cock, an epidemiologist who has spent much of his career leading the battle against the disease, said understanding of the threat posed by the virus had changed. Whereas once it was seen as a risk to populations everywhere, it was now recognised that, outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients.

Dr De Cock said: "It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic in other countries. Ten years ago a lot of people were saying there would be a generalised epidemic in Asia – China was the big worry with its huge population. That doesn't look likely. But we have to be careful. As an epidemiologist it is better to describe what we can measure. There could be small outbreaks in some areas." Read more
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Chelmsford partner bishops attending GAFCON, avoiding Lambeth

Ed: Although several Kenyan bishops will be visiting the partner diocese of Chelmsford in July, they will not be attending the Lambeth Conference.

Kenyan Anglican bishops will, together with a section of their fellow Africans, skip next month’s Lambeth Conference in Britain in the latest twist in the controversy over same-sex marriages that has threatened to tear the 77 million-member church apart.

The bishops, their spouses and other senior clergy will instead attend the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem that runs from June 22 to 29, said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.

The decision to boycott the Lambeth conference was due, he said, to the church’s failure to resolve the issue of the ordination of homosexual bishops within the Episcopal Church in the United States.

The worldwide Anglican Communion has been the focus of considerable controversy with its ordination of openly gay clergy, including the bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, sparking outrage from some of its members.

“We have made other plans to travel to Jerusalem to reflect on how best we can do the work of the Lord,” Archbishop Nzimbi said by telephone on Saturday. Read more
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Times Obituary: Christoper Morgan

Christopher Morgan’s remarkable combination of faith and journalism was perhaps best encapsulated on the day he chased the Bishop of London round St Paul’s cathedral.

Morgan, the religious affairs correspondent of The Sunday Times, who died tragically nine days ago aged 55, had learned through highly-placed sources that the late Princess Diana had left an unpublished “letter of wishes” and he set out to confirm the information with the Right Reverend Richard Chartres, an independent executor of Diana’ will.

“Off Chris went to St Paul’s, which was where the bishop was, but the bishop was playing deaf and didn’t want to answer any questions,” recalled an old friend. “Chartres tried to escape, but Chris knew the layout of the cathedral as well as anyone. Chartes would go off in one direction, and then Chris would reappear from some secret passageway and confront him again. At one point, according to the tale Chris used to tell, the bishop broke into a trot. It was like something out of Benny Hill.” Read more

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New Hampshire asks Williams to 'relent' over Robinson Lambeth invitation

Episcopal church officials from New Hampshire have asked the leader of the Anglican church to reconsider his decision to exclude Bishop Gene Robinson from next month's worldwide church conference.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams did not invite Robinson to the Lambeth Conference, which is a gathering of the church's bishops from around the world.

The conference is held once every 10 years, and Robinson was excluded because of the controversy surrounding his sexuality. He is the church's first openly gay bishop.

Robinson is making the trip to England and intends to host several of his own events.

In a May 29 letter, the standing committee and diocesan council of the state's Episcopal diocese said they "vehemently protest" Williams's decision to exclude Robinson from the conference. They also oppose Williams's orders that Robinson not preach or preside at a Eucharist while in England.

"Not including our bishop means that you also exclude our representation and participation," the letter said. "Your decisions are an insult to the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire, who have duly and canonically elected him bishop." Read more

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