Friday, 16 January 2009

New Chairman of CEEC announced

The new chairman of the Church of England Evangelical Council is the Venerable Michael Lawson, the Archdeacon of Hampstead. He replaces the Revd Dr Richard Turnbull, who resigned at the end of 2008. Michael will serve until the end of 2010.

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Thursday, 15 January 2009

Pro-gay vicar of Putney made an African canon

It's unusual for an English cleric to be made a canon of a cathedral in the diocese of Sefwi-Wiawso in Ghana.

But even more unlikely when the vicar happens to be a militant pro-gay campaigner, whose views are anathema to the majority of African churches.

This is the vicar that invited the openly gay bishop Gene Robinson to preach in his church on the eve of the Lambeth conference.

Archbishop Akinola has described gays as lower than dogs.

The archbishop, and all clergy in his province, boycotted the Lambeth Conference in protest at the presence of American bishops involved in the consecration of Bishop Robinson.

Therefore it's safe to assume that he won't be running down the streets of Abuja overjoyed at the thought of the arch-liberal Fraser being honoured by a neighbouring country's Church.

His feelings towards whoever his Nigerian priests were at the ceremony in Ghana will be no warmer.

However, Bishop Abraham Kobina Ackah of Sefwi-Wiawso is to be congratulated.

He's taken a brave stand in making the vicar of Putney a canon of his cathedral and in doing so is refusing to allow the issue of homosexuality to continue to be a source of division. Read more

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Porvoo Church may be about to approve same-sex marriages

The Church of England along with the three other Anglican churches of these isles is in full communion with the Church of Sweden, which is about to debate and probably approve a proposed rite of same-sex marriage. And there is no Anglican-English-style fudge here, over 'when is a blessing a wedding and when is it just a blessing'. This comes as the Lutheran Church in Britain prepares to consecrate this country's first woman bishop. The church said: 'The Lutheran Church in Great Britain will consecrate its first woman bishop, the Right Rev Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, on Saturday 17th January 2009, in the historic Wren church of St Anne & St Agnes on Gresham Street, in the City of London. Her predecessor, the Right Rev Walter Jagucki, will preside at the service, and bishops and other clergy from Nordic and European Lutheran churches will participate in the consecration.' Read more
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Anglo-Catholics prepare for a parting of the ways. About time, too.

There are signs that proper Anglo-Catholics - the Forward in Faith crowd, not the Vichyite Affirming "Catholics" - realise that the game is up. In the February issue of the newsletter of the Diocese of Ebbsfleet, David Smart, vice chairman of its lay council, predicts a parting of ways. The big question, he says, is whether Anglo-Catholics part as friends.

The newsletter doesn't, alas, tell us what progress the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham, has made with plans to lead some of his people into full communion with Rome. My guess is that he still doesn't know how things will play out. A lot depends on the identity of the next Archbishop of Westminster. Perhaps the next one will possess a spark of theological imagination; perhaps not. I can understand why many Anglo-Catholics feel queasy at the thought of joining a Church run by the Magic Circle. An Anglican priest friend told me the other day that the RC representatives at the General Synod tend to side with the liberal Anglicans against the Anglo-Catholics. How predictable.

But, in the end, Anglo-Catholics should remember that, if they become Roman Catholics, they will be joining a Church led by Pope Benedict XVI, not some grey-shirted placeman from Eccleston Square. True, the Pope is now well into his 80s - but the liberals are making a big mistake if they assume that the next pontiff will undo the Benedictine reforms. Not only the up-and-coming cardinals but also the new generation of priests are liturgically conservative. Read more
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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Archbishop of York claims fall of Empire and rise of multiculturalism has destroyed Britain's 'big idea'

Dr John Sentamu claimed the country has lost its way and become self-absorbed in recent decades, following the pioneering reforms that led to the creation of the National Health Service.
He agreed that Labour has repeatedly put forward new ideas to generate "social cohesion" but they had yet to be made real because ministers do not want to hand over power to residents, and instead rely on "over-hasty" laws.

However the Archbishop, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, also claimed the current economic crisis provides an opportunity for people to look again at their priorities and admit they had been worshipping "false gods" in the financial world rather than working to improve society.

His comments in a lecture delivered to the Smith Institute, a Labour-supporting think tank, come after a series of bishops accused the Government of squandering its chance to transform Britain for the better and of pursuing policies just to win votes.

In his speech Dr Sentamu, the first black Archbishop in the Church of England who fled Uganda in 1974, described how in the first decades of the 20th century, calls for action on poverty had led to the welfare state being set up.

But he went on to say that this shared "big vision" has now been lost and that Britain has become "a society which is ill at ease with itself".

Dr Sentamu said: "I believe that one of the key factors which has contributed to our loss of the big vision for our country, has been the loss of the Empire. I am aware that this is a controversial view. But whilst Britain had an Empire, a large merchant navy, a large manufacturing industry and commerce, and significant numbers engaged in armed forces, and an expatriate Civil Service in the colonies, it encouraged an outward-looking perspective.

"As the vision for Britain became more introspective, I believe we became more self-absorbed." Read more
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Kenyan appointment of English Canon 'honours the gospel'

It has just been confirmed by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi that the Rev’d Tim Davies, 44, who leads Christ Church Central in Sheffield, England, has been made an honorary Canon of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi. At first sight, this may not appear unusual, but Christ Church is not a normal Church of England congregation. In fact, it is not in the Church of England at all.

Its origins go back to the attempt by Christ Church, Fulwood, one of the largest Anglican Evangelical parish churches in England, to plant a new congregation to reach inner city Sheffield under Tim Davies’ leadership. The local incumbent refused to co-operate and, because of the Church of England’s legal status as the established church, the only way to proceed was to form an independent Anglican congregation.

This came with a price tag for Tim and his growing family. It involved him having to renounce his licence, losing most of what comes with employment as a Church of England clergyman including his guaranteed stipend, the entitlement to a generous family home and, of course, saying goodbye to any possibility of future preferment. He was not deterred and in October 2003 Christ Church Central was formed with a core group of about 75 from Fulwood and prospered. By Autumn 2005 the congregation had outgrown its church building, and began holding services in a bar across the road. Now Christ Church has in turn planted another congregation and the two churches have a total Sunday attendance of some 220.

By African standards, this may not seem out of the ordinary, but in the English context of widespread cynicism fuelled by increasingly aggressive secularism and, moreover, in an inner city area where the Church of England has never been strong, it is remarkable. Read more
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