West Texas Episcopalians reject bishop’s plan for gay blessings

One of the purposes of the Bishop Elliott Society is to uphold traditional Anglican Doctrine and Christian Faith.  As such, we are compelled to issue a clear statement regarding Bishop Lillibridge’s “generous pastoral response” to the three congregations seeking permission to offer same sex blessings. In brief, while empathetic and thoughtful, we find the Bishop’s letter to be out of step with Holy Scripture’s clear teaching on marriage, and his decision granting provisional permission to be in error.

In our concern for unity within our diocese, we want to affirm our respect for Bishop Lillibridge and his ministry. His authority as our Bishop is not being questioned.

We stand with Bishop Lillibridge in believing all people to be made in the image of God. We find all expressions of hatred and discrimination against people with same-sex orientation to be wrong. We sincerely rejoice that people who experience themselves as homosexually oriented have found a home in The Episcopal Church. That is not the issue. The issue at hand is that Scripture is clear that marriage was originally intended to be one partnership from both genders committed to a lifelong relationship, and that the Church has no authority to bless any other sexual union or to teach any other doctrine.

We cite here two statements that are authoritative for most Anglicans. First, at Lambeth Conference 1998, the bishops of the Anglican Communion clearly and deliberately stated in Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality that “We cannot advise the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions,” a statement that was upheld in subsequent primate meetings.

For the resolution’s authors, it was the Bible’s understanding of marriage, e.g., as described by Jesus (Matthew 19:4-6), that was the centerpiece for crafting this resolution.

The second statement is more general, but equally applicable. Article XX of the Articles of Religion, 1801, “Of the Authority of the Church” includes the words, “… it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.” The Book of Common Prayer, 1979. p. 871.

Same sex blessing liturgies effectively ordain the covenant between the same sex couple; that is, they recognize and bless the holiness of such union as in the sacramental rite of marriage.  Whether the word ‘marriage’ is used or not, its meaning is commonly understood to be modified with such rites. We believe that to be detrimental to God’s people, not only because it expands the definition of marriage, but because it also convolutes the teaching of Holy Scripture.

The Christian Doctrine of Marriage is not ‘indifferent” or “non-essential” (adiaphoria) to Christian life in the Kingdom of God, nor to civilized life in general. Marriage was established by God in creation (Genesis 1:27-28. The Book of Common Prayer p. 423), affirmed in our Lord’s ministry in Galilee, (John 2:1-11, Mark 10:2-8) and used by St. Paul and St. John the Divine as a prime metaphor for Christ’s relationship with His Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:32, Revelation 21: 2).

We regret that we are being asked to accept modifications to the historic and Scriptural understanding of marriage in the name of diversity. This strains relationships between earnest Christians, because we cannot say together that we both have the mind of Christ on this matter.

We affirm the importance of all our mission partners in various parts of the world, particularly in Uganda and Kenya. We know that Bishop Lillibridge’s intention was not to directly damage those relationships. Nevertheless, the need now exists to reassure various Communion Partners that our friendship and missional work with them is precious to us. If we may act in lieu of the Diocesan Office to enable shared mission and ministry for the sake of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, then we offer ourselves to that purpose.

In Christ’s name,

The Rev. Milton Black

The Rev. David Chalk

Dr. Steven Emerson

The Rev. Paul Frey

The Rev. Betty Fuller

The Rev. Frank Fuller

Mr. Thomas Hardin

Mrs. B.J. Kershaw

The Rev. Scott Kitayama

The Rev. John Rayls

MajGen (Ret) Garry Schnelzer

Mr. John Warren

The Rev. Stockton Williams

– See more at: http://anglicanink.com/article/west-texas-episcopalians-reject-bishops-plan-gay-blessings#sthash.akSB6smn.TuVwgc7U.dpuf

The Gathering Storm: The Eclipse of Religious Liberty and the Threat of a New Dark Age

Remarks Delivered Friday, May 15, 2015:
Mister Attorney General, Mr. Sears, and distinguished guests, it is a great honor to accept the Edwin Meese III Award for Originalism and Religious Liberty. That honor is greatly magnified by the presence of Attorney General Meese and by the fact that this award bears his name. He is one of America’s most courageous defenders of human freedom and the American experiment in ordered liberty.
I am also honored to receive this award from the Alliance Defending Freedom and its President, Alan Sears. I have known Alan for many years, and I know him to be one of the most powerful advocates of virtue and liberty of our age. The work of the Alliance Defending Freedom is essential, singular, and urgently vital. This battalion of defenders fights most of all—and most effectively—for our “first freedom,” religious liberty.
I am deeply, and always aware that I could not be here without the constant support and love of my wife, Mary Mohler.
You will recognize that I borrowed from Sir Winston Churchill for the title of my remarks. In the first volume of his history of World War II, the great statesman looked back at the storm clouds that gathered in the 1930s, when he had bravely warned of a war that would determine the destiny of human dignity and liberty for untold millions of people.
We are not facing the same gathering storm, but we are now facing a battle that will determine the destiny of priceless freedoms and the very foundation of human rights and human dignity.
Speaking thirty years ago, Attorney General Meese warned that “there are ideas which have gained influence in some parts of our society, particularly in some important and sophisticated areas that are opposed to religious freedom and freedom in general. In some areas there are some people that have espoused a hostility to religion that must be recognized for what it is, and expressly countered.”
Those were prophetic words, prescient in their clarity and foresight. The ideas of which Mr. Meese warned have only gained ground in the last thirty years, and now with astounding velocity. A revolution in morality now seeks not only to subvert marriage, but also to redefine it, and thus to undermine an essential foundation of human dignity, flourishing, and freedom.
Religious liberty is under direct threat. Just days ago the Solicitor General of the United States served notice before the Supreme Court that the liberties of religious institutions will be an open and unavoidable question. Already, religious liberty is threatened by a new moral regime that exalts erotic liberty and personal autonomy and openly argues that religious liberties must give way to the new morality, its redefinition of marriage, and its demand for coercive moral, cultural, and legal sovereignty.
A new moral and legal order is ascendant in America, and this new order is only possible, in the arena of American law and jurisprudence, if the original intent and the very words of the Constitution of the United States are twisted beyond recognition.
These are days that will require courage, conviction, and clarity of vision. We are in a fight for the most basic liberties God has given humanity, every single one of us, made in his image. Religious liberty is being redefined as mere freedom of worship, but it will not long survive if it is reduced to a private sphere with no public voice. The very freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake, and thus so is the liberty of every American. Human rights and human dignity are temporary abstractions if they are severed from their reality as gifts of the Creator. The eclipse of Christian truth will lead inevitably to a tragic loss of human dignity. If we lose religious liberty, all other liberties will be lost, one by one. I am a Christian, and I believe that salvation is found in no other name than Jesus Christ and in no other gospel, but I will fight for the religious liberty of all.
There is a gathering storm, and its threat is urgent and real, but there are arguments to be made, principles to be defended, rights to be respected, truths to be cherished, and permanent things to be preserved. We face the danger of a new Dark Age marked by the loss of liberty and the denial of human dignity. Thus, there is a battle to be joined and much work to be done. Together, may we be found faithful to these tasks. As Churchill would remind us, in every gathering storm there is a summons to action.
Remarks by R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, upon receiving the 2015 Edwin Meese III Award for Originalism and Religious Liberty from the Alliance Defending Freedom, Friday, May 15, 2015 in McLean, Virginia.

WE TRULY BELIEVE: The Ascension

By Roger Salter
Special to Virtueonline
www.virtueonline.org

Almighty Father and ever-living God, we truly believe that your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven: Grant, we pray, that we may also in heart and mind ascend there, and continually dwell with him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The collect for Ascension Day summons us to a definite declaration of faith in a real event.

The message of the gospel, foretold in the Old Testament and confirmed in the New, is derived from a series of historical events explained by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures he has inspired. History is the bedrock of Christian faith. If Scripture may resort to various genre to convey the gospel in terms of imagery, poetry, parable, symbolism, etc, the easily traced narrative itself concerning the divine action contains neither fiction nor fancy. From the Creation to the Consummation of all things the facts are clear and the divine deeds discernible to sanctified common sense. Illustration, where present, impacts us with the divine power and presence behind every assertion. The reality of miracle is an ever-present phenomenon in the great biblical story that concentrates on the Lord Jesus from the promise of the Messiah to Eve to the prediction of his glorious return at the End of Time. Only “blind unbelief is sure to err” in discounting the wonders that surround the Son of God in his sojourn on earth and its millennia-long preparation.

Events concerning the Messiah are exceptional, as much as he enters into our normalcy through great condescension.

Unbelievers can never make up their minds. When they demand signs as evidence for faith they do not believe them. The Bible abounds with signs but mankind ridicules them. Mankind’s hatred of God rejects both the supernatural and –

SOBER TRUTH

Like Paul, St. Luke is a highly educated professional and a responsible witness to the facts concerning Jesus Christ. As a physician he exercises a sober appraisal of human life and death. He is in touch, intellectually and physically, coolly and calmly, with the realities of our mortality. He knows what is, and is not, possible. He does not hesitate to affirm the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He is absolutely convinced of the ascension.

In writing to Theophilus he commits himself to thorough investigation of the truth concerning Jesus. He carefully analyses the case of the Nazarene. He is embarking upon an important assignment. He prepares a highly researched and organised account of Jesus’ activities and the aftermath of his resurrection for an inquisitive Roman official. This literary outreach could produce favourable repercussions for the gospel in Roman society and throughout the empire.

Luke does not set out to entertain Theophilus’ curiosity but to assure him of the truth to the point of his reader’s conversion. Just as the Roman nobleman has interrogated Luke, so Luke interrogates the many surviving companions of Jesus, and he compares their testimonies detecting no discrepancies, or anything of a dubious nature. Confident in all he has heard and evaluated Luke passes it on to a man who will be looking for flaws in the information he receives.

The reliability of Luke as a historian has been amply verified by historians and archaeologists (especially Sir Mitchell William Ramsey, classical scholar and archaeologist [1851-1939]). There is no need to doubt Luke’s accuracy or his integrity.

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught (Luke 1: 1-4).

CERTAIN TRUTH

Luke’s record of Jesus himself and the acts of the early church has been scrutinised and validated over and over again and he constitutes part of the “apostolic witness” available to us in the New Testament. Luke’s gospel became favourite reading among the first followers of Jesus for its descriptive and linguistic quality. It possesses an aura of loveliness and tenderness in its presentation of the Saviour of the world. The truth it relates has the same effect as the ascension and attendant promise of Christ’s return had upon the eyewitnesses who watched him ascend to heaven – it cultivates joy and praise in the mercy and might of the Lord (Luke 24:50-53).

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:1-3).

E.V. Rieu, editor of the Penguin Classics, took it upon himself, as a non-believer to translate the Gospels for this important series of publications. When he had completed his task he became a believer. J.B. Phillips mourned a clergy friend of his who took his life in a moment of vulnerability as a consequence of various modern assaults upon the veracity of Scripture. Phillips examined and translated the Gospels and then completed the entire text of the New Testament. His verdict on the authenticity of the NT is found in his brief book entitled Ring of Truth. Heinz W. Cassirer taught Philosophy at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. As a man of Jewish heritage he came to embrace Christianity as a translator of the New Testament (God’s New Covenant). Each of these men vouched for the vivid reality of Jesus himself conveyed through the documents they were examining and by grace they arrived at a position of firm faith. One of the best books backing up their personal discoveries is Theology and the Gospel of Christ by E.L. Mascall.

CONSOLING TRUTH

The ascension of the Lord Jesus assures us that we have an advocate in heaven. The one who presides over all reality pledges himself to his purchased people – their provision and protection. He has prepared a place for us with him (John 14:1-4). What an incentive to trust and prayer. As the resurrection has surely occurred so his return to gather us to himself will also occur. In the meantime we have a great and enthroned High Priest who sympathises with us and supports us all through our days on earth (Hebrews 4:14-16 cf 7:23-25). He is our constant companion, witnessing to his written truth through the Holy Spirit for our comfort.

The Rev. Roger Salter is an ordained Church of England minister where he had parishes in the dioceses of Bristol and Portsmouth before coming to Birmingham, Alabama to serve as Rector of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church

The Church Grows When…

I want to commend to you an article with up to the minute relevance, “If you’re going to be a Christian, you might as well go all the way. Its author points out that the churches that have actually grown in North America from 2007-2014 are those that have embraced an uncompromising, Biblical definition of marriage (one man, one woman, for life). According to the research, even though America is less Christian than it used to be and even though American Christians are facing incredible pressure to conform to the culture, the most conservative, Evangelical Protestant churches (Southern Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God, Churches of Christ, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Presbyterian Church in America) actually increased their membership by a combined total of 2 million!  As the author, Donna Carol Voss points out,

“In an era where a pro-traditional marriage stance can close your business, drain your savings, and bury you in social media hate, every one of these churches in this last group takes an absolutist stance against gay marriage and the ordination of gay clergy.  The currents of social change are flowing downstream and with them, a number of Christian churches, which perhaps coincidentally are also shrinking in size.  The Christian churches swimming upstream in no uncertain terms, again perhaps coincidentally, are growing stronger.”

If the data is accurate, it is an astonishing witness to some basic truths from the Bible.

The church grows when it is persecuted.

Following the martyrdom of St. Stephen in Acts 7, a great persecution against the followers of Jesus Christ broke out in Jerusalem, with Saul (soon to become the Apostle Paul) “destroying the church,” going house to house, dragging faithful men and women off to prison (Acts 8:1-3). But in the very next verse we read “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” (Acts 8:4)  There began the explosive growth of the church as persecuted missionaries went throughout the known world sharing the transforming love of Jesus Christ in word and deed. Where Christians stand firm in their faith on every issue in life, including moral issues like marriage and abortion, they give testimony to the fact that our identity is not in our gender, sexual orientation, job, race or socio-economic class—our identity and our restless hearts find their final rest and fulfillment in Christ Jesus alone! (see Ephesians 1). When this message is shared with conviction, in love and at great personal cost, it gives integrity to our witness and turns people to Jesus Christ.

But it is not only such authenticity that attracts people to Jesus Christ, it is the costliness of that choice. There is something attractive about faith that is demanding. Not the “cheap grace” that Dietrich Bonhoeffer challenges in his classic The Cost of Discipleship:  the “come as you are and stay as you are,” kind of faith that asks and risks so little. Such an insipid Christianity is no match for a culture which passionately demands obedience to its own set of politically and culturally correct values.  Instead, it is a Christianity which stands toe-to-toe with the culture and proclaims a faith in Jesus Christ and his values with even more passion—this is what attracts people to the church.  Because this “costly grace” is at the heart of true discipleship. In fact, this cost in following Jesus Christ and his word brings us face to face with an even greater cost, as that great contemporary Dallas Willard observes:

“Non-discipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil.  In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10).  The cross-shaped yoke of Jesus Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul.  .. The correct perspective is to see following Christ not only as the necessity it is, but as the fulfillment of the highest human possibilities and as life on the highest plane.”  (The Spirit of the Disciplines)

In North America, it is socially, politically, and economically dangerous to be a member of a Christian church today that takes unpopular but biblical stands. It will become even more uncomfortable in the days ahead. Since 2007, two million people have chosen to make that costlier and more demanding choice, and as author Donna Carol Voss concludes:  “perhaps because the fruit of the spirit they find in those churches is a pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46), greater than any transitory cost they may pay in mortality.”

DALLAS: Diocese Elects Orthodox Anglican to be next Bishop DALLAS: Diocese Elects Orthodox Anglican to be next Bishop Canon George Sumner opposes same-sex marriage Theology cannot follow the dictates of the surrounding culture, he says By David W. Virtue DD www.virtueonline.org May 17, 2015 A self-described “conservative Episcopalian” on the issue of same-sex marriage, the Rev. Canon George Sumner has been chosen to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas following the retirement of Bishop James Stanton. He will become its 7th bishop. Sumner was chosen bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas after 77 votes from clergy and 107 votes from laity on the fourth ballot during a Special Convention on May 16, 2015 held at the Episcopal School of Dallas. Sumner, 60, is currently the Principal of Wycliffe College in Toronto, Canada, and was one of four nominees on the ballot. “I am humbled and grateful to God for my election,” Sumner said. “It will be a great privilege to share in the ministry Christ has given us all together in the Diocese of Dallas. I would like to express my appreciation for my fellow candidates and the remarkable transition team. I ask for your prayers and help in the days to come.” Canon Sumner, an American, is currently Helliwell Professor of World Mission and principal of Wycliffe College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Anglican Diocese of Toronto). He has also served in Africa and the Navajoland. From 2008-2011 as member of the Episcopal Church Committee on the Theology of Marriage he debated the conservative side of the marriage question because he believed as a “loyal churchman” to take part in deliberations which resulted in the House of Bishops document: “Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church.” He helped pen the conservative traditionalist viewpoint “Same-Sex Marriage and Anglican Theology” along with John E. Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary; Grant R. LeMarquand, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry; and Daniel A. Westberg, Nashotah House. The progressive liberal perspective “A Theology of Marriage including Same-Sex Couples” was authored by Deirdre J. Good, General Theological Seminary; Cynthia B. Kittredge, Seminary of the Southwest; Eugene F. Rogers, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; and Willis J. Jenkins, Yale Divinity School. However he is committed to seeing that the Diocese of Dallas has an open door to “everyone” and an open door to “gay and lesbian Episcopalians” and an open door for “gay and lesbian people who are searching for God.” “The Gospel applies to everyone,” he said. “And that is incumbent upon people who are of the more conservative opinion to say.” However for reasons of conscience and theology, as bishop, he could not approve of same-sex blessings or same-sex marriage under any circumstance. “The theology of the church and the view of society do not always coincide” he said, however he explains that the church must be cognizant of societal norms and think about them while listening sympathetically as a part of the goal of evangelizing the Gospel message in the world while realizing that theology cannot follow the dictates of the surrounding culture. Sumner holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a Ph.D., in theology from Yale University. He is married to wife, Stephanie, and has two children. The Rev. Dr. Robert Munday has known the bishop-elect for a number of years and speaks highly of him. [This is] good news about George Sumner winning election as Bishop of Dallas on the fourth ballot. “George is a fine scholar with a pastoral heart who will make an excellent bishop,” he told VOL. The election must also be approved through a majority of consents from the bishops and standing committees of the dioceses in The Episcopal Church. If Sumner receives the majority of consents, he will be consecrated as bishop on Nov. 14. Bishop Suffragan Paul E. Lambert has been serving as bishop pro-tem since Bishop James Stanton retired May 2014 after serving 21 years.

Canon George Sumner opposes same-sex marriage
Theology cannot follow the dictates of the surrounding culture, he says

By David W. Virtue DD
www.virtueonline.org

A self-described “conservative Episcopalian” on the issue of same-sex marriage, the Rev. Canon George Sumner has been chosen to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas following the retirement of Bishop James Stanton. He will become its 7th bishop.

Sumner was chosen bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas after 77 votes from clergy and 107 votes from laity on the fourth ballot during a Special Convention on May 16, 2015 held at the Episcopal School of Dallas. Sumner, 60, is currently the Principal of Wycliffe College in Toronto, Canada, and was one of four nominees on the ballot.

“I am humbled and grateful to God for my election,” Sumner said. “It will be a great privilege to share in the ministry Christ has given us all together in the Diocese of Dallas. I would like to express my appreciation for my fellow candidates and the remarkable transition team. I ask for your prayers and help in the days to come.”

Canon Sumner, an American, is currently Helliwell Professor of World Mission and principal of Wycliffe College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Anglican Diocese of Toronto). He has also served in Africa and the Navajoland.

From 2008-2011 as member of the Episcopal Church Committee on the Theology of Marriage he debated the conservative side of the marriage question because he believed as a “loyal churchman” to take part in deliberations which resulted in the House of Bishops document: “Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church.”

He helped pen the conservative traditionalist viewpoint “Same-Sex Marriage and Anglican Theology” along with John E. Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary; Grant R. LeMarquand, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry; and Daniel A. Westberg, Nashotah House. The progressive liberal perspective “A Theology of Marriage including Same-Sex Couples” was authored by Deirdre J. Good, General Theological Seminary; Cynthia B. Kittredge, Seminary of the Southwest; Eugene F. Rogers, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; and Willis J. Jenkins, Yale Divinity School. However he is committed to seeing that the Diocese of Dallas has an open door to “everyone” and an open door to “gay and lesbian Episcopalians” and an open door for “gay and lesbian people who are searching for God.”

“The Gospel applies to everyone,” he said. “And that is incumbent upon people who are of the more conservative opinion to say.”

However for reasons of conscience and theology, as bishop, he could not approve of same-sex blessings or same-sex marriage under any circumstance.

“The theology of the church and the view of society do not always coincide” he said, however he explains that the church must be cognizant of societal norms and think about them while listening sympathetically as a part of the goal of evangelizing the Gospel message in the world while realizing that theology cannot follow the dictates of the surrounding culture.

Sumner holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a Ph.D., in theology from Yale University. He is married to wife, Stephanie, and has two children.

The Rev. Dr. Robert Munday has known the bishop-elect for a number of years and speaks highly of him. [This is] good news about George Sumner winning election as Bishop of Dallas on the fourth ballot. “George is a fine scholar with a pastoral heart who will make an excellent bishop,” he told VOL.

The election must also be approved through a majority of consents from the bishops and standing committees of the dioceses in The Episcopal Church. If Sumner receives the majority of consents, he will be consecrated as bishop on Nov. 14.

Bishop Suffragan Paul E. Lambert has been serving as bishop pro-tem since Bishop James Stanton retired May 2014 after serving 21 years.

Church of Scotland plan for gay ministers offers possible ‘template’ for Anglicans

General Assembly of The Church of Scotland

General Assembly of The Church of Scotland Photo: Andrew O’Brien

The Church of England is facing renewed pressure to reconcile its divisions over homosexuality after the Church of Scotland agreed plans it hopes will enable openly gay clerics to serve as ministers without a split in the church.

Under plans agreed by the General Assembly, which is meeting in Edinburgh, congregations will be able to invite people in civil partnerships to become their minister without formally changing the Church of Scotland’s traditional teaching on sexuality and marriage.

Instead, those congregations will be able to “opt out” of that aspect of the Church’s teaching.

The outgoing Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Very Rev John Chalmers

The Assembly will discuss whether a similar approach could be applied for same-sex marriage as civil partnerships later this week.

South of the border, the Church of England already allows clerics to form civil partnerships as long as they claim to be celibate. But the Church of Scotland’s approach does not require celibacy.

The Very Rev David Arnott, who coordinates the General Assembly’s business, said that although the Presbyterian structure of the Church of Scotland is different from that of Anglican churches, he hoped the plan could offer a “template” for the Church of England to consider.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme: “We are not going to change people’s minds, we have to come to a way of living together with our differences and living with our diversity and I hope that we’re able to do that.”

The Church of England has begun a process of “facilitated conversations” on the issue of sexuality following a call by the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby to find a model of “mutual flourishing” for both sides rather than a vague compromise.

The Rev Sally Hitchiner

The Rev Sally Hitchiner, an Anglican priest and founder of “Diverse Church”, a group for young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians, said the Church of England should “look carefully” at the Scottish arrangements.

“It sounds very similar to the Church of England’s policy on remarriage of divorcees and I think that works very well and actually I think that protects conservatives,” she said.

“In the conservative wing of the Church of England people genuinely are concerned that in 10 or 20 years they won’t be able to hold those views.

“If we can find a model like the Church of Scotland I think it could protect conservatives within the church while still allowing those of us who want to marry people of the same sex and indeed be married ourselves we should do so.”

Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain (right) and Stephen Foreshew-Cain married last year

Canon Rosie Harper a prominent liberal cleric added: “This is a very interesting thing which at least makes what they doing overt rather than smoke and mirrors like it is in England.”

The Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain, one of the first Church of England priests to enter a same-sex marriage, tweeted: “I am deeply glad that the Church of Scotland has followed where the Spirit of God is leading.”

Permission granted for Christian parents at Court of Appeal

From Christian Concern:

Thank you for your prayers for yesterday’s (12 May) hearing at the Court of Appeal. In an encouraging development, the Christian couple whose adopted children were taken into care have been granted permission for their case to be heard in full before the Court of Appeal. We are grateful to Paul Diamond, Standing Counsel to the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the family.

At the conclusion of yesterday’s hearing Lady Justice Black ordered that the case should proceed to a full hearing. She said that there should be a review as to whether the Judge at the Family Court had taken the right factors into account when deciding the boys’ future, and whether he had failed to give proper weight to the good parenting that had been given to the children for three years prior to their forced removal.

The couple had cared for the two young brothers for over three years before they were taken into care in summer 2014. They had provided a loving home for the two boys who had come from highly traumatised backgrounds.

Read here

Read also:  The schoolgirls snatched from their parents by social services after they moaned to teachers about being grounded and banned from watching TV, Mailonline