Friday, 12 February 2010

Curate outrages congregation by telling women to 'be silent and submit to your husbands'

With Valentine's Day approaching, the parishioners might have expected a more heartwarming message.

Instead, they got a sermon at St Nicholas Church in Sevenoaks, Kent, urging women to 'submit' to their husbands.

The apparent lack of obedience of 'modern women' was also blamed for Britain's high divorce rate.

In a sermon entitled 'Marriage and women' last Sunday, the curate Mark Oden, a married father of three, told the congregation: 'We know marriage is not working. We only need to look at figures - one in four children have divorced parents.

It is understood that some women parishioners - and possibly even their husbands - have vowed never to attend services at the church again.

The church's vicar is Angus MacLeay, 50, a married father of two who is a leading member of the evangelical group Reform, which is opposed to the appointment of women clergy.

The group has produced a leaflet, called 'The role of women in the local church', which uses Biblical quotes urging them to 'remain silent' and informing them 'wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.'

One section of the leaflet, quoting Corinthians, said: 'It would seem that women should remain silent in the public weighing of prophecy or if their questions could legitimately be answered by their husbands at home.'

Another, referring to a passage from Ephesians, said: 'Because of the order and purpose of their creation, wives are to submit to their husbands in everything in recognition of the fact that husbands are head of the family as Christ is head of the church.....

Read more
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Christian BA worker loses cross appeal

A Christian lost her appeal today against a ruling which cleared British Airways of discrimination by stopping her wearing a cross visibly at work.

Nadia Eweida, 58, from Twickenham, south west London, had wanted three judges to overturn a decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal that she was not a victim of indirect religion or belief discrimination. Read more
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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Labour's 'secret plan' to lure migrants

The release of a previously unseen document suggested that Labour’s migration policy over the past decade had been aimed not just at meeting the country’s economic needs, but also the Government’s “social objectives”.

The paper said migration would “enhance economic growth” and made clear that trying to halt or reverse it could be “economically damaging”. But it also stated that immigration had general “benefits” and that a new policy framework was needed to “maximise” the contribution of migration to the Government’s wider social aims.

The Government has always denied that social engineering played a part in its migration policy.

However, the paper, which was written in 2000 at a time when immigration began to increase dramatically, said controls were contrary to its policy objectives and could lead to “social exclusion”.

Last night, the Conservatives demanded an independent inquiry into the issue. It was alleged that the document showed that Labour had overseen a deliberate open-door ­policy on immigration to boost multi-culturalism.

Voting trends indicate that migrants and their descendants are much more likely to vote Labour. Read more
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Lorna Ashworth interviewed by Ruth Gledhill on her Motion at General Synod on ACNA

Also Archbishop of Canterbury issues 'profound' apology to LGBTs

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Clifford Swartz: A response to the Bishop of Sherborne on the ACNA debate

Dear Graham,
I read with interest your interview with the Church of England Newspaper.  For your consideration and that of Fulcrum readers, especially Synod members:

1.  The Church of England is in communion with those churches as determined by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York (see Canons, p 208).  The resolution before the Synod is therefore appropriate, while the amended resolution is not.  The resolution states the desire to be in communion, which would leave it to the Archbishops to decide.  The amended resolution asks the Archbishops to report to Synod, which is inappropriate given the decision making process.

2.  The Church of England is in communion with member churches of the Anglican Communion, but also with other categories of churches, such as Extra-Provincial Dioceses (eg, Bermuda), United Churches incorporating former Anglican churches (eg, South India), Churches signing the Porvoo Declaration, and Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht.  The resolution before the Synod thus does not imply membership in the Anglican Communion, but an affirmation of common theology.  Synod members might ask if they share the same theology as the Anglican Church of North America, which affirms the doctrinal basis of the Church of England (Articles of Religion, BCP and Ordinal), noting that the Episcopal Church views these as historical documents with no authority in matters of doctrine. Read more

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Tuesday, 9 February 2010


The Church of Uganda associates itself with the concerns expressed in the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009. However, instead of a completely new Bill, the Church recommends a Bill that amends the Penal Code Act (Cap.120) addressing loopholes, in particular:
          protecting the vulnerabilities of the boy child 1
          proportionality in sentencing
          and, ensuring that sexual orientation is excluded as a protected human right.
Further, we recommend involvement of all stakeholders in the preparation of such a Bill in order to uphold Uganda’s values as they relate to human sexuality.2
Church of Uganda’s position on Homosexuality
The Church of Uganda derives her mandate and authority from the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as the ultimate rule and standard of faith, given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary from salvation.2 Her mission is to “fulfil Christ’s mission through holistic teaching, evangelism, discipleship and healing for healthy and godly nations3.”
The Church’s position on human sexuality is consistent with its basis of faith and doctrine, and has been stated very clearly over the years as reflected in various documents. i ii iii [Footnotes in the original: i Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops [Anglican Communion] held in 1998; ii The Church of Uganda’s Position Paper on Scripture, Authority and Human Sexuality May 2005; iii Press Statement of February 21, 2007 by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi on the Primates’ Meeting held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.]
From a plain reading of Scripture, from a careful reading of Scripture, and from a critical reading of Scripture, homosexual practice has no place in God’s design of creation, the continuation of the human race through procreation, or His plan of redemption. Even natural law reveals that the very act of sexual intercourse is an experience of embracing the sexual “other”. The Church of Uganda, therefore, believes that “Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture” (Resolution 1.10, 1998 Lambeth Conference). At the same time, the Church of Uganda is committed at all levels to offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.
The Objective of the Bill
The Church of Uganda appreciates the spirit of the Bill’s objective of protecting the family, especially in light of a growing propaganda to influence younger people to accept homosexuality as a legitimate way of expressing human sexuality.
We particularly appreciate the objectives of the Bill which seek to:
a) provide for marriage in Uganda as contracted only between a man and woman;
b) prohibit and penalize homosexual behaviour and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family;
c) prohibit ratification of any internationla treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with teh provisions of the Act;
d) prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality.
The need for a Bill that amends existing legislation
We affirm the need for a Bill in light of the existing loopholes in the current legislation, specifically sections 145-148 of the Penal Code Act (Cap 120), which do not explicitly address the other issues associated with homosexual practice such as procurement, recruitment and dissemination of literature. That notwithstanding, the ideal situation would be one where necessary amendment is made to existing legislation to also enumerate other sexual offences such as lesbianism and bestiality. This would not require a fresh bill on homosexuality per se but rather an amendment to the existing provisions which would also change the title to something like “The Penal Code Unnatural Offences Amendment Bill.”
As Parliament considers streamlining the existing legislation, we recommend that the following issues be taken into consideration:
1. Ensure that the law protects the confidentiality of medical, pastoral and counseling relationships, including those that disclose homosexual practice in accordance with the relevant professional codes of ethics.
2. Language that strengthens the existing Penal Code to protect the boy child, especially from homosexual exploitation; to prohibit lesbianism, bestiality, and other sexual perversions; and to prohibit procurement of material and promotion of homosexuality as normal or as an alternative lifestyle, be adopted.
3. Ensure that homosexual practice or the promotion of homosexual relations is not adopted as a human right.
4. Existing and future Educational materials and programmes on gender identity and sex education are in compliance with the values and the laws of Uganda.
5. The involvement of additional stakeholders in the evaluation of the gaps in the existing legislation, including, but not limited to, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, its Department of Immigration and other relevant departments.
6. The undertaking of a comprehensive legislative and literature review of all the laws and literature related to the subject at hand in order to identify the actual gaps in the existing legislations.
As a Church, we affirm the necessity of appropriate amendments within the existing legislation and corresponding Penal Code sections. The Church of Uganda, being a part of the Anglican Communion, reiterates her position on human sexuality and her desire to uphold the pastoral position of providing love and care for all God’s people caught up in any sin and remaining consistent with Holy Scriptures of the Christian Church.
The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda and Bishop of Kampala Diocese

Notes (Footnotes in Original)
1.         Cf. The discrepancy between Penal Code sections 128 and 147. Cf. also Section 129 which has no corresponding section for the boy child.
2          Article 2- Doctrine and Worship, Church of The Province of Uganda- Provincial Constitution 1972 as amended (1994).
3.         Mission statement, Church of the Province of Uganda

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Dr Rowan Williams to challenge infighting over gays and women bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury will fight threats of disintegration in the Church of England with what is expected to be a forceful intervention at the General Synod today.

Dr Rowan Williams is determined to challenge the increasingly bitter infighting sparked by disagreements over women bishops in England and gay ordinations in the US.

In one of the most important presidential addresses of his seven-year archiepiscopacy, described by one insider as a “brilliant piece of work”, the Archbishop is expected to salvage hope from the despair felt by many Anglicans over pressure brought by the liberal, evangelical and Catholic wings of the established Church.

Anglican leaders are increasingly concerned at the way that the Church’s tussles over women and gays is hindering its mission to proclaim the gospel to the nation. The synod was told yesterday that the Church of England was suffering a “testosterone deficit” caused by a “seriously out-of- line” gender balance. The synod heard anecdotal evidence suggesting that women are playing an increasingly important role in the Church, and when it comes to attendance bishops should be actively pursuing missions directed at men.
Related Links

Dr Williams’s address comes after a decision to proceed with the ordination of women bishops with no significant concessions to traditionalists. Read more
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Monday 8th February 2010

Dear Bishops and Synod members,

As 50 incumbents of Church of England churches we are writing to say why, in our view, the consecration of women bishops would be a mistake and would raise for us great difficulties of conscience and practice, as well as being wrong for our Church as a whole.

Our concern is derived from Scripture. It seems to us that the Apostolic teaching on male headship in church and family (as in 1 Corinthians 11-14, Ephesians 5, 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Peter 3) is clear enough in its principles: overall leadership in the church is to be exercised by men. The fierce debates that have surrounded the gender issue over the last twenty years or so have stimulated much careful analysis of these texts, and have only served to show that mainstream translations such as NRSV, NIV, REB and ESV are correct in their translation and may (and should) be taken as they stand.

It is, of course, right to say that these passages in Paul and Peter have a particular cultural setting; but to make them prisoners of that culture and thus unable to challenge our culture, seems to us implicitly to deny the authority of Scripture. It is surely the genius of the New Testament that what was spoken in a particular context is at one and the same time also God’s word to us. Far from being a prisoner of his culture, Paul is not afraid to challenge it, warning his readers “not to live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking” (Eph 4:17). Why, then, is it assumed he will uncritically reflect their values on this issue of gender?

Therefore we think the historic, reasoned reflection of Christians down the ages (including the historic position of the Church of England) has been correct; we fear that the current pressure to overturn it comes not for biblical reasons but because we are losing our nerve in the face of pressure from society.

In saying all this, we emphasise again that we are NOT for a moment saying women are less valuable than men, and nor does the Scripture. This, in our experience, is the point which we find hardest to communicate, since the world about us equates value with power. Just by making this point we are thought to be “anti-women”. On the contrary, it is both possible and right to affirm that we are “all one in Christ Jesus”, while at the same time affirming different roles. For the Bible separates roles and worth: our Lord Jesus himself submitted to the Father, but is, of course, no less God than he is.

There are, of course, questions about how precisely to honour this teaching in some details of the life of our churches today, but few would doubt, surely, that the office of bishop is indeed very much a leadership function!

In our own churches we are glad to teach these passages of Scripture as they stand, and include a ‘complementary’ view of gender roles in our teaching on marriage, family life and church. Gently ordering our shared life this way is, in our view, vital to our witness to a Christian understanding of family life. Our churches contain many members - and very many women as well as men - who are glad of this teaching, which is all the more important in a world which is so confused about gender roles and sexuality in general. In such a context, the oversight of a woman bishop would be enormously hard to explain, however great her merits in other regards. Again and again, in our youth groups, at marriage preparation and whenever covering the relevant passages in homegroups and from the pulpit, we would find ourselves having to answer people’s question, “Why does the Church of England go against this?” This would fester on for as long as people have Bibles in their hands.

In the end, this is an issue about our view of Holy Scripture, and this is why it matters to us so much, as ministers of the Word.

As matters stand, it seems likely that General Synod will be invited to vote on legislative proposals that threaten our ministries. An illustration of the practical problems we will face should a Measure fail to provide adequate safeguards, can be seen with future ordinands. At the moment we are encouraging young men into the ordained ministry in the knowledge that they cannot be discriminated against if they hold convictions about male headship. While this remains the case, we have encouraged them to believe that there is a worthwhile future for their ministries in the Church of England. However, we will be unable to do this if inadequately protective legislation is passed. The issue that will then arise is how to encourage these men to develop their ministries if they cannot do so within the formal structures of the Church of England. The answer must be to encourage them to undertake training for ministries outside those formal structures, although hopefully still within an Anglican tradition. We will, of course, have to help them with the financing of their training.

Our congregations will inevitably start asking questions about their own place within the Church of England if they see us encouraging people into training for alternative ministries. This will come into sharp focus when the issue of succession to an incumbency arises. Since we cannot take an oath of canonical obedience to a female bishop, we are unlikely to be appointed to future incumbencies. We see nothing but difficulty facing us. In these circumstances we will have to discuss with our congregations how to foster and protect the ministry they wish to receive. This is likely to generate a need for the creation of new independent charitable trusts whose purpose will be to finance our future ministries, when the need arises.

These twin developments will need to be financed from current congregational giving. This will inevitably put a severe strain on our ability to continue to contribute financially to Diocesan funds. Where we are unable to contribute as before some will see this as a form of retaliation. However, that could not be further from the truth. We long to contribute to the well being of the Church of England. Over the last ten years we have encouraged more than 180 young men into the ordained ministry, over 50% of whom were under the age of 30. We have together contributed a gross figure of more than £22million to Diocesan funds.

Finally, for those of us ordained since 1992, our understanding, in good faith, was that proper legal provision would be made for those who did not agree that women should have the overall leadership of a church (Resolution B, etc). It seems to us a matter of simple integrity that Synod should now keep its word to us in this and not force us down a road none of us wish to tread.

Yours in Christ,

Rev’d Rod Thomas St Matthew’s Elburton, Exeter

(Chairman of Reform)

and 49 other signatories, which follow

Rev’d Michael Andreyev St Peter’s Stapenhill, Derby

Rev’d Nigel Atkinson St John’s Knutsford, Chester

Rev’d Simon Austen St John’s and St Peter’s, Carlisle

Rev’d Martin Bailey All Saints Riseley, Peterborough

Rev’d Iain Baker St Thomas Kidsgrove, Lichfield

Rev’d Hugh Balfour Christ Church Peckham, Southwark

Rev’d David Banting St Peter’s Harold Wood, Chelmsford

Rev’d Neil Barber St Giles Normanton, Derby

Rev’d Robert Bashford St James Westgate,Canterbury

Rev’d John Birchall Christ Church Surbiton Hill, Southwark

Rev’d Iain Broomfield Christ Church Bromley, Rochester

Rev’d Mark Burkill Christ Church Leytonstone, Chelmsford

Rev’d John Cheeseman Holy Trinity Eastbourne, Chichester

Rev’d CJ Davis St NicholasTooting, Southwark

Rev’d Steve Donald St John the Evangelist, Carlisle

Rev’d Richard Espin-Bradley St Luke’s Wolverhampton, Birmingham

Rev’d Jonathan Fletcher Emmanuel Church Wimbledon,Southwark

Rev’d Simon Gales St John s Lindow, Chester

Rev’d David Gibb St Andrews Leyland, Blackburn

Rev’d David Harris St Leonards, Exeter

Rev’d Clive Hawkins St Mary’s Eastrop, Winchester

Rev’d Chris Hobbs St Stephen’s Selly Park, Birmingham

Rev’d Christopher Hobbs St Thomas Oakwood, London

Rev’d Jonathan Juckes St Andrew’s Kirk Ella, York

Rev’d Jeremy Leffler St Ambrose Widnes, Liverpool

Rev’d James Leggett St James, Ryde, Portsmouth

Rev’d Ian Lewis St Bartholomews, Bath

Rev’d Angus MacLeay St Nicholas Sevenoaks, Rochester

Rev’d Julian Mann Oughtibridge Parish Church, Sheffield

Rev’d Ed Moll St George’s Wembdon, Bath

Rev’d Darren Moore St Catherine’s Tranmere, Chester

Rev’d Ken Moulder St Oswalds, Newcastle

Rev’d Robert Munro Cheadle Parish Church, Chester

Rev’d Alasdair Paine Christ Church Westbourne, Winchester

Rev’d Andrew Raynes Christ Church, Blackburn

Rev’d Mike Reith Dagenham Parish Church, Chelmsford

Rev’d Vaughan Roberts St Ebbe's, Oxford

Rev’d Simon Scott All Saints Little Shelford, Cambridge

Rev’d John Simmons Christ Church Chadderton, Manchester

Rev’d Simon Smallwood St George’s Dagenahm, Chelmsford

Rev’d Will Stileman St Mary’s Maidenhead, Oxford

Rev’d William Taylor St Helen’s Bishopsgate, London

Rev’d Melvin Tinker St John's Newlands, York

Rev’d Alistair Tresidder St Luke's Hampstead, London

Rev’d Philip Venables St Andrew’s Bebington,Chester

Rev’d Stephen Walton St Michaels’s Marbury, Chester

Rev’d Tim Ward Holy Trinity Hinkley, Leicester

Rev’d Mike Warren St Peters Tunbridge Wells, Rochester

Rev’d Gordon Warren St Anne’s Limehouse, London

(The Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev’d Wallace Benn, also wishes to be associated with this letter)

A briefing paper from Reform on the different roles of men and women in ministry can be found at:


Revd Paul Dawson, Reform Media Officer

T: 07791 495824, E:

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12-year-old Saudi girl in divorce battle with 80-year-old husband

A 12-year-old girl fighting to divorce her 80-year-old husband in Saudi Arabia is to receive legal assistance from the Government in what could become a test case for banning child marriage in the kingdom.

The state-run Human Rights Commission has hired a lawyer to represent the girl when she takes her case to court in Buraidah, a conservative town near the capital Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has no minimum legal age for marriage and it is common in poorer, tribal areas for girls to be married off. However, it is rare for a child bride to challenge the match.

A draft law prohibiting child marriage is under discussion and activists hope that the case will be a watershed in the campaign to ban the practice. Read More
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