Thursday, 13 November 2008

Anglo-Catholic Ordinands Open Letter to the House of Bishops

Most Reverend and Right Reverend Fathers in God,

You will soon meet as a House of Bishops to discuss the current state of the Church of England and, particularly, the decision made at General Synod over the summer. As young people training for the ministerial priesthood in the Church of England we have attempted to put into words our concerns and anxieties about the future, and to offer you, in some small way, an insight into our hopes and fears for, potentially, forty years of ordained ministry.

The decision by General Synod in July to consider a Code of Practice, rather than structural alternatives, presents a significant problem for those who are opposed to the ordination of women. Many of this integrity have suggested that it is “too soon to give up” and that something effective can come from the next Group of Sessions. We fear this is unlikely. If the Church of England chooses not to provide appropriate structural solutions, as this resolution by General Synod would seem to indicate, it would be foolhardy - and even disingenuous - to continue to prepare for a life of ordained ministry in the Church of England.

General Synod is the “synodically governed” part of the Church of England’s systems of authority, but there is another: the recognition that it is “episcopally led” is as vital to this discussion, and it is this element that we wish to address. At the July Group of Sessions, Synod decided to disregard the interventions of the two Archbishops and a number of our most senior bishops. This would seem to undermine the authority of the Archbishops, and appears to reflect a distressing disunity within the House of Bishops itself.

If the House of Bishops is to lead us from the brink of irreparable damage to the systems of government within the Church of England, then this is the time to do it. Whether you, as the bishops of the Church of England, wish to follow this route is your decision. We will continue to pray for an increased unity in the House of Bishops in order that the same unity might spread throughout the Church of England. Read more

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Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Liberal Anglicans defend diversity, oppose covenant

The council of the Modern Churchpeople's Union (MCU) met November 6 in London's Docklands to develop a strategy for the defense of liberal theology.

Firmly opposed to the proposed Anglican covenant, the group plans to extend its network beyond England, improving links with the Episcopal Church, building branches in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, recruiting a range of ages and denominations, and increasing support among bishops and academic theologians.

The council members, many of them Church of England clergy, agreed that the organization will be re-branded, re-named, and re-constituted to reflect more fully its openness and diversity. Furthermore, the group decided that an administrator should be appointed and a system of working groups set up.

The Rev. John Plant, a parish priest in Warwickshire who chaired the MCU meeting, was joined by most of the council's 32 members, including the Rev. Jonathan Clatworthy, a Liverpool-based priest and MCU general secretary, and Professor Paul Badham, professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Wales and MCU vice president. Read more

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