Saturday, 13 September 2008

Bishop Venables: Canadian Primate’s Proposal a ‘Publicity Stunt’

Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, expressed dismay and suspicion after Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of Canada, went public with his request for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to convene a meeting to discuss cross-border incursions.

In an interview published Sept. 10 by the Anglican Journal of Canada, Archbishop Hiltz said he had requested that Archbishop Williams convene a meeting with Bishop Venables, himself, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and Archbishop Mauricio de Andrade, primate of Brazil.

“I talked to Fred about this at Lambeth, but it never occurred to me that a private discussion would become public without us both agreeing first,” Bishop Venables told The Living Church. “It looks more like a publicity stunt than a serious desire for dialogue.

“What more is there to discuss? I told him why I was doing this and he told me how he felt about it,” Bishop Venables said. “Boundary crossing is not the primary issue. It is a secondary issue resulting from the communion-splitting action of blessing sexual sin by the U.S. and Canadian churches.”

The Canadian diocese of New Westminster has permitted individual congregations to conduct same-sex blessings since 2002 and Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster has repeatedly rejected calls for him to withdraw his consent. Archbishop Hiltz said the Windsor Continuation Group’s renewed call at Lambeth for a moratorium on same-sex blessings also represents “a huge pastoral challenge” for the bishops of four other Canadian dioceses where the diocesan synod has asked the bishop for permission to conduct such blessings. Read more
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Rev Michael Nazir-Ali: Britons suffer 'cultural amnesia' about Christian art

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali said the works of Shakespeare or Milton could not have been written without the English translation of the Bible and the publication of the Book of Common Prayer, while great paintings and pieces of music were inspired by Christianity and made to be showcased in churches and cathedrals.

Yet he claimed many people are now ignorant of the religious background to our culture.

The bishop, a prominent conservative in the Church of England who boycotted this year's gathering of Anglican Communion leaders in the ongoing row over homosexuality, said the church should do more to ensure schools, television companies and radio channels educate their audiences.

His comments, part of a speech he gave to members of the Prayer Book Society, come after he warned that Britishness itself is being destroyed by the decline of Christian values, creating a "moral vacuum" that is being filled by radical Islam.

Dr Nazir-Ali, who was born in Pakistan, said: "What amazes me is how people in this country don't take account of the brute fact that the Bible and the prayer book have shaped so much of its literary and cultural achievements. Read more

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Thursday, 11 September 2008

Christian groups seen as 'tainted' by Government, warns Archbishop

Dr John Sentamu accused ministers and councils of being "intolerant" of faith groups and faith schools, who he said are inspired by their beliefs to provide vital work for their communities.

His comments come after a landmark independent report found that the Government had no interest or understanding in the contribution made to society by the Church of England.

In a speech at Westminster Central Hall organised by the Youth for Christ organisation, Dr Sentamu said: "We must resist any trend in national or local Government where the decision as to whether a solution works is not based on results, but upon the intolerance that sees a project motivated by faith as being tainted and unsuitable for receipt of funding.

"Rather there should be a recognition of the valuable work being carried out by groups motivated to serve the common good by a belief in dignity of all as God's creatures in which his divine spark resides."

It came as one of the most powerful conservatives in the Anglican Communion warned that England has abandoned God, creating a vacuum that is being filled by Islam.

The Most Rev Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, said: "We see England as a Christian nation, but somehow, for political reasons, for economic reasons, you let Christ go. You [have created] a huge religious vacuum in this country, in the name of multiculturalism - and now it is being filled by Islam." Read more

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Canadian primate asks Archbishop of Canterbury to convene interventions meeting

Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has asked Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to facilitate a meeting between him, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil Archbishop Mauricio de Andrade and Anglican Province of the Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables to discuss cross-border interventions.
The Anglican Journal of Canada reported Hiltz's request on September 10.

Hiltz, Andrade and Jefferts Schori have repeatedly asked Venables to stop intervening in the internal affairs of their provinces. Venables has, on his own accord, been providing episcopal oversight to churches that are in serious theological dispute with their respective provinces over the issue of sexuality.

The Southern Cone has about 22,000 members and encompasses Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Its provincial synod, meeting in Valpariso, Chile, November 5-7, 2007, agreed to welcome into the province "on an emergency and pastoral basis" Episcopal Church dioceses "taking appropriate action to separate from The Episcopal Church."

The former leadership of the Diocese of San Joaquin accepted that offer in December. Conventions in the dioceses of Fort Worth and Pittsburgh are scheduled to consider the offer in the next two months. Read more
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Retired bishop's inhibition removed after apology

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has removed the inhibition she placed in April on retired Episcopal Diocese of Quincy Bishop Edward MacBurney.
In a September 9 order, Jefferts Schori said that MacBurney had voluntarily submitted to discipline (Canon IV.2(9) and (10)) over a presentment which the Title IV Review Committee issued on Jan. 24, 2008.

Diocese of San Diego Bishop Jim Mathes, who originally asked for MacBurney to be disciplined because he conducted unauthorized confirmations in San Diego, told ENS September 10 that the order and discipline of the church had been "maintained and in some way enhanced by this process."

"Bishop MacBurney's decision is the result of my efforts and those of others to find a non-judicial outcome to an unfortunate event," Mathes said September 10 in his weekly email to diocesan clergy. "Today, the order of our church and the collegiality of the House of Bishops have been enhanced."

The process "held a bishop of the church accountable to his colleagues and this was a good thing," Mathes told ENS.

"I grateful to Bishop MacBurney for his role in this," Mathes said, explaining that MacBurney's willingness to apologize for his actions "provided us a way to provide forgiveness." Read more
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